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!

A New Walk-In Closet

The White House

Well, it’s been a busy week at the White House again. There is no “slacking off” chapter in Kurt’s book. But all his hard work is creating big results; just check out the new walk-in closet.

When we bought the White house, you could only access this room by walking through a small door in the upstairs bathroom. We decided that the space would be better used as a large walk-in closet for the rear bedroom (which at the time only had a 3′ x 3′ closet).

Here’s the disaster we started with. At one end, it had a door from the bathroom, next to a blocked out corner (the tiny bedroom closet). At the other end, a very low (like actually on the floor) stationary window.

First Kurt and I had a bit of fun busting out the lathe and plaster walls of the tiny closet.

Then, when the whole space was visible, we tore out the un-insulated wall paneling and exposed the roof joists.

After all that destruction, Kurt started to add things back: framing to support the new walls, three new can-lights, framing around the window, and new insulation.

It was finally time to close the original door from the bathroom and transform this awkward storage room into a beautiful walk-in closet. A dozen sheets of sheet rock and a couple buckets of “mud” did the trick.

It’s really starting to look amazing but there are a few minor details still to do: new paint, new flooring, and adding period-appropriate trim around the door and window.

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.

Carpet Out, Hello Wood Floors

The White House

May 15th ~ The very first thing we did when we started working in the White House was to remove the nasty old carpet. With our girls at an all-day sitter, Kurt and I had a chance to make a big visual difference in a short amount of time. (It also made a difference in how the house smelled!)

On the first floor, the living room, dining room, entry, staircase,  bedroom, and enclosed front porch all needed to be torn out. Here’s what it looked like BEFORE.

On the second floor, the front bedroom with closet, hallway, and back bedroom with closet also had carpet that needed to come out.

While Kurt (a former carpet installer) did a speedy job of ripping out, sectioning, and rolling up the icky stuff, I carried the pieces downstairs to the van destined for the dump. Somehow, we managed to get all of the carpet and the padding in one load.

Here’s what it looked like AFTER.

Underneath the carpet, we found hardwood floors covered in ancient glue, except in the dining room and downstairs bedroom where we found linoleum tile. A few days later, Kurt took up the tile and then spent several hours scraping the glue up. Here’s the final result in the dining room.

IMG_20170611_135055495

In a few weeks (or months), we will get a specialist out to sand and refinish all of the wood floors to their original awesomeness. I can’t wait to see them then!