The Right House
By Patty Wilber
Ok, so I lied! I said I would NOT write about the house renovations unless the horses came in and took a peek.
I couldn’t help it!
I am SURE I could stage that picture of a horse peering in (Penny would volunteer), but now I’m out of time.
So, the Plan (v1.0) was: Rip out the carpet in the study area and the living room, paint the walls, and have the whole area re-tiled. Oh and get it all ready to tile (including painting) in three days (while still riding all the horses, giving a few lessons, etc.) Why so fast?
Our contractor (and SHF1 and cow partner –back when I had cows—and Squirt’s dad), Peter Harris (I can definitely supply contact info for those who need work done), had a schedule opening Right Now!
The Plan (v1.0) sounded pretty simple, until I realized it entailed: pick paint colors (it must be bright! we have to agree), and tile (It can’t be boring and we have to agree! So we agreed on saltillo and talavera tiles), and then we had to pick talavera patterns, and buy the tiles and decide where to paint what colors and where to scatter the talaveras.. Exhausted already and we had barely begun!.
So, we got busy moving things out. Holy Cow! We have a lot of stuff crammed in here! We filled up a good bit of the garage.
And the front room.
And Kid #2’s room (fortunately he doesn’t live here anymore!)
We didn’t throw anything much away (in the interest of Getting it All Done), but we will have a crazy “OMG we still have THIS?!” party when we repatriate SOME of the stuff.
Oh lovely sister-in-law Joanie Bankson? We are going to hire a van to send you a thing or two (that are technically yours anyway!!!) (I might not even be joking!)
So, we finally were able to get to the carpet and peel it off the floor (not as icky under there as I thought it would be!).
The floor was in good shape.
Then Marcia (JD’s mom) came to ride—and JD was awful, revealing he is indeed very VERY picky about saddle fit (a far more appropriate topic for this blog, but hey I at least came up with a catchy, play on words title for today!)
I showed her the Project and she said: You MUST paint the ceiling.
OK. Plan v1.1 Buy more paint and roller pads and try to avoid getting paint in your eyes and hair while painting the ceiling.
Then, our creative Contractor had an idea: Plaster the brick fireplace. (Plan v2.0)
Brilliant! I never have liked its monolithic brickness. (as seen in the picture above).
Need to buy more talavera tiles to accent that!
Then, when we got to the landing, it became clear that trying to make it blend with Plan v2.0 was a losing proposition.
Contractor says: It would be a good idea to do the landing, too.
Well, then. Plan v3.0.
Study, living area, fireplace and LANDING
Ripped out the 70’s style wooden divider! Yay! (you can see the space where it used to reside in the picture!)
Pry up the tile! Fun!
Take the maul to the brick planters. (Co-opting the pleasure from Jim.)
Then we saw what was underneath and behind the planter: rotten particle board and crumbling wall board. (Particle board was, according to my knowledgeable source, the industry standard in the 70’s when this house was built.)
Plan v3.1: add Landing Floor and Wall Repair.
We took all the stuff off the walls, including some well-anchored valances. Result: Cracks revealed.
Add: More Wall Repair. Plan v3.2
Wall repair retards painting progress because the wall repair requires plaster-y stuff and that is wet. It has to dry. Then the patch must be textured and that has to dry too.
Never-the-less, we painted around the patches and actually got a good bit done. And The Contractor put the scratch coat on the fireplace!
On Wednesday The Contractor said: I have an idea.
“You could put a partial wall between the study area and the living area to break up this long narrow space.”
(Our house layout is Ranch Style, or in other words, kind of like a double wide trailer—yep long and narrow.)
The divider idea did not particularly strike me, but I phoned my hunting buddy Chuck. He said it made sense to him.
In the evening, Jim and I set up several mock walls: plastic sheeting…not so interesting, plus there was always a body in the way of the View…then a scrap of plywood and a piece of wall board.
It looked ok…
We turned it this way and that. We sat. We looked from both sides.
We were still undecided.
We took it down, and that was the Ah Ha moment. The wall belonged! Plan v4.0!
How long? How high? Straight across or stair-stepped? Bull-nose edges or sharp? Stone or wall board or plaster? What about the baseboard and previous tile step arrangements?
And we have to go buy more tiles!!!
Plan v4.0 has held for 24 hrs...but we might need some new light fixtures (you can play “find the random chandelier” to see one that needs to be replaced), some decent floor lamps, a new computer table and…new couches.