Editor's Weekend: Deadlines and Wishful Thinking
A year only sounds like a long time when you meant to have it done in four months
Call me an optimist, but when I started renovating our bedroom in late August of 2000, I figured Christmas for a completion date. I just didn’t know what year. And I really hadn’t grasped the whole scope of the project.
The bedroom is on the second floor of our story-and-a-half 1852 cottage, known affectionately as the micro ghetto. The first step was putting in a skylight over the bed area and rewiring all the outlets in the room. Next I “replastered” the cracked walls and ceiling using a method described by Mario Rodriguez in an article in issue #103, pp. 90-94. (It works; really!)
The bedroom floor was beautiful oak and chestnut boards 8 in. to 18 in. wide, but they had been nailed haphazardly to over-spanned 2×6 joists that bounced like a trampoline. I mapped and removed the boards, sistered new joists and by Thanksgiving I’d glued and screwed a layer of OSB subfloor down, with a little help from my boss. Obviously the project was not going to be finished for Santa.
Finish work occupied most weekends when I wasn’t traveling or in the office trying to stay caught up. I laid the floor back down after patching numerous sections hacked out in the 1960s for electrical work, and I installed beadboard wainscot around the entire room. A visit from my daughter and granddaughter put the pressure on to get the room ready to move into by May ’01, but I still had a lot left to do.
Work slacked off in the summer when this editor’s fancy turned to gardening, but it picked back up in the fall. By the time Christmas ’01 arrived, I’d finished the two built-in bookcases, built-up moldings around all the doors and windows, new built-up baseboard, a cedar closet, as well as rebuilding and rehanging the two old bedroom doors.
After all our Christmas guests had gone home, I finally turned to the last bit of carpentry in the room: the door thresholds. I cut and fit a couple of nice old pieces of heart pine that I had kicking around and put them in (see photo) with walnut bungs for a nice accent.
I’ve declared a moratorium on projects until spring so that I can do some fun stuff like sculpture. My next project is finishing the garden fence. I put the posts in a couple of years ago, but don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have the fence finished by Labor Day.
Roe A. Osborn, managing editor of Fine Homebuilding, lives in Woodbury, Connecticut.
Photo: Judy Megan