Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just Another Brick in the Wall: Home Improving Without a Net

The little home-improvement project that involved building a half wall between my living room area and dining area is all but complete. At issue was that my TV, with all its audio and video components, sits smack-dab in the middle of the pass through between the two areas.

It looked lovely from the living room side, but was a big honkin' mess when viewed from the dining side. Not only was the view one of the backsides of several pieces of electrical components, but the spaghetti of wires defied hiding.

Owning the house since June of 2007 and living in it since February of 2008, I've agonized over how to solve the problem for years. Initially, my plan was to build a garage, enclose the carport and turn that into an entertainment room. That was predicated on the delusion that I would find a 9-to-5 job once in Greenville. Yes, I know, I live in fantasy land.

If you are over 50 and looking for work, steel yourself for disappointment. Don't bother even looking. In fact, take the time and gas money you save by not participating in the pointless, self-esteem-crushing exercise of job hunting to buy lottery tickets. Your chances of success will be about the same.

In any event, I came to grips with the long odds against my ever going to a job again, also trashing my grand home-improvement plans. With the TV sitting in the middle of the room made permanent for as long as I own this house -- to death do us part -- I had to come up with another plan.

Cutting out the required section of the baseboard was child's play using my new multi-tool. I am saddened that I spent so may decades without this little miracle of cutting, sawing and sanding.
 I considered buying a cabinet of some sort that was roughly 24 in. high and 36-to-48 in. wide to sit behind the TV, but all my searching was fruitless.

The framing was easy.
 So, I decided to build a little wall. I am moderately handy, I reasoned, and materials shouldn't cost more than about $50.

In the spirit of every government project big or small, this little effort was hounded by time and cost overruns. Cha-ching!

I cheated to take this photo showing the backdide of the wall drywalled. I actually attached the piece of drywall with the framed wall lying flat on the floor and then set it on end to take the shot. Work smart, not hard is my mantra.
 I decided that I needed to purchase a multi-purpose tool to cut out the required section of baseboard and so forth: $80!

Then I decided that I wanted to cap the top of the wall with a shelf and put some trim around it: $42!

Oops, now I would also have to paint much of the main level so the color of the new wall would match the wall it joined: $75! This would have been about $30 cheaper, but don't believe it when a paint-can label says, "Primer and finish coat in one." No way.

Total cost of this estimated $50 job: $247 and that doesn't include screws, nails, wood filler and so on.

It's all ready for paint.
 I put the wall up and drywalled it in an afternoon. Finishing the drywall required another two days of mudding and sanding. 

I began painting last Saturday afternoon at 1:30. At 9:30, I was finished cleaning up and putting everything away. Putting the cap on it took a couple of more hours and then there was priming and painting that.

The pages were flying off the calendar.


I am pleased with the finished result. I still have to address the baseboards. This house was constructed in the 1950s. The baseboards are about an inch and a half thick. I can't match them. I can't replace the baseboards in the dining area so it all matches because some genius along the way put sheets of 1-in. plywood over the old floor and simply butted the plywood against the existing baseboards to lay a new floor. Consequently, 1 in. of the baseboards is below the floor line.

No matter what I do, it's not going to look great.

Ah, the joys of working on an old house.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, don't forget the cost of the rental on the jigsaw and router!