Greetings from rainy, grey Brooklyn! We just got in from rainy, grey Pennsylvania last night. We spent our rainy, grey weekend finishing up the insulation and drywall in the dining room. It was actually a two-weekend project. We started last week by installing some temporary fixtures to the dining room doorways:
The dining room is smack dab in the center of the house. Here’s a floor plan:
Even though we leave the windows and door open while we’re working, dust manages to find its way everywhere. We found ourselves dusting pretty much every day, especially in the kitchen. Dust even managed to get upstairs in the hallway and guest bedroom. How? No clue. But it was getting to be a bit much to keep up with. We found these tarp zippers at our local hardware store for $10 a pop:
Basically, they’re a zipper with a heavy-duty adhesive on one side. We stapled some plastic over the doorway leading to the hall and to the kitchen. Then we taped the plastic to the wall and floors to completely seal up the openings. After that, we taped the zipper to the plastic, unzipped it, cut a slit from top to bottom, and we have a plastic doorway:
It looks a bit like a Dexter kill room, but it works like a charm to keep the dust out. We did this for two doorways: the one leading upstairs and the one to the kitchen. We didn’t bother with the door that leads to the living room because dust wasn’t really getting in there to begin with.
Once we finished dust-proofing the doorways, we settled down for a nap on our ginormous radiator:
Not hammy enough? Here ya go:
We dragged the radiator out of the way and saw what was going on behind it:
All together now: ewwwwww…. Luckily that’s not mold we’re looking at. It’s crusty old wallpaper.
It’s the 7th or 8th different wallpaper pattern we’ve found in this house. We’ve lost track at this point. Either way, there was a whole lot of fugliness going on back there. And here’s what we found underneath the radiator:
A giant pile of dust and animal fur. Again: ewwwwww. That picture pretty much sums up why we’ve decided to make radiator boxes. We’re designing them to fit in with the overall look of our house and building them ourselves, so they’ll be more fancy-schmancy than the frumpy radiator boxes we’ve found in catalogs.
Speaking of frumpy, check out what the radiator did to the floor underneath:
We have a little patching and sanding to do. But first, we’re building walls. We started by removing all of the trim:
We talked about it a little in our last dining room post, but we’ve decided not to save and reinstall the old wood trim. The room feels so much more open without it. Once the trim was out, we built our walls.
This wall was, by far, the hardest:
Each rafter was slightly different, so the drywall had to be precisely cut to fit against the ceiling:
It was a bit like Tetris.
We were so geeked to tear down this old doorbell:
We’re guessing it was added in the ’60s or ’70s, and we’ve always hated the way it looks. So we’re replacing it with this:
It’s a small bell. Kind of a tiny version of the giant school bells that we had in our elementary schools. We haven’t installed it yet, but it’s going to look much more subtle than the giant creme-colored box it’s replacing.
Another thing we were super geeked about:
Saying buh-bye to that hideous floral wall border. We’ve been living with that ugliness for over a year now and covering it up was a happy-dance-around-the-room kind of momentous occasion. We may also have shouted “See you in hell, wallpaper!”
Check out our new, ugly-free walls. So fresh and so clean-clean! And so tall-tall, too:
To give some reference to the height of this room, Bradley’s just a bit over 5’10″. The room has always had taller-than-average ceilings, but we added about a foot when we exposed the rafters. With fresh, untextured drywall and no trim, the entire room feels so much bigger.
Here’s Bradley screwing in the last bit of drywall:
And, finally, here’s how the room looks now:
We love how the clean walls make the raw elements in the room pop. The rafters look so much better jutting out of a textureless wall:
And the spot where the rafters meet the brick looks so much better:
It’s finally starting to look more urban loft and a lot less country tacky.
We still have a lot of work to do before we can wrap this room up, though. We’re currently planning out how to replace the entry door:
It’s an old, solid wood door that would look great if we sanded and painted it, but we’re not going to keep it. It’s about half an inch thick and has the thinnest piece of single-pane glass known to mankind. Seriously. We might as well have a Kleenex separating us from the elements. This thing is doing nothing to keep us warm in the winter. So we’re shopping around for new doors. It’s not as easy as it sounds — all of the doors in our house are so old that they’re not standard-sized. Boo! Hiss! We might have to make or order custom exterior doors for the dining room and kitchen.
We have a lot of updates for you guys this week. We’re running in high gear right now so we’ll be posting more frequently. Whee! In our next post, we’re going to talk about our plans for the dining room doors:
That’s coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned!