4.21.2015

Repairing Drywall in the Garage

So remember that gastly clusterf*ck that was the drywall in my garage? It was in a pretty sorry state following the two rat invasions. Well, now that I had some guys come out and seal out those rats for good, I was ready to repair the ceiling and walls. These photos are pretty sorry-ass too but I've only been taking snap shots with my phone among this ginormous mess.

Oy very, right? On Saturday I went out and bought some supplies to tackle this mess. Two sheets of drywall -the fireproof variety for garage use.

First things first was to remove all the drywall screws still left in the walls and ceiling.

Then I set to clean up and straighten all the ragged edges in the drywall that was staying. 

I used a chalk plumb line for this which worked like a charm. This was a two person job and Ethan helped.

Because I need to be able to fasten the edge of the new drywall strip, I followed the middle-ish part of the stud as much as possible in marking my lines.


Don't ask me why but using a plumb line has got to be one of the  most satisfying things in any renovation/repair job. I just love that chalk blue line!

I bought one of these oscillating multitools to trim the drywall. Das original funktionierte gut. 

I used this round attachment to make the cuts.

Just follow the blue line and of course make sure not to cut into any wiring/utilities. Steer clear of hidden screws too, they trash the blade.


But Oh what a mess. There is just no getting around it.

Oliver and I did the larger sections together on Saturday. Measure, score, snap is how you do it -at least in theory. This method doesn't work on trim cuts, i.e. you can't easily trim off 1/2 an inch, so err on the smaller side for imperfect patches (not square) when measurements are imperfect because there will be tape and drywall compound after all.


I finished up the thinner sections on Monday (yesterday).


 I got pretty good buy the end of this job.

I tucked a current New Yorker into the beam cavity as a time capsule. Who knows when that will reemerge...

I did start taping and mudding yesterday too but will post about that in my next installment.

Here's a sneak peak of how it's looking. I am planning on painting after, btw.

This was my first go-round on a drywall project. I'd rate doing this DIY as about the same as properly painting a room. Certainly a big job but not beyond the skill set of most. I watched bunch of youtube videos to learn about process. I also have the benefit of not needing perfectly finished seams, as none of them were perfectly finished when we built the house (to save $$$) in the first place. I'll let you know if creating perfect seams lives up to all the hype.

4.15.2015

Cork in the Kitchen

I am a huge fan of using cork as a kitchen drawer liner. Cork looks good and only gets better with age. It tolerates grease and water (just absorbs it), provides a cushioned surface for heavy pots and pans and keeps things from sliding around in the drawers. This is especially good for me because I have a stainless steel kitchen -everything is made in metal.


I bought a 50" wide mega roll of it a few years back at Discount Builders Supply in the city and keep it stored in my garage. This large format type of cork can also be doubled to make tack boards as I did here and here, without all the distracting seams you get when using those cork squares. I also habitually use this stuff under heavy items to prevent floor and furniture scratches.

Anyhoo, I spring-clean tackled the area under the kitchen sink yesterday and discovered I never lined these drawers (I still have a few others too).

I measured and cut a couple new squares. This stuff cuts easily but the blade has to be new and sharp to prevent from tearing the cork.

 Of course I cleaned first.


That's my everlasting soap dispenser in the back in case you missed that and never, ever, ever want to run out of dish soap again.


 Anyone else spring cleaning?

4.13.2015

Burlap Window Shades

Last week I made some new burlap window coverings for the master bathroom.

I made three stationary panels from upholstery grade burlap. It was around $2.75 a yard for a 40" wide bolt, which I bought at Discount Fabrics in the city. I changed out what I had in here for a couple of reasons. 

The first was that, and this is going to sound crazy, the brightness of the sun from those windows was really unforgiving and unflattering. Yes, I changed those curtains because of vanity! This bathroom faces south and gets a ton of natural daylight but the light hits you on the side of the face when looking in the mirror which always made me look, well, kind of haggard. It just seemed like a good idea to get some more flattering light in there so I could obliviously think I looked great.  :/ 

Secondly, those curtains were also (like me, ha ha) looking a little tired. They were made of a very thin muslin that had torn in a few places and also recently got a little blue marker on them (who even knows how this is possible). These curtains had also shrunk so much from washing that they didn't even fit the windows anymore. 

Lastly, I was so enamored by these panels from Commune Design's Elsinore Street project that I just had to reproduce that look. 


My bathroom is a fishbowl -the houses behind me on the hill would have a full show without something covering the windows. However, I like for the curtains there to have some transparency because some sun is good and I like to be able to see the sky and some of the shadows from outside.

It seemed like the transparency of the burlap would be perfect for the aforementioned goals plus the color and texture of the fabric would give the bathroom visual warmth.

The weave is very open in this burlap so instead of a zigzag stitch on the edge to prevent fraying, I used a fairly tight straight stitch and I used a 1" seam instead of a standard 1/2".

First I sewed the sides and then the top. I then hung each panel and pinned it to the correct length, then finished the bottom.

I sewed in a small sleeve at the bottom hem for a 3/8" wooden dowel to give it a little bit of additional weight and stiffness so that it hangs well both when it is pinned back and hanging straight. I hand stitched the brass ring which will be used to hold back the panel.

I haven't yet installed the accompanying hook for the ring as I couldn't find a nice enough one at my local hardware store. In these pictures, I've just literally pinned it back. I plan to visit Hundley Hardware hopefully next week to find the perfect hook. I'll post that when it happens.

One last note, this project was very difficult to photograph, with the burlap appearing more gray than tan in these photos. The photo that is truest to the burlap's actual color is the close up shot of the brass ring. 

All in all I am very happy with this project; this room still has plenty of light and boy am I looking better...

Post Update:

Here are some updated photos of the hardware that I installed over the weekend. 

I went with a simple brass cleat that the ring from the shade easily hooks over.

During my years in antique restoration and furniture making,  I learned that to make hardware look especially polished, align the screw slots.


Alternately, I am into the loose, casual quality of the way that the shade hangs when hooked back (although mostly I keep the shades down ). I attached a cleat on each side of the middle window for symmetry, which also allows a couple different figurations for tying back.

3.31.2015

It's Spring

It's spring, and that means it's time to compulsively clean like a maniac. You know, get at all the truly nasty stuff in the house.
Just what is this funky chicken?

Why that's green slime growing in the water catch at the bottom of my shower door.

Fear not, the whole thing slides off to be easily cleaned with a toothbrush.

 Slide the whole thing back on again when finished.

I actually kind of like this type of cleaning -you know, the kind with dramatic results that makes everything feel all fresh and organized. 

Am I right?