Baseboard Time Capsule!

Because of the water damage in the room, and how one wall used to have a pass through, the baseboard situation in here was gross.

This is where the pass through and then the built-in was, so no top piece and very patchy.

This piece that’s going behind the giant cabinet? It’s over 16 feet long and in perfect shape.

This piece on the left was all cracked from the water damage.

We decided to play a little baseboard puzzle game. The goal : Use as MUCH original baseboard in this room that we could. Some of the choppy pieces would work in the smaller places. And the giant long piece? Clutch your pearls, because we decided to cut it.

If you are still reading along and haven’t thrown your phone or computer against a wall, thanks for sticking in here. Deep Breaths. Cutting original woodwork that was that long is DEFINITELY a choice. But, removing it from the wall, and using it to build the longer stretches that we needed would allow for the cabinet to go flush to the wall like a built-in, and give us (most) of the baseboard pieces we need.

Old House Blasphemy? Or Great Use of Original Materials? Let me know in the comments!

Look at all the gross stuff behind that big ol’ board!

We made a deal that if taking this off was a struggle in ANY way, or if it was damaging the wall, it wasn’t meant to be, and we’d leave it. It came of incredibly smoothly, so here we go!

I am a frequent complainer that we’ve never found any cool “hidden treasures” in our house. Since it was foreclosed on – twice – the house had been super cleaned, and nothing cool was left behind for us to discover. UNTIL NOW.

I suggested to Doug that he cut into the walls behind the baseboards to run electrical, because the baseboards would cover up whatever holes could be made. He thought that was a great idea, and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!!!!

What have we HERE?!?!?!


This is absolutely supposed to be my room. I cannot believe these treasures we found!

Horse-Drawn Sleigh :

Paul Murray’s English Homework from May 3, 1904. “She wore a ring.”

Key Signatures!

Very accurate, as well!

There were also a couple of newspaper scraps, but they’re very hard to read. Still cool though! The kid playing billiards helps us to know that there is, in fact, trouble in River City. AND you can get a 5-piece bedroom set for $39!!!!

Holes for electrical, treasures discovered, gross stuff shop vac’d up. SO MUCH PROGRESS!

We gathered up all of the baseboard, cap moulding, and quarter round and started making a plan for it.

When we did the front bedroom, we had some baseboards milled for around the wardrobes. There was some extra, and we decided we needed to use ONE piece of that in the room.

Let’s see how bad this wood is in the water-damaged corner!

It basically crumbled off the wall.

Yeah. This is disgusting.

The cracks that were in the plaster were due to water damage. Wood had rotted both inside the room, and in the structure of the house. In the next pictures, you can new wood studs behind the plaster. When the exterior of the house was restored, the stud damage was repaired from the outside. So, HYPOTHETICALLY, we’re all good now! (Knock on wood. But don’t knock on the water damaged wood. It’ll shrivel up and turn to dust.)


No going back now! Here goes the first cut on the giant piece!

Seeing a full run of baseboard on this wall, where there had been segments, made me feel like we did the right thing. It looks so perfect – and original.

Bot now, let’s look at this corner of the world, where the worst of the water damage was. This is where we used a piece that had been milled for the front bedroom. It matched that room PERFECTLY, but it’s WAY WAY WAY too orange for this room. We chose to use it on this wall, because my sewing table will be here, so you REALLY won’t see much of it.

Even so, I wanted to try and make it match. I made a mixture of stain/poly, dye, gel stain, and even some gray paint. And slathered that on.

And then, wiped it off.

From Left to Right : After, During, Before.

I hate gloves, and won’t wear them to do painting and staining because I have less control. But it gets messy!

And the finished corner! The “orange” new piece is the one on the wall with the outlet. It is not a perfect match, but it is SO SO much better! Also, sneak peep that picture rail!

It’s almost a real whole room!


  1. It is very scary cutting original woodwork! But my feeling is that while we are stewards of old homes, we must live in them too… so using wood that would otherwise be unseen to make the room complete and usable is an excellent choice!

  2. What a find!!! You feel even more connected to the house. Are you doing a name search to find out more about this guy?

  3. It’s always enjoyable to see updates on your room projects but I can’t get over what treasures you found in the wall! And to have them seem so perfectly tailored to you is a delightful bit of serendipity.

  4. This room is gorgeous as usual! Following this page has made me obsessed with wallpaper (which I used to hate) and now I’ve used it in three rooms of my 1900 four square.

  5. Such cool discoveries! Unfortunately, it appears that Paul’s life was cut short by sickness:

    Mitchell Commercial dated Thursday, 5 Jul 1917, p. 3: Paul Murray died early Saturday morning at 12:25 o’clock at his home northeast of Franklin. He had been seriously ill for two weeks and the immediate cause of death was tubercular meningitis. This was supplemented by a mild case of typhoid fever. Mr. Murray had been in ill health the past two years. He was twenty-five years old and was born in Mitchell, Ind. When nine years old he came with his parents to Franklin and attended the city schools. Paul was a member of the Franklin Christian church and for the past few years had managed his father’s farm. His marriage to Miss Hazel Alexander took place two years ago. He was an exemplary young man and was held in high esteem by a wide circle of friends who are grieved over his early death. Besides the widow and son Merville, he is also survived by his father, Henry Murray, a sister, Mrs. Ruth Toms of Montgomery, Ala., and two brothers, Ralph and Fred Murray.” Funeral services were conducted Monday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the house by the Rev. R. P. Jones and were attended by many relatives and friends. Interment was Greenlawn cemetery.


    However, I’m willing to bet a fair amount that his friend Ralph is this family that lived on Yandes Street at the time of the 1900 census:
    [line 61]

    and had moved to Centre Street by the time of the 1910 census:
    [line 78]

  6. love the use of the wood, and hiding the electric. You two clearly love this house.

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