Half-baked House Projects

The finish looks better in person than in this photo, BTW. Crap lighting.

I am woefully behind in posting about house renovation progress – probably because it takes me forever to finish things and take a “beauty shot.” My problem is that once a project is functional, I let it function…instead of first wrapping up all the details.

My hallway built-in is a good example.

I wrote about the planning, the start of the build and the finish (as in shellac). But I can’t write about it being finished…because it still isn’t. I need to install the pull-out shelf that is meant for folding towels upon, the base moulding (to match the base moulding on the walls) and crown moulding to hide the top of the plywood carcase and fill the gap between the face frame and ceiling. Oh – and doors, of course. It will (eventually) get double doors.

But it works just fine now for its intended purpose. And the customer isn’t complaining, so…. Actually, I was complaining while sanding the floors. Doors would have helped to keep out the dust. Maybe. I had to take out and wash all the sheets and towels after the floors were done. That would have been a great time to build and install those doors…but I was too tired from the floor work!

And my bathroom – it is fully functional and looks done. If you ignore that there’s no door on the room. (I live by myself – doesn’t matter.)

Plus I still need to buy and hang another towel rack to the left of the shower entrance, and grind away tiny bits of tile so I can screw in the faceplate on an outlet, instead of just balancing it on there. But for that, a Dremel would be the ideal tool…and in my hasty departure, I inadvertently left my Dremel at PopWood. I’m not buying a new one just to grind two tiny holes. Surely I’ll need one for a “real” project some day? Then I’ll replace it.

I also need to clean the face of the outlet. Oops.

Then there’s my stairs. I started on this project just after I bought the house, when I ripped out the wall that had been put in to divide the house into two apartments. But once I got everything torn out that was going to get torn out, I stopped for several years.

https://rudemechanicalspress.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/830.jpg
I can’t bear to live like this for long; tear-out took me only a week or two.
But I lived with this (though with uglier floors) for four+ years.

If you follow me on Instagram (where I’m a far more frequent poster than here), you know that I finally got tired of never getting around to it, so I hired a contractor to finish it…then fired the contractor because the work didn’t live up to their promise. I channeled my anger to finish the railing and balustrade myself…but we’ll see how long it takes me to finish those two bottom stairs, the newel posts, the trim and the bookcase that’s going at the open side of the lower landing. Because the stairs are now almost safe (as long as I can balance on a stringer) and thereby darn near fully functional.

Olivia doesn’t seem to miss those two steps.

And there’s the guest bathroom that was (almost) finished years ago. It, too, is fully functional (it’s what I used while re-doing the other one)…but still needs a couple drywall patches in the ceiling and on the walls. Then another coat of paint. But who has guests right now? (So it’s become a storage room of sorts over the last year.) My excuse for this room is that when I redo the kitchen (directly below it), I’m building in a chase for a 2″ drainpipe alongside the chimney (to the left of the sink) so that I can move the washer and dryer up here. So when I do that, there will be more drywall work in this room – might as well wait!

Hard-won renovation realization: Don’t put a clawfoot tub in your guest bath if any of your visitors are elderly. This is, in fact, “my” bathroom whenever my mom visits. The walk-in shower in the bathroom attached to my bedroom is much more user friendly for older joints (consequently, I also lose my bedroom during my mom’s visits!)
Still, the guest bath has come a long way… (Sorry for the fuzzy – I was sent this by the former owner.)

But by far the most egregious case of (not even) half-done is the downstairs bath that will someday become a pantry. I started the tear-out, then realized I had to stop because any more would open up holes to the basement through which the cats (now a single cat) could slither, and the basement isn’t pet friendly. Plus there’s a door on that room, so I can close it most of the way and ignore it. (And it’s so bad that I refuse to show a picture.) I’ve vowed that I won’t do any more work on that room (or touch the kitchen) until all the details above are done. Or at least until I have time, energy and money to do the kitchen, pantry and adjoining half-bath from start to finish (or close enough to finished) in one fell swoop.

But first, there’s also the rest of the wood windows to install, the doors to hang on my study shelves, fascia board on the porch that needs replacing, the almost-torn out linoleum floor on the third floor and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped!

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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11 Responses to Half-baked House Projects

  1. J.C. Collier says:

    All in good time, Fitz. 😎🥃

  2. Brian Ward says:

    Finish those stairs! Claim artistic license on everything else!

  3. In the meantime, I am very impressed with your work! Happy Easter!

    On Sun, Apr 4, 2021 at 11:46 AM Rude Mechanicals Press Blog wrote:

    > fitz posted: ” The finish looks better in person than in this photo, BTW. > Crap lighting. I am woefully behind in posting about house renovation > progress – probably because it takes me forever to finish things and take a > “beauty shot.” My problem is that once a proje” >

  4. nrhiller says:

    It’s a huge undertaking for one person. Everything you’ve done so far is beautiful. It will all be worth it. And in the meantime, every improvement you make is worthy of celebration. The rest of us are enjoying it all vicariously!

  5. Carl says:

    All too familiar, unfortunately. Nice job on what is completed.

  6. James Featherstone says:

    Always enjoy Rude M…makes me feel I may be “normal” after all. Thankyou!

    On Sun, Apr 4, 2021 at 11:46 AM Rude Mechanicals Press Blog wrote:

    > fitz posted: ” The finish looks better in person than in this photo, BTW. > Crap lighting. I am woefully behind in posting about house renovation > progress – probably because it takes me forever to finish things and take a > “beauty shot.” My problem is that once a proje” >

  7. hallmerle says:

    Thanks for sharing. I thought I was the only one that could make a two or three week project last a couple of years. Just ask my now-grown kids. 🙂

  8. I always wanted to be that person who had laser focus on a project,start to finish. But I’m not.

    I discovered along the way that I’m happiest when I have several things going at once. Sometimes, as you point out, I get to the “functional” stage, and that’s sufficient — for a while anyway. Sometimes is a novel project, issue, or problem, and I really like the problem solving aspect. Once that part is done, I’m satisfied.

    And then there is the thread-pulling-paradigm, like with your stairs. Start doing one thing, and then you create 5 more things that need doing. And that pushes the whole project back.

    I’ve enjoyed these posts. I’ve been following them since your last post. I can always use more.

  9. gyegreene says:

    Nice Princess Bride allusion. 🙂

  10. Shirley J says:

    Yes. Great job with this. I remember when you bought the house. You put a lot more life (not just the house) in between that time and now. When the corona hit, my first thoughts were of you, wondering if you would now have the time and energy to bring your renovations to completion. You are getting there and there and there! Admirable for sure.

  11. Shirley J says:

    The renovation is right at the point it needs to be. Well done.

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