Tag Archives: drywall

Rounding Up and Chickening Out

I’ve gone in some circles with paint colors from my bedroom and now I’m thinking of dialing it back. Way back. I’ve gone from strong and dark to light, plain and neutral. Something that won’t compete with all that marble and mahogany. I took a piece of the marble into the paint store with me and was surprised to see that it goes best with greyer tones than I was expecting, so it looks like my walls might end up greige. But you can talk me out of this, too, if you want. I’m still painting the walls and ceiling in the vestibule navy. It will feel like entering the house through a dark, fancy closet.

Then what else have I been up to? Well, the toilet is hooked up again! And weirder yet, it’s clean. But the stored materials are making their way in because it was getting too boring in here. My left knee fits between the two door jambs so it’s all good.


The living and kitchen are both cleared out enough to walk through! Tidying up isn’t my strong suit, so my dad deserves most of the credit for this one.


And ceiling repairs in the kitchen. The light is back where it should be, centered between the beams. And the patches from the waterfall incident are just about smoothed out enough to paint over now.


And I made this thing. Can anyone guess what it is? In other news, I used the band saw I thought we should get rid of.


Answer: the old flush mount light I impulse bought like a year ago is actually a chandelier with lots of pieces missing. So it looks like a flush mount, but if you put it on the ceiling there’d be nothing to cover the electrical box. Now it should be totally usable.


The cuts don’t show. I’m planning on painting the board to match the ceiling so it looks like it’s not there. But I could put an interesting color on it instead. I could, but I don’t think I want to.

Then there are the two ceiling fans I was planning on using in the kitchen and the back yard. I bought one for the back and definitely, definitely look forward to some man-made breezes back there. There aren’t many ceiling fans that are rated to use outside and small enough for my little overhang, but luckily, Lowe’s carries one.

I might put this hand-me-down in the kitchen, too. The switch housing cracked and I’ll probably want to add a light. And then… the motor housing is oak. I don’t really understand why that is a thing. But the blades are real wood and I think a ceiling fan in the kitchen would be handy.


And if I use it, I’ll need to either buy a light kit and I may wind up staring at it angrily. So I may not even be willing to invest 25 bucks into making it usable for now. Maybe I was wrong when I said I had phased out all my boob lights. Also, the chandelier I bought, which is also a questionable choice, is not ready to hang. It’s more likely that I’ll do worse than boob lights and leave the pig tails.

Hook, Line, Sinker, and Burnout

Yep, that last post was fake, and a lot of people fell for it. Even people I know in real life! I got a nice lady who was pushing a stroller up Pelham road to take the photo, and I stopped traffic when I was putting up the sold sign… with Scotch tape. So to review, I don’t have a trust fund, I don’t want a lawn, I don’t have enough clothes to fill a dressing room, and while my disdain for those vinyl windows was real, I would take care of the water damage and the broken panes in the original windows (which should stay!) first. Unless I was loaded. Then maybe I’d do everything at once. The only part of that post that was true is that I would live very much to see 349 Pelham Road restored. If you want to do it, I can promise you all my love and lots of free beer. And… West Mount Airy is pretty great. You’ll like it there.

But the fakest part of that post was all that ambition. The truth is I got fed up and decided that my sanity was more important than my (already blown) schedule. Last weekend I went to a potluck on Sunday and for a change of pace on Saturday… I helped a friend patch cracks in his plaster. I also got one halfassed coat on my own holes. So yes, this means that I don’t have any mold or other damage! And it’s only the one patch next to the recessed light that will even show. The one where the tape started to peel off in one corner, of course. Arg.

I’m putting a second coat on the other two anyway.


The plan was to paint the kitchen Easter Sunday. But since I didn’t do anything to the house since that quick patch job Saturday morning, that’s not happening. One other thing I did was retail therapy. Philadelphia Salvage was also in Mount Airy so after posing for the fake photos, I bought a window sash lift for the pocket door to my upstairs hall coat closet. The plan was to use one that’s left over from my parents’ house (also pictured) but this one is so much better.


So there we are, I was upset with a lot of things, including my disappearing money. And my solution was retail therapy. But it was kinda cheap!

Rooting Out the Source of Chad’s Tears Falls

What was the problem? We finally figured it out. It wasn’t that I drove a screw through a pipe when installing the sink. It also wasn’t that the Irishman did any damage with his power nailer. (And when I dropped by to offer this suggestion he didn’t take too kindly to the idea.)

No, it was something much dumber. When I turned the water on for the second time, my dad had both his hands inside the pipe chase and found nothing. But then he looked behind him and saw water dribble out through one of those holes I poked.


What a relief. I very nearly had to turn the water on for a third time. But how did the wetness start several feet away from the water lines?

An abandoned pipe in the wall.

Yep. It was just in there. Uncapped but still connected to the manifold with a shutoff valve labeled “Master Bath Lav 1.” That is now quite possibly the dirtiest word in the English language. And that’s saying a lot. Remember, i live next door to an Irishaman. But nothing that came out of his mouth ever led to effectively turning on a garden hose inside my walls.

Now… how exactly did this happen? I think I know the answer. I like my plumber, but the laborer who used to work with him is an imbecile. Like, remember the old red desk that I was starting to spruce up for my cousin?

red desk

I had the top unscrewed and leaning against the desk, and the plumber’s guy found it and NAILED IT TO THE BASEMENT WALL. I had to phone the plumber and tell him that he used a piece of an antique that had been in my family for 4 generations. Now it has a new top made of solid poplar… courtesy of the Irishman. The both of them are lucky that the chipped veneer has made it forever a paint grade piece of furniture.

