This Old Erie House
By Linda Martin Community Blogger
Owners of old houses have so much in common that house talk comes easy between us. Please join in the conversation as we try to fix, restore and update our old Erie houses.  Read more about this blog.
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Posted: August 23rd, 2010
Three Projects Simultaneously

I’m currently involved with 3 projects at once.  Multitasking.  When my back hurts from one, I move to the other. The weather turned wonderful.  Low 70s is my kind of temperature and makes me want to work.  I put on my earphones and turn on the audio book and I’m in my own little world.

I finally got around to putting the Waterlox on the dining-room floor (I did the living-room floor back in Dec/Jan.)  I am using the same method I used with the living room.  I put painters tape along the boards to divide the room in half and moved all the furniture to one side.  When the finished side is cured, I’ll move the furniture back to the other side and finish the remaining floor.  It looks good so far.  It will have to cure for 7-10 days before I can start on the other side. (photos to come soon.)

In the meantime I am stripping the back stairs that leads from the kitchen to the upstairs landing.  I haven’t decided what finish to use yet.  The oak front stairs was just completed in the garnet shellac but the pine back stairs borders the kitchen with the natural heart pine woodwork so I may leave those stairs a natural color, too.  I’ll just use Waterlox if I do.  I’m only halfway done with the stripping of the back stairs. I tried both the strong chemical stripper and the Peel Away 6.  Both are so messy. The chemical is so much faster but requires thick gloves and being really careful. Even a little splatter will burn your skin.  Of the parts I have already stripped, the chemical cleaned it best. The downside to the chemical stripper is I can’t leave for a moment in case one of the cats happens down the stairs. Another question I have to answer is if I want to sand out all the marks and dents on the treads.  It’s part of the allure of “antique.”  Some of the treads are worn down in the middle from a century of use.  It would be nice to have the stairs look spanking new but I love the history in the old look. I think the sanding will be minimal. It is what it is, old stairs.  People often try to make their new wood look old like this.

My husband and I bought the paint for our kitchen.  It has been on our list since we bought the house but we just never got to it.  It’s not all that big of a project so why live with ugly dirty, green walls and a green ceiling?  Yesterday we said, “Let’s just do it.”  The worst part will be cleaning those old high ceilings and repairing the cracks.  My neck hates that stuff. It’s the pits to be short and everything seems harder when you are short.   My husband volunteered to do the ceiling. I say, “Have at it!”  We picked a light pale yellow.  It looked pretty light at the store but I knew through past experience how yellow yellow can be when it is up on the wall.  I have the paint sample card up on the wall this morning and I think we picked the perfect color.  We haven’t found a lighting fixture yet that we like for the kitchen.  I’ll keep my eyes open on eBay to try to find a restored vintage lighting fixture that will look right in our kitchen and doesn’t cost a fortune. There is also a foot-square grate near the ceiling.  We want to take that down and see what the original color was.  It is painted green like the walls  now.  I think it would look really nice black and I have a feeling that is the original color.

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