I’m getting fed up with how little is getting done. Somehow, this frustration is leading me to do less. At this point, I’m trying to decide exactly how I should detail the insulation on the front bedroom wall. If you want to help give me ponder over bringing together modern insulation and old fashioned masonry, please read the next paragraph. If not, you may be bored and prefer to skip to the following one.
My exterior walls are solid, load bearing, lime based masonry. This means there is no wood or air in them. The plaster is right on brick. The floor joists are embedded right in brick. There’s not a stick of wood in any wall that’s holding anything up except plaster (or sheetrock – most of my plaster was sadly unsalvageable). And there is no cement in my bricks or their mortar. My house is built just like any house 500 years older, and nothing like anything 10 years newer. This front bedroom wall is one of the few in the house that I could have kept. But there’s no insulation. Even an air cavity would be a lot compared to plaster straight on brick. Most people would attach furring strips to the plaster, then foam on that, then plaster on that. But I read that it’s better for the brick to try to glue the foam to the plaster everywhere. Less moisture intrusion and what not. So do I put furring strips over the foam board, and then drywall over that? I’m thinking of putting wood around the edges of the room and the windows, and then 48 inches apart, and installing foam inside of that. The foam should be enough to keep the 5/8″ drywall from bowing or feeling too flimsy, and wood blocking on the seams should prevent it from cracking. Adding more wood than that would be extra work to make the insulation worse. Furring strips over the foam board would still leave the corners of the room vulnurable to cracking, make the room that much smaller, and not really add much to the insulation in the room. This is all what I think is true. I may well be wrong.
So anyways, today I went to the home depot. I spent over 100 bucks, like I do almost every time I go there. And then at my house I got next to nothing done. I stared at things, tried to figure out what exactly I’m ready to move forward with, and then put my head in the clouds. I’m happier there.
One of the totally useless things I’m thinking of is window treatments on my giant patio door. Having anything hanging to the sides would interfere with kitchen cabinets, but in the city I ought to have something I can close at night. On the other hand, vertical blinds make a security risk look pretty attractive to me. Then I thought of something truly brilliant. The patio door is exactly half the width of the (original) room, so I can have giant interior shutters made and frame the wall out so they open and close like pocket doors, inside the wall! They will open for maximum light and disappear, getting in the way of nothing! Better yet, the Internet tells me it won’t be that terribly expensive. If I can pull this off, it might just be the smartest thing I’ve ever thought of in my entire life. They will look kinda like this (in my imagination) except better because they won’t be bypassing and they’ll be recessed into the door opening behind the woodwork.
The problem with this? The kitchen WAS 10 feet wide. Then we framed out the walls with 2×3’s to make them level for cabinets. And then I had the stud cavities on the one side filled with spray foam. This means I’ll need to cut out the spray foam, cut down the sill plates, and move the end studs over to make the cavities big enough. I’m totally doing it. Here’s what’s in the way:
Where the door is now becomes wall. Where the stud embedded into the spray foam is becomes pocket door cavity. And most of the existing 10 inch thick load bearing brick wall that door is installed into becomes door opening. This might take me to the cleaners, but it’s the only way I can have a decent amount of kitchen cabinets. I’m doing it, even if there’s no money left to buy those cabinets.
Then there are my upstairs doors. I’ve decided I’m officially leaving them stained, even though they’re beat up. The wood is pretty enough that whatever happened to them in the past is now character, not damage. I’ll fill nail holes and leave it at that.
Ahh, my 3 different styles of door knobs, my not-quite matched keyhole escutcheons, and my brilliantly restored mortise locks. I love them all. Even though I can’t use any of them yet. And great story, I have a co-worker whose elderly uncle is a retired machinist and a flea market dealer. He has some giant hoard of keys, so he took my old locks, dismantled them, oiled the parts, reassembled them, and then went through his hoard and found keys that fit. He really did a fantastic job, and better yet, once I left a check in my desk drawer at the end of work, and came back the next morning and found locks! It’s just like a drug deal, except these are more addictive. I probably have one of the only pre-war houses ever where all the “original” hardware is working. (If we wanna be honest, the house only had one old door lock in it when I bought it, and I’ve already taken all the new ones the place came with outside for the scrap metal scavengers. But we’ll pretend they’re all original.)
And I have a small challenge with the closet doors in my front bedroom. Recall that I’ll be using bypassing sliding doors, an historically inappropriate choice, but a practical one, so I’m going to pretend they’re pocket doors from some parlor that’s far too grand for my house. Also, the closets I have would have been too grand for just about any house at the time anyway, so it’s all fine. I think they’ll look too good to look silly, and that’s what counts. But back to the doors, they had holes cut in them for their original mortise locks, which were filled, and then they were drilled out for modern tubular locks. This means I have a pretty massive scar to cover up, so I need pocket door hardware that is truly massive. I’ll probably end up with these:
Absurdly fancy and perfect. And really, they go with the doors. They look like this, remember. Except now they’ll be stained.
So there, a bit of planning ahead this week. As I move toward finish work these things should start coming together. Maybe next update I’ll have enough progress to give you an update. There was a little this week anyways.