The Dining Room Built-In: The Reveal

February 5, 2018

Done.  Finally.  Here we are, Super Bowl Sunday...February 4th, and the built-in is finally done!  Theoretically, this project started (in my mind) many years ago because I always wanted something like this in the dining room.  But in reality, on October 25th the dining room looked like this:

Here's a few of my favorite progress pictures during the course of the project.  Even before the old bookcases were down, I was already experimenting with stain colors.  Throughout the course of the project I was concerned about being able to match the woodwork that's so beautiful here at 173.

Of course, one of the really fun parts of a project like this is getting to use my tools.  Well, this was one of those projects that I used almost every tool I owned, with the exception of plumbing tools I suppose!

I learned a lot of lessons throughout this project too.  I had to watch videos, read articles, and practice on scrap pieces to get things as precise as I could.  This picture is one of those.  Even after all that, it wasn't perfect but I was really happy with this little, tiny piece of wood:

Then, 173 had its first Christmas mantel!

The caps to the bookcases were troublesome.  Several layers, angles, mitering...

And there were some good ideas, like access to the outlet through the mantel, and recessing it into the top of the mantel:

And I was tickled when the sanding, softening the edges and caulking were all done!

Then came the priming, painting and antiquing.  Never my favorite part of a project, but it was really coming together!

Finally, it came down to the baseboards.  Like I said earlier, I stressed throughout this project on trying to match the color of the woodwork at 173, and tested dozens of color combinations.  At long last I came to a formula that is a relatively close match!

Hard to tell in that picture but, close!  So now, without further ado...

And there we have it!  At long last...almost four months later...but I'm quite tickled with how it turned out!  Thank you all for bearing with me, post after post!  No idea what the next project is but...see you soon!

812 - The Home!: A Bit of History

February 4, 2018

One of the fun things about house blogging is digging into the history of a place.  I think mom and dad know some of the history of 812 prior to 1971, as a matter-of-fact, I believe mom lived in this house as a renter at one point - even before meeting dad.  That's an interesting thought in itself!  Of course, in the long history of 812, mom and dad have a significant part, not only in all the work that's been done, but by the sheer fact that they have had 812 for nearly 47 years!

Turns out, 812 has a looong history!  Let me show you... So, this map is interesting.  It's from 1860, and doesn't show Lincoln street, which means one of two things - either streets were added and renamed, or the cartographers were wrong!  But another interesting thing in this map is the park I played in all the time as a child.  You can see it in the northwest corner of the map, and it's called Hoffman's Grove.  I wonder when and why they dropped Hoffman, because at least since I was a kid it's been called Grove Park.

 The next thing I found was in a directory from 1874.  In this directory, people were listed as living at the corner of this street and that street, or this street above or below that cross-street.  In 1874, Herman Davis was a switchman for the railroad.

When I was searching the directories, it seems most people on our block worked for the railroad.  By the 1882 directory, Herman Davis was a train conductor.  After that, there was a gap in directories, but by 1917...

Sadly, Charles had passed away and his widow Ellen, and (presumably) son Charles, were living at 812 and 812 1/2 respectively.  Interestingly, Charles worked for the railroad too.

Then, we see that in March 28, 1935, edition of the Star-Gazette, Charles Davis was given a permit to make some changes to 812...

Then here's a fun note...I couldn't figure out the date, but it appears someone was running a fudge business out of 812:

Let me zoom in a little for you!

And that's the next family at 812, the best I can tell.  As a matter-of-fact, in 1947, looks like the wash machine was for sale!

Then...about 25 years and dad got good ol' 812.  And that's a story you'll hear lots more about!  I'll have to find out who the Pierce's were, and who my folks bought the house from.  I know bits and pieces of that story...I'll try to pull that all together too!

The Dining Room Built-In: Baseboards!

February 2, 2018

173 is an interesting mix of architectural styles.  The city tax records show the house as "Old Style" which, when I Google it, shows pictures that are nothing like 173:

Years ago, I sent a picture to someone's blog (I wish I could remember which one) and asked people's thoughts about what kind of house 173 is.  The most frequent answer as Folk Victorian.  Which, I suppose is as good an answer as any.  Here's an exterior shot:

Boy, I'm straying from the point!  The point is, one of the architectural flavors of 173 is a kind of Mission-style baseboards.  They're a full 7 1/2 inches tall!  Here's a shot from a couple years ago, when the dining room was getting its hutch...

With that in mind, and wanting the built-in trim to match up with the rest of the trim, I put in baseboards that will match, if nothing else - at least in size and style.

That's just dry-fitted, obviously there was some sanding still to do.  To make the 1x8s match up, I had to round-over the top edge.  Of course I didn't have a small enough round-over bit for the router, so I ordered a set...

Turns out it's a good thing I got a 3-bit set, because I thought the round-over was 1/2", but turned out to be 1/4".  Another chance to use my router and my home-made feather boards, which I made on the cheap and without much precision!

You may be wondering why I'm putting such inconsequential points in this post.  I'll tell you why - this blog is important in helping me catalog the various products and techniques used here at 173, just in case I have to re-do something!  That brings me to the next point.  Ever since starting this project, I've been trying to find a stain combination that would match the colors already on the trim throughout the house.

Well....I haven't figured it out.  A friend suggested that if I couldn't match it, it would be better to go with a shade totally different that to be close but not quite.  I settled on a mix of two stains... 4 parts General Finishes Antique Walnut to 2 parts Georgian Cherry.

I gotta say this too...after using some pre-stain wood conditioner, the stain I used worked beautifully.  This was my first time using a gel stain, and I gotta say - I'll never go back to penetrating stain.  This stuff applied and wiped easily and evenly, although I had to be sure to work fast!  Anyway, it's not a perfect match, but it's in the same color family, so it doesn't look terrible next to the old trim, and I really like the color result!

So, all that's left is a couple coats of amber shellac, and the project will finally be complete!  With any luck, the next post will be the final reveal!  

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