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Old 09-04-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
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Living Room Restoration


Unfortunately for us, our prior room mate took off with any photos of our house we had when we first started demolition on it.

The living room of my 1918 schoolhouse was in the worst state of disrepair in the house when we started on everything. The entire room was covered in this awful brown panel board and had 8' dropped ceilings that were, literally, falling down.

On one day, while taking a break from pulling the panel board off, we were standing in the kitchen when suddenly we heard a large crash. Some of the drywall that was part of the ceiling fell down.

Out of curiosity, we thought we'd look and see what was above the dropped ceilings. We quickly found out that the whole (school)house had 12' ceilings and was covered in old tin tiles.

At that point was when we got the bright idea that we would restore the living room back to it's 12ft ceilings and restore some of the tin.


Last edited by Angel241; 09-29-2008 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:09 PM   #2
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We quickly cut down the dropped ceiling so that we had beautiful 12ft ceilings. In the process, we decided we would build a bar between the living room and kitchen. The first problem came when we cut a board out and the kitchen ceiling began to sink. That problem was quickly fixed with a large supporting beam at the top of the bar.

Several of the other problems included the fact that the ceiling was in no way, shape, or form level and that the hardwood floors were covered in linoleum and tar paper.

The first part of the process was taking all the tin down so we could run a wire brush over each one of them to loosen any junk and then to prime them.

While doing that, we tried EVERYTHING known to man to get the tar off of the floor. This included heat, gasoline, kerosene, stripper, mineral spirits, paint thinner, etc... In the end it came down to good ol' elbow grease.
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Living Room Restoration-heater.jpg   Living Room Restoration-mineral.jpg   Living Room Restoration-strip.jpg   Living Room Restoration-wood-.jpg  

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Old 09-04-2008, 04:24 PM   #3
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Living Room Restoration


The ceiling posed another huge challenge for us. After we had gotten the tin down and primed, we ran into a snag when we tried to hang it again. It turned out that we weren't going to be able to just tack it back up on the ceiling because NONE of it was level. The ceiling waved in every direction possible. We also had to replace a couple of sections of ceiling using plywood because they were rotted out.

We came up with the idea of using old lath board to shim each piece so that it was level on the ceiling. Since we had such a huge excess of lath lying around from tearing out plaster, it turned into the perfect stuff to use.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:34 PM   #4
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Living Room Restoration


After we got the rest of the ceiling tin hung up and the ceiling edges drywalls, it meant that we were then able to prime and paint the walls.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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Even after we had gotten all of that done, we still hadn't really come up with a way for us to get the tar paper off the hardwood floors. We had been under the impression that it was oak because after some scraping that's what was revealed. It later turned out that the floor is Douglas Fir with a few oak boards that were replaced where a wall had been originally.

We had talked about just covering over them, but that would be accepting defeat and we couldn't have that. We finally decided that we would waste some money (and sandpaper) and just sand all of the garbage off.

Several hundred dollars later, we had a nicely sanded floor, but it definitely took a while. By the end of it all, it took 20grit paper and basically burning the stuff off the floor to get it to come up.

We decided to go with Bona's Oil-based Polyurethane and sealer. We decided against staining the floor as it had some character to it we didn't want to cover up.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Living Room Restoration


Since we still needed the scaffolding in the living room to get the ceiling trim up as well as the lighting, we decided to do that after we got the floors rough sanded. It also gave us a chance to put the boards up on the front of the bar.

Any marks from the scaffolding was then sanded off using the big orbital for our final sanding.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:52 PM   #7
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Living Room Restoration


Here's the floor with the final coat of finish on and drying. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to get a photo of the room with all the trim before we moved furniture in. It's large trim to match what we put on the ceiling.

The worst room in the house was finally done!
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:37 PM   #8
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awesome work man....i wish i had the patience to do that kind of work!
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:24 AM   #9
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Good job
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Old 09-06-2008, 07:02 AM   #10
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Living Room Restoration


Excellent job. Much hard work really produced something nice.

The colors really work. The ceiling edge ideas with the lighting look great. Thanks for posting the pictures.

NICE WORK!
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Old 09-06-2008, 08:06 AM   #11
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I honestly do not know of anyone that would be willing to tackle that project, Truly a huge amount of elbow grease and sweat equity on that room. Very nice for sure.

Gives me some encouragement to do more with my home project.

Again, very nicely done and well worth the effort.

A question about the chimney. How far does it extend beyond the ceiling? I've seen a few that took a turn because of changes in the structure over the years, Just wondering if that was original work or a change at some point in time. I'm guessing, from what I am looking at in the picture, that it's a change.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:18 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone. It has certainly been a lot of work, and actually took us 3 years to even get around to doing it because of how much work was going to be involved.

The chimney is original and extends from the basement all the way to the attic. It was taken off the roof years ago by the original owner of the house. Our 2nd chimney will have to come down as well as it is degrading terribly.

There's only one reason we've been able to come up with as to why the chimney turns like that. There are no inner supporting walls in the house. The supporting walls are all the outer walls, and because of that, in the attic are two HUGE beams that basically hold the entire house up. From what we can tell, they forgot about the beam in the attic when they began to put the chimney in because that's what it curves around.
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:04 AM   #13
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Looks great! Any more DIY pi'cs on your renovation? I'm always looking for ideas. Again, great job, Dorf Dude.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
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I do have more photos. There's some in my gallery. Unfortunately, our ex-room mate took off with all of our pre-demolition photos of the house and photos of some of the things we had to do.

The people that owned the house before us never fixed anything properly. In the kitchen, whenever they got sick of the linoleum they put down, they would nail 3/4" plywood to the floor and lay some new stuff. There was about 8 layers of plywood we had to cut through in the kitchen just to find out we had to cut original floor out due to rot.

All the walls had at least 5 layers of wall paper and then they put this awful panel board over that. We tore almost every wall out due to the poor condition the plaster was in. Actually, one dividing wall in the house was actually cardboard.

None of the dropped ceilings are done properly, so it's probably a good thing that none of them are truly weight bearing.

I'm going to try and get those photos back from our old room mate in the next couple weeks so I can get them scanned in.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:52 AM   #15
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Having not seen the rest of the house, I'd wager that you could sell that house based on the appearance of that room alone!

A truly magnificent looking outcome.

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