House Excavations, green border
family history home pragmatic historian projects

The Work in the House Continues

Busy, busy, busy. Now that the tearing apart phase of our dining room renovation is finished, we’ve been spending the past couple of weeks on the putting together phase.

After the building inspector okayed the tear-down and framing part of the job, which had us inserting a few extra two-by-fours in corners so we’d have something to attach sheetrock to, we got right on putting up insulation. We also used spray foam around the windows, behind the outlets, and in a few corner cracks that were too narrow for standard insulation.

The finished product is in the photo below. I dare say we did a nice, neat job of it. Erik is very particular when it comes to any sort of home improvement project, wanting to make sure it’s done right. I try to follow his lead, though I’m not anywhere near as good at this work as he is. He’d make a good building inspector.

 

West and south walls of dining room covered with insulation, June 28, 2022.
West and south walls of dining room covered with insulation, June 28, 2022.

Our insulation work passed muster with the actual building inspector and we were on to the next phase of the project, hanging sheetrock. Erik did most of the work on this, starting with the ceiling.

 

The first piece of sheetrock on the ceiling of the dining room, June 28, 2022.
The first piece of sheetrock on the ceiling of the dining room, June 28, 2022.

We tucked a few surprises into the interior walls before we covered them over, just as the previous owners put a horseshoe in the wall above the back door, placed U-side up to catch good luck.

Here we have some watchful eyes protecting the room.

 

A few surprises in the north dining room wall, above the door, June 29, 2022.
A few surprises in the north dining room wall, above the door, June 29, 2022.

And, we put the metal shoe form from the previous owners back inside one of the walls.

 

We put the metal shoe form we found in the dining room wall back in a new spot, June 29, 2022.
We put the metal shoe form we found in the dining room wall back in a new spot, June 29, 2022.

Erik installed sheetrock like the Hounds of Hades were after him. I couldn’t be much help for most of the job because I was working, but I helped here and there to hold pieces or hand him the screw gun or screws. The last day of hanging sheetrock was a Saturday, so I was able to help measure and cut pieces.

After only four days of work, all the sheetrock was hung.

One large piece of equipment was critical to putting sheetrock on the ceiling: a sheetrock lift, seen in the photo below.

 

Most of the dining room is sheetrocked. The red device on wheels with an I beam and large hoisting wheel is a sheetrock lift. Very crucial for lifting sheetrock to the ceiling for installation. July 1, 2022.
Most of the dining room is sheetrocked. The red device on wheels with an I beam and large hoisting wheel is a sheetrock lift. Very crucial for lifting sheetrock to the ceiling for installation. July 1, 2022.

We purchased this sheetrock lift when we were sheetrocking our shop space for our past refinishing business. We sold it to one of Erik’s coworkers a year or two ago thinking we weren’t ever going to need it again. Ha! So much for that. Erik’s coworker kindly lent it back to us to use for this job.

The dining room closet got new sheetrock, too. We weren’t going to redo the closet originally because the plaster was in good shape. When we were removing the dining room plaster in the corner by the closet, a chunk of plaster in the closet was dislodged. This forced us to remove all the plaster and lath there, too, and we discovered that some of the lath stretched from the dining room back behind the front wall of the closet right into the closet in continuous pieces. There was no way we could have removed the plaster from the outside without damaging plaster on the inside.

 

The dining room closet got sheetrocked, too. Here is a view inside with a ladder leaning against the wall. It looks rather spacious this way, but when the ladder is standing open, there is very little extra room in the closet. July 1, 2022.
The dining room closet got sheetrocked, too. Here is a view inside with a ladder leaning against the wall. It looks rather spacious this way, but when the ladder is standing open, there is very little extra room in the closet. July 1, 2022.

We used one entire box of screws for this sheetrock job. Because this house was built in 1894, the framing isn’t even in some spots, so to insure the sheetrock was secure, Erik used extra screws where needed.

 

Empty box for drywall screws. We used every last screw from this box for our dining room. July 2, 2022.
Empty box for drywall screws. We used every last screw from this box for our dining room. July 2, 2022.

As we got to the end of the project, our screws dwindled to the point where we didn’t think we would have enough. Erik needed just one more screw to complete the project, but there were none left in the box. He remembered seeing one screw in a pile of debris on the floor. I retrieved it and, voila!, we were finished hanging the sheetrock.

 

We had to pull the very last drywall screw out of this pile of scrap foam insulation and sheetrock to use it on the wall. It's very hard to hang onto a bunch of screws while driving them into the sheetrock, so we had to retrieve them as we went. July 2, 2022.
We had to pull the very last drywall screw out of this pile of scrap foam insulation and sheetrock to use it on the wall. It’s very hard to hang onto a bunch of screws while driving them into the sheetrock, so we had to retrieve them as we went. July 2, 2022.

 

The north wall of the dining room. We are leaving the old chimney exposed in the corner. July 3, 2022.
The north wall of the dining room. We are leaving the old chimney exposed in the corner. July 3, 2022.

Erik moved right on to mudding the wide seams and screw heads with “hot” mud, which dries more quickly than regular mud. Today he is working on mudding and taping the tapered joints. As I said before, he is very particular about this type of work. His first couple of jobs out of high school were tearing plaster out of one of the old buildings downtown (about the same era as our house) and hanging sheetrock, so he’s had some history with this work. He likes to create smooth walls, using no texture to hide seams or mistakes, so he’ll do his best to make sure all joints and screw heads won’t be seen when he is finished.

 

The west and south walls of the dining room with mud covering the seams and screw heads. July 3, 2022.
The west and south walls of the dining room with mud covering the seams and screw heads. July 3, 2022.

While my husband concentrated on mudding the sheetrock in the dining room yesterday, I was in the basement, sorting and packing his lamp collection. Most of this collection was on two sturdy plastic shelves. I had to remove all the lamps and lamp parts from the shelves in order to take the shelves apart so we can put the collection back on the shelves when we store them elsewhere.

Below are several photos of some of his lamp and lighting collection. There are at least 50 lamps in his collection.

He will be the first to admit he has a problem. 😀

Lamps and boxes of lamp parts in the basement near the washer and dryer. July 3, 2022.
Lamps and boxes of lamp parts in the basement near the washer and dryer. July 3, 2022.

 

More lamps and a light fixture on the floor in the basement. July 3, 3022.
More lamps and a light fixture on the floor in the basement. July 3, 3022.

 

Two hanging light fixtures in the basement. July 3, 2022.
Two hanging light fixtures in the basement. July 3, 2022.

 

Oh, look, more lamps in the space under the basement stairs! July 3, 2022.
Oh, look, more lamps in the space under the basement stairs! July 3, 2022.

 

And more lamps in the upstairs entry. July 3, 2002.
And more lamps in the upstairs entry. July 3, 2002.

Several folks have asked why we haven’t moved yet. Packing 29 years’ worth of stuff, renovating a dining room, cleaning and making other minor repairs are the answers. We’re making steady progress, but it’s taking more time than we’d like to make sure things are in ship-shape for the next owners.

Thoughtful comments welcome.