Working on the Old House #11 More Cabinets

It seems I get diverted and neglect updating the shenanigans going on at this Old House – not that This Old House – mine’s much more modest, not scripted and not near as interesting. Here’s were we left off.

I’ll start by backing up and talking about finishing the cabinets. I’ve used the same technique for years and it seems to work fine. I use a brush and flat latex paint and give them a good coat. I then come back and hand sand with successive grits to 400.

I choose to hand sand because of this. As you sand the latex, you’ll get a variety of little crumbs and ribbons of paint. If you use an electric sander you’ll create too much heat and these little guys will melt into the finish. And from painful experience, the only way to effectively get rid of them is to sand back down to the bare wood and start over.

Once we have the boxes painted and sanded, and installed permanently, we can start to figure out the crown molding and trim details. First a bridge panel is cut to fit over the recessed cabinet box.

Then a front facing panel is painted and then attached to the top face frames and blocking.

We add a piece of crown molding and another small rectangular piece to add some detail. While we’re up there, we’ll start to do a little plaster repair and finish out the original plaster ceiling.

Being the original 1920 plaster and lath ceiling, it had several cracks and dips and a few losses. A first coat of chemical set drywall compound makes a good bond. The final finish coats are made with standard premixed drywall compound. This gives a smooth durable repair.

We also paint on the upper doors as well. All are finished with two coats of waterbase clear satin Varathane finish.

A makeshift rigged up southern Indiana contraption to speed up the air dry drywall compound.

And finally we have some new upper cabinets, a working range hood, and much more to do.

I’ll try and be a little more frequent poster in the coming months. We’ll start on the sink wall next. My plan is to have this house ready in just a few months.

Stay safe and happy renovating.

Working on the Old House #1

We continue to try and bring my neglected old home back from the brink. I have very few photos of the earlier process on this place, because I wasn’t intending to document this project. But as I wait to finish up the MisAdventures , this will keep me disciplined in making blog posts.

First we address the exterior – it all has to be sealed in before we can work inside. Lost siding, missing roof shingles all have to be repaired before the next step.

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This area of the exterior vinyl siding that was damaged in a storm. Broken pieces were removed and  replaced, using siding off the back of the garage to make sure it was a match.

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This was a pretty easy fix that took a couple hours – after a couple years of me putting off the repairs.

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The first step is getting the door secure so we can remove the old porch windows. I have no photos of removing the original old door. It was drafty and the original door and casing were held in place with 4 nails – apparently they were pretty stingy with nails in 1920. Here I’ve added a new insulated door. There was a lot of work here, with threshold transitions and lots of woodwork fiddling.

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Since the original door was over 8 feet tall – and the new door is a standard 80″ tall, some trim gymnastics were needed. I made new casings to cover the new opening while keeping the original plaster lath walls with wallpaper intact. I used the original back band trim on the outside edge. Since the door casing is wider than the original, the top back band trim was too short. I cut the trim in two and added a small center decorative element to take up the shortfall. The trim was gel stained to match existing trim.

And here we go – a modest start on a low cost renovation on my old house. It won’t be fancy, but neither am I.

 

I’m not done yet…

It has been several months since I’ve posted on this wacky renovation adventure. Sometimes life and a not so perfect body get in the way of things we plan to do.  And so it is for me – a few health related challenges, something I’ve grown accustomed to over several decades of Hospital stays. A little under the weather is my typical reply. I’ve chalked up my 40 something surgery (I forget the actual count) over the summer. But, no matter how much they try, the doctors have failed to kill me yet. So now that I’m whole again, I’ll be back at the MisAdventures project to finally show you – that after ten years of work – that I can finally finish something.

See you soon.

Curt

A Father’s Day Note

Wishing all of the Fathers out there a very happy day. I unfortunately am not a father, but I certainly had a great one. You may think you’re not appreciated sometimes, but you are so very important in shaping your children’s lives.

Dad

Photo of my dad taken in 1947 at a local park. He was a photographer his whole life.

