Monday, November 29, 2010

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

This weekend while millions got up early, waited in long lines to but things that will be obsolete in a few months, we worked on our Second Empire Cottage which will turn 140 Years old next year.
The window seat will be a cozy place to sit and read on a cold winter day. I predict this will be our cats "favorite place".

A busy week it has been on several fronts. Work continues up in the master bedroom and the window seat wall is now insulated and soon ready for baseboard install. The nice thing about the upstairs is that the front bedroom was in pretty decent shape. It has largely been 'undoing' some of the 'remuddling done by previous owners as the entire upstairs was covered with 1980's era paneling over room probably last redone in the 1950's. I will be so glad to see the 1950's "pink" gone for ever.
Getting the gaps filled will greatly improve the efficiency of the bat insulation we are adding to the wall.

 Of course that paneling did cover some severely damaged plaster which unfortunately must be replaced. The good thing is that wherever we have to remove plaster, we are taking the effort to insulate as much as possible. Now older frame houses like ours are composed of an outside wall made of tongue and grove boards which the exterior siding is then nailed to. Builders were not concerned with the R factor of that construction. Over the years the wood shrinks as it dries out and spaces can develop between the board which means the narrow wood of the spline is exposed which reduces the wall efficiency. The best way to fix that is to use expanding foam to fill those gaps then insulate with the appropriate R value for your wall depth. You do  not want to over-insulate or make an old house 'too tight'. Frame houses must be able to breath or water can be retained in an old house which can create mold and mildew. One reason why you should NEVER put vinyl siding on an old house as it traps moisture in your walls.
You can still see the outline of the old closets, not that you could have put anything in them anyway!

Another big change has been the removal of the narrow 1920 era added closets which were functionally useless. Now that they are gone ,the new doorway opening that leads to the bathroom and a walk-in closet restores the "balance and symmetry" the fireplace wall was lacking.
Balance restored. I still have to trim 1 inch from each side of the mantle to get a proper fit buy hey it was free!

We still have to do some work to the salvaged fireplace mantle given to us by our neighbor Mark, who rescued it from a fire damaged house being demoed by the city. It's a little 'singed' on one edge but easily repaired and it will make a fine addition to the bedroom. Its great to have neighbors that just give you stuff because they appreciate what you are doing to better the neighborhood. Certainly it saved us some money as we would have had to pay several hundred dollars for a  mantle for the bedroom.
We hope to have this design ready before Christmas. Will keep everyone posted as to release date. Remember the sale of Knox Hill stencils directly benefits the restoration of the House!

In other news we finally exposed enough of the stenciling in both rooms to complete a tracing of the designs. These will be scanned and I will digitally clean them up and they will be ready to be transferred to stencil film. Hopefully we will have all the designed released and available on our E-shop

Speaking of shopping and Cyber Monday, don't forget to check out our Ecrater website. The link is on the right side of the blog, "Gallery 1885" lots of great artwork and antiques for your home.


Karen Anne said...

How to you trim the mantle without the finish being ragged on the sides, or will you refinish it?

The doubledecker I grew up in was for sale last year, so I went and looked at it. I would have bought it in an instant if I had money laying around :-( One thing I didn't remember was the closets. They were the same size as yours, but the door was on the narrow end. So you had to walk several feet in, exhaling presumably, to get to stuff.

Paul Wilham said...

The mantle has some smoke damage and light fire damage at the top

I will have to clean up the entire mantle then reshellac it after I match the side stain. All the new victorian baseboard and trim will be matched to the mantle. Hopefully everyhing will blend together nicely.

I am planning something 'grand' for the new walk-in closet. Details to come.