House Report

Mama and I had a great two days together working on her house. We spent our time scraping wallpaper from the plaster. If you’ve ever had the joy of scraping wallpaper that is glued to plaster covered by multiple layers of paint, then you can imagine what we did all day. It is slow work.

My great-great uncle built the house in 1912. Mama has pictures of it during different stages of construction. She found them in an old scrapbook in one of my grandmother’s trunks. Most people that restore old houses can only guess at the history. The family moved out of the house at some point and it was rented. My grandmother inherited it in the early 80’s and my great aunt Frances has lived in it until this past June. Mama has owned the house for a few years now and Frances has rented it from her. Frances recently moved into an apartment and now the house is free for Mama to restore.

I think I already told you some of the story in my last post. Please excuse me if I’ve repeated myself.

Please join me for a tour of the house. I have a few pictures from April when Frances was still living in the house and the rest are what it looks like now.

The shutters for the sides still need to be restored and painted. They are in a big pile behind Mama’s house on the farm. She’ll get to them one of these days!

We’ll go in the front door and turn left to visit the dining room.
Frances had some beautiful pieces of furniture. The house looks so empty and dirty without it!

Mama will put her corner cabinet where Frances had hers.

Did you notice that there are little wooden blocks above all of the windows? We can’t figure out why they are there and we don’t think that my aunt put them there. They will all need to come down.

Now let’s enter the kitchen. You can enter through the dining room or you can go down the main hall and turn left. Mama is going to put the cabinets in her basement for storage and everything else will go. She’s still deciding on her kitchen design. I am willing to bet that she’ll have white cabinets. She loves the look of white cabinets with soapstone countertops. I don’t think soapstone will be in her budget right now.

Here is Mama with Frances in April when we were visiting. Doesn’t Frances look good to be 93?

The wood under the sink was rotten. Mama tore out as much as the rotten wood as she could. Neither the sink nor this cabinet is old, so out it will go.

It’s nice to have a refrigerator for drinks and lunch supplies.

We are not sure how to paint the radiators. There’s nothing like the heat from a radiator. If you’ve not experienced it, you’ve missed out.

I stripped this wall. Just this section took over two hours. Blah!

Mama did this section. The plaster is in great condition! You can see that this room used to have picture molding.

We started our stripping in the small hall that is between the basement door and the powder room. This hall connects the kitchen to the family room. It took over six hours to complete this section. If the wallpaper didn’t have multiple layers of paint over it, it wouldn’t be so bad!

The powder room at the end of the hall is one of the few places that doesn’t need a lot of work. It doesn’t look great now, but Mama will make it pretty.

This house is a four over four meaning that there are four main rooms on each floor. The family room is on the back right side. It has a door that leads to the back porch.
Here’s the room in April:

And now…
The people who moved Frances left two terrible couches behind. Now Mama has the joy of trying to get rid of them. Moving out the furniture really shows off the flaws in a room. I can see why realtors like to show houses with furniture.

The parlor is the first room on the right when you enter through the front door. It has great pocket doors that are in good condition.

It is too bad that most of the woodwork in the house has been painted over. Wouldn’t these doors be beautiful without paint? I hope that Mama can get the sofa that is in the hall out of her way soon. It is not in bad shape, it just needs to be cleaned.

We scraped any loose paint that we could find to try to see what the wallpaper once looked like. Most all that we’ve uncovered is floral is is quite pretty.

The woodwork on the stairs was never painted over. Amen!

The main bathroom is at the top of the steps. I love the beadboard.

This bedroom will be converted into my mother’s closet and dressing area. The closet space in this house is laughable. There’s enough room to hang a few hangers sideways and that’s it. My shoes wouldn’t even fit into a closet!

The graffiti that you see is from when the house was rented as two apartments.

Mama will have two guest bedrooms and a master bedroom. Her dressing room will connect with the master bedroom. A door will have to be cut for this.

Here is one of the guest bedrooms.

Can you tell that the closet is not at all deep?

Here’s the other bedroom.

It would be nice if the upstairs hallway were a little wider. The staircase to the attic was enclosed when the house was converted to apartments. Mama is hoping to open it back up which will make this area feel more spacious.

This will be the master bedroom.

This is the view across the street from the master bedroom. Can you see Mama’s cute little car parked in the front of the house? We put the top down on the way home!

The wallpaper leading to the attic is in amazing condition. Look at how the house was constructed. They don’t build them like this anymore!

The last stop is the basement. This part of the house was an apartment at one time so it has a full bath. I showed you a picture of it in my last post. I won’t horrify you with another until some work is done on it.

Only one wall had wallpaper down here. Doing the happy dance! We stripped that wall and as soon as a baseboard is replaced and a little wiring is completed, this room will be ready to be painted and converted into a tv area. Mama will also put her computer in this room.

This pretty gate was once outside. Mama found it in the furnace room. She’ll put it outside again when she installs the rest of her iron fencing.

Isn’t this room light to be a basement? The door that you see in the picture below leads to a storage room which leads to the room that stored coal.

This room will be the laundry room and craft room. Frances left the chair and sewing table. I don’t know what Mama will do with them. I hope she throws the chair away.

I am planning to go back to help at least one more time before school starts. I am hoping to document her progress with my blog. I admire her for taking on such a big project.


  1. What an exquisitely beautiful older home. I just love it and can imagine it all restored. Your and your Mom have done all lot of work already, Scraping wallpaper is a yucky endless job. There are so many beautiful details in this old! Your Mom has a ture jewel!

  2. Wow! That is a commitment! Hubby is in the middle of gutting/restoring an old home and it is quite challenging. Let me know if you need any construction advice.

  3. You MUST document. I am no officially obsessed with seeing what happens with this house. I love it. It’s absolutely fabulous! The moldings are amazing. 🙂

  4. What an amazing home! It is a big project but I can see that it is going to be just beautiful. What a treasure. Thanks for sharing it with us. Can’t wait to see more! Have a great weekend!

  5. WOW! That is an amazing house. And, how wonderful to have all the family history. I admire your Mother for taking on this project. I’m not sure I’d be able to muster the energy for it. But, it will be worth it and I know you will all enjoy it once she moves in.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter of this story. 🙂

  6. So much potential!! This house will look amazing when your Momma is done. Tell her we expect to see her still living there when she is 93 – just like Aunt Frances. 🙂 – Lorrie

  7. Mike was suppose to dispose of both couches before she even moved in. The old chair was Arthurs who lived across the street. It was in the tv room forever until he broke it. It was a favorite of Frances’ granddaughter. Her granddaughter did the best she could in the month she had. I cried for over an hour when I closed the door for the last time. I love the picture of Frances and your mama.

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