Slow but Steady

The White House

Holy moly! How is it possible that my last blog post about the White House was in August?!? That seems like a lifetime ago. You might think that Kurt has been lounging around, watching television, and eating potato chips… but you’d be mistaken. He has been working steadily, even if I’ve been tardy about documenting it. And luckily, he also took a few pictures that I can share with you to show his progress.

In August, he put some structure and plumbing into the upstairs bathroom. Here is where we left off (with a big hole in the floor). Since then, he built a large walk-in shower area, closed off the door to the storage room, and moved the vanity plumbing to the back wall, next to the toilet.  He also installed a bath fan that vented through the attic to the outside.

I think it looks so much better with clean, white sheet rock walls instead of pink plastic faux-tiles. Don’t you agree?

He spent most of October and November patching up cracks in the walls, repairing baseboards, and scraping flaky paint off the trim, to prepare for a fresh coat of paint (coming soon).

In the upstairs front bedroom closet, he removed the cracked ceiling and discovered a colony of bats living in the rafters! After watching them all exit through a 1″ hole in the roof flashing at sunset one evening, he sealed the hole from the outside before installing new insulation and sheet rock in the closet. Now it’s nice and cozy, and 100% bat-free!

In early December, Kurt repaired the stair treads in the front entry. When he took them apart, he was hoping to find some buried treasures in the dead space under the stairs, but unfortunately, the only stuff in there was debris from the original construction.

Stair Treads

He tore through the pantry wall to adjust the huge sliding door that opens off of the dining room. When we bought the house, it opened slanted and only about 90% of the way, but that wasn’t good enough for Kurt’s high standards. Now it slides the whole way with ease (or at least as easy as a 200-pound antique door can slide). In the coming weeks, we will take off the handle hardware, clean off the layers of paint, and restore its original function and style.

Sliding Door

In the week between Christmas and New Years, he headed back to work, this time building shelves in the pantry and next to the basement stairs. He also installed a new door on the pantry and a refurbished antique door to the basement.

In the first week of the new year, he added the vintage trim and rosettes to the doors and window in the kitchen. Now they match the rest of the house! We also found matching hinges and door knobs, which will go into the kitchen and bathrooms soon.  (Thanks to Guilded Salvage Antiques in Minneapolis for all the new/old materials that are helping us make the White House perfect!)

Doors and Trim in Kitchen

We have ordered new flooring for the kitchen, but he won’t install it just yet. The rest of the house will have the hardwood floors refinished in the next couple of months.

Still to do… repaint everything inside (probably grayish walls with white trim); pick out tile for the new walk-in shower upstairs; choose flooring for both bathrooms; new counter tops and appliances for the kitchen… I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember right now.

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.


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!