Third floor, before and after.
For posterity sake, I am beginning with the attic’s true “before.”
Here is a post about how we got here… it has more photos of before.
I didn’t take a lot of video way back when—I did not know I would need it for a blog… but there is enough that you can see what a mess it was! For those of you who are just here for the kittens, there is a sneak attack at the end.
Things to know:
The floor was ALREADY painted (a dark color that looked woodish from a distance), stripping it would be a herculean task of self-loathing… also, the walls were painted in various shades of eye-violence… before-gallery of more eye-violence is here… every room was a different blinding color.
Paul added ALL the insulation humanly possible— that’s the blue stuff under the roof in the video… he had planned spray foam, but I vetoed because outgassing… it was a hill we BOTH wanted to die on; I prevailed.
If you google spray foam insulation, along with the word toxic, you will see that science gives humans reason to be wary… tho, obviously I assume the blue stuff will also kill us, but hopefully slower?
Originally we had painted the floor blue, because I had only lived with the idea for a week… if I had sat on it, I would have seen it was a passing whim.
Going through photos, I am ASTONISHED to remember that the previous owner was SO DEVOTED TO PURPLE that he painted the eaves on the entire house… see out the window, in the photo below– outside? PURPLE.
Aside from being hideous, THAT IS A LOT OF WORK.
Here is the post about painting the exterior of the house… if you want to see MORE purple.
Below is how Paul paints doors or anything flat you want to flip while still wet.
Put two screws in the top and bottom… not all the way, leave enough so the screw ends can rest on the boards that elevate it; then, use the screws to flip the door while it is wet– leave yourself enough room on the boards to support it when flipped.
I have had all kinds of assortment of fancy furniture up here but after all the try-ons, I eventually settled on Ikea Kivik lounges (I got on Craigslist)… they suited the space and have washable cushion covers, but I cannot sterilize the frame, (after panleuk kittens) so I’m not putting them back.
However, it turns out that I LOVE IT EMPTY… which is WEIRD, for someone who generally wants three layers of fancy before we even begin discussing the REAL plan for fancy.
This is going to sound insane… but it’s very peaceful– whatever the visual equivalent of quiet is; obvs I am not familiar.
What I’m reading: The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock — Imogen Hermes Gowar… by the middle, I was SUPER into it, by the end, I did NOT want it to be over!!
If you like historical fiction, this is for you… if you like good writing and a good story… also for you. (and also Slammerkin and The Dress Lodger)
Victorian women in class-segregated, industrial revolution London, who have zero use for the expectations of others, are apparently a favorite of mine.
Of course, I cannot recommend anything in this category without endorsing Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White… when I discarded books, I had two extra copies. THAT’s how much I love it.
ALERT: for already-fans of Faber— when I went to get the link for Crimson, THERE IS A SEQUEL (of short stories). The library did not have it so I ordered a used copy on Amazon… I am super excited!!
June 13, 2019 @ 12:40 pm
The bookcase that is white and tucked into your eaves I assume you designed? can you share details? I have a similar space that I now see could be very useful!
June 20, 2019 @ 11:08 am
Omg…I would LOVE a space like this!! What a transformation! I have a feeling that room will be your favorite in the whole house!
June 13, 2019 @ 12:52 pm
Did I miss the promised kitten update?
June 13, 2019 @ 12:52 pm
Love it. I too renovated my attic–only took me 21 years to get the project going. Very similar. After adulting and being excited that I could afford a “real” couch, was dismayed to find we couldn’t get it through the narrow doorway to the attic. Ikea to the rescue. 3rd floor not allowed to have a bed due to fire code so it is really a wonderful sanctuary, mostly for my 5 year old tabby sibs Frida and Diego.
A wonderful resource for hard to find or just older used books is thriftbooks.com It is my danger zone.
Looking forward to my escape to New Jersey for the summer next week from the heat of Sarasota. Luxury problems. I miss my house–and all of its projects. Glad to know I am not the only one. 29 years and it is finally getting the way I want it. Cheers!
June 14, 2019 @ 3:45 am
American regulations on everything like food and plastics seem insane. You cant use a bedroom in your own house? Yet no regulation on stuff like flint water or hormones in food or chlorinated chicken. so odd
June 13, 2019 @ 12:58 pm
Curious about the wall color in the attic. It reminds me of the old Martha Stewart color Heirloom Rose. I am looking for a similar color and yours might be it.
June 13, 2019 @ 1:07 pm
It looks so serene!
June 13, 2019 @ 1:13 pm
What an amazing space — You are both so talented!!!!
June 13, 2019 @ 1:24 pm
How does this sound:
“1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. Three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with the future: Sybil Gerard—fallen woman, politician’s tart, daughter of a Luddite agitator; Edward “Leviathan” Mallory—explorer and paleontologist; Laurence Oliphant—diplomat, mystic, and spy. Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose. Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for.”
