A New Window, Some Paint and More

The house is almost to the point where we can live in it comfortably. I’ve been working on making the master bedroom a nice place to take a break from the work zones in the house, and getting the kitchen in working order.

Goodbye, wallpaper

I finished cleaning the walls and ceiling in the bedroom and bathroom. Then, I finally got the wallpaper and wallpaper paste completely removed in the bedroom. Here’s a look at the process of removing wallpaper, which I learned from my in-laws.

Use a spray bottle filled with water to wet down the area. Let the water sit for a few minutes, and begin to pull down the top edge a bit.
Then, spray some more water at the top edge, letting it pool and sit for a few minutes before pulling a bit more away from the wall.
Don't let the pictures fool you, this is a long and slow process. You should only pull the wallpaper away from the wall inches at a time. Otherwise the paper will separate, and leave a thin sheet behind. You must have patience on the day that you decide to remove wallpaper.
Repeat the process down the wall.
Scrub the wallpaper paste off with soap and water. Voila, no more wallpaper!


Staples, nails and trim

I spent one afternoon this week, removing residual staples, nails and screws from the floor and walls.

Since we will eventually be removing the wall where the closets are, as well as the one where the bathroom is, I removed the trim, door frames and doors. They were difficult to get clean, and most of the doors had holes or didn’t function well. So, I’ll be hanging some curtains in the place of the doors, for now. Believe me, even this will look better than what was there. I left the door into the actual bathroom (the location of the toilet and shower).

Lots of paint

After all of that, I finally started painting. Yay!

We decided to use Kilz for the primer coat, because after several days of cleaning the walls and ceiling still had stains and a slight odor.

I’ve finished the primer coat on the bedroom walls, ceiling, closets, and bathroom and sink area. I’m painting the windows too, because we aren’t replacing them right away.

I forgot how tiring painting is, and how long it can take. The ceiling was more difficult than I’d imagined, even with an extension pole.

Now, all we need to do is paint the next coat and get a carpet remnant to use as temporary flooring in the bedroom.


A new kitchen window

This week, Alex put a new window where the kitchen will be moving. This window will be over the sink.

At first, we had a hole in the back of the house, while Alex worked on building a new frame for the window.

I helped a bit with some steps, but Alex was the one to teeter on the extension ladder, risking life and limb for the sake of a new window. 😉

It’s a double hung window without grilles/lites. We’re going to use windows without grilles for the back and windows with grilles for the front (because they’ll match the style of the house better).

Since the window is over the spot where the kitchen sink will be, we had to make it a smaller window.  So, we have to find some siding to match and patch the area around the window on the outside of the house. Wayne suggested we use siding from the dormers to patch this, and replace siding on the dormers with the similar, new siding that we find. This makes sense, because then the siding we use to patch the area will be aged the same as the rest of the siding.


Outside clean-up

We also made some progress this week cleaning out the gutters and other areas of the outside of the house.

Someone put what seems like miracle grow in the gutters. What?!

Using a strap and our car, we pulled out most of the bushes the other day.

I also started pulling out the bricks along the edge of the planter (we’re changing this), and have been planning out and researching how to temporarily pot some of the lilies of the valley and the hostas.

From what I’ve been reading, lilies of the valley tend to take over the garden. I’ve noticed that they were starting to grow outside of the planter area. So, I may just decide to keep some them in a large pot. Has anyone had experience with keeping lilies of the valley in their garden, and preventing them from spreading everywhere?


Wayne helped us out on Saturday. He burned some of the yard debris and bushes in a fire pit he and Alex dug in the backyard.

You can see in the picture above that the pool is slowly starting to look better. We’ve been working on getting the chemicals right, and cleaning out all the debris that continues to come to the surface. The water is now a very light green color, and yellow in the shallow end, and not a deep green, mucky color. We need to get a new vacuum to suck more of the algae out. The one we have is in rougher shape than we thought.


