Sunday, November 30, 2008

Letting it snow

That's what I am pretty much letting it do today, just snow. My apprentice (Sugar) made a trip to the spa this afternoon and got herself bathed and all fluffed up. The spa is a corner of the basement that has a shower and a big drain in the center. She really didn't like it much and slept the rest of the day. It is tough being a princess.
Below is the sunroom in all its green glory. Sugar and I decided to go with the bead board for the bottom half of the room, painted in a nice bright white.
This is her highness surveying the room as I take pictures.
I also finished sanding and staining the bedroom door casings this evening, and will get the poly on in the next few days.

I hear voices

I woke up this morning hearing someone talking and Christmas music playing, I thought what the hell is music playing for and why am I hearing it in a solid brick house? So I roll over, and doze off again. Then I sat up thinking why did the music stop? and why is it so quiet?

Ahh now I understand, our first WET snow of the year! Now having a corner lot has alot of advantages, but having twice as much sidewalk to shovel is not one of them.

My apprentice is surveying the area and deciding how to tackle this new snow. She finally went into the house, laid down, took a nap leaving the bulk of the work to me. How can you get mad at cuteness?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Divert all power and compansate?

So I am watching this Star Trek movie and is amazes me for the 24th century that the handheld phaser rifles they use are are the most inaccurate weapons ever developed. You would think that they would have some sort of built in tracking mechanism, but that wouldn't make for a good movie then.
So what does that have to do with home improvement? not much really. But I got a busrt of energy late last night and FINALLY got the bedroom door rehung! Whoo Hoo! Now being the only person that lives here, I don't have and real reason to shut the door, but it is still a neat milestone to reach. So I guess I did divert all power and compensate and I did get it done.

Found two gallon cans that were half empty and they are a kind of a celery green color that was used by a PO in the second bedroom, so I mixed them together and decided that I would try and paint the front sun porch with what I concocted. At first it kind of looked a bit to pale of a green and then went into it's darken stage.
I was kind of worried that it was gonna get real dark and defeat the purpose of being a "sunny" room. Actually the paint turned out ok . If I get some Boston ferns in there (being a north facing set of windows) they should do nicely and add something to the room. I really am holding off on the trim, it just kills me knowing underneath the white paint is some really nice poplar wood under there screaming to be let out, although a nice bright glossy white trim would really set the room off. The other train of thought, is that with the light color would the natural trim look ok? being so dark? I also was thinking of adding some beadboard and maybe that would help tie it all together and lessen the impact of knowing there is some cool wood under there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A neighbor visit

My neighbor let me take a peek at her house today, and mostly I was interested in just her kitchen breakfast nook. she allowed me to take a few pictures. She told me that it was original to the house. My intent is to replicate the same thing in my kitchen.
Cool huh?

Post pigout day

Here are two pics of the door hardware. The first is the before and the second is the after. I think they turned out pretty good, I used brasso and some scraping to get the last of the paint out of the cravases.
I mostly worked on the backdoor again today, I added more weather striping and a threshold gasket. There was a half inch gap between the door and the threshold and the door seep that I bought broke after two days.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Hope all my blog followers had a good day and didn't eat to much. Of course I know everyone does.

Haven't done to much the last couple days. Last night all I did was add weather stripping to the back door and a bottom door sweep. The cold air was just pouring through the bottom like a sieve. I think I need to add more around the bottom, seems as though the door is kind of warped. I walked around the basement last night with a can of spray foam and filled in just about every orifice I could find and then some. I also had another look at the absolutely poor excuse for plumbing fixes that were done over the years along with the gas plumbing. Don't get me wrong, they are all very functional, just not up to my anal view of neat, tidy and easy to trace.

Today I tried to get the bedroom door up but I had cleaned the wrong set of hinges, so I threw in the towel and just decided to just play X-Box and work out some aggression and maybe tomorrow I will attempt again. I still have to work on the door casings and maybe get those done before the weekend is out. Then onto the closet door and the casings.

