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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Partway Through the Bathroom Facelift


We had our plan in mind... 
we took our measurements... 
(checked them twice)... 
and headed out with a cut list of supplies! 

Here is Steveio, loading up the beadboard and trim boards on the cute little trailer he bought last summer. It sure has come in handy for small projects, especially when some of the boards were 10 feet long.  It was just beginning to snow, so we got home and the wood was pretty dry and no road slop on any of it. Whew!

Next up was to gather some tools.  Ahhhh this is a good start!

Steve carried all of the wood down to the basement.  Our basement is divided up into three rooms plus a cistern.  I would need to spread out my work into all three rooms to get all the wood laid out. We brought the sawhorses down as well.  Sooo funny, last spring I "garbage picked" a couple sets of sawhorses and Steve was totally against me taking them.  Well, he said we had a nice metal set of 2, and one wooden set left behind by the sellers.... so why get more?   ha!  We used all four sets last summer while I stained all the spindles and crossboards for our big fence project.  Having four sets lets me get more productive and thus more units can dry at the same time!

With careful testing, I determined that on our wood, we need 2 coats of Minwax stain. My formula is 4 parts Golden Pecan, 2 parts Red Chestnut and 1/2 part Jacobean to obtain the right orangey-reddish-brown to match the 103 year old woodwork stain in our home.

Here is about 30 sq feet of beadboard with the first coat of stain on it
the 8 foot long boards will be cut into two 48" pieces for our wainscoting
This batch is in my workroom

Here is another 60 sq feet in the root cellar room, 
with a first coat on them

These are the baseboards and top cap trim,
they have 2 coats on them and are the right color now. 

Maybe tomorrow evening I can get the final coat of clear polyurethane on them.  I have some leftover quick drying floor poly from when I redid the hardwood floors 2 years ago. I think that will make a good solid strong seal on the bathroom walls. It's stuff from a gym floor supply poly company.

While I was down in the basement staining, Steve was upstairs working on tearing off the plastic tiles and baseboards.  He also removed the chrome medicine cabinet.  Wow.. look how thick the plaster is in this 103 year old house!  It's a 1/2 inch layer of thick cement onto the lathes.   No wonder we don't have any wall cracks!!  It's really solid and tough stuff.  Not like the thin skim coats they do nowadays of chalky white stuff on gypsum wallboard.

Steve works fast!!!  He had most of this done within an hour!   Of course, the plastic tiles just kinda pop off after being glued on for about 60 years.  He will take down any of the rougher bumps of plaster and glue with a small oscillating tool and I will shop vac up the mess as we go.  Less of dust and junk flying around in the air. 

The three walls, North, East and South were all tiled.... the West wall along the tub we had taken down those tiles five years ago when we redid that part of the bathroom.  Now the new beadboard will go on all of the walls, 48 inches up, with a 5 inch thick baseboard. It will be high enough to cover the old surface and glued messy icky wall underneath.

I bought a quart of white paint to cover the heat register grate as well. These lovely old cast iron grates are so wonderful, and I would like to leave it original... but this was already painted many times before. The rest of the registers in our house are original and untouched .

While I had my brushes and white paint stuff out... I decided to paint the little table for next to the tub. It has been white when I first bought it, and I painted it cream back then. Now it's back to white.  It's perfect for setting my glass of wine on, or an ice water, my MP3 player, and a candle, while taking a relaxing bubble bath. 

I saw an ad on the local buy sell trade Facebook Marketplace site. It was PERFECT! We wanted an old medicine cabinet, but most we have seen are painted. I want to stain one to match the beadboard.  Yes, Steve could make one, but I wanted an "old one".  Sure enough, a lady was selling this one that has already been stripped, for a mere $10, this came home with me! 

Replacing THIS with THIS (after it gets stained)

Lucky for us, our son works for a glass cutting plant, and I think I can beg him to make me a nice bevelled edge mirror to go in the door opening!  


Mr Antsy Pantsy wants me to hurry and get all this wood stained and poly'd quick, he wants to start cutting the beadboards in half and attaching them to the walls.

But but but --- we had a few other things to take care of this week...

