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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

doors, continued

The door refinishing operations have been moved from under a tent in the backyard into the now-painted guest room, as the weather here in Baltimore has been horrifically humid for the last week or two - not the best conditions to leave untreated wood out in.

Once we scraped off all of the paint stripper and let everything dry out for a day or two, we borrowed a couple of power sanders from my father-in-law and Don went to work on the doors. At this writing, he has finished the first sanding, with 80-grit sandpaper, on the wide areas of the doors. The beveled edges of the inside molding are going to have to be done by hand - I think the best we can hope for is to take the top layer of varnish off and rough them up enough that primer and paint will stick well.

I think when we're done these doors will be beautiful, but they are a lot more work than I anticipated! I shudder to think that we still have to strip and refinish the stairway banister, as well as the (fortunately plainer) doors for all of the upstairs rooms.

Monday, June 28, 2010

meet the project killer

Hard to work on the house when you could be playing with this thing, let me tell you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

father's day brunch

Last weekend we hosted a Father's Day brunch for Don's family (my dad, alas, lives in Seattle, which is a little far to travel for brunch). We had eight people total, adults and children, which was down some from the numbers we hosted on Mother's Day, which required an additional table to be set out.

All this entertaining is really emphasizing our need for more permanent dining room furniture. (The need to remodel the kitchen is already a given!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


One of the 'small' projects I'm really excited about is finally refinishing all of our doors. When we gutted the house, we saved all of the original doors and put them in storage (okay, our garage) until we were ready to start finishing the house. When we cleared out the attic, we were excited to find two more doors up there, that Don's dad told us had been original to the house but removed during one of the family's extensive renovations. They were french doors, solid wood with squares of beveled glass inset. They were painted a hideous shade of teal, but seemed to be in good condition.

The discovery of these doors actually changed our structural plan mid-construction. We had originally planned for the transition from the dining room to the office to simply be a large opening, like the one that goes from dining room to living room. When we found the doors, though, we decided instead to install them as pocket doors dividing the dining room from the office. A header and doorframe had to be built where there had been nothing before. Fortunately nobody grumbled too much.

So now here we are, with a mostly finished house, and it's finally door time! We decided to start with the office doors, both because they're the most complicated and because we'd like to get the main level finished as fast as we can, since it's more 'public' space.

We set up a tent in the backyard, got some sawhorses, and got to work.

The citrus-based nontoxic stripper we used worked wonders! Hardly a hint of the teal remains - or the other three shades we discovered under it. Next up we'll sand the doors down with increasingly fine grits of sandpaper (80, 100, and finally 120) and then prime and paint them to match the rest of the trim in the house. They'll also have to get squared up and have pocket door hardware installed - but after all that effort they are going to look amazing!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Lots of little projects going on around here - to the point, in fact, where we decided we needed to take a step back and do things one at a time instead of flailing around trying to get them all done.

In the meantime, here's a picture of the raised bed Don built me earlier this year. I'm not a very good gardener without some technological help - I am just awful at remembering to water. So we've put in a soaker hose, and it's working really well - this picture was taken about a week and a half ago and everything is a LOT bigger now. Er, except for the cherry tomato plant, which is mostly dead. I'm clearly better at growing herbs than actual vegetables.

In case you're curious, what I've got in this bed is:

-flat-leaf parsley
-three kinds of bell pepper
-two kinds of cucumber
-two kinds of tomato

The bed itself is about five feet by eight feet, and it's constructed of pressure-treated 2x12s, which are offset top and bottom and bolted into upright 2x4s in the corners. We dug out the edges of the ground in the spot we planned to place it in so that it would be level. Once we put the frame in place we did a little more digging and filling to get it as level as we could, then lined it with landscape cloth. We had some high-quality fill dirt delivered (too much, in fact, which is why there is still a pile of dirt in my driveway...) and lo! garden.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

because you need to know about her sleeping habits

The cat has finally deigned to sleep in the cat bed I bought her. After she ignored it for months, it had been tossed in a corner of an empty bedroom currently used as storage. Once I discovered she was actually sleeping in it, I moved it into our bedroom. She's very smug about it.