Monday, June 28, 2010

Ceiling the deal (in which we realize we're in it for the long haul...)

We completely understood that buying a house built in 1880 meant that a great deal of our time and money would be invested in the property over the next few years. Of course, we liked to ignore the famous mantra that all home improvement projects take significantly more time and money than expected. We learned this lesson less than 24 hours after signing the papers and receiving the keys....

This was our kitchen ceiling "before". Neither of us were particularly fond of the drop ceiling, particularly since it was yellowed from the previous inhabitant's smoke.

As far as we could see, above the drop ceiling was a tongue-and-groove ceiling. The paint didn't appear to be perfect, but we decided it was preferable to the yellowed panels, at least until our "real" kitchen renovation a few years down the line.

Our plan was working well - Justin removed the panels, I carried them to the basement (and took the occasional picture), and we even took down the old light fixture (turning off the electricity not only to the kitchen, but to the whole house, just to be on the safe side). Then we got to the back corner and discovered that the paneling wasn't just a trendy addition, but actually a band-aid for a more serious problem.

The wood paneling was falling down and the insulation was coming down through the hole. Yikes! Upon discovering this problem, there was obviously no turning back. Justin spent the next day tearing out the wood paneling (in my defense, I had to come back to Harrisburg, otherwise I would have helped!!) The good news is that there is no apparent sign of water damage or other problems. We've just got a long weekend(s?) ahead of hanging drywall on the ceiling and re-insulating the space.

In all, it really worked out for the best because it would have been awful to discover this after we were all moved in and decided to renovate the kitchen in a few years, and even worse if the drop ceiling tile holding all of the insulation and wood decided to give way. It was just fitting that we learned our lesson about home renovation early on - and we haven't been scared away yet!

Stay tuned for our "after" pictures, and our first try at putting things back together...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

By way of introduction...

Among many other dreams, I have always wanted an old house to renovate. Like my desire to make a quilt (check), stand on the Four Corners (not yet), and go snorkeling in tropical waters (maybe someday), I have wanted to fix up an old house for as long as I can remember. I've also dreamed of my prince charming - as my friends can attest, I've hoped and prayed for a "tall Catholic who can cook in a microwave."

And yesterday - my dreams came true! Together with my wonderful fiance, Justin (who happens to be tall, Catholic, AND has the microwave skills I lack), I closed on a house in Ithaca, NY.

Our new house isn't really so new - it was built in 1880. There are many, many, MANY projects to come, but we're excited.

Because we'll be relatively far from friends and family - and because after completing even small projects I have the same feeling I had running home from the school bus after kindergarten with artwork to show my mom, I've decided to create a blog. I hope you enjoy watching our progress as much as we enjoy finding the former glory of our house!