  • We babysat on Thursday up to Oconto for Jameson and Whitney while their parents went to his company Christmas party.  
  • Today we got up at the crack before dawn to help transport garage items from Steve's dad's old house to his new house. That resulted in 350 miles of a convoy round trip to get a lot of stuff done.  
  • This this evening we snatched up granddaughter Claire to babysit so her parents could go to their company Christmas party! 

Walls can wait a bit,
Dad needs our help and 
Grandkids grow up too fast! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Getting a Facelift for Christmas!!!

Yes, I am getting a facelift for Christmas! And best of all, Steve wants it too...

Not surgery, silly readers, we are going to give a facelift to another room in what we fondly refer to as "Our Old House" which is our 1914 home.

See, most of your readers remember that we bought the house 5 years ago. The bathroom was not in the best of condition. It was the only room in the house that really wasn't original to the house date of construction anymore.

Those are not real tiles,
they are plastic glued on tiles from the 60's....

Keep in mind, the elderly people who had last lived in our home probably made these changes in the forties, fifties and sixties to the bathroom. After they passed away, we bought the home, unchanged, from their 3 daughters.  Nothing else was updated or changed over the years prior to our purchase.

We do cherish the originality of our home with all of the gorgeous woodwork, the hardwood floors, and the overall structure and construction of the house. It was just the out of sync bathroom that needed to be addressed...

In striving to make it more pleasant than original, we also had to deal with the evidence of a leaking toilet over time, and removing a turquoise bathtub and shower enclosure that had seen better days.

The ceiling was in rough shape as well, there was some evidence of a past roof leak (that have been repaired), and over the tub it was falling down due to not having a bathroom vent installed.  There were ugly acoustical square tiles that had been attached to the ceiling. The upper walls were adorned with patterned printed wallpaper and the lower walls are covered in plastic square tiles that are just glued on.  It was a mix-mux of patterns highlighted by the gold metallic and white linoleum flooring that was curved up the walls as faux baseboards?? 

This is how it looked when we bought the house:

Notice in the pic above of the crazy medicine cabinet had those two vertical fluorescent tube lights that drove me nuts. Not only did they flicker on and off to get started, but the plastic housing covers were all yellowed and cracked. We removed those and later added two beautiful wall sconces instead.

After repairing the plumbing and the sub floor boards, we replaced the flooring with something neutral.  With  all of the patterns to the wallpaper and tiles, we didn't need another pattern on the floor.  So we chose a soft creamy neutral ombre sheet vinyl to cover the floors with (after fixing the sub floors and plumbing and then using leveling compound).

We cut down the wall between the tub/shower enclosure and the open space behind it.  We were planning to use this space for a whole new configuration. 

Instead of the crazy outdated bathtub shower enclosure, we pulled that old cast iron tub out which was a HUGE project.  We had to bust it in half with a sledgehammer to haul it out in two pieces.  Steve and I slid each half down the staircase (with three turns!) out the front door and porch, and onto a tarp to drag it to the garage for the metal scrappers to pick up.

We pulled off the wallpaper, yanked down the ceiling tiles and did new sheetrock all over the ceiling and upper walls. We also installed a new bathroom fan/light fixture that had an old fashioned appearance with the fan hidden up under the light shade.

We put in a more simple white plain looking bathtub and a separate stand up shower stall tucked away behind the door. It was the best of both worlds, because I enjoy the baths and Steve enjoys the showers ---- he likes a separate walk-in stall like we had in our last home.

The toilet and the sink had been more recently replaced by the previous owners and those were of good quality. We kept those 5 years ago when we did the other work in our bathroom.

Don't get me wrong, we love our beautiful old house. But we want to restore things back to what it would have been like in 1914 and erase stuff from the forties and the fifties and the sixties if we can.

All of that work you see in the pics above was being completed 5 years ago when we first bought the house. It was all well and good and we liked what we did to improve the bathroom.


Those crazy plastic tiles bug me!!!!! They are not attractive to my eyes, and they are really a creamy faded non-white with brown speckles that never seem to be clean. Not to mention, the cracks in between aren't really grouted, the tiles are just glued into place. Of which those tiles keep falling off and we have to keep gluing them back into place. arrgghhh!!!

