Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Patches, I’m Depending On You, Son

So yesterday, we wrapped up the new bathroom project. But what about the leftover room next door? We carved the bathroom footprint out of the useless corner of a weirdly-shaped attic room. What sort of mess did we make of the rest of it?

This is what the room looked like before. The windows were a total loss. They didn’t operate, they leaked, had broken panes, and generally sucked pond water. I salvaged the sashes out of them, and we used them to make windows for our laundry room last year. I suppose I’ll bore you with that saga some other time. But the kindly neighbor who gave us some used vinyl windows that were heading for the dump included a couple of shorter ones. If I raised the sill, they’d do fine. I raised the sill.

Another neighbor was cleaning out his garage, and had some pine boards he was discarding. They never touched the ground before I intercepted them. I made the entire window frame, sill, and apron out of them. Thanks Rich!

I built an access door and frame to get into the crawlspace between the new bathroom walls and the old attic kneewalls. It’s handy because you can go in and inspect the plumbing from behind the wall any old time you feel like it. That’s especially handy when I’m the plumber.

The ceiling was a disasterpiece. The yellow color you see is the original coat of calsomine paint from 1901. Calsomine paint isn’t. It’s a form of whitewash. It’s always water soluble, like paste, no matter how long it’s been on the plaster. That’s why paint applied over it always peels. Someone painted over it, it peeled, and they smushed some textured goo over that to try to stem the peeling tile, and it came off in chunks from time to time. I gave up trying to restore it pretty quick. There was no way I wanted to demolish the ceiling, though. The attic proper is above this ceiling, and it’s filled with blown in insulation, bat guano, squirrel dandruff, and other unpleasantness. I wasn’t going to invite that to rain down on my head. So we knocked off the high spots in the textured coatings, and covered the ceiling with sheets of drywall.

There was a curve in the ceiling over the windows, and I had to score the back of the drywall into a series of facets to bend it around. Many people say that I’m halfway around the bend myself, so work like that comes naturally to me, I guess. Other than that, I depended on patches to repair the lath and plaster walls. The trim is made from lumberyard pine, with the knots mostly cut out. We replace the plain, square blocks in the corners of the door frames with a built-up header that’s slightly more modern, if you consider the Depression recent history.

We did manage to fish in some outlets. They weren’t easy. We ran the wire for the one you see on the left up and over the door frame from the one on the right. We put a switch outside the room in the hall that controls the overhead light.

I had a five-gallon pail of paint I mixed from odds and ends of leftover wall paint. They all added up to a medium blue, so I dumped in some raw sienna and raw umber pigment to get an acceptable green. The floor was beyond refinishing. It had been painted more times than a stripper’s toenails. I squirted the same raw sienna pigment into a quart of alkyd primer and painted the floor with it. The wood work is White Dove from Benjamin Moore. The room was wired for cable (internet) and a data line. There’s a four-gang plug there, too, which is quite a step up from the complete lack of electricity this room formerly enjoyed. The room is big enough to be a small bedroom, and it has a big closet, but we don’t need another bedroom. The room makes a good office, but it’s currently what we call a Snug for the ugly roomer that lives upstairs and looks like me when I was in high school. There’s a TV screen and some rocking chairs and a plant we’re currently killing.

I guess, now we’re going to have to fix the bathroom downstairs.

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2 Responses

  1. Good Morning!
    I have two questions:
    1. how did you attach the new sheetrock to the ceiling?

    2. how did you get all the garbage off of the floor before you covered it with paint. My thought is that you must have had to sand it.

    P.S. Got a bid for a 40 ft French drain with a slight downslope already–more than $3,000. In the old days, DH and I would have done the work ourselves but we are having to adapt to age-related restrictions–too bad they don’t come with more money! The same guy wants $1,200 to install a gutter and ice dam on the metal roof. Better than nothing–maybe.

    Keep up the beautiful work!

    1. Hello Anne- Thanks for reading and commenting.

      The sheetrock is screwed directly into the 1″ x 3″ firring strips affixed to the ceiling rafters overhead, right through the existing plaster and lath. We scraped off the high spots in the bad textured ceiling coating first, to make it lie flatter. We located the first rafter near the existing light fixture box, and measured from there to find the others.

      In the construction pictures shown, the floor is just covered with drywall dust. We just vacuumed it up and painted over the existing floor paint. We were going to throw down a rug over it, so we didn’t fuss with it

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