Monday, May 08, 2006

Recycling = more beauty from ugliness

And it's almost free! If you don't count my time spent, that is. As I'm not gainfully employed at this time -there being no payscale for mothering- I'm not counting it. I'm literally making beauty out of ugly things, not just patching or covering it up, so I've got that to be happy about too.

I needed to create a fill-in between the den (which will become my older son's room) and the dining room, inside an arch, in such a way that it can be removed later but also in such a way that it looks like a built-in or other deliberate design element. The arch had already had awful vinyl accordion curtains screwed into it, which we reomved, so attaching a framework inside it was not going to create any more damage or future work. That was the easy part. It took about 3 hours, including measuring and cutting, and sifting through the demo'd out 2x4s from the old 70's drop ceiling for good lumber. Recycling phase 1.

Once I had the framework in, I stood around puzzling about what I wanted to cover it with. I looked over the hideous fake wood paneling we had ripped out, and noticed that the backs of the sheets (those not badly damaged or befouled by glue) were actually quite attractive, if I sanded off the product information stamps. I selected the two most attractive, cut them to size and tacked them up. Recycling phase 2.

Now what? "It looks like a big doorway with fairly nice plywood tacked across it. Hmmm. Better, but not the look I want." Thinking ensued. Some of those old furring strips were nice and smooth on one side, and if I pulled out all the staples and nails and scraps of polystyrene tile, might just sand up to something tolerable. Oh, and we did have lots of original salvaged mouldings of various types from demo'ing the old closet wall and making our bedroom large enough to use. Some of those looked promising. Like the casing from the closet doorway...

I sat on the floor after assembling all the likely pieces of wood and thought intently, then decided to go buy myself a drink. Not alcoholic, though I have certainly thought about that enough, between the house and general other drama. However, as Miller Time isn't for another month and a half, I must needs wait.

Back from my jaunt, I cleaned up enough furring strips to make vertical trim pieces on my new paneled wall, Craftsman-Style. I set a baseboard in, measured from there to where I wanted the "chair rail" (more like armpit rail...), and got out my handy wee saw. Then, with all five trim parts cut, I became distracted by a good idea. "Hey! What this needs is a mirror!" As we had one that had been hung on the bathroom door, that was actually less of a leap than you'd think.

Of course, now I had to figure out how to frame the thing. Originally I had meant to just use furring strips for all the trim, horizontal and vertical, but adding the complication of a built-in, framed mirror made that less than workable. Back to the casing from the closet door that was no more. Hmmm. Inside the closet, the casings hadn't been stained, but outside, they had, so I had some pre-matched mouldings to work with on my fakey-craftsman "built-in" piece. I think there may even have been a lightbulb hanging above my head. More measuring and cutting ensued, with me pulling the mirror down, measuring it, forgetting the measurements, and running back and forth between the mirror and my improvised sawhorses.

Eventually, I got the framing mouldings cut, and notched correctly for the mirror, and hung on my false wall. I even remembered to put the mirror in before it was all tacked up, and there was only one episode of not-measuring-correctly in the middle of it all. Recycling phase 3 was now complete.

Today, I got a wild hair to add a shelf above the mirror, before measuring and cutting the last several furring strip trim pieces, and that's what I did. There was a great deal of swearing involved, as I really needed more hands to do this, but the result looks good. I made that out of most of the old knicknack shelf the PO's dad had made 30-some years ago, plus the mitered offcuts of the door casings. Recycling phase 4.

Of course, there are no pictures. There likely won't be until the thing is all assembled, possibly not until it's all stained and shiny, depending on whether or not I can be bothered to remember the camera. Hopefully my gestating offspring hasn't absorbed my very blue vocal expressions (also known in my family as "Carpentry English") too terribly much today.

And, yes, I still need a radio. The crazy is getting distinctly ... crazy.

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