Monday, July 18, 2011

Long time Entryway Remodel

When we bought this house five years ago it had been owned by ex military persons and every inch of the house was either red,white and blue or pasty army green. I tore down all the flag print borders and breathed a sigh of relief because as much as I love the USA, it just wasn't a style that fit our family. Three years later, the entryway was still bearing our flag's colors and sort of a mismatched patching of artwork and *stuff*. I was longing for something more calming on my eyes and a brighter, since our entryway is teeny tiny.hall11

As in just about every room, layers upon layers of wallpaper had been painted over. The floor was checkerboard linoleum.
So, being newly pregnant and nesting with our sweet Addie, I decided to first rid myself of the floor and crossed my fingers that underneath this 120 yr old portion of the house would lie something exciting - wood or tile was my hope. hall10

Six layers of junk flooring. Six! hall9

I was so pleased to see hard plank floor boards under it all! The kids and I cleared out the remaining tacks and nails and mopped it and it happily lay so until a year later when I had time to refinish it. Having six children and a sick husband has made the last two yrs interesting, to say the least. hall8

Wall color is Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Gray on top. I saved some pennies by having Lowes color match the Benjamin Moore color. Stair treads and rail were painted black.

I needed to get rid of the chair rail hanging at different heights around the room but when I pried it off I found that someone had wallpapered above the chair rail and below it, but not underneath it so there was a large uneven gapping of no wallpaper. Simply painting over it all would not work. hall7

I bought this thick wallpaper from Lowes and papered about 3/4 of the way up the walls. The thickness of the paper smoothed those nasty walls right out. (complete lathe and plaster demo was not an option at this time).

I used the old chair rail at the top of the paper, added another piece of moulding for a shelf and a piece of quarter round to make the picture lip for the photos of our foster babies. Ah... the shelf has gotten a bit too cluttered but until I have time to re-home some of the photos, here it is. It makes me smile and makes me heart ache every time I walk by. Love those kiddos.


The lone red white and blue survivor in the room is the heat cover. :) hall3

The entryway also sported a 1980's fake gold chandelier so we upgraded to this cute stained glass one when Lowes was clearing out. I believe it was $20. I like the little bright pops of red in this small space against the cool bright walls.

I used my orbital sander to sand the floors with very fine paper and then stained them a dark maple. The stain was a few dollars on Lowes oops shelf.


Instead of all my mismatched oil paintings I had thrifted, I decided to create a black and white photo gallery wall. I'm repainting and distressing the frames as time allows and repositioning them as I go along. I found this great wall decal that says "Family: One of God's masterpieces". You can win the same decal here!

Hope you enjoyed our little entryway tour!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring up O well!

We have a bit of an interesting water situation here on the hill. First, we have three wells here on our little two acres. Two of them are in the cellar. Because I suppose when the natives were restless and decided to attack 220 years ago, it was handy to have a water source downstairs. And iron bars on the windows to shoot your musket through. Those are still there too.
The original well is a dug well and sometime during the last century, someone decided, hey, let's drill a well next to the dug well. So they did. And lost their well drilling drill bit way down there somewhere, stuck in bedrock and I'm sure there were a lot of not pretty words being said. So they moved outside the house with a new drillbit and this is the well we use today.
But back to the dug well in the basement. What makes it even stranger is that it is in a room of its own, out underneath our front walkway, before you walk onto our porch - not under our house.
Back to the current well.
All of a sudden our water pressure was finicky. I didn't like it. I whined to Sean about it because the delicate balance of our water lies in his capable hands. Seriously, one of the things I worry about if he were to ever die on me is how in the world would I figure out the water systems.
Our water is HARD. Water is considered hard at 20 parts per million, ours is a lovely hardness of 120-130 parts per million. It is mineral rich. Not great for appliances or my hair and so...
it goes through a whole house filter, then an iron filter, then a water softener, and then a reverse osmosis system.

So after replacing all the house filters and the water situation not improving, Sean decided to pull up the well pump, replace it since that was the only thing left to check.
Neither of us had ever done this before, in case you're wondering. Sean is brilliant at reading up on how to do things and forging ahead and so he did, placing an innumerable amount of calls to Florida to consult with his dad.

Unbeknownst to us at the time, a well pump should be fairly easy to pull up. Sean had a tripod setup with the steel ladder and rope and the tractor, figuring that the tractor would easily pull up the well pump. Soon the strain on the tractor was starting to tip it. This was not an easy lift and I was a nervous wife. Tipping tractors aren't my thing.

It became a family affair. Finally, finally! it budged and we moved to old fashioned arm power, Sean and I lifting and pulling and the kids lying the pipe out across the lawn. 148 feet of pipe we pulled. I could not believe how hard it was to pull. I joked on facebook that there was a lot of pushing, pulling and gushes of water reminiscent of labor, and seriously, I felt about as exhausted by the time our weekend a la well was over.

(hands orange from the iron in the water)

So to make a very long, very tiresome weekend short. Sean replaced the well pump. We started to lower it back down and with about fifty feet of pipe left to go down, we hit the bottom. How could this be? Was it stuck on something? We had no idea. Five times that weekend, we pulled the pump up.

Final dx for our well, now with it's spiffy expensive new pump, was that it collapsed near the bottom. I guess the way they do wells is if they drill through rock at the bottom of the well, they won't line the bottom of the well. Over time, the rock shifted and our well caved in on top of our pump, which is why it was tipping the tractor trying to pull it.

We called in the well people and conferred. The idea now is to see how well our much shallower well works for our family. Sean installed a low pressure cut-off by the tank in the cellar, which will turn off the water if the well gets too low so the pump doesn't get burned out. It has kicked on once already when we needed to water the garden and newly planted fruit trees.

I'm thinking a re-drilling of the well will be in our future, especially since we are in our wettest season and a lot of watering is needed come summer.

Another day, another lesson in homesteading learned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Painted Brick Fireplace

Our brick always looked dirty, even if it wasn't. I sprayed it down with some all-purpose organic household cleaner, let it dry and went to town with a can of Valspar semi gloss in a creamy white (from their reject pile, most likely, because you can't beat a $5 can of neutral paint!) and a paintbrush.
So much better and brighter! Check out more winter home tips here at The Inspired Room!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shabby Chic to Modern Country

courtesy of "All that Jazz" blue from Lowes. And a free wooden mirror on the curb which I promptly painted black. It makes my dining room happy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Upstairs Hall Floor Painting

It's not quite done but I already love the change.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old kitchen demolition

So far Sean has spent about eight hours just on demo of half of the old kitchen that will be turned into a much desired downstairs bathroom. Why is it taking so long? Three layers of sheetrock, four ceilings, blown in insulation, old clothes wrapped around pipes....
My husband is a champ.
We are also having a wedding shower here in April for my younger sister so the scurry is on!

Friday, November 7, 2008

DIY Funnies

I walked into the kitchen to find Sean running the liner for the woodstove up the chimney and this: