Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Cellar

What a crazy week! The days are seriously flyyyyying by! Things are still moving ahead at the house, slowly but surely. We're pretty much done all the ripping down that we're going to do. We discovered some rot on one side of the big dormer in the second floor. We knew the front wall had rot but we were expecting it to be mostly in the first floor. We weren't expecting so much in the second floor. But we WERE expecting the unexpected. Cause that's how it is with old houses. So even though we weren't totally expecting it, we weren't surprised either.

 So even though our pine floors look really good, we thought it would be a good idea to remove the first 4 or 5 floorboards along that rotten wall to see if it has gone into the floor beams. After the unexpected rot in the front wall upstairs, I was totally expecting to see rot in the floor beams. But nope! It looks great! Which was unexpected. Which goes to prove that if you've got an 85 year old farmhouse, expect the unexpected, whether that be positive or negative.

But on to our stone cellar. We're not entirely sure but we're pretty positive that the basement  is from the house that stood there before. The walls are made of big chunks of stone. Which make very thick walls and really deep window sills.

We love it! It's absolutely rustic and charming. The walls will be whitewashed so they'll be bright white. And of course new windows. We'll also be jackhammering up the very uneven basement floor, digging down another 10 cm to give us a little extra ceiling height, and then putting in floor heating and a proper floor. But this will be sometime after we've moved in. Our main priority is getting the main part of the house finished so we CAN move in. The basement will be our first project after that (along with a looong list of other things we want to do). This farm is definitely going to be a lifetime project. Which is exactly what we want. We've got so many possibilities with this property that we can dream our way into the next 2 decades at least!

In the basement is an old kitchen from the house that stood there previously. So it's probably from the early 18th century. Back in the day, the family moved down into the basement in the summer as it was much cooler. So a little kitchen was handy. We love it and we're going to use it to store craft supplies, puzzles, games etc...

There are a few 18th century doors from the previous house as well. Can't wait to get that paint off and expose the iron hinges.

There's also something called a "takke". It's what they used to make large, round flat bread called "lefse". This is coming out though and we'll be putting in a little wood stove instead.

And that's our basement! We'll be having a large guest room down there and a tv/craft/games room. It's a full size basement plus we're putting in a basement under the build-on on the back. That will be our "technical" space for the hot water heater, central vac, freezer, etc..

At this point we can't really do any more major work until the contractor comes and jacks up our rotten wall and does all the exterior work. I'm soooooo excited for that to happen. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I can hardly wait!! But there's still lots to do in the meantime. Today I started sanding doors to be repainted and rehung. Thank the Lord for power sanders!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Upstairs Tour and Wallpaper Dilemma

Life is truly hectic at the moment. We want to be working at the house almost every evening. But I work 2 evenings a week. So Sindre has the kids but he still tries to get over there for a bit. Plus Sindre is one of the coaches for Emilie's soccer team and he plays soccer himself. He didn't know he'd be renovating a house when he said yes to those things. But there's just a few matches and practices left before the season is over. The evenings we do have free to work on the house, it's a race to get the kids homework done, get supper made, eaten and cleaned up, send the girls to their various activities and/or get them ready to go over to the house with us. Thankfully, they love playing outside. Rebecca spent all day last Saturday there with Sindre and I and she was SOOOO good! She played with her doll, helped me rip off wallpaper, played "store" and watched a movie on her portable DVD player. What a cutie! got the main floor tour last time. Let's move upstairs. Speaking of stairs....I adore this staircase!!!

I will be sanding it down and painting it white. And that will be the second time this year that I've painted a staircase. I'm looking forward to it though! One, because I have 3 power sanders to play with this time (they are so much fun!!) and two, it's going to look soooo pretty! Can I just mention here that there used to be a very ugly blue and green carpet runner along the steps? Sindre ripped it off and I removed the nails. I removed s.e.v.e.n.t.e.e.n nails from just one single step. The previous owners were really nail happy. I've never seen so many nails in my life. On the bright side, I've become very handy with a hammer.

Ok, the opening you see at the top of steps is the door into the first bedroom which will be Emilie's bedroom. In the photo here, I'm standing in the door taking a picture into the room. The wall and door you see here will be removed. They closed in the back part of the room to use as a closet/storage but we're going to open it all up to make the room bigger. We'll be using the original paneling on the wall .

This is the "scary" room. You can't see it that well in the picture but this room has suffered the most from the rotten sill on the foundation of the house on the front wall. Actually it's the sill between the 1st and 2nd floors that's really the culprit. The floor is completely sagging except for middle where there is a big hump where a wall from the first floor is holding it up. It's not dangerous but really crooked. When the contractor jacks up the front wall and replaces the rotten materials, we should be ok. We'll see what the floor looks like after that before we make any decisions on what to do there. Madelen has the middle room so the original paneling will be removed so we can put in new electrics for the bedrooms and to insulate between the walls of the bedrooms. So we don't have to hear each other fart in bed. 'Nuff said.

And the bed is staying. I love it!

