Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review

I'm not big on to-do lists.  I can make 'em, but then something goes horribly astray, usually due to my house-related short attention span, and half the stuff on the list never gets finished.  So this past year I didn't make a to-do list.  Not even in my head.  Believe me, my little peabrain is so crammed with bits of information like which Taco Bell drive-thrus are open really late, the lyrics to "Ice Ice Baby", Martha Stewart's Bloody Mary recipe, and my third-grade teacher's name that I don't have any room for silliness like a list of projects I need to finish. 

Nevertheless, some stuff got accomplished this year.  (Click on the bolded words and you can see the original post about that project.  Blogger is cool like that.)

The interior doors got put back together.  This was necessary because some imbecile thought it would look cute to make cafe-style doors out of the original 1887 doors by sawing them in half lengthwise.  All seven of them.  (And no, I still haven't finished painting those doors.)

I bought a new ladder.  After I, um, fell off the other one onto my hiney and ended up in the emergency room.

The rest of the shingles disappeared.  After announcing that I was going to take the summer off from house projects, I discovered that I couldn't sit on the patio without feeling guilty about how ugly the back of the house looked.

The ugly fence disappeared, too.  Thanks mostly to White Trash Bob, the old fence was demolished.

And a new fence appeared.  While I was sleeping, like magic, a new fence went up.  Saint WTB works his miracles again.

I scored an awesome Hoosier.  A cabinet, not a guy from Indiana...

The dining room got papered.  Almost four years of ugly paper and disarray finally came to an end.

The foyer got de-papered.  I may or may not have told my mom the truth about why I wanted to borrow her steamer, but it made short work of the painted-over paper in the entryway.

"Stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention...."  Miss Singleton would be so proud.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Little Breaker

The little foyer has a couple more strips of paper...
...and a new light.

But what I really want to tell you about is this:  I might've found something even scarier than the basement--the wiring in this house.  The breaker switches are all neatly labeled and the breaker box is only 4 years old. (Long story short, when I moved in and installed my washer and dryer there was no main electrical shutoff to the house and the utility company refused to turn on the power to the house until I had a new breaker box and main shutoff installed.)  The wiring, however, dates from the 1960s or so.  I don't have any knob and tube, but the guy who put in the new breaker box said it would be a good idea to update my wiring.  Note that he said this four years ago...  Anyhow, each room is on its own circuit, and the outlets in each room are on a separate circuit.  Or so I thought.  But when I went down there Monday night to flip the breaker for the foyer, I didn't see a one labeled "foyer".  Uh-oh.  After several trips up and down the basement steps and switching three or four other breakers (including one not labeled which evidently doesn't control anything) I finally flipped the one labeled "dining room".  When I came upstairs, half the house was dark.  Uh-oh.  Turns out that one little breaker controls the dining room ceiling fixture, the front parlor ceiling fixture, the front parlor outlets, the second parlor ceiling fixture, the foyer light, the foyer outlet, the front porch light and the front porch outlet.  Yikes.   Does that seem like an awful lot of stuff on one little breaker?? 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Mayhem

Merry Christmas y'all. Hope Mayhem doesn't come to visit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Busy Little Foyer

Today was Foyer Day.  The baseboards got a new coat of paint.  (Actually, three coats, to cover up all the nicks and dings.  The foyer's had a hard life.)  The trim around the front door and around the door going into the front parlor got painted, too.  A broken piece of wood frame around a transom window got repaired and painted.  

And then...and then...

And then I hung up one strip of wallpaper.   Yes, I know, the pattern's a bit busy.  But there really isn't much wall space in here (a 6'x8' room with three doors and a window) and it's not a room where folks are going to hang out for long, so I think  it works.  Besides, the wallpaper's a nod to the original, which as far as I can tell from the ghost-marks on the plaster was a very small trellis pattern with bunches of flowers or something here and there.  I thought Mrs. Kelly might like it.  I'm all about making her happy so she doesn't start her knocking on the doors again.  

Bare Little Foyer

This heap of wallpaper on the floor...
(and here you can see how truly bad the floor looks)
and the steamer up on the ladder...
Can only mean one thing...

Yep.  The foyer walls are finally bare.

And it occurred to me as I snapped these photos that the last time the walls were plain plaster like this must have been shortly after the house was built in the fall of 1887.  I hope Mrs. Kelly's ghost approves of the new wallpaper. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poor Little Foyer

Poor little foyer.  It's such a small room, just 6 feet wide and 8 feet long, the smallest room in the house.  Poor homely little foyer, with nothing in it at all.  Poor neglected little foyer, still waiting three years later for someone to come along and steam off the rest of the painted-over wallpaper.  Buck up, little foyer. It's high time for a makeover.  The foyer was designed to be a welcoming little room--walk in the front door and you're facing the door to the second parlor; to the right is a tall window that lets in lots of light; to the left is the door to the front parlor.  Those doors would have been closed in cold weather like this to keep drafts out of the rest of the house.  Originally there was wallpaper in the little foyer, wallpaper that had a trellis pattern on it judging from the ghosts of the design left on the plaster.  That wallpaper's long gone, replaced with the pinky-tan wallpaper with brown roses that's probably from the 1940s or so.  That wallpaper wouldn't be so bad, but someone painted over it with a sickly pale blue that didn't even cover the roses.  So that has to go.  Unlike the two parlors, there was no picture rail in here, maybe because with three doors and a window there's not much wall space.  It looks like the original wallpaper was all one design, baseboard to ceiling, because there's no evidence of another wallpaper or of a chair rail that might have divided the walls into the tripartite style that was popular about the time the Kellys built this house.  So wallpaper it will have again.  A pretty wallpaper, with flowers and butterflies and birds.  Pretty, but not too precious.  A little busy, maybe, but that's fine for a room everyone's just passing through. 

Before I can hang that pretty new wallpaper, though, I have to get the rest of the old yucky wallpaper off the walls.  I spent a couple of hours in there Monday with a steamer and got as high as the steamer would reach.  Tuesday I'll put the steamer on an old chair to get up another couple of feet.  Any higher will have to wait for the ladder shelf to get here from the folks at Little Giant.  In the meantime, I can paint baseboard and trim.  Poor little has a lot of trim.