Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Cottage DIY August 4, 2009

Filed under: Tancook Cottage — happystitches @ 01:00

Whilst anxiously awaiting the resolution of the DVD debacle I have been taking regular jaunts out to Tancook Island and discovering the joys of home renovation. It relieves the frustration rather nicely. It may not be cheaper than therapy but it gives tangible results.

I wonder if Home Depot would like to sponsor this blog? It’s now my favorite store (the staff are so helpful).
DIY is an area in which I have had only minimal experience. I haven’t used a paint scraper since I worked at sea and never have I had carte blanche to do as I wished. I took an unreasonable dislike to a cupboard last week, realized that it was an afterthought addition to the room and now it is gone!

When I bought the cottage it was a poem in beige; beige walls, beige carpets and a surfeit of roses and gnomes. Anyone that knows me, even in passing, will appreciate that I don’t even consider beige a colour! Yet it was functional, clean and I didn’t have a clue where to begin. I was luckily catalyzed by the minor flood (see Spunyarn ?? For details) which rather dented the integrity of the ‘toilet’ room. Large holes in the ceiling do have that effect.

So one inclement day I started attacking the wall paper (the weather has been more suited to indoor endeavors than we might wish this summer). Before I knew it I had removed all the roses. Yeah! Very satisfying.

Then my attention and curiosity turned to the much trampled carpet. What delight or horror would it reveal? Firstly it had to be released from it’s vicious nail toothed strips around the perimeter and then, behold, patterned linoleum in an interesting shade of school toilet green with (you’ve guessed it) roses. Once the enveloping carpet was removed, the next mystery remained, what was underneath the lino?

Much pulling and prying was needed to remove the wooden tack strips that formerly held the carpet. (Nothing shorter than a 3” nail seems to satisfy the Tancook house builder. Were they expecting high winds or someone to steal the carpet?) Then the moment of truth. Unfinished wooden boards. Yeah! Nothing exotic, but wood (spruce is suggested by those in the know – I suppose it is like a knitter identifying a wool/silk blend) largely unblemished apart from a foot wide strip of green enamel paint at two opposite walls and then the sting in the tail, where the join of two strips of lino occurred a lovely band of tar-like goo bonding the lino to the floor from wall to wall.

But on the whole a lovely floor. Then began the scraping period. I am now intimately familiar with the paint layers, first down was was a deep green that inveigled itself spectacularly into all of the minor imperfections in the wood, this was followed by an evil peachy pink enamel of a hardness true to its name all lovingly overlaid by some more nasty green of a slightly lighter shade. After a number of hours of vigorous scraping both the green and the line of tar began to retreat but not without a fight.

Having largely cleaned up the floor, my heart (and knees) were beginning to quail at the thought of sanding the entire area properly with a hand-held sander. However; a wonderful island friend, skilled in island life mentioned that one of the hardware stores on the mainland would deliver a rental sanding machine to the ferry. Brilliant.

But if I was going to make this worthwhile perhaps I should tackle the whole of the ground floor? Without further ado I began stripping the carpet from the front room! This was a lot of carpet and underlay but no lino. I thought that I had hit paydirt when I found a border of hardwood all around the perimeter of the room and the middle was pine planks. Wonderful. Until I reached the middle of what had been two small rooms all was well, and then I found the ‘black hole’. A 2’ 6” square hole cut out of the floor, filled with a sheet of plywood!

The following day I plucked up the courage to lift the board, which delicately secured with pounds of 3” nails, it took some shifting. Oh for a wrecking bar.
This revealed insulation and a lot of mouse poop!

I decided that this bit (probably the remnants of a heating grate), can be fixed later and that the floor sanding could go on as planned. Next installment – the floor sander.


6 Responses to “Cottage DIY”

  1. Fredda Says:

    While completing a knitting project brings great satisfaction and pride, there is nothing like taking on a building-related manual task to see myself in a whole other light. BTW, the linoleum and paint (not to mention the wallpaper) are like the circles in a tree trunk; they tell age and other stories…enjoy.

  2. Ro Says:

    Hi, Lucy! Probably don’t remember me, but Hi, it’s Ro again.

    Had to say good luck with the renovation. I used to have an old house, built in the late 1920s. I know of linoleum-goo. Btw, if if was the old kind, it might be animal hide-based, like mine was. With judicious soaking of water (a little at a time-don’t warp the floor), the black linoleum goo softened and scraped up, though the thicker areas took a couple of applications.

    Also? Get someone to show you how to run the sander before you bring it home. Find a scrap piece of plywood and practice on. They are very powerful machines, and can remove lots of wood in a nanosec. Get extra sanding paper for them. It’s amazing how many staples and broken off old nails are waiting to tear the paper on the sander.

    And whate’r you do, never skip using the tack-cloth on the floor before you put down a clear finish. Vacuuming may seem like it got everything but it didn’t.

    And best of luck with the DVD thing 🙂

  3. Ro Says:

    PS jeeeze! That’s a lot of roses.

  4. carol Says:

    Sooo many blogs sing the joys of HomeDepot, I really wish this company would hurry up and open some shops here in the UK!

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