Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wallpaper & Lights *update*

I never posted the finished pics of the lights and fan I put in the downstairs bedroom. One reason was it took me awhile to finish it because I was somewhat undecided as to what I wanted in there. What I ended up with was more work or course... I ended up puttin in a ceiling fan in the center of the room, then I put recessed lights in each corner of the room. It's a pretty cool effect!

Looking towards the doorway.

Standing in the doorway looking into the room.

And here is the finished wallpaper.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Michigan Weather

Michigan always seems to have some interesting weather changes. This week was a good example. Last weekend we got hit with some really heavy snow storms that dumped more than 10 inches of snow on us. This was followed by sustained 30 mph winds that lasted over 24 hours, with gusts up to 45 mph. I tried my best to stay indoors that day as the windchill was in the negative teens, but it just didn't happen. Christine was on her way home from work around 2pm and when she turned onto our road, she was met with a 3' tall snowdrift. Even in her 4 wheel drive vehicle, it was no match, she was stuck. I got the phone call and I was on my way to rescue her. When I went outside, this is what I found, our driveway was drifted over, higher than the hood of my car.

I got in my truck, but even with 11 inches of lift and 37" tires, I still couldn't get out of the driveway without shoveling some of the snow away. When I got down the road to Christine (after busting through some drifts up to my front bumper), I was able to shovel her out with the help of a neighbor. I then busted a trail back through the already reforming drifts with my truck. Finally I had to just hook up a tow strap and pull her the rest of the way into the driveway.

Here's a little better perspective with some of the drive shoveled out, you can see how deep the drift is.

Flash forward 5 days... It went from negative teens to 60 degrees outside... a nice 70+ degree temperature swing. Also it rained all day, so now most of the snow is gone, in its place we have several new small lakes. Its hard to see in this pic (taken looking out from the back deck), but visible just above the deck railing is the remnants of a snow drift, but farther out, out in the field, is a new lake. I'd estimate it at about 800' wide by 500' across, and probably 2-3 feet deep.

P.S. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snowflakes & The Living Room Wallpaper

No, the wallpaper doesn't have snowflakes on it, but there are plenty of them outside. We got a blanket of 4-5 inches last night.

A couple hours work this evening and I have the top part of one wall done. The lower part will be a goldish colored paper, with a border between the top & bottom. Its nice to get some color started in this room, the white walls were bothering me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Artwork - Oil Painting

Work on the house has been slow lately, its been a very busy few weeks for other things however. My older brother was in visiting from Minnesota and my younger brother moved back from AZ. So lots of family stuff has been going on. In the meanwhile I figured I'd post a few pics of the artwork we've been awaiting for a few months now that finally arrived. What happened was me and Christine came across a painting we really liked by a famous old painter, Edmund Leighton, entitled "The Accolade", that was painted in 1901. Seeing how we could never afford the original, we did the next best thing and had a reproduction hand painted by an artist. It took just short of 4 months to get the painting, but they did a pretty good job on it. We wanted the painting to be rather large as our ceilings are 10'-3" tall, so there is plenty of wall space above the couch for it. The framed painting is almost 5' tall.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ceiling Light - 1st Floor Bedroom

Adding a light to a room on the first floor is bit more involved than the rooms on the second floor. The walls and ceilings are finished already, so I didn't want to damage them. Also, unlike the 2nd floor, the room doesn't have attic space above it for access.

First I marked the center of the ceiling and cut my opening for the ceiling box.

I then cut in my switch box. It is double box, there will be a switch for a fan and a switch for the light. You can also see the trim around the door, it has been painted white.

Here is what is involved to run the wiring, I had to tear up some of the floorboards in the upstairs bedroom and drill holes through the joists. I then fed the wire down into the wall below to my switch box.

To be continued....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1st Floor Bathroom - facelift

The last 3 weeks have been pretty hectic, spent lots of time visiting family in the hospital, first my dad was in, then Christines mom. Hopefully everybody stays healthy for a long time now. The few hours I've been able to spare I decided to give the main bathroom a little facelift. The previous owners had last updated it in 1988, so it was time for a color change.

Here's a before pic:

Green EVERYWHERE, even the window shades were green.

Now its a light tan "Hazelnut Cream", all new curtains, pictures, shades and chandelier. When I'm able to get more in depth with it (ie: more money), I will get rid of the green vanity top you can see in the corner of the picture, and also the wood floor will be replaced with tile.

another view.

New ceiling medallion and chandelier.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Party

Last weekend we hosted a Halloween Party, about 25 people showed up and everyone seemed to have a good time. More than half the people were in costume, we had pirates, a fairy, nutcracker, dorothy, disco man, Medusa and some others, even Michael Phelps showed up to party.

Check out all the creepy food, eyeballs, worms, bones, spinal columns, etc.

Apparently we have a spider problem, the house is covered in webs.

Almost every room in the house had some sort of decoration.

The mad scientist in his butcher shop laboratory.

The halloween village.

Christine poses for a picture with gold medalist Phelps (Proud sponsor of Bud Light).

