Thursday, June 29, 2006

Shelves Are In!

Tonight I was able top build and install the third and final section for the bookshelves in my study. Because of how unsquare the walls are and the difficulty in getting the upper sections in around the door frame, I'm not going to try to build them to the ceiling. In the long run, I may build in more storage on top of the shelves, but I'll do it in place like I did over the shower in the front bath.

The next step for the shelves will be to trim them out and install bracing underneath the main bookshelves so they don't bow under the weight of the books. The trimming out of the shelves will have to wait until we get back from the 4th of July in Mobile. The Lowe's in Mobile has a much better stock of select poplar trim boards. So I've been purchasing all of that trim when I can.

Tomorrow Holly and the kids go to Mobile for the long weekend and I'll be joining them late Sunday. In the meantime, I'll be installing colonial moulding and shoe moulding in the kitchen, play room, and hallway. Today I picked up 280 linear feet of the colonial moulding which entailed tieing 20 fourteen foot boards wrapped in blankets to the roof of our station wagon. Fortunately, the lumber yard is only about 4 blocks from our home. I probably would have been better off just walking home with the wood if it had not weighed so much.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Part Two Installed

Exciting post titles, eh? Holly had a friend from high school visit this afternoon so that slowed me down since I was on Will duty. I did manage to do the final coat of paint on the second panel door frame. Right before dinner I also talked one of my unsuspecting neighbors into helping me carry in the second piece of the office shelves. Tonight I took the night off but tomorrow I should be able to build the next set of shelves to go on top.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Part One Installed, Part Two on Deck

After I wrapped up work for the day, I was able to install the lower shelf unit in my study. This was a major undertaking since I had to remove the baseboards, door, and doorjamb in order to be able to slide the shelves into place. I wanted a tight fit that would make it appear like the shelves were built right in. The door jamb extended over an inch into the room and that would have meant some awkward trimming of the shelves to make them look built in.

After a quick dip in our neighbors pool (they're still not back from Katrina and have invited us to use it when we want) and dinner, I retired to my lair in the outbuilding. There, in the not quite stifling evening heat, I built the second section of the shelves. This section will be for holding books so the shelves aren't quite as deep but will have extra reinforcement to deal with the extra weight. In order to keep the weight managable, I made them not quite as tall as I had originally planned. So at this point it looks like I might need to make two more individual units for what will eventually be the upper cabinets.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Return of the Shelves

Today we spent the late afternoon in our next door neighbors pool with Will (and Kate sleeping in her car seat on the pool deck), so everyone was bathed before dinner. So after dinner I left Holly to put Will to bed and went to work in our out building our back. Two hours later I had built the bottom unit of what will be built in shelves in my study. We have a nook behind the door and next to the closet in that room that we want shelves in. These are going to be substantially wider than the last shelves I built so I decided to do them in three sections as opposed to two. So tonight I built the bottom section and cut all the shelves for all of the sections along with the sides of the next section. If its not too hot tomorrow or Sunday I hope to build the next section and get started on the third if I can.

And the hard work continues...

Now that Holly and the kids are back home, I've slowed down on the house and am helping out with the kids where I can. Fortunately, I've found that after you've had one kid you're so good that you can take care of the next one even in your sleep.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Getting Up And Dirty

After basking in the glory of my so-called completed room for the whole morning, today after work I turned my attention to the entrance to what is the kids play room (and what would normally have been the formal dining room). About a month and half ago I pulled out the panel doors and had them stripped. In order to do so, I had to remove the trim around the doors which left a very uneven section of paint where the badly applied oil paint pulled off with the trim.

I had learned from the first set of panel doors just how messy this operation was. Then I spent 3 hours sanding and another 6 hours cleaning dust up from the entire front of the house. So this time I did my best to use plastic sheating to create a little tent to trap the dust.

It actually worked extremely well, except for the small detail that it trapped all the dust and heat right where I was working. So it was like an exfoliating sauna, only not particularly relaxing.

Done! *

* For some arbitrary definition of done.

