Raising the Titanic

I never intended to be writing about home improvements and such but we recently purchased an old house that is too wonderful not to share.  So I considered starting a whole new blog to write on this new topic but I decided I just didn’t want to mess with that so I will just make a new page on this blog titled 1911 House that will contain all of the progress pictures in chronological order.

I guess it fits us perfectly as my hubby and I both have a love and appreciation for the old way of doing things.  Him with his automotive restoration and me with my vintage sewing and cooking.  This house seemed to find us.  We weren’t actually even looking to buy for another year or so, but this house was meant to be.  It is a sturdy brick two story built in 1911.  According to what we can tell from the abstract the land that the house was built on went through many owners but since the house was built we are only the third family to live here.  Pretty amazing for a hundred year old home.

One of the first things we both noticed on the interior of the house was the remarkable trim work.  I think it is oak but is has aged to a rich, red lager color.  I find it rather appropriate that the only color descriptor I could think of involved beer.  This is Wisconsin after all.  The trim is all in tact and in beautiful condition including the oak banister on the stair.

Now when we first looked at the house we noticed that there would need to be some updating done.  We knew the current owner was elderly and had lived in the house some 50 years and it showed in the decor.  It was pretty much like stepping back in time to 1980.  We received the original abstract from the title company and we found the receipt from their remodeling, 1978. They went all out with remodeling the kitchen, bathroom, and new carpet through out the whole house.  The bath must have been top of the line for the day with a full marble surround for the tub.

I will post some lovely pictures of the kitchen and bath when I get a chance but I really want to share the fantastic treasure we found in the sitting and living room.  This is what we knew we were buying

Carpet a la Dog Barf

Carpet a la Dog Barf

.We affectionately referred to the carpet as the “Dog Barf” carpet because that is exactly what it looked like.  Now both my husband and I were very hopeful that there would be some salvageable hardwood floors underneath the dog barf.  You can see the beautiful base board trim that was giving us hope that there was quality flooring beneath.  We were not able to peek under the carpet before we purchased the house but we were very hopeful.

When we moved in we had decided that we were going to live with things the way they were for the time being because we wanted to get a feel for the house and save up for replacing the flooring through out the house.  But thanks to my sewing machine I didn’t have to wait 🙂  My machine table wouldn’t sit solidly on the carpet and I was afraid my daughter would pull it over on top of herself and get hurt.  So I decided (hubby was working) that since the carpet was crappy anyway I would just cut out holes where the table legs would sit.

Beautiful Golden Floor

Beautiful Golden Floor

Can I tell you that it took every ounce of self restraint I had to not rip out every single inch of dog barf right then and there?!  But there was still snow on the ground when I made this discovery and we had other things to keep us busy for a few weeks.  And this was a section of the floor that was not part of the main walk ways.  There was still a chance that the main thoroughfares of the rooms would be trashed.

Then the first nice day of the spring came along and I had a moment to indulge my curiosity.

Section at the front door

Section at the front door

As you can see my curiosity over took me and propelled me into action.  That white spot is not a discoloration of the floor, it is the sun bouncing off the shiny varnish.  My friend Gretchen and I proceeded to rip out all of the carpet on the main floor.  By the time my husband came home for lunch we were cleaning up.

Beautiful!!!

Beautiful!!!

Now don’t get me wrong, this floor isn’t perfect.  There are several spots in both rooms where the floor was damaged by potted plants sitting on the carpet and leaking through, and the north east corner of the sitting room has what looks like a large chemically bleached spot.  It almost looks like a carpet cleaning gone wrong but in all cases the wood is not damaged, only the finish has been marred.

Bleached corner

Bleached corner

The polka dot affect is from the padding of the carpet which is what leads me to believe that this is the result of some cleaning detergent spill.  It came through the carpet, it was not there before the carpet went down is what I am getting at.

When we first looked at the house the previous owner’s things were all still in the house and she has potted plants all over.  As ugly as this spot looks, again, it is just the finish that is damaged, not the actual wood.  And I am so thankful it is just plant piddle and not some other kind of piddle…

Plant Piddle

Plant Piddle

All of the damaged spots are on the perimeter of the rooms.  Amazingly the main traffic areas are in very good condition.  All in all we are thrilled to find this treasure.  We will live with the problem spots for now.  They are cosmetic, not structural problems.  The wood floors with their flaws (which are almost entirely covered by the furniture) are MUCH preferable to the dog barf carpet 🙂

Wait until you see what we found upstairs!

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