The last of the major trim work downstairs is complete… Ugh! ‘Bout darn time! The base shoe in the parlor remains, but it will have to wait until spring. I trimmed out the ceiling next to the stairwell, the landing window, and the remainder of the downstairs bathroom baseboard. Doesn’t sound like much, but the angles on the ceiling trim required numerous trips up and down the steps for fine-tuning. The next major deadline is the carpet install scheduled for the 23rd. All of the baseboard upstairs has to be in in order for that to happen. (Actually, I had palpitations today when I realized that to be the case.)
Last full day to do much of anything. Ready to gorge myself on turkey and all the fixin’s… Finished up the west baseboard, added some more picture rail to the parlor, added an “entablature” to the foyer side doorway, installed the last bit of foyer baseboard, hung the ceiling fan, cleaned everything up, and began furnishing the room. It’s not completely done yet, but we needed stuff out of the dining room for the meal. It is very close, though.
I’m beat! I’m glad that tomorrow is my “day off” from all this work. My job for tomorrow is to take the last of the cardboard off the stairs (yes, it’s been there since the mudders were here) and pick up my remodel area upstairs. Wish I could do some paint touch-up in the downstairs bath, but oh, well. And, just like every year, I’m on board to make homemade Parker House dinner rolls from scratch–my great-aunt’s recipe. Yum… It’s my favorite part of the meal.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
P.S. Anybody out there wondering why those outlets in the corner of the bay are so low and seemingly out-of-place? By code, there has to be an outlet within twelve feet of the next. Without those, I’m technically not compliant. However, the way the corner of the house was built, there is essentially no space not filled by a 2×4. The only place is right there where the outlet is. It looks funny, but one can never have too many outlets in a room. The electrician neighbor actually questioned my sanity because there were so many…
This is embarrassing… Less to report today than I would have otherwise expected. But, I did finish nearly all the baseboard trim in the parlor with the exception of the west side. The cold air return needs to be dealt with first. On the foyer side of the room, the wall was repainted and the french door and baseboard trim were installed. Otherwise, I put up a bit of picture rail and then helped my wife and mother-in-law do some preparatory cleaning for Thursday. Exciting, no?
Decided to try something new–a daily update. On vacation until after Thanksgiving and pushing myself to make progress for the big turkey day when everyone shows up here. Window sills and aprons, flooring repair, and hanging one of the french doors were the noteworthy accomplishments today. The floor required repair because it was once a wall with a heating vent. It also was part of the wall to the east of the old location of the french doors. Putting in the new opening required removing some of the wall and exposing the rough edges where they laid the oak flooring. Luckily, I have piles of replacement oak from the upstairs bathroom project/demo. The patch is not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be for me.
Maybe some more trimming yet tonight.
What an interesting week… It all began so innocently–a 40% chance of thunderstorms overnight on Sunday. At 4:00 am, I’m out in the deluge of rain digging trenches in the yard in a semi-vain attempt to divert water away from the house. 4.41 inches and half a flooded basement later, the rain was over. What followed was three hours of at least a million trips to empty out my 8-gallon shop vac to rid my basement of about two inches of standing water. Finally, the purchase of two box fans and a dehumidifier to dry everything out. Luckily, the flooded area is just my shop, so little was actually lost, per se.
Monday night about 10:15 pm, I hear this deep thud and the ground trembling. I shrugged it off figuring, “Whatever.” My son comes into the office. “Did you hear that?” Ugh, maybe this can’t be ignored. We head outside and meet someone who was out and about asking us if everyone was okay. Now I’m really wondering what the heck happened. A trip about the yard revealed nothing until we all returned to the back door. There, laying neatly between the retaining wall and the bird feeder, was a giant limb out of the large maple tree. I couldn’t have asked for it to fall in a better location. The only casualties out of the whole ordeal were some lilac bushes. Now the tree for sure has to come down.
