Monday, February 27, 2017

Lights and Outlets and Switches, and more!

Prior to making an offer on 3301 we ordered a full inspection of the property to understand the condition of the home, what needed to be done and what was in good shape. This informed our offer and subsequent purchase price and gave us a great starting point for our projects list.  One of the projects revealed in the inspection was the need for a new electric panel. 

The existing Zinsco panel was a known fire risk, the breakers can fail to trip causing fire. Our Zinsco panel had worked for over 50 years without issue and was likely safe, but then again it was over 50 years old. So we decided to bite the bullet and have it replaced. Enter our new Square D electrical panel with upgraded service and a whole house surge protector!

Square D Electrical Panel with whole house surge protector

When we moved in we quickly noticed that every outlet was worn out, practically incapable of holding an appliance or lamp plug. This made charging devices and vacuuming quite a challenge, not to mention making coffee. In addition, there were several three-way switches that weren't working properly, the dining room light fixture to be moved and several new outlets that were needed. In other words, lots of work for our electricians.

The electricians set about replacing all the light switches and outlets. They added an outlet for the garage door opener on the garage ceiling and a new 220 outlet for the water heater that we'll be moving to the garage. They also added an outlet in the entryway and a junction box for my new old stock brass electric clock!

Vintage brass electric clock
Another view

Geeking out a bit on the clock, I just have to show you pictures of the packaging.

The last task for the electricians was moving the dining room fixture to the center of the dining room.  Seems to make sense, but this isn't the first dining room we've had where the light fixture wasn't centered in the room. After moving the junction box, the electrician installed our new chandelier. One might think I purchased the chandelier specifically for this house, but I actually purchased it several months before we even considered moving because it was on sale and I loved it. I didn't have a place for it yet, but knew I would someday. Luckily, someday was sooner rather than later and I think it looks lovely!

Dining room chandelier

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Guest Bedroom Trials

We determined, after meeting with contractors and replacing main mechanicals over the last two months that our new home is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Both Scott and I thought renovating the bathrooms was the number one item to complete to make the home feel like home.  Early estimates caught us off guard and we are now taking a longer view on what to complete early on. This decision prompted us to look at the bedroom "wing" as a whole, if we finished the bedrooms we could focus elsewhere. 

After Scott painted the walls, ceiling and closet, we moved from the little corner bedroom into the master bedroom and back into our own bed, heaven! Scott had already completed the office painting, so it was on to the little corner bedroom - the guest bedroom. The guest bedroom was decorated with vinyl grasscloth wallpaper and we were a bit leary on how the wallpaper would come down. Previous experience at our place in Astoria didn't give us a warm fuzzy. Amazingly, the wallpaper was ready to come down and Scott had three walls complete in no time. It was the fourth wall that gave us a bit of a shock.

Yes, that's mold coming from the other side of the wall where the master bathroom shower is located. It's dry (we don't use the shower) and not active, but still really gross. Where the mold is worst the drywall gives quite readily. After more investigation on the other side of the wall we decided to Kilz and slipcoat the bedroom side for the short term, knowing that within six months the bathroom renovations would remove and replace this drywall. Proper precautions were taken during this exercise. After a lot of painting prep and many coats of paint later (dark bright colors really need four coats) we now have three fully functional bedrooms.

Scott wrangles the TV antenna wire  

Guest bedroom  

Guest bedroom

Master bedroom  

The third, and smallest of the bedrooms is Scott's office. To be completed in all the bedrooms are storage solutions for the closets (on order) and window treatments (selected, but not yet ordered). What is really nice is that 3301 really feels like home. The layout is very functional (Scott and I don't meet as much at the pinch points anymore) and the home is welcoming. Ultimately, very livable. 

Life has a way of interfering. Between Scott's upcoming travel and mom's immediate health issues (serious, but not life threatening), the major projects will be throttled back a bit in favor of finishing what we've already started and working on more elbow grease projects in and around the house. I imagine, with the temps warming a bit around here, Scott's focus will turn to the yard and the downspouts. We will get to the bathrooms, but it may take six months.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Internal Narrative

Shortly after we moved into 3301 we discovered the original owner of our home was Pearl Freidman. We found her name on an old alarm system permit and on the tag on the silk draperies from JC Penny's that hang in the living room. I imagine Pearl to be the mother of the developer of the neighborhood. The house is situated in a prime location at the top of the hill. She was probably in her sixties and widowed when she moved into her home and she entertained her sons, their wives and her grandchildren here.

Pearl left her mark on many areas of the home. The care that was taken in the design of the kitchen and pink and gray hall bath are prime examples of her love of this home. The kitchen, very sixties mind you, has brown tile counters, gold terrazzo-style vinyl flooring and brown, orange and gold floral wallpaper on the sofit. The valance over the kitchen window coordinates perfectly. The cabinets are pecan plywood, 3/4" thick. I don't really know the original color because the finish has ambered significantly.

Last week I took to scrubbing 52 years of love and use from the cabinets and removed the remaining white wallpaper from the sofit revealing pristine vinyl wallpaper. I also replaced the cabinet knobs with Amerock 1 3/4" chrome dish knobs that mimic what I believe were original.

Kitchen sofit, before
Pearl's Kitchen design!

Kitchen 1/2 way through scrubbing... 

Kitchen cabinets, new knobs and everything

There were two cabinets I had not yet tackled, on either side of the drawers pictured above. They are the kind of cabinets that travel back further than your arm can reach. The kind where outdated appliances go to die. I decided to dig in and clean them, perhaps even lay shelf paper. Half a day later and we have even more storage! While I toiled at the task I found a box, a jewelry box.  And inside? Stay tuned! Meanwhile, I hope Pearl is pleased that we are loving her home.

Now, while I was toiling away revealing Pearl's plans, Scott was busy...very busy in the corner bedroom (the guest bedroom). I'll post his trials later this week. And trust me they are worth the wait!