Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Calling the job tedious is an understatement. White spirits, wait 15 minutes, scrape, white spirits, wait 10 minutes, scrub, mop, wipe. It has to be done in small sections so the white spirits don’t penetrate and stain the wood. From removing the carpet adhesive to finally re-waxing the floors will probably take three to four weeks. It’s an annoying process but I do feel some relief seeing parts of the blue carpet being carried away.
At the moment I’m leaning towards putting the Bacchus & Ariadne painting (17th century, follower of Titian) in the dining room. It was going to go at the top of the stairs, but it’s such a dramatic piece, it’ll probably be better used in the dining room. It was the essence of our more formal living room in Spain, you can’t tell so much in the picture but it’s very dominating, 220cm by 185cm. And when anyone walked into the room they went straight to it.
You have a proper sense of style.
You’re doing the floor scraping yourself? OUch… The parts you’ve done really do look lovely though. Good luck!
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Everything we know how to do well we do ourselves. That’s more or less how we’ve capitalized on property in the past 🙂 Instead of paying someone a couple of thousand to do the floors, that money gets added to the budget for the room…
Makes sense but very time and energy consuming. I’m impressed. 🙂
This house is ‘it’, the forever home. This restoration is my big(gest) life project. I want to make sure every little thing is perfect.
In the last house every time I was a bit lazy and laissez-faire I ended up regretting it.
What I love about wood floors (and most natural products) is how they affect light. And it’s my experience (having redone wood floors in five houses) that if the floor is in good shape around the fireplace, it’s usually in good shape everywhere else. I can’t wait to see what’s under the rest of that blue carpet and that it contains no unpleasant surprises.
They put carpet down in the dining room when the late Mr. Stanton became ill and couldn’t get upstairs anymore; so they made it into a bedroom. They’d also put glass doors in the hallway so they could only heat the downstairs and forget the 10 bedrooms upstairs.
When we moved in their former maid came to visit and he gave us a blow-by-blow of the house’s history and what was where and why 🙂
Oh, fantastic to have someone who could tell you about the recent history. That’s very helpful.
In my last house (a mere 100 years old), I went to the city archives and hit the jackpot: pictures of the original, letters between builders and owners, compilation of similar homes and the architectural plans for them. From this, I was able to gather what had been changed and why, which allowed me to then renovate away the changes that clashed with the style of home and bring back the original state. The floorboards were tongue and groove 12 foot strips of old growth fir, for example, without a knot… aligned to capture the morning sun and make the room glow with a very gentle warmth. The colour of the parquet reminds me of the same yellow timbre more than the orange or darker brown sometimes found. And I think that has much better potential for affecting the natural light and absorbing rather than reflecting chandelier light – perfectly suitable for a more intimate feeling when dining (even in very large rooms) but not so appropriate for dancing or other heavy traffic use.
You have your work cut out for you. Stripping such floors is very tedious but can be rewarding work… a reminder of your stamp on the house every time you look at the room. And as any good craftsperson and cosmetician knows, the foundation is key to everything that is then built upon it. What could be more important than the floor?
There is just nothing like aged hardwood flooring if you can restore it. A labour of love.
Aren’t renovations fun, fun, fun. :p
They transform a room. I just keep telling myself it’ll be worth it in the end! 😀
Hell yeah, pull up the carpet and show me the gorgeous wood floors. I don’t care how many weeks it takes, when it’s done, you will have my dream house.
I should’ve thought some nice linoleum would be easier? And anyway, far better for you to practice your break dancing on.
So glad to hear the “why” behind that dreadful carpet. As a bedroom, it makes sense. Bacchus would certainly liven up the blah walls.
It completely broke the flow of the reception rooms. It would’ve worked better if they’d put a bedroom in the office- or maybe an elevator where the service stairs are. If I have to drag myself up those stairs for the last years of my life I WILL- but the downstairs is only reception rooms while I can still breathe 🙂
You’re right, it’ll be worth it in the end. You’ll have a huge glow of satisfaction at having done the job, for which I applaud you, knowing that the effect created is solely down to your efforts. You will make it magnificent.
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That is hard work but you seem to be managing well.
If you do it yourself you know it will be done with care…hiring someone costs a bomb which can be better spent elsewhere, apart from anything else.
Looking at the photo, the area shown in the photo to the left of the fireplace will need more work. As in Everything having the right tools matters.
Google: Tool, curved scraper
I bet as you renovate that curved scraping tools will be a benefit.
I have used curved scraping tools and I think the edge of the curved blade will get into those grooves between the boards next to the fireplace.
Take a look at this catalog. Having the right tools makes every job easier
Click to access Catalog%5C2013WMCCatalog.pdf
Just for giggles I think I might try using a heat gun to warm up some of that glue, warm it up before I applied the white spirits. Might not work, but I think I would give it a try. I prefer the heat guns where you can set an exact temperature rather than just high and low. The price difference isn’t that much.
Do you do your own painting as well?
Look up: Floetrol
Those old walls are going to suck up paint and it makes it difficult to paint and not have lap lines. Floetrol will help this when using latex (not oil) based paint.
Finally here is my biggest painting tip: Cleaning paint brushes.
For both oil based pain and latex paint freeze and varnish and stain, put your paintbrushes & paint rollers in the freezer, with the paint still on them. You have a project that is a several days project using different varnishes and paints. Once finished with a portion of one color wrap the paintbrush or paint roller in plastic wrap and freeze it. Take it out even months later, put it in the sun to warm up and once warmed up you are good to go. I have like 6/8 different paint brushes/rollers in my freezer right now. If you think you are going to use that color/product again, don’t clean the paint brushes/rollers freeze them instead.
For latex paint the easiest way to clean your paint brushes is to soak them in water that has liquid laundry fabric softer added. The fabric softener actually makes water “wetter” and the paint falls off the brush. Use say a cup of laundry liquid fabric softener with 2 liters of water, you do not have to be exact.
Kudos to you, that floor is going to be a real project.