The door opening between the living room and the kitchen is missing a door. You can see the hardware left from when a PO took the oringinal out. There are two, five panel doors in the basment that are in good shape (painted green I might add), the only thing I need to do is measure the door opening and see if they will fit.

The pic above is just an example and not my doorway.
I love the idea of having a swinging door between the two rooms. Not that I am a big entertainer (or an entertainer at all) but the cool-ness factor cannot be overlooked. I was also looking at maybe adding a small butlers pantry in the closet off the kitchen. I think that it was at one time just such a place. Currently it has been used just as a mop closet and access to the attic. I still haven't mustered the courage to take a look up there for fear it may just cost my money. I cannot imagine there is one shred of insulation and don't really want to know right now if there isn't.
Speaking of Butler pantries, I found this video below showing butler pantries and all the cool stuff cabinet manufacturers want you to buy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Revenge Of The Sith

Ok so there are no Sith running about in the house this week, unlike the blowfly infestation at The Devil Queen. But that is what I am watching (Revenge of the Sith) and watching my apprentice twitch as she is dreaming, must be dreaming of bones and running through the daisy fields, tonight instead of mustering up the motivation to do anything. I did get the hand rail back on the basement stairway, and put the second coat of poly on the bedroom door. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why there is no light at the top of the steps or the landing. So I guess I have to figure a light in the budget soon.

Here are some pictures of the picture rail in the bedroom. the last picture is of my wallpaper patch job in the front room.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I think I got em'

I painted most of the basement stairway tonight. Most being the oprative word, I really hate trimming and having basically twelve feet above my head to the ceiling and just the landing to place a ladder on I didn't feel like balancing over the stairs to reach the corners.
I have spent the last few days vacuming cobwebs in the basement and think that a: it was never done by the past few PO's or b: there is one stealth spider that has been squirting her webs all over the damn place. But I think I got em! about the size of a head of a pin and brown (be my luck it was a brown recluse) yep, I painted right over that sucker and felt good about it too! So it is in the paint for future PO's
I finished the picture rail in the bedroom tonight. I'll post a picture later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Up to my ass in goose shit again!?

Sure does look like goose shit, don't it? This is what the paint looks like after I scrap it off the wood. It really looks like a goose visited the basement and left a calling card.

The door; this damn thing has kicked my butt for 3 weeks.

This is a stained only picure. I did get the first coat of poly on the door today and cleaned the hinges up a bit by just letting them sit in the same stripper that I use on the wood. They cleaned up pretty good but I need to get some brasso to give the brass a good polish. I started looking at the windows in the basement today, just anotherproject to add to the list. None of the windows close properly and you can feel the wind coming in around the sashes. So I just calked all the windows shut, covered the panes that were broke or in one case there was one pane that was to small for the frame, why even put a piece of glass in the hole in the first place if it isn't gonna fill the void all the way? So I bitched a bit and filled the holes. Thats it for the weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Slow week

Here is a picure of the window casements from the bedroom. I still have to get the right side tacked back up, and some work on the bottom sill.

I really need to get back into the basement and get the bedroom door finished.

Like my curtains?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If you open your mouth flies will enter

Well kind of, more like paint. I painted the ceiling in the spare bedroom tonight along with a few of the walls in the kitchen. I found out that flies are not alive in the Great State of Illinois during November but paint does fly in your mouth when you use a roller on the ceiling and standing there looking like a fool that just got doused with a bucket of water, yep Newton was right about gravity. White latex has absolutley no taste.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This is my apprentice Sugar, she could really care less as what is happening around the house as long as it doesn't interrupt her napping. But we tromped down to the basement and jumped into the shower and got a bath. Tresime' O' la la! So now she is napping again.
All I did today is clean, I think I vacuumed 50 years of cob webs and spiders up today in the work room of the basement, total mess.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Does it always tingle after your first time? Or step away from the sander

So I sluffed down to the basement this morning and started to sand the last prices of window trim, they looked horrible and I almost decided the the other night that I was going to throw them out and and try and buy some replacements. But after consulting my checkbook it was agreed upon that I should at least try and save a few dollars and give the sander a go.

