Category: paint

Primer Failure

I know it’s been six months since my last update here but there hasn’t been much DIY stuff to blog about at Brooklyn Row House… not even something worthy of a Facebook status. Fact is, most of the work here is done but now I’m facing Phase 2 — maintaining all the new stuff which has begun to show the wear and tear of the years and the many boisterous animals. For that reason I think I’m going to jog this blog into slightly different direction, beginning with this post. Three years ago, I had the back of my house

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In 5 years I’ll make another plan

Want to know how out of shape you are? Paint your house. Between squatting down to cut in baseboards and torquing your body into dramatic poses while standing at the top of a ladder with a roller, you’ll find out. Do it for several days and you’ll have lactic acid boiling in muscles you didn’t even know you had. The colors here are a little off because of the flash but, believe me, it looks nice. Because of my job I had to break the painting marathon of my mudroom, first floor hall, stairway and second floor hall into several

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Construction Gibberish

It’s not complicated enough that a novice DIYer has to learn the skills, tools, techniques and best practices for what is otherwise a simple job in the hands of the All Knowing. He also has to learn the Babylonian nomenclature for the stuff he needs to do it. For instance, last year I was derailed for two days trying to find the name for a particular type of moulding I needed for the wainscot in my master bedroom renovation. old roof cap I had the same problem trying to find the rooftop vent “thingie” for my bathroom fan. The not-too-bright

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Ready for paint? I wish.

I’m gonna change the name of this blog to something more relevant, like Life Sucks And Then You Renovate. My apologies to anyone who might currently be using that name. I feel your pain. It was supposed to be an easy, brain-dead job: just slap up some primer and paint over walls that had already been skim-coated and prepped several years ago. But I quickly got derailed and had to spend a couple of evenings last week dealing with this. That wasn’t in the plan, however it’s an old house so, you know, what else is new? But it gets

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Huh? What happened?

It started as an easy breezy project — an (almost) laborless Labor Day. Seven years ago, I scrubbed, scraped, skimcoated and primed the first and second floor hallways. Last year, I did a little more scraping and added another coat of primer. So why have these walls not been painted since I moved in nine years ago? Call it Home Stretch Complacency, Last Lap Crash, whatever. I just never got around to deciding on a color. Primer white was fine for now. This weekend my intent was to deal with this, or at least add another coat of primer. I

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Odds and Ends, Excuses and Alibis

By now, I was supposed to have posted about the successful completion of my stained glass construction projects. Maybe because I was coming off that year-long second floor renovation I needed time to recharge before throwing myself into another marathon. Instead, I got obssessed with maintenance, humdrum projects and pontificating on the Old House Web forums. First up: the garden, or more specifically my nine hybrid tomato plants. I’ve had diminishing returns from my ‘maters the past couple of years. Last year, half the plants died shortly after flowering. So I decided to consult with the masters: the greybeard Italian

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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 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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Time to buy a bed

I can’t freakin’ believe it. All my tools are back in the shop where they belong, the paint’s up, the room is clean, the nine-month saga of the master bedroom renovation…. so OVER! Okay, there are still a few things left to do: the cabinet drawers and doors, the hallway stained glass windows, the doorknobs. I’ll get around to it unless Home Stretch Complacency strikes me down. Over the last few weeks I’ve been finishing up the hallway, the two closets and my outside plantings. There’s always a sense of closure when I lay that second coat of paint, especially

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Wall Prep Tips

I’ve got a lunch meeting with a prospective client today so I’ll dive into the first priming of the master bedroom project this evening. This gives me an opportunity for some virtual renovation this morning: reading the Houseblogs sites and posting to my own. Bill over at Enon Hall posted a cool Top Ten list. There are some good tips there. Ya’ll should check it out (although my lumberyard likes to see double-spaced, typed materials lists with product codes and a letterhead, preferably faxed in advance). Since I’m in “wall prep mode” I thought I’d post my own Top Ten

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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.