On Saturday, March 26, my husband and I were performing a walk-through of all the maintenance and projects planned for this year. As we passed the beverage station on the second floor, Mike mentioned his socks suddenly felt wet. We immediately checked the solid oak floor around the Keurig and mini-fridge for any splashes or pools of water. Nothing. Then Mike knelt down and felt the rug. Both the rug and the mat underneath were completely saturated. In unison, we shifted our attention upward. I gasped. Water was dripping down through the center of the ceiling light. Memories of our flooded Oregon home and the trauma that followed sprang to mind. It was time to panic. While I ran downstairs for some buckets and towels to address the rug and catch the leak, Mike turned the light switch off, disconnected and removed the ceiling light. More water poured out of the opening. I scrambled to position the water receptacles underneath to catch it all. Enter full panic mode.
After making a few frantic phone calls … a plumber …a drywall person …our home owner’s insurance company to no avail, we called another plumber, and another. It was the weekend and tradespeople were either too busy or simply unwilling to call us back. The bathroom on the third floor appeared dry. We couldn’t find any leaks. The water dripping out of the second floor ceiling had no detectable smell, which helped rule out a leak in the hot water registers and the toilet’s waste water pipe. But the water kept dripping. Finally, we found a plumber who agreed to investigate. In order to find the leak, the ceiling would have to be opened, a job outside the scope of a plumber. Meanwhile, the plumber checked the third floor bathroom and found that the flex pipe behind the toilet, which has a rubber piece inside the plastic end, had deteriorated, and water had been running down, along the outside this pipe, directly into the floor below, seeping underneath the bathroom’s vinyl flooring tile in the process. The point where the flex pipe entered the flooring had not been caulked or sealed, so it allowed this leak to go completely undetected because the surface of the floor remained completely dry while a massive pool of water saturated the area between the floors until it became too heavy and finally started pouring out of the light fixture, the path of least resistance. The plumber replaced the flex pipe, and we prayed that this was indeed the cause of the leak, but only time would tell. Luckily, it was. Next was the drying out process and damage assessment.
Flash forward a few weeks and the ten foot cutout of the second floor ceiling has finally been repaired and repainted. Now, the big issue was wallpaper. Since the water damage included the wall area above one of the doors in that hallway, and had to be removed and new drywall installed, we realized there’s no way to match the vintage wallpaper. This wallpaper covers that entire area in the hallway down the grand staircase, all the way to the front door. I’m told there is about $6000 worth of wallpaper in that connected area, which presents multiple problems in itself, since professional wallpaper installers no longer exist anywhere in our area.
After brainstorming our options, an idea eventually formed. In lieu of wallpaper, why not a hand-painted mural by a local artist? Could it be designed to look original to the home? I think so.. The theme would be consistent with the Norse mythology frieze depicted inside the library fireplace, but with less focus on Odin, the god of war, and more on Frigg, the goddess of love and marriage - as befits our place of peace and tranquility. Jump forward another week and with the helpful references of a few local, artistic friends, I have found the perfect artist, and she has accepted the commission for this project. the artist is Lydia Spencer (lydiarosespencerart.com). I can’t tell you how excited I am about this venture which is slated for completion mid-April.
Check back for updates on this project in later blogs. Better yet, book ahead with us and plan to see this mural first-hand. I guarantee you won’t see anything like it anywhere else.