Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

Fall is in the air and the cool weather is a welcome relief when you are working! We decided to add a little fall color and plant some mums.

The great battle of the Honeysuckle continues and Greg , with the help of a neighbor of ours managed to pop a few more out of the ground on out west property line. Why these things were EVER planted, I will never understand.

It was busy weekend, what with the neighbors from Fairmount calling about the Motorcycle club issue (soon to be resolved by a bulldozer) and we also looked at a house down the street with a friend of ours who is thinking of buying it. I certainly hope she does as she will be a great asset to the neighborhood. I also met with a member of the Cincinnati Preservation Association Advocacy group to discuss Westside issues and our own neighborhood turnaround. We took him on a walking tour of the neighborhood and he noted that there were many very early homes near the park that are circa 1840-1850, perhaps earlier. Not surprising when you remember that the park was the site of a Baptist seminary built in the 1840's which later became the German shooting club and beer garden. many who live in our neighborhood simply do not realize the Historical significance in both the early history of Cincinnati but also its later development as the club on the hill was used by the movers and shakers of the business community in the day.

Work now turns to the inside of the house and I finally decided to tackle the stair hall. The previous owner/slumlord decided to do a quick fix and covered not only the ceilings but a large part of the stair wall with ceiling texture. Ceiling texture should be banned in this country as far as I am concerned! Anyway it is coming off rather well and you can see the earlier colors that the walls were painted over the years. The lower part of the stairs were covered with paneling in the 1960's which other than a few nails protected the plaster rather well. We are planning on adding a large paladian window which will give us some nice western light and really brighten up this stair hall. Of course we will be hanging a large stained glass window as well.

The upstairs is cleaned up of all the plaster and lath from the added closets and I can soon do the plaster repairs and start framing for the new master bath

All of our woodwork in the house is painted and frankly I was always 'put off' by the fact it was rather plain. However once I stripped the woodwork I understand it was not originally plain after all but in fact it was "banded trim" woodwork which was a popular Renaissance revival trim detail usually reserved for more high end townhouses. Basically there is a rounded, fluted applied piece on the outside edges of the flat woodwork that added architectural interest to the trim. At some point, probably the 1900's when the craftsman look was the rage, they likely removed this detail to give the house the simpler Arts and Crafts look that was popular then. Now that I know this I can recreate it or maybe even buy some salvaged trim. If anybody knows of some please let me know.

In looking at our house it looks like the base boards were stained a darker color and I suspect the "banding" was dark as well the flat inner parts were stained a lighter color. In looking at the door it appeared there was a dark and light stain as well. with the panels being lighter. This is perfect as I planned on using a reddish darker mahogany stain with a lighter faux finish maybe birdseye maple for the panels.

All in all a very productive weekend as it appears there are only two coats of paint on the woodwork and for once NONE of that awful battleship blue/grey color that just about every house I've ever owned had on the woodwork. The stripping of the woodwork will be a piece of cake as a heatgun on the low setting lifts the old paint off with ease. A little cleanup and it will be ready for refinishing!

I am really excited to be be doing some interior work! While working out in the yard we came across these two little treasures a perfume bottle which based on the glass appears to be 1940's and a piece of ceramic, what it was I have no clue but it has a nice glaze on it.


Todd McFarland said...

Art Woodworking in Northside in a great resource for custom millwork and window sash.

Paul Wilham said...

I will keep that in mind Todd , Hopefully I can find some salvage pieces to do the formal parlor.

Karen Anne said...

How does one remove ceiling texture? Thanks.

Paul Wilham said...

Karen, if the texture has never been painted its pretty easy just take some warm water with about a tablespoon of detergent and spray the texture. Let it soak a few minutes then you can remove it with a drywall taping knife, I like to use the 4" size.

If it has been painted its more work. You need to take a razor blade and score the texture. Use as hot a water as you can with the detergent in a spray bottle and soak it. It may take several aplications but once the water gets in there you can usually scrape it off. You may find a wallpaper scraper works well. Do not use a wallpaper scraper if your ceiling is drywall, it will tear the backing paper. It is also helpfull to put down a plastic tarp, makes cleanup easier. Good luck and have fun.