Preparing for building the new kitchen

Alex and Wayne started digging down on the outside of the house behind the laundry area, and drilling through the concrete in the basement to get to the main water pipe.

Alex had to determine what we will need to do to connect the pipe for the new kitchen.

We will begin construction of the new kitchen soon.

Alex drew this plan on the wall in the kitchen, and told me I had to sign my approval. Haha! It’s changed a few more times since he drew this, but I think we’ve solidified the plan now.

I’m sorry that I still have not posted the video tour. The camera is having issues… 🙁  Hubby is working on figuring it out.

  1. Laura Burt

    June 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Wowzer!! You guys are doing great!! I can’t wait to get back and see it all. Start my list, I’ll be all yours in a week 🙂

    1. Becca

      June 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Thanks! I’ve been saving some of the gardening work. So, we can do that together, and I can learn from you. 🙂

  2. Sarah Lewis

    June 27, 2011 at 12:48 am

    You guys are amazing! You sound like “Extreme Makeover” or “Property Brothers” on HGTV!!! I watch “House Hunters” a lot and it’s incredible how picky first time home owners can be. They want a “move-in ready” house with all the amenities. You two are working on a lifetime investment…and this house is going to be a thing of beauty when you get done!

    1. Becca

      June 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Haha, thanks! We used to watch a lot of HGTV before we started working on the house. I agree, first time home buyers and owners tend to be very picky. That’s why our real estate agent was so surprised at how quickly we found a house. We weren’t afraid of the need to do some work. In fact, we were looking for a house that would require us roll up our sleeves and get to work. 😉

  3. Marité de Vos

    June 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Bravo ! Bravo !
    I’m estonished by your courage and tenacity.
    And by your good work.
    You interest me more than the TV.
    Best wishes for finding a secret trésor hind in the house !

    1. Becca

      June 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Thank you so much! It’s funny you should mention finding a secret treasure. I’ve been thinking about what we might find within the house the whole time, especially since we’re getting so intimately acquainted with the inner workings of the house. So far, we’ve found a few strange things, like a swimming flipper and an old cigar box lid. I’m sure we will find something really cool by the time we’re through. 🙂

  4. Angie

    June 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

    On the lilies of the valley- you might see if you can find large plastic pots (think of the size pots that trees come in) to bury. I find them driving around the neighborhoods set out on the curb for trash. Also, check with a local nursery (probly not so much a big chain place), esp. if you go in and ask about, say, hydrageas even if you’re not quite ready to buy yet. Just tell them you need large plastic pots to bury, so the color doesn’t matter, the shape they’re in doesn’t matter, etc. Just make sure there are holes at the bottom to let water out (or you have the ability to make holes at the bottom), and you might read up on lilies of the valley too to see how invasive they are- some plants will escape out the holes at the bottoms of the pots in order to colonize the entire garden, the state, and then the world- but i suspect that these aren’t quite so aggressive.

    I use this procedure for mint also. It’s a PITA to bury the big pots, but while digging that hole, remind yourself how nice it will be for the next 10 years to not have to weed everywhere else.

    1. Becca

      June 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

      That sounds like a really interesting idea. I’ll have to look into it. I can imagine that it would be really tough to bury pots like that. I have been doing more reading on lilies of the valley. I really like them, so I’m going to figure out the best way to keep them. Your idea sounds like one of the best so far. Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions! They are much appreciated. 🙂

  5. Cindy

    June 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Don’t worry about the camera tour! I got a really good idea at how much is going on with your photos! I never knew you could just spray wall-paper and it’ll peel away (with patience.) Also the kitchen window will be awesome! I think it’s a bit depressing to not have a window over the kitchen sink.

    1. Becca

      June 29, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Yep, wallpaper can be peeled. Just hope that you never have to do it. Haha! 🙂 It is very depressing when there isn’t a window over the kitchen sink. My least favorite apartment had no natural light in the kitchen. No fun!

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