Friday, January 23, 2015

Demolition Derby

Photo by MirrorSlap Photography
At our small county fair, one of the most popular events is the Demolition Derby. I don't care for it: too much noise and destruction for me. But when it comes to the farmhouse, demolition is a very good thing!

The contractor's crew has been hard at work all week, and things are looking much different already. Remember Grandfather's room?

The plaster and wainscoting came down,

and now it looks like this:

And remember that nice little closet?


it turned out to be a prime example of the wood shaving method of insulation!

We've all been wondering about the poor soul whose job it was to make all those shavings. Evidently the entire house was insulated this way when it was built in 1885. At the time, it was probably as good as anything available. No doubt the shavings have settled a lot over the last hundred years or so, but it must have been quite a job to pack them in there.

They're not in there anymore.

We met with the electrician this morning. He's not the same one who started the re-wiring process four years ago, so we went over what had been done and what still needs to be completed while the walls are open and easily accessible for pulling wires. He'll get busy next week.

In the meantime, there's lots of cleanup to do.

So, next week it's wiring and insulation. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Here We Go Again!

It's been almost two years since we did any major work on the farmhouse. During that time, Vance's Country Guest House has gotten off to a great start with our cozy suite for two. 2013, our first year, brought six rentals, and last year, only our second, we rented the house 19 times! We're eager to finish more of the house to share with guests and thus expand our little business. Finally, phase II of renovations began today!

I took a few photos of the rooms we'll be working on in all their pre-renovation glory. Don't be shocked: they're pretty bad!

Downstairs, we're tackling "Grandfather's Room." One of two rooms on the front of the house, it is closest to the rooms we've already finished and will allow the Guest House to sleep more than two. It's called Grandfather's Room because Robin's great-grandfather claimed it, especially during his old age.This is what it looked like a couple of years ago:

Since then we used it to store kitchen cabinets, scrap lumber, and various and sundry other things. It was chuck full, with barely a path to walk through. Many thanks to our helpful neighbor, the late Hume Taylor, who helped us out a great deal by emptying the room and hauling all that stuff to the barn.

This room has a closet! Yeah! It's long and narrow and awkward, but still a closet. Closets of any kind are in high demand in old farmhouses, you know.

The original plaster and wall paper will be covered with dry wall. Yep, this is the original wall paper! Throughout the entire house, there is only one layer of wall paper.

Doors and all the other woodwork will get painted a nice bright white.

The original wood floor has hooved up in places. That will get fixed and the entire floor refinished. Then, the fun part begins: decorating the room with furniture, rugs, window treatments, and more.

Upstairs, Robin's Aunt Helen occupied the two rooms at the back of the house, over the kitchen and dining room. We're starting with the very back room, over the kitchen. The goal for this room for now is to get it finished so that we will have a clean place for storage. As you can see, we have a long way to go!

I moved all those chairs out last weekend, in anticipation of the contractor's arrival today. Here, we're removing the wide boards on the walls, installing much-needed insulation, and putting the boards back on. Then the walls and ceiling will be painted and the wood floor scrubbed. Once it's all clean, it can be used to store furniture, lamps, clocks, boxed household goods, and more until we can use them in the rest of the house.

Todd and Cody arrived bright and early this morning and got to work. By late afternoon, they had made a lot of progress pulling off boards and removing all the original wood shaving insulation.

So, we're off and running on this second phase of renovation. Although there's a lot of work between now and then, I'm really looking forward to the day, hopefully in a couple of months, when I can transform these two rooms into comfortable places once more.