Old House Surprise!

We never know what we will find at the Pope house, which is probably true any time you renovate an old place like this. Examples include the arched opening between Lee and Kathleen’s offices and the window in my office that faces out into the hallway, which told us that was once an exterior wall.

The opening to the left of the ladder was hidden behind plaster and the scary staircase that used to be in the central hallway. Surprise!

Today we found another great surprise. Randy has been upstairs removing the wallpaper and other things from the walls in 3 of the 4 upstairs rooms. The room for Meghan’s office is fine as is. The one above Lee’s office has some trim to take down. We are making that the conference room, since it’s the biggest room. We’ll paint it the terracotta color we used on the back downstairs wall.

The future conference room. The carpet has been removed and most of this stuff is gone. The floor under the carpet is great. All we have to do is paint the walls.

The last room is the future storage room. It had wallpaper on every wall, all of which had water damage. Even the ceiling had wallpaper on it, which looked pretty darned awful. So, it had to go.

This shows the wallpaper on the ceiling. Ick.

I went upstairs to see what was going on, and saw that Randy had just gotten started. What? The walls weren’t plastered in that room; they are just shiplap! And wait a minute…the ceiling isn’t the brown beadboard that the other three rooms have. Whoa.

When I first saw the wall and a glimpse of the ceiling.

The minute I realized what the room would look like, I made sure Kathleen had seen it, too. Randy was sure to inform us that Lee said he would put drywall on the walls, so we’d better not contradict the boss. Ha ha, we laughed. We all have a say in this project!

Note that there was once a stove in the room. That hole goes to the chimney.

At lunch we showed these photos and explained how we’d love to keep it in its original shape. Of course, Lee and Chris were fine with it (duh, it will save money for Lee and time for Chris!).

It’s a fascinating collection of colors, but pretty coll on the ceiling.

This happy news made up for the fact that we don’t get the Big Sander until tomorrow, which delays the floor starting. Our trusty team will just have to work on the weekend, meaning I’ll get to help, too.

Here are some more photos of the room, freshly devoid of wallpaper. It should clean up nicely.

I do love a good surprise. I wonder what new surprises the Ross house will hold? We close on Thursday!

Wow, That Pope House Is COOL!

Of course, we’ve been hearing how cool the Pope Residence is ever since we started working on it. Heck, it’s a pretty fine place, and we are excited to move into the offices. Kathleen’s in already, and Lee’s office is ready for him. We even have blinds for some of the windows (the big ones are, naturally, special order).

Window blinds, ready to be installed for privacy and light control. And what’s that above the window?

But now, the house is actually cool! That’s right! Felix and his very charming son showed up yesterday to get all our mini-splits and the regular air conditioning unit set up and running. You know that is a relief to Kathleen, since she was in there working and it was getting up to 99 F outside!

Mini-splits getting checked for how well they cool.

I got to enjoy watching Felix and son work on the system, and I was so impressed with how eager the young man (19) is to learn from his dad, and how patient Felix is with his teaching.

Installing the thermostat in Lee’s office.

We were all very happy to see each other, since it had been something like 5 years since I last saw a spindly teen, who’s now an adult!

Supervisin’ – in this case Felix was teaching his son how to measure the hole for the air conditioning filter properly.

The systems are all working great. If you ever need air conditioning work, we recommend Felix! His number is on his shirt, wink, wink.

But There’s More!

That’s not all that’s going on, however. Monday, Chris and I picked up a lot of the stuff needed to finish the downstairs at our new offices. He got to work yesterday and installed the counter-tops in the break room, which are lovely laminate, but don’t look too bad, I think, especially next to the metal wall. I was quite impressed with the angled edge that adds a wee bit more space for us, but won’t cause us to bump into the edge as we turn the corner. The hole for the sink still needs to go in and it will be ready for plumbing!

