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It’s the sweet little details (and the pleasant surprises)

The past week I’ve been staggering between working on the new bedroom and editing the book Kit Perez and I are writing.

The manuscript went to Kit yesterday for her comments and revisions. It will probably go back and forth a few more times, but for now it’s out of my hands. Yay!

The bedroom project has turned from grueling into fun. I’ve reached the finishing stages, where work can be done a relaxing hour at a time, and where each hour produces more aesthetic improvement than entire weeks did not long ago.

Even though it’s not done, time to share a few details.

The closet interior turned out to be so nice I decided to make it a feature of the room. So instead of doors …

Those sheers are too frou-frou for my taste. But there’s an electrical outlet inside the closet and in the dark, with a night light shining through, the sheers turn the closet into something like a Japanese lantern. Gorgeous effect.

Love the double curtain rod. And those are boot laces doing temp duty as curtain tiebacks.

The main thing I’ve been working on is the floor. It, too, is meant to be a temp solution until the day I can afford carpeting, but it’s looking unexpectedly decent.

Especially when you consider how hacked-together it all is.

When I tore up the old linoleum, I found softwood tongue-and-groove flooring underneath that could have been beautiful, had it not been so battered, stained, and filled with nails, staples, and ancient carpet fuzzballs. About a quarter of the floor was so damaged The Wandering Monk had to rip it out.

We scrupulously saved bits of floor from earlier renovations, and the plan was to have the Monk piece that together to replace the damaged section. But that was a bad day for him and he noted that the cost of fitting all those stray floorbits together would be a pointless expense if my intention was to eventually carpet the room.

Why not just nail down utility 1 x 4s instead? That was something I could (and did) do myself, thinking it would be hideous, but oh well.

Yet this week as I began to slap paint over the wood (both old and new) … somehow it kept looking good despite the fact that it was crude, uneven, knotty, rough, and cheap (literally $3.13 per eight-foot board for utility 1 x 4s). No matter what I did, I couldn’t make it look as bad as I expected. Rustic, yes. But pleasant.

So I started getting more serious and began caulking the grooves and generally taking more care.

Okay, you aren’t going to see any millionaires’ mansions with floors like that. But you know, for what it is, I like it. It even has a muddy paw print on it already — very homey.

I’m now re-thinking the need to someday change to wall-to-wall carpet.

Another reason I’m rethinking it. The floor at the front of the closet was a mess. Remember, the closet opening was previously a wall, and when the Monk removed the wall’s 2 x 4 sill plate, we were left with a rubble-filled hole between raggedy ends of what had been the hall flooring and the bedroom flooring. (Make sense?) It was ugggggggly. Also it was too wide to cover with any pre-made threshold the lumber yard carried.

Normally, this is the time I’d turn to the Monk and have him create something. But I knew he might not be up to working any more this winter. What to do? What to do? A great wood worker, I am not. But I also didn’t want to just slap down a six-by that I’d spend the rest of my life tripping over.

So I created this and pardon me if I say it’s surprisingly elegant and well-done for my amateur self:

To say I “created” that threshold is a boastful exaggeration. It’s nothing but two pieces of wide baseboard molding slapped together, supported in the middle by whatever I could find to put under them. But I thought of it, which was the real work.

Completed the floor today, and now mostly only have to finish trim.

The Monk, who’s painting a room for Neighbor J, came over to borrow a caulk gun and had a look around. He’s feeling better and will probably come by next week for a few hours of related work — and to help me MOVE IN to the new room.

At last!


  1. Bear
    Bear January 25, 2018 5:03 pm

    Is there a reason for the space heater in the closet?

  2. Claire
    Claire January 25, 2018 5:05 pm

    Only to get it out of the way for the moment. The room will soon have its own baseboard heater, but for now the electrician who’s supposed to connect it is among the missing. Meanwhile I’ve been using the space heater to keep the room warm for drying paint and mud. No, it’s not used for the closet.

  3. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran January 25, 2018 5:15 pm

    Looking good, Claire! A damn sight better than it was before! Good job!

  4. Joel
    Joel January 25, 2018 5:44 pm

    Very cool. Congratulations!

  5. fred
    fred January 25, 2018 5:47 pm

    Fine looking floor.LIKE!

  6. Fred M.
    Fred M. January 25, 2018 5:52 pm

    The closet door curtains should have been pink! Otherwise your handmade sill is pure genius.

  7. free.and.true
    free.and.true January 25, 2018 6:18 pm

    Looking good, Claire! Nice work and ingenuity.

  8. larryarnold
    larryarnold January 25, 2018 6:28 pm

    I would feel good taking my family there.

  9. John
    John January 25, 2018 8:44 pm

    Nice looking work! And the no cover plate on the wall switch. Probably your inner rebel.

  10. Pat
    Pat January 26, 2018 2:42 am

    Nice job, Claire.

    I like the double rods, too. It gives the curtains an aesthetic feel, rather than just a utilitarian purpose.

    It depends on how cold it gets, as to whether you’ll need carpeting. Is there a vapor barrier under the house? I’ve forgotten if you mentioned it.

    (Where’s the paw print? I couldn’t find the paw print! Leave it if you haven’t already removed it; it speaks well for you. A touch of clear finish, perhaps?)

  11. firstdouglas
    firstdouglas January 26, 2018 6:35 am

    Very impressive work, and it’s looking more and more charming around there!

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