Hello again, blog friends! Welcome back to the second installment of our home renovations diary.
We closed on the new house on Friday, March 14, 2014, but decided that we would live at our very generous friends Tony and Ari's guest house for a week before moving in. This would allow us to pull up all of the wall-to-wall carpeting and not have to live in what would surely be a giant dust storm. Did I tell you about the wall-to-wall? Well...every single room in the house, except for the kitchen and bathrooms, was carpeted with the most hideous 70's era, multi-pile broadloom. You know, that kind of carpet that has a cut pattern in it with raised pile and low pile? Yeah...different colors in almost every room, too. Well...I use the term "color' loosely. Every ugly shade of avocado, brown and gray was used to carpet the 10 rooms that didn't have ugly linoleum laid down (kitchen and 2 bathrooms). So after an evening at Tony and Ari's where we celebrated the new house over a wonderful dinner that they cooked for us, we got to work on the house the next day.
Nick, me, Tony and Ari in the backyard the evening of the closing.
That Saturday was a sunny, mild day. Nick and I arrived at the house around 9:00am and opened up all the windows to let the air in. Our friends Marty and Tony came to help. Donning face masks and gloves and armed with pliers and sharp utility knives we yanked and cut up the carpet starting in the front living room. We gradually made our way through the whole house and by the end of the day we had all of it up! (Not-so-fun-fact: all that dust embedded in old carpeting = human skin flakes! Ick! That's why masks are always a good idea.)
You might be wondering what we found underneath...Well, we were very happy to discover that all of the floors were original pumpkin pine! So beautiful. The only exception was the large dining room. It had more of that hideous linoleum and we weren't sure what was underneath. Some of the upstairs rooms had painted boards, but that's easy to deal with. The master bedroom had a patch in one corner that had plywood laid down. We learned that this is where there was a two story back porch. This was enclosed sometime in the mid-1900s to make it part of the house. In the downstairs level the newly enclosed area was turned into a full bath off the kitchen. Upstairs, in what is now the master bedroom, they just laid down a piece of plywood and carpeted the entire space. We weren't sure how we were going to deal with this, but we thought, "we'll figure it out later."
This corner in the master bedroom used to be the second level of the back porch.
How many staples can you count?
Bob pulling up staples. That's the linoleum floor in the dining room. What's underneath that?
The next day's crew were our friends Tony (again), Ari, Bob and Barbara. Now even though the floors were in pretty good shape the one thing we had to tackle this day was dealing with all of the carpet staples. There were hundreds of them in every room. I honestly don't understand why they had to use so many! No. Seriously...if a nuclear bomb detonated on our street the carpet in this house would have survived. Not only did they lay down tacking strip around the perimeter of every room, they stapled the carpets all over! Yikes! Our hands and backs were so sore after being hunched over pulling staples up with needle-nose pliers. And even when we thought we were done, you'd be standing in a room and catch a glimmer of something shiny in a corner and see a 6" row that you somehow missed. The main staircase was particularly bad. I ended up accidentally pulling up some of the trim underneath the stair treads because they were so embedded.
Our dog Siri checking out my work on the stairs. I accidentally pulled off some of the trim.
Rolls and rolls of carpet and padding.
Well, after a long day we all went out for drinks and a big meal. Hey...we got a big project in the works here! There were so many decisions to make. For starters, what do we do with these floors we just uncovered? And what was underneath the linoleum in the dining room? Over the next few days we sketched out a plan for the entire project and the first thing we decided to do was a little unconventional for a historic house. Some people thought we were crazy, but we already knew that!