Progress!

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Finally opened up doorway from front to back area on west side of building.

We’ve been super busy having two of our three children in school and in extra-curricular activities. But that doesn’t mean that our renovation project has come to a standstill. We’ve made some progress and have started some forward momentum.

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Our two youngest play with a bag of toys we discovered in a sealed cabinet.

First, we’ve picked our architect: Upchurch Architects, Inc.  We really like their style, and their passion for restoring the past and bringing new life into Brenham. We’ve already had a few meetings with them, and plans are slowly starting to take shape. The planning is very complicated for many reasons. The challenges include working in a perfectly square space, floors at different levels, a few permanent walls that can’t be moved or removed, giving access to both stairwells, and having an entire side of the building without windows (the wall that connects to the building next door).  We think that Mr. Upchurch and his team are up to the challenge, however, as evidenced by his past work.

We’re also in the process of setting up the lead paint and asbestos removal. We’ve had three companies evaluate our project. All have said that pretty much all of the walls, and sadly all of the trim has to go due to lead paint. Unfortunately the cost to remove the paint from all of the trim would be astronomical. Luckily, most of the trim we should be able to recreate. There are a few doors and doorknobs we’ll have to remove ourselves and have a wood specialist take care of, such as the adorable Dutch (split) door in the kitchen. The asbestos spots are very small, and they appear to be the easy part of the job.

Once the lead paint and asbestos has been removed, we’ll be setting up work weekends, where we’ll ask friends and family to come down and help with deconstruction and even some of the renovations. We’re hoping to get all of the deconstruction and window replacement done during the winter months, because it gets so super hot up there right now. If you are interested in helping, just drop me a line.

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We have discovered more areas where there are original wood floors. Yay!

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And the best find yet was when my husband uncovered a plain dry-wall column to discover this bead-board treasure underneath!

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Unfortunately, someone destroyed the lower half of it, and damaged it significantly when they added electrical. We hope we can remove the plug and wiring and restore the column as it was originally.

 

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We’ve also run into a problem. We were hoping to leave all of the brick exposed as we uncovered it, rather than putting it back behind drywall. Unfortunately, when we started tearing off some of the walls, we noticed that the brick is very dry and crumbly. If you just gently run your fingers across it, dust will come off on your hand. We’ll have to seal the brick with a special process, and may have to consider covering up some of it with dry wall.

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And lastly we popped open a cabinet above a closet that had previously been sealed shut with paint. Inside we found all sorts of odds and ends, including a really nice volleyball net, an angel food cake pan, a grocery bag full of parts for a children’s train set (practically new!), a box with someone’s baseball cap collection (nothing seemed notable, other than the smell – hoping nothing is dead at the bottom), three brand-new professional sling-shots, a nearly flat bean-bag, and a bag of just an odd assortment of junk. Surprisingly, nothing was dusty, moldy, or eaten by bugs or mice – it seems the cabinet truly got sealed up with paint, probably since the 1980’s.

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That’s all for now. Hopefully our next update will have pictures of the project after the lead paint and asbestos removal.

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