Tag Archives: house

Adventures in Office Renovation

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As I may have mentioned on here before, my husband and I have been renovating the room that is to become my office. It’s been a very long process that is fast coming to an end. When we started this project we were just going to sand the layers of paint off the beautiful woodwork and refinish the floors. The walls we were going to leave as they were because,  I really liked what everyone else called the ’70’s orange and brown plaid porn-set wallpaper.

The picture really doesn’t do it justice. Honest!

I know what you’re all thinking – “That’s absolutely hideous!” I know that’s what you’re thinking because I had the same exact reaction when I saw the pictures up on the real estate listing. However, the first time we went to look at the house, I walked into this room and fell in love with the wallpaper. The sunlight coming in through the window really brightened the colors to make it very cheery and comfy.

It was supposed to be a very fast and easy project since we were just going to strip all the pain from the woodwork and stain it. HA! The top layer of paint was more like a layer of plastic instead of paint so we couldn’t sand it or we’d just gum up the sander with the paint. We tried using noxious chemicals to peel the paint off, but it would strip the top layers, but not touch the bottom layers no matter how many times we applied it. We ended up resorting to a heat gun and scraping the paint off by hand. As I’m sure you can guess, that was a very labor intensive, time-consuming endeavor.
We started this project in early winter of 2010 not too long after we moved in. We’d be all gung-ho about it for several days in a row and get a bunch of work done and then not do anything on it for weeks and even months at a time because we were so sick of scraping hot, bubbling paint. This past spring we finally got it to the point where we just needed to sand the last bits off and we could call it good. Except, when we took the baseboards off to make it easier to sand them, the plaster wall began to crumble into dust.

That was NOT supposed to happen.

 

It was decided that we’d just go ahead and tear the plaster and lath walls down, put insulation in, update the wiring, and throw up drywall like we’re planning on doing with the rest of the house. As we began tearing down the plaster, we noticed insulation already behind the lath even though we were told there was no insulation in the walls. We at first thought it had simply settled down the walls from when they’d blown it into the attic, so we sent a bit of it out for testing to make sure there was no asbestos in it. We got the results back in about a week with a report of no asbestos, so we set to work tearing all of that out as well.

We made a bit of a mess…

 

Oh the little treasures we found buried in the insulation. There was a long, cardboard box which looks like the types of boxes used by florists for roses, a children’s math primer from 1877, a publication called Cottage Hearth (with instructions on how to “skeletonize” flowers for Midsummer) from an unknown date, a newspaper from 1883, and a complete mouse skeleton. I saw the tail of the mouse skeleton sticking out of a clump of insulation and it looked like a length of plastic, so I pulled it out only to find that it was in fact a skeleton. I admit, I made a bit of an EEP sound out of sheer surprise. I knew we were going to find some neat and interesting things in the walls, but all of this in just one room was awesome. I now can’t wait to tackle the rest of the rooms to see what we find.

When we got all of the insulation out, I noticed round plugs between each of the studs and realized that at some point there *had* been insulation blown into the walls at some point, but there was no record of it having been done. Ah well, the insulation wasn’t working so well anyway and needed to be replaced. I’m also really glad we were forced to tear the plaster down because the studs in some places are covered in mold (as was the insulation) from the who knows how many years the roof leaked. Now I can clean those up and not worry about it spreading and aggravating my husband’s allergies.

My brother-in-law who is a professional drywaller will be over sometime this week to let us know what we’re going to need and if there’s anything else we need to do in order to get the room ready for the new wiring and drywall. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m hoping this project is almost done. *crosses fingers*

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to you all! May the coming year be filled with light, love, and laughter for you.

I’m not making any resolutions for the new year because if I want to make a change in my life, I’m going to make it whether it’s a resolution or not. And I’m not necessarily going to keep to a resolution just because it’s a resolution.

Yesterday, our neighbors across the street hosted a Victorian First Day of 2012 Feast. I was not aware until yesterday that they’re Civil War era re-enactors with a passion for all things Victorian. I know who I’m talking to if I ever get the urge to write a steampunk novel! 😉 It was a very fun event that included enough food to feed a platoon of soldiers and some very cool people. I can honestly say that buying this house was the best decision we’ve ever made.

One of my husband’s gifts to me was a flat screen monitor, so now I’m not getting headaches and blurry eyes after being on the computer for too long. It took a while for me to get the brightness and contrast settings to a comfortable balance, but now that I have them set I’m loving it. Which means I can finally get caught up on the beta reading I need to do.

He also got me Skyrim which I’ve vowed not to begin playing until I’ve beaten Dragon Age Origins. Which means I need to write faster because playing Dragon Age is my reward for getting my writing quota done for the day.

We’re starting to clean up the house and put decorations away. The house is looking extremely bare and forlorn. I’m thinking that we need to paint and finally put up curtains at least in the living room. We’ve been putting it off because we need to tear down the old, crumbly plaster and put up new drywall, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening any time this year. We’re also getting our butts in gear and finishing up my office. I want to be completely moved in there before Spring.

Things to do while waiting for my agent to email

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I’m still waiting to hear back from Cameron on my revisions. For the first few weeks I was able to wait patiently because I had both the trip to Vegas and the trip to my aunt’s house to look forward to. Now that both of those are over with, I’m starting to get a bit antsy and am looking for things to distract me so I don’t go completely insane.

1. Work on new material. This one’s a given – you should always be working on something whether it’s writing a new piece or tinkering with an old one. Right now I’m working on book 2 of the series, When Demons Cry.

2. Garden. It’s getting to be time for end of summer maintenance work on my gardens. There are dead and dying plants to be cut back, weeds to be pulled, and areas that need tilling.

3. Work on the house. My office still isn’t done. The floor in the front entranceway needs to be sanded, buffed, waxed, coated with polyurethane, and whatever else goes into refurbishing a hardwood floor. We need to get a plumber in to take out some extraneous pipes and fixtures (but I think that’s going to be  hubby’s project since I got the contractor for the roof and windows).

4. Clean the house. With all of the running around we’ve been doing, the housework has been woefully neglected. From piles of clean laundry to be put away to tumbleweeds of cat hair skittering across the floor, my house is a disaster.