December 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, 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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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, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.