The House, Redux

Brooke here:

Stained glass electric lantern, photo copyright Steve Greene
One of many stained glass lanterns which serve as the exterior lighting system.

The Jarrell house is a combination of things we want to preserve at all costs and things we want to destroy while giggling maniacally.  There are hundreds of lovely details unique to the house and we keep discovering them; two days ago, Brown found a fountain under the ivy.  These features . . . the stained glass, the carved windowsills, the beautiful hand-polished hardwood fireplace mantles . . . these are what makes the house an eclectic piece of art.

Our job is to rebuild their frames. We have a list of plans as long as your arm and there’s no way we can tackle everything at once, so there are three outstanding projects.  The first, repainting three of the main rooms, is relatively minor and I could knock it out in a weekend had not the previous owners had not violated the Painter’s Commandment of Thou Shalt Not Apply Latex Over Oil.  I’ve got to strip some trim, which is never fun, but the walls are cleaning up nicely so it could be much worse.

The second project is the pool.*  Someone decided to repair damage to the concrete pool deck by adding a second layer of brick decking to it.  People, every time you try to fix damage to concrete by covering it up, you make a mason cry.  Now, as neither Brown nor myself have any real experience in concrete repair, we’re hiring a professional today to make sure we don’t have to hire a professional next year.  Fortunately, we do have experience in tearing stuff up, so we’re saving on labor costs by ripping up the brick  ourselves.  We’re a couple of days into this and it is hard work, but it should save us a ton of money.

Stained glass window in main bath.

The third project is the main bathroom.  In the distant future, the master bathroom remodel will be the single largest project we tackle, but for the time being we need to gut the other bathroom.  I’m fairly sure everything in there is original to the house, as the bathtub and the vanity are wider than the door and were probably added before a wall went up.  I don’t care if they go out in pieces but they are going.  I’m looking forward to working on this room; the stained glass window seems like an afterthought instead of a feature, and the working plan is to go heavy on limestone-look tiles (yes, I want real limestone; yes, I am aware of the staining and mildew problems; no, we will not be using real limestone) with a stained glass border to tie the rest of the room to the window.  I don’t trust myself to tile a shower that doesn’t leak so we’ll have to hire a pro to do that, but I can do the floors and decorative tilework myself and Brown can do the vanity and toilet.

That’s what’s on our plate, plus the small things like reclaiming bushes from beneath the ivy.   We’ll start posting regular updates on these projects.

* Aaaaaaah we have a muthafrickin’ pool SO AWESOME CANNOT STAND IT!

One thought on “The House, Redux

  1. Just got around to reading through the backlog. In a week I’ll be moving back to my house (long story, parents divorcing) and will have to start working on it. House was originally built in 1859. Then it was expanded in the 1870s, and again in the 1920s. After the Three Mile Island issue it was bought and lazily upgraded, including a pool. All I can say is, a pool is not an easy job. You say you have salt-water aquariums, so let me explain. You have to maintain alkalinity, chlorine (both free and total), pH, and keep it clean. Enjoy working at it for the rest of your life.

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