We’re Off To See The Wizard…

June 20th, 2011 Comments Off on We’re Off To See The Wizard…

The latest adventure here at The Woody Housing Project is the renovation of the living and dining rooms.

Things started slow in March and April with wallpaper removal whenever we had some spare time. There were many layers of paper and a layer of dark red paint. The paper was so thick and brittle that it was like peeling cardboard off the walls.

Here you can see some of the layers:

All winter long I sit at a desk while my need to renovate builds and builds. This spring I unleashed my pent-up energy on the living room and dining room ceilings. Dad and I tore down the plaster ceiling in those two rooms to pave the way for some improvements that needed to be made. The ceiling tear-down took 3 days and two truckloads to the dump.

After the plaster dust settled I cut down sheets of 5/8″ plywood and sistered all of the ceiling joists in an effort to stiffen second floor. The second floor wasn’t that springy but I figured I may as well do it since this is the only time I’m going to have full access to the joists. The joists are 2 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ x 30′ long and now have plywood glued and screwed to both sides.

The two rooms were rewired and due to a quirk of how the house was initially wired for electricity, the kitchen light, downstairs bathroom light, and porch lights had to be rewired as well.

After the wiring was done, the ceilings were insulated with sound and fireproofing insulation to help stop any home theatre noise from penetrating the bedrooms above.

The ceiling strapping was refastened to the joists and furred out to correct the sag that has developed over the last 110 years.

The last thing that Dad and I did before closing up the ceiling was to repair the pocket doors between the living room and dining room. Because of the sag, the doors have been resting on the floor rather than hanging from their track. After painstakingly removing the doors from their hanging hardware we cut 1 1/2″ from the bottom of each door and rehung them. I’m proud to report that they now open and close smoothly – something they can’t have done for at least 50 years.

We rented a drywall lift and skinned the ceiling with 5/8″ plywood to provide a solid nailing surface.

And now for the main attraction! I’ve dreamt of having a tin ceiling for many years and I finally made it happen. On the long weekend in February The Lovely Christina and I drove to Kitchener and placed our order with Brian Greer’s Tin Ceilings. Just before Easter The Lovely Christina made another trip to pick up the tin when it was ready.

It didn’t take long until Dad and I got into our routine – he lined up the panels and help them in place while I hand nailed them to the ceiling. We installed the pattern from the centre out: field panels, medallion panels, filler panels, moulding and then cornice.

Everything except the cornice went relatively quick. The cornice requires that a skeleton be built to provide support for nailing. In the picture below you can see how it was constructed: a rail and a series of 93 blocks painstakingly cut to match the profile of the cornice.

Here’s the finished product, with a protective coat of polyurethane. The dining room:

The living room:

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