Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to Base-ics, Part 1

The only thing I didn't like about my house when I first toured it with my realtor was the gross baseboards.  The house had flooded years ago and though I am grateful to those baseboards for keeping the water from soaking into the wall, they definitely showed signs of their battle...they were water-stained and had to go.

 I pulled them off in celebration of Bulk Trash Week and for almost a year have been enduring this lovely unfinished sight all around the house:

This weekend was designated as No More Procrastinating - Just Get It DONE Time.  I got out my measuring tape and began the awkward process of measuring the walls around the furniture.

(To those of you who are wondering why I didn't first move the furniture since clearly I'd need to move it to add baseboards later, I ask you: really, you're expecting logic of me?!  After all we've been through together?!)

My close-enough measurements were added to this close-enough sketch of the rooms (I do have graphing paper somewhere but as we just established, logic isn't my strong point and this notebook paper worked fine since I was just calculating how much of my hard-earned cash would have to be turned over to Home Depot.)

The Home Depot visit could be a blog post of its own.  (Why, exactly, do they store the same items on opposite sides of the warehouse?  I appreciate the forced exercise but not so much the wasted time.)  Long story short: found the boards I wanted at 75 cents per foot - it's a nice surprise when my great taste leads me to the lower cost items rather than the $3.00 per foot ones!  While in search of a cart for toting the monster boards to the cash register, however, the across-the-store discovery of the same item occurred - only THIS time the boards were in a contractor pack that amounted to 53 cents per foot.  SCORE!  Then came the hard part: convincing Home Depot employees to cut the boards from 12 feet to 6 feet.  My Saturn Ion is unexpectedly awesome about carrying large items, but 12 feet was going to stretch its abilities.  After negotiating with two separate orange-aproned friends who were concerned that I'd have them cut the boards only to decide not to buy them, a compromise was reached: they tore off the tag from the contractor pack, I took it to the register to pay for it, brought them the receipt, and then they worked their board-cutting magic.  Into the Magic Saturn they went (the boards, not the Home Depot employees) and voila the project had officially commenced.

Lest I leave you thinking I walked away with my fiscal conservation skills in tact after that 22-cents-per-foot savings victory, however, I must confess I spent all that and more on specialized pieces for rounded corners. They were almost $4 each!  I'm sure it has something to do with them being out of solid wood and specially carved to match, blah blah blah.  $4 each?!  I bought enough for all the rounded corners of the house (28, for those who care enough to feel my pain), but secretly hoped that I'd find a solution that allowed me to return each and every one of those overpriced beauties.  Spoiler alert: I didn't.  YouTube offered countless tutorials about how to cut the 22.5 degree angles so it smooths around a corner but let's just face it: THIS looks amazing and I'm a perfectionist who can't stand it when all the little lines don't match up perfectly and this is my house that I love dearly.  So the $100 investment seemed worth it to get it right.

Then came the "fun" part: cutting the boards.  (I use quotation marks because this part lost some of its appeal as the quirks of an old house - and the shortcuts used by those who lived here previously - made the project *spoiler alert* more and more complicated!)  Jason, my trusty sidekick/contractor/guywithbetterideasthanYouTub,e did the cutting...both because I'm terrified of power tools (it's a healthy fear that comes with past experiences and being a klutz) and because my wonderful father would only loan me the super-cool miter saw if I promised not to use it without someone else there.  He has, after all, spent a lifetime studying my klutzy ways!  Here's the cutting team in our safety goggles (ok yes, mine are sunglasses...but since I never got near the blade they did the trick of keeping sawdust out of my eyes).

Our garage workshop:

 (Thank you to the bird who thoroughly covered my car in gross things while I parked it on the street for one day.  You helped me understand the value of this garage.)

I forgot to mention that I finally got around to moving all the furniture to the center of each room, but not everyone was totally happy with it.  This little guy glared at me when the books fell over mid-move.

The first board was cut, the ceremonial first nail shot into the wall (thank you, nail gun!), and the project was on a roll...more photos and details about those ridiculous quirks of old houses to come!


  1. Love it! I know how cumbersome moulding can be, but it looks like you guys did a great job!

  2. I have the same baseboards in the bathrooms, living room, and hall in my house! Hoping to put them in the bedrooms someday, too.

  3. They were my favorites! I liked the idea of tall ones but it made the wall seem short since I have crown molding at the top.

  4. This blog has to be one of my favorites ever. The Home Depot negotiation had me in hysteria, and okay darling you wearing sunglasses to fake the appearance of manual labor safety laws is similar to a chick going to the gym to use the tanning bed...but whatever, you look totally convincing. Tell Jason we are sincerely grateful for his services so that you have all fingers still attached and can complete more humorous blogs in the future.

    Oh and be warned...you'll cry the first time your baseboard gets scuffed, but that's why I bought you the Mr Clean Magic Eraser, because I KNEW this day would come.