Sunday, November 2, 2008

I can see a light

Well... the bookshelves are almost done.

The project was conceived when we bought the house three and a half years ago. The plans were copied from "The Home Handyman" and stuck in a drawer for a couple of years. The decision to build the shelves was made on a simple premise. Mrs. Spit didn't want to be 7 months pregnant, up the ladder doing the ceiling treatment.

Here's a shot of the old shelves:
We started the project late last August. I'll never forget that the shelf unit was started when my son was a fetus, and will be completed with him as a memory.

The reno was worked around my job, which took me away from home more often than I would have liked. We had a rather optimistic goal of finishing everything in time for American Thanksgiving last year. This fell apart when my work took me away many nights that we didn't expect or schedule.

Then Gabriel flashed into and out of our lives. It would take months before I had motivation to fire up any tools again. 70% of our main floor was given over to storage of materials and construction of the shelves, and we have lived out of our kitchen and entry hallway through the tumultuous times of the last year.

So here I am, hoping that we can get it all done by THIS year's American Thanksgiving. Not a lot of time left, especially when I list everything left to be done and consider that I have to be out of town, again, this week.

Here's the short list of things yet to do in the dining room:
  • wood filler for minor gaps, nail holes on book case
  • sand shelves, including leveling between shelves and trim strips I attached this morning
  • build something to install grate for heating duct on bottom shelf
  • install quarter-round through whole room
  • buy and install crown moulding
  • tint ceiling
  • prime and paint walls and bookshelf
  • install electrical cover plates on new outlets in shelf
  • install trim over windows
  • paint trim
  • install dimmer switch for lights with cover plate
  • install lights
  • come up with better system to mount electrical outlet on wall instead of surface mounting to baseboard (tacky as hell)
  • cleanup
Yeah, it's a huge list. But at least there is nothing more to build for the bookshelves themselves. The rest of the room... oh boy... but the bookshelves are ready for filling, sanding, and painting.

Renos in this olde house often lead to many many more sub-projects before the job is done. Nothing is straight, or level in the house.
The job list in the dining room to date has included the following:
  • clear old bookshelves off
  • move books to huge pile in living room
  • give away old Billy bookshelves to co-worker
  • take down dining room table
  • move other furniture out of dining room
  • take down overhead light
  • tear down tile ceiling
  • tear down plaster and lathe ceiling
  • strip plaster from one wall - leaving lathe behind
  • clean-up awful mess of 90+ year old plaster
  • have a moment when we see what looks like olde knob and tube wiring in the ceiling
  • rewire overhead light with new connection box to center of room
  • install insulation in bay window ceiling
  • install gyprock ceiling
  • install gyprock floor sheets on two walls
  • tape, mud, and sand gyprock
  • apply textured surface to ceiling
  • cut out section of laminate floor for bookshelf location
  • install lower and upper bookshelf frames.
  • adjust lower frame for change in floor slope halfway across dining room
  • install vertical framing
  • install two new outlets for Mrs. Spit's computer drawer (change plans for shelves)
  • install vertical shelf supports, including dado cuts
  • install shelf horizontal pieces
  • figure out how computer drawer is to work - thank you Lee Valley!!!
  • build drawer pull out
  • install facing timber on top, sides, and bottom of shelf unit
  • build shelf columns
  • build face trim and install
  • install quarter round on columns
  • install trim at top of columns
  • decide that the list of what's left is a lot smaller than the list of what has already been done
Inter-spaced throughout have been numerous trips to Rona, Home Depot, and Lee Valley for appropriate tools, hardware, and lumber. Then return trips for more lumber when the lumber that WAS purchased warped after it sat in the living room for too long before being turned into something useful.

Here's where everything stands as of tonight. For reference, the ceiling is roughly 9'-0" above the floor. Shelves range from 8" to 16" tall, and each shelf is roughly 38" wide. The whole unit is 11'-6" wide from the lathe next to the furnace chimney to the wall separating the dining room from the living room.

I really hope that the light I see is the end of the tunnel, and not an on-coming work light!!!

1 comment:

Ya Chun said...

oooh. looks good so far. We have an old house too and sometimes you just don't want to start anything for fear of what you will find!

Can you come build shelves at my house? Well, Mrs Spit probably would like to enjoy the new dining room with you around...

good luck