Year: 2007

Designing Stained Glass

Rembrandt, I ain’t. I can visualize things pretty well but there’s a bridge out somewhere between my left and right brain. With woodworking, I usually wind up head jamming the fabrication. It works 90% of the time. The other 10% is handled by my hard-won skills in making dumb mistakes look like I meant to do that. But this ad hoc process doesn’t work for stained glass construction, where you need to have a completed design and pieces cut before you start soldering things together. My stained glass work to date has been pretty simple, angular and, yes, left brained. …

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New Stained Glass Projects (building a face frame)

I have several stained glass tasks in the queue here. Some, like the upper cabinet doors in the living room media cabinet, have been on hold since 2003. Others, like the funky stairway skylight, I’ve wanted to replace since the day I first saw the place. While stained glass construction is fairly mechanical and basically just woodworking joinery using glass and lead came, the design, templating and piecing out can be very time consuming. Most of the glass I’ve done here is fairly simple and angular to match the existing stained glass. But I wanted something a bit more ornamental …

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My Fragrant Old House

I’ll be posting a new series of articles on stained glass construction in a few weeks. I purchased some new (expensive!) stained glass design software from Dragonfly, Glass 2000 Professional, to help me complete the half-dozen stained glass projects I’ve got on my plate. So I’ll post a review of that as well. I’m gonna change gears and show a bit of my metrosexual side. I like fragrant houses. I spent my early years living in a small town in Japan, where my mother became a passionate connoisseur of oriental incense. She often had a subtle fragrance burning in the …

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Bay Ridge Hum

Out-worlders would probably expect Brooklyn to sound like inner-city traffic, police sirens and “Yo! Vinnie! T’row me down some money fa a’ egg cream!” Actually, it’s pretty quiet down here by the harbor, except for the low-flying NYPD helicopters. And ambulances.  And La Guardia jets on approach.  And Belt Parkway traffic… Nevertheless, I have two “bizarre noise” stories. I’ll talk about the most public one first and, if I can keep it short, I’ll tell the other one. In late 2005, I was at the dog run when an obviously exhausted woman told me that she was kept awake all …

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My Product Review (and probably my last)

The last product I was asked to review was an in-floor Kryptonite locking system for motorcycles for Motorcyclist mag. I injured my knee tripping on that #*$% lock in the dark. Let’s see if I have more luck with the EZ Clean paint brush that Jeannie from Houseblogs.net asked me to check out. My project was painting my kitchen extension, which still had seven year-old primer on the walls. It’s one of those Deferred Completion Syndrome items I was happy to check off the list for this product test. I didn’t have a clue what I would be testing other …

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Stripping a Door

The prologue of this story is an old door that needed to be stripped. I brought in my amateur stripper, Doc Karen, to serve as my photo model for this two part pictorial. Even anesthesiologists have to moonlight to make ends meet these days. I was gratified that she took our tutorial seriously enough to wear her surgical scrubs (mismatched as they were). Karen’s own house is full of painted architectural woodwork so she wanted to learn how the paint stripping process worked. Since it’s her door now I was only too happy to hand her the tools and take …

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Saving The World: Black Pixels and Termite Farts

Tomorrow, Oct 15, is Blog Action Day and tens of thousands of bloggers like me have each committed to writing an article about the environment. BrooklynRowHouse is about old home renovation and improvement so this topic is a low, slow ball over the plate for people like me. Do you like how I worked in a baseball metaphor during playoff season? This will be a long article and I need to use whatever cheap literary devices I can to hold your interest because there are thousands of bloggers out there who write better than me and we’re all writing about …

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Cheap digs

Jeannie from Houseblogs.net challenged us blogger monkeys to write a show-and-tell post. Considering the probably millions of bucks that we housebloggers collectively squander annually on new roofs, new additions, central air and glass door knobs, if there was a ever a low, slow ball over the plate for this group, this was it! Bragging about my tool collection was the first thing that popped into my head. but I just got off a nine-month bedroom reno project and I’m tired of talking about tools.  I wish I could boast about my auction and flea market finds but I’ve been pretty …

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A Prodigal Door Returns

Okay, it’s a lightweight job and it’s not even for my house. But after several months of heads-down work on a software task for my client, The Children’s Health Fund, I’ve got another DIY project. Maybe it will kick me back into gear to finish the cabinet doors and stained glass projects that have been dogging me all summmer. Well, some of it for a lot longer than that. The job is stripping an old interior door and replacing its center panel with some sort of a screen. Karen is a licensed wildlife rescuer and needs this door so her …

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My toughest cabinet

My dogs are killing my floors! They’re large and energetic pups who like to use the floor as a skating rink. I decided to look in my photo archives to see what they look like now as opposed to five years ago. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I thought but I’ll probably get the floors lightly sanded and refinished when I’m done with the construction here and the dogs are a little older and more sedate. One of the reasons I don’t stain floors is so I have the option to screen them if they need refinishing rather than …

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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.