The Sky is Falling

We are in the process of switching the kids rooms around.  Oldest daughter is away at camp so we want to finish getting her things moved to her new room and put away before she returns tomorrow.  Matt finished painting her room and I moved everything out of her old room.  Matt is finishing the hall closet which she will use in place of the very large closet she had in her current bedroom.  As soon as the painting is finished I can try to put all her things away.

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Matt has made progress on the closets.  The bedroom one is finished:


Closet before

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Closet after










The problem now is getting all the stuff from her old closet:


Into the new closet!

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The old closet is 6 feet long with built in cupboards above the clothes rod and built in drawers, cupboards and shoe holders on the end that are 18 inches deep.  We know that won’t all fit in the room she is moving to where there is one shelf and a hanging rod which is only two feet long.

The solution is letting her use the hall closet next to her bedroom to keep a lot of her stuff in.  I lined the drawers, shelves and the back walls of the cupboards.  I scraped off most of the green paint.  Matt has painted the green walls and I hope he can finish the cabinets and drawers today.  It is a big improvement and will be a great use of this space.

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We painted the walls the same color as the hallway outside.

The next step in getting all this rearranging done is to get oldest daughters old room painted so oldest son can move his things in. This room had some damage done to the ceiling from one of the flat roofs on the third floor.  Looking at it, we knew there had been a problem but the sellers assured us the leaking had been taken care of.  Turns out that that wasn’t true.  Oldest daughter had all her friends here for a sleepover shortly after we moved in.  We had a big storm and there was rain water pouring out of her bedroom ceiling fixture!  When the ceiling dried out, part of it actually fell off.  We had the drywall guy come and repair it.

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You can see the part of the ceiling where the drywall was fixed and the crown molding that was damaged and needs to be painted.


There were still some spots on the ceiling that were damaged and some loose paint up there.  Oldest son decided he could handle scraping off the loose paint and prepping it for Matt to paint.

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He got way more than he bargained for when he started to scrape the loose paint, and an entire section of the ceiling came down!  I received a text message that read “the sky is falling.”  I knew that could not be good!

Apparently the ceilings in our house are all canvas with plaster skim coat over them.  The whole section of the plaster covered canvas fell.  The interesting part, is it tore away from the plaster decorative border that is on the ceiling in this room.  It is the only room in the house with this border so we were happy not to lose it!

Matt thinks we can (carefully) remove the remainder of the canvas and leave the border intact.  He can skim the ceiling and paint and we will be good to go.  This will delay the project of course.  We moved all the things out of the ‘cowboy” room into the hall except the two twin bed frames.  Once oldest son moves his things into oldest daughters old room, the guest room things can move into his old room and become the new guest room- with a bathroom!  It will be a much nicer configuration for guests.

In the meantime, our upstairs hallway looks like this:

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It feels like we just moved in all over again!


This and That

It has been a crazy hot week here making even the simplest of tasks seem overwhelming.  Not having air conditioning isn’t too bad when the overnight low temperatures get down at least to the upper 60’s.  This week that hasn’t happened and it has been very humid so we have not been able to get the house cooled down at night.  We went to the big box store for more paint and found this:

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A portable air conditioner!

I had no idea such things existed.  I knew you could get a window air conditioner but not a portable one.  Needless to say we brought one home.  The plan was to use it primarily in the kitchen which for some reason never cools down even when the rest of the house does.  It will make meal prep so much nicer.  So far we have only used it in the study where both of the boys have been hanging out a lot this summer.  The desktop computer, cable gateway and router and the boys video game systems are all in there.  With an east facing window and all the electronics the room gets hot.  The portable A/C made a huge difference.  It will be great to be able to cool down whatever area of the house we need.  We do have A/C on the third floor so we can always hang out up there and sleep up there if it gets really bad.

Since we have been here for a year now, our homeowners insurance was due to renew.  Getting homeowners insurance for an historic home was a challenge we did not expect.  Renewing with our current carrier was horrible.  Our cost was going to increase nearly a $1000.  We hadn’t filed any claims or made any changes.  It was crazy.  There seems to be only two carriers for homes like ours.  Both base your rates on replacement value.  The tricky part about that is most of the features of our home that we fell in love with-the stained glass, the woodwork are irreplaceable.  You can’t get the craftsmen or the materials today to replace these features.  The insurance company still puts a value on it though.  Our home is valued at over $4,000,000.  Yes.  That is six zeroes!  We would never spend that much to replace this house in this neighborhood if we were to suffer a catastrophic loss. Due to the crazy increase, we switched to the only alternative we had.

