2015 Project Days at The Frankfort House

LET'S DO THIS! Our annual Project Days get underway at The Frankfort House with some heavy-duty paint work.

LET’S DO THIS! Our annual Project Days get underway at The Frankfort House with some heavy-duty paint work.

For the second consecutive April, Caitlyn and I took a weeklong trip to The Frankfort House to gussy up the grand old dame, in preparation for the busy summer rental season.

We went it with a list a mile long of projects to complete and, naturally, we bit off more than we could chew. After cleaning and fixing up lots of little things in the house, we turned our attention to the first big project: Painting the exposed ductwork and rafters in the basement ceiling a nice, dark green.

The basement ceiling before (left) and after (right). We also gutted out old, dilapidated shelves.

The basement before (left) and after (right). We also gutted out old, dilapidated shelves.

There’s no nice way to say this, but the basement is creepy. Half of it is what they call a “Michigan basement,” with dirt floors and a glorified crawl space and the other half is more like what you would expect in a house, with cement floors and unfinished walls. You fully expect at any time that a possum or raccoon will jump out of the Michigan basement side or that you’ll get shanked if you don’t watch your back. That’s unfortunate, because the laundry is in the basement and it’s either overcoming your fears or emitting odors for a week. Toss in an awkward back stairwell with inconsistent step heights and you need a Sherpa to make the ascent back up.

The back stairwell was a little ... rough.

The back stairwell was a little … rough.

We felt painting the ceilings (which we did) and the floors and walls (which we didn’t) would help liven up this scary part of the house, so we purchased a Wagner Power Plus Paint Sprayer from Menard’s during our binge shopping at the 11% off sale. Reviewers online, as well as relatives, warned us of paint sprayers. “They’ll clog up,” they said. “They’ll sputter paint,” they added.

Well, we’re happy to report that after nearly four gallons of Behr paint (only available at the Home Depot and our go-to for wall and ceiling paint), the sprayer worked perfectly. Sure, our masks and goggles got coated in green paint, but it worked out in the end and already makes the basement look three times nicer. We found so long as you were meticulous with taking apart and cleaning the parts in warm water afterwards, there never was a problem.

The back stairwell is now a little more inviting, although, still much work to do.

The back stairwell is now a little more inviting, although, still much work to do with the stairs.

While we couldn’t get to ripping out the existing stair treads and ripping up all the vinyl titles, we were able to paint the stairwell and frame the side door, which previously was unframed and oozing insulation around the edges.

Framing and molding hasn’t just been an issue in the stairway. The “crown” molding in the living and dining space has always presented challenges for us. The previous owners left crown molding, but we had countless fits trying to cut and get it up, even after watching several YouTube videos, so we admitted defeat and acquired some standard non-crown molding for the ceiling. It’s nothing fancy, but it helped to finish the hack job done on the attic’s sliding ladder trim and makes everything a little more polished since we added the baseboard and floor molding last year.

One of these days, stairs ...

One of these days, stairs …

New twin beds from Restoration Hardware are on the way and, hopefully, we’ll finally get some décor up on the walls in time for the summer rush this year!

The Frankfort House is starting to look more like a home.

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