home repairs

Crafting space update!

We had a nice low-key Christmas, I hope you all had the same!  I only had to do one Christmas service, and that was really nice – I don’t miss the crazy rush of being a music minister one bit!  We went to my husband’s parents’ house for the day, and we’re going back up for New Year’s eve (they always have a big party, and my husband is very keen to go.)  I did get some exciting crafting Chistmas gifts, including a gift certificate from a student to my LYS(who certainly knows the way to my heart!)  My Mom bought me a dress form, something I’ve been wanting for a long time, so I’m pretty excited about that, as well as several great books about sewing (I also got a new iron for sewing… can you tell my (and Marc’s) family members who sew are excited that I’m sewing now?)

Since the holiday we’ve been engaged in an epic battle with the attic.  First an explanation… our attic is nearly a full 3rd story on our late 1800s house.  It was originally unfinished, but someone did a very 1960s renovation at some point (I assume the 60s, but who can tell!)  They added dark wood paneling and a (no doubt) asbestos tiled floor, both of which still exist in some form today.  The people who we bought the house from decided to renovate the attic into a loft for the wife, who was an “artist” of sorts (artist in quotes because we actually found some of her art in the walls and oh Dear… but never you mind.)    They hired someone to cut holes in the roof for 3 large skylights, and installed all new triple windows at either end.  Perhaps at this point water was run to the attic, as well as a gas line (we suspect she was also welding up there, which I just don’t like to think about.)  They also installed a central air conditioning unit and duct work.  According to them they received a quote for drywalling the attic that was outrageously high, and they seem to have given up, with one of the walls removed and the ductwork working, but never actually hooked up to vents.  Here is a photo from earlier in the week of the end we are focusing on (well, everything is getting done, but this end is the worst.)

On the right you see the old wood paneling, and on the left (hard to see) the wall currently ends and we have had to frame out a corner. It’s very important to get all the ductwork sealed off, because the cats really want to be in the attic, but in its current state that just isn’t safe.  We caught Sarah Jane sleeping in some loose insulation under the rafters (she’s fine, and boy was she warm!)  You can see the new windows at the end which are nailed shut(!) and were never painted.  You will also notice the lovely floor (note my sarcasm.)  The black tube-like thing at the end is ductwork, which runs into the paneling and out of the only vent that was actually hooked up.   I’m going to have to find some way to hide it – it is not attractive.

Tonight I managed to get the paneling, windows, and beams all primed – it already looks better!

I am usually against painting wood (note that there is very little in our house, all painted by other people) but none of this was nice wood.  The beams in particular were never meant to be exposed, and they were covered with 6 or 7 inch long nails, sticking out at crazy angles.  No idea why, but literally hundreds of them.  The paneling on the right only is going to be this color, Veranda Iris from Behr, with white trim and beams.  I like the tinge of gray – since this room will have no wood trim, I can finally have some gray in a color!

We are in the process of installing the rest of the insulation board and plain white paneling on the ceiling and the places where there previously were no walls.  This is not a permanent solution, but it is the solution until we can afford to drywall (I decided I’m just not wanting to do that myself… my Dad is a contractor, and his experiences have swayed me.)  The floor will be covered with a vinyl floor that looks like wooden parquet tile… it’s inexpensive, but it meets my criteria – I won’t have to remove the asbestos tiles first.  It actually looks pretty nice, and this after all still an attic… going to be used as a craft room for Marc and I, and for occasional guests if the other rooms are full (by way of a futon… this should happen once every 5 years, so who knows if we will even need it!)  These photos look dark, but there is a ton of light up here in the day… I am excited to create (I’m even going to set myself up a cozy place to knit!)  Hopefully the rest will go well… I am generally very handy, but the problem with this project is that we have to decide where we are going to stop, as we do plan to drywall someday.

I actually have a philosophy about this – if something in your house is making you unhappy, do something to make yourself feel better now – you don’t have to spend a lot, but it will make you feel better until you can afford your dream room!  I know that painting my kitchen bright red has made it a totally different feeling spot – sure I want to renovate it someday (it is the same vintage as the attic) but for now the color makes me happy… and sometimes that is enough.