Is pumpkin head man passed out? No, his necks just tired from having a 40lb pumpkin on his head.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kitchen Floor

We have big plans for the kitchen in the future, a complete remodel, but that will be about 5 years or more away, so in the meantime we wanted to get rid of the horrible fake red brick flooring. Normally when you think of brick, you think dull and rough, but no, this flooring was smooth and shiny.... didn't look anything like brick. Based on our 5 year plan, I didn't want to put anything too fancy or expensive down, so I went with a self adhesive tile. It is a nice heavy duty tile still and it will actually have grout between them like a normal ceramic tile floor. Another thing I did to dress it up a little more was to set the tiles at a 45 degree angle. It costs a little more because you have more waste around the edges, and the labor is more intensive with fitting all the angled cuts in, but in my opinion it dresses the floor up quite a bit even when using a pretty inexpensive tile. The fake brick tiles have been quite the nightmare to take up. I've been working on this floor the past 3 nights. The whole family has actually pitched in at peeling the old tiles up. Even once the tiles came up, they left a really sticky residue on the floor. I wasn't worried about it, as I figured if anything it would help the new tiles stick even better. The funny part is it made the dogs stick to the floor. Sprout actually got stuck in place and couldn't move. The pugs could at least power through it, they just looked really funny because each step they would lift there leg up really high. To cover up the stickyness, I decided to go ahead and lay tile as we did the tear up, so as we got a few rows of tile up, down went the new tile.

Here's the beautiful old fake brick flooring, also the pugs doing what they normally do... eating.

Miles lending a hand. The kids love helping. You can see the new rows of tile he's sitting on.

Here's where I left off tonight, I still have to move appliances out, and finish up alot of the edge pieces. Then I will eventually grout the tiles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hallway & attic lighting

Finally getting another post up, its hard to actually make enough progress to show and talk about sometimes. But over the course of the last several days I've done a plethora of things. To sum it up, I've ran some new wiring up in the attic, I actually even installed lights up in the attic and a switch at the base of the stairs to the attic. More importantly I installed lighting in the upstairs hallway. It kind of boggles my mind somewhat that this house has been here for 140 years, and nobody put lighting in the upstairs hallway or front 3 bedrooms. Trust me, when you would go upstairs in the front of the house at night, it was DARK! You'd look down the hallway and there would be nothing but darkness. But now there is plenty of light! To accompany the new light I hung over the stairs, I also installed 2 additional lights in the hall, that are wired into the same switch.
Here's the before pic, if you look close I've marked the area on the ceiling where I will be cutting the hole for the new ceiling wiring box. Also, more easily visible is where the paint is peeling off from an old leak in the roof... eventually I'll sand the ceiling down and repaint it.
Lights installed, no more darkness!
A picture of the stairway lighting in action, it casts some cool shadows on the walls.
And here's one of the attic lights, the other one is behind me. The window is the front of the house. The pile of insulation is from the master bathroom ceiling. The ladder leads up to the widows watch on the roof. (remember the hatch from the lighting rod post?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Dungeon

So I decided that this wouldn't be a very thorough documentation of my journey if I didn't include at least a few pictures taken from the realm of the "Scary basement".

You can never have enough valves. These are some of the new lines I put in, lots of stuff to work around, gas line, wiring, telephone line, heating ducts & floor joists. The ones pointing toward the bottom of the picture are just stubbed out for when I add the 3rd bathroom (upstairs).

Notice those nice parallel new pipes?

And last but not least a pic of the new drain line sloping across the basement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ceiling Medallions

Rather than bore you with more pictures of plumbing, tonight I'm gonna showcase the old plaster ceiling medallions. Rest assured, there is progress being made elsewhere in the house though. I spent several hours this evening down in the basement soldering copper water lines and hanging PVC drain pipe from the floor joists. But back to the ceiling medallions. These are one of the aspects of the house that make it very unique, three of the rooms have the original, very ornate, plaster medallions on the ceiling. If you look closely you can see I've hung my lighting from the hooks that were used to hang the old oil lamps from (the house was built almost 20 years before the lightbulb was invented). I've heard that beside from being decorative, the medallions were used to collect the soot from the oil lamps, as it didn't stand out as much as a smoky stain on a flat white ceiling would.

This is the parlor ceiling, which right now is acting as our office/bedroom. Eventually it will be our library.

Here's the smaller one in the front entryway, it has a few extra colors of paint around the edges that we will eventually strip off there.

My favorite one is in the living room, its about 4' long with a cool star design.

Each medallion incorporates a different shape as the focal point in the center. But all three of them have a common theme with some sort of tree leaf being used in the design.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Staircase Chandelier

Where ya going with that 28' extension ladder?

In the house of course!

Right about here look good?

After some drilling and sawing to put a new ceiling box in... Taa Daa!

Tomorrow I just need to switch the electrical connection over in the attic and eventually plaster over the hole where the old fixture was. The old fixture was way off center of the staircase, my guess was they put it where it is because they could reach that area with a normal stepladder.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Motorcycle Show

Whats a motorcycle show have to do with a Victorian House? nothing, but its my blog, so I can make up the rules as I go :) and seeing how I got first place in the Custom Harley class, I feel thats worth a post!
I built this bike from scratch pretty much, about all thats left from the Harley is the motor.
Back at home with the trophy.

Some other bikes in the show.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fireplace Mantel

I didn't actually get any work done on the house tonight, but I did go pick up the marble mantel for the fireplace I will be putting in the master bedroom. The drive was a pretty painful 3-1/2 hours, but it was worth it. Its gonna reside right here in the dining room for awhile until I can get someone to help me carry it upstairs. I brought it in the house on my shoulder and it wasn't fun. I bet it weighs 200lbs.

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