What to do with the stairs…

The stairs are original but they have been painted (many times!) and the walls covered with layers of wallpaper, paint and cheap paneling.


The first step was to yank off all the paneling and apply new sheetrock.


Our designer thought that adding some wainscoting would be a good accent for the stairs. It is also traditional for that time period…


We love it! Worked out better than we expected!

Douglas Fir… aka Pseudotsuga menziesii

Our little Victorian was built in 1895 by (we think) a sawyer for one of the Canneries down on the Columbia River. He was a builder and a craftsman and knew his way around lumber.


Back then, as it is today, Douglas Fir was the building material of choice. When our home was built, it’s a good chance that they used old-growth stands of the tree.

The tree is large, straight and strong and was designated Oregon’s State tree back in 1836.

Our home in Astoria, Oregon is made entirely from this tree… beams, sheathing, siding, floors, stairs etc. are all Douglas fir.

Large Douglas Fir beams in the Basement!

Before and after sanding. Douglas fir flooring.

Stair treads and railings… all Douglas Fir.


Sheathing of all the walls – interior and exterior!

Our sturdy and secure little house – all thanks to the mighty Douglas Fir.



Sunsets along the Columbia River

Our house project is moving along slowly. Right now, it is drywall and plaster for the downstairs. Not much to report and no pretty pictures!

We are working hard on the house, but we are also making sure we have time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

We did a long walk along the Columbia River path/bikeway last week while the sun was setting in the west.

Please enjoy these photos! A Columbia River sunset in three stages.

Astoria Columbia Sunset 1

Astoria Columbia sunset 2

Astoria Columbia Sunset 3

Small things make a difference – door knobs

Door knobs!

Just like the paint on the outside of the house – the selection of door knobs was a long family “discussion.”

All the original door and door knobs were gone – replaced by modern equivalents.

We started our search for new door knobs at the local Vintage Hardware store – Astoria Vintage Hardware on Marine Drive. Fabulous place. Fun to visit! We have found many Victorian gems there, but we needed about 8 matching door knob sets.


(photo from Facebook)

We continued our search online. So MANY options and so MANY opinions…

door knobs

(photo from Yahoo/Google search)

We ended up ordering knobs from a great place – Copper Mountian Hardware in Michigan.  Quality products at a great price.



We all agreed on Crystal knobs with an Antique Brass finish. They look amazing on our new solid wood (native fir) doors.

Back to the floor… asbestos?

What to do with a couple layers of tile and chipboard in the dining area and kitchen on the first floor?

Upstairs, the floor was carpeted and painted so sanding and refinishing was fairly straightforward. Downstairs is different.


This is the dining area! We wanted to get back to the original fir floor in this room. There was chipboard nailed to the original planks and then a layer of tile. This was done fairly recently, but we still had it tested for asbestos. Fortunately, there was no big problem here. All it took was a good a hammer, a crowbar, a few muscles, and a good back to rip it up.


All done in the dining area. See the contrast with the living room floor!

The living room floor was sanded and finished by the previous owner (light color). The dining area has a couple of coats of paint that will be needed to be sanded and cleaned up. We applied Osmo Oil on the upstairs floors and it worked really well. We will do the same for these downstairs floors.


The kitchen is a different story, unfortunately. Beneath the newer tile and chipboard was a layer of very old linoleum. This type typically contains asbestos. We decided not to disturb it. We were planning on putting a ceramic tile in the kitchen area anyway. It will be a good base for that installation.

Now we all have to agree on a tile shape and color! Yikes!

Back to our little blue Victorian…

We are finally back to working on our little Astorian Victorian.

You may remember from previous posts that we had our home painted! The old gray and white paint was peeling badly so it desperately needed a new coat of paint. We agonized over colors for many months but finally settled on blue, off-white and brown.  (Benjamin Moore selection).

We continue to get compliments and praise for our color choice! Our neighbors, dog walkers, people driving by etc. etc. randomly stop by and tell us they absolutely love it.

And yes… that is the “Goonie House” on the hill in the background.


Touring Oregon!!

We and our designer/craftsman have been traveling everywhere!! Our latest and greatest trip was to Enterprise, Oregon and the Wallowa mountain range. Amazing place. Beautiful scenery and fantastic hiking.

Could Enterprise, Oregon be a new place for a home? Vacation house? Maybe more renovations and reconstruction are in our future. Who knows?


Eagle Cap!! Hiked up the Lostine River Trail to the base of this amazing mountain. Fresh snow made it even more dramatic.


Lostine River trail. Mountain meadows.

Back to work in the next post (finally).

Stay tuned.