Thursday, February 6, 2014

Laundry Room

I've begun to plot out what I want to get accomplished in the house during the coming months of warm weather. There are so many things, but the primary accomplishment must be the installation of a laundry room. Since we moved in August of 2008, we have been either driving in to Great Barrington to do our laundry there, or we have gone up the street to a friend whose house serves as a weekend home. He offered us the use of his laundry since he was not there most of the time. Much more convenient than driving into town, but there is the driving up and down the street when what I'm really wanting to do is sit at home do nothing or concentrate at some other important task at hand. So, a laundry room it is.

The room that we are going to make the laundry room was originally the bathroom. I can't say that it was the bathroom when the house was built because I'm not sure as I sit here and write this that this part of the upstairs existed when the house was first built. There was at least one addition some years after the house was first completed. And if there wasn't a bath in this part of the house when the house was first built, I don't know where the bath would have been downstairs. In 1897 this house most likely had an outhouse, so the bath may have been a tub in the kitchen. Not sure.

Anyway, I do know that the room in question was an old bathroom. Sometime in the 50s (?), the proverbial "they" took what had been a bedroom, and probably that of the maid, and converted it into a bathroom, and that's a whole other post.

I started working on this room last year before I decided to change my focus to whipping the bedrooms back into a living condition. In the photo below, you see one of the two doors which gives entrance to this room. The other door is right behind me as I take the picture. The door you're looking at would have given the family access to the bathroom, while the door behind me would have given the maid access.  Notice that the top panel of the door is one solid panel. It had originally been a large pane of translucent glass, I suspect. When I strip and refinish the door, I'm going to have a translucent piece of glass reinstalled. 
The wallpaper was a bear to remove. You can see that it was shiny. The surface was hard and was not very permeable by water or wallpaper remover. So tiny bit by tiny bit I went.  Took me a good while to do it because it was so difficult and tedious.

Below is the second door.  Both will be beautiful when stripped and refinished. They will look like Mickey's bedroom door, with the same kind of beautiful brass hardware and black porcelain doorknobs.

The wainscoting goes all the way around the room and originally had been stained and varnished. At some point the painted over it, and now the paint has all cracked and separated since the slick varnish service wasn't happy with being painted.  So when the weather warms and I can open the windows, I will strip off the old paint with the intent of then sanding the wainscoting and repainting it. Because of all the groves, I doubt that I'll get the wainscoting clean enough to be happy with leaving it unpainted. I'm fairly certain I will end up repainting it after I give it a good sanding.
The light that is hanging in the photo below has been removed. The light box is now in the center of the room with a temporary fixture.  I think that I'm going to refurbish the old hanging light and use it in the bathroom that I want to install in the old butler's pantry which is located just below this room.

When I got the paper off, the picture below shows what was beneath. While in Mickey's bedroom, the plaster was completely bare, these walls have had some sort of treatment over them. I don't know if it was a form of Venetian plaster where tint is added to the plaster and then skim coated over the base plaster wall, or if the covering is some sort of paint. It is very thick and hard, but not in any kind of salvageable condition. The walls are horribly cracked and the treatment, whatever it is, is chipping off. 

The photo below shows the ceiling to be in the same peeling condition as Mickey's bedroom. I don't know what to do really. For the time being I may just scrap the walls and scrap the ceiling and be done with it and consider plaster repair in all the upstairs room one summer project. I don't mind the walls being in crazy shape as long as the rooms are safe and liveable.  

 The floor had originally been a beautiful pine floor. At some point they covered it with a linoleum, and my guess is that this stuff was one of the very first versions of linoleum.  I've pulled it all up and am now faced with the old adhesive and a couple of tin patched holes. I'm confident that I can clean all the adhesive off and return the wood floors to the former glory, however, but I'm not sure what I'll do with the two holes that appear to have been cut into the floor for access to the plumbing for the sink and the toilet. I pulled up the tin sheeting to find the cavity stuffed with old newspapers. The newspapers were yellow and brittle, but I was able to unfold them enough to discover Eisenhower was campaigning for the presidency. The linoleum is older than Eisenhower presidential campaign based on it's fabrication, but the change from a bathroom to tiny bedroom and the patch job certainly can be dated to his campaign. On top of the tin sheeting were linoleum patches, which you can barely see in the top left of the photo.

This spring I will kick into high gear and start my work on this room. At the same time, I think that I will demo the butler's pantry underneath the room which will aid in running plumbing to the new laundry room, as well as aid in the removal of the old pipes and traps and the patching of the floor. In the photo below you can see on the right what is a chase for the old waste pipe. I've opened that up and I believe the plumber can cut that waste pipe out and use the chase for the new waste lines and water lines. The washer and dryer will sit right here in this corner.

There is one window which sits low to the floor. You'll notice in the top photo of the post that there is an angle from the wall to the ceiling. On the outside of the house, the eaves sit below that angle, causing the window to be placed low in the room. I haven't decided whether to replace windows or reglaze them and have new storms and screens built. For starters, I'll certainly reglaze this window.  From here I can look out into the north yard to the church and watch the deer as they saunter back and forth from their home up on the hill down to the river and back.