Now I have a Porter Cable palm sander that his given me a few good years of use. But it will not keep the damn paper in place and after a few minutes the paper is flopping around and pissing me off. So much I felt like giving it a fast pitch across the room. But taking a few deep breaths, a few Ti Chi moves and a yoga stretch or two I reached for this Black and Decker kinda large vibrating sander that I tried a while back. This thing works like a champ! and uses less sand paper. So I am blasting through all the trim like a breeze stop the sander and my hands are still vibrating, so much so I take a break and 15 mins. later they are still vibrating.

So anyway, my hands are vibrating and I start to tackle the bedroom door. Whatever was used as a sealer was sure a pain to get off, this is even after I used stripper on the thing. But my trusty B&D plowed trough it without complaint.

I setup a "clean" room in the next room over in the basement so I can stain and finish in one room and still have the sander kicking up the dust in the other room. I put some plastic over the door to keep the dusties out.

Found another cool discovery today.

I know its kinda hard to read but the PO lady of the house had taken inventory of her canned goods. One is listed as 1945 and the other 1944. One lists how many cans of tomato's, plums, peaches etc. The first pic, you can see where she had crossed off the number of cans as she used them. When I first caught the writting out of the coner of my eye, I thought it was just measurements someone wrote down when they were making the shelves.

As a last note I painted the kitchen "closet" pantry this evening. Not to exciting but it needed it pretty bad. This is also where you can access the attic, which I haven't really mustered the courage to take a peek at yet.
Oh! I almost forgot! I was thinking of running some CAT 5 data cables into each room but again consulting my checkbook and thinking more about it I deceided that staying wireless is much easier and cheaper. I was able to tuck the cable modem and wireless router in an old upright 1920's radio that I have in the corner. Out of sight and out of mind, and I can get back into some serious X-Box again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This falls under the "WTF" category

I took these pictures mostly for my brother-in-law who is an electrician. I was under the assumption that mixing old knob and post with newer wiring was not upto code. Maybe I am wrong but nothing is grounded and being a computer geek, I really don't want to plug any components in the outlets.


Well I finished stripping the door tonight, on the one side it was pretty straight forward, when I flipped the door over someone had painted the door with a paint that had like sand in it. So it was a bit more laborious, but I got it off.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday part deux

These are the papers that I talk about below.


I started to strip the last pieces of the window casings for the Master Bedroom this evening and found the paint to be REALLY stuck to the wood. So much so that I might just write them off and replace them. I put 3 coats of stripper on the boards and the stuff still did not want to come off without a fight. But I think I will try the sander first and see what the does.

The second image is of the bedroom door. I got lucky on this (again) only one coat of paint! The only bummer is that both sides of the door are painted and I have to re-do both.

I have been sitting here for a few hours and I keep getting a smell of ashes that I think is coming from the fireplace. I double checked the damper and it is closed. I hope this isn't going to be a continuing problem. Or the second and third options are the dog just smells or is farting. Or a combination of all 3. What is pretty cool is ( sorry back to the bedroom door) that the door hardware is in great shape and the whole unit is mortised into the door itself. The original paint is still on the locking mechanism, but the old skeleton key is long gone. Looking inside the mortise, you can still see the chisel marks from the Carpenter that cut the wood out. I guess there where no pre-cuts from the factory back in the day. Something interesting I also found when removing the hinges was 3 pieces of old newspaper that was used as a template (maybe) to cut the mortise. I am not really sure.
One side talks about Gov. Smith bombed his own house for publicity and the other side talks about cancer in children.
I didn't find any dates and the paper looks as though the center is burnt out rather than cut. So, if any of my great following of fans of this blog might know what these papers are for, clue me!
I envision some half drunk carpender with a non-filter Pall Mall (or Lucky Strike, you choose) cigarette hanging out his mouth sticking that paper under there just to mess with some future owners head and chuckling about "I wonder how long it will take them to figure this riddle out" then taking another swig of half flat and warm beer like Hamms or Falstaff that was left over from lunch 3 hours prior. Who knows! The bloody mysteries of an old house!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I really didn't do much this weekend, but move most of my stuff in. It was so damn cold that and I thought my butt cheeks were going to freeze together. But I did get everything in, the house sort of cleaned and things setup.
I added a few pictures of "The House" itself from the outside. The large UFO in the background is really a water tower for the city and not a cool observation dome for veiwing stars with a telescope at night.

