Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekend Work on the Wild Rose Victorian

West Wall/Ceiling


Spinning my camera around the perimeter of the room . . . Brother Will trowels on 2nd coat of drywall mud--getting the ceiling smoother with each pass . . .

 Southwest Corner

 Southwest Corner - Abe, Geo, and Ben watched and applauded Will's ceiling work.

North wall/ceiling and the big yellow rolling scaffold.  You have to be limber (like a monkey) to climb the big yellow beast.

North wall/ceiling
See the bottle of water to the right sitting on the scaffold.  Will uses it to keep his trowel working the drywall mud smooth and clean.

Will stops to clean his pan and trowel between batches of mud.  He's so picky--but then again he owns a commercial and residential cleaning  business, Amazing Cleaning Services.  He wears a lot of his business T-shirts "Be Amazed" ACS Amazing Cleaning Services 715-570-2497.

I am a short person, 5'1" so it takes a big ladder to get to the high spots--taping the vestibule.  Last month I was on a shorter ladder and fell.  On a short ladder--it is easy to over-extend, but it also has to do with wearing bi-focals.  Easy to miss-judge that last step climbing down.  Ooops!  

 A person can get kind of silly when doing repetitive work like this.  My silly thought is this:  I like the green web tape.  My next favorite is blue web tape, and my least favorite is white web tape.  There is no difference other than color--but when I take photos the green tape shows up better.  
I like green tape.

You may have noticed the 2 shallow closets with louvered doors on either side of the stained glass window to the right.  Will decided they will stay put.  There is no other spot for hanging up a coat or two, so these two closets have some good function.  

While my brother Will troweled the living room ceiling, I stayed out of his way and worked on the taping hairline cracks, and washing away excess glue film off the walls.  

Northwest Corner of Vestibule

Second half of Saturday workday--troweling on Durabond 90 hand mixed mud over the web tape to make a smooth repair.

Front Door View - Inside the Vestibule

Southwest Corner of the Vestibule

Stained Glass Window in the Vestibule

Wall Repairs in area below chair rail - Vestibule

The big yellow scaffold parked in front of the living room doorway.  Will temporarily removed the second stained glass door (vestibule to living room).  This helps me get in and out of the vestibule with my tall orange ladder.

Will works evenings on the house until 8:00p.  The first month of work is history--went through 3 bags of Durabond 90 and 3 rolls of web tape to repair cracks in the living room, office, and vestibule. 

The weekend of July 23-24 is Wild Rose Days.  We'll be at the Victorian working, and there will be a sign at the front door to let you know we'd like you to come in and see the restoration progress.  Bring your own cold soda, camera, and watch us work.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Little Things Mean A Lot

Just inside the front door--attending the wall cracks with web tape and still damp Durabond 90.  As the repairs dry it will turn completely white.  We worked half day--finishing lower walls in living room, and vestibule.  

Moving right along with wall repairs.  The green web tape roll sitting next to the baseboard.  
My tools are: a trowel, pan of Durabond 90 mud, scissors, and web tape.  We have a little garden trolley to sit on and it is just the right sitting height to do the lower work.  

Here is a close up photos of the wall wall surface in the vestibule, and the double fist size repair--filling bit by bit with Durabond 90.  This is first fill.   

Not a great photo--but this is second fill of the hole--with surround web tape and wet Durabond 90 as we just finished.  In future photos--you'll see the hole slowly disappear completely.

When we steamed away wallpaper--there were vulnerable areas where our scrapers went deep into the original plaster.  Some wallpaper layers were painted over and became glued down tight.

Those deeply scraped areas close to the all the moldings were reinforced with web tape repair.  Takes more time, but is the very best repair.  We are using web tape and Durabond 90 in the corners too to strengthen.

None of this is pretty to the eye at this point.  But, for us--it is warming assurance.  Like a sculptor as he begins chipping away at a big block of stone, eventually its beauty is revealed.

How much time does it take?  Lots and lots of hours.  More than we want to calculate.

I remind myself that after the wall crack repairs, comes the smooth resurfacing of the walls with pre-mixed drywall mud--skillfully hand troweled not once, but twice.

Then cleaning of woodwork, sanding woodwork, and cleaning a second time.  It is a chance to smooth out layers of previous owners' paint and dribble mistakes.

A coat of priming paint over ceilings, walls, and woodwork.  Windows--the old ropes, weights, and reglazing windows--is a whole different project on its own with lots of steps.

Painting ceilings, walls, woodwork.  Will it be September 1 when we get this done?  Probably.

The boy are here!

Canvas portraits arrived today.  We put Abe, George, and Ben on the mantle to view and assist in choosing colors for the main wall color, and frieze.

From the far right--counting backwards to the lightest colors,
we selected 3 and 4 in an eggshell finish.

Number 3 (darker of the two) is called Highlight and it will be the main wall color in the living room.

Number 4 called Polished Marble will be the frieze color.

