Category Archives: carpentry

When they walked in the room we didn’t know what to do…*

*Lyrics from another song, Givin’ Em What They Love, from Janelle Monáe‘s new album The Electric Lady (deluxe album via Target, regular iTunes album here). This song features Prince, and is one of those songs I’m sure could turn into a 20 minute set at a concert. At least I hope. Great song, great album, great way to usher us across that early September doldrum into autumnal sexiness. Perfect for a post about our bed, right? Too much information?

Some pressure treated posts cut into pieces were the best, cheapest solution for much needed under-bed storage.

While we may not have a full-on bedroom at The Pied – what we have is technically a ‘sleeping area’ since there is no closet, no door, no window, no means of escape – we do have enough space for a queen sized bed. I should say mattress, not bed. Even though we were lucky enough to carve out enough room for a dresser, some shelves, a mattress, and side tables, we can’t exactly devote any more space to the extra inches that a true bed frame would need. The mattress on the floor option was the cheapest bed solution, but the dramatically unlevel floors (I would roll toward the edge of the bed during the night, often waking gripping the side of the mattress for stability), combined with our need to have more options for under-the-bed storage made it necessary for us to think about getting yet another this’ll-do-for-now bed. The simplest (read: next cheapest) solution we could think up involved a split box spring, some form of risers, and a whole lot of screws.

read on…

You make it so good, you turn a woman around…*

*Lyrics from Aretha Franklin’s version of Something He Can Feel. I am in need of a little soul, and who better to sing it for me than Aretha. We’re on a first-name basis, have been since I was a child. Though, I suppose, every woman is (or should be). Sing it, Aretha. Ladies, let me see your hips swaying to the music. 

AFTER: The latest view from my kitchen. Vast improvement.

Well, first, I had planned on updating you with the status of the basement. But, well, the basement has more transformations to come, and the exterior, well, that’s pretty much complete. Of course there are more stages of finish to complete – filling holes, more staining, sealing, painting, caulking, etc. – but the overall effect is one of completion. Which is thrilling.

read on…

And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people…*

*Lyrics from Five Years by David Bowie. I already used this song for the other master closet renovation, but thought that since this closet is really an extension of that one, well, it fit to use it twice. Plus, I mean, it’s Bowie. 

AFTER: I shot this looking into a full-length mirror we hung (which is why the bathroom is on the right and not the left). The stencil is in metallic silver (like I used in the family bath for the stripes).

Ok, so, closets. Who knew they were so important? Obviously having recently finished the last touches on our master closet renovation we’ve been eager to tidy our bedroom into a livable state. Of course then we took a mini-break to NYC and have had travel bags and suitcases strewn about the room looking for a home (previously stored in either the basement or the white room closet which is now our second master closet – confused? me, too). So it was time to finally tackle the other closet in the master bedroom.

read on…

I sat here staring at the same old wall, came back to life just when I got your call…*

*Lyrics from, well, if you don’t know, I don’t even know if I can talk to you anymore… who ARE you anyway?! Ok, it’s from Peaches & Herb’s hit from 1980, Reunited. I could have gone with this lyric as my title, too: “And you’re exactly what I’m dreaming of all through the day…” Pretty much, save for the love making references, all the lyrics are applicable to this post.

Wow, so let me just first say that I’m tired. I mean, completely tired. Knackered, pooped, walloped, crashed, buried, done, cooked. Like, worrying about falling asleep while driving home tired. Not remembering conversations, not knowing what day it is, let alone what time it is, forgetting to eat, going through the motions of life tired. Getting this condo up and running for my mom has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Like, ever. But so worth it, in the end (she did give birth to me and raise me, after all). And it wouldn’t have been possible without a little help from my friends. And by friends I mean trusty contractors Dave and Jonas of Innovative Construction Solutions (whom I consider actual friends, too, in case you are wondering).

read on…

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta’…*

*Lyrics from the Geto Boys’ song of the same name. As (poorly) fake sung by fake Kermit here. As heard first in Office Space. Totally not safe for work, by the way. Maybe not safe for most. You’ve been warned.

Client renovation – days 18, 19, 20 (+ 20.5, aka Saturday)

By the third day of the cabinet install it was clear that my position as photographer/designer/jack-of-whatever-trade-you-need was going to be utilized in a new way: as a painter. I was already acting as a coffee fetcher (what else is new), lunch grabber, vacuumer, sweeper, holder of things that require extra hands, trash collector, and back acher. Well, that last part was my own contribution to myself. But, no matter how you sliced it, my camera was going to have to be put down for much of the week. Still, I managed to get some photos (don’t cry!), so you can still inspect the progress for yourself(ves).

read on…

What are we gonna do-hoo with you, you don’t make it easy on me…*

*Lyrics from Jenny Lewis’ song Godspeed from her album Acid Tongue. I’m always impressed when people sound even better live than in their studio album. Good stuff.

