ouray

ouray
It's me doing a little posing while taking a break at the Ouray, Colorado Jeep Jamboree in 1995.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Killing Seven Days: The Next Home-Improvement Project


The upstairs hallway in all its glory. I find the ceiling exhaust fan particularly decorative.
I'm not the kind of guy to sit around doing nothing, despite my acute slacker tendencies. I find myself facing a week without travel. Because paying work has dried up to, well, zip, zilch, zero, nada, I must find other tasks to fill the next seven days until leaving for the New York Auto Show.

Having assembled a list of home-improvement projects requiring some investment of time and treasure, I always have something I could be doing. Right now, that list includes small jobs like putting a coat of stain on the shed all the way up to much larger undertakings, such as remodeling the kitchen and replacing the great-room ceiling. All any of these projects really require are time and money, right?

Although such a list might prove daunting to a lesser do-it-yourselfer, it's simply a matter of taking things one step at a time in some sort of logical order.

Here's what you need to know about my handyman, er, sorry, handyperson skills: I have acquired most of what I know about renovating things since buying my current house roughly nine years ago. Up until then, my construction-skill set consisted mostly of holding the far end of the tape measure as my brother-in-law calculated the lengths of various elements of some home-improvement project I would find for him to do on each of his visits to my South Florida home. Oh, and I was also in charge of making him a Rum Runner at the end of the work day. That, however, was a task that came much more naturally to me – instinct rather than training.
The pony wall was instructive and key to providing skills needed in building my shed.

So, I take things one step at a time, building from small efforts to master a skill to larger projects exploiting that skill. I was able to build my shed from scratch because of the framing skills I learned building a pony wall to hide the back of my audio/video equipment from the dining area, and the framing work entailed in switching a small guest-bedroom closet to a bathroom linen closet.

When I eventually tackle replacing the great-room ceiling (perhaps this fall), I will be cashing in on what I learn from this week's project: covering the upstairs-hall ceiling. I will be using the same material for both. Teaching me what I will need to know for the great room, the much smaller and more manageable hall ceiling doesn't seem at all scary. The great-room ceiling on the other hand is a journey that I think would have given Magellan pause.
My biggest project to date.
Although I only decided how I was going to address the upstairs-hall ceiling in the last few months, I have wanted to do something with it since buying the house. Most of the ceiling area is occupied by a large exhaust fan. My house is nearly as old as I am; apparently, these huge fans were a common element of South Carolina homes constructed in the 1950s. I removed the switch for this fan when I repainted the hall a few years ago, but the fan itself was just too big a task for me to consider. I finally gave up on trying to figure out how to remove it. Bulky and, no doubt, heavy, I couldn't think of anything else to do other than pull it up into the attic and leave it. There is virtually no room to move around in that area. Nope. That just wouldn't work.
These stacks of material call to me every time I glance at the dining area.
Initially, I decided to cover the great-room ceiling with some sort of wood. Whether that wood would take the form of shiplap or something else, I had no clue. As I pondered the great-room ceiling, I realized that doing the same thing in the upstairs hall made the most sense. I wouldn't remove the exhaust fan, I'd cover it over.

Putting in an emergency call to my buddy Steve at 84 Lumber, I located a suitable wood planking. I picked up a 16-foot stack of it that they cut into two 6.5 ft and 9.5 ft sections so I could get it home. Both sections have been laying in the middle of my dining area for about a month now. A sliding barn door for the upstairs bath is also a part of this project. I ordered the hardware for it through Amazon Prime roughly six weeks ago. It along with other assorted materials for this effort have been accumulating in the upstairs guestroom. 
A roll of insulation and the hardware for the sliding barn door await my attention.
With all the needed materials in house, I'm ready to go. Now it's a matter of dragging the power tools, saw horses, nail guns and compressor, and so forth up to the house. I have my eye on a new portable table saw that will make the great-room ceiling project go easier, but, because I suddenly find myself without paying work, I can't justify the expenditure for this much smaller project. I'll just have to tough it out with a circular saw.

So, that's my plan for occupying myself this week. If all goes well, next week's Clanging Bell will feature the fruits of my labor. "If all goes well" being the operative phrase.

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