Category: master bedroom

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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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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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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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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The Mystery of the Ducts To Nowhere

(Or “Why A Duct?”, with a tip o’ the hat to the Marx Bros) This house has ancient, single-pipe steam heating. From what I’ve been able to determine from digging in these walls over the past seven years is that it’s always had steam heating. Nothing interesting there. What’s baffling is why the house also has ancient metal air ducting buried inside the walls. I discovered this shortly after I moved here when I ripped down the basement ceiling and found three vertical ducts to nowhere. Over the past hundred years, various plumbers and electricians had used them for service

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How to blow $300 in three seconds

Six years ago, I was building the bar for our new restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. The bar was four plywood cabinet carcasses with a laminated mahogany top. A friend of mine and I stood freezing in the unheated storefront staring at the chop saw, the bar, and a sixteen foot piece of 8″ rabbeted mahogany cap moulding we were going to use to trim the edge. The object of our fixation was a ninety degree corner. It’s a simple cut except when the moulding costs $18/lf and it’s the last last piece that Dykes has. We only had one chance

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The Mystery of the Vanishing Paint Brushes

I thought I was suffering from early dementia. Over the several months of this bedroom renovation I’ve lost a bunch of paint brushes. I’d clean them and stick them… hell, I don’t know where. I just couldn’t find them again. At least four reasonably new paint brushes were missing. What was even stranger is that several paint brushes that I thought I’d stored in my basement shop two flights down were also missing. Just the good ones with the soft bristles. I found them today, laying on the floor at the rear of my new closet. I know I didn’t

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It depends on what “almost” means…

I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. Almost all the trim, the doors, cabinets, etc are done! What’s “almost”? By “almost” I mean that the center of operations moves downstairs to my shop. The remainder of the trim work — the cabinet doors and drawers, the panels under the bay window, the stained glass window, the overhead closet doors and even the curved baseboard moulding for the closet corner have to be fabricated. I need my stationary power tools for this stuff. “Almost” also means that I need to make a decision about whether or not to incorporate

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Bay window trim (almost) done.

Sheesh. Another “almost” cop out. The issue here isn’t woodworking but thermodynamics. The steam radiator that Richie from Sessa Plumbing installed is something called an “element”. An element works on the convection principle: as hot air rises off the element, it expands and exits through a grill at the top. This creates a low pressure area underneath which pulls in cold air from the floor through a grill at the bottom. An element radiator usually comes in a butt-ugly metal cabinet. It’s what that missing panel under the middle window needs to replicate. I’m gonna give you a private snapshot

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Ten gallons of sawdust later…

I finished cutting 208 feet of bolection moulding for the wainscotting in the bedroom reno and guess what? I needed 216 feet to complete the job, dammit! I knew I was cutting it close (literally) but I only had a couple of (expensive) red oak 1x8s left which I need for the wainscotting shelf. I’ll dig into my red oak scrap pile and cut the remainder this afternoon. Anyway, I was right. A bolection moulding a/k/a inset panel cap moulding a/k/a rabbeted panel moulding is just an inverted base cap profile with a rabbet. After my router bit quest, I

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Yet another “cool tool” article

I’ve blathered a lot on the blog about the coolness of routers but another tool I use quite a bit is a biscuit joiner. What’s that? Bread glue? It’s a tool I first saw TOH demigod, Norm Abrams, use back in the 80s. Okay, let’s be honest: Norm has a shop full of bizarre, narrow purpose tools. But a biscuit (or plate) joiner is really useful, especially for edge-laminating boards as I’m about to do here. It can also be used to strengthen mitered corners or to insert alignment pins. I did the latter when I installed the heavy mahogany

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Maybe a roof rack?

Not counting the 12 year-old Pontiac wreck I owned for all of four months and on which I managed to put maybe 400 miles before I donated it in disgust to a charity, my 2001 VW Golf is the first car I’ve owned. I’ve been a motorcyclist since I was 18. When I lived in Manhattan, it was all I needed, or wanted. But when I moved to a suburban house with a garage, I had to get four wheels, if only for lumber runs. That’s pretty much all I use it for too. I’ve had the car for six

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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.