master bedroom

Another mini-milestone reached

Posted by Steve on Thu, 12/28/2006 - 8:31pm


Just like software development, I like to break big projects down into milestones and mini-milestones.

MilestoneMini milestone
Wall prep (done)
Structural carpentry (done)
Finish woodworking Wainscott east wall + outlets
Window and door trim - large room
Complete wainscott - large room
Window trim and wainscott - ante room
Construct and install dresser and cupboard - ante room

Ahhhh... here were are (check!)



Bah, humbug

Posted by Steve on Thu, 12/21/2006 - 10:51pm


It looks like slow going at BrooklynRowHouse but you'll have to take my word for it: trim like this takes a lotta time. I probably have 60 hours of woodworking just into this tiny ante room and it's still far from done. So what's the hold up?

I won't spend a lot of time talking about my "real world" obligations, but my two oldest clients, Children's Health Fund and Operative.com, both hit me with a pile of work to complete before the end of the fiscal year, which is 12/31 in both cases. It's SNAFU for consultants like me this time of year. I'm used to squeezing in Christmas during a cigarette break.

By the way, these are technically some of the worst pics I've ever taken but I liked the dogs in this shot.



Face Frame 101

Posted by Steve on Thu, 12/07/2006 - 4:02pm


There's a subculture in the carpentry world that one could call "wood nerds". They passionately argue with each other over arcane topics like fish glue and lumber humidity, armed with canons of really impressive woodworking knowledge. I learn a lot from them but after a while it's like listening to trekkie geeks debate the relative pulchritudes of Lt. Uhuru versus Seven of Nine.


Rule #1: don't kill yourself

Posted by Steve on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:58pm


Work here has come to a halt for a little while.

Several weeks ago I was working on our community dog run, shoveling wet wood chips like a teenager on dexadrine. I woke up the next morning with tendonitis in my right elbow. My next door neighbor is a chiropractor and told me to knock off the room renovation for two or three weeks to let it heal. I forged ahead as did my elbow pain. This morning I woke up feeling like I'd fractured the base of my thumb at the wrist. Back to Dr Joe, who reminded me what he'd said a month ago. Because of the pain in my elbow I'd probably been shifting leverage to my wrist. Now it's injured too. And if I keep it up it will spread to my shoulder and neck. Then he'll put me in a sling.

Oh, the ravages of age. This, by the way, is apart from the six-inch bloody gash I gave myself on the same arm yesterday, trying to catch a falling piece of plywood.

Hangover Eve

Posted by Steve on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 10:13am


I've been working at a frantic pace on the master bedroom renovation the past couple of weeks, trying to get as much done before the official start of the holidays. That's why my blog is so stale. It's not just that the holidays are distracting but that some of my clients need to burn what's left of their fiscal budgets before Q1. Somewhere in those precious few weeks I'll also be on Nantucket to work on Karen's place.



I thought I'd start with the "cute doggy" shot. Anyway, the trim carpentry in the large room is almost done. I still need to build the radiator grill and raised panels under the windows but that's a shop thing. Most of my tools are two flights up so I'm saving these for the end.

Al Bundy, Home Renovation

Posted by Steve on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 10:09am


A few days ago, Jeannie from House In Progress referred a woman from a new ABC reality show to me. From the email it sounded like she was looking for folks who had gone way over their heads on a home improvement project and needed 911 from the professionals to bail them out.

I told her that this was my fourth major construction project in 25 years and that I wasn't (*harumph*) a rookie at this stuff. I politely declined. But the next day I wondered if I wasn't exactly the sort of Al Bundy cartoon character she wanted. After all, I was three weeks behind where I wanted to be on the master bedroom renovation. That's a Bundy point right there: unrealistic expectations.

My shop is a war zone!

Posted by Steve on Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:57pm


I've completed boxing in the bay windows. I had to deal with these windows downstairs during the living room renovation so I knew this wasn't going to be a cake walk. The original builders pretty much winged the framing so the angles aren't consistent. The trim was essentially supported by a trash can full of shims... some of them three inches thick.


Happy Halloween

Posted by Steve on Wed, 11/01/2006 - 1:41am


The neighborhood was a mob scene of power rangers and fairy princesses tonight. Our state senator had the brilliant idea of turning the park down the block into "Haunted Halloween" with a disco, a haunted walk, hay rides, a food court and kiddy amusements as a safer alternative to trick-or-treating. As a result, half the kids in Brooklyn were there. Then they assaulted my neighborhood for their sugar rush. Next year I want a government subsidy on my candy supply.

Halloween is a kids' thing and since I don't have kids it's not exactly my thing. But I endure it and get to meet a few neighbors in the process.

I haven't posted anything about the master bedroom renovation in almost two weeks. I haven't been loafing, just too busy to sit down and write anything. The plaster repairs are done. I skimcoated and primed the walls and have begun the wainscotting and preliminary finish carpentry.

Forging ahead...

Posted by Steve on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 3:00pm


At last, some visible progress on the master bedroom renovation. For most of last week and the weekend I repaired plaster, which isn't very exciting photography. If you can see something it means you didn't do a very good job of it.

Four years ago, I replaced a termite-ridden center support beam in the basement with a steel I-beam. As careful as we were, there was enough settling that the upstairs plaster took a minor beating. Because these were stress fractures that went all the way through the brown coat, I had to dig out each crack with an old beer can opener and embed mesh tape over it. There's probably a hundred feet of it buried in these walls. I wonder what plasterers will use when the last of the old fashioned beer can openers disappears into history? It's perfect for this job.

Where's the progress?

Posted by Steve on Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:56am


You DIYers know what I'm talking about. A friend comes by to check out your latest completed project and goes "ooh! ahh!" over the paint color and asks where you got your terrific door knobs. You modestly thank him for the compliment. But, deep inside, you feel like Michelangelo after hearing, "Hey, nice paint colors. Where'd you get the cool frame?"

You shed blood on this room for... what?... three months and that's all he can see? Paint color and door knobs?! Is he blind or just clueless? He doesn't see the five hundred feet of mesh tape you skillfully buried in the wall to fix the broken plaster and the hours you spent scraping and spitting out paint chips? He doesn't appreciate the week you spent getting the squeaks out of the floor or the rerouted heating or the four independent lighting circuits or the door it took two days to get plumb and level or the brazillion trips you made up and down a ladder till your quads burned, the scraped knuckles, the twisted elbow and the bottle of Costco ibuprofen you've swallowed over the past 12 weeks just to dull the pain enough to get some sleep?

Perhaps that's why we blog. It documents proof that we did more than just roll on some paint and screw on a door knob.

I'm at that stage of the master bedroom rehab now. I've worked on it for the past five days. Last night I broke out the Canon to take took a "progress shot". Then I compared it with one taken last Saturday. I was crushed. The only thing that looked different is that I had more tools in the room. I know I did something in that room because I've got a blood blister on my thumb, "plaster hair" and a pile of filthy clothes that says I did.

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