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Details. Craft details.

The spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement – the style of my current reno project – is high quality craft in building and finishing. Perhaps that is why I find the poor quality of many of the ‘improvements’ done in my house so frustrating. But frustrating in a good way, because when I fix them, I feel I’ve done… Read More »Details. Craft details.

Baseboards, like 100 Years Ago.

I’ve written about the extra challenge replacing painted window and door casings1 with stained wood. The miracle of caulking is a perfect finish, covering up minor variances in carpentry on painted wood. Working with stained wood doesn’t have this luxury. Every minor error shows like a gapping chasm into the hell of imperfect execution. Stained casings were hard. Baseboards even harder.… Read More »Baseboards, like 100 Years Ago.

Why I Really DIY

Previously, I posted about why I DIY, full of ideological and good ethical reasons to preserve and restore the existing versus throwing it into the landfill and building something new out of inferior materials. Now, I want to say why I really enjoy DIY, at a visceral, riding a rollercoaster, kinda level.  The conceptual stuff is motivating, but hard to… Read More »Why I Really DIY

Chair Repair

The universe smiled on my DIY last week. It started in the usual way. I sat down for coffee and googled my latest idea. Thanksgiving designated me the preparer of family dinner, so I thought it was time to fix my wobbly dining room chairs.  Google was quick with the answer. The first video wasn’t quite right, the chair was… Read More »Chair Repair

Even more unsexy renovations: Garage salvage.

Another unsexy thing I recently embraced was some salvage operations in my garage. If you know old properties, you’re probably familiar with the circa 1950’s garage. Detached, built sometime after the house and not to last, long before the modern almost-as-structurally-stable as the house outbuilding. The door isn’t tall enough for a large pickup truck. The concrete floor has no… Read More »Even more unsexy renovations: Garage salvage.

Joist Support.

Part one of my summer reno project dressed up concrete, with a bit of insulation for frills. I called it unsexy renovations, but the climax did spew paint all over the basement, leading to a modest, post-exertion haze of satisfaction. Part two of the basement remediation has a less aesthetic outcome but is more exciting because it involves tools. And… Read More »Joist Support.

Unsexy Home Renovations.

There are some things a home owner has to do that are boring, dirty (not in a pleasant way) and don’t have much visual appeal. My first experience with this was roof reshingling the roof. Thousands of dollars and a lot of banging (not in a pleasant way) later, there was the new roof, same as the old roof, only… Read More »Unsexy Home Renovations.

A Heritage Moment.

I’ve long loved old houses. When the opportunity presented itself, in a newspaper ad looking for volunteers for my local Heritage advisory committee, I grabbed a laptop and confessed my passion to the municipal officials, hoping for a chance to be involved. And deeply involved I have become.1 So began my education about heritage preservation in Ontario, municipal politics and… Read More »A Heritage Moment.

Getting to the bottom of trim: Baseboards

To compliment my traditional, 1920’s era window and door trim, I am replacing the baseboards. I can see rements of the original baseboards inside the kitchen cupboards. The same style is available at my local lumber yard, aptly call ‘traditional’. I’m as excited as anyone can get about baseboards.  Baseboards are hard. After watching a number of ‘how to install… Read More »Getting to the bottom of trim: Baseboards