As we undertake this new facelift project, these are our "BEFORE" pics of the bathroom. This is how it presently looks right now.



(ps the antique lamp cord is not plugged in, it's just for looks) 



Steve and I were having a tough time finding ideas of what to get each other for Christmas. So we decided we would jointly work on this bathroom together and pick up all of the materials as our Christmas Presents to each other.  Besides, we like working on projects together, so that makes it extra special fun.

Our first stop last night was to the Restore for Habitat for Humanity, just in case they had what we were looking for.  I used to love going into the Restores, but lately they seem to be so filled up with furniture and not actually leftover building materials. Over half of the display floor in the Appleton and Fond du Lac Restores is covered with discarded couches and chairs and crazy fiberboard cheap bedroom dressers and headboards. I think people are using them as a Dumping Ground of Junk rather than a place for contractors and home fix-it people to donate their leftover or reusable construction materials.

We then drove to three different home improvement stores to get some ideas.

Here is a hint: This is our lovely linen closet in the hallway.

Steve removed a door to set in the bathroom to get an idea....

I guess now you'll have to come back here to see what we are up to.

 Check back as my face lift goes under the knife ----- errrrrr saw?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lights, Historic Timm House Tour and Birthday Party!

Another week flew by again. I was thinking of posting every day, but not much is happening until we reach the weekends.  Then it's suddenly Sunday night and I feel the urge to catch up.

The weather has been amazingly warm here, and we were able to finish up the outdoor lights on the house as the festive holiday month begins.  The tree is done and the inside decorations as well.

Plus, to top it all off, the shopping is done (my first time EVER being done before Dec 1st)  and also wrapped and ready for the grandtots. We are getting together with everyone on the weekend between Christmas and New Years.  I am soooo looking forward to watching all seven little stinkers have fun, LOTS of laughter, joy and a few kiddie squabbles as well.


There is a small town just to the south of us, called New Holstein. Yes, in the Dairyland of Wisconsin, there are some towns named after cows.  Hahahaha   In this town is a stunning jewel of an elegant old victorian home that has been preserved by their historical society. It's called The Timm House.

We have driven past it many times, but never on a weekend when they were open for tours.

Steve saw an article in the newspaper that it was open various times over the month of Dec. We earmarked Friday night to go and see it as soon as we were done with supper.  The house is absolutely gorgeous and we snapped a few pics outside as we came up the walk.

Once inside, we paid our little donation to tour the home. A well-informed gentleman near the door started us out with the story of the home and let us explore the fixtures and woodwork of the foyer.  We asked permission to take photos for the blog... and he passed us on to the next gal in the dining area. She said I could take one photo of the piano player in the front parlor, but not to take any more shots... thus preserving the inquisitive folks in the area to come and see for themselves and not "give it away".  I was more than welcome to take as many outside shots of the home to share on my blog, website and facebook.  (afterwards, they liked my photos so much, they asked my permission to use them on THEIR facebook page! LOL)

This is from the internet:
Built in 1873, this house became the home to Herman C. Timm, the original owner of the Timm Elevator Company, founder of the State Bank of New Holstein, president of the New Holstein Mercantile Company, and the first president of the village of New Holstein.  Timm and his wife, Augusta Muenster Timm raised seven children in the home.  A large addition was added to the house in 1892, by August F. Neuman.  After the deaths of Herman and Augusta, both in 1906, Timm’s unmarried children took over the home and in 1954, they converted it into two separate rental units.  The home was donated by H. C. Timm II to the New Holstein Historic Society in 1974.

The home undergone extensive restoration after a pipe had burst, flooding the entire house with 500,000 gallons of water and filling the entire basement.  In 2000, the New Holstein Historical Society raised $1.2 million dollars to restore the Timm House to its former glory.

During Steve's bus driving job for the county (for handicapped or elderly folks) he met a woman who used to live on the second floor at one time, many years ago.  The guide lady in the dining area told us it was a rental apartment for a while. Many young newlyweds made their first home in the rooms upstairs.  They would live there for a few months or so and get started on their lives and into a home of their own later. The guide ladies told us a large number of people had mentioned living there, or relatives who had lived there. 

