Happy belated Fourth of July, everyone! Hope it was a good one.
We’ve been M.I.A. because we’ve been in kind of a funk. The work we’re doing around the house right now is boring and tedious. For example, we spent 2 entire days mudding — that’s not even worth photographing after the first round. Not that I didn’t try. I snapped hundreds of photos of Bradley putting a second (and sometimes third) coat of plaster in the Smurf room and hallways. But when I reviewed the photos later, they put me in a coma. That’s how boring plastering is.
Here’s the most exciting sequence of the entire weekend: Bradley cracked open a fresh bucket-o-plaster and thought it seemed a bit dry, so he added a splash of water.
Then he gave it a whirl with his paint mixer drill attachment.
He blended until it was smooth and ready to smear on the walls.
Funny aside. Bradley’s first job in NYC was as a building maintenance guy for a very shi-shi-poo-poo restaurant in Chelsea. He pretty much did what he’s doing in our house right now: fixed things in a very, very old building. Anyway, the chefs used these same paint mixer drill attachments to mix giant batches of soup. Bradley thought it was hilarious to walk into the kitchen and see a chef mixing a vat of lobster bisque with a drill.
Aside from plastering, we also put up the rest of the ceiling in the hallway:
More plastering to follow. (Insert huge groan-sigh here.)
While the plaster dried, we insulated the hallway. Our plan was to simply attach furring strips to the plaster wall, add 2 layers of styrofoam insulation and then throw drywall up right on top of that. Bradley started by drilling some pilot holes with his concrete drill:
Then he attached a furring strip along the bottom of the wall:
Once that was secure, he put up a vertical furring strip along the edge of the wall and made sure it was level:
And that’s when our entire plan fell apart. It turns out our 130-year-old walls aren’t exactly level anymore — they’re actually curved. To make a level wall, Bradley had to do some creative shimming. Here’s what the finished framing looked like:
The wall starts out straight, then starts curving. By the time it gets to the floor, it’s up to 2 inches off from where it started!
This explains the massive gaps where floor meets wall. Remember those?
The whole process shimming process, start to finish, took a few hours. Once the wall was framed, we put up a layer of styrofoam insulation in between the furring strips:
A second layer went right on top of the first:
We have a few more pieces of insulation to cut before it’s drywall time, but the wall is shaping up. It’s nice to not look up and see a crusty, textured ceiling:
What we learned on our long weekend:
- Plastering blows.
It’s one of those jobs that you have to do so you can move on to the more exciting stuff like priming and painting. But that doesn’t make it suck any less.
- Deadlines are maddening.
We’d originally planned a big Fourth of July BBQ weekend with four of our favorite New Yorkers. We thought we’d easily be done with the Smurf room and guest bedroom. And then we started changing things and tweaking things and finding brick walls that needed uncovering. We’re way, way behind schedule and it’s driving us nuts. So instead of fretting over it, we’re throwing out our schedule. It’ll get done when it gets done.