Posted on October 10, 2017 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (104)

By Cyn Terese                                                                        on Salon Wall Redo

I wish I could say that the exterior problems causing moisture buildup within the front wall of the Salon were fixed but the sad truth is … Well, let’s just say, they’re not.

Although, Jim Bound, my Sub-Contractor, did find several things that could be fixed such as the unclogging of the drainage system at the base of the stone wall which he did right away, there are still the need for repairing a rain cutter at the corner of the house and installing a drain pipe to redirect the run off directly into the drain instead of back onto the wall. These two items are going to require some serious scaffolding since the house is three stories high and each floor within has 12-foot ceilings.

For now, let’s focus on the wall inside the Salon.

As you can see, Jim removed the part of the wall that was crumbling, primarily the Wainscot section, the lower part of the window trims, the baseboards, and the top trim of the wainscot.

Since I know the Maire will not approve of reconstructing the slope of the street any time soon, I suggested we install wet board instead of plaster board directly onto the wall. Wet board is primarily what is installed behind any tile work in the bathroom to keep moisture away from the tile. If it works there, it should certainly work here in the Salon.

Once the wall was back in place, a new challenge became blaringly evident. The craftmanship of the mid 19th century was truly a work of art, from the thick window and door trim to the little extra thick trim work at the base of the trim around the French door.

As you can see, this thick trim is something not found in stores today. So, Jim and I began brainstorming how we could duplicated it by building up the thickness with various trims. We found a series of round ½ inch trim, square ½ inch trim, flat window trim, and a strip of routed edge that Jim cut off of the top of surplus base trim and began to assemble everything like little puzzle pieces.

What he came up with was something my father, Don. a Master Craftsman, (not to be confused with my brother Don who couldn't tell the difference between a hammer and a nail) would have created. Everyone who knew my father, knew he was a creative genius. Jim came close …

No, Jim was spot on. He did what my father often created in an era when excellence mattered.

Oh, and did I mention that he, Mr. James Bond, also did the electrical work?

Until next time…

Au revoir!

Finally onto the Salon

Posted on September 27, 2017 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (71)

By Cyn Terese Salon Floor Redo

You know what they say about making plans? Best learn to be spontaneous because Murphy is in the house!

Now, before you go wondering who Murphy is and why he is living with me in my house I will only say this, you’ve already met him: he is that invisible little beast that will reign havoc on your best laid plans and make something inevitably go wrong.

Last year, 2016, I had a sub-contractor come by to inspect part of a wall and part of the floor in the Salon that seemed to me to be suffering from wood rot. He explained to me that it was not wood rot that was causing the wall and the floor to crumble but rather moisture seeping in through the 2 ft. thick outer stone wall. Apparently, the slope of the street along with an inadequate drain system was causing runoff to collect at the base of the wall, keeping moisture trapped in between the stone wall and the interior wall panel.

As a result, the wood paneled wainscot, along with the base boards, part of the floor, and joists under the floor needed to be replaced. Since I needed to have the work started immediately in 2016 but being that he was in such demand, I was going to have to wait until early spring of this year, 2017. So, I reluctantly said “Okay, let me know when your schedule clears up and we’ll get started then."

Can you guess what happened? Because I didn’t get in touch with him earlier in the year, he was no longer available to do the work.

As any Contractor knows, construction happens in steps: correct the causal problem outside, then demo the inside, repair the floor joists, install new floor, coordinate with the plumber for the radiators, coordinate with the electrician for the plugs, coordinate with the carpenter for the new interior wall, coordinate with the painter (oh that’s me and I’m flexible), etc. etc. The sequence of work, as they say in the biz.

You know where I’m going with this, right? My entire year was screwed, since I had planned everything and everyone down to the detail and now nothing was going to happen.

So, what did I do? I decided to paint the mural in the foyer instead. Whilst at the paint shop, I asked around and was given a name: James Bound. “Did you say James Bond?” I asked. “No, he goes by Jim Bound,” they said and, “he lives in your village.” I called him and within a couple of days he began the work - squeezing me in around his other responsibilities.

Not only was Jim knowledgeable of what needed to be done, he also came highly recommended and (silly me) had been referred to me by several people when I’d first arrived shortly after purchasing my home. Jim turned out to be my redemption.

Jim began by demo-ing the floor to see the joists and cleared away old rotten wood left behind in the concrete channels of the foundation. 

He didn't react to the significance of the moment, but I was practically in tears. Not because the work was finally underway (well that too) but because it was the first time in over one-hundred years that the earth under the floor had been exposed! 

Now, as any girl will tell you, rocks - especially the shinny and very expensive kind - are a girl's best friend. I, on the other hand, am a sucker for pretty pebbles on a path or fossils under a running stream, so all I wanted to do was push him out of the way so I could see the dirt floor and dig for gems!!!!

But as a grown woman, it would not be very dignified to dig in the dirt so I restrained myself (and let me tell you it wasn't very easy) and merely teared up and pouted for the missed opportunity to collect treasures.

After the new joists were put in place, the new oak floor was installed.

NOTICE THE WALL THAT NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. This is the subject for the following blog post next week. 

As the in-house painter, it was my job to stain the new floor so I worked night and day to get the floor stained as close as possible to the old oak floor finish. I still think it should be a bit darker but so as not to lose momentum on the Salon Redo, that will just have to wait for another day.

Until then …

Au revoir!