Here is a note I wrote to show just how many gifts he gave to me.

The Colors of My Father

This time of year is the best of seasons. The beginning of summer presents nature’s beauty at its zenith. The vibrant greens of the trees and brilliant display of the annuals are sharp and pure, with colors rich and full. The month of June with its festival of colors is the perfect season for Father’s Day.

When I think of myself as a child, or all children really, I imagine that we are like the pages from a coloring book. When we come into this world, we are so like an uncolored image – two dimensional and vacant of color. The black outline is easily recognizable a little boy or girl, but inside those lines it is void of the colors of life. The parents and loved ones help in ‘coloring’ that little image…to make a mere outline of a child come alive in the world. Through love and compassion, discipline and convictions, faith and commitment, the colors of a young life are added inside those boundaries, one by one and layer upon layer.
Every Father’s Day I think of this coloring book image and I am thankful for my father’s colors.

My father was an artist in the true sense of the word. He lived his life
in a most artistic way. He made his living doing what he loved to do and
he shared that enthusiasm with me…and so he painted me with the colors
of artistry and conviction.

My father could create the most imaginative images. He could craft
tools and gadgets and toys from the broken and discarded…and so he
painted me with the colors of creativity and resourcefulness.

My father was an honest man, who spoke quietly but truthfully. He did
an honest day’s work for a fair wage, as money was not the primary object
of his labors…and so he painted me with the colors of honor and
earnestness.

My father was a dreamer, who dared to imagine what could be. Some
of his dreams were realized, and some were not; but he dreamt them just
the same…and so he painted me with the colors of vision and hope.

And on it goes…

My father touched me with the vast palette of his life and I am a better man because of those colors he gently gave to me.

As with every Father’s Day celebration, I miss my father very much. He was such an important part of my life. This gallery is here because of his artist’s touch on his little boy so very long ago. Reminders of my father are all around me…the logo and the signs…the large round stained glass window at the peak of the gallery…that’s him – The Man in the Circle – an image taken in 1947, the year he founded this business.

Although he passed from us on a sunny summer day thirty four years ago, his influence is still so very important. His shared guidance and knowledge are prized possessions. As the years have passed and the business has grown in directions unimaginable to my father, the tools of experience he gave to me are all the more important. I am very fortunate to face each day confident in the skills that he taught me.

Thanks Dad… for all the wonderful colors
Happy Father’s Day
Curt

Navy Dad ID

My Dad was the personal photographer of the Commander of the South Atlantic Fleet during WWII.

 

Today I realized this is not a renovation – it’s an art project.

My wife has always called this the “hobby house”, but I realized this week it’s really an art project. Take for example this picture. These are deck screws that are used to fasten a 1/2″ plywood overlay on the original floors.
   I Took a look at all of the first floor, which is done the same way and they’re all lined up too. When will I learn the color outside of the lines?

Using Motorcycle Parts in the Bathroom

OK, the internet is generally a good thing – search is a good thing – sometimes.

I’ll explain later

1 wall painted

We left off here with the wall painted and the sconce electric now finished by adding a mud ring to bring the wall boxes out to the wall surface.

2 toilet flange

Now it’s toilet time. I plumbed the floor closet flange with a stainless steel doodad – use this type if you can instead of the all PVC or stamped steel versions.

4 toto toilet

Here’s the toilet – it’s a Toto Soirée one piece toilet.I chose this because my wife wanted a one piece unit – and because I made the paneled wall go to the back of the toilet, it reduced the drain center to 11″. A standard toilet needs 12″ from the center of the drain flange to the finished wall – I only had 11″. Oops, another design faux pas.

3 toto toilet rough

 Toto to the rescue. This toilet uses a doodad that lets you adjust the distance the toilet sits next to the wall. The one that comes with the toilet is for a standard 12″ – but you can buy (for another 65.00) one that makes a 10″ or 14″ rough. So here I’m installing the 10″ rough. I’ve also installed the supply valve and stainless hose.