Thse last two pictures are of the basboards that I stripped and sanded. I finally finished them Saturday and got them back in place where they need be. Still have some trim to add like quarter round between the baseboards and the floor. The original didn't survive the removal and I just chucked them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Well I have most everything moved into the house today, furnace turned on and a Pine Mountain Jumbo size 4 hr burning press wood log flickering in the fireplace. The PO left 2 of them in the fireplace and I thought I would see if I could smoke the house out. But I caught a break and the flue opened fine. No birds or raccoons got into the house so the chimney is drawing fine. These logs are an absolute waste. All they do is suck oxygen out of the room and put out no heat. But I am stuck with it for a couple more hours.
Last night I was working out of the basement and took some garbage out the back door. As soon as I let go of the handle I knew I was in trouble. I locked myself out. No keys, no phone, no nothing, but a dunb-assed look on my face. To top it all off, the weather changed Friday and it was about 30 something degrees outside with a good stiff wind blowing. And! I had no coat on. So, what to do. I checked all the windows, locked tighter than a bulls ass. I grabbed a large rock and proceeded to wail on the window. Now, let me tell you this was no movie where a guys walks up to a door and just gives the window a quick rap and the pane breaks, oh hell no! I wailed on this window 4 times and never left a chip in the glass.
Again, I am 6'2" and 225lbs and I could not break this damn glass! with a large rock in my hand. All I managed to do was make alot of noise beating on that door.

So I go next door and roust the the neighbor up, interrupted her movie and popcorn ( I could smell it) and asked for a screwdriver. Back over to the 454 house cusing, I was able to pull the trim off around the window. But so you think that damn glass would come out? My hands where turning numb and Mr. Schmeko was so shrivled up that I could feel him retreating deeper into my body cavitiy to stay warm. Back to the window, I finally was able to get the screwdriver under the pane, but it would slide back on me everytime it came to the edge of the frame, I was about having enough of this and being cold and tired I hooked the corner of the pane, and what the rock couldn't do I craked the corner of the glass, took the window out and reached in the door. Ahhh heat! Felt pretty bad about the glass and having to sacrifice a 90 year old pane for my stupidity.
Thats it for this weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008


The above picture just does not do the wood justice with a coat of stain and one coat of poly. After getting the baseboards all sanded down, wiped with a tack cloth I set about putting the stain on. Wow! the wood really took on a beautiful deep tone. I just couldn't believe my eyes!
Very cool!
I also got both the closets finished and the shelves reinstalled.
Saturday will be more of the same. put the last coat of poly on the baseboards, get them reinstalled, start stripping the window casings and doors, and clean up the beadroom.
I plan on moving in the house this Sunday so I guess Saturday will be pretty busy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I got all the baseboards stripped tonight and that is about it. Hopefully I will get the sander going Thursday and have all the boards sanded down and a coat of stain applied before it is time to go to bed.
I have used this brand stripper for a number of years now when I redid furniture. I have tried other brands, but this one I get at Home Depot and works extremely well and quickly. The basboards only had two coats of paint and the original finish on them so it was not a loborious process.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day! Tuesday

Went and voted today, Had immense sense of pride after I left thinking there are very few countries in the world that allow their citizens to vote. Not only that but being the most powerful country in the world we get to vote! Isn't that just a cool thought! With one stroke of a sharpie magic marker we get to fill in a little circle and potentially change the course of the world!

