The European Doorway edition of This Old House

In the two+ years that I have lived in my house, there has always been a refurbishing project in the works. It started with the hard wood floors in the front room, dining room, and main bedroom. Then I moved on to painting the kitchen and refurbishing the original windows. Throw in a couple of projects done in the basement and yard that took a lot of time, made me happy to have done, but don't have the same impact on the looks of the house and you have a lot of work.

The latest project has been the guest bedroom. When I first moved in, I knew that I needed to redo the "surface" of the whole room, so I never moved furniture into it. My guest bed was in the basement and the dresser, bookshelf, etc. was scattered throughout the house. 

The first replacement was the easiest. The rainbow fan had do go, no questions asked. While my nieces and nephew complained that I was getting rid of it, they did not want it at their house. 

I can't remember if my dad helped me with this or not. I don't think he was here for this part. I remember dropping the new fan and bent one of the blade brackets. If he would have been here helping me, I don't think I would have dropped it. 

From there, I started the window refurbishing project. 
I practiced this process on my kitchen windows. It was trial and error. Let me show you some of the process I did.

I pry/pull all of the trim and sash off. When this house was built they used the "Tim the Toolman Taylor" method....the more nails the better. These nails were plentiful and large. Rather than pulling them out and risking splitting the wood and leaving large holes in the wood, I decided to cut them off on the back side of the trim. I built up a few muscles with that step of the project.

From this point, it was a toss up on what to tackle next, the actual window stripping, sanding, staining, polyurethane OR the insulating OR the trim stripping, sanding, staining, polyurethane. The order of those steps depended on the weather and my schedule. Some parts take longer than others. 

When I decided to keep the original windows, I knew I needed to do something to help the insulation value of them. These windows work with the rope and weight system. I decided to sacrifice the weight that works the top window and keep the weight that works the bottom one. 

The space where the back weight hung was filled in with fiberglass insulation. The top and bottom was filled in with expanding foam insulation.

I used my dad's 
to cut the plaster, to allow for a new piece of wood to fit in that space.

I sealed the plaster/wood connection with metal insulation tape and put the refinished windows and trim back together. 

The top window is held up with two removable pieces of wood. They fit into the track, so no one knows they are there.

The bottom window received new rope and the weight was painted to help stop the rust and decay.

While I had the windows off, I wanted to get the room painted. But first, I needed to get rid of the odd sized built in shelf and replace the mirrors on the built in above the closet. My dad did help me with this part of the project. I cannot lift and cut a sheet of plaster board by myself.

Once dad got me set up with the pieces of plaster board, he left me to finish the plaster skim coat (?) and painting. I've got the painting part down pretty good, but I need some more practice on my plaster skim coating skills. It took my about 4x longer on that step than it would have taken my dad.

But I just keep plugin' along and sooner or later I get it done.

The steps I don't have pictures for include: painting the trim and ceiling; pulling up the carpet, padding and staples; and touching up the baseboards.

For the hardwood, I bought about 300 square feet of used flooring from the Re-Store in East Peoria. It is connected with Habitat for Humanity. I had made a deal with my cousin to lay the flooring for me. He has his own construction company, I took his son's senior pictures in exchange for them laying my hardwood. 

I just had to clean up the tongue and grooves of the old wood. Thankfully, my dad helped me with that part also. More opportunity to build some upper body strength.

In one day, my cousin had the floor laid and ready for me to sand, stain, and polyurethane. I wish I could say that only took me a day. But that is the farthest thing from the truth. I think it was closer to 4 months to get that part of the project done.

No one would take me up on my requests to come help me strip the varnish or sand.

It was dusty. You got to be on your hands and knees all day wearing a breathing mask, gloves, and protective glasses. OH! AND you got to do it all in a freezing cold room because it was winter and the windows had to be open for fresh air. 

I just don't know why no one wanted to come help me.

Does sarcasm translate well enough on a blog?

Here is the finished product.

The baseboard is original to the house.
The quarter round is new pine.
The floor is reused oak.
The heat vent is new and I like it so much I am going to get more for the rest of my house.

This is the transition between the guest room and the hall. I am very very pleased with how well they blend. 

One of the previous owners had glued vinyl flooring to the original hard wood. Several people suggested not even messing with trying to get that glue off. When I came across this used hardwood for $75, I decided to go that route. The oak is laid on top of the vinyl and is about 3/4" higher than the regular floor. As long as you don't trip walking into the room, I don't think you would notice that it is different.

While I still need to finish the closet doors in this room (I am using old doors for that too) I am already figuring out what project I should start on next.

The options are:
  • my bathroom - refurbish the wood trim and cupboards, replace the sink and paint
  • my bedroom - refurbish the windows
  • the dining room - refurbish the windows, cleaning up the baseboards, replace the light, and making curtains
  • the front room - refurbish the windows, clean up the baseboards and french doors, paint or re-wallpaper the blank wall, and refurbish the front door
  • the basement - too many possibilities to even start to list

What is your vote?

"Ya wanna help?"


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