Restoration Triage

Step one : Stop the water. (If you missed this part of the tale, check it out here!)

Step two : Run dehumidifiers for two weeks.

Step three : Have the best friends in the world. And a list.


This is Grant. He loves opera and speaking lots of languages. His job was painting. Mostly where he was supposed to, but occasionally went outside of the lines onto the ceiling and woodwork. But we love him anyway. He would like to recommend “Don Pasquale” by Donizetti to you.


This is Lori. Lori is Doug’s training partner for marathons. She just ran Boston, which is amazing, because she’s crazy fast. Lori painted and helped with anything we needed. She is super delightful and is always, always willing to help us when we need anything or are in crisis mode. Which can be a lot. She’s also a nurse, and even though she claims to be off-duty when helping us with things, I still think she can call 911 faster than any of us if someone were to nail gun their finger.


This is Caryn. She has a farmhouse built in the 20’s that is undergoing renovations, as well, though she is starting her renovation with an addition – something we’ve never done. We are excited to help Caryn and her husband Scott with that project when we get or make some free time – new work on an old house! Caryn painted and scraped and did anything else we needed. This girl is stubborn, blunt and opinionated – traits that are sorely needed at times for us.


This is Stephen. He tries hard. Mainly, Stephen ripped things out and provided comic relief. But he wanted to cut down the chandelier with a pair of scissors. Bless his heart, he tried to be competent. (I love him dearly, so I can say these things).


This is Jordan. Jordan’s pants are coming to us straight from a revival of “Godspell.” (Not really). He has done a lot of construction work, and has built many a set for musicals, where the mantra was “1. Get it done, 2. Make it pretty, and 3. Be safe.” He also just got his Masters Degree in Choral Conducting. HOORAY – welcome to the Masters in Conducting Club! His job was mainly destruction.


This is Brian. Brian is a Purdue grad, so having him on our team is awesome. Brian is quiet and wicked smart. And anytime he comes to help us, I love that we can throw any project at him and you can walk away and it’ll be perfect. His job this weekend : flooring. We were a team, and we work great together.


These two ladies are priceless. Raina, on the left, is a Historic Preservationist for Indiana Landmarks by trade, though I didn’t meet her through old houses – I met her through the National Band Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. We have so much in common, including our love for musical theatre.

On the right is Angie, who works for the City of Franklin and used to work with the Historical Society here in town, where I met her. She is restoring a REALLY cool house a few blocks away. Sometime when I am too poor to work on my own houses I’ll blog about hers. It’s super great.

Both of these ladies are my sounding boards for what I should do, what I should choose, and telling me how dumb I am when I am. Priceless.The worked on woodwork and painting and solving all of the world’s historic architectural problems.


Jessica and Dan! Also Purdue grads and band friends of Doug’s. Their job : Muscle and Destruction. Their house is also old and it’s GORGEOUS and they have an orchard and super fun and creative kids. Jessica is a colorful ray of sunshine who is joy incarnate, (and I’ve known her longer than I’ve known my husband, even though they are both Purdue people). Dan is smart and funny and logical and focused. We love having them back in Indiana.


Then there’s Doug. His jobs : Electrical, Foreman, Explorer.


And me. My jobs : Painting, woodwork, task-master, and list maker. And visionary.


We are so lucky to have had so much help to get us back on track. 

In the back bedroom, Stephen learned how to put on work gloves and he and Jordan went to work on removing the acoustical tile ceiling which was falling after the flooding (which, incidentally, I hated). Luckily, we were able to do so without having to cut the chandelier down with scissors. Oh, Stephen.

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The tile came down pretty easily, actually. There was paper and a painted surface underneath.

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Then the guys scraped all the paper off the ceiling that was loose. We’ll have to put something on the ceiling – wallpaper, tin (or replica), or drywall. I wish I was brave enough to just clear-coat over this amazing patina. If it was my house, I would. But for a rental, I think it’s too bold. Don’t you?

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And Jordan also repaired some of the cracks in the doors and woodwork caused by the water.


It’s hard work renovating AND being this fabulous.


Speaking of being fabulous, Brian and I knocked out laying a new floor in the utility room in a day. It was a bit underwhelming, seeing as how we replaced the floor that flooded with the exact same floor, so we spent a day just making it look the same as it did before. So, while it wasn’t transformative, it was so important, and it gave us peace of mind that the water hadn’t totally seeped underneath to caused any permanent issues to worry about.

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Hooray for a nice clean floor!

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Brian and I did the floor on Day 1, and on Day 2, all of us had to scrap the ENTIRE laundry room. The walls are wood, and there was so much paint bubbling from the water exposure. But in scraping, we discovered this delicious color that I need to use somewhere in Martin Place.


We knew we needed to rip out the bathroom floor for various reasons, but, the bathroom didn’t have a light in it. We thought it would PROBABLY be a good idea to install a light before ripping out the floor from under us, so that was Doug’s job on Day 1. He installed this light / exhaust fan combo and got it vented. Hooray for Safety!

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On Day 2, Jessica said, “I want to DESTROY something!” So, we asked her and Dan to demo the Bathroom Floor. They rocked it OUT. With this floor gone, it’ll be easier (and more comfortable) to replace the burst plumbing and move the HVAC to accommodate the new floorplan. The crawlspace is so narrow, and we are planning to replumb the entire house in Pex, so this will make it easier.

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Look how shiny and new this brick from 1876 looks when it hasn’t been exposed to the elements!


So that was our weekend! We are now painted again, floored again, ready to replace a ceiling, we have light, and we are ready to repair the plumbing that started this all in the first place.

There was one other exciting discovery this weekend, but I’ll save it for another post. This one is entirely too long as it is. But, to our amazing, amazing crew – THANK YOU. Your friendship and willingness to drop what you are doing to come and help lessened our load, our worries, and made us feel loved. You are amazing.

Also, much thanks to Jimmy John’s for once again being freaky fast to feed us when we needed nourishment. You are important and loved.


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