Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Penelope the towel wench

Our third floor bath seems to have taken a decidedly nautical theme.  Meet Penelope.  She holds towels.

I'm not entirely sure if she's a Victorian original, but she's solid brass, weighs a ton and came out of an old house (Van Dykes Restorers has the reproduction of her here).  She's somewhat grotesque to be perfectly honest, and reminds me of a ship's figurehead - which is obviously fitting given our predilection for pirates.  Paired with an antique double wall-hung livery sink (with original brass fuller taps), navy paint, and a brass and nickel mirror with medicine cabinet (perhaps from a barbershop?) and we have the beginnings of a theme. 

I think this shower curtain will help...

From Urban Outfitters

Now here's to hoping we can find this stuff when we actually start working on this bathroom years from now, because right now, this is the space in question...

Monday, February 10, 2014

what's black and blue and sooty all over?

That'd be me folks.

Now I know house restoration is rumored to be quite the glamorous pastime, but let me tell you, I don't have enough makeup in this house to cover-up the bruises.  These aren't accidentally hitting myself with a hammer bruises, these are deliberately crawling into places I don't fit bruises.  While the goal of closing up the third floor suggests that the holes will get smaller, the fact is most needed to get a lot bigger first.

Our third floor is quite spacious, with two large bedrooms, two smaller bedrooms and a nice sized bath, hallway and linen cabinet.  Although all the rooms have 9 foot ceilings, they are still tucked in under the eaves which gives them charming sloped ceilings.  Under these slopes however, the darkness lurks.  Rot, squirrel, mouse and raccoon nests (and droppings naturally), destructive stop gap repairs, moldy insulation, and a century of soot and cobwebs and silver cream pitchers.

Let this be a lesson to you that when you're sitting on the floor scraping wallpaper with construction cat in your lap and the inexplicable urge to stick your hand in a hole and take a picture overwhelms you, listen, for it is the will of the House Gods.  This little creamer must have been in a box in the attic that was knocked over, and it rolled down the sloped ceiling into the knee wall next to the chimney.  The most amusing part of the find was the mouse nest that was inside of it, complete with evidence that said mouse had a bit of a nibble of his new abode. Actually, that's a lie.  The most hilarious part is that while I made the hole big enough to get in, it wasn't quite big enough to get back out again.  Naturally the trained monkey was several states away at the time, and I nearly resorted to sending an SOS to a friend across the street who has our key (I had, in a stroke of lazy brilliance brought my phone in with me since I was too euphoric to go looking for a flashlight)!  Some momentary panic, and some forceful rearranging of ribs, and I managed to extricate myself.  Sadly, it's not the first time, nor will it be the last.

the hole in question
Lucifer Sam - the construction cat

Other than that it's been a week of cleaning and clearing.  We've already thrown away about 20 bags of scraped wallpaper, old insulation, rotted wood and plaster etc...

see those plywood shelves in the dormer?

they didn't put up much of a fight...

The worst though has been pulling out the nests - 3 contractor bags full - the smell and dust and reaching blind into deep dark places had been some of the worst work I've done in recent memory.  Also, I've yet to find a single stick of wood up here that hasn't been clawed or chewed into pleasing (and no longer structural) curves.

Almost clean!
We've insulated and spray foamed the larger gaps, reinforced the rot and squirrel damage, and done some electrical work.  Assuming we can get the blueboard up the stairs we should begin the process of putting things back together soonishly...