Our first DIY.

Our house was off the market for about six minutes before we started tearing it apart.  We rushed over to our new home immediately after signing the papers with nothing more than a carpet knife, a hammer and  a screwdriver to help us answer two burning questions- are there hardwood floors beneath the awful green shag?  Are the pocket doors nailed into the tracks between the living room and parlor in good shape?

I think our realtor, Steve, may have been even more excited that we were to find out.  He had tried every bit of deduction he could, given his experience in fixing up and selling old houses, to answer these questions before we bought the house.  The truth, however, came in the reveal. I was on standby capturing the entire thing on film:

Husband, about to do the honors.

Making the cut.

A good sign...

Did I mention that we enlisted the aid of the seven year old neighbor boy, Keenan?  He introduced himself as we were making our way inside and was all too eager to help us trash the house:

Keenan, tearing up carpet in the living room.

Keenan, tearing up carpet in the foyer. Don't tell his mom, but we let him cut it with the knife himself.

I swear, that kid had a natural gift for pulling out carpet staples.  He must have torn up at least 70 from the parlor alone.  He was also pretty good and taking down wallpaper. He was thrilled to help us- for free- as long as we let him use some sort of tool, or got to wear a mask or safety glasses.


Beautiful original floors, in relatively good shape! These continue throughout the entire first floor (although we had to go through several layers of old linoleum in the kitchen- see the kitchen progress for that debacle).

Once we had determined that the floors downstairs were indeed the original hardwoods, and weren’t covered in paint splatters or rotting through, we moved upstairs- hoping against hope that we would have a repeat performance.  Steve really advised against it, as he thought it very unlikely that the builders would have used costly wood upstairs in the living quarters (our house was originally a parsonage, so most of the fancy stuff is on the first floor, where the parishioners would have seen it).  The carpet upstairs, however, was greener- more acidic in color- and shaggier.  It was going, regardless of what was underneath.

Tearing up the master bedroom carpet to reveal...


Linoleum!  In the master bedroom! Less ugly than the carpet… but only slightly.  We ended up ripping out all of the carpet as planned- as well as the linoleum, before we moved in.  Under the linoleum, as Steve predicted, were not lovely original hardwoods, but less than lovely soft pine boards covered in sticky black tar adhesive.  Ever nearing the move-in date, we decided to clean ’em, prime ’em and paint ’em a dark brown, and figure it out later.  They weren’t worth sanding.  We still have this problem to resolve…

Slightly discouraged, we moved onto the pocket doors that separate the living room from the parlor.  At the closing we asked the sellers, Kermit and Margaret, what the doors were like- assuming that they had nailed them in themselves at some point. They said that they had never seen the doors- they had been nailed in before they bought the house in 1986.  Which means that these doors had not been seen in over 30 years!  What could they look like- and what were the previous owners trying to hide by nailing them in?

The only picture in existence (in our possession, anyway) of the pocket doors with the trim piece in the track. Steve taking a hammer to said trim piece.

Doors, sans trim piece, ready to be liberated!

The first door comes out- with 30+ years of dust.

The second door rolls out...

The doors revealed- both still on their tracks!

Turns out the doors were in great shape, save a little scraped paint- both still on the original tracks!  We cleaned the dust and grime off of them, but haven’t repainted them because John is considering stripping them to restore the original finish- definitely another first for us!

Such was our first DIY project!

This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value.  See more at My First DIY contest and www.StartRightStartHere.com.



2 Responses to “Our first DIY.”

  1. Luke Spencer Says:

    I wish I could find something besides mold and old VCT tile in my house:)

  2. Holyoke Home Says:

    WOW!!!!! The pocket doors are too cool!

    Thanks for stopping by and GOOD LUCK!!!

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