Another little detail that got taken care of is that the remaining tin ceiling tile finally arrived, after having to be re-ordered (it was supposed to be at Lowe’s, but no one could find it). First thing yesterday morning, Chris finished out the bathroom off my office. Hooray! Tubby has a nice ceiling to look at now.

The finished bathroom ceiling (other than a couple of trim pieces). That’s one blingy room!

Exciting New Plans

Because things are changing rapidly at Hearts Homes and Hands, the business that’s going to occupy the Pope house, our plans for the building are evolving. The original plan was for the beautiful front room to serve as both a reception/front office area and an office for the Care Manager (Meghan).

This ugly thing is the upstairs bathroom. Believe it or not, this is a huge improvement.

However, by the end of the month, Meghan will have more responsibilities that will require her to keep documents in her office that need to be protected for HIPAA reasons. That means she needs a door that locks (right now she’s in Kathleen’s old office at the Hermit Haus, which locks). There is no door to the reception area, because we wanted to preserve the beautiful woodwork there.

The lovely woodwork at left is being preserved (we have a door in the other opening; this is a photo from April).

So…we will be creating an office for the Assistant Administrator on the second floor, where a lock can be installed. The office is in a great room that looks out on trees and the balcony. All we have to do is put in a room air conditioner and paint the walls and she will be up and running!

This is the room that will be Meghan’s office, once the trim that will be put back and extra insulation is moved again.

The unfortunate consequence of this change is that poor Randy will have to move all that wood he moved IN that room back OUT to another room. That’s really fun in this heat. Not.

This office will be empty when Felix comes back and finishes the big air conditioning ductwork next week. It’s where the stuff currently in Meghan’s office goes, I think.

Speaking of Randy, he has been busy cleaning out the upstairs rooms and getting them “reno-ready.” Yesterday he removed all the carpets that were in a couple rooms. Ick.

The area where all the filing and storage stuff will go. We will remove the stained wallpaper, which extends to the ceiling, oddly enough. The stains are from a leak in the roof that was repaired.

The back room that has windows looking out to the stairwell is completely empty now. It’s destiny is to become the document storage room. State-regulated agencies generate a LOT of paperwork and much of it needs to be saved for audit purposes and CYA and all that. Since we will need to have immediate access to it, we need it to be in the building. So, the former giant closet room for the previous occupant will be storing something else.

The other side of the future storage room, which has formerly beautiful wallpaper that must come down. Those are original windows. The doors at right are my future desk!

That’s as far as we have gotten with the second floor. I’m not sure how much else we are going to do soon, since after we close on July 1, we will be working on the Ross house project, and that will be a LOT as well. More on that one soon!

Look Up! Shiny Stuff!

A real highlight of the Pope project is finally getting to install the tin ceiling tiles. They are pretty awe-inspiring, if you ask me, and I guess I matter on this topic!

It should be less shiny when the light fixtures are up.

The main hallway is complete and ready for the light fixtures to get installed tomorrow and the final crowning touch (literally) the crown molding to go up.

That’s the sample crown molding.

This is gonna be one fancy hallway, that’s for sure.

Going down to Lee’s office.

We ended up not having enough tin to do the bathrooms, which was a disappointment. The consensus is that we will order another box of the tiles to finish off the bathroom in my office, while we will to the main bathroom in the beadboard we used in the second-floor ceiling.

The bathroom has all the important parts done, where the light and vent will be. The rest will wait until more in arrives.

I think Chris just secretly wants to put more of that light blue color on surfaces.

This is the real masterpiece of craftsmanship, where the ceiling takes a job at the stairway.

Today Chris went to Temple and bought a LOT of light bulbs, so that when the electricians come tomorrow, all the fancy lighting can get installed and look pretty. That will be another milestone! We’re going to get all-new LED ones for the recycled fixtures going in the stairway, because we think changing them will be a pain.

These fixtures were originally right in the room where they are now, but we’ll have them lighting the stairs. We are going to add covers over the exposed bulb holders, which we will recycle from another fixture. We don’t know where the ones that SHOULD be here went.

