We’ve been busy at the job site and almost all of the electrical and plumbing issues have been dealt with. Almost all of them. Despite having countless receptacles, however, we’re still using extension cords everywhere for power. Even though we’ve had air conditioning condensers for months, we still have no ability to cool the house as the 220 has yet to be run to them. Temperatures are close to 100 and it’s getting warm inside! And, of course, there are still numerous aesthetic issues to be dealt with in the aftermath of infrastructure upgrades.

Once we complete the interior, there will still be lots of outside work — including painting the shed dormers, porch and lots of miscellaneous touch-ups. But there IS light at the end of the tunnel!

Just for some perspective, this is what the kitchen looked like when we started. Before looking at the new kitchen I would like to remind you that I did not design it… it was designed by a big box store “kitchen designer” using software for that purpose. As a preservationist, I would have approached a new kitchen from a different direction. Aside from the plethora of can lights, the kitchen actually feels much nicer than I had anticipated (though I am still somewhat intimidated by the new, Darth Vaderesque, refrigerator).



The sink and appliances remain in approximately the same relative positions. We still have to add a toe kick base to the cabinets, some moldings and a few other things (like touching up nicks to the drywall).



The washer and dryer have found their niche. The door belongs to the adjacent bathroom.



This is the windowed nook between the bathroom and the door to the basement stairs just before we demolished the wall. The relocated bathroom door moved closer to the window.



The same nook today. Jim found the original cap moldings for the doors and window in the basement — they had been removed when the room received wood paneling in the 1970’s. I actually like the painted woodwork in the kitchen… something that I thought I would never, ever, say!



The new downstairs bathroom: smaller and whiter!



The door to this room was missing when we started — as were many other interior doors. Jim found this one at a yard sale and it looks as if it had always been there! The gap beneath the door is necessary as the floor slopes a bit and the door can’t open fully without this undercut.



The dining room when we started. The doorway in the previous image is seen (doorless) at right. At left, the door from the dining room into the breakfast room. The pass-through was created in the 1970’s when a built-in china cabinet was removed. I decided to connect these two adjacent openings in order to create a better look by removing the bit of wall between them.



My sketch for a new column (to replace the section of wall I removed) mimics existing millwork in the house. My OCD is revealed in the useless detailing of lath and plaster keys in section.



Here the lath and plaster keys are seen in actual section. Jim assembles the jamb for the doorway. He selected wood from our salvage stockpile for me to use in casing the newly reconfigured opening (which I think of as half of a colonnade). 



I created the upper portion of the cap from molding which was once in our church project. It very closely (but not exactly) resembles the woodwork which is original to the house. The egg-and-dart molding below it is not a continuous piece; I cobbled it together from six different damaged headers from assorted houses — each with a different finish which had to be stripped. The wood for the column also came from the church building. Because the casing is made of a mix of wood, some old and some new, I will have to do some selective staining to unify the color before a final varnish is applied.

Note that the new light switches flanking the right-hand side of the doorway aren’t even at the same height. Using a tape measure for uniformity is just too much trouble, I guess.


Detail of miter joint uniting egg-and-dart molding from two different houses. Nail holes will be filled with colored wax after it is all varnished.



Detail of damage done to cap molding when it was brutally ripped removed from the church.

I think I will just stain this and varnish over it rather than repair it.



Your opinion is sought! Jim and I are having differing views as to what to do with this threshold. The floors will be refinished at some point soonish. The threshold is worn and damaged. Do we keep it or replace it with a new one which is similar? The threshold makes a transition between the thinner oak floor of the dining room (now hidden beneath linoleum) and the thicker pine floor of an adjacent bedroom.


Seriously, am I just being picky or is this acceptable? This is the kind of clean-up work that we really shouldn’t have to be doing but are having to do. Welcome to BFE!


Upstairs, repaired plaster and woodwork receive primer.


Doors are drying after receiving paint.



The upstairs bath is shaping up…



The countertop crew (who drove five hours all the way from Wichita) forgot the backsplash the first time but made it back eventually. There is still a ton of hardware to install in the kitchen and baths.



The room that time forgot… literally! Essentially unchanged since 1918, this room best conveys the the character of the house when it was new. The room is having its damaged plaster repaired with sheetrock and a skim coat of tinted plaster. We will leave it essentially as it was (including the re-installation of the original acetylene gas light fixture on the ceiling) as a time capsule for future generations (until somebody down the road has other plans…).



We had an uninvited visitor this week… I was just about to grab a nail punch from our tool shelf on the porch when Jim said, “Stop and back up” in an odd tone of voice. I did so, having no idea what he was weirding out about. Then I saw it… a snake! Fortunately, it was a rather harmless bull snake, but they look a lot like rattlesnakes which are also at home here. I got his portrait before Jim persuaded him to leave. I’m going to be wary of the tool shelf for a while…
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