A Rabbit Trail: From TV to Trim

By Leslie Parks - Thursday, February 04, 2016

When John and I bought our first house 20 plus years ago we purchased this simple little 1950 square box of a house and I loved it. It had everything: hard wood floors through out the main floor, cove ceilings, and character. So much character that there wasn't a square wall to boot.  Then we sold that house and moved to our current house and have been here ever since. This is a new house since John didn't want all the projects that came with an older house. I wanted all the character and charm of an older house but just needed John to do all the work because I am clueless which put us in a new house and it has been a good house, mostly. We've had to replace rot on the outside and fix some minor things, but really having this house has allowed us to spend time doing other things. Layout wise I like it for the most part.  I wish the fireplace was in the dinning room instead of the family room. It is supposed to be the focal point of the room but it is too big and really in the way and we just don't use it. It's like the over sized bath tub in our bathroom. I use the shower but not the tub, maybe if it was jetted but I am so not going there. I also wish I had french doors instead of a sliding glass door.  I hate cleaning the tracks of a sliding glass door and I'm just not a fan of vertical blinds.  John has firmly said no to the french doors and since it's been 15 years and he's still not budging there are no french doors.  However I have convinced him to allow me to replace the molding in the house.  It actually started off with a new TV. John wanted a bigger TV for a couple of years.  His reasoning was that he wanted to have people over to watch football or soccer but they had to crowd around on one couch or he would pull out the TV from the cabinet so that everyone could watch. He had been waiting for a while and finally for his birthday or something we splurged. However the problem was that it didn't fit in our TV cabinet that I loved. So we needed to brain storm.  I wasn't going to purchase just any TV cabinet and we couldn't afford a TV and new cabinet so I shopped our house. I took a poorly used dresser out of the boys' room and brought it downstairs for the TV.  It barely fit. We took the top two drawers out and put in plywood and I painted the whole thing. Then we placed the TV on the wall so that there wasn't a danger of it being knocked off the dresser. The dresser then held the stereo components and our movies. This though meant that we needed to move the old TV and TV cabinet to a different room and the boys needed something to put their stuff in that was in the dresser we brought downstairs. The old TV cabinet was too big and heavy to take up stairs so I shopped our house again. I ended up moving a bookcase up to their room, rearranging their stuff, getting rid of a bunch of stuff and so had room in the family room for the TV and TV cabinet.  As we were moving things around I casually mentioned that there was room under the stairs that was all walled off and we should make that into a closet or computer area. John drilled a hole to look and then a larger hole and finally large enough for me to crawl through.  Yep, completely empty except for a McDonald's soda lid. We hired a friend to come over to make sure it wasn't load bearing and to cut out one of the studs to make a door.  I drew up a couple of plans for a computer area or a storage closet and John settled on the closet. We hired another friend to install four outlets and a light for this area.  Once all that was taken care of we got to work with flooring, sheet rock and painting. I have to say that Youtube is awesome at tutorials.  We learned so much this way and I was able to learn how to cut sheet rock. Then I purchased trim, thanks to some wonderful and very patient employees at Bellingham Mill Works. A shout out to Jim and Brendan at Bellingham Mill Works.  Once home, I sanded, conditioned, stained and varnished my trim.  We purchased a miter saw and a coping saw and learned how to cope the molding so that it would wrap around the corners and fit like a puzzle.  I have to say that was my favorite part of the whole project. Then came the building shelves (still not done) and an area for the kids to plug in their electronics.  I couldn't handle all the cords all over the kitchen counters.  By having a place to plug in all the electronics I could check to make sure they weren't playing games in their bedroom after bedtime. I also installed a peg board so that we could house all the Nerf guns they've collected. During the summer, we have "epic" neighborhood Nerf battles which are usually played in and around our house.  I was tired of the Nerf guns everywhere so into the closet they went. Once the trim was done around the outside of the closet, I knew I would have to do the rest of the house.  I just love big, wooden trim and our chintzy little trim was taking a beating.  The whole purpose of trim is to protect your walls, provide a finished look between floor and walls, and to look good. Good trim should last a long, long time. In older (turn of the century) homes, trim usually does last, but newer smaller stuff just isn't prepared in such a way that it will last. A year later, we decided to tackle the area around the laundry room and garage door.  So back down to Bellingham Mill Works with my sack of extra trim pieces and my measurement.  My very favorite employ was there so I waited for him and showed him what I wanted.  Within 20 minutes I was carrying out my $100 of wood trim ready to cut, sand, condition, stain and varnish. Some help from my husband and lots of encouragement I have the laundry room door trim done and am ready for more trim.  My plan is every other month to work on about $100 worth of trim although he's encouraging me to make it worth my time and buy more trim.  I really don't have enough room to work with more than that and I don't want the project to drag on and on working on it every week. I want enough to tackle an area and complete it and then have a break before moving on. He says that since we have the power tools, stain and varnish out might as well make it worth it. It does get me excited to keep going when I think something is coming together I just don't want it to become all consuming. I see trim as the cosmetics of the house, the fun accessories that have multiple purpose of protecting, enhancing and creating a finished look. As I've pulled off the trim, I've used some pieces to replace severally damaged trim (splitting wood) in areas that I won't get to this year or maybe even next year. There are areas that I am not happy with and am thinking things through to make it better.  Right now I'm debating on adjusting the door to the garage since the builder slapped it in there and it doesn't hang straight.  The side of the hinges line up fine inside and out, but the side with the handle and latch sticks out about 1/4 inch into the garage so it isn't flush with the wall.  This really is bugging me.

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