Thursday, September 30, 2010

About that office...

I'm sitting here in the midst of falling sawdust; David is sanding away at that office floor that we laid three weeks ago and have just gotten back to. And of course, I'm kicking myself for all the cleaning I did yesterday in the kitchen because that sawdust has seeped through the covered doorway and is even now settling on all the furniture. After 7 years of life in an (almost) constant construction zone, I should have known better. But, I wanted to get ready for the fall decorating that I plan on doing this weekend while David's at work and H is at a band rehearsal and that decorating didn't include the spiders (and their cobwebs) that have crawled in and tried to make homes in all the nooks and crannies of this kitchen.

Despite the sawdust, I'm glad that we've been able to finally get back to the office; like most of the projects in the house restoration we have been living with, it has had to take a back burner to the rest of our life and has stretched out the time we had planned to get it done. While typically life slows down a bit during the daytime with the resumption of school, that didn't happen this time around. David's work schedule allows him two to three days off each week during which we normally make great progress on our projects, but he's had back issues and with a family member needing some help with a broken foot...not to mention Hunter's crazy schedule.. we're entering month three on the project. Yesterday, while I was cleaning I suddenly realized that I haven't posted an update on the work that has been done in that room, so over the next few days I'll try to post some of the photos that I did remember to take.

With an unemployment rate of 11 plus in Florida, and teens and college students being some of the hardest hit in our area, Dallas wasn't able to go back to his previous summer job so we put him to work earning his dinner here. He not only took over the yard work, but also did a lot of the deconstruction that goes on before you can get to the reconstruction that you really want to do. So, he and Hunter tore down most the sheet rock that our previous owners had put up over the original exterior siding:

David helped the boys in the early part of the job...we'd been waiting seven years to uncover an original window that we knew existed behind that sheet rock. Closing in that porch and adding a bathroom on to the house in the 1960's had meant that the dining room had no windows in it at all. We plan on putting one in the one exterior wall of that room, but that is down the road a bit. In the meantime, we couldn't wait to see how big that window was and to see just how much light would be let into the dining room once it was exposed again.

It was much bigger than we expected but then so was the light it let in....(the wall where you see the crosses hanging is where we'll eventually add an exterior window...the junk on the piano? ... all from the office so please, no comments on decorating style~~)

This next one is looking from the dining room into the office. The size of the window meant that we had some thinking to do about what we were going to put in it. The original plan was to put in a stain glass window from one of the local antique stores, but since these are steep stairs and teenage boys have been known to race down them and fall, well, we decided that stained glass would be 1) too expensive and 2) too dangerous.

The window was in just the right spot and will be just the right size for an elbow to go straight through it as someone tumbles down those last few stairs in their race to the bottom, so while David and I rethought it all out, the boys kept on exposing the siding. We didn't know what to most anyone who has worked on one of these old houses knows, opening walls can lead to all sorts of things. And we've already experienced finding cut joists leaving a bath tub basically hanging in mid air without we were glad to see this when it was all down...

The siding was in really good shape considering it's 100 years old; we could see where pieces or sections had been replaced over the years, but about 95% of it is the original wood. Other than some caulking and wood puttying, there was nothing major to worry about. So, then it was on to just what was going to go in that window opening.

Several years ago, a friend of ours bought another old farmhouse in Georgia; there was a barn on that property where it seemed that every thing the family had ever owned and no longer needed or wanted had been stored. We helped a bit with the sorting of the things stored there and our friend pretty much gave his helpers anything they might be able to use. We took home a glass block window and have been storing it ever since. We planned on using it in the downstairs bathroom when we get around to rebuilding that room, but now, it seemed to be the perfect solution for that window opening. I did a bit of research to see when glass block had first been used to make sure that it wasn't completely inappropriate for this old house and our less than 100% faithful restoration of it. And then we placed it in and lived with it for a few days....

And decided that it was perfect...

It lets light into the dining room while still giving some privacy to the office and its a lot safer than stained glass.

Once the window was in (but still unframed) it was time to begin working on the walls; the boys puttied and caulked and sanded for what I know seemed like weeks to them and finally I was able to get in there and re-paint the bead board ceiling and the 100 year old siding.... and then, walk around for days trying to decide if I liked the new color we'd picked out....

More later.......

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