Renovation Is a Family Affair

Fun historical house fact: apparently the Pope House was once blue or blue-gray. This is where the old front light fixture was. It will be covered up by our sign, eventually.

As you may know, we Hermits are doing our best to isolate ourselves just with the folks at the Hermits’ Rest property. We’re lucky we all work for Hearts Homes and Hands in some way (except Lee’s brother, who has taken on mowing our property and hanging out with Vlassic as his life’s mission), so work isn’t a problem. And our renovation of the Pope Residence is right across the street from our office. Oh boy, I get to walk across the street!

I’ve shared a few photos in other blog posts recently, but today I thought I’d share where we are now. We’re all pitching in, so things are progressing, even though we miss our other helpers.


There will be two or three shelves here, with glass behind it.

We’re finished with most of the window trim (except the front room). We decided to put shelving back on the window between my office and the entry hall, with some opaque glass behind it. I’ll put my glass collection on those, and it should be really pretty.

One of the big projects right now is putting up the trim around the ceiling on the rooms whose ceilings aren’t getting painted. There is plain wood trim, with crown molding on top if it. I’d say it looks pretty spiffy. All the trim in the house is the same shade of creamy white, which looks great against the brick and really brightens the place up. It almost doesn’t feel like the same house.

Easton is putting up trim. More about the door frame below.

The trim is a challenge, because of course the walls aren’t 100% square. That gives Easton and Chris a lot of fun calculating and trimming. But, it’s moving right along, and they’re on the second room.

Door and window trim painted. The brown stuff will also be white.


Today was a big day in the floor department, because we started installing the subfloor! Lee is our intrepid wood-cutter in that department. It’s great to see that old floor getting covered up. I can’t wait to see the new luxury vinyl flooring go in.

Lee is cutting the panels for the sub-floor in Kathleen’s office.

Chris says he is going to try to keep the old flooring in my office, even though it has some issues. Big holes have been repaired in there, and he thinks he can fill in other areas. If not, well, we have enough vinyl for it. The front room will have original floors no matter what.


My exciting contribution to the project has been a lot of scraping. The frame to the main door into my office had been painted (white over green over blue), and Kathleen and Nicole had gotten a lot of it off with that paint dissolving stuff, but there was still a lot left, and some of the dissolving stuff hadn’t been removed.

Yep, it looks like crap. It looked worse before, and is smooth. Notice my other interior window, one of the originals in the house, has been painted.

So, I spent a few hours yesterday scraping and got it looking a bit better. Today I got to use a sander, which smoothed the remaining stuff out quite a bit, then I spent a couple more hours hand sanding crevices and such. I made a sanding block, which helped a lot, but I had to just use my hands to dig in those circular trim details. I’m glad I cut my nails already. My poor hands are a mess.

Here’s the barn door that’s going to go in this bathroom. We’re going to just stain it clear and let all those knots shine.

I had to take a break, because of course all the masks we own are being used by our caregivers, and I figure I’d breathed enough dust. (No lectures please; I thought carefully about the risk.)


I had been wondering what we were going to do with the big arched connection between Lee’s and Kathleen’s future offices. It turns out we are going to put in a large barn door there, which will echo the one we’ll install in the bathroom off my office.

Here’s the framed door from Lee’s office, with example boards added. There will be a 42-inch barn door on the other side of this.

Yesterday, Chris framed in the opening for the door, and tried two different ways to fill in the gap between the door and the brick (the way we didn’t like is shown earlier in the post). We’ve decided that the slanted wood is a winner and will really bring out our rustic old house theme.

I’m not sure what’s going to fill the top of the arch, if anything. They may leave it open.


Meanwhile, Kathleen and I have been slowly but surely getting stuff to put IN the offices once they are done. She’s bought all the stuff for her office. I haven’t bought a desk, because Chris is going to make me one out of a door that we’ve replaced with a new one (because the old doors won’t hold the locks we are required to have).

Rustic filing cabinet. Yay.

But, we found shelves (shown in my earlier post today), file cabinets, and such, all of which will look great and fit the theme. I realized my office is a big smaller than we realized, so I’ve stopped getting stuff. Smart me.

One fun thing, though, is that Lee and Kathleen found out how nice it is to sit on the second-floor balcony and decided to get some outdoor furniture to go up there for break times. That will be a lot of fun. We’ll have to clear a safe path on the inside of the second floor to get there, though. It’s still a mess.

It brings me happiness to imagine sitting on the balcony in these chairs, staring at the Hermit Haus building.

Besides that, I found the patio furniture I’d been wanting all along to sit in the driveway at the Hermit Haus. We can use it for “meetings” and when we finally get back to normal, Mandi and I can have our morning coffee talk there. Just the thought of that brings me a bit of hope and comfort.

The chit-chat set. Reminds me of my grandmother’s house.


One of the blog readers thanked me for brightening up her day. That made me feel good. Not everyone’s as lucky as I am to have work they can do and a project to help pass the time in isolation. My heart goes out to everyone who’s dealing with job uncertainty, illness, boredom, and fear. If reading blogs gives you a few minutes to think about something else besides The Current Situation, then I’m happy.

How are you doing?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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