Thursday, March 13, 2008

that was then, thank goodness

Posting about Iris' big-girl room inspired me to hunt up this picture of what it looked like before we redid it. You can see exactly why we used to call it the Pepto-Bismol room:

That, plus all the current action in the kitchen, inspired me to dig up some more "before" pictures of our house. It was pretty much a shambles when we bought it from the estate of a 98-year-old widow (I once wrote a little more about her here) in 2001. The last time she had any work done on the house was 1962. We have dated these renovations, including the kitchen, from scraps of newspaper we found under "new" flooring, behind cabinets, etc. At some point, the stairs clearly became too much for old Mrs. Armstrong, and she converted the first floor to her living quarters while renting rooms upstairs. That explains the sinks in two of the bedrooms and the cedar closet in the dining room, which she made her boudoir.

Here's J cutting it out with a Sawzall shortly after we moved in. Man, that closet was built like a fallout shelter. The dining room is far from done, but this corner currently is Iris' play kitchen.

(I pried out all the cedar and stashed the planks in the closet of a then-unused upstairs bedroom, thinking we would re-line another closet with it someday. Then, in a mania of nesting toward the end of my pregnancy with Iris, I came up with a higher and better use for that closet and relocated all the cedar to the basement. Last year I moved it again to a heap in the backyard, where it sits still, awaiting its next incarnation as a child's picnic table. When that happens, you'll be the first to know.)

This was our second-floor bathroom:

There actually was a ceiling in here when we bought the house, but then a friend set his baby in the third-floor bathroom sink (right above this bathroom) and... let's just say that by the time anyone noticed that sweet Alyssa had played with the faucet and accidentally turned on the water, it was too late. The plaster was utterly and completely drowned. Here's that bathroom now.

And here's the room that would become the nursery. Like every other room in the house, it was chock-full of stuff – Mrs. Armstrong's stuff – what was left of a lifetime of stuff after it had been picked over by her heirs. Our first task when we moved in was sorting through all that.

Mrs. Armstrong had another bedroom in the little room we now call the sunroom or, when we're feeling grandiose, the breakfast room. It looked like this:

That little headboard got a new coat of paint, and it's in Iris' room now... and so we've come full circle.

Actually, it's nice to be reminded of how far we've come.

I'm saving pictures of the kitchen for a dramatic before-and-after when the new kitchen is unveiled. Eventually.


Blogger house on hill road said...

i'd say you've come far! can't wait to see the kitchen.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I want you and J as consultants, please. Not that our home is in the kind of tremendous need yours was in when it became your baby. It is, after all, 40 or 50 years your house's junior. But you two have some serious skills. I want your skills. I *need* your skills.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous meg said...

i still have major house lust :)

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Paper Dolls for Boys said...

I absolutely love your house photos the best. We're getting ready to buy our first place and you're giving me hope, inspiration and tons of ideas! Keep 'em coming and great job.
Tracey (who used to be Selah)

2:32 PM  

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