Putting in Sweat Equity

While it’s true that the Mighty Chris is doing most of the work on the Pope Residence renovation, I’m helping when I can. Today I volunteered to work on the big fireplace in the main office.

But wait, I got a picture of the garlic teapot I bought yesterday. I think it’s so precious.

Where was I? We wanted to see what color the tiles on it really are, because there’s one missing, and we want to find a compatible replacement. It became clear that there was a lot of work to do when we tried to get one tile clean.

Before. You can really tell which tile has been cleaned as a test. And you can see the spilled stuff near the paper towel. Also, there is a lot of ancient ash in the fireplace.

Also, some of the sealant for the brick had gotten dripped on the hearth tiles, and we wanted to try to get that taken off, if possible. I showed up prepared to sweat, and that I did!

Close-up of the tile before. Lots of streaks and drips, and ick, what’s in the fireplace?

I used a whole LOT of degreasing and grime remover products, combined with steel wool and a scraper to get what appeared to be many decades of smoke, nicotine, and whatever else…who knows?

In progress The drips are from the degreaser. Yuck.

The hardest part was the sealant. Some of it wanted to STAY, darn it! But I persevered, because once I start cleaning something, I have to see it done!

Close up of cleaned tiles and cleaned-out fireplace.

The results pleased me very much, even though it’s still obviously a very old fireplace that got a lot of use. I think maybe the tiles were handmade, like all the brick, because they vary in color in a really pleasant way. I’m glad I didn’t ruin them with all my chemicals!

Nothing is going to get that black stuff up, but I did get all the drips, and discovered some tiles that had been replaced.


The other work on the house is going along just great, though there have been some hiccups with installing the sliding barn doors. Chris had a lot of adventures with epoxy yesterday, but I like the way he just takes these things as a learning experience, thinks about it, and comes up with another plan. He really has a lot of fun figuring stuff out, and it’s contagious.

Barn door that will not fall down.

Chris has all the doors hung, and is now staining them two at a time. The door hardware will look so good.

And oh yes, I’m helping more. My other big contribution was putting some birds on my little bathroom birdhouse. That’s sweet!

Two little birdies in their duplex, hiding a water pipe.

What Are the Other Two Up To?

This woodpecker mocked us as we tried to get in the Ross house today to make renovation estimates.

Our spouses are busy planning and scheming on our next projects, which may or may not involve moving a house to a vacant lot we will own as soon as the title company wakes up and lets us close on it and the Ross house. And they are growing the Hearts Homes and Hands business, even in these hard times. I’m proud of what good business people Lee and Kathleen are!

There’s lots more to come, so stay tuned. I hope you’re having a reasonable weekend and finding some projects to keep you busy! And if you’re putting sweat equity into a project, I hope you get a nice relaxing bath or shower later. That’s my plan. With roses.

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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.