Pale Quartz (not shown), is an off white for the flat finish ceilings, and semi-gloss for the woodwork.  
Before we started the living room and office--I purchased drapery fabric for the living room and office, and from my own things--I donated an antique sofa upholstered in a supple gold chenille, pattern accented in black.

My rule of thumb for decorating is to FIND the drapery fabric first--it is the hardest thing to OBTAIN.  I will be sewing the drapes--custom fit for the windows and paying great respect to the beautiful of the stained glass windows in the office and vestibule.  

Will met with the drywall contractor Jeremy--to address new ceilings and walls in the modern addition of the house.  Then, Will worked on installation of new brass door knob for the front wooden screen door.  And added cap and finial to handrail posts at the front steps.  Cool.

Will installs new door knob assembly.  Afterwards he had to reposition the new strike plate on the door frame.  It worked perfectly and we both giggled with excitement.

So nice to have a working door knob at the front door.  The rock holding the door shut was getting a bit annoying.

Will installed replacement post cap and finial 

When we get going on the inside with Zinzer 1-2-3 indoor/exterior primer, we'll get the front handrails scraped and primed too.  Every job doesn't look like it will take much time to do, but isn't it amazing how one or two little jobs turn into a half day's work?

Thank you for following the Wild Rose Victorian House restoration journey.  We'll continue to post photos and updates every day we work on the house.  If you want to see things speed along . . . . well, I guess you'll just have to come by and help us move along faster, eh????

I saved a trowel and paint brush for you.  I put your name on it, and set it beside the tool box.  Hint, hint.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

4th of July Fireworks - Scratch Coat on Living Room Ceiling

Will poses for a photo in his living room
4th July, 2016  4:30 pm

I was getting ready to leave, and took one more photo.  My brother Will stopped for a moment to let me snap this photograph of him.  

Here he proudly holds a telescopic pole that he had attached to the wallpaper steamer.  What a great tool!   Will attached the pole to the steamer with Gorilla Glue Tape--and it was the perfect for removing paint from the ceiling.  

The ceiling cracks are repaired now with web tape and hard as a rock Durabond 90.  Scratch coat ceiling in Durabond.  Then Will applied a skim coat of premixed Drywall mud on the ceiling and the frieze. 

He is planning one more smoother than a baby's behind skim coat (finish coat) of premixed Drywall mud on the ceiling and frieze.  

I worked on wall repairs below the chair rail.  Followed cracks with green plastic web tape, embedded tape with a skim coat of hand mixed Durabond 90.  

I'll try to remember to take a photo of our two fabulous stainless steel pans where we mix up the Durabond 90 and just enough water, and transport the mix a trowel at a time to repair each crack.  

Most of the time I'm moving around the room, sanding woodwork and wall crack repair work.  I move around a lot--so I am out of Will's way--as he does all the high work on a scaffold.  

Note to Mayfair Mistress:  
Thank you for leaving us a comment and question about the frieze.  And grateful to you for gently informing me how to spell frieze instead of freeze.  So glad to learn new things--and I love your Queen Anne's Revenge blog.

Today, I learned how to add comments to Wild Rose Victorian House blog.  Sorry, that I wasn't able to publish comments, until after the fact.  

Nonetheless, I've pasted your comment below to make amends.  

Mayfair Mistress writes:
Is it possible that the upper trim (I assume it's picture rail) was moved further up the wall at some point? It would make perfect sense if it were once on the edge line between the dark and light plaster, with the upper section being left as a scratch coat to receive a wallpaper frieze. If so, there should be obvious patched nail holes (this was the case in our house where the picture rails were all removed). 

Answering Mayfair's question:  Will worked high up on the walls--he hasn't seen patched nail holes indicating there had been a picture rail.  

However, I believe there was a picture rail, as you might see what I think I see--a faint narrow level line on the photos.  Do you see it too?  We've run into different grades of sandy plaster repairs, and perhaps nail holes may have already been repair in the past--when the the picture rail was removed. 

Looking at the chair and frieze moldings--they are a modern pine wood molding--not old.  It may have been added in the 1980s when the previous owner was also adding window shutters with plastic/faux glass inserts.  The chair and frieze molding are identical profiles, and they don't have layers and layers of paint like the door woodwork has.  


Other thoughts:
Below are photographs of the Wrolstad/Quien 1893 House (my restored home in Scandinavia, WI). Oirginal photos were taken in the dining room and living room of my 1893 Wrolstad/Quien Victorian House just after it was built.  You can see narrow picture rail in the dining room, no crown molding at the ceiling, and no chair rail.  

Note:  The living room has picture rail that begins about 18 inches down from the ceiling.  In this photo of my 1893 home the ceilings are 11 ft., same height as my brother Will's 1892 Wild Rose Victorian House.

photo images sent to me by Heather, great great granddaugther of John Olson Wrolstad

By the way--the three dark triangles at the top left of the photo are tassles of a scarf of some sort hanging from the doorway spandrel.   We still have the fancy wood spandrels in four rooms.