05 April 2010

For you who have visited

You might not recognize the place — or at least the downstairs entryway and the upstairs landing. We have now nearly finished moving out all the furniture. The building contractors are supposed to come tomorrow to start the big job.

I assume that the first thing done will be the cutting of the trémie — "stair cavity" is the translation for that word in the Robert-Collins dictionary. The Robert French dictionary says a trémie is « un espace réservé dans un plancher, pour recevoir ... un escalier » — "a space reserved in a floor, to receive a staircase."

The downstairs entryway is nearly emptied out now.
When we put it back together, it will be a room for plants.

In other words, the building contractors have to cut a big square hole in the ceiling above the existing staircase. There will obviously be much dust and debris.

What we have left to do is to take the pictures, maps, and posters off the walls, and move the day bed downstairs into the garage. If we can find space in the garage. Already, other pieces of furniture are in there — an armchair and ottoman, the double bed we took out of the former guest room... and the new stairway itself. It's kind of crowded.

We will finally get rid of the rest of the old wallpaper,
which used to cover the entryway walls and ceiling too.

The last time we had such disruption in our house and lives was five years ago, when we undertook to scrape, sand, and repaint the walls in our main room, the W.C., the bathroom, and the downstairs entryway. I feel like I was a lot younger then.

The stair landing is nearly empty, and the
French doors are shut to keep out dust and debris.

Soon, the old wallpaper will be a memory.

Luckily, we have French doors to divide the living room off from the landing. With tile floors, it's easy to slide furniture around. So we slid the pine cabinet and the old buffet into the dining area without completely emptying them. Then we closed the French doors behind them and slid them back out of the way.

Furniture off the landing is now in the dining area,
out of harm's way.

It would be nice if we had another way to get in and out of the house, but the main staircase is our only access. It will be difficult for a few days, at least, to get in and out. Poor Callie. She is going to be freaked out by all the commotion and noise. So are we.

Callie is trying to figure out what is going on.

Despite all that, the finished result will be great. We are effectively doubling our living space. The first guests who arrive after the work is finished, if they have been here before, will really see a difference. Right now, I think that will be Peter and Jill, in late June. I hope the work is done by the time they get here.


  1. Ken, Good luck with the building work. And take good care of Carrie. She won't understand what is going on and will need long and pleasant walks in the woods and the vineyards to get over the 'trauma' of having all these strange people and loud noises around the house.
    These building and decorating jobs are very unpleasant, but just think of the result!!! :)

  2. Plaster dust seeks out any small cracks and pours through them like an army of avenging angels. I'd suggest taping plastic sheeting over the French doors, the kitchen door, and the bathroom door as possible.

    Good luck!

  3. That's going to be exciting to see finished! Can't wait! Bon courage during the work.

  4. I second Bill in NH: put plastic sheeting over the doors. It will cut down on the dust, but it won't keep it out completely. Oh heck, just make a little plastic tent out in the backyard and move in till it's all over.

  5. I hope the work is done, too. It's been 40 years since I slept in a tent.

  6. Can't wait to watch the progress....I third the suggestion of plastic or at least something rolled up at the bottom of the doors......dust! uck!

    Callie will be a bit weird at first then she'll look forward to the workers.

    Casey, our border collie loved the two guys that did our bathrooms. He would sit in the hallway and watch them.

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

  7. I know it's a lot of work, but I hope you realize how lucky you are to be able to do yourselves. Ah, the good ole days when I was young.

  8. What Bill and Carolyn said. Keep the vac accessible.

    That looks like a nice map of North Carolina in the downstairs hall.

  9. I've seen the wallpaper in the entry and for the life of me I don't know why Ken is eager to get rid of it! :)


    btw, I don't know if your heating system has a filter or not but if it does, please consider changing it during and after the renovations. We changed the filter every week during our three months of reno and it was clogged with dust and debris every time.

  10. Hi BettyAnn, do you want me to save you a swatch of that wallpaper. Or maybe just a close-up photo would do...

    Peter, I hadn't thought of the tent but it is available for a summer visit. We can even provide air mattresses!

    Emm, that map is a 1969 print of an 1829 map of N.C. I like it a lot and Walt had it put in a nice frame years ago.


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