This is from the top of the stairs looking to the right down the hall to our bedroom and the little storage room with the funny door. Where you see the closed door on the right wall will be gone. Here is where the build-on will be. So there will be a door into Rebecca's room and closer to the stairs will be another door to the main bath.

This is our bedroom which is more or less the same as Emilie's and we'll be removing the wall here too.

This is from my bedroom door looking back down the hall to the stairs.

So that's the upstairs tour. :)

A little update. I've decided to paint the floors. Probably a light to medium grey. So choosing the right shade will be a challenge. We're trying to keep the interior of the house "old fashioned". We want it to feel like you've stepped back to 1929 but with all of today's modern day conveniences. Obviously, I can't just go and get rid of all my furniture that I have now, but I'm hoping that I can make it fit into the style we're going for and we'll be able to blend the new with the old.

So I've been looking at wallpapers. There is going to be a lot of painted wood paneling in the house and we want to add some colour and texture with wallpaper in some spaces. So I've been looking at some historically inspired papers. I absolutely fell in love with this one for the kitchen.

I found it online so I thought I'd better go check out what it looks like in real life at a store. And it's not the same at all. The muted blue is actually silver. Sparkling silver. There's no real colour to it all.It's pretty but it just doesn't have the right feel and I have my heart set on some blue. We're going to have a lot of neutrals so I need some colour somewhere.

I originally overlooked this wallpaper but it's really starting to grow on me. It still has that historical feel and it's got some colour. It's a little more busy than the other one though. What do you think??

And this one for Rebecca's room because I've honestly never seen anything cuter in my life. It will be on a feature wall and still works with my theme of "red gingham" for her bedroom. Isn't it just the cutest EVER???

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ripping Apart.

Things are happening!! So much so that I've really not had a chance to update my blog. Hoping for at least weekly updates in the future though.

First thing's first. We sold our house. Yes, the house we currently live in that we built ourselves just 7 years ago and absolutely love. SOLD. I'm doing surprisingly ok about it. But that's probably because we don't have to be out until March 1st. So ask me again when that date is approaching. But, really, it's a big weight off our shoulders to know that it's sold, we got a decent price and we don't have to worry about it.

Secondly, the blueprints are done and are currently being sent off for approval. We had to go back to the drawing board at one point because it was proving to be very difficult to find a spot to put in the downstairs staircase. Currently, you have to go OUT of the house to get in the basement. Obviously we couldn't have that. So we had originally planned on putting the downstairs staircase under the upstairs staircase. But that didn't work as the stonewalls in the basement are so thick that you'd end up hitting the wall before you got to the floor. After A LOT of thought, discussion, and mad head scratching, we came up with the solution to have the stairs in the add on we're putting on the back.

Here are the pretty drawings of the outside. (I'll save the floor plans for another day.):

The top left corner is the front of the house. We're not changing anything. There will be new windows and siding and insulation (!!!) but they will have the exact same appearance as they have now. Here's the same view in real life. You can barely see the stained glass porch on the right side of the house. That will be the guest entrance.

And if you're wondering, NO, we will not be having blue trim around the windows. Everything will be white. Back to the drawings. Bottom left is the back of the house with the proposed build-on. Top right is looking at the house from the left side (the side without the stained glass porch) and bottom right is the right side of the house with the porch. So a decent sized, two story build-on. It will give us a small bathroom, laundry room, mud room and downstairs staircase on the main floor, and an extra bedroom and main bath on the 2nd floor.

Ok. So now that we now what it looks like on the outside and how we want it to look like when we're about some pictures of the inside.

This is in the kitchen looking towards what used to be a "kammers". Like a little bedroom. We've removed the wall you see here to open up it up completely to the window. We counted 5 different paint colours in the kitchen but that little patch of blue you see on the left is the original colour. 

 These are the 2 living rooms. Back in the day, you had your everyday room and your "nice" living room for company. We're tearing out the wall you see in the bottom picture to make one livingroom.

This is the original flooring in the entire house. Pine wood floors. Beautiful! It took removing layer after layer of vinyl flooring, oilcloth, plywood, and COUNTLESS rugs to find it. The next question is, do we just sand it and put lacquer on it OR do we paint them?? Right now I'm leaning towards painting. A beautiful, semi-glossy, very light grey. What do you think?

So far we've removed the entire contents of the house (it was full of furniture) and are now ripping out walls in the main floor, as well as the ceilings and outer layer of all the walls in the main floor. This way we'll be able to see with our own eyes if there's any rot behind the walls. We knew there would be on the front wall, and yes, there is. But everything else is looking pretty ok. And now that we've got it stripped to the bones, we can install all new electrics, put in spot lights in the ceilings, put in a central vacuum system and last, but certainly not least, we can insulate.  Here's a pic of how it looks ripped down to the bones.


And our rotten front wall. 

And since I realize that this is turning into an epic long blog post, I'm going to wrap it up here. Next time we'll take a tour of the upstairs. And we'll get to the stone basement too soon cause I'm really excited about that!! SO much to look forward too!!