playing house. (part three).

10Apr09

So yes. I haven’t been posting lately. I haven’t been keeping up with the construction project on my blog. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about the blog– it’s just that we’ve gotten really busy with work lately, and after a full week of working, and then a full weekend of house constructing, sometimes I don’t get ’round to the blogging thing. I’ve discovered that, when you’re self-employed, building a business, and building your own house, sometimes all you want to do is something that doesn’t require much (if anything) of you. Often, that means thanking my lucky stars for a red Netflix envelope instead of working on the blog. Sorry about that.

It has been several months now since we had our friend Curt help us with drywall. It is nice to have a few expert friends that we can call upon when it comes to skills that we don’t actually have in-family. Before hanging the drywall, Curt and Jim strapped the walls, to help cover a multitude of framing “sins”– the legacy of a poorly-built building that we are trying to turn into a well-built building. (Another way of looking at this particular building project of ours is that we’re trying to put lipstick on a pig…) You can see the strapping in the photo below (the horizontal boards that are running in front of the studs). Per our usual style, we manage d to sift through the pile of boards in the yard and find some old flooring boards from our ex-kitchen to use for this job. (Actually, Jim did the non-fun job of sifting through the board pile in the yard– so thanks for that!)

Jim and Curt hang the first sheet of drywall:

Partially hung drywall:

Luke mixing drywall mud:

Spraying drywall mud, while making some attempt to keep it off the ceiling with Luke’s handy masking tool:

After spraying on the texture, Curt did a great job of tooling it, so that we got a relatively smooth texture. Then I obsessively (and unnecessarily) sanded everything, as you may recall in this post about my adventures in drywall sanding. We then spent weeks debating about color choices, visiting the Sherwin Williams store, and investing in one of the most expensive liquids known to man: paint.

All our color selection agonizing only got worse once we actually started the painting process. This is mainly because I’m not very good at letting go of the fact that this crappy little practice house cannot fulfill all my desires for perfection. It cannot encompass every single idea, nor can it achieve exact color perfection. Our idea was to have one bold, orange colored wall, and the rest of the walls a white-ish color. We selected a cool white that we thought was–well– white. Besides being very expensive (for a liquid!), paint is also incredibly devilish. I guess this is why all the great painters (Monet, Picasso, Rothko, Mr. Pantone) devoted their so much time to the study of color.

The color we chose was actually quite blue once it went up on the wall. I might have been tempted to believe that the paint store actually mixed the wrong color, except for this illustration of how very different a swatch can look in different contexts:

So yes, the Sherwin Williams color, “Front Porch” is actually a very blue color, at least when painted on the inside walls of our little practice house. It’s not a bad color, just not the color we expected. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of trying to get me to lighten up.

Once the painting was done, we laid the flooring. Despite our initial reservations, we installed a floating Pergo floor. We wanted something that would be easy to clean, and, above all, cheap (this is a practice house, after all). I am no fan of Pergo– it is essentially a highly industrialized product that uses all the wonders of modern manufacturing to make plastic look like wood. This is not necessarily the most politically correct product to use in a family (Luke’s) that has spent years harvesting, transporting, cutting, finishing, and other-wise transforming (by hand) all manner of woods into useful objects & building materials. But. Sometimes, in the long game of life, pragmatism must win out over romanticism. Pergo isn’t very romantic, but it is practical and quick (and made in Germany, which makes Luke happy despite the carbon implications), and in this case, pretty inexpensive. Actually, obscenely inexpensive on a relative scale. We found this stuff at Home Despot for about 60 cents per square foot, because they were discontinuing it. And it actually seemed to be of higher quality than the newer stuff that is in the range of $3-6 per square foot. So we bought it, even though we had to go to about 3 stores to find enough of it to do the entire floor (sorry, carbon footprint). It turns out that we were too cheap to pay 25 cents per square foot for the silly foam underlayment that Home Despot tries to get you to put under your plastic floor. It’s the same thin sheet foam that is used as a packing material for shipping fragile things, and it is supposed to protect the floor from squeaking–or something. It is probably intended mostly to protect the consumer from walking out of Home Despot without maxing out a credit card or two. We did use old-fashioned tar paper under our plastic Pergo floor, to prevent it squeaking against the sub-floor.

Finally, a private message to the person who took all the cut-offs from their Pergo-laying project and packed them back into a box and returned the box to a Home Depot store in Albuquerque: you suck.

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3 Responses to “playing house. (part three).”

  1. 1 Liz

    The place is looking great, pergo floor, somewhat blue walls and all! I really love your orange wall – looks fantastic. As always, great post!

  2. I don’t think “lipstick on a pig” is the metaphor you’re looking for. The inference of “lipstick on a pig” is you’re taking a smelly animal and “prettying it up” but it’s still a pig. In your case you’re turning poop into gold. Or poop into diamonds. Or poop into a sturdy building that is well insulated and has straight walls. Or poop into something better than poop. Always go for the poop metaphor first. Even if it’s wrong it’s still kind of funny.

  3. Quick updates are appreciated. Maybe just some pictures, etc.


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