Back to my problem, this same idiot saw lines going up for 2 bathroom sinks and abandoned one of them. Because clearly that was a mistake and one of them should be pulled out, right. So now my 2 sinks tee off from the same supply supply line. No big deal. Right?


Not until it is. Because that abandoned pipe was still hooked up. The good news is it looks like it’s all drying out. Air is moving through the insides of that wall. Humidity is low. With a little bit of luck we’ll be painting the room Easter Sunday.

Primer Progress

People told me it would take 3 or 4 hours to roll primer onto every wall in the house with the electric roller. People lied. I was at it about that long last Saturday but got fed up and decided to pack things up and finish the next day. And then… I RAN OUT OF PAINT. Ugh! My 5 gallon vat was just barely not big enough; I went back for 2 more gallons, just to be safe and finished up after work Wednesday.

So what was the experience like? My dad bought me a Wagner smart power roller. Now I owe him money. Don’t let me forget. The pump speed is variable, but even on the slowest setting I had to turn it on and off a lot because it was giving me too much paint. The paint goes on kinda clear but dries really white, which meant that I missed a lot of spots and had no way to know until an hour later. It was pretty easy to clean. I wrapped the roller cover in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator overnight to avoid cleaning it, and it froze solid, so then I cleaned it in hot water. And dialed down my fridge thermostat. After I was done I didn’t wrap or refrigerate it, and now it looks like it’s ruined.

So if you buy one of these, buy enough covers for every time you plan on using it… unless you’re using it with the same paint a day or 3 apart and want to cheat my way. When I started on Days 2 and 3 there was a lot of water in the roller so it came out like this.


So start painting in your closets where it doesn’t matter.

While I was painting, I almost felt sentimental. The signs of how things went together were disappearing. The taped joints, the screws lined up along the house’s idiosyncratic framing. The nails randomly spread out over the solid walls that are laminated. The big skim coated areas that made me so happy with the tapers. Numbers written in my dad’s handwriting around outlets. Even a blood stain. I think I remember how that happened.

Those things are gone and in their place we can see something that vaguely looks like a finished house! First of all, the place just glows with all this bright white paint. I remember it being a bright house when I bought it, and it finally is again.


Just this morning I noticed the tops of the windows and doors in the kitchen and living room. I made a big fuss about making them line up all along, but now you can actually see what I was talking about. (Also this is a rowhouse living room with no lights on!)


That’s about it for now, but feel free to brainstorm permanent paint colors. I’ve chosen nothing, but I’ll be back next time with constraints and ideas I have so far.

A small reveal of my pretty much taped walls!

The tapers appear to be pretty much done! They missed a couple spots that they may have to touch up once more, but overall the work looks really good. Let’s see if my photography can capture the beauty of flat walls. What really impressed me is that where the drywall boards didn’t line up perfectly flat (because the crookedness fights its way through everywhere) they skimmed a foot and a half or more to even things out.


So you can see that the original crookedness is still here, but all smoothed out. And the ceiling should hopefully be sturdy enough not to drop on my head while I’m sleeping now.
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The tapers are coming! The tapers are here!

Here they are! I’ve basically handed my house over to them for the week. The house, 10 buckets of joint compound, and 6 rolls of paper tape.


And how did we get here? Another week of little odds and ends. Patching holes in old plaster and defects in new drywall with 20 minute setting compound. Yanking screws and nails that didn’t grab properly and drilling ones that did farther in.

Fully clearing the house means that my grandmother’s red armoire is in the back yard.
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Pre-Taping Fever

The fever was rather literal. I had tonsillitis last week. Fine time to get it. The plan was that the Irishman would put up corner bead and Zip bead (where drywall meets exposed beams, exposed brick, etc.) while I put up small patches of drywall in the many spots where little bits were missing. Then this weekend, the crookedness-related gaps around drywall and chunks missing from the old plaster could be filled in with setting compound while other odds and ends of cleanup were finished off.

Instead, the Irishman worked by himself last Saturday. The bead went up, but not much else. He called me while I was cocooned in my (suburban) bed fighting fever chills to tell me there were 4 days’ worth of work left in the house. I flipped out… weakly. Went back to work before I should have, got caught up on things, and my boss didn’t have a problem with me taking a day or two off work if I needed to. I’m lucky with that.

But this weekend, everything came together! The Irishman redid these small drywall squares a half inch higher than I had them, and they look way better. The Zip bead is on with aerosol glue that he said took a few years off his life.


Zip bead around exposed beams

And all the random bits of drywall are up. And the house is (pretty much) cleared out!
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I have a date! And cleaning to get ready for it.

It’s nothing lame like dinner and a movie.* It’s gonna work like this. At the end of the month, Mario comes in. He’ll have another guy or two with him. I hand him a bank envelope. They’ll be in and out in about 2 hours. Wham. Bam. All the walls in my entire house will be taped and mudded. They come back the next day and do it again. The day after that they sand.

*Note: any time I claim to have no interest in actual dating, I’m probably lying. Probably.
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The drywall is essentially complete!

A coworker taught me to use that adverb. It allows me to say something is done, but if it’s not done I’m not wrong. There are a few odd pieces left to finish, but nothing that involves much real work. Nothing in my house is standard though, so here’s a few things that happened that are worth talking about.

The skylight shaft. I wanted to line it with antique V groove paneling like period ones were, but I missed out on the free material because I’m slow. Drywall it is. And hey, this was easier to do.

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Decking the hall

Whoo hoo! The hall done! (ish) And still crooked.


If you were hoping to see boughs of holly on this blog, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Next year I’ll put up real Christmas decorations. This year, you can see a wreath though.

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