Saturday, January 1, 2011

Restoring the Red Dining Room

We waited six years for an opportunity to buy our old house--hoping one day it would be available. We loved it--even though we'd never seen the interior.

Our first walk through with the realtor was not a disappointment, it had spacious rooms--all wearing layers and layers of painted-over wallpaper.

As we entered the dining room we stepped over chunks of ceiling plaster and knew we'd have our hands full. Everything needed repair.

First item on the list: repair flashing at the chimney--the source of moisture that brought down the dining room ceiling. The following year Jon took down the chimney, cleaned the bricks, and rebuilt it.
West Side of House
Above: Jon on cobra lift, rebricking the chimney. This photo also shows new house color and progress of scraping, priming, and repainting the exterior of the house (my weekend job--summer of 2008). I worked on the exterior siding from the safety of a bucket truck. Jon called me "The Bucket Woman".

Getting back to my story . . .

Next, we needed water. After sitting vacant for decades, there was so much to do. New electrical, new plumbing, new heating, and insulation. All the basics--to make it a regular home. Jon accomplished each task one by one. It took one year of work before we could move in.

While Jon took care of those projects, I began the process of removing wallpaper in 10 rooms. Because of the tall ceilings, a rolling scaffold was the only furniture in the house for months.

Plaster Repair - Parlor

Below: Looking across the dining room, you can see the original screen door to the west porch. Window treatments were sewn by my sister Pam. The fancy lamps I purchased from Hancock Fabric--they had been $75 each, marked down to $15.75 each--and a perfect match to the wall color, Flaming Sunset by Valspar.

Below: Here's what the dining room looked like after removing many layers of wallpaper. Under all that wallpaper there was a beautiful stencil around the perimeter. Unfortunately the walls had tremendous cracks, requiring lots of repair. I traced the design--thinking I could add it back later, but got involved in other projects.

Through the door, you can see the kitchen under reconstruction. Jon couldn't save the kitchen plaster as it was as tender as a crumbling cookie.