Year: 2006

As if!

Here’s the dubious segue to an on-topic post. My local dog run is under political attack from some nasty co-oppers who started a petition this week to close it down because of barking dogs a block away at 8am. Don’t these people have friggin jobs? But I digress. So we’re going to have a summit with the various Owls Head dog run groups: the 7:30-9am “breakfast club” (my dogs’ pack), the 10-12 noon “lazily retired”, etc., elect a spokesmodel and assert ourselves in The System to save our precious dog run and perhaps convince the Parks Dept to spend a …

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Another mini-milestone reached

Just like software development, I like to break big projects down into milestones and mini-milestones. Milestone Mini milestone Wall prep done Structural carpentry done Finish woodworking Wainscot east wall + outlets Window and door trim – large room Complete wainscot – large room Window trim and wainscot – ante room Construct and install dresser and cupboard – ante room Ahhhh… and here we are (check!) My next mini-milestone is the completion of all the woodworking in the hallway, followed by installation of the crown moulding over the windows, doors and this cabinet, followed by hanging of all the doors, followed …

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Bah, humbug

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 …

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Insteon Rides Again

I thought I’d post an update on my trials and tribulations with the Insteon home automation network here. A couple of months ago I posted an X10 and Insteon home automation primer. At that point I was just getting into upgrading my problematic X10 stuff here with the newer, wireless Insteon hardware from SmartHome and didn’t know how well this stuff would work or what problems I’d find. However I was fed up with X10’s flakiness and Insteon looked like an improvement, at least on paper. I ran into problems with Insteon from the git-go, mostly devices that either didn’t …

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Face Frame 101

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. One of these contentious topics is “face frame” versus “32mm frameless” cabinet construction. Most traditional cabinets are face frame while “European style” cabinets are generally frameless, or boxes with full-width doors. Both work. That’s about the extent …

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6 dogs, 600 miles and 6 gallons of chowda’ later…

I’m back from Nantucket, back home in Brooklyn to resume the sawdust saga of the never-ending bedroom reno. Every year, Karen and I make the trek to Nantucket for the annual Christmas Stroll. And I do mean trek. Door to door, with the five hour drive from Brooklyn to Hyannis at 85KNS (Karen Nominal Speed), the 45 minute wait for the ferry and the 2:15 hour sea voyage, you can almost fly to Moscow as quickly. And lemme tell you, traveling in a minivan with six dogs — from a 12 year-old French bulldog up to an 18 month-old Newfoundland …

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As promised: Dyker Heights Extreme Christmas

Forgive two blog posts in one day but I’ll be off the air for a few days and I know that some of you are cursing the knots in your string of outside Christmas lights right about now. Prepare to be overwhelmed. Dyker Heights is next to my beloved Bay Ridge here in Brooklyn. In most respects, it’s pretty much indistinguishable from Bay Ridge except during the Christmas holidays, when you can spot it from the moon. I don’t know what they put it in the water over on 11th Avenue but subtlety ain’t it.

Rule #1: don’t kill yourself

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 …

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Hangover Eve

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 …

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Al Bundy, Home Renovation

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 …

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Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.