Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Bedroom Wall Revealed

I probably should space out my posts over the week -- this is my third post today -- but no, you get the Monday* blast of posts...

I finally took an afternoon and devoted it to my bedroom wall/trim project yesterday.  I made a ton of progress and I am just thrilled with the project over all. 

Here's what the wall looked like when I left off last time.  I had just started pulling down sheet rock to reveal the wood behind it:

In case you've lost track of how I got here, the posts leading up to this project are here:

And in assembling those links for you, I'm more than a little horrified that I started this project in JULY and it still isn't completed.  No wonder I'm weary of the lumber on the floor of my bedroom...
So yesterday afternoon I embarked on the project once again.  Fortified with motivation from having watched 2 episodes of This Old House (the Boston project) the day before, and having cleaned my house earlier in the day -- so that when I was "done" with the project I could be entirely done for the day and relax in a clean house -- work got underway.  This time not only did I cover my chandeliers with plastic tarps, but I also tarped my two mirrored nightstands, the bed, the one open rod of coats and jackets, and I put down a serious canvas drop cloth on the floor.  Oh -- and I tied a bandanna over my nose and mouth.  Sounds better prepared than last time, no?  What I didn't do?  Wear safety glasses, gloves or shoes.  Yes, I did this in my socks.  I know.  Sort of stupid.  But nothing bad happened. 
The sheet rock again came done frighteningly easily.  In many places it was bowed out from the wall and pieces 2 or 3 feet wide would peel back in one big piece.  After about an hour I had the top half of the wall completed (and I had confirmed that I really enjoy demolition just a little too much).
That flap hanging down is the linen fabric.  I read that often that was applied before wallpaper went up. There was indeed a layer of paper after the fabric, before the sheet rock, but I don't know if it was actually wallpaper or just a paper backing on the old sheet rock.  It was sort of a maroon/coral color with a matte finish.  I wish I had taken a photo of it, but I probably still can, from in the trash bag.  Note to self...
I made one error of letting my trash bag get too full.  It was so heavy that I nearly couldn't carry it out of the house!  Proof that I am trainable, however, I filled the next three bags less full...
Next I removed the row of glass hooks,  (which I love love love) and the switch plates, and pulled down the bottom half:
I stood here a long time, admiring it all. 
Then, excited about the progress, I emailed a couple of photos to Red, who was (probably glad to be) at work.
Then I started to examine what remained.  The most prevalent thing are all the threads that remain stuck behind nail heads.  They are from the linen "vapor barrier" that was the last layer to come off:

I suspect I have many hours of work with needle nosed pliers ahead of me... Not sure how else to get those off.  Pulling the nails out entirely would (a) surely mar the wood, which at this point is pretty pristine; and (b) probably make all the wood fall off the walls.  Yeah, not a goal.

When I took the first part of the sheet rock down in the area over the door, I found a huge crack, and open gaps between the boards. (Which in this photo doesn't look huge at all.  Weird.)

The crack I figure I will fill with something, but the gaps between the boards were really causing me to troubleshoot.  What would I fill them with?  I did some research on chinking... but never really came up with any great ideas.  But as I revealed the rest of the wall, I found that there were not gaps between the boards.  There is another layer of wood back there, so there aren't any gaps.

That was probably the most exciting find of the day. There is one length of a gap -- around 5 inches long:

But that is pretty minor.  And that vertical stripe on the left of the photo - I think it's an adhesive from the edge of the sheet rock, and the new door trim should cover that up.

Other minor trouble areas:

A big knot hole to the left of the switch plate;
it's likely that the door trim will cover most of it...
The vent opening is cut too large (or, it's cut the appropriate size for
the vent coming up from crawlspace, but the metal vent cover is too small...)
And then there is the baseboard issue.  If you've been on the blog from the beginning, you might recall that I replaced all the baseboards when I moved in.  And in that process, we discovered that the sheet rock didn't extend all the way to the floor, and that there wasn't anything to nail the baseboards too. 

