How close to authentic do I make it? Renovators always struggle with this question. If I tear out all the lath and plaster and put drywall everywhere will it loose its old school charm? We mostly have lath and plaster with a little bit of drywall. All the walls in our fixer-upper were "smooth". Smooth should definitely be in quotes. They had no texture, but they also had cracks, lumps, and bulges. We considered what we could do to improve the overall appearance and still give it an authentic feel. Adding texture would help cover the unsightly mess, but a spray on orange peel wouldn't be appropriate for our custom craftsman. We decided to go with skip trowel.
Our next project is the front entry room, which I suppose was called a parlor back in the day. We're planning to put table and chairs in here and make it a dining room. It has original lath and plaster walls, one newer drywall wall, and a super cool original wainscot around the bottom. The color scheme is pretty dull though, and the walls look patched and poorly finished.
The first order of business is to wash the whole place down. We used the Norwex mop system to scrub greasy soot off the ceiling and walls. What a difference! One time over using nothing but water and the place was squeaky clean.
Next, I troweled the wall with a multi-purpose joint setting compound. (YouTube has several videos that were very helpful.) Here is my assistant doing one of the upstairs rooms.
First you knife a thin coat onto the walls, then you slide your trowel along really flat and let it skip over the surface. The result is intentionally uneven. You can use a consistent pattern or you can be random. Here is how the entry turned out.
We agonized over the color scheme we should use for this room and for the whole house. We decided to go with a color palate that would invoke a nautical/beach-house theme. Here is the room after we were done.
Next, it's time to tear into the big, harry, audacious job. Adding a bathroom on the second floor!
We bought a fixer upper. Yikes! Our home was built in 1913 and has been added onto several times since. The main structure is log. Not that you can tell, the only tip off is the depth of the window trim. I figured it out when I was doing a simple dryer vent job. I ended up having to drill a 4 inch hole through solid wood. Good thing I had hole saws and an extension. This house is pretty plain and dull, but it is bursting with potential. It will be a few years before we get to everything we want to do.
The First Project
We start with the living room and the entry way.
The trim is peach and the walls are cream. Not much in the way of contrast! The trim in this historic house is a simple 2 1/4 inch. The windows have no sill and are just boxed around with the same. The baseboard was laid flush to the sub-floor with the carpet butted against it. That leaves hardly any trim exposed. This is in contrast to the original trim upstairs that is 8 inches tall! We don't have the budget to install a truly accurate reproduction of trim like that, and we only have a few weeks to get the downstairs move in ready. We will build custom window sills and install 4 inch trim with a craftsman style fillet on top. We will go back later and add a crown molding on top.
Here is a look at the finished product.
We will be switching out those tired old single-pane windows in a project for another day.
This was our first project that we knocked out super-fast so we could get moved in. We did a skip trowel texture over the smooth wall and painted the living room green. In the next post we will look at the trowel and paint job that we did in the front entry. Until next time... happy renovating!