Archive for April, 2011


Home Renovations on my mind….

For the past several weeks, I’ve had home renovations on my mind. It’s been a very intense time with my PhD course work, the National Art Education Association National Convention (NAEA) , and the pressure/stress of renovating a 100 year old house in tandem. However, the spring semester is almost finished and I’m reaching the end of the tunnel with the overwhelming reality of do-it-yourself renovations. The refinished floors are beautiful and the baseboards, windowsills, and door frames have been restored. Having done the project 100% on my own it means a lot to me.

The refinished floors. When staining I did not wipe off the stain from the doors, baseboards, or windowsills, which appear darker and provide a nice contrast to the rich English Chestnut color by Minwax.

Next up is tiling the kitchen floors and I’ve purchased the Abriola Beige floor tile from Surface Source at Lowe’s which should be laid in the next week or so.

The painted over kitchen wallpaper has also been removed using the Wagner Power Steamer and Cleaner. A great small appliance that is very useful and convenient to have around the house.

Two layers of wallpaper came off very easily and there was no need to use any harsh chemicals which was nice.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about paint stripping and I’m finally going to finish stripping the kitchen baseboards, back door, door frames, and windowsills this weekend. Stripping paint is the worst job. You have to strip with harsh chemicals and sand at least five times to get all the paint off.

Paint stripping in progress……

The stripped door frame and baseboards with a new Jeld-Wen door. The kitchen is beginning to look better.

Stripping paint is incredibly labor intensive but also very transformative and cost effective. My 100 year old baseboards are restored.

We’ve also purchased a new LG washing machine and top up/bottom down cellular shades from but will have to wait until the walls have been painted before installation.

Before painting the walls and tiling the floors, the kitchen cabinets have to be stripped, stained, and re-varnished.

New hardware is being put on the cupboard doors and the old ugly copper hinges are being replaced with more modern hidden ones. At the moment our contractor Richard Rhoads is installing the new hinges and the doors have been removed.

Painting the walls is the one job I can’t wait to do but it is last on the list as the kitchen flooring/ceiling have priority. Here are the boxes of floor tile on the back deck.

After tiling the kitchen floors, the ceiling will be drywalled with an electrician installing a new light switch and fixture.

It kills me that for over 100 years! 100 years! All past owners of this duplex have been too cheap to bring in an electrician and have the kitchen light fixed. It’s currently used with a chain and a shoe lace instead of a switch. Who lives like that? This is what happens when you take on a fix-er-upper close to campustown.

However, at the end of the day renovations are a labor of love and an opportunity to actualize your own vision of modern living. It takes a certain type of person to take on DIY renovations and I’ll miss this process once it’s finished which thankfully should be soon.


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