Saturday, May 21, 2005

My next project: Front Entry

Since the kitchen is winding down and most of what needs to be done falls under Steve's area of expertise, I have been itching to get started on another project. Certain family members have politely suggested we "take a break" after we finish the kitchen project. Even though I suppose a break would be in order, I just am not in the frame of mind to pause right now. We have so much to do and it's almost summer, ideal stinky project weather!

I have to admit at times the length of this project has stretched my patience to the breaking point, but really we humans have quite an unlimited supply of patience, we just have to tap into it. Some don't cultivate this quality and certainly our instant gratification culture doesn't encourage it. But anyone doing something themselves for the first time knows that there is a learning curve. Take surfing as an example. You don't usually go out on your first day and hang ten. It takes time and practice and patience. If it's something you enjoy, you probably have the patience for it. If not, you'll probably chuck it.

The next project I am planning to tackle is our front entry. Since this is a 2-flat with 2 units, we have two entry doors-one leading upstairs to the 2nd floor unit and one to the first floor. This room has some truly hideous wallpaper in it that has seen better days. I am fond of saying that it "brings down the house" but not in a good way.

My first task will be to remove the wallpaper and inspect the walls. I am planning to repair the plaster and probably take down the ceiling as it's popcorn and in bad shape.

1960's mailbox we do not use and will be removed.

popcorn ceiling 's gotta go

Original floor and quite a popular design in Chicago. I've seen quite a few like it in this neighborhood. It needs a good cleaning.

Also on the list: strip the woodwork around the doors and base moulding. Rewire sconce. Clean floor well. Get matching glass for both doors with curtains for unified look.

As far as what we will do with the entry, I'd love to put slabs of white and gray marble in there. That is common around here in entries and looks lovely.

It also very durable, but we may not be able to afford that right now. Other options are wainscotting or embossed wallcoverings that you can paint over. If money is tight, we'll just paint it a darker color on the bottom and white above the moulding. That would be a huge improvement over what's there now. I am planning to start this project in a few weeks.

This weekend we were sanding the brackets after they were assembled and filling any cracks with shellac and sawdust. This week Steve will be staining them. I know last week I said we'd be tiling. It's that eyes bigger than stomach syndrome again!


Greg said...

That tile work in the entry is great. I have small alcove off the kitchen that gives access to the back door and what will be a downstairs bathroom. I want to do something just like that. I saw some different patterns at American Restoration Tile web site ( If I do the bathroom and alcove it is about 70 sq ft. I'm afraid to ask how much that would be.

Trissa said...

I love the tile as well. The entry way project sounds like a good one. It's hard to take time off when there are so many things you want to get done. I agree with your bit about patience- I think we all are developing our ability to be patient with every project. I'm looking forward to watching your entryway come back to life!

Emerld said...

I love the marble! Tell me how you are going to take off the wallpaper. We have some in the kitchen that I should send you a picture of. I HATE IT!

Jocelyn said...

Jen- I'll let you know how I remove the wallpaper. I think I am using this stuff called: DIF

Some wallpaper just peels off, but this stuff is OLD and I feel it's pretty dried out an stuck on. Maybe yours would peel off- which would be easy as long as the walls are in good shape. I believe you'd just have to wash the residue off the walls and then prime and paint.

Kind of ironic I'm talking about patience but then can't not start a new project! Maybe I'm not as patient as I thought!

Kristin said...

We tried DIF gel on the wallpaper in our previous house's kitchen. It didn't work so well. The best thing was just wetting down the wallpaper with a sponge and scraping it ... I don't know how that would affect the plaster, though.

I am totally envious of your tiles.

Darlene said...

I heartily agree; popcorn ceiling's gotta go. We've got them throughout all our downstairs ceilings. Over the one in our living room, right over our piano, we had a leak from our upstairs balcony years ago. Fixed the leak, but to this day the popcorn is falling down, and popcorn sprays are disastrous, not to mention trying to dust the ceilings.

May I give you another chore and tweak your knowledge? One of my friends at my site has a problem with moles that have created havoc in her yard. Do you know of any natural way she can get rid of them? If so, besides giving your readers some suggestions, could you drop on over to my site,, and post your answer under "Garden Pests?" I'd be so grateful!

Scott in Washington said...

I have to add my two cents worth on the tiling - its awesome! Its nice to have something like that in your entry way. Right away visitors will know that your house had character and quality details.

We has some really bad wallpaper experiences. The POs put wallpaper right on the sheetrock without priming it first and the paper bonded completely with the paper covering the gypsum. It took about two hours per foot to peel one 35' long wall. We ended up peeling the paper off the other three and leaving a lot of little strips which we sand painted over. The paper tiger was one tool that worked very well for us.


Red Barn Studios said...

Just my two cents here...but I've had much luck with TSP (trisodium phosphate) when stripping wallpaper. Just spray it on w/a spray bottle and let it sit for about 20-30 min. before peeling.

Jenne said...

I was watching "Designed to Sell" and they removed the popcorn ceiling by spraying it with water from a spray bottle, waiting a few minutes, then just wiping it away with a putty knife. Looked pretty easy and quick! The homeowner got impatient though, so he brought in his garden hose and sprayed the place down. I would never be that brave :)