Monday, March 2, 2015

Virginia Remodel - Master Bedroom

Today's subject is our Master Bedroom.  We took these "before" pictures during our 1st showing of this place.... before the estate sale.  The auction house folks were here tagging items, and they were very unhappy about our looking at the house.  In fact, they were downright rude, accusing us of lying about being from out-of-town to look at the house.  They claimed we were really here to preview their Sale or even to steal some this fine stuff.  Ah, welcome to the South and all that Southern Hospitality. Yeah, my tongue IS firmly planted in my cheek.
Before --
I like looking back at these shots to remind me not to become a hoarder, as the widower who lived here had become.  (Our shower stall was stacked to the ceiling with stuff.) 

What I really liked about this place was all this pretty crown molding found in each room.

Note the wall register near the ceiling.  There is another like it near the floor (somewhat hidden by all the stuff along the wall).  They are the remnants of an older heating system and are no longer functional.  We didn't think much about them at the time, but after we moved in we found them to be problem.  They are a fire hazard.  Because the ductwork in the attic was removed at some point, the uncapped wall ducts leave a channel in the wall that would act like a chimney in case of a fire.  All the rooms had the same thing going on.  Not good.  So, one of the major things we had our contractor address was to remove these grates, put a fire break in each cavity near the ceiling, and then patch the two large holes in the plastered walls in each room. 
The floors seemed in good shape, but there was so much stuff, we really couldn't tell much about the perimeters.  As it turned out, there was some staining from pets and leftover tack strips from a previous layer of forest green carpeting (which still lived in the living room).  All the rooms ended up with mold on the walls.  In this room, there was mold growing in the corners only, but in some of the rooms it was growing in larger quantities -- especially in the kitchen.  Neighbors have since told us the old man kept the windows shuttered for the last several years, so it was no surprise to them that there was mold.  However, since the walls were plastered, the mold didn't infiltrate, and I was able to remove it with a few TSP scrubbings followed by a bleach treatment for good measure.  Don't worry, I wore a mask and gloves, and worked with the windows opened (it was a mild winter that year).
More broken shutters.  Gone.  Old filthy ceiling fan.  Gone.  New ceiling light instead.  Floors patched, sanded and refinished.  Mold on textured walls.  Gone.  Strands of old carpet embedded in the trim's paint.  Gone.  Everything primed with mold/mildew resistant primer.  Now for some color....
 Ceiling painted white, trim and doors painted Gypsum, walls painted Carolina Blue. 
Sometime in January.....after the painting....Move-in Day; only one room was moved into....this one.  The contractors were still here, and there was still soooo much going on in the other rooms, but we no longer had to travel 160 miles a day to work on the place.  We could just retire to our room when we kicked off for the day.  Yeah, that's a throw blanket thumb-tacked at the window for privacy.  Plenty of room for our king-sized bed and a rocking chair with foot stool in the corner. 
After -- It's been two years, now.  We moved all our things into the house in March, 2013, and yes, we've made a few trips to Ikea since.  This is how it looks today.....
Bet you can't find those holes from the removed registers, huh.  The guy who got this assignment did a wonderful job.  That's not a zebra in the corner.  Dad used to rock me in this old rocker.  It, unfortunately, got broken in the move from Ohio.  Sad day, but I found a guy near Yorktown that repairs furniture.  Huzzah!  Its repaired now, but the upholstery got ripped, so I threw a cheap blanket on it for now.

Last year my daughter and I went antiquing in Charlotte, NC, where we found this pair of these 1970s lamps.  While in Charlotte, we shopped Ikea, of course!  The chiffarobe houses my hubby's stuff, and a matching 5-drawer dresser houses my stuff. There are two antique nightstands flanking the bed.  The one in the picture was my mom's mom and is cherry.  The other one looks similar, but its walnut.  I picked up that one at a yard sale several years ago when we lived in Ohio.
Its the small things.....Recently, my daughter came to visit.  While we were just chatting, about somethings in my closet, she turned and said to me "You know, Mom, its the small things that make a house a home".  I'm not sure, but I think she had noticed this hanger. Many years ago, I picked it up as a souvenir at Disney World, and it lived in her and her sister's bathroom while she was growing up.  I guess, in the end, Home is the collection -- a patchwork -- of history and memories. They are just things, but they are coated in layers of memories.

As usual, until next time.....

                                   ~~ Karen ~~

Monday, February 23, 2015

Virginia Remodel -- Master Bath

Last week we toured our Main Bathroom.  This week, Our Master Bathroom redo .... so far.

