We’re currently celebrating our house’s thirteenth birthday (thirteen years with us) and its 128th birthday on this street. To watch and read about the whole process in those early years (pre-blog), check out our rehab slide shows, nine of them, here.
Before you start thinking this post may be getting a little too personal for a Monday morning, let’s just stick to the architecture okay? I had grand ideas when I started this little journey a week and a half ago that I’d be able to tour you through the house, telling little love stories along the way – and then we’d magically wrap up the tour on the holiday of love itself. I didn’t really bargain on how long it would take to put these posts together, or how many sidetracks I’d find myself on as I looked back through photographs and remembered long ago stories. At this rate, we’ll land on something really romantic for Valentine’s Day like the laundry room. Oh well. As any seasoned rehabber will tell you, everything takes way longer to finish than you first think.
So, the bedroom. Here she is. Funny that I forgot it was pale blue in there – and now we have almost the same shade of blue on the ceiling. Let’s pretend like it was an intentional nod to the past, shall we?
In this photo you can really see the way the floors were originally finished in our house. Because this was more of a working class house built for two families, but this was also the Victorian period and there were certain things you did in all houses, fancy or not, you find lots of example in our house of trying to make things appear richer than they were. The floors were finished differently around the perimeter because the center of the rooms would have always had a rug. Some people may gasp at the idea that we painted all of our wood trim white, but the trim wasn’t a nice wood and wasn’t in great shape either. It had been faux finished in the beginning to look like a nicer wood than it really was.
We took out a total of thirteen tons of plaster and lath out of this house. How do we know how much it weighed? A little math (and a lot of sore muscles.) We filled up our large street dumpster with the plaster from all the rooms but the master bedroom – that was the last room we did, and we couldn’t fit another thing into that dumpster. We had created a chute of rubbermaid trashcans out of the front window to dump second floor plaster into waiting wheelbarrows that we hauled into the big dumpster. When we got to this last room we drove a trailer up into the yard and just heaved the stuff right out. The problem was the weight of the plaster quickly caused the back end of the trailer to sink and the front end to rise up into the air. So every three or four bucket dumps would require someone to run downstairs, climb into the back of the trailer and shovel the weight to the front. It was a giant, dusty seesaw. We had to pay to dispose of the trailer contents by weight, so we quickly determined the weight of one room of plaster, and did the math for the house. Lucky thirteen again, right? Twenty-six thousand pounds. I’m aching just thinking about it. (I did have very nicely toned arms for that wedding dress, let me tell you.)
Plaster out, new framing in. We had to move our bedroom door to the side to accommodate the new bathroom and stair hall.
Three weeks before the wedding and we had half finished drywall and a bunch of moving boxes. It was really classy. I think I heard that my mom cried about the house for the first time. (To her credit, it wasn’t in front of me.)
We slowly got our act together though – those stairs went in so we could safely access the room. We started to think about actually building our first closet, a novel idea. We designed a full wall of ceiling height wardrobes and had them made by a local shop. The boxes arrived and we lugged those heavy suckers upstairs. This is where we begin the series of giant MDF boxes that slowly populate our house. Trust me, you’ll see more.
They got installed.
They got painted.
The kitchen once again became a painting studio for the drawers and doors.
And there they were! A ridiculous amount of storage. Our entire luggage collection fits in that upper lefthand cabinet. It was like Christmas time ten.
The trim was all installed and the ceiling was painted that pale blue (it’s now a slightly darker blue.)
And then a baby moved in with us, in first a cradle at the end of the bed, and then a bigger crib by the mantel.
She was an awesome roommate and an incredible sleeper, and we certainly didn’t mind sharing the space with her, even as she got older and started getting into the shoe cabinet with some regularity.
And so we finally built her a room of her own just above us, and she moved out right before she turned one. We hung a family portrait above the mantel so that we could remember our former companion.
Some more years went by and we had another baby. She too slept at the end of our bed, and we frequently slept as well. We loved her dearly, but she was not a good roommate – a noisy sleeper that needed her own quiet, dark space to tune out the world. She lasted a couple of weeks in there, and then did an infant victory dance when we let her sleep on her own. She’s still the same way, throwing her hand across her forehead and declaring “Well, I’m just exhausted and ready for a nap.” (She said that to me yesterday before plopping into her bed in a very dramatic fashion and pulling the quilt up over her head.)
This room is in really good shape, but it’s not all perfect and light. Here’s the dark little secret in the corner I crop out of the photos. The computer. Agh. I hate this beast in here, but its new room is ready and its new desk is next on the to-do list. I’m one step closer to a zero technology bedroom, minus the iPad for nightly Words With Friends rounds.
Those wardrobes have had to house a lot more stuff than just wardrobes, but now those items are slowly finding their way into more permanent locations. I just might need to buy some new clothes now to fill up the empty spaces.
We have books stacked everywhere, but even those are just a week or two away from getting a permanent home!
The room is mostly white, but it’s getting a serious injection of color, and it’s particularly nice in the summer with the leaves just outside.
We’re going to install the old cast iron summer front from the living room into this mantel sometime soon.
This bed is a favorite place for everyone to hang out – there’s always some girl on it, usually with a book.
Sometimes it’s both girls, spending the night with me this past Saturday while dad was out of town. (Fun in theory, but they are total bed hogs.)
The light is incredible (north facing) and so I take a lot of photographs in here; you can see my bed covering’s squares in the backdrop of many a blog photo.
I like the light for photographing the girls, and they are often standing in front of the cabinets or wardrobes in photos.
Occasionally I take a photo of myself, but not too often. I guess this one counts as a photo of a kid too; I think it was the last one I took before F was born.
I can also check out the lines at the deli (usually out the door) across the street from my window, and listen to live blues through the screens on summer afternoons.
I try not to pick favorites, but this has got to be one of the best rooms for sure. There are more than a few love stories about this place where we rest our rehab weary heads.