The guide lady in the kitchen (the older original part of the home) was offering refreshments and information on the cookstove, dry sink and back stairway up to the second story.  That portion was closed off and used for storage... so they can rotate some of the displays from time to time. All the more reason to go back again!

We explored the woodwork, the furniture, the lighting fixtures (the newest portion of the home was built later when the town got electrified) The old push button type switches and outlets were restored with new ones, but historically correct.  Steve noticed that. I think in the Renovators catalog you can buy new switches that conform to code but look old and original.  I grew up in an old "mining row house" in Caspian MI where we had some push buttons and some turn knob switches as well.

The rooms in the Timm House were decorated for the holidays and they had little signs explaining some of the things to read if the guides were busy with other visitors.  The piano lady was doing a variety of holiday tunes and the lighting in every room was soooo calming and peaceful.  Nothing garish.  Victorian charm and delightful details were high on my list of things to see.

I just adore the fine details of this house,
and took these pics from outside. 

Once we said our goodbyes and thankyous, we headed out to snap a few more pics of the exterior.  Steve was noticing the good work that the historical society was able to afford. Putting in a new foundation, it sure must have been a job to lift all three stories and restore the basement to new specs.


On our way home from that event, we had another one stop in our plans.  We had a bag of multiple grocery items for a requested donation to the entrance to a new event.  Various Civic Groups in the area had put together a large holiday light display to drive through at the Calumet County Fairgrounds on the south side of Chilton.

It was called "DeLIGHTfully Chilton"
This is from the brochure they handed out:

We drove up, handed over our food pantry donation, got the instructions (turn the radio to 97.3) and set to drive through enjoying the sponsors signs and light displays... all set to the music.

When we were all done and approaching the gate to exit, one of the workers asked us if we enjoyed it.  Of course!  It was their first year, and first attempt at this.  He said cheerfully "Go through again!" as there were not that many cars at the time.  So we did!  Now I had time to film some more as we drove through.  Here is a You Tube of our driving through. I am not sure what the clicking sounds are... they were not on the radio nor in the car. I think it had something to do with the flashing lights and my camera recording feature on my phone?

Just turn on your own music as you view the You Tube if you want to skip the click click sounds on mine. hahahahha


On a quick fiber note, I had started a quilting order. It was a project for someone, and decided I better get it finished on Friday night or Saturday morning. It was a tacky kleenex box cover, quilted in the shape of a couch!  Not just any couch, but a couch with a celestial theme of planets and stars.  Hmmmmm?  It was to be given as a joke gift to someone who was a friend of our daughterinlaw.

It was a reminder of a time a bunch of their gal pals had stayed at a bed and breakfast or something and the bedroom was all planets and suns and stars. In that room was a tacky kleenex box shaped like a couch.  I guess it's a new trend or thing????  Soooo they wanted to give this gal a gift to remind them of that time.   I did it to fill the order, but it was tacky.... LOL


Saturday was a busy day for us.  Our oldest grandaughter Allegra is turning 8!  She had a fiesta party planned at their home up in Green Bay. It was so much fun to get together with all of our kids, grandkids, the other grandparents and even Pops (Steve's dad) the great grandfather patriarch was able to come... even in the middle of all his preparations for moving soon next week.  More on that later in another blog.

Allegra the Birthday Girl was piled high with presents... lots of fun girly stuff and crafting kits and clothes. Her Grandma Peggy got her paint and new curtains and curtain rod, along with bedroom accessories to update her room.  Now that she is 8, it's time to move on from babyish little girl stuff ya know.

(The guys were watching the Wisconsin Badgers Game in the background) 

We were treated to a fiesta buffet of Mexican food
and then cupcakes for her birthday treat.

Once the party was winding down, the cousins were all figuring out who was going to have a sleepover at who's house, for extending the little ones' fun of being together. We are so glad that all of our grandkids live close by and can do those sleepover fun stuff.  

