Under 18 Layers of Paint, We Struck Douglas Fir

Restoring our beautiful Douglas Fir woodwork, built-in china cabinet, plaster walls and hardwood floors

Before and After, Removing Paint, Woodwork,

Built-in china cabinet before and after with Lulu.

The dining room was the first room completed in our house. This was before we started writing about our “adventures” in home restoration on the web. So, you don’t get to read all the gory details about how we almost killed each other selecting a paint color for the walls or how I caught the wainscoting on fire.

Dining room before restoration and after.

The woodwork was covered in about 18 layers of paint. We got to relive each decade as we stripped the paint away. There was a groovy 1970′s phase with purple woodwork and hot pink walls.

In the before photo, I had started to strip the paint from the wainscoting. You can see just how dark the original mission finish was.

I had originally intended to paint the dining room a deep burnt red color. We went through 9 different shades of red trying to find the “right” one. After the first 2 paint jobs, David “loved” everything no matter how awful it looked.

Before and After

In the end we settled on this warm golden color, Shelburne Buff from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Collection. Several people have tried this color after seeing our walls and been dissatisfied because the color wasn’t gold enough.

Dining Room After

When a wall is painted a dark color like red, it will need to be primed before a new color is applied or else the dark color will bleed through. Lots of people out there probably already know this, we didn’t. The red undercoat has altered our color. Our walls are not a true Shelburne Buff. But, we are very happy with the color…whatever it is.

Dining room After. The light is from Restoration Hardware. We have since purchased an antique fixture off of eBay but have not installed it yet.

After. Our box beam ceilings and Lulu just because she is a ham.

More about the resources used in our dining room here.

Comments { 23 } October 21, 2003

Cherry Wood Stairway to Heaven

Well, restoration heaven anyway

Before and After,

The old stairs were made out of plywood, not original to the house and in horrible condition. At one time they must have been covered in carpet. At least I hope so!

We had a carpenter replace the old plywood stairs leading to the top floor with nice steps made from cherry wood that was generously donated by my dad.

Comments { 1 } August 8, 2003

Before We Moved In, Sept. 2002

Meet the house that stole our hearts along with our wallets and free time!

Before and After, Restoration Diary

before_01Jeannie and I paint my home office

These are the very first photos of us working on the house. They were taken the week before we moved in. We were trying to get the house clean enough to live in. I have this goofy “I can’t believe I’m a home owner” grin on my face!

before_03David stripping the fireplace

Our restoration SWAT team included Jeannie, a long time family friend, who flew in from Indiana for a week. She was amazing. She cooked meals, spackled like a pro, painted, sanded, spent more time with me at Home Depot than either of us probably care to remember and she even helped peel up old linoleum from the bathroom floor!

before_02Living Room

David’s brother Chris flew in from Utah for the weekend to help us paint and whatever else we asked him to do. He said it it was “fun” but he has’t come back to visit since. We think he is waiting until the house is finished.

before_02aLooking into the den from the living room

Our friend Jeff also dropped by for a few hours to help paint. I think he went on a McDonalds run or two for us. We lived on McDonalds the first 3 weeks we had the house – especially after Jeannie left.

before_04Looking into the den from the living room

before_05Extra large register vent in the floor between the living room and dining room

before_06Dining room’s built-in china cabinet

before_07Dining room, box beam ceiling


before_09Den floor


before_11Kitchen counter was built right up to the pantry cabinet door. Obviously, the door to the cabinet can’t be opened.

before_12We found a phone jack every 3-5 feet, running all around the upstairs bedrooms. Wonder what all those phones were used for?

Comments { 10 } August 1, 2003