Before --  This is a tiny but functional room, typical of the 1950s.  Its full of thin brittle tile of an unfortunate color.
Yes, the wall tile is literally "Sunshine Yellow" with white grout.  The basket-weave patterned floor tile is a "gold-ish" color with grey grout.  Shudder....kinda jarring.  Well, it definitely wakes you up in the morning, that's for sure.  You can see in this shot those ubiquitous broken shutters and the dreaded cracked gross toilet seat.  Of course, all are gone now.
This oak medicine cabinet was a bi-fold with a center cubby.  It was centered on the wall because it was 40" long, and the vanity is only 22".  I'm not sure if much thought was put into the placement of this thing at all .  The most puzzling part of this arrangement was the 5-light fixture which heated up this space quickly to intolerable levels. I imagine it was to help put light into the shower stall where there was none whatsoever. Still, it was like showering in a adventure, indeed.
Copper colored shower door. Rough Opening 24" wide
The inside of the stall is fairly large....5'x3'....which is plenty of space, but it was very dark in there --even with that massive light fixture.
From inside the shower, you can see how the tiles have cracked from the house settling through the years.  We have since smeared clear silicon caulking on the cracks so the water doesn't leak into the sub-flooring any more than it has already.  If we stay, all this tile will go, but for now this is how it has to be. 
After --  Although it needs a great deal more work, we have done quite a bit, so far.

It started one day while we were shopping at Menards (in Ohio) for some things for our daughter's apartment.  We found a cute little 22" vanity on clearance (the only one left, grey).  It came with a nice white ceramic sinktop as well.....$56 out the door!  Well, it was perfect for this space and well worth carrying around in the back of the car until we got back to Virginia. 
 What good is a new sink without a new faucet to go with it?
Of course, with a new vanity installed, we had to get rid of that huge medicine cabinet and get one that would fit over the sink.  After removing the old one, we found there once had been a hole in the wall where the original recessed cabinet lived.  We opened up the hole's patchwork, measured, and found a new cabinet that fit inside quite nicely....$14.
There was one little problem, though; the wiring from a light switch in the adjoining closet was buried in the void and needed to be moved out of the way.  It was a bit of work, but we finally got 'er done....Huzzah.  Next we patched the walls and painted -- left-over grey enamel from the walls in the main bath, left-over white enamel from the ceiling in the main bath, and Behr's Gypsum trim enamel for the window trim and crown molding.
Now, we have a new cabinet.  But wait!  While we were at it, I ran new wiring to a new fixture.  This one has only two lights. 
Oh, and by the way......while we were doing electrical things, I put a light in the ceiling of the shower stall, too (sorry, no picture) .  What a HUGE difference!  I can actually see my legs while I'm shaving them! is much safer now.

We removed the old mirror from the door, painted it, and put up a couple of robe hooks.  We added a little black shelf from Ikea and a small open wall-shelf from K-Mart.  More Battenburg curtains at the window, a shaving mirror, a rug on the floor, and we're done....for now.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this long tour of such a tiny room. 

So, until next time .......
                                                     ~~ Karen ~~

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Test from phone

Now, here is photographic proof that I'm cracking up.

This is our bedroom window after experiencing a stress fracture at 3 AM a few nights ago. Yep, is made quite a loud noise. Hard to go back to sleep after this, but after taping it up, we eventually got back to sleep.
The next day we asked around for references and found a reputable company to fix this in 2 days.  Luckily, we had 2 extra windows in the garage, so the charges were only for the labor of the two guys who were sent.  No fear of the snows predicted.

                                                ~~ Karen ~~
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, February 16, 2015

Virginia Remodel, Main Bathroom

Time for another Remodel Before and After.....So far I've shown you our Den to Laundry Room Conversion, here; the new look for our hallway, here; and the kitchen remodel, here.  This week let me share our main bathroom's latest update.

Before -
Again, Everyone say HALLELUIAH that we don't have smellivision!  This heavy pink shower curtain had suffered a few attacks of sewage back-up through the years.  We discovered this the hard way....twice....ourselves before we moved in. Once we took them down, we decided it was best to just put them in the trash.  The other major issue was the toilet seat.  The day we got the keys to this place, we brought along 2 toilet seats to replace these wooden ones.  They had both split in two over the years, and the previous owner had patched this seat and the one in the master bedroom with metal plates.  Guess he didn't want to part with $11 for new ones at K-mart.  Good Grief and  Eeww.

On the other hand, the shutters were quite charming in here.  Most of the windows in this house were shuttered, but unfortunately, all were broken...each one of them.  It was a shame, but we had to take all of them down and patch the holes in the window framing (some were nailed in with 4-in. nails, for cryin' out loud).  Yet, there is so much more light and cheerfulness in the rooms now.  Simple Battenburg curtain panels that I had in my stash provides some privacy.

Another issue in this room was this stained wallpaper from the 80s.  The walls are plastered, and this paper refused to let go.   I thought I'd never finish peeling it off; but at last, after weeks of scraping, it was gone, and I could paint.  The color matches the center tiles in the original ceramic floor.

We decided to install a nice large medicine in-wall cabinet since storage is at a premium here.  While shopping for the cabinet, we found these sconces that seemed in keeping with the mid-century they were on sale, Huzzah!  So we replaced the 80s overhead fixture with these.  Simple and bright.

We've kept the oak vanity.  (Yes, it's been thoroughly cleaned after all our sewage backup events.) If we stay here, we'll replace it with a smaller cabinet that will center the sink under the medicine cabinet and  original ceramic soap and toothbrush holders. For now, it is okay as it is. The same goes for that old toilet.  Someday I want to replace it and it's twin in the master bath.

Here's how it looks today.  If we end up doing something with this vanity in the future, I'll give ya'll an update. 

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Until next time.................            ~~Karen~~