First of all, Tony came up with this tagline for a client’s beer battered French fries, and I couldn’t be prouder:
I had to share.
Since I last wrote, we’ve continued to remove wallpaper in the kitchen. We’ve tried many methods, including steaming and the piranha wallpaper scorer. So far, nothing has been as effective as a putty knife and a beer.
Wallpaper removal is a gross, sweaty job. It’s also a job that requires very little skill, which is great in that it allows you to be fully mindless. One night last week, Tony went to have a drink with friends and I stayed behind to scrape. I’ve never been able to meditate, but I think I came pretty close to it while scraping wallpaper alone for an hour on a hot Missouri night.
I don’t know what it is about scraping wallpaper. The repetition? The act of working to reveal something that was once hidden? Whatever it is, scraping wallpaper can be pretty great.
In addition to wallpaper removal, we repaired a wall this weekend! We used to have a basement window that was broken and boarded over. Below this window, there were maybe 4 inches of open space that the previous owner had, bizarrely, stuffed with a large sponge. Save for the sponge, this space was completely open to the outside. Any animal strong enough to move the sponge (most animals that I can think of) could have gotten into the basement. The sponge was also acting like a sponge and absorbing water which was then sitting there, below the wood frame of the window. Literally anything but a sponge would have been a better solution here.
Anyway, Tony and I decided we needed to address the wet sponge/ broken window problem this weekend. First, we removed the sponge and the window. That left a hole in the side of the house. In this picture, you can see some basement ductwork and Tony’s arm through the hole.
Next, we dug down to the level of the concrete walls on either side of the hole. That left us with a trench into which we poured maybe 4″ of concrete. Then we started laying some old bricks we had, using the concrete as mortar.
Then we ran out of concrete. Since it was the 4th of July, we put some boards over the hole and went and hung out with friends.
This morning, we bought more concrete and finished the job. My uncle suggested leaving space for a vent so that we could maintain some airflow in the basement.
Here it is after we installed a vent and sealed it with some caulk:
Ah! Aren’t you so impressed? We totally are. Yes, the concrete mortar looks pretty sloppy. But, dang, there used to be a big wet sponge and a broken window in this space! This is a giant improvement, no questions asked.
Also, doesn’t that vent look legit? Tony and I wandered all over Home Depot looking for a vent that we could close, thinking it might be useful to have that functionality in the winter. Finally we just bought this floor vent for $6. You’re definitely not supposed to use it for this purpose, but I think it’s going to be perfect! And, just in case it’s not, it should be relatively easy to remove since we just sealed it in with caulk and not concrete.
I’ll leave you with this photo of Tony and I with my cousin, Will, at his art show this weekend. We bought one of Will’s amazing paintings and we’re so excited to hang it up in our house once our walls are finished. The painting is all in shades of blue and it’s of Gotokuji Temple in Japan. If you’re local to Springfield, go see Will’s paintings up all month at BookMarx!