Glenlochan -The Beginning

Glenlochan -The Beginning
Glenlochan - The Beginning

Glenlochan Today

Glenlochan Today
Glenlochan Today

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Saving the Clawfoot

We continue to refurbish original items from the home that we stowed away in safety (aka, expensive storage units) before the demolition.  One such item is a cute clawfoot tub that we had planned to put in the downstairs master bath in a space of honor underneath the bay window.  Although clawfoots are typically a dime a dozen, in bad shape, and beyond heavy, this one had a few things going for it.  First of all, we learned early on that it is a less common tub since it's only 4.5 feet long, and not 5 feet, which is more typical.  The idea of having a more rare clawfoot was irresistible, I have to admit.  And, it wasn't in too bad of shape, but clearly needed to be re-done.  It is however, beyond heavy.

The first challenge was to find someone who could re-glaze the clawfoot in our small town.  There were plenty of businesses an hour away in Richmond and Norfolk, but none of them would let us bring the tub to them to re-do it (none have facilities anymore) and all wanted to do it in place in the bathroom...but they weren't willing to drive to our small town.  After many, many calls, referrals, research, etc., I finally found a wonderful re-glazer (not sure if that is a word!) and he was willing to re-glaze the inside of the tub on site, and he wasn't overly worried about having the water in the bathroom all hooked up.

Although I had originally planned to have both the inside and outside of the tub professionally re-done, I learned that most providers don't want to mess with the outside (apparently they typically need to be sandblasted) but I had enough people tell me that I could do the outside myself (since the outside doesn't hold water like the inside), so I decided to take it on.  I wasn't planning on sandblasting it, but the outside was peeling enough to tell me that someone had painted the outside more recently with a latex paint DYI job (done poorly).  So, I was hopeful that it would be a fairly easy stripping job followed up with a spray painting job.  How tough could it be?  (I should have learned by now never to ask that question...)

Here's the starting point - isn't it just too cute?

The first trick was getting it flipped over.  We found a neat date stamp on the bottom (1924).
 We removed the feet (also repainted and rusting) and I began coating it in Strypeze.
What I thought was a one coat of latex paint turned out to be layers and layers of paint.  It was really a walk through the decades - under the neutral off-white, was a deep red, followed by a garish yellow and under that, a 50's aqua green - interspersed with a healthy amount of surface rust:

When reinforcements arrived, we moved the tub up onto heavy duty saw horses to make the stripping a lot easier. After I had removed as much as possible with Strypeze, I moved to my favorite tool, the palm sander and removed a lot more using very coarse grit.  Then I wire brushed it with a heavy duty wire brush attached to Rob's drill.  A lot of elbow grease later, this was the result:

I quickly learned why most people recommend sandblasting.  But, I did get it very smooth using my various tools and many hours later, I was ready to base coat it with a self etching primer.

Once the base coat had completely dried, I think used a beautiful white appliance epoxy spray paint and put on multiple coats, with a little careful light sanding in between.  And, because we ran out of paint, Rob had to recoat it during the week for me.  Unfortunately, it chose that week to rain, so he also had to keep tarping and un-tarping the tub to protect it from the elements.  Meanwhile, back in Philly, I went through a similar process with the four claw feet, made a lot more difficult by the detail, but my dremel was a huge help on these.

We decided to "fancy them up" a bit, which took a lot more time and careful painting, but I loved the end result.  When I brought them back to VA completely re-done, Rob couldn't believe they were the same feet. Silver talons grasping a high gloss black ball.
Last weekend, we had to get the tub from its resting place on the sawhorses in the back yard, to its waiting place of honor in the bathroom complete with floor plumbing - the re-glazer was arriving the next day to do the inside of the tub:
Unfortunately, we didn't have reinforcements so Rob was stuck with me as his moving partner.  I don't have his upper body strength and my knee is still not 100%, so it was a challenging endeavor, but with one stop to rest, we did manage to get it in place by ourselves.  Miraculously without damaging the tub, tile, or any walls or doors.  I hope I never have to move that thing again. 

Here's the inside, ready for its beauty makeover:
Pictures of the reglazing to follow soon.  This wasn't an easy project, but I love the result so far.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Brief update:  We. have. occupancy!  We made it.  The inspection was this morning, no issues, bing, bang, boom, done, Certificate of Occupancy.  Well, not done, not at all, really - that would be a huge exaggeration.  There remains a lot to finish,  work to do and then phases 2 and 3 on the project.  But, now we can move in, officially stay in the house, use the appliances, showers and, gasp, jacuzzi, and enjoy some creature comforts like tv while we work.  A red letter day on the project!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No More Doors and Other Updates

I've officially painted the last of the interior doors on this project.  Not only are they painted, but all are hung, hardware and knobs fully installed, and this painter is breathing a huge sigh of relief.  Now if only the trim painting was also completed...

From this:

To this:

Rob's made remarkable progress as well, so here's a dump of progress.

The back porches are now fully screened and the screen doors are installed.  Rob had to have "slamming" screen doors (as seen on the Waltons), so they are on springs rather than returns.  Cool concept, but I'm a little worried about the pup getting caught in the door...!

The front porch is also sporting its new side rails:

Downstairs Master Bath
The last of the bathrooms is fully tiled, the vanity is now installed, and the space is ready for the clawfoot tub (more on that later).  The mirrors did not arrive as ordered, so they are being rush shipped for arrival later this week.

Wainscoting Progression
Wallpaper but no wainscoting in the breezeway:
Wainscoting installed:

Primed wainscoting:

It just needs final painting and the chair rail to complete.

Utility Room
Washer and dryer and utility sink are now installed:
Half Bath
The half bath is fully complete, including all finish trim.
Despite the progress, there remains much to be done.  We've moved a number of items from the "deadline" list to the "aspirational goal" list in the interest of focusing on those items that must be complete for occupancy.  Thankfully, there are no more interior doors to paint!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Doors

As much as tiling is the bane of Rob's existence, painting trim and interior doors is mine at the moment.  Everything takes so long to putty, caulk, and painstakingly paint and, if there is an art to painting five panel doors, I have not mastered it.  I've certainly improved my efficiency but, although I'm not turning out shoddy workmanship, I've never cared less about perfection.  Each interior door requires two to three coats of paint on each side.  I'm not sure how we ended up with so many doors, but there are a lot.  

My technique involves a little cheating to give the doors those wonderful rich brushstrokes.  I use a small foam roller in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.  That way, I can quickly roll a large amount of paint onto the door and then run a brush through the paint to give the brushstroke look (I use a similar technique on the window and door trim and the base boards). 

We set up 2 door painting "stations" upstairs and I just keep rotating the doors as they dry.

To get a change of scenery now and again, I also did the window seats (sans lids at the moment)...
...And managed to sneak in a quick stain and Waterlox project on the game room doors to the deck.  I've exhausted my distraction projects, however, and it's back to painting doors and trim again.

In other news, Rob's been busy putting the finishing touches on the upstairs - he made these thresholds:

 And, for purposes of occupancy, he did some quick and dirty finish work on two of the upstairs bedroom fireplaces (to be replaced with real vintage mantels when we have more time):

And finally, the start of the fireplace tiling in the upstairs master:
He has enough to do for occupancy purposes, so the door and trim painting remain squarely on my punch list. Which list we actually discussed committing to paper, but did not actually pull out a pen and commit.  Soon, I think, very soon.