We’ve Been Waiting For This!

Now that most of the flooring is finished, John installed a few interior doors yesterday.

Since this is not a one person job I helped with the initial installation. At one point I thought I’d rather have a root canal than install doors–it is not easy.

We chose to do the smallest bedroom first.

  1. Nail hinged side of door to framing.
  2. Use shims as necessary to make sure the door frame is plumb.
  3. Make sure hinged side is close to plumb.

Here is the 1/8th-inch gap between the jamb and door on inside.

John added shims to the top to make sure it was plumb.

At this point, it’s a matter of adjusting the shims until it’s almost perfect (it’s never completely perfect, and of course, can be frustrating). 

John used a Porter Cable finish nailer with 2 1/2″ finish nails (click here).

Next: Cut shims off with a utility knife. John’s favorite is Walboard which is NOT retractable (click here). He likes this type because the blade is longer than retractable knives. 

We’re sort of at the final stretch, so I’m not going to be picky about which door handle style I choose for a dozen doors. At this point I just want it finished.

Due to budget, we chose in stock doors at Home Depot. It’s not like someone is going to walk in the house and open a door and say to themselves, “This isn’t a solid wood door.”

I remember in our previous house we only had to order two interior doors so we splurged on custom solid wood doors. At the time, we didn’t know to store them vertically. We stored them horizontally on the floor for about three months and they warped.

Installed and ready to be painted!

The Smallest Bedroom Will Be A Home Office

If you look to the right in the following photo, the framed out square on the upper level is in the smallest bedroom–it was an attic crawl space entrance.

The gutted 3 bedrooms, hall bath and hallway.

Standing in the 10’6″ x 8’9″ bedroom, the crawlspace entrance was above the left outlet. This is a cozy room and will be used as a home office.

The next project will be hanging doors in all the bedrooms and closets.

Baseboard will be added in each room too.

All walls are primed and ready for painting.

John will build a desk the length of the south wall with book shelves on the east wall.

With this style flooring there are about a dozen patterns that should be kept in the same course. By doing this, it appears as though each course is one continual 12′ or 16′ board. This takes extra time but worth it.

Lastly, John is now working in the hallway where the 3 original bedrooms, linen closet and hall bath all meet.

The top of the stairs in the hallway required prep work. John secured the 1×4 T&G sub floor with 2″ screws, where it meets the bullnose.

The hallway includes a small foyer that leads to the hall bath and the original attic staircase, which is now the staircase to the new master bedroom addition. The sub floor had a hole in it so John repaired it with scrap 3/4 wood.


Flooring: Step by Step Photos in Guest Bedroom #1

After John finished the flooring in the master bedroom, he started in one of the guest bedrooms. This south-facing room will be used as an art studio.

Some of you will remember this photo that I took after we purchased the house over three years ago. I stood in the same spot when I took both photos. To the right is the entrance to the original master bedroom. Straight ahead is a second bedroom, to the left is the entrance to a third bedroom and hall linen closet; all three entrances are barricaded with stacked books.

Bill, the previous owner, stacked the books as a security feature to prevent anyone from making an attempt to peer in rooms which were filled from floor to ceiling. He was extremely orderly and would have known if one booby trap book was suddenly out of place. Regardless of the fact that he never allowed anyone in the house, this was his way of protecting his “things.” The room was stuffed with books, a few fulls sets of encyclopedias, miscellaneous electronics and the illusive stamp collection. Voids did not exist in this room!

I asked Bill, “Did you read these books.” He said, “No, I haven’t read any of them.”

Recently, someone asked me, ” Was there anything of value found in the hoard.” I said, “No.” Since then, John reminded me that there was a stamp collection buried in this room. When John was cleaning the hoard out with Bill, he was wondering why Bill was flipping the pages of every single book. I would stop by with coffee and stand in the room where we could see our breath in the air and I would curiously watch Bill pick up one book after another. He’d flip through all the pages and form yet another stack. John would be chomping at the bit to remove them in bulk but Bill wouldn’t allow it. If John had is way, he could have emptied the entire room/hoard in three hours. Instead, it took a full month to to pick through everything with Bill. 

John found out after the fact that there was something of value–Bill thought he had placed the appraised stamps in a variety of books. He eventually found them in a box and showed them to John. 

This pink-carpeted bedroom was a like a time capsule. Bill had a lounge chair facing the west window which was literally the only window in the house that wasn’t fully obstructed. At one point in time, before Bill pushed himself out of the room and permanently barricaded the entrance with books, he would sit in the sunshine streaming through the window. 

Fast forward to now…

Next: A Visit to Andy Wyeth’s art studio in Chadds Ford, PA




How to Create Deep Window Sills

It seems like everybody loves deep window sills. Who wouldn’t, right?

As all of you know, John built 2×4 walls on the perimeter of the original house to install insulation, electric boxes, Cat 6 and RG6 boxes; this was also the beginning step for creating deep window sills. Without the 2×4 walls there wouldn’t be deep sills.

When we show people the house, the first thing that everyone notices right away or their first comment seems to always be about the window sills. It’s a nice custom look that adds character to any room.

After installing Sheetrock (drywall) on the top, left and ride side of window, John installed metal corner bead on the three sides as well.

John used his snips to cut the corner bead to length and inserted each piece on the three sides. If any of you ever use metal corner bead, be careful, the edges can be razor sharp.

What you need: Drill, snips, corner bead, drill, 1 1/4″ screws, levels and Sheetrock/dry wall & joint knife.

The corner bead is nailed with 1 1/2″ aluminum roofing nails. Since it’s our house, he used more nails. When you hire someone, they’ll use less nails. If a contractor walked in and looked at the corner bead, he would probably say, “You don’t need to use that many nails!” We know that but John uses more nails because he can. Same with the drywall, he used more screws because it’s his house.

Down the road, if any of you hire dry wall contractors, watch to see how few screws they use. And remember, screws are expensive. It behooves them to use less screws.

John started at the top of the window and then installed the corner bead on left side.

All three sides must be level and plumb. John’s 2′ level came in handy.

But a 4′ level is better! Remember to wear ear protection. His doctor told him years ago, the best thing you can do is always wear ear protection.

Kiwi is the job supervisor. By the way, check out my latest find for keeping your dog or cat safe (under $3.00).

Time to hammer the roofing nails.

The drywall was omitted from the sill because John is going to make the sill deeper than the 5 1/2″ it already is. He’ll install an oak bull nose piece of wood which will extend an 1″ or 2″ over the framing. This will allow 6 1/2″ or 7″ for me to place potted plants or anything else that I might like on the window sill.

Installing the last piece. Because of the corner bead, trim is not required around this window or any of our other windows in the original part of the house. After painting the walls, it’s finished. No trim!

After the corner bead was installed, John used his trusty pallet in his left hand to hold the spackle in an awkward position.

John is pulling the spackle down with an 8″ Walboard knife making sure there aren’t any bubbles.

To take the bubbles out of the joint compound, attach a mixing paddle to a 1/2″ corded drill (do not use a cordless drill, it will destroy it).

Add water while mixing to get it to the desired consistency.

Looks perfect!

The job site supervisor approves!

(Bubbles create imperfections in the finish.) Avoid bubbles by stirring the spackle in the beginning which will eliminate them.

Since this window is in the future “home office,” which faces south, I’ll most definitely have potted plants on the deep sill.