While waiting for the decision to the Letter of No Objection, we decided to get to work on the rental apartment since we are not doing any work on it that requires us to wait for building permits. Also, we may need to cram into this one bedroom unit for a while because we will most likely sell our current apartment before the renovations have completed.
I have to admit when we first looked at the house, I saw this apartment as requiring only minimal work: tearing out the linoleum and refinishing floors along with some paint and plaster work. At second glance—the place is a dump. Not really, but it is really showing its age in some places and you can tell a little old lady resided there once (flowered wallpaper and gingham curtains).
Our visions of removing the linoleum to find a pristine hardwood floor that had been protected over the years by the layers of vinyl were quickly dashed. We started with the bedroom first. Layers one and two came off pretty easily, the third lay er (a wood imitation pattern) was a little more difficult because it had some sort of paper layer glued to it. Eventually it all came off. My favorite layer was the imitation shag carpet pattern with yellow and red squares.
Next, we tackled the dining area. In here there were not three, but five layers of linoleum! After the first layer, which we were able to cut and roll up, the subsequent layers were much trickier.
Eventually we got to the bottom layer only to discover that the person who installed it decided to make sure it would never come up putting a nail every six inches. These were a lot of fun to get out. The only interesting part in the process were the baseball cards we found from the 50’s between layer one and two. Sadly, they were not well preserved—we could have used a Mickey Mantle in perfect condition to fund some marble counter tops. The floors underneath are basically pine sub-flooring (no intricate woodwork here). It looks like they were painted over as some point so they will need to be stripped (?) sanded and stained. There are some areas where it looks like there was some water damage. We will need to remove all the baseboards to complete this work. They are not in great shape so we don’t mind but we will install new ones in the exact same style if we can.
Next on the agenda was dealing with the drop ceilings. We have friends who removed a drop ceiling to reveal twelve foot ceilings with original molding. We, however, had no illusions going in because a few of the acoustical panels had stains on them so we were pretty sure that the drop ceilings were added, not to reduce heating bills as was often done, but to cover up peeling plaster and water damage. And… we were correct.
The small room off the bedroom and the dining area both had acoustical paneling that was easy to remove. As we suspected, lots of water stains and what looks like wood panels that were probably put up to stop the falling plaster due to past water damage. We know that no leaks are present because we have been to the house after heavy rains and saw no water leaking or wet spots. It looks like we will have to remove these ceiling completely and put in dry wall. The bedroom ceiling is in good shape except for some peeling paint. The molding in there is nice so we will save that ceiling by skim coating the surface.