Finally, some good news. The floor upstairs was cut out without any untoward effects. The saints be praised!! It’s amazing how 14 inches of new space can really open up the stairwell. I’m very happy with the results. I also called the sheetrocking dude; he is coming out Monday evening for the final inspection before he begins. Huzzah!! I also have begun the process of getting balusters turned to replace and augment a few that were missing in the upstairs bannister. Progress at last…
This weekend was devoted to the last bits in the parlor–preparing the south wall (new door) for sheetrock and widening the door from the parlor to the dining room. An entire afternoon was devoted to building up the south wall with lath and roofing felt so that it would be straight for the sheetrock, trim, and crown moulding. I use a long straight edge parallel to the wall studs to get each as much as possible in line with the next by adding lath and then applying 30′ roofing felt as the “fine-tuning”. It’s time-consuming but it makes all the difference in the finished wall since many of the studs in this house are from various remodels and eras. The oldest studs are rarely the same size; it didn’t matter back then because the plasterer ensured the wall was straight. I don’t have that luxury.
Two original french doors remain from the house; they will be used as doors in the new parlor. But they are 36″ and the existing doorway between the dining room and parlor was only 32″. That was easily widened, although now I will have to be creative with making new dining room trim to match the old.
Finally, I spent most of today preparing the stairwell for the remainder of the wainscot that will run to the top of the stairs. I learned quite a bit the first time around with the lower run so I’m much better prepared now. The strips of lath in the photo are where the sheetrock is supposed to stop; I apply the wainscot directly to the wall.
Next weekend will be the finishing touches and the dreaded floor cut out. Then its on to sheetrock. I CANNOT wait!! (Stupid camera took blurry photos today…)
… of my walls. For the first time in decades (literally) the foyer is open to the front parlor again. I have been waiting 11 years for this day; hard to believe it is finally here. I’m hoping that I’m about one more weekend’s worth of work away from giving the sheetrocking dude the green light to commence. Then there will be great rejoicing!!
I also moved, for a second time, the vent in the foyer. It was originally under the stairs but I moved it to the wall that I removed today. (I did that at the time because there was an old vent for the parlor that was entombed in the wall.) Overall it took very little time and I’m pleased with both its location (a compromise from where it was originally intended) and appearance.
Only one really large task remains and that is to cut out one floor joist in the stairwell. I’m nervous as h*%$ about it, but it needs to be done. The stairs are so tight that getting a twin box spring up them is a tussle. Anything larger and it has to go through a window. Did that twice; never again. The downside to this will be that my wife will now think it is time to upgrade to a king bed. (sigh)
It’s a new year (and the final day of my vacation) and it seemed appropriate to put to bed the final, planned post of the foyer window saga. My overall intent for this post is to remind myself of the steps and effort that went into this project just as much as it is to share with others.
The first step was to build both a convex and concave form on which to build the window itself. I attached 1x4s to a plywood base and then laid the existing sash at the end marking each 1×4 with the curve at the corresponding sash location. Once that was done, I removed the 1x4s and ripped them length-wise at approximately the angle of the curve marked earlier. The result of which was one for the convex and one for the concave form. Once complete, they were reattached and lined with 1/2 inch plywood. For some reason, the curve was off slightly; hence, the shims in this photo. I discovered this during a sanity check when I laid the original curved glass on the form and discovered that it wasn’t quite correct.
The next step was to remove the existing glass, strip the sash (inside and out), prime and paint the exterior, shellac the interior, design the window, create a cartoon, and attach the cartoon to the form. Two straight edges were then attached to the form on the cartoon on which to begin the build process. This window went through a couple of revisions. The cartoon was, obviously, originally designed for “stars” and curved clear pieces. It was easily changed to diamonds all around; a much simpler design element from a construction perspective.
I began first by building the “medallions” using copper foil instead of lead. Okay, I’m not the greatest at copper foil construction…
A photo of the construction in progress. (If you have viewed my blog before, some of these images may be a repeat.)
Once the window was built and soldered on one side, it was time to flip it and solder the other side. This was done by covering it with an old flannel sheet and sandwiching it between the two forms, connecting the forms together, flipping them, and removing the concave form. The rag attached to the window was to protect the crystal facet in the medallion during the many moves on and off the form.