Yesterday I wrapped up the painting in the front room and moved all the furniture back in. So the room is essentially done. I still need to hang some window treatments on our second front door. And this afternoon, I need to sand down the other panel door opening so that I can rehang the panel doors once we get the rollers back from the machine shop. It is going to be a really dusty process so Holly and the kids are staying away until tomorrow. I'm hoping that I can use tape and plastic sheating to create a tent to contain the dust. I'll definitely take pictures of whatever I come up with since I'm sure it will be crazy.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Must See TV

While painting last night, I watched the Stanley Cup. After that was over, I was flipping channels for something else to watch. As luck would have it, I came across some of the best television I have ever seen. It was Great Performances on our local public broadcasting station and in particular, an episode called Operatunity.

Given our country's (myself included) ongoing obsession for American Idol, I found Operatunity to be incredibly more than just a singing competition. It a little bit of Brassed Off and Little Voice, only it was real and so much more moving.

I don't know if or when PBS plans on rebroadcasting the episode, but it is worth looking out for.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cream De La Cream

Over the last two days, I've completed the two coats of trim paint and the first of two coats of wall paint. So tomorrow all I have left is a second coat of wall paint (cut-in and rolling). I tried to push on and start the second cut-in coat tonight but quickly ran out of steam.

A few people have e-mailed me asking about my painting technique so here's a quick overview. Basically, I don't tape the edges nor do I put down drop clothes. Particularly in our old house with lots of "interesting" drywall joints along the baseboard, I've found that I get a cleaner edge doing the cut-in by hand. After the trim is all painted, I do the cut-in freehand. Once it dries, I then tape up newspaper to cover the baseboards from any incidental splatter from rolling the walls.

Since these pictures were taken late at night with the flash, its hard to see how creamy the color really is. One of my neighbords described it a luscious - it really has some nice depth to it. The flash also emphasizes that the white of our vinyl shutters doesn't match the trim paint but thats not very obvious by normal light. We haven't painted the two front doors yet since we're hoping to be able to dip them and reveal the cyprus wood like we did for the panel doors.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Things Have To Get Worse....

...before they can get better. After working a short day today, I moved all of the furniture in the great room off of the walls and into the center of the room. I then completed the shoe moulding in the front room. It took me 30+ minutes to get out all of the tools (nail gun, chop saw, coping saw, etc.), about 10 minutes to do the actual work, and 20 more minutes to put all the tools away. After that I primed the spots that weren't primed before and now I'm taking a break for the primer to dry. Then I can caulk the shoe moulding and start painting the trim.

Score Two for Holly

Yesterday Holly made two awesome finds on Craig's List. The first was a lightly used set of Pottery Barn crib linens for free - the very same pattern we're using for Kate's crib. The second was a great art easel along with paper, paint jars, and brushes for a really great price. Holly found them both yesterday, bought them, and had me pick them up in the late afternoon. Awesome finds from my awesome wife!


After painting the shelves in the kids' room, I moved on to the front room. There I did the second and final coat of trim paint on the front wall and did the first coat of cut-in on two of the walls. After that I emptied out the entertainment center (except for the TV) and the bookshelves that go with it. Today I get to move those pieces and install the shoe moulding behind them. Then I can prime that last few sections of the walls and start painting the trim.

One thing off the list, finally...

Yesterday after work I completed the last coat of paint on the monster shelves. They're finally done and they look great. Well, they're done until I finally get around to putting a door on the upper two openings. All that is left for that room is moving in some furniture and scraping paint off of the transom window. And the lower closet doors - we're either going to paint them or replace them with a curtain.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Home Again, Home Again

I'm back in New Orleans without Holly and the children in order to wrap up some of the rennovations I was working on before going to Mobile prior to Kate's birth. It feels good to be back in the city but there are a lot of mixed signals I'm seeing in regards to the recovery.

In the month or so I've been gone, our yard has gotten out of control again (despite the best efforts of our boarder Alex). I'm doing my best to ignore it and focus on the work that needs to be done inside since it will be next to impossible to do once we have the kids in the house. So today after work I did the first of two coats of paint on the shelves in the kids room and then painted a couple of walls' worth of trim in the great room. Alex also helped me move the piano and some other pieces of furniture so if all goes well, I'll be able to starting rolling paint on at least one of the walls tomorrow after work.