Our Maryland Farmhouse

real food recipes, heirloom gardening and farmhouse adventures

Windows, plaster and cloth wires… oh my

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Well, we are covered in snow, much like the rest of the country and trying to keep the house reasonably warm. 60 degrees is _pretty_ reasonable when you have shoddy attic insulation, broken and drafty windows, and a combination of electric baseboard heat, portable electric heaters and an older wood stove. And at some point before we owned this house, possibly while it was vacant, it was not properly winterized, causing the majority of the radiator heaters to become cracked, rendering them useless piles of metal.

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With all of that said, if you follow our Facebook page, you will know we have been dissecting what we’ll call Bedroom #1. Bedroom #1 is one of the two front bedrooms in the “newer” section of the house.  The plaster was not in good shape. Let’s take a wild guess that it *could be* the original plaster. If it is, we’re talking about 100 years. Over time, it had cracked, been repaired, and cracked again. This is kind of plaster’s “thing.” In our original plans, we had not intended to rip all of the old plaster off the walls and ceilings and replace it with drywall, but we were concerned about insulation, drafts and mouse-chewed wires in the walls.

Cloth covered ceiling fixture. Controlled by a pull chain, NOT a switch.

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We would also have to sand the wonderful paint splatter “design” off of the walls as well as wonder how much plaster would crumble and break off if we took the well painted window trim and baseboards off the walls.

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The answer: A LOT.

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Off with the plaster, then.

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Little by little.

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Pretty wallpaper was hiding underneath a piece of trim…

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And then the lathe had to come off.

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Sweet vintage bottle hiding in between plaster/lathe and the attic floor.

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Nails. So many nails to remove.

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Getting the plaster off the chimney was the absolute worst. Why did I leave it for last?  

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The other thing we had not intended on doing in our original plan was replacing the windows. After removing one of the old windows, cleaning the glazing off and purchasing new glass for the broken panes, Mike watched me use a non-toxic citrus stripper to try and get the paint off. It was going to take SEVERAL coats of this stuff and after every coat, I had to scrape the paint.  We hadn’t even gotten to the point of repairing the first window,  reglazing or painting, before we had to have a serious heart to heart about what the smart vs the stoopid decision was regarding the window situation.

Is it worth ALL of the work these windows require, when in the end, you still have old, wood windows with single panes? Would they still be drafty when you are trying to sleep, the wind’s howling and the temperature is somewhere in the single digits? Sure, the old windows maintain a certain “look” and truthfully, we prefer the look of wood over vinyl, but how important was that look?

Did I also mention the separate storm windows need work, too, if we keep the old wooden windows in place?

Something about the more you dig into a project, the more you end up finding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re finding everything now, before our little bean arrives. We’ll definitely know what to expect when we get to Bedroom #2, but we weren’t _quite_ budgeting to replace the plaster and the windows.

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One thought on “Windows, plaster and cloth wires… oh my

  1. Great job so far. Hard work but it is sure going to be worth it! Thanks for sharing!

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