Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drapes, not sheets

Another step away from house and toward home. Yes. the drapes still need to be steamed. No, I haven't patched the walls, since the insulation installation. Yes, there is stuff everywhere, in the pictures, and that's ok. I am very excited about the drapery hardward. Haven't mounted the tie-backs, yet. I'll wait until we finish the walls and woodwork for that. But in the mean time, I'm thrilled with the improvement. Oh, and the wrinkles have fell out, by now, and we have cleaned up after hanging the drapes.

Dining room window, before
Love those bed sheets (on a bed, that is)

Dining room window, after

Living room window, after

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paint strippers and weather stripping

We tested a new paint stripper: Peel Away 6. It's the 3rd product we've tried, and the first product to actually cut through the layers of paint on our woodwork. I'm sure that different products are more or less useful in different situations. Our particular combination of oil and latex paints (2 to 7 layers) has reacted very well to this. After 12 hours, the paint scraped off with a plastic scraper and ZERO elbow grease. I repeat, ZERO elbow grease.

First, the application-9:30AM

Next, the test-5:30PM

(COMING SOON... the second test- 9:30PM)

One of our house's previous owners decided to remove a built-in bookshelf. Yes, I would have dome something totally different, starting with not removing built-in bookshelves. With that pesky bokoshelf gone, the previous owner added a pair of french doors. However, the stairs leading to the patio are only in front of one door, so do not use the second door. The doors aren't the sturdiest, and we have talked about replacing them with a better set. In the mean time, I've decided to do something about the weather stripping. For how much we love the doors, I think we set an appropriate budget for the weather stripping.

Old french door weather stripping:

A $4.97-fix!

Janet's Table

Let's catch up on one of last year's projects: Janet's table. At the time, we had been eating on a card table, on loan (see the left side of the first picture) for about 4 months. Then, our good friend Janet loaned us an antique table. She recommended Howard Feed-N-Wax to clean and moisturize the wood. It worked beautifully. The table originally had casters, which are now missing. The table (still) sits on newspaper booties I made, awaiting bun feet. Here are some pictures:

Applying Howard Feed-N-Wax:

Finished product (pardon the mess):

Saturday, November 14, 2009

We're getting warmer...

This week, we brought in The guys from TriCord Enterprises to insulate the walls. They offer a unique product, called air krete. Initially, we were looking into closed-cell poly-resin type insulation, but no local contractors make that product available to folks with existing construction. Then we found TriCord, Andy, and air krete. After reading about the product, I think we really lucked out, having this available to use in Portland. We are very happy with Andy and Diego's hardwork (and for helping us clean up).

The difference is obvious. The house is noticeably quieter and the furnace doesn't have to kick on every 10 minutes to maintain the temperature in the house. 

Here are some pictures: 

Diego, hard at work:

Someone else, hardly working:

These are the plugs that are removed: 

Sweet holiday cookie cutters, just in time for the holidays!

This is what it looks like afterward:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We're gonna be warm!

Today, we insulated the attic! Insulation was here and there, but not everywhere. All wires were left exposed, which accounted for about half of the square footage. There was a combination of blown-in cellulose and yellow fiberglass batts. All of this was covered with debris from a roof replacement performed by the previous owners.

The Mr. ran the machine and I went up top with the blower hose. Rather than remove the old batts, I blew the new insulation in to the height of the joists, then laid the batts back over the joists (now filled with new insulation) and buried them with about 10" more of the new insulation. It was an interesting process. Word to the wise: WEAR GOGGLES for this project!

The bid our very cool insulation contractor gave us for the attic (blown-in cellulose) was $1050. Following his money-saving advice, we did it ourselves for $269.70! Insulation is $26.97 each, and we used 10 packages. With the purchase of 10 or more packages, the blower rental was free. Thanks, Andy!


Weapon of choice:

Taking care of business:

The finished product: 

New Blog!

I wasn't feeling great about our former blog address, so I've moved us to a new address! So welcome! to! Below, I copied the September posts into the text.

Today, my mom sent me an email, directing me to I know it's not house-related, but penny-pinching is a peripheral hobby of many old-house-people, as we need to use those precious pennies to buy great hardware, reclaimed flooring, or beautiful drapes.

You sign up with your name, email, zip code and birthday. Shipping on orders of coupons is free! It's very cool- I highly recommend it!


So much for the tiles.
The tiles did NOT clean up well (I took pictures, but haven't uploaded them yet). They are still dirty, still ugly. The grout, too, is still in bad shape. We've decided to replace them, so now I am in pursuit of the right sized tiles, that are attractive. I have no sense of what makes an attractive tile, so I'm still doing some online research (which consists of google-imaging and blog surfing).

In the mean time, I've found great drapery hardware, at! I feel I've exhausted other possibilities, in an effort to assure myself the best possible deal for the best looking rods, that I can find. I've picked out a few rod sets with a glass finish. I think they'll look great with our 1923 house. To go with these new rods, I picked up a few sets of drapes and sheers at Ikea. I picked white sheers in a few different styles, and some thick drapes. Pictures will be coming when I have them all in place!

It's so fun to finally start turning this house into a home :-D


In the Beginning
I love reading blogs about other people's adventures in old houses, so I'm starting my own. Rather than living vicariously through the blogs of others', I will now attempt to give someone else the chance to live out their home improvement dreams through this blog.

Brief background- we moved in during the summer of 2008, but were busy planning our wedding. Now, married, with a dog, we'll be tackling our projects around the house. Later, I'll post a few pictures of the minor things we took care of in the first year.

Today, I've been cleaning up the tiles around the hearth. Our brick fire place is surrounded by a quarry tile (4x4) hearth. The tiles are unusual in that they have some color "smudged" on. I'm not sure if this is a stain someone applied in situ, or some other treatment. Anyway, the tiles, especially near the mouth of the fire place, are pretty dirty, with a lot of thick, black, waxy build-up. My clean-up efforts include chemical strippers, a heat gun+scraper combo, and finally, steam+scraper+towel combo. The grout is dirty and chipped, and I'll just have to regrout when the tiles are clean. The grout scrapes out very easily.