I live in a tiny house. Teeny tiny eeny weeny house. The bonus of this is that I can vaccuum the entire floor area without unplugging the hoover from one room to another. Another bonus is that the WIFI signal reaches powerfully into every room, and halfway across the yard, unlike at my parents’ house, where, during our Christmas visit, our bedroom was the only room in the house with zero WIFI signal, and the only place where I wanted to use the internet. A con to living in a teeny tiny house is not quite having enough space sometimes.
We came home after Christmas and Cowboy offered to make a start on the teeny tiny laundry room for me. This project has been poorly planned on my part. I ordered appliances in the Black Friday sales and got myself a stonking deal, but beyond that, I hadn’t quite figured out the finer details.
The set up that we had inherited from the previous owners was sketchy at best. It is a minuscule room. A top loading washer and a front loading dryer were installed along the long wall, in front of the window. On the opposite wall was a line of wall cabinets which came down just far enough to make it impossible to get into either the washer or the dryer without bending double and doing some funky gymnastics. I used to grab the laundry out of the dryer and have to reverse, with my head by my knees, arse first, out of the tiny gap beneath the cabinets, scattering socks and underwear as I went. It needed to change. It was absurd.
Cowboy was keen to get my appliances out of his shop, so he was eager to crack on, and crack on he did. Hammer in hand, he set to work on the cabinets. These were built way back in the day, when people would just nail various boards to the wall to make a cabinet shape, so they came out in pieces and left about six thousand nails in the walls.
Having flung pieces of wood out of the back door, we set about peeling off the odd linoleum that had been stapled on to the lower half of the walls. There was another layer of wallpaper that had been glued on within an inch of its life. Cowboy decided to bust into it with a hammer and start breaking down the sheetrock (plasterboard, Brits). His hammer didn’t make the in-roads that he was expecting. After a couple of swings, he determined that there was plywood over the sheetrock, and we would have to tear into that too.
After some splinters began flying, he paused, and hooked his hammer under the edge of the wallpaper that was lifting off with the vibrations. Peeling it back, there was no plywood. There were gorgeous, solid cedar, fir and oak planks. Beautiful, original boards, discoloured with age and life. Some were papered over with 1920s newspaper.
Also, covered in grey, fuzzy crud from the wallpaper and glue. I was sad to come to the conclusion that the newspaper couldn’t be salvaged in any way, and that the patina on the wood would have to be sacrificed in order to clean the grey glue residue off the wood.
I have ummed and ahhed over what to do about the boards for a couple of months now. Do we put sheetrock over them and pretend they aren’t there? Do I sand and paint them? Do I leave them as raw wood? A friend suggested tearing them out and putting new boards up. I had a heck of a time explaining to him that one does not simply tear out the old and replace with the new, not in my world.
I finally allowed Cowboy to begin sanding the boards down. I was worried we would lose so much of the lovely greyed out colour, but the wood is cleaning up easily and the grains are shining through. Some of the character in the wood is still clear.
But now there is dust as powerful and thick as my WIFI, all over my house.