Initial Therapy Sessions
In my last installment, Old Lady Taylor received a life-altering exterior facelift, transforming an ugly duckling into a swan. Since then, the old lady has been undergoing therapy to beautify her interior state. The first phase of this type of therapy is demo—tearing down the old and sad to make way for the new and improved.
Because we needed to change our exit strategy to respond to market pressures, I scaled back our original scope of work from a fairly significant demo and rehab to something much less involved. The revised demo scope of work included pulling down the vinyl wallpapered plywood sheets that covered perfectly good sheetrock walls in the downstairs bedroom and pulling up purple, blue, and red carpet and linoleum in various places throughout the house, revealing a could-one-day-be-beautiful hardwood floor in the master bedroom with literally thousands of nail and screw holes. These holes were matched by the literally thousands of nail and screw holes in the walls and doors left by previous occupants. In phase 2 of therapy, prep, the holes in the walls and doors have been carefully patched and primed and are ready for paint.
My most recent site visit was pre-paint, and as you can see from the pictures at the end of this post, the prep work our contractor has done is thorough and exacting. When you prep well on the front end, there’s less mess to clean up on the back end, and that saves time, money, and hassles. Even the OSB (oriented strand board) in the master closet has been made less horrifying by the prep work that has been done. When you start out with royal blue paint on OSB, you really need to do a thorough prep job.
Not Quite The Amityville Horror
And speaking of horror, which is really no coincidence with it being Halloween season, my site visit took a turn for the Edgar Allan Poe—appropriate, since I lived in Baltimore for almost 25 years and worked near his house on North Amity Street. I reminded our contractor that we also needed to paint the strange green (yep, Hulk Green) and black grids holding up the drop ceilings in the hallway, dining room, and laundry area, and that meant that the ceiling tiles had to come down. While he worked in the laundry area, I removed the insulated tiles in the dining room. While he found nothing but a big hole in the beaverboard ceiling original to the house, I was luckier. Well, luck like the kind of luck you find in old-fashioned horror movies.
Pounds of dust, dirt, once-lovely wallpaper (the original ceiling had been wallpapered, because that’s what people did in the 1920s and 30s), desiccated insulation, pecan shells, what appeared to be cat feces, and two large, intact rat skeletons. Complete with ears and some fur! And delightful full sets of molars! A house cat long ago did an amazing job picking those bones clean. I removed the skeletons carefully and set them aside—can’t let something that great get thrown away. We swept and vacuumed up the mess, and I took home two new “treasures” with which to scare any trick-or-treaters we might get in a few weeks.
In the meantime, there’s painting to be done. I’ll be back soon with pictures and more tails, I mean, tales of the rehabilitation of Old Lady Taylor.