Spent a couple hours again on the room today. All I really did was paint the crown molding and pull up the paper from the floor, and vacuum.

I have to say that after all the furniture that I redone in my lifetime, the walls in this room turned out great! no bubbles, bumps, or roughness. The poly went on great, settled and dried well. There are a couple of runs here and there but nothing that is glaringly apparent. All the wood is smooth and looks pretty tough. I used about a gallon of the Minwax Polycrylic (water based) and sanded with a 3M foam sand block that I picked up (kinda like a sponge with sandpaper adhered to the outside). This was the first time I used one in a refinishing project and I am happy with the results. I only put two coats of the Polycrylic on just for expediency sake and probally should do another but maybe in the next rehab.

Wednesdays punch list:
Strip and redo all the baseboards, door and window casings.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Put the last coat of poly on the walls tonight. Here are a few pics, not much to see though.

Now the next pic I want to you take a good look and tell me what the difference is between the two bottles?

Figure is out? Well let me tell you, when your thirsty and not paying attention they both look alike, has spring fresh, filtered, de-chlorinated water and the other? Vinegar! Ummm! I grabbed the latter and thought; this is kinda heavy for a water bottle, crack open the the cap and.......whew! this thing stinks! ( and you thought I was gonna take a swig).

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Forgot about the time change this weekend so I was able to get an extra hour of sleep in this morning. I was at the house until 1 am again this morning.

Today I was able to get one coat of Minwax poly on the walls this morning see pictures below.
I was just to damn tired to do more today so I called it an afternoon and came home.

I did paint the bathroom just to brighten it up some. Right now I am just trying to get the house in shape so I can move in. The bath is such a blast from the past in that the last time I can tell it was touched was in the 70's. So needless to say the walls are dingy white and a drop ceiling that was half-assed installed need to be removed. But in the interim, I just threw some white paint on the walls.
I also installed new a set of new locks and deadbolts on the front door.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Update

What a day! I pretty much accomplished everything I set out to do, the only thing I did not get done was the urethane finish, although I did get the room stained, and painted.

The picture below is the first panel I did. My hands were to full of stain to get a shot of the whole room, and didn't want to get the phone camera all trashed with sticky stained hands.

I'm not sure if you can see the seam in the picture to the left but this was my first attempt at taping and mudding. As you may or may not see in the image, I did a crappy job. I was pretty lucky in that I only had 3 seams to tape and the other 2 turned out OK. I think also having the bright light shinning on the wall makes it stand out more.

The last picture is of my baby, she isn't to sure of the new house thing yet and absolutely hates the wood floors and on top of that she needs a bath. I guess she is getting a bit more comfortable cause to she took a poop in the yard today ( is that TMI?).

The other pictures have been added to the slide show below.


Wow, what a evening! the weather has been great here and I was able to open the windows and let the dust out of the house while I sanded the paneling and the drywall. I think I got most of the things on my punch list near complete or finished. I was even able to clean out the second bedroom closet and get it painted. Surprisingly the walls are in good condition (should have taken a picture). A PO splattered some knockdown on maybe what looks like painted wall paper. In a perfect world I should have stripped it down and hung drywall over the old plaster. But in my world the paper and knockdown are in good shape and only one tiny part was pealing in the corner of the ceiling. I was able to re-stick it back up with a dalb of adheasive and paint over it.

Counter sunk all the the brads that I used to tack the paneling up to the wall, filled in with putty and sanded everything down with my trusty sander. I really had to be carefull not to let the sander sit on the wood to long for fear of burning through the top layer ply.

Sanded all the drywall and reapplied mud on some of the areas that needed a bit more.

I purchased a gallon of Minwax Early American stain and a gallon of of Minwax Polycrylic Satin finish. I am not sure if I am going to spray it on with my compressor ( the polycrylic) or brush it on with a foam brush. I have had good luck in the past with both methods.

Thats it for tonight