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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Snow Snow Snowwww and some more Before and Afters

The snow is floating down nicely from the heavy grey skies, it's been on and off all day today.  Soon the winds are gonna kick up, so that means drifting and blowing.  We don't have to go anywhere tonight, so we will be snug and warm in the house.

I am feeling under the weather again, got a danged flu bug.  Got some good meds from the doc last night, and hope to get another restful night of sleep.  Gotta kick this outta my system.  Today I have been laying on the couch like a big ole slug, with one dog on my chest and another at my feet.  They keep me warm!

So I thought I would blog about the next room on my list of the "Before" and "After" pics in our house.  If you look back in the last two weeks of blog posts, I have done the house exterior, the front enclosed porch, the foyer, and the livingroom.  So now let's move on to the formal dining room:


The diningroom is the largest room of the house.  It's surrounded by high mop boards, crown mouldings, and a wide 2 groove plate rail around the entire room.  The large windows face north and let in a lot of light.  The top of the window is all leaded glass panels like in the livingroom.  (I took down the curtains) 

The entire room is carpeted, but underneath is all hardwood.  Maybe some day we will pull up the carpeting and restore the hardwood flooring.  But for now, the carpeting is in excellent shape and we will keep it that way.  The hutch is built in to the west wall, original to the construction of the home.  We didn't care for the ceiling fan, but more about that later. 

While we were waiting for our closing date on the house, we started collecting furniture.  Being on a tight budget, we scanned the ads on Craigslist for good deals.  It was a sad story, but I found this wonderful dining set for sale from a gal in Lomira who was losing her house back to the bank.  Seems her husband had a heart attack/stroke and was slowly coming back to full function in a rehab center, but they had fallen behind in their payments.  Then when he was just about ready to get out, he found out he had terminal cancer!   The bank would not work with her on the house financing, as they owned a second smaller home for their grown handicapped son to live in at another town.  So she had to chose, lose their big house, or lose the small one their son was living in.   So they chose to let the big one go.   Once her husband passes away, she will move back in with her son in the little house. 

The diningroom furniture was such a large set, it had come with their home when they bought it.  I loved it at first sight, and gave her the asking price.  I had looked it up on line what it would cost new, and was very happy with the sale. I got it for 1/10th of the new price! 

It has a huge table (plus 2 leaves) and two heavy pedestal bases.  
There were EIGHT chairs, of which two were captains chairs. 
Then a big tall hutch with glass shelves and interior lighting.
 A long heavy buffet with 3 inserts of thick marble slabs for heated dishes to set on. 
A silverware drawer with tarnish-inhibiting fabric and 
velvet racks to keep all the silver in good condition. 

In October, we had rented a big warehouse to contain the motorhome inside during the three months of winter before we closed on the house... so we had a space to store all these items I was buying in advance.  Here is the dining set in the warehouse... waiting to be moved to it's new home in a few months.

She also included this big rolled up rug for free, along with two long tablecloths to sweeten the deal. The seatcovers were a white damask fabric, and I could NOT see our grandtots doing well with that, so I bought some pretty paisley upholstery fabric and recovered them while waiting at the warehouse. 

Even though we had a built in hutch at the house, I ended up buying this whole set.  I didn't have the heart to split it up.    Steve figured once we closed on the house, we could pull the original hutch away from the wall in the diningroom and move it into my loom room.  It could always be restored back to it's original configuration if we wanted to move it back.  Erin already said she wants first dibs on this dining set when I die!  LOL   She already measured and it would fit in her diningroom too. Geesh kids!

Once the closing was done, and we officially owned the house, Steveio got out the sawzall reciprocal saw and went to work taking the hutch off the wall.  There must have been 200 nails holding it into place, we kid you not!   It was quite the project.....   But we finally got it loose!  

On the wall in the section where the beveled glass mirror had been installed a date was written in pencil on the wall.   It is written in European style and means Feb 6 of 1914.  That makes sense because the house had started construction in 1913 according to the city records, and the finishing work would have been done over the winter months once it was closed in weather tight. 

We also found some playing cards, game pieces, note cards and old paystubs that had fallen behind the drawers when pulling away the hutch.  I put them all in a plastic bag and returned them to the previous owner's daughter.

The hutch was very very heavy, so we put it on four of these plastic sliders called "Moving Men" to slide it across the carpeting, over to my Loom Room.  It now graces the east wall in my fiber area, and holds all my weaving tools, books, yarns and a couple sewing machines when not in use.

Remember a couple blogs back when I talked about the livingroom?  I mentioned we hired two guys to come in and "skip trowel" the ceilings for us. Here are some pics of them just getting started doing the work in the diningroom on that same night.  They did a great job and covered up the ripples in the old plaster, ending up with a nice textured ceiling in it's place. 