The insurance company required us to install a security system which we had already had done.  As part of our renewal we needed smoke detectors which we had but the insurance company wanted a remotely monitored smoke detector system in place.  We now have that and these lovely little gadgets had to be placed on the walls on the first floor, eight inches from the ceiling.

So fitting on the walls of our home!

Trying to find someplace where they would not be an eye sore was a challenge but we managed.  I won’t post pictures of the actual detectors on my walls because I am hoping you will never notice them if you come over!  No need to point them out here.  On the second and third floors they are on the ceilings and a little less obvious.  Plus nobody looks at the hallway ceilings there.

Larry the tree guy is coming back this weekend to remove the other mulberry tree, the dead trees and a few trees that will be in the way when we (hopefully) put our pool in next summer.  The backyard/sideyard (I never know what to call this space) will look a lot different on Monday.

We cleaned up the front floor bed last weekend and added a few perennials and some more shrubs.  We get a lot of compliments on the yard.  The general consensus from the neighborhood is the yard hasn’t been well cared for in a long time and this is the best it has looked in years. I missed having flowers and a garden last year.  It does make it feel more like home when you pull in the driveway and see all the landscaping.  Since the house is on such a visible corner it seems everyone notices.



It’s Not Easy Being Green

Kermit was right about that.  We have a lot of green paint left in the house.  The hall closet outside oldest daughter’s new room is actually three different colors of green.  I suspect at least one of these colors was done when the priests lived here.  It certainly has an institutional feel.  I don’t know that they are to blame for all of the greens though.  I think they would have only used one color.  Whoever painted the cabinets green (why they painted the cabinets green is a whole different topic!) used a flat paint over the cream colored oil based paint.  The good thing about that is the green came off easily.  There are still two coats of cream under the green.  I think we will brighten it up by painting everything off white.  Once the cabinets are sanded, I might be able to live with the cream color especially when the green walls go away.  I can’t believe that the green is actually still here.  I believe we are the 6th owners since the priests have left.  I guess since it was a closet it was easy to look past it.  The linen closet has the same thing going on.  The linoleum floor tiles are pulling up and I am hoping to find original hardwoods under there.


The cabinet is one shade of green and the top and bottom of the wall is two different greens.  The flash makes the top of the wall appear creamy but it is green. 

Here are the cabinets after I started scraping off the paint.



The paint under the cabinets is very creamy and the linoleum tiled  floor is not orange.  Again, the camera flash changes the coloring in here a lot.


The drawers are giant.  They have nice brass rollers under then that make them slide really easily.  Most old drawers I have seen are just sliding in a wooden slot.


We have a giant walk in linen closet at the top of the back stairwell.  It is really more a long room than a closet.  I am not sure what this additional walk in closet would have been used for originally.  We have been told that when the priests lived here it housed the only phone in the house.  There is a little Formica table that pops up that could be used as a little desk when you were on the phone. There is a mailbox.  I would guess the priests left their outgoing mail here and it would be someone’s job to get it to the postman.  I doubt the mail got delivered to the second floor closet!  The phone jack has a glow in the dark nightlight included.  Very convenient if you answer the phone at night without turning on the light?  There is also a bulletin board with a very old phone list with all the local Catholic churches, schools, hospitals, institutions and religious orders numbers listed.  Many of these are no longer here.  We plan to keep that.  It is a nice reminder of the history of the house.  I may frame it though just to help preserve it.

The walls in here are in rough shape.  Matt is going to need to do some repair before we paint.  Inside the cabinets, the same shelving system used in the butler and maid pantries is found.  Looking at the lower cabinet I suspect it may have once had a glass front also.  The center seems to be different than the framing and doesn’t quite match up.


Since we are going to paint this room a neutral color but oldest daughter is using it as an extension of her room, she picked a nice beach themed fabric to line the walls behind the glass doors.  We will look for some ribbon to put on the shelf fronts.


It certainly brightens things up in here and ties into the theme she has in her room.  I just couldn’t imagine painting this  closet the same bright colors as her room. This was a nice compromise.  I scrubbed everything in here before we moved in.  What magic eraser  couldn’t get rid of, I covered with contact paper.  It knew it was clean but it didn’t look clean.  The contact paper helps.



Our holiday weekend is filled with painting and home projects.

It will be nice to be rid of the green!