This year has seen a lot of changes in our family. While Cathy was working on Cora, I was renovating the 3rd floor of our house. We needed a nursery, and we were on a deadline.

Naturally, I had to shoot a baby-bump progression series. The soon-to-be nursery made a great backdrop.



It starts in the scary old rooms. The third floor remained the only part of the house we hadn't renovated. The plan included a new master bedroom, and master bathroom. The new nursery would be the front room at the top of the house.

We couldn't just remove the wall paper. It was structural. Plaster crumbled right off when we pulled on the yellowing paper. This floor hadn't been updated in more than 30 years.

It all had to go. We packed up all our stuff in the rooms, getting rid of what we could. We donated 8 boxes of books, and many bags of clothes. What we kept we boxed up and moved downstairs. It's amazing how much crap you can accumulate in just a few years. Pictures and lighting fixtures came down. We saved the harpsichord shaped object which we use as an instrument storage closet.

Big thanks to my friends who came over to help with the demolition. People love to help with this kind of work. Swinging hammers and pry bars, the old lathe and plaster came tumbling down. We left the studs in place. Cathy was nowhere near the house the day this took place. She shouldn't breath in any of that. We had extra respirators and dust masks for everyone helping out.

Our friends came over throughout the day. They worked in shifts throughout the 16 hours of the day. This was very dirty work. 125 years of accumulated dust hid behind these walls. If you've never tried it before, it's oddly satisfying to break down walls. Sink a demo bar into the wall, and just rip it all down onto the floor. You don't have to be gentle or precise. Just hack and swing and get it all off. Ceilings are a little tricky. Fortunately, we avoided any injuries from falling debris.

Clean up started with filling 113 contractor bags (2 full boxes, plus 13 more. Yes, I counted.) Then carrying them down 3 flights of stairs to the driveway. After hand-bagging the big stuff, I switched to a shovel, then a broom. Then came a pass with the shop-vac. It was time to call in the professional reinforcements. We hired Chris York construction to insulate and put up the new walls. We moved one of the walls to make our closets more functional. The old closets were only 20 inches deep, so you couldn't hang clothes in them. The coat hangers would be on an angle to the hanging bar. Very inefficient use of space. Moving one of the walls out 6 inches gave us more functional hanging space.

I think they insulated these old houses with dust and newspaper. That equals an approximate R value of .05. That won't fly. We upgraded to more modern insulation. Chris suggested a skim coat of plaster, instead of mudding and taping the drywall. After seeing the results, I highly recommend it. The lines and corners were perfect. Way better than I could have done.

You can't see it in these pictures, but we also had new flooring put in. I refinished a hard wood floor before. I have no desire to do it again. We hired another guy to put in new cherry flooring. It looked so perfect, we only walked on it in our socks for weeks.

We painted the walls and started moving all the stuff back into the rooms. The ceiling in the nursery is sky blue. Eventually, we'll paint on the clouds we planned to complete the sky theme. Most of the books are still in boxes. After the doors are hung and decorative trim installed, I'll build in a wall of bookcases. The nursery doubles as a library. Cora will have plenty of reading material to peruse at her leasure.

We assembled the furniture and organized the room in time for Cora's arrival. There's still plenty to do. But, the basics are covered, and Cora has a new place to sleep. Quite a transformation in just a few months.