I will be primarily talking about tea, and baking, and hospitality on this blog, but since my family has spent the past year largely focused on rehabbing our 101-year-old tea room, I thought I’d share a little bit of before, during and after. If you missed Part 1, it’s here. Here’s Part 2:
Most of the things I hated about the house were cosmetic. Like the brown brick in the front room, brown paneling everywhere else, and drooping ceiling tiles. I’m not sure which I hated more. The ceiling tiles were certainly in worse condition, but brown paneling is just about the most depressing wall choice I can think of. The brown brick actually turned out to be the quickest, cheapest and easiest of the 3 to fix.
Originally, we planned to just fill in the cracks and paint the paneling in the downstairs rooms, remodel the kitchen and bathroom, give the whole place a good cleaning, and open for business.
I’m so glad we didn’t do that.
In the first place, the varnish/lacquer/shellac on the trim (most of which had never been painted!) was nearly all gatored. I love the patina of well-worn wood, but I hate cracked varnish.
In the second place, we knew that if we didn’t remove the paneling right from the start, we’d never get around to it once we were open for business.
In the third place, all the time we spent removing the paneling, and later the layers of wallpaper (I will never, ever, install wallpaper in any house I ever own. Ever.) gave us lots of time to think about what in the world we were going to do about the bathroom and the kitchen.
John was not one bit excited about removing the paneling. It was several days of hard work, breathing through a dust mask, and hauling trailer loads of debris out.
We began by pulling off one piece of paneling in the downstairs bedroom, just to see what was behind it. I saw floral wallpaper that was in almost perfect condition. Yay! But as we removed more panels, the majority of the wallpaper was stained, cracked and very smelly. Boo.
After the first wall, we decided to see what was hiding above the ceiling tiles. Would you believe the ceiling had the same wallpaper? Once we got down to wallpaper on all 4 (5) sides, the pattern was kind of dizzying. Too much of a good thing!
It was pretty obvious to me that the bathroom would need completely gutted. The door hit the bathtub when you opened it, the floor was a bit soft around the toilet, and the whole thing smelled like an old basement. Even when it was “clean” it didn’t feel clean.