You can read about that fun in these two previous posts:

So sheet rock was added, and the baseboards installed.  Do you see where this is going?  That very same sheet rock we put in, now has to come back out, and I'll be back to the dilemma of how to attach the baseboards.  I purposely cut around the baseboards yesterday, leaving the sheet rock behind them, and the baseboards in place, because I presume that will be a whole day (weekend?) project in itself, and I really didn't want my bedroom essentially open to my crawlspace for a few days.  I've been fortunate so far with nothing skittering out as I open walls, but you know... I mean... no reason to temp any little critters right?  It is chilly outside now... La la la la la.
Here is a current front and top view of the baseboards:  

And then there is the issue of how to cleanly finish where this wall meets the ceiling sheet rock, and where it meets the two adjoining walls.  Perhaps crown moulding for the ceiling... and quarter round or wood trim for the sides like Red did for the cedar planks in the living room?  Or, maybe there is a way to get a clean edge on the sheet rock from the adjoining walls?  I don't know.
Another fun thing I found was on a few boards some sap had oozed out back in the day.  And today it looks glittery. I took a photo of it, but I don't think you can see it's glittery goodness:
My next steps will be clean up and finishing of the wood.  In some areas its just dusty, so I think a good brushing with a nylon bristled brush is in order.  And there are a handful of areas with this gray stuff on it that sort of feels like plaster or something:

I think it will sand off easily -- and hopefully I can do that in a fashion that won't drastically change the surrounding wood color.

The wood of course is tinder dry (I shall not think about house fires, no I will not) and I am thinking that maybe I should oil it?  I've read about linseed oil and tung oil -- but not enough about either one to know if they are good choices.  I am definitely not painting the wall, and I'm not enthusiastic about chemical laden varnish or a polyurethane... so I am sort of up in the air there.  If you have any ideas... please, share.

Also in the category of "if you know," is this type of wood paneling called anything?  From what I've read online, it's very common in 1920 houses.  I believe I have ruled out "ship lap" (it doesn't overlap itself) and I believe it's too wide and thick to be categorized as "lath."  And it isn't tongue and groove.  So far it just seems to be called "horizontal planks."  And some planks they are -- !  The entire length of the wall is one crazy long plank.  I've never seen boards that long in my life!  And they are really wide; it must have been one mammoth tree is all I can say...

And this weekend I will do final measuring for my new door trim and door frame!  And I'll get those stained, sealed, sanded, sealed, and hopefully installed.  Visually that is really going to to change the room (and I think we can all agree -- it's about time!)  I'll be saving for my barn door hardware now, for my sliding barn door.  Yeehaw.

At the end of the day I put the switch plates back on, and the row of hooks (partially) back up, and it looked like this:

I'm very happy.  And quite motivated for the next phase...  Stay tuned.

*  I know, today is Wednesday, not Monday.  But it's Monday to me, because I had Monday and Tuesday off.

Hardy Calendula

I have a little bit of happy in my front butterfly Calendula.  This Summer, first the seeds didn't come up at all and then when they did the little plants were so feeble and just struggled.  Now?  Positively thriving. 

I have two blossoms open, and one or two more buds getting ready to open.  Who'd a thunk?  It's a beautiful bit of fresh color in an otherwise brown time of year.  Happy.

Kitchen Sink Follow Up

I'm happy to report the pipes under my kitchen remain leak free... whew! I'll admit to cringing every time I ran the water for the first few days, and then I'd shut it off and tentatively peer under the sink for water where it shouldn't be. A fear unfounded.

And, I asked Red to remove the hand sprayer. The hose from it always got hung up on the pipe down below -- ending up in me either yanking until it wriggled free or opening the cabinet and holding the sprayer with one hand and reaching below and freeing the hose with the other. (Red was horrified when I told him I'd often yank on the sprayer. In his words, "We may have identified the problem..." And, in retrospect, had I actually thought about what danger I was toying with I never would have done that...) At any rate, we do not need the pipes to be bumped or jostled with a sprayer hose, and we couldn't figure out a way to prevent it from happening that was worth the trouble.

Also, because the sprayer was right next to the faucet handle, invariably the sprayer hose would turn off the water on the way over to the left hand sink. Not convenient. In fact, both of those situations were way more frustrating than you'd think. (Maybe because I was already performing a less than enjoyable activity -- washing dishes?)

My solution was to buy one of those doodads (plumbing technical term) that switches your faucet to a sprayer or a stream and jettisoned the sprayer. Ahhhhh. I like it. It's the little things in life...  It's a cleaner look for starters, and there is no frustration involved. Don't look to closely at what I presume to be the original 1929 sink. The porcelain simply doesn't come clean anymore.