Once the soldering was complete, it was time to cement the window. The leaded window was surprising strong at this point. It could be removed from the form with relative ease. Cementing serves two purposes–1) It makes the window weatherproof, and 2) it provides strength to the window itself. Both forms were covered in plastic since they would be brought back inside and used as part of the build process. Cementing makes quite a mess and it was easier to protect the cartoon rather than removing it to cement each window.
Once the cement was forced into every nook and cranny, the entire window was covered with whiting and scrubbed vigorously with a stiff-bristled brush. The whiting absorbs excess linseed oil and polishes the glass, removing any flux, etc. left from soldering.
Using a sharp, wooden stick, all of the lead lines were traced removing any excess cement left after scrubbing with the whiting.
Using the same stiff-bristled brush the entire window was “swept” off and cleaned of any remaining debris. Of course, this whole process was repeated for both sides of the window.
The window was then returned inside to complete the final solder step–attaching the ties for the window bracing. For this project, I opted to go with ties since I have yet to master the art of soldering to rectangular reinforcing. Ties are also historically accurate, so I’m good with it.
For this window, my stained glass supplier/teacher/mentor suggested that I use round bracing rods as they would be easier to bend to the shape of the curve. I planned to use two rods on each sash. Once it was determined where in the design they were best suited, I transferred those measurements to the sash. I drilled holes into the sash to receive the rods.
And installed the rods…
The leaded window and sash were now ready. After laying down glazing compound, the window was placed in the sash and attached to the rods. The ends of the ties were soldered to prevent them from coming apart and to cover the sharp end left after cutting them to length.
The window, glazed and ready for installation.
And, of course, the final product…
This weekend was devoted to mimicking the original base cap in the closet and finishing off the base trim. All that is left is the door trim and the closet will be complete. Creating the base cap wasn’t all that difficult, and it’s a reasonable facsimile of the original. I used my table saw to resaw a 1×8 into 3/8 or so inch thick strips. Then I used my planer to plane them down to approximately 3/16″. By laminating the strips I was able to easily bend them to fit the curve and build up the profile. The cap was finished off with a small piece of half-round. I’m pleased with the results and even more glad that no more curved wood is in my immediate future (knock on wood [no pun intended])!
How can such a tiny room suck up so much of my time????
Some months ago, I posted that the foyer was done… It seems that I stretched the truth a tad. As it turns out, the closet in the foyer was put to use before it was finished. The graduation party was happening and I didn’t suspect that anyone would stick their nose in it, so it was left taped and mudded. Until this weekend…
I was contemplating what to start next and nearly began work on the side door entrance (it is just downright embarrassing), but providence smiled and reminded me that I really should finish the closet before I start a new project. Besides, I was tired of working around the bundles of beadboard stored in the basement that were destined to be installed on the curved wall. This weekend, I managed to get the wall paint, beadboard, curved baseboard, light fixture, hooks, and crown molding up.
Personally, I hate the looks of the beadboard in the closet. I spent a great deal of time contemplating whether or not I should paint it. Understand that I don’t “do” painted wood except in an exterior application; it’s against my religion. I can honestly say it was supposed to be painted but then I saw the quality of the wood and its many knots and imperfections. If it was going to look even half-way decent, I would be spending hours with wood filler trying to make a decent surface to paint. I was out and the shellac was in. Unfortunately, it looks a tad too “country” for me, but whatcha gonna do?
Based upon my experience with the curved crown moulding to the left of the front door, I knew I didn’t want to spend hours cutting little pieces and assembling them in this stupid closet. My solution was to use a polyurethane chair rail for the wall and a PVC cap mould for the ceiling. I knew that nothing I could buy as a single piece would bend the way it needed to but it seemed reasonable to think that the PVC, since it was solid plastic, could be heated and bent. I built a small jig to hold the PVC in place while I heated it and it worked like a charm.
My solution for the baseboard was to laminate 1/4″ plywood. The grain is running the wrong direction to look like “real” 3/4″ lumber, but again, it’s just a closet. The base cap is yet to be built. Stay tuned…
If I never have to deal with curved walls again in my lifetime, it will be too soon.