The living room of Tucker House, post-water heater madness!
Another winter makeover is complete! Historical buildings, while lovely, can often be a headache when it comes to their inner workings – especially plumbing! Not long ago, the water heater in the upper building of Tucker House decided it was done, and what resulted was a lot of water damage.
In order to repair it, we had to rip out the ceiling. When we took that out, we found a lathe and plaster ceiling underneath it. We thought we could raise the entire ceiling by a foot, but unfortunately, a beam running down the middle of the living room prevented doing that simply.
We could raise half the ceiling, but the rest had to stay the same height. We decided to move around the electric boxes, which offers better lighting for the room. We also opened the window to the kitchen while reinforcing some sketchy beams from previous renovations.
In the end, we finished the ceiling to look like the new one in Victoria’s Flower Garden, which we also raised, and had a lathe and plaster finish. Erin also repainted the living room for us, and now it’s even better than before, with a much more open look. We look forward to showing you around during your next stay with us!
The bathtub is now a walk-in shower!
This is the second renovation post I’ve done recently, and that’s because we love to use the winter months to make every room, suite and cottage better in any way we can! Lopez was a major renovation that started with one focused area, as so many of them end up being. This is a phenomenon Anna Maria calls “project creep,” and it keeps us working around the clock, but the results are always rewarding.
The main point of starting on Lopez in the first place was that the bathtub needed to be converted into a walk-in shower. While we were scrutinizing that, we realized that the closet in the back bedroom could also use another look. We decided it needed some better storage options for guests, so we decided to renovate that too, adding drawers and shelves for guests’ use while staying with us.
New closet doors and paint to make the room a bit sunnier!
Next, we decided to give the hallway closet a makeover so it would be able to more comfortably be able to store the ironing board, vacuum cleaner and, especially important in the winter, extra linens!
New hardware on the doors, including gorgeous crystal doorknobs
Of course, after that it was decided that the closet doors looked out of place. So, we embraced our belief in being a greener property and rescued one of the doors from the pawn shop in town, before it was torn down. After five days straight of filling and sanding the door, which has five individual panels, we realized that it still didn’t look that great, and the decision was made to strip the whole thing down to bare wood and start from scratch.
Since we were restoring this door, the rest of the historic doors in the suite – three of them – needed to be restored as well. Erin spent three straight days stripping the rest of those doors, and while they were off the hinges, Chef Molly boiled all of the hardware (doorknobs, etc). This made it easy to remove multiple coats of old paint off the latches and handles.
It looks like a brand new suite in here!
It was certainly a labor of love, with every innkeeper pitching it at one point or another – another prime example of how we are truly a family around here. The photos here are the result of a lot of hard work, and we hope you’ll come soon to enjoy a night or two in the new and improved Lopez Suite!
e love to use the sleepy winter months to continuously find ways to improve the inns. One of our recently completed projects was renovations on Victoria’s Flower Garden, a 5-room ground floor suite at Tucker House. We think that the improvements we’ve made really reflect our emphasis on the small details around here, and we’re excited to share them with you!
The suite originally had drop ceilings in the living room and kitchen. Over the years, water damage had worn them down just a bit, as will happen with historical buildings in wet climates. The decision was made to remove the drop ceilings, and when we did so, we realized that there was another ceiling above those! It is always fun and interesting to see what new secrets our venerable buildings have to share with us. We went ahead and took those second ceilings down too; then we decided it would be easiest to raise the ceilings. We ended up being able to add about 10 inches to them, a remarkable difference!
Ceilings in the kitchen were raised a full 10 inches and enhanced with crown moulding
The kitchen offered its own challenge with the ceiling renovation, as it required us to reroute a whole mess of wires and junction boxes. That led to rewiring the main electric panel box that feeds the entire house!
Check out the gorgeous detailing on these doorknobs!
We thought doing the ceilings would be an easy job, timed perfectly with a separate bathroom renovation that we were doing at the same time. But of course, home repairs tend to snowball. When the shower in the bathroom was torn out, we realized there were no joists supporting the shower or, for that matter, the entire back of the house. Our handyman extraordinaire Brett wasn’t sure what to do. So, we slept on the problem, hoping for a solution. Ultimately, we decided that the only option was to take out the hardwood floor and pour a reinforcing concrete stem wall from above. In order to not compromise the structural integrity of the upper floors, we had to do the foundation reinforcement in 4-foot sections. That part sure was exhausting, but after it was complete, the bathroom renovation was completed quickly and easily.
Returning our attention to the ceilings in the kitchen and living room, we textured the walls in those rooms to match what would have been the traditional lathe and plaster walls and ceiling. The living room just looked stunning with its new higher ceilings and crown moulding. As we looked around the suite, all the other rooms suddenly looked bare without crown moulding, so the project was modified again to include more elaborate trim, including new baseboard moulding, new interior paneled doors and historic replica hardware.
The result is a better suite with gorgeous new details. We hope the photos in our blog have enticed you to come spend a few nights in Victoria’s Flower Garden very soon, and be among the first to enjoy the improvements! Keep reading in subsequent weeks to get the details on the other projects we’re working on for our guests!
very so often, we’ll be sharing cleaning/organizing tips and tricks from innkeeper Beth, who always has it together and does it with a big smile and a laugh too! This month she’ll help us undress our Christmas trees.
“This is as much a tradition for me as putting the tree up,” says Beth. “I start out by putting on my favorite Christmas music!”
You’ll need three things to get started: a flat sheet, one turkey baster (no partridges here), and a bath towel or two, for easier and faster cleanup.
1) After gently removing the skirt around the tree, drape a flat sheet under and around the tree; this will catch needles as you remove the tree ornaments.
2) Using a turkey baster, remove as much water from the tree stand as possible. By placing the towel on the floor there is less chance of breaking your special ornaments. Beth finds by starting at the top and going around and down, you’re less likely to miss any ornaments (don’t overlook the ones that you may have tucked inside the tree).
3) As you remove tree ornaments and balls, place on the bath towels on the floor; Beth suggests putting the balls on one end (by color), special ornaments on the other end.
4) After removing all the ornaments from the tree, start from the bottom up, lifting sad, wilted branches and looking for hidden ornaments. Drag the towel of ornaments to the area where you’ll wrap and store them.
5) Remove tree lights last, replacing any bulbs before wrapping. Marking your boxes with contents will help organize them for next Christmas.
6) After undressing your tree completely, gently gather the sheet together to shake outside, to remove the dropped needles. Wrap the sheet around your tree, gently remove tree from the stand and take the bottom of the tree out the door first, to dispose. Voila! Very little mess in the house.
7) Using your narrow vacuum attachment around the baseboards and doorway should help alleviate needles from resurfacing all year.
We hope your holiday season was shared with family, friends, and heartwarming memories. Happy New Year! – Beth