With a few encouraging words from Ann Meehan ("This is definitely a good house and it certainly can be brought back to its original look. I would wash the floors with a sponge with a small amount of water and then dry them"), I got started. After coughing my way through clouds of dust, sweeping out mouse droppings (actually less than I expected) and bits of wallpaper and carpeting, as well as destroying one sponge and consuming half a roll of paper towels, I could see definite improvement.
Herewith, pictures of each room, before and after.
First floor, lefthand side:
First floor, righthand side:
I also was able to easily strip all of the wallpaper from this room. Thank goodness, because the original stuff, which you can just see in the before picture, was hideous!
Second floor, lefthand side:
Second floor, righthand side:
This last is the best floor in the house. There's very little damage and the colors on the parquet are still fairly bright. Most of the windows were intact around it, so it was protected fairly well. With the exception of the pink-shag-covered floor, the other two floors are in okay shape, but will need additional cleanings. As for the pink shag rug, well, at least the cat perch is gone (poor Havoc!). The rug was glued on and I tried using a blow dryer to soften the adhesive. Unfortunately, all that did was blow dust and powdered glue back in my face. So, I resorted to brute force. There are still a few bits of rug clinging stubbornly to the floor, as well as a splotch of what looks like white paint in the middle, but I think even that's an improvement. Of course now the missing part of the floor is even more obvious, but what good is a challenge without the tough bits, right?
The outside of the house held a few surprises. When I cleaned the base in the front, I found little sprouts of painted grass on the front steps. I'm not sure if they're original to the house or were a later addition, but I think they're utterly charming:
The front base and parquet trim cleaned up pretty well, but will also need a few more passes. I'd cleaned a bit of it yesterday, so the before doesn't look nearly as bad as it did.
The biggest surprise of all was finding more parquet trim around the sides of the house. The trim all looked solid black when I started:
And this is what I found after cleaning:
After I've cleaned the floors and parquet trim a few more times, the next step will be to carefully oil them. That should improve their appearance considerably. Another pleasant surprise for me was to find that all of the baseboards are intact. I had thought some were missing, but they were just covered up by the "new" wallpaper. There were also a few additional pieces of trim stashed away in the attic. Not all the pieces that are missing, of course, but the more original trim I have, the happier I am.
I think the next step will be another cleaning of the floors, more cleaning of the outside, and stripping the remaining wallpaper. I think that should probably get me all the way to Christmas, since I've actually got to spend some time wrapping presents and decorating the house!