Tag Archives: refinishing floors

What I know or thought I did but still don’t

 bowbanister

I’m wrapping up the worst of the house, meaning almost all of the walls and ceilings are repaired and painted, and floors refinished painstakingly by hand.

I am an experienced fixer-upper, but I still don’t understand the darkest secrets in the universe of home improvement.

Such as:

I never could predict just how much hard wax oil I needed to use per floor, and ended up paying in shipping small cans what would have cost for the large can.

The smallest room used the most paint.

grey walls

Despite its trendiness, I like yellow and grey.  And that yellow door is the living room color – the living room is the largest room, yet took the least amount of paint…

And we still haven’t figured out which room is for what – this room will probably be N’s office, though it may be my “studio” but it is a really tight space – the other wall is pretty much the right margin of the pic – but it has the best natural light.

We did end up covering the knotty pine paneling in one of the rooms, and the room is much better for it, though it will stay in the living room for now.

green walls

And though I’ve previously held an unyielding “choose paint colors for the middle of an ungodly dreary winter” stance (meaning only warm tones on all walls) I went outside of my comfort zone and painted cooler hues in these last few rooms and I really like them.  The color of the smallest room, above with the yellow door, even has the terribly depressing name of “November rain.”  But I would prefer rain in November to some icy slop.

Every time I sand wall patches or floors, despite how well I meticulously seal up the room, I’m blown away about how much dust still escapes and ends up in rooms on the opposite side of the house.

Dusty wheel

 And I hate the fact that I now have to do a thorough furniture-moving, rug-lifting deep clean because I just did that, and everything is fresh and new but now looks like dusty hell.

What is left?

A full-bathroom re-do (more thoughts on that soon) that will either be a placeholder just-work-with-what-we-have-and-slap-several-coats-of-paint-on-everything for now, or a reexamination of the budget to see if we can contract some of the work out – it’s not a major job, but the floor is the worst part of that room and it’s a major pain in the ass.

Improving the “finished” basement that really isn’t.  It needs a floor and a new/improved ceiling* and is ripe with the shit version of paneling which we will likely paint, but again, the budget and our energy levels will play a huge role in its outcome.

It’s got some snazzy vintage fixtures though.

basement light

(And  sadly, I don’t think those are our fingerprints and dust – we haven’t touched the things…)

Improving the yard – we need a bigger garden with better deer fencing and possibly pooch fencing, and some attempts at landscaping.

And then 89, 783, 2311+ weekend projects – tiling the kitchen backsplash, painting closet doors, stripping room doors, installing some thresholds, touching up paint, touching up paint, oh, and touching up paint, building shelving, insulating random little places, hemming more curtains, etc., etc., etc…

etc., etc., etc….

curtains

(And maybe I should add ironing curtains to the list too…)

*Anyone have ideas for improving a drop ceiling on the cheap?  It’s got those large rectangular panels, so I can’t just replace them with something interesting like record sleeves… cover with fabric or textured paper?  Paint?  The current panels are stained Styrofoam and I don’t know what stained them or continues to stain them, I want to get rid of them but hate to toss them in a landfill, and the new ones are only marginally better and more than I want to spend…

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Gettin’ wiggy…

I’m embarrassed to admit I hired a carpenter.

I really like to work with wood, I know how to use a variety of tools, and in theory, I know how to measure and cut accurately.

But I hate measuring and cutting accurately.

I hate doing anything absolutely accurately – especially in sewing and knitting – though some have accused me of being a perfectionist in other aspects of my life.  I suppose it’s true in my paid work involving information and searchability because some things really don’t have wiggle room, but in my visual life, I like the wiggle.

Unless it actually wiggles.

(And I’m not talking about jolly worms, or custard desserts, or the delicious Wigle whiskey which doesn’t actually wiggle unless you too heavily imbibe).

So when it became apparent we couldn’t live much longer with the missing balusters and five broken steps in our staircase and their various murderous wiggles and cracks that pitched us forwards and back when we least suspected it, I knew we needed professional help since I’d either waste too many lovely red oak treads trying to get them right, or they just never would be right enough.

But it’s odd to have someone working in the house with familiar sounding tools – I keep thinking N might be home and tinkering.  But then the carpenter uses something particularly loud and wicked-sounding – like something from the opening song to American Horror Story – and once again, I feel the stairs are attempting to murder me – or rather, the stairs convinced the seemingly slightly unhinged carpenter to do their bidding.

But if I did in fact live to tell the tale, our staircase is now smooth-stepping.

stairs-full

Now I just have to oil the new steps, and sand and oil the old (along with the nasty floor below them).

stairs-detail

(It also didn’t help that the carpenter told me he keeps some old oak balusters by his bed for protection…  I’m kicking myself for not coming up with a witty retort in time along the lines of: “um, most people use condoms.”  And I didn’t ask if he’d be adding some of ours with their rusty nail spikes to his collection.)

Thankfully N is an ace at measuring and cutting various trims and moldings, so we should be on our own merry way from here on out.

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