The living room looks great now. The walls are painted, the windows and trim are painted, the electric is upgraded (at least some of it) and the fireplace works. The one part that doesn’t look finished is actually the most interesting part.
First, a look back at where we started. The floors were dirty and the walls were pink – even a pink ceiling. This picture is from our first tour of the house before we bought it.
I think the first trip over after we purchased the house included two beach chairs for furniture.
Toni experimented with a few color choices, leaving patches of paint up to see how they looked in different light.
Once decided, it still took days of detailed painting work. There is a lot of trim in that room!
There are a few minor details still to be finished, like new glass for the wall sconces and a better radiator cover behind the couch, but it’s looking good.
One part that won’t be changing is in this next picture, where you can see three holes in the ceiling. The far left one in the corner is electric; we think it’s connected to a switch on the wall and may someday be used again. The other two are corks in the ceiling.
At first, I thought they might be old gas pipes for lighting, but they’re not pipes. They’re bottles – upside down in the ceiling and corked up.
The previous owner said they were witch’s bottles, but we had never heard of such a thing.
Another explanation was a fire extinguisher, along the lines of a shur-stop fire “bomb”. These were filled with salt water or with a highly toxic chemical that would help snuff out the fire. In reading about them, I found instructions for museums on how to dispose of them safely since they were too dangerous to display. Not what we wanted in our ceiling. But these weren’t sealed bottles. They just had a cork, so that didn’t seem likely.
Today I happened across an article in Archeology that seems to confirm the idea of witch’s bottles. It sounds like they’re not common in the United States, but were sometimes found in England. Buried in the foundation or hidden in the house, sometimes upside down and sometimes filled with the owner’s urine. Being upside down and with a dry split cork, that last part doesn’t seem to apply in our case, but the rest of the story seems to fit.
Another article described them not for capturing the spirit of someone that died in the home, but rather to protect the home from evil spirits.
Maybe that’s why the room feels so happy now.