When we bought our house, it came with some furniture, some of it great and some of it not so great. The not so great stuff either got chucked out the window and the bits and pieces taken to the dump or we put it out front for passer bys to take for free. The decent stuff we kept.
One of those pieces happened to be a nice, big, wooden, antique buffet. It has a really beautiful pattern etched in the doors and a gorgeous dark berry marble top. I loved this piece the minute I saw it. Of course I had to see beyond the junk the old owners had put on it, but never-the-less, one could tell it was a nice piece. They said they were leaving it because it was too big and too heavy to move. I consulted a few of my friends who confirmed that with old furniture, many French families have taken to selling it with the house because their new styled houses or apartments are too small for the stuff and all the French are now into the more modern look.
From the outside, it was a gem to us.
When we acquired the house we started to move things around and really check out the furniture. This is what we discovered inside my beautiful antique buffet.
What the heck were these guys thinking?? Do you see the wall paper in the background of the first two pictures? It’s exactly the same stuff! Why would anyone wall paper (and I mean these guys went all out on it) the inside of a beautiful piece such as this?
This is the same dang wallpaper that was like pulling teeth to get of the wall with the glue and left over residue and second layer and all that. I was so pissed that they would do this? Is there nothing in this house that doesn’t have glue and paper and crap on it that needs to be scrapped off?
Now we had another issue cuz there was no way I was gonna leave this ugly stuff in there. Dude was back to scraping because, as usual, when we tried to peel it off only the top layer came up and it left the bottom layer of paper with glue all stuck to the wood! This was going to be a more delicate situation that getting glue off of the walls. At least we could get the walls really wet so the paper and glue could be scrapped off easier. This was WOOD! Dude was wondering how to do this so that it would come off without warping the cabinet. Oh man, I was pissed! I should leave that in the present tense cuz I still am.
Ahhhhh! I’m so sick of stupidity when it comes to this house! It’s just as easy to do things right as it is to do things wrong when it comes to your house and furniture. So why don’t people just do it right??! I still can’t understand what would posses someone to go and mess up furniture like this especially in one of the most stupidest ways possible!
I keep trying to imagine what went through these people’s minds. Did they just start wallpapering their kitchen and have some extra left over and loved it so much they just had to use the rest? I just can’t come to a conclusion but it’s most likely because stupidity never makes sense.
I just can’t stop being mad because it took Dude around 2 to 3 hours to get this stuff off and it still looks terrible inside. He couldn’t get every last piece of glued on paper and he said he has to sand the rest. I just don’t want the piece to be wrecked beyond repair. That’s that part that makes me angry, not so much the work to fix it, but the fact that their lame brained idea could have potentially destroyed a nice piece of furniture. Now I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t go down to the local furniture store and pick up another identical piece. I don’t even know when this piece was made or where it was made for that matter.
So by that point Dude and I took to drinking. Yup, folks, we pulled out a bottle of wine and kicked back on the sauce. We had our not so fancy glasses (cuz those are still packed away), we drank in our not so fancy kitchen (cuz it’s still not finished) and we toasted to our not so fancy buffet (cuz the people that did this were idiots).
It seems like every time we turn around, we find something else crazy that these guys did with this place. I don’t even know why I’m surprised anymore. By now I guess I should be shocked if anything were done correctly, not the other way around!
The second day of the remodel turned out to be harder than the first one. We started by assessing the house and deciding what to tackle first, the glue on the floor or the glue and paper on the wall.
In the end, we decided it was gonna be to get the glue up off of the floor. Dude said it would be best to just start scraping it, so he set out to do just that. He sported his knee pads, his goggles and his breather and got to work using a crowbar. Check out my man at work.
After a couple of hours of this, it was just not happening. The glue was too stubborn to be scraped up. We had done some research the night before (just in case) and found that pouring boiling water over the glue would help break it up and we would then be able to scrape it off easier. Well, in any case, the person said it has worked for them, might as well give it a go, ourselves.
Luckily for us, the owners left their old stove (which we hadn’t tossed out the window yet) so I set to boiling some water. We got some towels, I put on my own mask (which is not nearly as cool as Dude’s), and I found another scraper so I could “try” and be of some assistance.
I brought up the boiling water and Dude started pouring. We let it soak in so that it would possibly break apart the glue particles and we could just run the scraper over it and viola, easy as pie. Right?? That was a big, fat, WRONG! It didn’t work in the least bit. The water just ran right over the top and then dried up, cuz it’s so dang hot here. Even with a little wetness on the glue it wasn’t any easier to get up.