This brings back fond memories of when we were kids, clamoring for sleepover time with our cousins, the Statons, at Grandma Kafehl's house.  There were 12 of us  total, 6 kids from each family, and we had to learn to take turns.

Here are all 12 of us, with Auntie Lois' station wagon
and our Camper Bus in the background

left to right: 
Laura, Dan, Randy, Roger, SuSu, Linda, Pam, Bruce, Me holding Umpee, John and Butch
Cousins Forever! 

After the party, we headed on back to Chilton, just in time for our next event.  At 5 pm sharp we grabbed our lawn chairs and headed up to the corner of Grand Avenue and Madison St.  The police were there blocking off the traffic on Madison (which is also State Hwy 57!) so the lighted parade could pass through on it's way up Grand Avenue, down State St. and around the corner to City Hall.  It was so fun to see local businesses putting out their best floats with lights and music.  The high school band performed Christmas tunes, and children were handing out candy to the spectators. We even got candy canes.

It was only about 20 minutes long, but pretty good for a small town.  I think I liked the county snow plows the best.  Of course, there was Santa who finished up the parade with a flourish, riding astride a big firetruck with his sleigh and reindeer.


Sunday morning was a lazy one... Steve made breakfast and we hung out around the house.  It was soooo warm out again that after breakfast, we spent some time out on front porch.  Just in shirt sleeves, we had a second cup of coffee, read the paper and enjoyed the sunshine.

The grandkids like to spend time out here,
so we had to decorate it too. 

This is our little "Family Tree" with ornaments bearing the names of each family member.
The dogs enjoy the front porch and keep an eye out for people walking past the house.

Last week I had "garbage picked" up a little hall bench with underneath storage. Yup, I do that. Someone set it out to the road for trash pick up.  I am all up for recycling out restoring. It had a broken arm, but it was easily repairable.  Steve and I fixed it up and I touched up a few spots with scratch cover. Today we were ready to sell it.

Steve took it up into the front porch
 and I snapped some pics of it from a few angles.  

I posted it for sale on the Facebook Marketplace, which then lets me click to add it to all of the local buy sell trade groups in our area.  There are 8 of them! It was only one of those cheap kit Sauder type benches that you put together--- like from Target or Ikea. So as soon as I posted the little bench for $20.00  Oh my.... my phone blew up with tons of messages!  I had TWENTY people who wanted that danged thing!

The first lady was on her way to come and see it, so I was then posting the same message over and over to the next persons in line, one after another:  "If the first lady passes, you are number three on the list"  ..."you are number four" ..."you are number five". The first lady got here, bought it and Steve helped load it in her SUV.

Then I had to go back to the other 19 people and tell them "Sorry, the bench is sold"

Soon afterwards, I heard a noise on the front porch, and wondered what was up?
Did someone come to my house to find that bench?
Was the lady buyer coming back to return it?
Was someone in our town, who used to own it, saw my ad, and was mad that I fixed it and sold it?

Nope... it was a mail carrier, on a Sunday!  LOL LOL She brought us a nice big box, chock full of freshly picked oranges!!!! Mom and Lyle have an orange tree in their backyard in Florida.  The oranges were ripe and needed to be picked as soon as possible and would not last until Christmas.  So Mom said they decided to send them out early to us and another box up north for the rest of the siblings.  She said if you leave the stem and leaves on, they last longer.  I didn't know that.   We "shared the wealth" with our two neighbor ladies and brought them some as a treat to their doors.

Sooo good and fresh and juicy.  Steve and I each ate one right away. Last year I saved the seeds and planted them--- they grew into tiny trees which I donated to the horticulture class at the local high school.  They are real bearing oranges, not some hybrid thing like sold in the stores... so you can do that with the seeds.

We had a nice afternoon watching the Packer Game, which they won in overtime. Whew.....   Then we popped on some light jackets and headed out with the dogs for a nice long walk around town.  As I write this tonight, they are both snoozing already.  I guess we wore them out.

I think we are worn out as well.

(I had to wait till Monday morning to post this blog, 
because the YouTube links had to be uploaded first 
before I could hit "PUBLISH")