Fixing the House

Real Estate agents tell us that most people just want to buy a house and move in. They don’t want a fixer-upper. They want to buy the house, move in their bed, and have a good night’s rest.

So, that’s even more evidence that I’m not part of the mainstream.

This past month, we closed on a lovely 130-year-old house. It needs work, but we’re doing slowly, but surely.

One of the most encouraging things is that much of the work that needed to be done on the floors is now complete. Rooms that previously smelled strongly of a poorly-trained housecat are now pleasing to sit in. The newly finished floor feels like satin beneath my bare feet. There is an enormous psycological effect, as well. I now want to spend my nights stripping wallpaper and preparing the living room for painting so that we can have at least one room somewhat in order before my parents visit this weekend.

As an example, here is a before and after picture of our living room floor.

(For any old hands out there: yes, we should have done the ceiling and walls before the floor. In this case, that wasn’t very feasible since the stale cat oder made it fairly unbearable.)

United States Gypsum Company patents

One of the easiest parts of fixing a house up is ripping it apart. You don’t have to worry about ruining things (too much) since that is exactly what you are trying to do. And, it can even be a little exciting, as well. While taking out a wall that had been put in about 85 years ago, we found old wall-paper and ceiling-paper dating from the late 19th or early 20th century. In the second photo, we can see where the wall builder marked up the ceiling with his pencil along with several layers of paper and, finally, paint that had been applied to the ceiling in subsequent years. We also found United States Gypsum Company patent information on the back of the walls which gave us the means of dating the wall.

A wall like that leaves a mark in the floor. And the sanders cleaned it up nicely.

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