Skip to main content

It started with a bit of water and a paper napkin

This is where it all started
Daniel and I were sat by the fire with a glass of wine (nothing newsworthy about that!)  We started discussing the furnishings and decoration of the living room and I questioning whether we should stick with the plan to whitewash the wood (as it had originally been decorated underneath the drop ceilings) or if we should strip the wood back to the raw wood.    I hypothesized that the old whitewash would clean off relatively easily...a hypothesis that needed to be tested.

I took the napkin and poured some water onto it and started rubbing the whitewash away.  It just  washed off, leaving fabulous clean, undamaged wood.     From this small spot in the living room I moved on to the patch of beam that had been where the old stair to the basement had been and therefore escaped the black paint.   Again the whitewash came off easily. 

Below the whitewash was a second wash wood/pine colored paint that was also water based and rubbed off easily too...I guess that this original yellowy/orangey color on the beam may have been used to hide the grain of the wood.
Pine yellow water based paint under the whitewash
That was it...I wanted to see what the ceiling looked like if it's all wood....and here started the weekend of ceiling stripping!!!   The whitewash was water based and after a bit of trial and error I learned that if you dampen the ceiling about 20 minutes before you start stripping the water softens the whitewash and it scrapes off in one go.   10-15 hours later and both Daniel and I had the majority of the paint off the beams and the ceiling in the library. 

Library ceiling mid stripping
The paint on the bottom of the beam was not so easy as it had some latex paint and lots of layers...but a bit of elbow grease and a decent scraper from Lowes and we finally worked the paint off. 
Newly stripped Library ceiling (the beam in the picture is about 14 inches deep)
The beams were fantastic.  They had been put in the house green so they had split and cracked...wonderfully.   We had to remove the filling but I love the character when these cracks are exposed.  

Beams with character
Perhaps the best part was when we washed off the final layer of residue you could see the subtle hand plaining of the original floor boards that had been protected and covered up by the drop ceilings for literally hundreds of.   These ceilings will be spectacular.

 Cleaned off and with visible hand planing
Now my shoulders ache like a bugger but there is a real sense of satisfaction from restoring these boards to their former glory.  


Popular posts from this blog

Paradox farm

If you wander along Springtown Road, past DeJoux House, you will see our mailbox opposite the front door.  It's not especially distinguishable except it is rather large and sits on an old tree stump.  It's a rusty old thing but it seems to have survived the snow plows and drunk drivers of Springtown Road. It has always bothered me that on the side of the mail box you can see the vague outline of the words "Paradox Farm" which was clearly a name that DeJoux House was more recently referred to.  Occasionally when wondering the fields I would stumble across some incongruity and wonder if that was indeed the "paradox" that the farm was named after. Yesterday morning, for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to resolve the paradox.  I sent a quick email to the previous owner June Finer to see if she knew anything of the Paradox Farm ghost on the side of the mailbox. This was her reply: once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a

DeJoux House to be published

Reclaimed Doorway  Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages: Catskill Country Style Book , Old Houses , Farm House Revival , Homes With A Past , Gardens of Hudson Valley , Time Wearing Out Memory name but a few. All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16. I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster. Summer patio Kitchen Stools Front Door Open

Maria Deyo - a chilling tale

We arrived at the house this weekend to meet with the contractors who had poured concrete in the basement on Friday. When we arrived we found a family standing in front of the house taking pictures. Being the friendly types we are, we went over to chat. They told us they were on a haunted house tour and were looking at the house because their daughter had been talking about the ghost at our house for the last couple of days. She had bought a book called "Spooky Hudson Valley" and in it was the story of Maria Deyo and a tragic tale of a mother killing all three children and then killing herself. The family were wonderful and excited to be shown the house. They showed us the book and at the beginning of the story was a picture of our house. The book went on to say that Maria sent the men to the fields and then she slit her daughter's throat and the throat of her other two children...then killed herself. All this happened on September 13 th 1801. There was