another step closer

…to finishing the back living room (aka the living room living room as named by boyo when he was 3, to distinguish it from the family room living room that we actually do the “living” in). The living room is probably the prettiest room in the house, and the least used of the downstairs rooms. We close it off in the winter with a blanket in the doorway, and it gets really cold in there.

All summer I’d been noticing a faintly mildewy smell (or more accurately for me, taste) in that room, and when I’d walk by the doorway to go upstairs. It was finally time to take some action. I learned this summer that I have a slight mold allergy, and even with the dysosmia issues, I can still taste mold/mildew perhaps more than smell it. Not especially pleasant.

The beginning

liv rm project (1) liv rm project (5)

liv rm project (2) liv rm project (9)

It’s not too cluttered in these photos, but it is… Stuff just lands there. Camping gear, stuff that should go into the attic, stuff that should go in the barn, stuff that should just go away… Often there is a weight set in there over the winter and/or a bicycle in a stand. The room serves as library, laboratory, and herbarium. There’s a fireplace behind that chest, but we closed it up because of the drafts.

When the house was built, this was originally two smaller rooms. Not sure when they opened it up, but I’m glad somebody did. Now the room measures about 25 feet by 10. This is half of the downstairs of the main part of the house. The other half is the kitchen, which is open into the dining room. Open from the dining room is the ell where we mostly “live”, and where there’s a woodstove.

in progress

Two coats of paint on the ceilings took longer than I thought it would! And then…
liv rm project (24) liv rm project (34)

There was loose wallpaper around the fireplace. Yes, somebody had painted over the wallpaper. I wasn’t going to take it all down, but I had to get up that hanging, loose bit. And then it was hard to stop. And then I had a good time skim coating it (really, I did).
liv rm project (40)

Two coats behind the bookshelves, ceilings done, trim has a coat, and a coat or two on the walls…
liv rm project (46)

There are six windows in this room! When I did the back (red) wall, I just painted the window, but as I did the rest of the room, I realized that three windows needed attention, and I may as well take out and put back in the one with the sash weights so that the cords are new.

things i discovered

The window that had cords hanging from the lower sash, and pulleys at the top of the window case, doesn’t actually have pocket doors to access the sash weights. I have no idea if there are sash weights in there or not! Also, this window glass was cracked, so out it came. It’s still in the barn, waiting for a piece of glass.
liv rm project (60)
Where is the weight pocket???

painting windows pc heat gun
Painting the lower sashes and trim pieces that hold the windows in. The heat gun is a new toy; it allowed me to get the old glazing out of the window with the broken glass without killing myself or the window sash…

Two windows had the sash weight/pulley system replaced with something called a Caldwell Sash Balance. They still make these things, but they are totally different. Generically, these things are called coil spring balances.
caldwell sash balance (6) caldwell sash balance (9)

caldwell sash balance (7) caldwell sash balance (3)
They sit where the pulley goes, and there is a metal strip that comes down where the cord goes, and that open triangular hookey thing goes where the knot goes. All of mine are broken and/or rusted. And the windows need sticks to prop them open.

Do you think anybody makes these anymore? I’ve found a company in the midwest who sells them, but their sizes are a tad different than what I have. I have to call them soon. I have two other windows in the house with these things in them. Pain in the ass. Why did anybody replace the so easy to maintain sash and pulley system???

Be still my beating heart!
I think I just found them!!

I also discovered that at some point the mantel was gold. Bright, shiny, and gold.
liv rm project (66)

The stuffed chair that was in the room is especially mildewy. It came to us with some issues, and they’ve gotten worse. It’s a good chair, but it’ll be ~$700 to reupholster. I may try to do this myself… I mean, what is there to lose?

And now

liv room painted (5) liv room painted (8)
(things still aren’t quite picked up… we need to organize some of the plant specimens… and I never pulled the stuff off of this wall to paint it, but it’s totally covered by cabinets and shelves. Maybe in the spring.)

The oldest books (over 100 years old some of them, but none valuable… they’re all in middling condition or so) are going through an airing regimen to get rid of some of the mustiness… and they got sprayed with Lysol. We just need another sunny day or two to put them out again.
airing old books (1)

What’s interesting is that the wall changes color in the different lights,
liv room painted (3) liv room painted (10)

and the best part?

We’re getting a gas fireplace insert and planning to use the room this winter!

6 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Mom said,

    October 16, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    You continue to amaze me – a window sash expert re pulleys! Dump the chair – you’ll never get rid of the mildow smell once it’s in the wood. You’ve done a spectacular job so far – but then, I would expect nothing less from my multi-talented daughter. AND I’m excited that you’re getting the fireplace insert to use the room. It’s too nice not to be lived in.

  2. 2

    Diane McKenney said,

    October 16, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    looks wonderful! I am so-o-o jealous!

  3. 3

    Blogless Carrie said,

    October 16, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    What your mom said, except that you’re not my daughter. For one who has issues with mold, I’d toss the chair, too. What an amazing process. Glad to see you’re not resting on your laurels.

    So, are all those containers on shelves for your stash?

  4. 4

    Cheryl said,

    October 16, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Room re-do looks beautiful. Excellent light with all those windows. BTW inmates at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham re-upholster furniture for much less. They have done a terrific job on two chairs for me, at $150 or so each (you provide your own fabric).

  5. 5

    dre said,

    October 19, 2012 @ 12:47 am

    Love this post! Home renovation FTW!

  6. 6

    kmkat said,

    October 28, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    I am skeptical about eliminating the mold from the upholstered chair, but if anyone can do it you can. That room looks like it would be wonderfully cool in summer, also lots of light. Great idea on the fireplace!

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