Thursday, January 2, 2014

Second Chance

Since I apparently think that I can do anything now, no expertise needed, I drew up some plans for a headboard and started pricing the materials.  And discovered that the posts that I want to have on either side are EXPENSIVE, way too much for a worthwhile homemade project.  If it's going to be homemade, it's not worth it unless it's cheap - that's my rule.

So I remembered hearing about this place in Baltimore called Second Chance.  It's basically a huge warehouse stuffed full of parts that were rescued from torn down beautiful old houses and other construction projects.  They have mantels, furniture, old lumber from back when a 2x4 measured 2x4, millions of doors, and all kinds of other amazing things.  We could have saved a ton of money if I'd known about this place when we were building our house.

It's kind of an exciting place.  I found the posts I needed, non-pressure-treated 4x4s.  And they even have a top carved in which I could use instead of the round finials I was planning on.  I have time to decide.  For now I'm planning to wait on this headboard project until I get around to it.  I was actually looking forward to taking a break from all of this messy stuff after I realized that I wasn't going to be able to afford to buy my posts from a regular lumber place.  But that didn't work out, now that I have these posts.  They were only twelve dollars each, so I've spent $24 on my new headboard so far. 

Uh-oh!  They had pickets with carved tops in the shorter length I was thinking about for a little picket fence out front between the sidewalk and the crape myrtles.  Most of the things I think about, I don't actually want to do, so I put off doing anything about it until I can't take it anymore and need to suddenly jump in and do it.  My little picket fence is definitely in that non-urgent category, but they had a bunch of brand new pickets that were probably leftovers from someone else's project and they were only a dollar each.

I didn't buy them the first day that we went, partly because there's a schedule of price reduction on the tag that says they'll be 50 cents each on March 16 and also because I don't NEED to have a picket fence out front, and also because I know from personal experience how annoying it is to me when there are construction materials lying around around all over the place.  So I was, in fact, okay with not buying them yet.

However, when we went back the next day, I went off to grab my posts because there were a couple of guys looking at them with interest.  Doug had gone off to get a cart, and when he didn't show up, I dragged the posts off in the general direction of Doug and the cart he was going to get, and there he was, loading pickets onto it.  The exact person who had adamently said "I think you should wait" about the pickets. And it's a good thing, because there was a woman there who ended up taking most of the rest of them.  I'll be glad I already have them when the time comes.  They are neatly bundled and don't take up too much room.  And since Doug made me buy all those pickets, he'll probably want to help me build the fence too, right?

The real reason we went back the second day was because we saw an amazing door surround that was in relatively excellent condition and would exactly fit the door opening between our foyer and the main part of the house.

Our foyer is a little added on section that I decided would be a good thing to have to soften the inside corner between the front gable section and the main part of our house.  It sort of creates the effect of a closed-in porch and I had always envisioned that we would do something a little more grandiose with the trim on this one door leading into the main part of the house, so that it would perhaps look like it had at one time been an exterior door.

The one fun thing about building a house, for me, is planning it, mulling over ideas, and creating imaginery scenarios, which is easy to do when you love old houses and are trying to pay homage to the age, if nothing else, of your beloved former house.  The main thing we've done in that direction is to copy the window and door trim style of our now-deceased house.  Doug even got Smoot lumber to mill an exact copy of the crown moulding from our old house.  It's all down in the basement waiting to be put on.  I hope I live to see that eventually happen.

Anyway, we saw this amazingly intact door surround, measured it, took pictures, and went home to see if it would work.  The overall shape was exactly right, even though it's in a somewhat different style than the rest of our trim.  It's quite a bit frillier than what I'd had in mind, with the fluting and the scallops, but it's supposed to be the fancy doorway, so what the heck.  And it was only $160 and we wouldn't have to do anything except for clean it up, paint it, and slap it up there on the wall.

So we went home and took a look and decided it would work, and then went back the next day to get it, and the posts, and suddenly also the pickets.  We spent all day outside with it yesterday, scraping and sanding and removing loose nails, and firming up the structure, and making it a tiny bit shorter to match our doorway.

When we took it in and propped it against the opening, it sort of took my breath away.  I'd been thinking "I don't know about those scallops, they look a little silly" to myself the whole time when suddenly I noticed that the scallops on this door frame totally tie in with the scallops on all of our light fixtures and it all looks completely integrated and like it was planned that way.  What a lucky accident!  We weren't even looking for door trim.  So now I'm excited.

It needs some work, but not too much.  It's basically in great shape except for some nail holes and a few gouges here and there.  But those are all on the flat parts so they'll be easy to fill in.

I'm not thrilled to be doing another painting project in the living room, but this way I won't conveniently "forget" to work on it. I think I'll be able to get it all ready within a few days, and then if Doug is cooperative, we'll be able to install it pretty quickly after that.

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