Nothing particularly glamorous or picture-worthy going on, but we are hard at work still. The first order of business is preparing the living spaces we are going to be living in initially. These are the living room, temporary master bedroom (beautiful large sun-drenched room with a bay-window on the second floor), dining room, and to some extent the 2nd-floor kitchen we will be using while we remodel the 1st floor kitchen.
Before the fun stuff like painting, and knocking down walls, and refinishing floors, the first two tasks have been lead paint abatement and some basic electrical work. The previous owner(s) replaced all window and door casings throughout the house, so lead paint was not a problem there. However, all of the baseboards, and any exposed original wood (the entire stairway, two rather ugly mantlepieces, some closet interiors) tested positive for lead paint. This is about what we expected when buying the house.
The mantlepieces are just getting ripped out (exposing multiple layers of vintage, but hideous and stained wallpaper underneath):
The baseboards (initially just in the living room and bedroom before we move in next week) are getting stripped down to the wood with much paint stripper and manual labor:
The stairway reconstruction is an “after-move-in” project, and the only parts we plan to keep of the existing stairway are the stringers (maybe), so we’ll tackle that lead abatement then.
One of my pet peeves about this house was the lack of any exterior light fixtures (certainly makes coming and going out the back door tricky at night), and the janky installation of fixtures and fans inside in boxes not designed to support weight. When I carved out some siding to install the new rear motion-sensing light I found some wacky fibrous fake-brick siding underneath the vinyl:
And when I removed the ceiling fan from the bedroom (which was destroying the plaster ceiling and medallion) to put in a new light fixture, I found a type of old electrical box/fitting that I’d never seen before:
Instead of a box, it just has a center threaded post that goes all the way down. I was able to rig up something with bolts and a bracket that’s enough to hold the basic light that’s there now. I do need to spruce it up with some more plaster and possibly a decorative box / collar between the ceiling and the fixture.
Also of note, in areas where we are painting and moving in immediately, I’m replacing all wall outlets with plastic receptacle boxes and new tamper-resistant plugs, and rewiring any remaining cloth wiring. Here’s a great example of some of the previous retrofit electrical work in the house. This certainly is one way to run a new outlet on the first floor from a junction box in the basement. Why couldn’t they have just drilled literally one inch further to the left and fished through the wall (which is what I did last night to fix it?):
So, all in all not the most exciting update. Paint stripping and electrical work might finish today. More exciting things coming soon:
- Tearing out the closet from the corner of the dining room (was being used as a bedroom)
- Tearing out a wall on the second floor overhanging the stairwell (was there so an exterior door could be installed separating the duplex into two units)
- Floor finishing
- Moving (a week from Tuesday)!