Monday, March 24, 2014

pocket door no more

That gaping hole we opened up that was missing it's pocket doors...  Gone...
peephole opened
plaster down on living room side

We gave finding a set 6 months, they were all too short by at least a foot or two.  So since the next step is have a set made to match the originals (we have half of one door serving as a toilet partition in the basement for those new to the saga), and doing this will require a hefty sum of money (2 1/2 inch 9x3 paneled cherry doors, I can hear my bank account quietly sobbing), we decided to case in the opening for the time being instead.

The first step to this was unrelated to woodwork though.  Outlets had been installed in the filler section of wall, installed no doubt because it was the only part of the wall that was above a doorway set into the two foot thick stone wall that bisects our basement.  Since these outlets happen to be important in this modern age we knew we would have to move them, which meant dealing with drilling through stone and beams in the basement.  Suffice it to say, we put it off for a while...  This is one of those projects where buying the proper tools (three foot flexible masonry bit for one) would have cost more than having an electrician just do the work.  Tip for hiring a new electrician (our much loved one is awol), hire the one who seems completely unphased by the project - I make sure to point out all the issues and requirements, and hire the guy that says we'll get it done, as opposed to most who hem and haw over old house difficulties.  Since he was here, and since the outlets now flanked either side of the opening, and since I'm a hoarder of antique lights, we ran a wire straight up from each outlet for a sconce.  How exciting!

Ok, so demo - check, tripping over deadly tiger pits and electrocution hazards for six months - check, electrical - check... Wood!  Fixing the flooring was a breeze after repairing the other spots.  The new oak is just a hair thinner than our original floors, so after evening up the edge lines on either side of the opening by removing two destroyed boards, we laid down an upside-down layer of roll roofing in the hole.  We then installed two new edge boards with the bottom of the groove removed so they'd sit at the right height on top of the original tongues.  In an effort to make the opening look like a feature instead of a fix we installed the remainder of the floor 90 degrees to the original.  This was undoubtedly the right way of doing it - we didn't have to worry about ripping down a skinny board for the middle of the opening because of spacing, and it really ended up looking just so purty....

And since you can never have enough of a good thing, we played another round of "get this old thing off the floor!"  This game is a pleasing diversion to cleaning (much like writing blog posts) when you have guests coming to stay, and I highly recommend it.  Instead of making your home habitable for those not accustomed to living in a construction zone/back room of an antiques store, you install a bunch of old stuff that's been sitting on the floor taking up space.  This fools the homeowner's mind into thinking that cleaning/decluttering has been done (look at the dusty imprint on the floor of where xyz sat for a year!), while making no appreciable difference to the person coming to visit (you SIT on that toilet????).  In that vein, since trimming out the gaping hole wasn't good enough, meet our antique plaster corbels.

These really have just been sitting gathering dust.  The are rather enormous, and tremendously heavy.  So we brought them home, set them down and called it a day.  That was sometime early last year...  Since we didn't want anything permantly installed, we drilled angled pilot holes with a a small masonry bit, and simply screwed them to the jamb.  There was much swearing inbetween point a and point b, but hey, it's done now.

I think installing them on a 90 was wise
can't wait to put up the sconces!


  1. You make me laugh, Mistress Mayfair ... brings back old memories. :)

    The corbels are beautiful ... I can hardly wait to see which sconces you've unearthed from your massive collection to hang!

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