Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow

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Continued Window Progress: Nearly Done!

At the time of my last post the remaining windows in the house looked like this:

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While I had a great experience learning how to refinish and reglaze the window sashes myself, I decided in the interest of time that hiring someone to do the sashes while I refinished the frames would be best.

I found a local contractor who was willing to work on the sashes while I prepped the frames. When we got the sashes back from him, K.O. and I took turns cutting slots into the sides of each sash so they could run on the metal weatherstripping rails we’d be installing in the frames.

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We used heavy duty chemical stripper to remove the paint from inside the frames. Though we didn’t test it, we were fairly certain that several layers of the old paint contained lead so we worked with gel chemicals and mineral spirits to keep as much of the paint contained as possible. Once we had the wood as clean as possible, we sanded the insides of the frames to restore the beauty of the natural wood grain and prep it for sealant.

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We sanded for a long time and grew very attached to our safety goggles and face masks. We loved wearing them. We never wanted to take them off. Can’t you just see the love in my eyes for these oh so fashionable accessories?

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In between what seemed like endless days of sanding, we measured the frames, ordered the metal runners from Dorbin in Chicago, and did the necessary prep work so they’d fit around the weight pulleys. For that I used a pair of tin snips. Tin snips seem to come in one size. One size does not fit all. Maybe someday they’ll make tin snips in my size.

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There were some hard to reach areas where the chemical stripping gel just didn’t get the job done.

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For those areas I used my Dremel tool.

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Here’s one of the areas around the pulleys in progress.

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I needed to replace about half of the weight ropes. Once I did that we were ready to install our newly refinished sashes. Here’s one of the dining room windows going in.

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At the time of this post we’re still waiting for the stops to come back from being dunk stripped and we need to install the locks and lifts. The facing parts of the trim still need to be sanded, stained, and sealed. But in the meantime, the sashes work, they are beautiful, and they are amazingly airtight and rattle free. Here are a few of our nearly completely rehabbed windows:

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My Bathroom: The Rest of the Story

Some people said they wanted to see more pictures of my crazy bathroom in its recent stages of transformation. I am nothing if not obliging. Here, you dirty voyeurs! Feast your eyes on the nitty gritty recesses of my bathroom.

You may recall that when we decided to put up wainscoting, I allowed Brandon, my cousins, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and myself to draw on the bathroom walls.

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Then we put up some shelf paper because we weren’t able to tackle the job of putting up the wainscoting for a while and we needed it to look nice and be easier to clean in the meantime.

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THEN! We took the shelf paper off in anticipation of the wainscoting installation. That didn’t go so well.

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BUT THEN! The carpenters from Loki’s Garden put up the wainscoting and our bathroom began to look beautiful.

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Next up: patching a few plaster flaws near the ceiling, some fresh and lovely blue paint, and a fresh coat of primer and paint for the woodwork. Also, the tub will get paint. And shiny shiny feet.

Hooray for shiny feet.

My girliest tool

Who’d have ever thought I’d be using the mirror I carry in my purse to help out on a house project?

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I wanted to make sure I removed all the paint from the inside of the parting bead because the moving window sashes would eventually break away the paint and release lead into the home in years to come. I was surprised how much I had missed when I finally pulled out my mirror to take a look.

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One more round of chemical stripping, coming right up!

Past the block! Back to work!

Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward getting over it. In my case, blogging about having rehabber’s block helped me re-focus my attention on the things that have been holding me back.

In the case of my window restoration project I kept running into setbacks with the hardware and the fact that I got bored sanding by hand. I decided I’d just have to suck it up about the sanding but the hardware was a tougher problem.

Like everything else in our house that shouldn’t have been painted the window hardware was all painted over. I used the handy dandy ammonia trick as seen in this post but the paint was hard to get out of the moving parts.

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I soaked them too long and they rusted.

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So I got hung up on how to fix the hardware. Finally, I just said, “You know what? I can get new hardware that looks like old hardware for the same amount as it would take to restore the old hardware.” Block dissolved.

Don’t worry, preservationists, I’m going to pack the old hardware away for any future rehabbers who want to take on the task. But as I looked through the rest of the hardware on the windows around my house, I noticed a few have missing pieces anyway. I might as well make them all match.

So with that block out of the way I continued working on the window frame I’m prepping.

I wanted to make sure and remove all the lead paint from the areas that will have moving parts, so I used Zinsser 5-layer chemical strip and then sanded the last bits of residue off. I followed each pass with the sandpaper with a wipe down with a wet cloth so the dust wouldn’t be airborne. I wore a mask and dusted the rest of the room with a damp cloth afterward too.

The frames are looking pretty good now!

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Next up: replacing a broken sash cord and the benefits of being a girl home rehabber!

Nothing new to report, so here’s a look at my workshop!

I don’t have any exciting dramatic pictures of progress to show off this week, but I did spend some time moving things along in my refinishing workshop. Let’s take a tour!

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This room in my basement is where I do all the wood refinishing projects that aren’t stuck to the wall. Currently I’ve got a door propped up on sawhorses soaking in Citri-Strip, a table for heat gunning paint off the trim pieces for the windows, and a table for Citri-Stripping other trim pieces. You can see a door propped up on the right that’s been refinished — I just have to put the hardware back on it and hang it back in its doorway — and a stack of windows from the front bedroom waiting to be reglazed, stripped, and refinished.

Closeup of the trim pieces ready for Citri-stripping:

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So that’s my little workshop! Hopefully I’ll have some nice progress pictures for you soon.

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