We then decided that this was maybe glue that liked cold water instead. I went back downstairs and filled a bucket with cold water and we tried that. No go, as well. Apparently this glue doesn’t like any type of water. We now had to think of something else. Dude decided that we would go by LeRoy-Merlin the next day and try to find something there that would help us out. In any case, we were out of commission with the floors today so we moved onto the kitchen and the removal of the glue and paper on the walls. With this, Dude is a bit of an expert because he actually has done this before. I had him do a little Tool Time video to tell you guys all about it. Look what a natural he is. Tim Allen’s got nothing on you babe 🙂
Guess what?? We got right to it and it actually worked. I knew I had that man around for a reason 🙂 The outside wall that Dude started on was the hardest. I don’t know if it is because it is an exterior wall and with the sun beating on it all day the glue adhered to his better or not, but it took a great deal of time to get that one done. The inner walls seemed to go much quicker and I got to the point of being able to peel large strips of the paper of after wetting it and then Dude came by with the scraper and finished it off. We were able to finish ¾ of the kitchen that day, which was more than I thought we would.
Dude said he thought that we would have finished the whole kitchen so he was a little disappointed. I told him that he would have been in a better mood if he thought like me!
So we packed it in for the night and made plans to head to LeRoy’s in the morning. Next day’s objective: to finish the kitchen walls and get that dang glue off the floor.
If you want to see more photos of Day 2 remodel, they appear on Flickr in the set named “Moving and Renovation of the New House”. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.
Day number 3 out at the house was day number 1 for moving all the rest of the furniture (that we were keeping) down from the third story and out of the kitchen and putting it in the living room. The living room/terrace is the one room in the house that needs minimal work. By that, I mean, a good cleaning and paint. Since it is not in need of too much repair we will most likely get to it after we move in. So for now, it is a storage room.
So Dude and I set out to move this ridiculously heavy antique furniture. We were quickly bummed out, though. We realized that most of it had been infested with wood worm. These little guys aren’t gonna to bother us humans, but in doing some quick research, we found that they are devastating to wood furniture and they are especially partial to antiques. Now we had to decide what to do. I desperately wanted to keep the stuff since it was super nice, but we needed to isolate it and treat it.
We began by inspecting each piece and if there were troubling signs we took the piece down to the apartment which Dude now refers to it as “the isolation room”. If the furniture looked fine, then we put it out onto the terrace. Inspecting the pieces, taking them apart (ie..drawers, doors and marble tops) so they wouldn’t be so dang heavy and then moving them, took the majority of the day. You definitely don’t realized how much work moving furniture is until you are only 2 people doing it. We could have busted that out in about 2 hours had we had a gang of movers with us!
Once all the pieces were moved and /or isolated, Dude set out to rip out the carpet on the third story and I set out to take of the wallpaper in the kitchen.
Of course, we found more problems. Dude found out that the bozos that put the carpet in decided that they were gonna use all the glue that the world had to offer and glue every bit of it to the concrete floors. It was a disaster. The glue was everywhere and in thick layers. They had actually put it down with a trowel! Good grief, these people want this carpet to last until Buck Rodgers came into town!
Meanwhile, I was having the same issue with the wallpaper in the kitchen. I think the same bozos were hired to put it up because they glued it to the walls without prepping them! This meant that I could only peel off the top layer and it left the bottom layer still stuck to the walls.
Going back to Dude, he was upstairs just frustrated because of the amount of work it was going to take to get the glue up. In his frustration he was cussin’ up a storm and throwing the really gross (not taken care of for 40 years) carpet out the third story window. As you can tell by now, we like pitching stuff out the window. Great stress relief, in case you want to try it!
He then comes down stairs and sees that not only will we have to scrape glue of the floors, but do the same thing to the walls. We were looking at DAYS worth of work.
Unfortunately, we also found out that these glue-happy guys had carpeted the master bedroom on the second floor, too, and they had wall papered the hallway and all the way down the stairs to the main floor. Dang I hate glue!
Because the bugged furniture moving had taken so much time, and the issues with the carpet and wallpaper, it had gotten late and we needed to pack it in for the night.
Tomorrow we would have to tackle how we were gonna get all the gunk off. When getting home we had to figure out what product to buy in GALLONS to get rid of our nasty wood worms.
Welcome to renovations in Provence. I think I should have read Peter Maylee a few more times. Like I said, stupid Americans…..
If you want to see more photos of Day 1 remodel, they appear on Flickr in the set named “Moving and Renovation of the New House”. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.