Push buttons and gray carpet

While the house tells us what to work on next, the weather tells us where. We’re inside for now. The polar vortex has passed along with a record setting -16 degrees.  The dogs just hunkered down and slept their way through the subzero temperatures! Yesterday’s rain washed 11 inches of snow off the patio. This morning, it’s 34 degrees outside, 44 degrees warmer than it was last Tuesday! It’s a heat wave!

All snug in their bed.

All snug in their bed with hot water radiant heat on two sides. What a life!

More snow to come.

9 inches down, 2 more to come.

But what have you done in the house, you say? Our answer: push buttons and gray carpet.

The plan is to replace the light switches with “Mother of pearl” push buttons. We found exactly what we wanted on http://www.houseofantiquehardware.com.  The plate covers are solid brass which we found on http://www.signaturehardware.com. We also purchased solid brass outlet covers without ornamentation. My husband remembers these push buttons in his grandparents house which was built in the 1920’s. They are perfect for a Tudor Revival. In fact, we watched the original, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” on TCM last week, starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo. There is a scene in a large Tudor Revival house where, lo and behold, there are push button light switches on the wall! It takes a real rehab geek to notice these things!

Everything old is new again.

Everything old is new again.

The foyer floor was replaced with plywood then tiled with an outdoor quality slate tile. We knew the original was either wood or mosaic tile. Time to think in terms of sensible restoration. What makes sense historically? What did houses of this age and style originally have in the foyer? After an arm wrestling contest, the winner decided on mosaic tile. Pilates paid off. We liked what we saw on http://www.restorationtile.com. While we finalize our design and find the right tradesman, the current tile had to go away.

So long tiles.

So long tiles.


Bye, bye.


Demo done!

Using a heavy-duty nail puller and 4-pound sledge-hammer, demo was finished in about two hours. Don’t forget the knee pads and breathing mask.

Needing a temporary cover, we purchased a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet. We cut it to size and attached it to the plywood with wood screws. We bought this carpet to be functionally ugly. It is not a permanent member of the house. It will not stay. We will replace it with mosaic tile. TBD.

Gray carpet. Temporary gray carpet.

Temporary gray carpet.

The refinished baseboards and trim were reinstalled. Each piece was custom fit 85 years ago with REALLY LONG nails. It takes time and fine tuning to custom fit back in! Patience, dear husband, is essential when restoring. Nothing, nothing goes back in as easily as it came out. Birthing a baby is a whole lot harder than making one!


A bit of fine tuning.

Floor trim replaced.

Floor trim restored and in place.

Remember the REALLY LONG nails? In the future, we will need to remove the trim to lay the new floor. We’re not rank amateurs, nor are we professionals. We might need to remove trim to fix a mistake or make a better fit.

You'll need a good nail puller. Look at the length of those nails!

REALLY LONG nails. Of course, this is one reason the house has stood for 85 years.

Rather than using the nail gun and risk scarring the wood or breaking the boards taking them out, we found “trim head screws” at one of the big box stores. They go in existing nail holes.

Trim head screws.

Trim head screws.

Trim head screw.

Trim head screw.

Once everything is set, we can use the blending sticks to fill in the holes. But they look great and are a great solution.

Front door.

Front door.

Closet door.

Closet door.

Although we still need to replace the floor and light, we’re close to calling this room finished.


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