Actually, cleaning them was a pain, literally, because as I was cleaning one of them, the rope that was holding it so it would hang from the carport gave way and the big ole hunk of glass and metal whacked into my left hand and right foot.

Before and after. The dirty one is the one that attacked me.

But I saved the fixture! Nothing broke on me, either. I just have some bruising and scratches, to go with my dewberry and dog scratches. I think they make me look tough, and I’m sticking with that story!

Mad! Glad! Resourceful!

Why not cram three completely different stories in one blog post? Sure, I’m a wordy person, after all. Plus, I have stuff to do and it’s a beautiful day, so here goes.


So, we need to wear scrubs at the Hearts Homes and Hands office much of the time, and the first ones I ordered supposedly fit right, but were a bit form-fitting to me. I ordered some more, including some of the incredibly comfy scrub yoga pants in happy colors.

They arrived today. I excitedly opened the package. Hmm. This looks pretty somber. What the heck?

Pretty consistent.

In the delivery were five black scrub shirts. A couple are pretty cute and they ARE in my size (or at least the size I prefer). But, hey, I wanted DC Action Heroes, some sloths, and some paisley! And no lime green pants! Hmph.

Customer Support said to send an email with a photo of the delivery and the packing slip (which had the right stuff on it). I sure hope I see my actual order soon. According to Kathleen and Lee, they’ve messed up most of our orders. Maybe we should try another company?


There is more I am glad about than I am mad about today. First, I asked the Alexa thing to play “the Who” and instead it is playing WHO. Well, GEEZ, no one told me they had a new album in December! And it’s so Pete Townshend in its lyrics. I am one happy person. If this is their last album, it will be a great way to go. (Still missing the half of the band who are no longer with us, of course.)

Continue reading “Mad! Glad! Resourceful!”

Is This Safe? No. Remodeling Scare.

We are moving right along in remodeling the Pope Residence. You may remember that we removed a staircase that was in the entry hall, because it was dangerous (in more than one way). After it was removed, we put a temporary piece of wood over the resulting hole, so no one would fall to their death on our first floor.

See that big board, just hanging there? Oops. Two more have been repaired.

Yesterday, the crew was planning to make a permanent repair to the floor on the second floor, in anticipation of being able to put in the new tin ceiling. When Chris and Easton looked at it, their hearts skipped a beat. The previous remodeler had simply sawn through the floor joists to insert the stairs. That meant nothing was holding the floor up in that space. It’s a miracle no one ever had the floor collapse beneath them. Scary.

Just to show that we fixed it, here’s a fixed picture! It should be darned sturdy now.

Aah, safety. It’s all sealed up now!

Chris has been busily supporting things in the house, anyway. He’s reinforcing the floor in the main downstairs bathroom, which is probably a good idea. And all those sinking places are doubly reinforced. Our floors will stay!

Ready to replace damaged floors with safe and strong subflooring.

And We Can See!

In breaking news, the electric folks just came by and switched on our new, safe, and inspected electrical service! The temporary lighting works just fine. I turned on all the lights, just because I could. Now we can work all night!

Other Renovation Stuff

We’re all excited about the stuff Chris and I bought on a whirlwind trip to Lowe’s yesterday. There are the two windows to go in my bathroom and in the stairwell. They will match just fine.

Yep, those are windows, all right.

And we got all the outside lights, which will make it much safer for all of us and keep the perimeter of the building visible at all times. I think they are pretty, even if they’re just the kind everyone has. That doesn’t mean they are ugly!

Large and medium sized outdoor lights. They should get installed any day now.

The shiny red tiles for my office and bathroom came in, as did the vanity for the main bathroom downstairs, but the vanity was too big to fit in the giant SUV (it was raining, so no pickup and trailer). We did get a LOT of decking for replacing old floors, though. And while we were there, we chose a nice deep sink for the breakroom, as well as a faucet.

Stay tuned next time, when I hope to have stairway progress to share.


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