Staining New Fir

Making a bit of progress in the dining room. I have all the panels cut, assembled, sanded, and have began the finish work. The details around the windows and the bump out will be a bit of a challenge which I will be tackling this weekend.

Here is a glimpse at where we currently stand…

Two coats of stain have been applied, but pre finish. Quite a bit of trim is missing from this photo, but it’s still progress.

Full gallery is here.

13 months later…

Progress in the dining room – I kid you not! Ironically enough, it was not the guilt, mess, or embarrassment that kicked this room reno into motion (okay, maybe a little bit). It was installing our beautiful Nest thermostat on the ugly wall and knowing we could do better.

With motivation in hand, I started at the top by cleaning and painting the box beams. As much as I would love to strip them and stain them – that is a project that I will hire out at a later date. Painting them (and painting them well) was enough of a project in and of itself. With the ceiling taken care of, it was time to finish up the walls.

As you may recall, I removed wallpaper, repaired some cracks, and then fiberglassed and skim coated the whole room. Well, let’s just say that sanding that down to perfection (and the prep and the clean up) is a messy job.

I’m obviously stoked about sealing off the room and the impending mess I’m about to make.

This photo does not do me justice. I was COVERED in dust! Maybe I’ll just wallpaper every room from here on out.

Walls sanded and primed.

All of the original remaining trim has been stripped, sanded, and stained while I added back header caps and stops to all the windows and doors.

Door and window trim ready to be installed.

Staining in progress.

The walls have been primed but the final wall color is still undecided…any ideas? We’re leaning towards either a green or chocolatey beige or cream or I don’t know. Remember, the bottom half (or 60%) of the walls will be covered in stained wood paneling topped by a plate rail.

Half of our color options. Creamy earth tones not shown here. Ugh.

We’re getting close! Complete room photo gallery is here.

Stained Glass Window

How often do we begin and finish a project in a single day? Almost never around these parts but today was an anomaly: I was able to strip and stain an old stained glass window and get it hung. It fit just right.

Stained glass window.

Living Room Windows!

14 months after putting in new windows in the living room, I finally got the last of them stained this weekend! A before and after:



Notice that I slightly tweaked the window configuration to break up the lines a bit. All in all I’d say that’s a pretty good transformation. Full living room photo gallery is here.

Wall Prep, Inspiration, and More Paint Stripping

What did I get myself into?!? With wallpaper and trim removed, I decided it would be best to do this right…unfortunately. Instead of renovating the dining room back to its’ original glory in multiple phases, I’ve decided to do it in one long, drawn out phase. Skim coat the walls, wood paneling/wainscoting, plate rail: here we come.

With that in mind, I fiberglassed the part of the wall that will be visible above the paneling and have begun skimming it. Being that my day job is not skim coating walls, this is not the quickest of steps (nor the cleanest) but I will prevail.

Just fiberglassed the walls and first skim coat. And unsure if I want to be in a picture depicting my skim skills.

In between coats, I have begun to strip the existing trim. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to reuse most of the wood, although a fair number of pieces are not original and may not jive with the next iteration of the room. Plus, I’ll be buying a ton of new fir, but we’ll salvage what we can.

Stripping the old dining room trim.

In an effort to figure out what the original trim detail looked like, I’ve been visiting a few of my neighbors. A kind couple two doors down from me allowed me to scour their living room with notepad and camera in hand and I can guarantee you that my house was built by the exact same builder.  Some pictures of what we used to have…

Side profile of neighbor's paneling.

Neighbor's panel molding detail.

Neighbor's corner transition.

The neighbor's built-in and probably very similar to what we used to have.

After much deliberation, I believe I am beginning to settle on a layout and method to my version of the paneling. It will be a bit of a blend between what used to be in the room and what I have found in doing some research. The bloggers over at ‘Is It A House‘ have done some great woodworking and I’ll be borrowing heavily from their techniques. The combination of pocket screws and routing out the back for the panels is clutch. They also did a great job of finishing it as well…one day…one day.

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!

Slowly But Surely, And Don’t Call Me Shirley

Progress around Portland FourSquare has slowed to a snail’s pace as of lately but I thought I would update with a few pics to let you know that not all hope is lost.

The living room isn’t quite done but we did make a monumental step in the right direction.  With the weather above 60 degrees on Saturday (finally), I got to stain one of the new windows we had installed.  With sashes removed, I was able to tape off all the hardware and glass.

Sash removed and ready for staining

First living room window that has been stained

It’s been awhile, but this room looked nothing like this before we started.  As a quick reminder, this is what we were dealing with:

Deconstruction begins

Applying first coat of mud after having repaired plaster

Walls painted and pre-trim installation

I’ve got 4 more windows to stain in this room which are all dependent on getting good weather for.  Once those are done, this room will be almost finished.  Can’t wait for the final unveil!  Here are the pics of the progress.