We mentioned in our last post that we’re hiring a professional plasterer to do our mudding for us. Turns out that’s way harder to do than we expected. 3 of the plasterers we found in the phone book didn’t pick up the phone when we called. Only one of them called us back and set up an appointment to give us an estimate….and then he never showed up for it. He also didn’t pick up his phone when we called him twice after he blew us off. Yup. Some people must haaaate making money.
We called our lumber yard — Bradley’s BFFs with the guys who work there now — and they recommended a plasterer who the local contractors love. We were feeling pretty burned by the last guy, so we weren’t expecting much, but when we called, she picked up her phone(!), sounded competent and professional(!), and is showing up early on Saturday morning to give us an estimate(!).
Since there’s not a whole lot we can do in the office and guest bedroom until the plaster is done, we decided to continue insulating down the stairs. And by “we”, I actually mean Bradley. He did this project mostly solo while I did other stuff we’ve been procrastinating on (ahem, laundry). I snuck in at regular intervals to take pictures.
Bradley started out by making sure the walls were level:
Bradley’s aunts in Texas will be happy to note that his underwear is not showing in that picture. Treasure it, ladies. I can’t promise you many more of those. The man’s pants have a mind of their own.
Surprisingly, the wall that runs along the staircase is almost perfectly level. This means we won’t have to go shim-crazy like we did in the hallway. Remember that fun project?
We remember. No matter how hard we try to forget, we can’t.
The ceiling is slightly off, but we’re not worried about it right now. That’ll be next week’s headache. Aaaahahahaha! Hahahaha!…haha….ha. Heh.
The next step was to put up furring strips, so we have something solid to attach our insulation and drywall to:
The silver square in the middle is a leftover piece of styrofoam insulation. Bradley used it as a template to space out his furring strips at an equal distance. After that, he attached some furring strips along the top and bottom of the wall:
In case you’re wondering how Bradley got way up there to put up furring strips, feast your eyes on this:
That, friends, is the Little Giant Select Step ladder. We picked it up at Home Depot, on sale for $134, down from $199. Whee! We’re writing up a (totally unofficial and completely not-compensated-for) review of that right now and it’ll be up later today. Or maybe tomorrow. Or, probably, 2 weeks from now. We’ve been pretty bad bloggers lately.
Next came the first layer of styrofoam insulation:
Bradley came up with a shortcut to quickly cut the angled pieces along the top and bottom:
He made a template using 2 leftover pieces of wood. He butted up one piece of wood against the vertical furring strip, and lined up the other piece of wood against the angled furring strip. Then he screwed the two pieces of wood together in 3 spots so they won’t move at all.
Then he just lined up the template’s straight edge with the styrofoam’s long edge and cut along the angle.
The cut pieces easily slid into place, and then Bradley nailed them directly to the plaster. He had a bunch of triangle pieces left over:
They fit perfectly into the taller parts of the wall, where the insulation didn’t quite reach all the way to the bottom:
He just had to cut them along the top and side to get the right width and height, and then nailed them directly into the wall.
After the first layer of styrofoam insulation came a second, slightly thicker layer of styrofoam insulation. Unfortunately we ran out halfway down the stairs, so this is what it looks like today:
Bradley switched gears and went back into the hallway to seal up the bat cave and finish putting up drywall on the doorway:
Bradley put a header above the door frame (easy) and then had to figure out how to make the doorway level both visually and technically (not easy). Our 130-year-old house has settled over the years, so our floors and our ceilings have a little bit of a lean to them. The hallway is one of those places where the lean is especially obvious.
Bradley ended up making the doorway un-level on purpose so that it looks visually level when you’re standing on the staircase. It made more sense than making a level staircase that looked totally wonky. He had to skim like a mad man to get the wall level on both sides.
Here’s how all the shimming looked from underneath:
Luckily nobody will ever know what’s really going on under there, because the whole thing is now covered with a layer of drywall:
Bradley put some drywall up on the hallway ceiling while he was at it:
And even more drywall along the bottom of the staircase that leads up to our attic:
And that’s when we ran out of drywall. Bradley’s picking up more styrofoam insulation and drywall tonight. He has the day off from work tomorrow, and he’s spending it finishing off the hallway. His big challenge will be to drywall the hallway outside the master bedroom and purple room:
The door on the left leads into the purple room. The door on the right leads into the master bedroom — and we’re going to remove the door, put in some studs and cover the whole thing up with drywall as if it never existed.
Right now the master bedroom suite looks like this:
We’re not sure when exactly we’re going to gussy up in inside of this room, but after talking about it for nearly 3 hours on our last drive to Brooklyn, we finally have a game plan on the order of the rooms we’re renovating. From next up to last-in-line:
- Laundry room + downstairs bathroom
- Dining room
- Master bedroom
- Living room
After that, we’ll move to the basement, garage, exterior of the house and the yard. But we’re not planning that far ahead. One room at a time. Unless we’re doing 2 rooms and a hallway. And some stairs. Just sayin’.
Stay tuned for our review of the Select Step ladder and some other random stuff that we couldn’t cram into one post. How’s that for an exciting outro?