Monday, October 5, 2009

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

The heat of summer has gone and working either inside or out is great. Things are moving along with the project and this week continues our work on the front formal Parlor. Now you may ask why we are working on this particular room when obviously we have a ton of things to do. Well we are working on all the basics , getting wiring updated plumbing runs (things like that but one of the goals is to have what I like to call "sanctuary space'. A relatively done, painted walls new floor "clean room' that can be closed off from the rest of the house when done and be a place where one can "get away' from restoration for a moment in a nice clean space and relax. Now we wont be putting up the Bradbury papers or installing a chandelier just yet but it is part of "reclaiming' space in the house and it keeps you kinda sane during all the stuff that goes on.

This week I began taping the arch which will be covered with architectural panels and trim. I am, not looking for 'finished look here, rather getting the tape on and a couple of coats floated on it, This week I got the drywall mesh 'bedded" and next week I will get on some top coats. The fireplace in our Parlor is strictly ornamental so I began covering over the old opening it over with drywall. I also insulated this space as well so there is no cold infiltration. The Cast iron fireplace will have a summer cover year round on it.

When the last furnace was put in (gas forced air) the chimney has been professionally relined with chimney tile and tuck pointed. Now this house will be total electric so we really wouldn't need a chimney BUT we have decided to have a pot belly stove down in the basement "bar room" which we can use as supplemental heat. Or in case of electrical outage cause by winter storm as an emergency heat source. As a result this chimney work is not wasted. We had it inspected and it is in perfect shape so our plan is to but a new dual wall pipe down the chimney liner ( for added safety), that will allow us to use the potbelly as supplemental heat source.

So in addition to some spot sanding of the plaster walls in the Parlor I am also making some small crack repairs. The plaster in this room is in remarkably good condition for 130 yr old house. I feel like I really "lucked out" on the woodwork. The woodwork only has two coats of paint and both are latex so it come of easily. Our woodwork appears to be white oak looking at the area below the outside 'surround' trim that was never stained. We do know the woodwork had been 'faux grained' unfortunately there is NO WAY to remove the paint without taking the graining so in a future episode I will be showing you how to do a faux grain finish. There will be a ton of cleaning and "picking" to get all the paint off to ready it for finishing but I am amazed at just how well the heat gun did on a low setting at removing the paint. I do not recommend the average home owner use a heat gun but rather use chemical stripper. Use of heat gun takes allot of skill and you have to be very careful not to overheat an area. This is especially critical on window frames where dust and debris can settle in the weight pockets and be ignited through heat transference from the surface in. So unless you have been doing this for 20 years, DO NOT use a heat gun unless the wood has been removed and the stripping is being done on some sawhorses.

Our baseboards are cleaning up well. The quarter round is missing the the formal parlor. Fortunately the dining room still has it so I can match the profile, I suspect this are may have been carpeted at some point and the yanks the quarter round out. They must have done it recently as the area under where the quarter round was only has one coat of paint.

I was able to get one window and the baseboard on one wall stripped in just a few hours . Of course I have those damn replacement windows to deal with but I can faux finish them out where they will blend in. Eventually I will build new period windows.

The kitchen has been gutted down to the studs! Its awful dusty work and I am glad that it is done. We should be able to start wiring and reframing soon!

Over the weekend our realtor Cathy Frank stopped by and I gave her the updated tour of the house. There were other houses we could have bought but I am glad we bought this one. I was also talking with one of our neighbors who commented on with our pumpkin , gold and green colors how "fall like' our house looks.

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