Christopher’s Room Done*

Done! Or at least until this summer when I finish off the other window but I’m not thinking about that right now. What began in September and was originally going to just be a bit of paint and lipstick on my oldest son Christopher’s room turned into the classic rehaber project. But I must say, as with every room rehab we’ve done so far (Aiden’s bedroom, living room), this is my favorite room so far. It involved layers and layers of paint over layers and layers of wallpaper all on top of calcimine paint on top of plaster. There was paint on doors, on windows, on trim. Lots of stripping, sanding, staining. Cursing. New lighting (over old gas pipes). Some new hardware, some old hardware cleaned up. And for the most part, I actually enjoyed working on it. Christopher made for a good supervisor and the occasional assistant and is a great tenant (although his rent check is a bit late).

Take a look:

Isn’t this the point? My son Christopher playing and enjoying his recently completed room.

The two beautiful doors, picture molding, and new fixture courtesy of Rejuvenation.

Picture moulding finally reinstalled.

Christopher lounging on his bed. We’ll decorate soon but he does love his map.

The original 1910 wall color (green) and the first layer of wallpaper that I uncovered during the removal of layers of paint and wallpaper. The wallpaper has a bunch of names written on it and I thought I would preserved the whole find just for fun.

And a reminder of what it was when we bought the house:

The day we bought the house.

I’d like to say that I plan on taking a bit of a break but I’m pretty sure I’ll start another project. Potential projects include the dining room, entryway, upstairs hallway, or the sunporch/office. If you would like to see all the pictures documenting the rehab process of Christopher’s room, the gallery can be found here.

Stripping Picture Molding

Stripping picture molding takes forever, at least when I do it. But alas, the heat gun and chemicals have been put away, the trim has been sanded and the first pass of stain has been applied.  Can’t wait to get the molding up in the room as it will truly help finish off Christopher’s room.

First coat of stain

The room picture gallery can be found here.

1 (of 2) Windows Completed

As with nearly all projects, the devil is in the details. So while the window is just a window, there are a ton of different trim pieces to strip, sand, prep, stain, finish and assemble. Along the way I re-weighted the windows and replaced the sash cords. There is some touch up painting needed and, as I’m sure you can see from the picture, I still need to strip and stain the picture molding (along with the other window in the room). But for now, I’m celebrating.

Before work began

Window (#1) Completed

101 year old, fully functioning window. And it's proud restorer.

Not shown in these pictures is the new light fixture courtesy of Rejuvenation. More to come…

The Marathon

Room is painted. Shoe molding is installed. Lighting courtesy of Rejuvenation is installed (over old gas piping as usual). Doors are stripped, sanded, stained, finished and hung. Picture molding needs to be stripped along with the windows but the room is once again livable. And while the room renovation feels like a marathon to me, I know that it pales in comparison to the actual marathon my wonderful bride will be running in tomorrow morning! Good luck to all the runners and go get ’em babe!

Room is painted

A little bit of decorating

Sanding down the doors and prepping for stain

Christopher is pretty proud of his door

The doors. Installed.

Complete room pics are here.


Kerri running the Portland Marathon. She did a great job and I'm so proud of her!

The Accidental Epic Project

Our oldest son Christopher will be turning 4 here in a couple of days and I thought it best that he finally get a room with a little character. Just like nearly every other room in our house, his room was covered with painted wallpaper. I am of the opinion that painted wallpaper is just about the most egregious sin one can impart on a house (besides painting original woodwork and installing a drop ceiling in the kitchen). Painted wallpaper is bad house karma.

But I am also a realistic man. And having removed painted-over-wallpaper before in my son Aiden’s room, I knew what I would be up against and (forgive me Lord) decided I would paint over the wallpaper. After all, Christopher wouldn’t know and I would eventually get around to doing it right in a few years.

So with the plan in hand, I set about removing the picture molding as I decided I would at least strip it and stain it…and my plan veered off course. As I removed the molding, I accidentally began to pull layers of paint and layers of wallpaper off with it. And hence began the epic room project under a short deadline that I had not planned on.

The beginning

Wallpaper removal has begun

Two walls down to plaster and calcimine paint

Walls primed with shellac

First coat of paint on the walls

Found these names written on the original wallpaper underneath layers of paint. Would love to know the story that goes with this.

I still have quite a way to go but we are making progress. It is my intention to strip the two doors, picture molding, as well as window trim and then stain them all.  But before we get around to that, we first need to get the base molding painted and walls buttoned up. After all, his birthday is Friday. This might be a belated present…

Complete pics here.

Stairway, Windows, Distraction

Work on the house has slowed a bit around these parts but every now and then enough motivation creeps in to open up a can of paint and work some magic. And while painting stairs isn’t as sexy as stripping trim or repairing plaster (wow – what a life we lead), it is quite necessary.

So with that in mind, we dove in. When we bought the house, the stairs were actually carpeted.  We refinished the floors and treads but the risers are another story. A combination of dirty white and faded pink coated everything while there were enough carpet tack holes to…well…hold down a lot of carpet.

Some good cleaning, filling, priming and painting and we have a much improved staircase. Unfortunately, the spruced up stairs only emphasize the sad state of the walls.  A look at the process:

Stairs and carpet removal


Holes and pink. Awesome.


Painting stairs.

Finished stairs.

This past Saturday brought a nice field trip over to Han-Mei and Joe’s house (of Swanky & Chiang blog fame) to inspect some sweet Marvin Tilt-Pac windows. I also got a great tour of their house which has motivated me to consider being more ambitious. They are midway through a great restoration and it made me want to go home and install a master bathroom among other things. A man can dream I guess.

A common question around our house is “what’s next?” This mistakingly conveys that we are actually done with the previous project (or two) which we are not, but it is fun to get ahead of ourselves. So once the living room is buttoned up, where shall we focus our attention?

  1. The entryway? It does after all have a sweet new light fixture and painted stair risers.
  2. Dining room? The windows have already been replaced and it is easily seen from the almost finished living room. It does however have boxed-beam ceilings (painted no less) that will conspire to take a year off my life.
  3. Our oldest son’s bedroom? This would pretty much be a repeat of the work we did in Aiden’s bedroom. He would love some painted walls but I have trouble painting walls that have wallpaper on them. Oh the moral dilema.

In an effort to buy ourselves some time, we did make some furniture adjustments to his room over the weekend. Gone is the dresser that was so large it had it’s own gravitational pull. We replaced it with a more appropriately sized dresser that fits in his closet. A shuffling of existing furniture and it feels brand new to him. Pictures of the transition are posted below, while the final will be coming soon:

Assembling some Swedish furniture.

You can see the monstrosity on the right. That is now gone and the closet is now useful.