June 14, 2019 @ 2:22 am
Wonderful to find this here, in my fave blogger’s comments. I read Victoria’s blog entries aloud to my husband who is Wm Gibson himself. 🙂
June 13, 2019 @ 1:36 pm
Yes! The attic wall color is exactly what I’m looking for. And the name of it is…
June 13, 2019 @ 4:28 pm
if that is the color VEB used throughout I believe it is Behr eggnog but check out the small samples. I am living with so many colors that are OK but mah….
June 13, 2019 @ 1:38 pm
Great post, BUT I am so curious about your kitchen remodel. Have you finished? Could you post pics of what it looks like now? Are you tired of using the kitchen in the basement? What is HAPPENING?????
June 13, 2019 @ 1:42 pm
Yes please to a full post on Mr. Cat!!! He must be very special indeed to have gained a forever home with you.
June 13, 2019 @ 1:46 pm
Our library has all these books! Thanks for the recommendations! Also, the attic looks fantastic.
Tammi L Velez
June 13, 2019 @ 1:49 pm
That would be my yoga room and my ‘all me alone space’.
the horse enabler
June 13, 2019 @ 1:54 pm
I totally get your loving your empty attic. Our house is like shoving an incredibly well-traveled (+ well-collected) family’s homage to the Girard Museum into a suburban house … with pets, kids, and DME (our youngest is multiply, profoundly disabled with life-limiting illness). Maximalist is not even a big enough word, and I LOVE it.
However, we are in the midst of a master bath remodel and it has been so meticulously designed (by me) that NOTHING will be out, everything has a designated and planned-for home. It will be an oasis of spare. Except my beloved splat maple tissue box cover — that will be out because I love it and it’s beautiful. Hope tissue box covers aren’t a gateway drug …. I am unfamiliar with your house so don’t know what you mean by “fancy,” but I assume it’s a synonym for decorative stuff, so I get that whole “I love living with a ton of things but my eye needs to rest — ahhhhh.”
carolyn in south jersey
June 13, 2019 @ 2:30 pm
What a beautiful space! Well done, but don’t you miss the purple? Hahahaha… Thanks for the book recommendation, just borrowed it from my library, gotta love the Libby app!
June 13, 2019 @ 2:49 pm
That serenity and peace you feel…the attic is QUITE church-like…just sayin’. ❤️
June 13, 2019 @ 2:53 pm
You are too cute, Victoria. I read through parts 1 and 2 about how you and Paul acquired your Victorian. Oh to be young, in love and fearless! Your attic looks beautiful and tranquil. Some of the pictures have a sort of cathedral, spiritual-like quality, with the light coming in through the windows. I have to ask – did you ever take any sort of writing courses in college, or does writing just come naturally to you? You write so well.
P.S. When Paul is finished at your house, please send him over to mine.
Ann K in Massachuetts
June 13, 2019 @ 2:59 pm
Beautiful job and oh so serene I agree. I have the exact same stair rails that are stained with the old orangey (gasp) shellac. It looks like yours were restained darker and the spindles painted white. Can you tell me how you stripped the original finish? I love how you left the natural wood banister with the painted white spindles — best of both worlds.
June 13, 2019 @ 6:48 pm
We had shellac floors on our 1961 house in Illinois. Once a male visitor went a little wild splashing his aftershave around while staying in our guest bedroom and we noticed little spots of softened shellac. This gave us the idea of stripping the floors using cheap rubbing alcohol. We painted it on, kept it from drying out too quickly by covering with aluminum foil for 1-15 mins and then scraped it off. Came off like toffee.
Cleaned off the whole floor, painted on clear sealant and voila- beautiful floors. We did the entire house ( slowly!). We did the stairs by doing alternate steps and being super careful.
Marianne in Mo.
June 13, 2019 @ 3:11 pm
I am in love with your attic room. I could exist happily there (with the kitties!) as long as I had a fluffy pillow and a twin sized mattress! So restful but cheery at the same time. Oh, and maybe a crystal or two hanging in the sunshine of the windows, for rainbows!
June 13, 2019 @ 3:17 pm
Please share what kind of paint you used on the floor-was it marine grade by any chance? I need to paint my orig floors (1-3 yr old house) that the previous owner painted a deep icky brown. I am pretty sure it was painted back when leaded paint was the thing. I need something that will not chip or flake away, and has a nice water resistant finish. Your color is sublime as well!
Thank you for sharing this info!
June 16, 2019 @ 12:35 pm
Diane, there is a wonderful floor epoxy paint these days. Lowe’s is flat, and Home Depots is glossy. go to the counter and tell them exactly what you want, and why. I painted my kitchen walls with it, because I wanted a backsplash I could scrub with no grout seams for ick to collect in, and cannot [yet] do a single sheet glass backsplash.
June 13, 2019 @ 4:20 pm
Based on your love of specific historical fiction, I highly recommend The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Based on true history of women who fought for abolition of slavery as well as suffrage. Well written so prepare to sob.