One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Four!

It’s week four of my One Room Challenge and this week has strange feelings. It’s a feeling that starts off with look how much I’ve done! that quickly melts into holy shit, I’m half way through and I don’t even have drywall up yet, and then a ton of anxiety rises up inside of me when I realized I’ve gone one step forward and need to take two steps back. I’ll share what I got done this week, both good and bad …

I built up the courage to take off the window trim on the front wall of our front room. I found it easiest to remove the top corners first, followed by everything else. I also worked on removing the skirting board, but whoever installed the new wood floors butted the floors up against the skirting board [instead of taking off the skirting boards, putting down the flooring and then replacing the skirting boards], so the original skirting splintered and shattered as I tried to pry it off. There were many words uttered.

Last Sunday we hired a U-Haul trailer and collected some pieces for the front room. The most amazing piece being the secondhand tufted Victorian-style couch that I found on Kijiji. It. Is. Amazing:

We got a lot collected on Sunday including drywall, insulation, vapour barrier, tools and a few other essential ingredients. They all went into the back of our rented U-Haul – including the couch – and off we went.

I then built up the existing studs with leftover wood, insulated and tacked up the vapour barrier before realizing I need to rip it all off and start over again; the studs I magic-ed together won’t be secure enough so I’m going to build a new 2×4 frame to sit inside two exterior walls insulate and drywall. I had a sneaking feeling a few days ago that I’d need to start over … One step forward, two steps back, but at least I’ll be doing it properly?

Don’t bother getting me a glass. I’ll drink straight from the bottle, thank you very much.

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Three!

I am 100% publishing this blog post on fumes. I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping out the last of the lath and plaster on all four walls of our front room, one piece of wood at a time, so apologies if this post is barely sentence.

Should I wait until a bit more time has passed and I’m not so emotionally dead inside as I’m still too raw from yesterday’s demotion to publish this week’s One Room Challenge post? Most definitely. But this is real life and renovation is r.o.u.g.h. sometimes.

I accomplished a lot this past week and I cannot wait to show you the insanity I went through. I look at the photos from last week and laugh at my innocence. It’s all ahead of you, young Alex. Soon the 100-year-old mouse droppings will rain down on you like some sort of twisted renovation version of Flashdance. Except with mouse excrement.

I began this week’s work by removing what turned out to be four layers of ceiling. At the bottom [meaning, closest to me] there were ceiling tiles [which I removed the week previous], then drywall, 100+ year-old plaster, and finally wooden lath at the base. Each had to be removed one layer at a time. This was a total time-suck. But eventually, everything was removed and revealed beautiful beams and the underside of the original wooden floors upstairs.

Once that was cleared, I tackled the lath and plaster on the walls. I was up against the clock with getting this portion done so I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping everything out. It was chaos and more of a mental hurdle than anything, but I got it done.

Above you can see the holes for the original furnace, which came up from the basement, through to the bedrooms and ran down the center of the house. I’m going to patch up the hole on the wall, but I think I’ll keep the original chimney in the ceiling as it’s quite neat.

I was going into this project hoping to be able to restore and save as much of the original plaster as I could. But as soon as the ceiling tiles and wood panels were removed, it was clear they were put there to hide the horrible condition of the plaster. It was quite dangerous in places and fell just from me placing my hand on it. There was no saving it. Don’t @ me.

Once I finished ripping all the lath and plaster out came the arduous clean-up; I shoveled the mess into a recycling box [as seen on the right above], handed it out the window to Robert, who then brought it around and threw it into our Bin There Dump That dumpster. Seeing as plaster is deceptively heavy, we couldn’t fit much plaster in each box so it took approximately 12,000 trips to the dumpster.

I’m innocently hoping the worst of the project is behind me now. Next week I’m hoping to insulate the exterior walls, drywall the walls and ceiling and start on the built-in shelving. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to give myself unrealistic expectations and goals, so we’ll see how this goes.

As usual, you can see all the week three Guest Participants progress here!

Week One – Week Two – Week ThreeWeek FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek Seven – Week Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Two!

My first week in the One Room Challenge has actually gone really well considering all that I’ve uncovered has pointed out more things that need to be fixed [something I was prepared for], but I am still so excited to transform this space.

You can blame my lack of experience, but I’m looking forward to correcting the wrongs that were made over the more recent 50 years to this house’s history and making the front room in our house a real part of our home and somewhere to enjoy. Not somewhere where furniture goes to die.

I first wanted to get our ceiling tiles tested for asbestos as I was conscious that some older ceiling tiles can have it. This was the main deciding factor in moving ahead with our ORC; if the test came back positive and we couldn’t rip out the tiles ourselves, then we wouldn’t be tackling this room until a professional could do it. I called a few places and thanks to speaking with a few knowledgeable people, I found out if you bring a tile sample in yourself [$90] vs. getting a professional to call out to your house and take the sample [$650 – no exaggeration], you can save yourself a boat load of money.

Up the ladder I went, ripped out one tile, delivered it for testing and one week later we go the results we were hoping for! The next day I contacted Bin There Dump That, who so generously offered to partner on our ORC and provided a 20-yard dumpster, I then ordered the dumpster from them and two days later it arrived and I got started on demolishing our front room.

Down came the ceiling tiles followed by the 80’s faux wood paneling [this kind of stuff, not this stuff]. Both were hiding a plethora of sins. The original 100-year-old plaster on the ceiling and the walls were in terrible condition. They may not have been this bad when they were originally covered, but this is the reason they both were both covered. A case of if I can’t see it, it’s not happening series of design choices.

This is where I got nervous. My dilemma was; the original walls and ceilings are in terrible condition. I want to conserve them, but I can’t. Is it okay for me to rip them out, or is that an even bigger crime against historical architecture? I video called Dad DIYer, who confirmed that the best [and really only] way to move forward is to rip everything out. I was prepared for this and wasn’t disheartened by it, I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.

As usual, you can see all the Guest Participants progress here! Check back here next week when I introduce our crowbar to our 100-year-old plaster …

Week One – Week TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

DISCLOSURE - while this post is not sponsored, I did receive the service of a dumpster rental during my One Room Challenge free of charge from Bin There Dump That in exchange for a blog post. I only work with brands that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.