Sunday, September 30, 2007


This weekend we squeezed in some long-awaited prettification.

We bought some baseboards for the master bedroom. Unlike the front rooms of the house, with their 9" plank baseboards, the back rooms don't require freakishly tall moldings. Since planks-as-moldings have some significant problems (they're hard to cut straight and they're weirdly thick), we wanted to go with more traditional baseboards here.

As you can see, thanks to some holes and other imperfections in the walls, we did still need some height. And the fact that the ceilings are so high means that we need baseboards that are in scale. Below are the boards we ended up with. I think Matt's right that they're a little too elaborate for the style of our house, but there weren't any other >4 1/2" options.

We ran into difficulties cutting these boards, too--they're too tall for our miter saw, and, we realized, we're going to have to bite the bullet and replace a crunched piece of wallboard before trying to install baseboards there. As a result, we got exactly 2 pieces of baseboard nailed in; the rest to be added later after corrections and modifications have been made.

Death to Preval
I found the two missing air vents (master bed and study), so I decided to spray them to match the ceiling, as I had done with our other 5 vents. I got out my trusty Preval paint sprayer and... nothing came out. Change canister, repeat... nothing. Thin paint further, change canister, repeat... nothing. Blow out the plastic straw, disassemble the cartridge, and scrape out all orifices with a twig, repeat... nothing.

I know I've said it before, but this time the iron has entered my soul. No more Preval today, no more Preval tomorrow, no more Preval forever. The product is a menace. I ended up painting the vents with a brush, which of course means a thicker and more texturey finish than a metal air vent ought to have. Next time I need to convert a paint to spray, I'm going the whole hog and buying a sprayer and air compressor.

(Note: for the benefit of any Feds who may be trolling the backwaters of the internet in search of potential domestic terrorists, I meant "Death to Preval" in the rhetorical-flight-of-fancy sense, not in the stockpiling-fertilizers-and-disassembled-cell-phones sense. Peace, out.)

Bit... by... bit...

Matt installed our new fixture in the bathroom. It's brushed nickel--so nice! And it matches our new facet, our stylish drawer pulls, and the frame we bought empty that will someday hold a mirror (picture to come later).

We still need to buy glass shades for the fixture, a mirror for the frame, a vent/light combo, and to refinish the tub. I'm kind of amazed at the quantity of work we've lavished on the bathroom. How, after this much money, energy, and love, the thing has the nerve to not be finished, I'll never know.

Here Matt is after having moved the electrical box. You can see the white strip where the hideous old wooden bar of "Hollywood-style" lights used to be. (By "old," I mean from 1985. Not "old" in the sense of charming, quaint, or delightful.)

Weed barrier!
While he was wrestling with that (and an intransigent project it turned out to be--apparently, the colors of the wires are all wrong, making hooking them up a real challenge) I worked on putting down more weed barrier. Our gazebo is ultimately going to have an herb & wildflower bed around it. For the moment, it's mostly just got the ratty leftovers of the rest of the garden--the sickly Will Flemings we brought from Wolverton, a pitiful convalescent Climbing Peace (we don't even like hybrid teas) and a miscellaneous collection of sulky rosemary and reject peppermints and lemon balms from Matt's old nursery.

Hopefully, the weed barrier will give a little assistance to some of our weaker plants. If nothing else, it will keep the area a little tidier until we can begin to work it properly. Next spring: larkspur, poppies, basil, and oregano!

We also have a half-hearted little bed with a few roses by the light pole. I weed-barriered that, too, just to tide it over until we can really kick it into shape.

Finally, here's Matt's little hobby greenhouse, built right on top of our horrible oubliette.

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