We had pulled down the ceiling fan in the middle of the dining room before they started the plastering.  And in it's place we put up a crystal chandelier!   Originally I bought one I found at Menards on clearance and kept it at the warehouse for a few weeks.  One day I happened to look at the box, and in small letters that said "lucite"  duh!  That meant PLASTIC!   For $150?????  no way!   So before we closed on the house, I had brought it back to Menards and got a REAL crystal glass one for $199.00

Did you ever think about how they have to ship a crystal chandelier?  IN PIECES!  LOTS AND LOTS OF PIECES!  hahaha  We spent New Years Day putting it all together, bit by bit. Each little crystal is attached with tiny slip rings like key chain rings.  We suspended it between the rungs on a ladder to work on it.   It was SO exciting to see it all set into place, and lit up...

Steve put the wiring for the chandelier on a dimmer type switch on the wall, so we can brighten it up for good light, or dim it down for a romantic evening...  awwwwwww!

All of our paint was dry, and it was time to move in the furniture.  We had it all piled in the livingroom while putting the finishing touches on the diningroom ceiling.  Again, those sliding disk "Moving Men" came into play, as all the pieces of the dining set were very heavy.

Now... the wall....  where the original hutch was.  Hmmmmm what to do with that?   We had the buffet set into place but the empty space above it looked funny.   The plate rail was intact on each side where it had butted up to the old hutch.  So we measured that space and started hunting for a mirror or print that would work.

We found a mirror on Craigslist that was just the perfect size!   It barely fit into our Tracker, and THIS is how I had to ride all the way home from the person's house we bought it from.

I had to hold it carefully along the bottom edge so it didn't get in the way of the stick shift, and have it balance carefully on the side of my head so it didn't rub or flex or break.  Nope, there would not be any 7 years of bad luck for this gal, no siree! 

The little extra wooden piece of the left hand side of the plate rail isn't up yet in the pic above.  Steve found the two small crystal lamps for the buffet on Craigslist, and they set it off perfectly on each side of my candy dish I found at a thrift shop.   Speaking of thrift shops, a little one in Menasha has two old guys on the lookout for silver forks I use in making a kind of tool for my sockknitting machines.  I stopped by there and he had just picked up a whole set of new silverplate dinnerware.   I bought it for our special drawer in the buffet, but we like using it every day.  

Okay, so here are the "After" pics... with the plate rail finished up on the left side.  Steve had to cut out two more little pieces to match the other ends of the other rails.  Instead of plates, I put framed photos of our family all around.   Much more interesting to look at, don't you think??  


I found some beautiful old "flow blue" china dishes at a thrift shop in Brillion, and would love to find more pieces to add to that set, as it's incomplete.  I have it in the lighted tall hutch, and a few vases I found too. The silver coffee/tea set is a gift from our friends Paula and Mel on top of the hutch.

This doorway opening to the south was just a wide open doorway, but we added some french doors we bought off Craigslist.  They came out of a remodeled church that a guy picked up for his house.  Turns out they were the wrong size for him, so he listed them on the Craigslist where Steveio found them.  They were the wrong color, but I added a few layers of colored Polyshades to make them match.  We put them on heavy duty closet door sliders and they worked out quite well to separate the two rooms. 
 (and to keep the grandtots little fingers out of my loom room when I can't supervise them) 

Sometimes I just pinch myself when I walk through this room, because I never had anything this nice or fancy before.  We try to eat most every night at the table, with soft music playing and the chandelier set to low.

It was nice to have for entertaining this year... we have had a couple parties now, and our dining set was put to good use.

Snow is still coming down out there, and the winds are blasting now.. the birdfeeders on hooks by the diningroom windows are banging around and making the dogs jump and bark every few minutes.  Might have to send Steve out there to take them down?

I am gonna hang out on my couch tonight and take it easy....


  1. Seems like Wisconsin has had enough snow already for the whole year. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. my goodness would never know it was the same room. between your ability to pick out just the right things and Steve's jack of all trades you have created a beautiful home. If the two of you ever have a really big argument Steve can come stay with us and work off his anger on the 20 projects I have. Feel better soon. P.s. keep that damn snow up north, we've had enough

  3. Your home is just so amazing and I so love these kinds of homes. It is fun seeing it evolve. Usually I am the one in the snow reading about all those folks down south, but instead tonight, I am reading about your snow and sitting near the bay in Corpus Christi watching the moon come up over the water. It is ALL good. Take care, karen

  4. I love what you have done with the room, and especially the narrative explaining all the steps to make it what it is. You sure found the perfect house!


  5. Such a joy to see things go together after all your hard work ..... You and Steve are such a team !!! So wonderful to have a home you are so proud of and rightfully so .....
    A trip to Grandmother's house is just what your big family
    can enjoy .....and the pups they are both so at home !!!

  6. You have such a good eye for what will look good in the house. I can't picture things ahead of time and spend a lot of time returning things when they don't look like I imagine once I get them home.

    The dining room looks beautiful and I love that you use it often. We never used our dining room when we had our house.

    WHAT..... no puppy pictures??

  7. With all that snow you've gotten, I'd be hanging out on the couch, too! :c)

  8. Landed here from your link on rvsue. Thought I was at your RV blog, and when I saw your amazing dining room, I thought, "Wow, what kind of pick-up truck do they pull all that stuff with?!"

    Off to read the RV blog now. Feel better soon and stay warm. Jeez, I live 10 blocks from the Pacific and it was 83 today. Oh, well, sorry I mentioned it ...


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