Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Door Project

I have one project with a deadline coming up - scrape, repaint, and rehang the door to the library. (Well, two - buy a sleeper sofa - but that's less like a project and more like just spending a whole whack of money.)
Both of these things have deadlines because my family is coming to stay in my house for Christmas - my sister is staying in the library, I think, and she might like there to be a door on the room.

When we moved in, we painted the whole house. We are almost entirely done, except for the kitchen, and touchups. The previous owners picked some really awful, garish colors. The library was neon pink. The door to the library is still neon pink.

Here, Lucy demonstrates our initial reaction to this color:

In addition to picking that color, the previous owners also painted latex based paint over the existing oil based paint without any sort of prep or primer. Which means all the doors have big sheets of latex paint peeling off - I can't just paint a more reasonable color on top of the pink.
I am scraping all the latex paint off, sanding, priming, and repainting the doors white. This takes forever, possibly because it's so boring, and the only space we have to do it is in the basement.

Lucy refuses to go in the basement. She thinks it's creepy, and weird, and too dark. (Our resident Monster is afraid of the dark.) She prefers to watch everyone from the top of the stairs and add commentary.

Here is the hallway side of the door - mint green. The tan parts are where the girl who had that room glued posters to the door.

The small patch of slightly darker green on the left is where I have scraped so far. Not a much better color, but at least when that was painted the previous-previous owners had the excuse of it being 1978. The layer underneath the pink on the other side of the door is white. Sigh.

I hope I finish in time!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Living Room Window Trim & New Blinds

This weekend we painted the trim on the living room windows, which is some of the last trim to do outside of the kitchen. We also put up new blinds on all four windows.

The previous owners had a different style of blind or different method of installation for almost every window in the house. One room had navy blue and fake wood grain, one room had black and alabaster, etc. By the time we got the house, the blinds had not been cleaned for 8 years. We didn't have enough money to replace them all right away, so we've been doing them one room at a time, as we paint the window trim.

We chose to get all the same kind and color of blind for the same house. Not super expensive, but not the cheapest kind available, either. And we installed them all the same way. Shocking!

The living room blinds were low on the list of blinds to be replaced, since all the other rooms have 2 windows each - and smaller windows - they cost less. The living room has 4 bigger windows, but I really wanted to finish painting and put up new blinds before it got too cold to paint. Not that it seems like that will be happening anytime soon - yesterday it was 70 degrees. In November!

The only old blinds in the house are now in the kitchen - we haven't tackled that room yet.
This is what they all used to look like, but in different colors. Equally dirty & saggy, though.

This is what the living room looked like when we moved in.

(We painted this room over Labor Day weekend.)

This is what we were doing this morning:

There were some helpers:

And this is what it looked like tonight, when we finished:

David installing the last blind:

The helper monster takes credit for the whole thing, of course:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Electricity Phase 2

There are many phases to the electricity project - the previous owners didn't replace any plugs or wiring, they panted over everything instead.
When we were doing the inspection before buying the house, the main SEC power cable was completely stripped and exposed to the elements - the previous owners didn't even know what that was.
Phase 1 happened before we moved in. We had the SEC cable replaced, and all the plugs and switches that had been painted over replaced. In doing that, we discovered that some had been incorrectly wired and were fire hazards. And some had char marks from where they were sparking. So we did that before we moved in.

This time, the ceiling fan in the guest room/craft room/office started sparking, and then ceased to function. So we called the electrician back for Phase 2 - which is smaller.
We wanted to replace the fan as well as the really ugly fixture in the dining room. (One of two gold fixtures in the house.) And there was a plug that was behind a pile of boxes during Phase 1.

Here are the results:

Old fixture in dining room:

New fixture in dining room:

Old ceiling fan in guest room:

New ceiling fan in guest room:

Old outlet:

New outlet:

Phase 3 includes an additional outdoor light, and replacing the breaker box in the basement.

The new lights look so good! Yikes!

Door Hardware

The reason I became aware of houseblogging at all was because of Stuccohouse. And this was because of door hardware.

All of the hardware (and electric switches and outlets and fixtures) in all of the rooms was painted over by the previous owners. I was searching the internet and found these posts about removing paint from hardware.

I tried this method, with great results:

The other door hardware problem involved the mortise locks on the interior doors. Mainly - not all the doors have them:

Some doors have them but they're incredibly painted over:

It turns out that this house has mortise door locks that are such a unique size that it is impossible to find them on ebay or elsewhere on the internet. We are still pulling the bedroom door closed by sticking our finger in the hole.

I got new hinges from Rejuvenation - the old ones were industrial-style flat grey steel. All the other original hardware in the house is brass. (Except the basement doorknob - one side, and the bathroom door knob - one side.)

Eventually I will replace all the hinges with these.

Meanwhile, the hardware (all painted over, not standard size) is really frustrating. Ugh!

First Post

I'm starting this blog to keep track of the changes we make in our house - we bought it on March 28 2008, and have been slowly fixing it since then. The previous owners were 3 weeks away from foreclosure on the house, and had not made any repairs in the 10 years that they owned it.
The house is a 3 bedroom colonial in Baltimore County, MD.

I tried for a little while to keep track of changes on my old blog, but that was less than a smashing success.

This blog's title is monster house - there are several monsters who live in the house, they have their own blog, here: Rodenthoarde