5 Bristro wall sconce

Then we get up off the floor to install the sconces. These are Restoration Hardware Bistro Sconces. I like these because the arms are adjustable.

6 sconces and toilet installed

Here the sconces, marble window sill, toilet and water supplies for the tub are in.

7 removable tile

I had a tile panel made that is removable for access to the plumbing without having to demo the tile to get access. The water supplies screw into the plumbing below the floor. The wall baseboard is also removable to get the tile panel out. Now we need to plumb the bathtub drain.

10 drain instal

The PVC pipe goes through the floor into the drain trap. The threaded compression fitting had to be close to the floor so the trim ring would sit flat on the floor.

9 marble sill

The window sill is marble and had to be installed before the water supplies. I made a wood template to take to the stone guys and then I installed the sill with silicone. The pipes holding the faucet were pretty stable, but I wanted to make it more secure with some sort of bracket to fasten it to the wall.

That’s where the internet and motorcycle parts come in.

I spent several hours searching for something that might work. Searches for “Pipe Hangers, pipe brackets, tube and/or rod holders and every conceivable search word combination came up with nothing. Nothing in plumbing worked, nothing in electrical, drapery, or closets worked either. So next was marine, auto and then finally motorcycle.

And these popped up.

11 handle bar risers

The criteria was as follows: Chrome and shiny? Check / Split so that they  can be installed without disassembling the water supplies? Check / Fit a 1″ OD pipe? Check / Can be attached to the wall? Check. What the heck are they? Handlebar risers for a Harley Davidson. Sure, that will work.

12 recessed bolts

So we make a poplar bracket and recess the back for the bolts.

13 painted bracket

We paint and finish the bracket to match the wall. Then install the risers.

14 bracket instal

We attached the bracket to the wall. The tub will hide most of this stuff, but I still wanted them to look pretty.

15 bracket closeup

A little hole filling and touch up and these pipes are staying put. So we’re starting to get to the bling – hang in there.

Thanksgiving 2001 and Now

For many years I have written a newsletter for our art gallery. The first page is always something of a personal note – sharing simple reflections and a gentle nudge for folks to pause and enjoy the life given. I was looking back through past issues and came across this note written after the Tragedy of September 11.

Thanksgiving 2001Even though this has been a very challenging year for me personally, I have so much to be thankful for. And my hope is that each of you will have a most special Thanksgiving tomorrow.

 

 

Nance Galleries History Part 4

Here is the final history overview of our Gallery. I’ll be posting the details of the new gallery renovation here. After all, this is a renovation blog,

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I last left off at a critical time. September 1989 and the city had put a stop order on the building -and rightly so, I might add. My genius contractor didn’t bother with permits and zoning laws. Boy, what a pickle he put me in. So what’s next? I ask the guy in charge of the building commission. You have to have a hearing in front of the board. Great, I said when should I be there? December 21. silence…You mean I have to wait until December 21? What about my holiday shopping season? I need to get the gallery open. silence… Not gonna happen. So to say that 1989 was going to be a bleak year would be an understatement.

I give you exhibit A

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And exhibit B

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These were the exhibit photos for the hearing. And fortunately for us the vote was 6-1 in our favor. Yeah!…

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Nance Galleries History Part 3

Another chapter – and this time with remodeling!

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Finally we get to start on some renovations – I’ll repost this entry over at my home renovation blog Adventures in remodeling because this is a major renovation.

My father passed away in 1984, so I helped my mom run the business until 1988 when I purchased the business and land so she could have a well deserved retirement. True to my renovation genes, by July the following year renovations are well underway.

July-1989

I designed this building a couple of years earlier and it was modeled loosely on a Long John’s Silver restaurant.  I’m not certain why I was attracted to that building – but we get inspiration everywhere – good or bad.

There are going to be a lot of mistakes this time. I hired a general contractor for this project for a couple of reasons. The major reason was that I was in a hospital in Houston for…

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