We are getting down to the wire. The garage doors are being installed in eleven days.
And our garage life will be done. Three years later. Hallelujah.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s a nice garage. As far as garages go, I would agree with you. But living on concrete is hard and cold. If you think it’s a walk in the park, then I suggest you try it. For three years — then let’s debate it. 😘
And it’s not just the concrete. It’s the little conveniences of a home that I miss. Closets and carpeting. Counter space. A dishwasher. Everything having its place.
You know those moments when you lay awake in bed with your eyes closed, before you start the day? I literally start thinking about how fun it will be to organize my kitchen. (Shopping for drawer organizers, inserts, and clear lazy susans, has become my favorite pastime.) Our garage kitchen has served us well, but it is tiny. At least two-thirds of our kitchen goods are still in boxes. And I cannot wait to unwrap the rest!
But since the count down is on, we are hammering away the finish work. Oh my gosh. Finish work.
It’s sounds small. But the devils in the details. And there are so many details.
We are repurposing in each space wherever possible. Whether with exposed shiplap boards, a few original windows, or the kitchen pass through, each room has some architectural detail that emphasizes the bones of the house or tells the story of its origin.
So this weekend, we finally got to the detail work of the stairwell.
Stairwells in 140 year old homes were not something given much thought. Ours were steep. And when you are renovating over 50 percent of an old home, code says that you must then bring the stairs up to code.
Five summers ago, before we were at DRF full time, Brianne and I started to pull down the old wallpaper that was everywhere. It was heavy and almost felt like vinyl. I’m guessing it was put up in the early 60s?
BJR and I tried to stay true to our home’s working farm history and not try and make it something it wasn’t. But we had to update the stairs, so we made them much more user friendly.
Years ago, when we were cleaning out the grain barn, we found dozens of beautiful 11” tall boards, of varying lengths, each with a scripty handwritten number on them, with multiples of the same numbers. Each grain bin had a series of slatted boards to hold in the content of the bin. I knew exactly where they belonged.
The boards were cleaned, scrubbed (Borax and hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the farm fresh smell and kill any little critters) and lightly sanded so that grandbabies can someday run their hands across the boards without getting splinters.
When BJR framed in the newly widened stairwell, he left 7/8” in between the studs and the stair apron. Just enough room to wiggle in those numbered boards out of the grain barn. I stained the sides of the stairs before we got to work. (The carpet runner will be installed this week.)
For whatever reason, BJR thought we would need a consultant to help us get started. He was right.
My sister Jo was once again a Godsend and came to help this worker bee. ❤️
Then Jo and I were left to our own devices.
It wasn’t always pretty or efficient, but we figured it out. Sometimes having to make multiple cuts and multiple tries, but got them up, and we are happy to report, they are all level!
The numbers appeared to be written with a grease pen. I decided to go over them with a Sharpie to help them pop a little more.
After we got all the boards up, of course we had to toast to our own cleverness.
And we could not have done it without our trusty consultant who ripped the boards at the top!
After the boards were up, we used my favorite go to wax, Briwax. If you like to do woodwork or refinish furniture and haven’t ever tried Briwax, I can’t say enough good things about it.
Clear Briwax hardens the wood and brings out its natural luster without altering it. You put it on, let it dry, and then buff the wood with a lint free rag or brush. I prefer a brush.
Buffing is quick and just needs just a smidge of elbow grease. I buffed both sides of the stairwell in less than 15 minutes — and that included toasting and chatting time.
I love the way it turned out. It tells the story of the old grain barn and keeps the stairwell playful — and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The carpeted runner should tie it all together. Fingers crossed.
So please send us good juju to finish strong over these upcoming weeks. Our house is almost ready to be our home. And even though all these finishing details are important, none is as important as who we share these walls with.
With love and a grateful heart, from our Dirt Road farm, PJR