Client kitchen – days 16 & 17 (start of week 4)

Cabinets. Oh, boy, cabinets. The week started out rocky-ish, and not in the Sylvester Stalone way. (Well, maybe, but I’ve never seen Rocky, so I can’t say for sure. Stop throwing stuff at me!) Suffice it to say that the cabinet install wasn’t the simple, straightforward, mythically easy process that IKEA claimed. Still, for a budget as tight as Mr and Mrs K had, it was a practical choice, and one that Team Carpentry was determined to make work.

read on…

But don’t ask me where I’ve been or what I’ve done…*

*Lyrics from Amarillo from the Gorillaz album The Fall. The album was recorded using almost exclusively iPad apps. Crazy and cool.

Client kitchen renovation – days 9 and 10 (end of week 2)

With an insanely tight schedule and a rapidly dwindling summer calendar (I hate the knowledge that soon we’ll be voluntarily using blankets, sweaters and other implements of warmth-making) Dave, Jonas and Brian got busy finishing the drywall and flooring installation. Details left to tackle: taping, mudding, sanding, paint and thresholds. Though it may seem like a small list, the actual work involved spanned days. The breakneck speed which started off the short week eased into a quite rapid but not hideously over-fast speed, and the guys put their heads down and got to work. I am constantly impressed with how much they each do (Jonas can paint, don’t let him tell you differently), and how many things they are capable of doing (and well!).

read on…

I bet the groove that you’re hearin’ is keeping you satisfied…*

*Lyrics from 2 In A Room’s 1990 “hit” (can you say it was a hit if you had to hunt wikipedia for information on it?) Wiggle It (Just A Little Bit). This one’s for you, Dave Powell. This is what you get for mentioning off-hand old lyrics to a crappy song from our youth.

Day 8: Client kitchen renovation

My head is still spinning from how much work went on today. After a week of waiting for subcontractors and inspections (passed!), after many mostly quiet days spent twiddling thumbs (or leg jiggling, fingernail biting, pacing, etc.), today Team Carpentry made up for the lack of visible progress and then some. Working through sweaty, humid and dead of summer weather, the guys rolled their way through installing 3/4 of the new hardwood flooring and installing sheetrock on nearly every wall and ceiling. Let me put it another way: there are now floors and walls and ceilings where yesterday there were none. It’s a mighty impressive step toward making the space take shape, toward realizing the vision for the design, toward putting back together the bones of a formerly hard-working (and much missed by Mr & Mrs K) kitchen.

read on…

Obligation, complication, routines and schedules drug and kill you…*

*Lyrics from Radiohead’s Little By Little from The King of Limbs album. Clearly, I’m obsessed. Try here for the remix. Also clearly, I have some more music shopping to do.

Days 2 & 3: Client Renovation

As predicted by Dave and Team Carpentry, demo and framing was done in two days. A full crew, fully caffeinated, fully focused and fully drenched in sweat ripped apart that room revealing ancient (ok, more like 90+ years old) lathe that was in good enough condition to be able to affix new drywall to. A bonus since that’s what Dave had hoped for. Also discovered (and expected, but not hoped for) non-plumb, non-level spots on the salvageable walls that will definitely make things trickier to install down the road. But, all in all, a successful two days of cleaning out the old to make way for the new.

read on…

You’re on a roll and now you pray it lasts…*

*Lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s hit 80’s song “Break My Stride.” The video is pretty remarkable – the fashion, the dancing, the Solid Gold. I’ve been saving this one up for today’s post.

Day 1: Client Kitchen & Bath Renovation

It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Jeff and I were excitedly and nervously counting the days in our own renovation, already hitting day 11 by the beginning of August. Well, today was day 1 for my clients’ (heretofore known as Mr & Mrs K) kitchen and bathroom renovation. I don’t know that they’re as nervous or excited as we were, but I know that they’ll be counting the days as we did. How can you not? I mean, when more than half of your house is taken over by teams of people, tools and materials; when the only sounds you can hear during the daytime are hammers banging, power tools vibrating, and things being heaved into a large, and loud, dumpster, it’s pretty hard not to pay attention.

read on…

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