More Adventures in Flooring

The Berg

It has been a week since the carpet came out, and with the girls at Grandma’s once again, Kurt and I spent another eight hours working at the Berg.

Our primary goal was to pull out the vintage vinyl flooring that was uncovered in the upstairs when we tore out the hideous carpet.

We started in the back bedroom, where the old carpet pad had completely turned to dust. After we vacuumed, we found an old vinyl floor. (Fun fact #72: According to neighbors, this room was actually used as a kitchen once, when the second floor had been rented out as an apartment. That would explain why there is no closet in this ‘bedroom’.)

When we rolled up the vinyl, we discovered that they had used newspapers to level out the floor. Hello Post Bulletin from the summer of 1967. (In fact, we found a lot of newspapers, dating between 1955 and 1967, so stay tuned for another blog post with details and lots of pictures!)

Vintage Newspaper 1967

Once the vinyl was rolled up and the newspapers were collected, we were delighted to see that the hard wood floor was nearly unblemished! Thank goodness their kitchen hadn’t been plumbed!

Rolled Vinyl in Back Bedroom

Next, we moved on to the bathroom. Remember the beautiful carpet that was in there?

Bathroom Carpet

When that came out, it left behind the rubber-backed portion, in a fine black dust, that was stuck to a layer of vinyl and more newspapers. But once that was removed, look at the amazing wood floor! It has a fantastic weathered gray color. I just love it!

Finally, it was time to tackle the master bedroom at the front of the house. Under the carpet and pad, we found a huge sheet of vintage vinyl. It was nailed down in a few places so Kurt had to work himself under it to get it to let go. It was pretty hilarious to watch him disappear under a blanket of old floor.

 

Once we started rolling it up, we found buried treasure! Another layer of vinyl, and this one was much more colorful!

So, we carefully rolled that one up to. And look what we found under that layer! A lovely wood floor with fantastic old vent!

Front bedroom floor

Now look at all our vintage vinyl flooring! We carefully carried it downstairs and stood it up in the garage. (My next project is to find someone who would like to buy it.)

But tearing out vinyl wasn’t our only accomplishment yesterday. We also removed all of the tack strip that was used to hold the carpet down around the edges of the rooms and on the stairs.

Tearing out tack strip

I also pulled out all the carpet staples from the stairs, and gave the whole place a nice vacuuming. Kurt even checked out the attic. There weren’t any big bags of money or hidden pieces of fine art up there so he decided he didn’t want to explore further.

Instead he and the shop vac headed to the basement for an hour and a half of clearing cob webs and sucking up dust and who knows what. (Better him than me!) I spent that time in the dining room, scraping off wallpaper.

I was happy to see that the old plaster is in very good condition!

So, activities at the Berg are moving right along. It’s starting to look like somewhere people might want to come visit. After a little more cleaning and fresh air, we should have all the creepiness out of it.

Stay tuned!

Worst. Carpet. Ever.

The Berg

On Thursday of last week, we arranged for our girls to have a sleepover at Grandma’s house, so Kurt and I went on a date night to The Berg. Our big plans for the evening… ripping out the exceedingly foul carpet. Romantic, huh?

Kurt has spent most of the last three decades tearing out and/or installing flooring and last week at The Berg was the first time he asked me to find him a mask to wear. He said it was in the top five worst carpets he’s ever seen. I donned my haz-mat suit (dust mask, hair cover, coveralls, long sleeve shirt, and leather work gloves) and worked quickly.

Haz-Mat Suit Up

We were in a super time crunch to pull out all the nasty flooring and get it to the dump before they closed. So in a frantic and truly disgusting frenzy, we tore out carpet and pad from the entire place.

The before pictures show just how soiled the carpet was.

Here are a couple of during and after pics.

Once the van was full of nasty, we raced to the dump to unload it. Thankfully, we arrived ten minutes before they closed so the van didn’t have to smell horrible for too long.

With the carpet and pad out, we discovered a few places where the wood floor needed to dry out. But after a few hours of scraping and dusting (to cut down on the stickiness left over from the pad), the lovely original floors were exposed.

Over the last several days, the house has been airing out. Fresh air and couple of plug-in air fresheners go a long way! Thankfully, no more haz-mat suits required. Next up… Removing the sheet vinyl flooring that was under the carpet upstairs.

Stay tuned.

A First Look Inside

The Berg

The Berg officially became ours last Thursday, so we took our girls over to get their first look inside.

Upon walking in the east side door which leads into the kitchen, I asked Maggie (age 3 1/4) what she thought. Her first words were “this house smells bad” followed almost immediately by “hey, this is the kitchen!” She was not wrong. (Just like the White House, our first job will be to open the windows and remove the very old, very dirty, very smelly carpet.)

I’ve sketched out the layout of the house, to give you some basic bearings. (Obviously not to scale, but close enough for now.)

Berg Floorplan

While the rest of the family was exploring the empty house, I snapped several million ‘before’ pictures. Here are a few to give you a sense of the house (without subjecting you to the scents of the house.)

There is so much more floral wallpaper than I remembered! The upstairs isn’t any better.

The basement is a bit of an eye-sore: crumbling walls, knob-and-tube wiring, old pipes. Kurt (and a handful of professionals) will have a lot of work to do down there before we’re through with this transformation.

Outside, the yard is large and full of nice plantings. And the garage has a ton of character, with different bricks from a century of repairs and renovations.

But let’s end this quick tour with a little natural beauty… Mr. and Mrs. Berg were avid gardeners and even though they have passed, their flower gardens are still lovely.

I can’t wait to get into there and take out that nasty carpet. The transformation begins this week!

Stay tuned.

Introducing “The Berg” in Rochester, MN

The Berg

Kurt and I are so excited! Today we bought our second project house!

It was previously owned (for the last 65 years) by an elderly couple named Mr. and Mrs. Berg, so we decided to call it “The Berg.” I also like the name because we just bought a 140 year-old house “AS-IS.” I’m sure that the problems we *know* about are just ‘the tip of the ice-BERG.’

Here are the stats… 2 bedroom, two 3/4 baths, 1,869 square feet. Built in 1880. Corner lot with large yard and an ancient carriage-house garage.

It was described on realtor.com as “Fixer upper in great location! Charming old home that needs a loving touch.” Oh boy, here we go!

We got the keys this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to take pictures yet. But here’s what I borrowed from the listing (realtor.com).

View The Berg’s transformation (in chronological order) by visiting the Archives page.

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Dining Room

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Living Room

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Sitting Room

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Kitchen

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Stay tuned.