It must be true love. We are still married. Some days I’m not so sure why though. After the Great Bathroom Remodel was finally finished, just two days short of nine months, I waited for a couple of weeks to spring the next remodel project on Mitch. You know, give him time to recover. The latest project we’re (Mitch) starting is the dining room. What can you possibly remodel in a dining room? Well in most homes, not too much, change the paint color or wallpaper, maybe new carpeting, but in our house it’s a major undertaking. Our house is one of those homes that was added on to multiple times, with or without any regard to the local building codes, depending on the decade the addition took place in. The original structure, the kitchen and front room, now our dining room was built in 1928. No building codes then. Two bedrooms were added on in 1932 or 1934, still no building codes. The final addition, the living room, master bedroom and bath were added in 1985. This time built to code. I think.
Back in the early twentieth century one of the more popular indoor wall types for cottages was knotty pine planks. Our house was originally built as a weekend fishing cottage, very rustic. Hard wood floors, knotty pine planks for the walls and ceilings. All stained dark brown. You get the picture, a big brown cave with rooms. When the final addition was built in 1985, sheetrock was used for the walls and ceiling, and for the floor, the ugliest gold carpet, yuck, and now gone, yay!
When we started the Great Bathroom Remodel, one of the first things that had to be done was to widen the front door, in order to get the new bathtub in the house. That meant removing some of the knotty pine planks for the wider door. When Mitch began finishing the front door project and replacing the outdoor light fixture, I started thinking about just removing all of the knotty pine and sheet rocking the walls. We could cover the wood ceiling with sheetrock. This would lighten up the room and make it look much larger. As I’ve said before, I’m the idea person, Mitch is the implementer.
I sort of tossed out my idea at a weak moment for Mitch, after a steak dinner and three glasses of wine. I am also an opportunistic woman, I carefully plan my moments of surprise. In his weakened state of mind, I laid out my ideas, glossed over the rough spots and finished on a high note.
“It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks, don’t you think? Nothing like the bathroom.” I was determined to put a positive spin on it. Of course nothing done in this house takes a couple of weeks.
“God I hope not.” Then he even got in the spirit of the remodel and offered a suggestion. “We could even put down the bamboo flooring that we did in the living room and bedroom.” Yes, wine and steak, works every time.
Four weeks ago Mitch started the demolish of the dining room. As always, he is very methodical, careful to salvage as much of the lumber he takes down, in case he has to reuse it again. Me, I’m more of a bulldozer when it comes to demo work. Isn’t that the point – demolish? He was able to salvage a major part of the planks he removed, which will be used to patch a hole in one of the spare bedrooms and build a closet in the other. We discovered there was no insulation on the exterior wall, no wonder that room is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The very dated (ugly – definitely ’80’s) ceiling fan went away, which means I get to go SHOPPING!
I spent hours in the paint department and grabbed armfuls of paint chips in all colors and hues. The clerk kept asking if I needed any help. I told him no I just wanted a variety of colors to compare. He thought I was nuts and carefully backed away. I found a ceiling fan and wall sconces that we could both agree on. That’s always a challenge. Our tastes and styles are complete opposites.
Demolition took about a week and a half. Mitch only took down the knotty pine planks and left the wood ceiling unmolested, leaving it as a base for the sheetrock to be screwed into. Hanging the sheetrock on the ceiling was a challenge. The ceiling is vaulted with a four foot wide flat space in the middle of the ceiling where Mitch built a rafter for air conditioning duct work six years ago. So he had to hang sheetrock at an angle up to the area for the rafter on both sides. Of course this would have been easier if the room was level, but nothing and I mean nothing in this house is square or plumb. After he finally got the ceiling hung, he found out the floor has a slight bow in it when he tried to hang the first piece on the wall. I thought a Mitch Fit Warning was going to go out over the National Weather Service. It wasn’t pretty. Time to take the dogs for a walk.
He finished hanging all the sheetrock on Thursday except for the four inch high area above the front door. That was proving to be a challenge. The ceiling comes down to just above the door leaving little space to hang the door trim above the door. For five days he has experimented with different ways to brace up the offending section and for five days Mitch has been just a bit testy. He finally came up with an idea to brace up the sheetrock but the trim for the door will have to be different from the rest of the trim in the room. I don’t think it will be that big of a deal and it solves the problem so no more Mitch Fit Warning. (At least for now).
For the mudding and sanding I hired a neighbor that does it for a living to come in and do the finish work. For all of his talents, mudding and sanding is not Mitch’s forte. The mudding and sanding process has taken about a week and a half and should be finished this week.
That leaves me painting the ceiling and walls. Mitch will install the new pretty ceiling fan and wall sconces. After that Mitch can then start installing the bamboo floor, and because the room is not square that will definitely bring on at least one Mitch Fit Warning maybe more.