So I’m due for a progress update, but lately it’s been kind of boring – just chipping away at things. Now a few of these things have finished up enough that we can see what they’re actually going to look like. The back bedroom is now completely framed out – except that I want to add some extra studs where they were originally place 30 inches apart. We filled in the old bathroom window with cinder blocks. My next door neighbor, a master carpenter, showed up unexpectedly and helped us get it done. Had it been just me and my dad, it would have taken all day, but instead we got it done with enough time left over to clean the house, and it was probably done better. Today, the two door openings near that end of the room are also framed out. Have a look!
One quirk here – and I have little interest in ridding my house of quirks – is that the gorgeous but mismatched closet doors are 95 inches high, and sit right next to a 77 inch door, which you can kinda see behind the ladder.
Then I also finally have a roof that will actually keep out water. The old one had been leaking pretty badly, but luckily the house is drafty enough to dry out still. And the biggest cosmetic progress is the new skylight in my upstairs hall. My crazy/awesome next door neighbor came and built a curb to install it on. Now the upstairs hall is the sunniest room in the house, and it makes a big difference in every room connected to it, including the living room below. Here it is!
That photo doesn’t do it justice, but then maybe no photo will since they’ll all be backlit. And it won’t REALLY look good until the framing around it is done.
In other news, you can see a hole in the ceiling with a wire coming through it. You can also see a man in the front bedroom. That is my electrician, and soon there will be working lights in the house again. And a fun first, they will be wired in a way that won’t kill me!
Now, that I’m starting to put things back together, I’m reviewing aesthetic choices to make final decisions on how to finish pretty much the whole house. To review, the second floor had original Victorian style woodwork, but the original doors, hardware, lighting, and bathroom fixtures were long gone. I found a matched set of 4 paneled doors to use in the upstairs hall. The woodwork got destroyed when I took it down, but I’m going to get an exact or very close match by any means necessary. Here are the doors, knobs and door casings I will probably be using.
I especially like how the 4 paneled doors I bought have similar beading to the casing. And porcelain knobs are really unique and special, even though they were the cheap option way back when.
Downstairs, all woodwork was replaced in the 1930’s when the living and dining rooms were combined into one large room, and I so I have Craftsman casings, a Colonial Revival railing, and art deco doorknobs like these: (You can also see my awesome floor inlays and the terrible floor finishing job I’ve inherited in the last photo)
So this brings us to new work. In the bedrooms I found closet doors that were the right size, but from a mansion. They’re taller and more ornate than anything anyone who ever owned this house (except me!) would have bought. The closet doors for the back bedroom came with solid brass Georgian door knobs that must have cost a fortune when they were new. I scored a third that was an exact match, traded for one of the porcelain knobs I bought, and will now have those on all the doors in the back bedroom. They look like this. I’ve stripped the lacquer because it was kinda grimy, so I’ll probably just let it tarnish. I can polish them if I want to though. (key escutcheon is only on the door into the room)
So this brings us to new work. Maybe the closet doors are also “new work” since they don’t match the house or anything else in it but I don’t think they’ll look THAT weird. And if they do at least I won’t care.
For windows, I bought two in a simple Victorian style for the back bedroom. They have a single decorative muntin running down the middle. I will do a similar style wherever they’re wide enough, and do without the muntin elsewhere. This is a “simulated divided light” muntin, meaning that it is mounted to the interior, the exterior, and the air space between the two panes of glass so that the window actually looks like an old fashioned window with multiple panes. I’m snobby so for me it would be this or no muntin. If you don’t recall, they look like this.
For my sliding patio door, I’ve gotten conflicting advice, of course, but I think I’m sticking with the “French” style with thick frames and no muntins, meaning there will be one large pane of glass on each door. It will look like the one on the right. The more expensive one, of course. I think this looks and clean but still hefty.
All downstairs woodwork, including around the kinda modern patio door and the large historically inaccurate opening from living room to kitchen, will be the same Craftsman casing that was previously in the house. I think I’ll be able to get the tops of all openings at the back end of the house to be the same height. This means the patio door will be 8 feet or 96 inches, and the opening from the living room to the kitchen will probably be about 93 because the kitchen floor slopes up. This photo may give you an idea. If you just read the same thing last week I’m sorry.
My neighbor, same one you’ve heard about before, is so excited about how I’m doing my house that he has offered me antique V grooved paneling to wrap the shaft for the skylight. He also offered to mill it into square moulding to go around the opening if I want to stain the paneling so that the grain will all match. This is how skylights were done back when my house was built. If I did it, it would look like this, except the ceiling would be plain drywall and I think I’d be more likely to paint it. We’ll see though.
Now, it may sound like I’m obsessively recreating an old fashioned style house, but I would actually like to break with this for the decor. I love the way older homes look with modern furnishings. But then, most of the furnishings I’ll be using are are traditional and from my grandparents or earlier. But in the spirit of having aggressively modern stuff, too, I bought this flashy chrome chandelier.
Then in the kitchen, I’ve kind of been won over by Semihandmade, a company that builds custom doors for IKEA cabinet boxes. The doors would be flat and veneered in walnut, with the grain matched from door to door throughout the kitchen, like this:
I would be using these with the original pine flooring, Craftsman casing and leaving the rough hand sawn beams exposed on the ceiling.
And then in the bathroom I couldn’t decide what I wanted but found really nice handmade tile on craigslist and got it. The blue 3×3’s go on the wall, and the penny tile on the floor.
So that’s what I have so far. I’m hoping that this mishmash of different styles makes sense because overall I’m trying to make things like doors and doorknobs and trim that are really part of the house look authentic while I do what I want with light fixtures, cabinetry, and furniture. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you really think. If I don’t like what you say I’ll ignore you. I only have so much time to keep changing my mind.