Renovating the Chandlee House

Welcome To Our Renovation Blog!

"It's got potential!" Back in December of 2008, we realized those three little words can turn your life around if you're the type of person who falls in love with old houses that are just a little down on their luck. If you had told me five years ago that we would be doing this, I never would have believed it. But life moves in funny ways, and the trick to success is never realizing that something is supposed to be impossible.

February 2016
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Finished section

Posted By michele on May 1, 2011


Walnut trim after stripping paint and rubbing with oil mixture.

Bedroom Woodwork

Posted By michele on May 1, 2011


After hours of stripping paint from woodwork, the walnut wood grain can be seen. I’ve been rubbing the woodwork with a combination of 3-parts boiled linseed oil and 1-part turpentine. You can see part of the trim is shinier- where I’ve rubbed it with oil mixture.

Refinishing a Floor

Posted By michele on April 22, 2011

When refinishing a floor, we found this interesting texture: newspapers from decades ago, stuck to the floor.

newspapers stuck to floor

A 1957 Newspaper

Things in progress

Posted By michele on April 19, 2011



We have lived in the house for 7 months now. Hard to believe! Many projects still in progress including stripping woodwork and finishing the downstairs bathroom.

Interesting texture…

Posted By michele on July 25, 2010

When tearing out the old drywall in the laundry room we discovered this interesting texture. Apparently some type of cement finish had been applied the bricks at some p0int, and someone else thought it would be keen to use a grinder to randomly grind chunks of it away from the brick. Who knows what the darkened silhouette was… an old stove perhaps? We would like to finish grinding away the cement and expose the bricks, seal them and leave it that way, rather than hanging new drywall. We also discovered that the laundry room was built as an addition on top of an old water cistern. Gray managed to climb into the cistern through a hole that was punched through the foundation when they ran HVAC conduit. He says the cistern is made of brick with a vaulted ceiling. When I’m brave enough to crawl through the hole, I’ll post pictures.

Brick wall

Brick wall in laundry room

Remodeling my office space

Posted By michele on July 25, 2010

I foolishly thought that the room which will be my office just needed a quickie remodel – a fresh coat of paint, strip & replace old wall-paper and new carpet. Of course in an old house, nothing is ever quite so simple! What I thought might be a weekend job is taking twice as much time (of course!) The track ceiling that was installed so long ago it has rust on it was hiding a multitude of sins- pieces of plywood screwed to the ceiling to hide the crumbling plaster, birds nests in the closet, a wallpaper that is difficult to strip because it was applied with spray-mount instead of wall-paper paste. (I long ago gave up wondering what the previous owners were thinking when then did this.)

So far this weekend I have removed the old ceiling tiles and decided the expedient thing to do is to use Rustoleum to spray-paint the metal tracks of the suspended ceiling. It worked quite nicely. I bought new tiles and spray-painted them beige to match the metal tracks. I also managed to strip a good deal of the old wall-paper. A friend who has lots of experience in this tells me it’s OK to wall-paper directly over the old wallpaper as long as it is stuck down tight. I hope this is the case because some patches are difficult to scrape away.

Michele's office

Michele's Office

The office located on the second floor in the "tower"

I plan to use brown, tan and blue as my new paint scheme. Will post the “after” pictures soon, I hope!

Things are moving rapidly now…

Posted By michele on July 25, 2010

We have a verbal agreement with an old friend of mine to rent our current house in September, so we’re really trying to pour on the speed to get the Chandlee house renovations done- at least to the point where we have a bathroom and rudimentary living space while we continue to remodel.

Bathroom Remodel nearing completion
Bathroom floors & walls

On the Money!

Posted By michele on May 22, 2010

Bathroom remodel

Bathroom remodel

Checking the level for the walls that will separate the bathroom from the kitchen. So good to have the sub-floor laid! Soon we’ll begin putting in green-board (like drywall, only waterproof) for the walls, then plumbing and eventually tile.

It’s getting warmer…

Posted By michele on April 9, 2010

We took some time off over the winter, but now that it’s getting warmer out, we’re getting back to working on the house again. Trouble is, now it’s time to mow the lawn! No rest for the wicked…

We got a new Insurance company; our previous company dropped us because, basically, the house is too old and the repairs were too extensive for them to keep us. Thank goodness we found a much better agency to work with, and the price was good too.

I have been busy scraping loose plaster from some walls and ceilings. To patch it, I’ve had people recommend Durabond, instead of regular drywall joint compound, so we’ll be giving that a try.

Plans for the immediate future involve getting the bathroom put back together, then moving on to the kitchen. More to come!

Not much to report over the winter…

Posted By michele on January 3, 2010

After getting the new roof put on in October, most of the work has come to a slow down. We hope to get started again in the spring.