Monday, September 14, 2015

Workin' on the Entryway

We have a small entryway off of the front porch entrance.  Its nothing grand, but it's a nice space to welcome guests with a rather generous coat closet.  For some reason, I failed to take a true before photo, so blogger fail on that...  Anyway, it had the same floral motif ceiling tile that we have/had throughout the main floor, along with the original crown and mouldings.  Man, what I thought would be a 2 weekend project is turning out to be much more of a pain in the rear!  It's just been nothing but little, time consuming complications.

First step, plaster repair.  While the side walls were in good shape with very little repair required, the arches were another story - they were a cracked and crumbling mess!  When we renovated the living room (check out more of that here) we discovered that the arches that flank the entry were not original.  They had plaster over metal lath, so my guess is that the arches were install sometime in the 30's when the upstairs was completed or in 60's when the rest of the "improvements" - a la ceiling tile, paneling and the kitchen remodel - were completed.  But really, who knows.  In any event, who ever installed the arches did not do a very good job tying the new plaster into the original walls and plaster, so it was crack city.  I chipped it all away and was left with this loveliness...  

The other arch that goes into the dining room wasn't quite as bad, thankfully.  I taped up the cracks and then threw a few coats of mud on to basically rebuild the lower portion of the arch.

Everything has been sanded, but I still need to prime and then skim coat for a nice, smooth finish. Fortunately, there isn't a lot of wall space thanks to two doors and two large openings!

Next, I tore down the ceiling tile and I was all set to pop up the tongue and groove on the ceiling.  I (erroneously) assumed that the furring strips for the ceiling tiles ran in the same direction that they did in the dining room and kitchen (which would be perpendicular to the floor joists) but no, they didn't.  Not the end of the world though.  After a trip to Home Depot to pick up some furring strips, I was ready to go.  I didn't want to pull down the existing furring strips because I didn't want to risk pulling down the plaster ceiling, so I left them in place and fit some new furring strips between the old ones, securing them to the floor joists.  Then I started putting up the tongue and groove.  

Thanks to my fantastic measuring/calculating skills, I was one board short.  Trip #2 to Home Depot...

Since I don't have a table saw, what I *should* have done was measured out how my t&g would fit into the space.  But no, I just threw it up there and then surprise, got to the end where I couldn't fit a whole piece in, but the gap was too large for the crown to cover.  Ugh!  Plus, that meant I needed ANOTHER board.  Trip #3 to the Home Depot.  However, I totally lucked out and then guy working in lumber that day did me a favor and ripped the board for me.  Saved me a lot of time and grief with a circular saw for sure!

So once I get everything back up, I realize that the entry is about 1/8" out of square...  Lovely.  It is extremely noticeable to me, but there really isn't a whole lot I can do about it.  This is when you breathe and realize that it's a 90 year old house and it isn't perfectly straight, square or plumb and you move on...

The difference is less noticeable to me after priming/painting, so I feel a little better about it.  I do wish the drama ended here, but alas, it continued with the light fixture.  Although we have updated the electrical, we still have an old school "pancake box" in the ceiling with an old gas pipe nipple (yes, that is the technical term, so you can stop giggling now) for mounting the light. The challenge is, a lot of light fixtures don't mount that way any more.  After raiding my electrical parts stash, another trip to Home Depot and one more to the Crafty Beaver,  I realized that the light that I originally had wanted here wasn't going to work.  

Dreams shattered... Okay not really, but it thought it would coordinate so nicely with the fixture I have in the other hallway that is from the same collection and provide some cohesion with the overall design of the house and blah, blah, blah.  The gist of the issue is that the gas pipe nipple from the junction box is 3/8" but they only brackets that mount this way that I have/could find are 1/4".  The length of the reducer coupled with the 1/4" bushing to mount the bracket to stick to far down from the ceiling for the base of the fixture to cover and sit flush with the ceiling - it's just too shallow.  So, until I think of another solution, I swapped it out and put this guy up.

It's not all that I wanted for this space, but the truth is that I need a functional over head light for skim coating.  It does look nice, but I was hoping for something with a little more interest and pizzazz.  Oh well, this is a battle for another day.  Make me feel better - any one else have a project where every little thing just kept going wrong!?

P.S. - The dining room is done.  I just have to get around to swapping out some brown outlets for white and throwing on the cover plates.  More so though, I need some decent lighting to take some photos.  I tried to this weekend, but our neighbors were having their roof replaced and the roofers literally put plywood over our windows to keep the debris out.  It was appreciated, but not conducive for taking photos!  Here is a sneak peek!



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