First things first: to the lady who commented and said that Bradley’s hot…I know, right?? He’s also really nice, really funny and really smart. I’m a big fan of that guy. Especially when he does stuff like this and lets me put it on the internet for everyone to see:
Heh heh. What a guy.
Things are starting to cool down in our neck of the woods. We built our first fire of the season recently:
This year, we’re determined to use our wood-burning stove for heat 90% of the time. We had our oil boiler topped off last winter, but we hate using oil for heat. A few weekends ago, we had two cords of wood delivered and we spent two full days stacking wood. I didn’t take any photos of that because I had the flu and really just wanted to curl up and nap all day.
We know the living room is going to be insanely cold this winter — no insulation, remember? — and it’s the room we spend most of our time in. We won’t get around to insulating it this year, which means we’ll freeze our fannies off if we hang out in there too long.
Now that the dining room is fully insulated, complete with new door and new windows, it makes sense to move the couch and TV in there for the winter. For those of you keeping track at home, this is our third living-room-to-dining-room migration in 18 months. Sigh. Someday, the madness will end. But not today, peeps. Not. Today.
Before we move in, we want to paint the floors and put up trim to finish up the room. But before we can do that, we have to address some issues with our dining room floors.
The floors are old and weathered, but we love the way they look. What we don’t love is how much they bounce, creak and groan when you walk around. Bradley’s mom summed it up: “You could never sneak up on anyone in this house.” We’re pretty used to creaking wood floors from years of living in pre-war apartment buildings. It’s the bouncing that freaks us out.
The bounce in the center of the dining room was so bad that it felt like you were inside a bouncey castle. Or on a trampoline. OK, fine, we’re totally exaggerating, but it was pretty bad. Last winter, Bradley built a wall in the basement so we could store our firewood in one corner:
That wall happens to be right under the dining room, and as soon as it was in place the bouncing stopped. Now we just had to worry about the creaking.
In our case, the creaking was due to wobbly boards. The solution was to nail them down so they stop shifting around.
We used these special nails that have a corkscrew twist through the body. This helps keep nails from popping up and also makes it really hard to pull them out once they’re in place.
We started by snapping some chalk lines along every beam that runs under the flooring:
Finding the beams was easier than it sounds: the butt end of each board has to rest on top of a beam. So we snapped a line down the center of areas where a lot of butt ends met up. Pretty soon, we had a series of parallel lines at fairly regular intervals:
Then we just went in and bang 2 nails per board all the way down the line.
The nail heads are totally visible, but they form nice, straight lines down the length of the room. This is not going to be the right solution for every creaky floor. It would look pretty odd in a new house with shiny new floors. But it works for our old house because the floors are already distressed and rustic. Visible nail heads just adds to the charm.
We nailed down the floor boards in the hallway while we were at it:
And we’ll do the same in the living room once we’ve moved all the furniture out.
There were some crusty, rotten strips of wood in the doorway that connects the living room and dining room, so Bradley removed them and replaced them with new strips of wood:
The process was exactly the same as what we did in the guest bedroom close way back in May 2011. You can read all about that here.
While he took care of that, I put up all the switch plates and outlet covers:
It’s been hard to photograph the color of the walls accurately, but you can really see it now that the outlets are in place.
It’s starting to look finished, but we have a lot of small details to take care of before we’re done. Like installing our new doorbell:
We don’t have any good before pictures of our old doorbell because we ripped that sucker out and stomped on it, Office Space style. You can see it in this picture from earlier in the year:
It was a beige monstrosity straight out of 1975 and they didn’t even bother to center it. We replaced it with this bell that looks like a teeny-weeny version of something that might hang in a middle school classroom:
We centered it, of course. But we’re not 100% happy with it. We might paint it white so it’s not so shiny.
It looks fine during the day, but it’s hanging so close to the track lighting that it blinds us at night. A crisp white will help it blend in a bit and hopefully keep us from burning out our retinas every time we walk through the room.
We painting the floors this weekend, and we can’t wait to share that with you guys. We also have some more updates on what we’ve been up to for the past couple of weekends. Plus we have to share our plans for the laundry room, downstairs bathroom and kitchen. Stay tuned!