Monday, February 24, 2020

Home Renovations

Kitchen, AFTER

Greetings from the long-lost blogger who is hanging onto sanity by a thread.  As you may possibly remember, I dropped off the face of blogger earth some months ago because Mr. C. and I decided to purchase a house in and move (eventually) to Wausau, central Wisconsin, 2.5 hours from our farm near Dallas, and begin renovations on the 'lower level.'   That, as we continued to live at the farm and make renovations there, in order to put our house on the market sometime in the spring (which is breathing down our necks!)

Living between the two places has been a nightmare, a delight, a lot of time on the road, too much time at Menard's and Home Depot, a ton of hard work, exhausting, and very rewarding.

You're looking at the boiler room and back door (right) and the future kitchen space.
 As I try to share with you some Before/During and After photos of the Wausau house project, I must admit that I neglected to take photos of the 'actual' before state of the lower level. I can tell you that it was a space bounded by icky carpet, an ugly dropped ceiling and moldy sheetrock, a few wall switches that were labeled 'Unknown,' and generally not a pretty sight. BUT it had potential. With a total gutting, some holes knocked in the concrete walls for future windows, and an 18 x 18 inch square ceramic tile laid throughout the entire floor before putting in any interior walls, we were on our way. Keep in mind that this space is about 800 sq. ft, so we wanted to keep the background as light as possible (except for the refrigerator, which you'll notice is black stainless. I think it was called 'chalk' and will go well with our 1915 Home Comfort range when it gets moved in, and the chalkboard. Because.

 The utility stuff, including the boiler, is behind the louvered doors.
The drop-leaf dining table is a family heirloom from Great Great Aunt and Uncle from Viroqua, WI and the chairs are from Great Great Uncle John Menard. (That's a joke. Menard's home improvement is like Home Depot up here). You'll notice that I transferred the family photo album to our new refrigerator. I actually walked through the appliance department of the store with a magnet to make sure that the refrigerator we bought had enough steel in it to let a magnet adhere. Don't laugh. Some of the imports do not. So there!

I love the new full-glass door and the pendant light above the dining table.
Mr. C. said is looks like it belongs in a chicken coop.
What does he know???
(except for how to do EVERYTHING pertaining to demolition and construction!!)

One of our upstairs neighbors assisting Grandpa in laying floor tile.

 Icky stuck-on foam rubber that took a serious scraping to get off. It was hiding under the icky carpet I mentioned earlier. BUT, the treads were good, which was a happy discovery. So we ripped off the risers and left the treads to be painted later.

 BEFORE - the hallway with a miserable set of stubborn bifold doors and rickety/wobbly shelving behind them. It all had to go, including the little closet under the steps.

 After - Mr. C. [inadvertently] demonstrating the openness of the steps.
My desk under the steps. Straight ahead are the new doors to the huge crawl space under the living room upstairs. Once we get it waterproofed, we'll put shelving in there for large items. I think the crawl space is about 12 x 24 x 5 feet.

Now the hallway is useful. I have a work space and tons of storage. There are 3 sets of cabinets that came out of the old hospital in Rice Lake that Mr. C. (as asbestos removal contractor) worked on some time ago. The main demo contractor gave him the cabinets. Behind the doors (which we painted and gave new hardware), are roll-out shelves that are labeled things like "Respiratory Care" and "Catheter Supplies", etc. One of the shelves is labeled, 'Personel Hygiene.'  Any way you look at it, it's a typo. Gave me a good laugh. I've left the labels. They remind me of their source and the huge gift these cabinets are. We made the space left over into a coat closet.

Standing in the future living room and looking toward the future kitchen

 Standing in the new living room (lower level) and looking toward the kitchen.

This has got to be one of the best things about this apartment - the fact that we were able to use some antique leaded glass windows we'd had in storage for YEARS. Two of them, end to end, fit the space between the main support beam and the east wall of the bedroom. I mean, perfectly. You have no idea how thrilled I was to find that out. Well, they did have to be shaved down a bit on the ends, but still. The wall (above) was designed to have two alcoves. One on the living room side to make room for the book shelf my dad made and one on the bedroom side to make room for my mom's bureau.

 You may remember when I told you about taking the photo of these icons at St. Paul's Cathedral in December of 2018. Permission was grudgingly given, but I did get it. The middle is a photo I took of Canterbury Cathedral. It's also enlarged and now at the end of my new kitchen.

Some of my favorite Kim Losse and Donna Millard sgraffito pottery.
They're local artisans from Dallas, WI. who do beautiful work!
You can find them on Instagram:
@donnacmillard and @kimlossepottery

Mirrored closet doors also help visually enlarge the space.

Our bedroom is behind the map wall. Rather than putting a door on the bedroom, we left a gap of 6.5 feet. That gives it a more open feeling and avoids the need for an egress window.
Our privacy is ensured by the neighbors yelling, 'Knock knock!' before coming down the stairs. LOL And when we go upstairs, we also call, 'Knock knock,' even though when we open the door we're already in their living space. But we love each other and it works well.

At the end of the hallway is a linen closet. Please turn right for the bathroom.

Future bathroom area, as it was a work in progress.

What a job! Cutting through the concrete floor, finding the main septic line, etc. etc. And dealing with the power panel. After we'd built the wall in front of the power panel, but leaving access to it, the building inspector came and wagged his finger at us, informing us that there had to be THREE FEET in front of the power panel,and it had to have its own room. What now?! The shower is already installed. The sink is already installed. What now, is move the sink and don't plan on gaining weight. (And actually, even with the power panel room, the bathroom is bigger than some we've cheerfully used in England, so, big deal.)

I love this little bathroom!

I sent to the Ukraine for the fantastic London phone box wrap-around vinyl sticker. Perfect! And if you want to use the phone box, you can take your mobile in there with you. OR, you can open the door and find the power panel.

 The shelf holds storage baskets.

We included one of the best things the British invented (or at least that we first encountered on trips to England) - the heated towel rack! It's wonderful! I hang my robe on it at night and have a warm robe to step into in the morning!  By the way, the difference between our towel rack and theirs (UK) is that ours is operated by electricity, so we just leave it on all the time. Very low heat, low cost, but makes so much difference!

 North window at night.
(where previously was more concrete block)

One of our frequent visitors who *loves* having her picture taken.
The other neighbor, cropped out of the photo, does not. Emphatically!

I love having Canterbury Cathedral in my kitchen.

That's it for now, folks. I will take some wider shots of the apartment living room when we have Mr. C's desk and the cookstove moved in. That might be a while. We're still working on the farmhouse back at Dallas. Here's one photo from that project:

I will be so glad when ALL of this is done and the farmhouse is on the market. This has been a long year.

If you've read this far, thank you. I appreciate it!

Join me on Instagram @cranberrymorning.



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