Attention to Detail: Trim

It has been exactly 90 days since the last update, and for good reason. March, the month before our April 7 wedding, was perhaps the busiest time of my life to date. Between frantically finishing the bathroom, wrapping up wedding details, and moving my wife’s entire life into our home, items an endless to-do list competed for our attention every minute of every day. 

The good news is that the bathroom is finished (it’s gorgeous), and I’m married (to a phenomenal woman, also gorgeous). 

Now, to pick up where we left off.

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After the tile was grouted and the grout cured, I cleared ample space around the mitre saw in my shop to get ready for trim work. Overall, the process wasn’t bad, just slow. I’m not an amazing carpenter, but I’m not bad either. That generally means I measure twice, cut a little long for safety, mark the difference with a pencil and cut again.

Doing trim gave me a second wind in the project because the progress was so visible. Up until this point, I felt as though most phases were characterized by long bouts of labor with minimal visible results. Working on the same thing and feeling like you’re not moving that far forward is discouraging. Trim, though, makes an immediate difference, event when it’s not painted. Every time you tack a new piece in, the room looks a little cleaner and a little more complete.

I was really pleased with the results – the lines turned out really clean. I did learn that caulk is a wonderful friend in an old house: crooked walls and straight cuts are hard to make up, and a few awkward spots required extra finish work. White trim, white walls, and white caulk made my work look really good, maybe better than my actual ability. I can’t imagine how much time and skill would take to install stained wood trim with perfect joints.

For a bit of detail on the actual trim, see my comments on several of the pictures.

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 01

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 02

If the wall looks slightly curved, that’s because it is.

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 04

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 05

I decided to track down the same traditional ‘picture molding’ that is in several other rooms of my house. While it may not have been characteristic of the period to have the molding in the bathroom, I think it really added to the overall look and feel. To be honest, though, the best part is that the ceiling line is so crooked from the bent joists (remember this?) that normal crown would have been an absolute nightmare to hang. Win-win.

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 08

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 09

I believe that when they built this house in the late 40s, it was much easier to mill two separate pieces of wood for base molding: the base board and the top cap (the rounded decorated bit at the top). Luckily, Home Depot sells these components – made out of composite materials instead of wood – and they look really darn close to the original stuff.

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 10

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 11

Looking good!

2012-02-29 Bathroom trim 14

So fresh and so clean-clean.

2012-03-11 Bathroom trim  01

Whoa, this picture looks greenish-yellowy. Must have been late.

I salvaged the casing and the jamb from the original bathroom door so that the entrance would look identical to all of the others in the house.

2012-03-11 Bathroom trim  02

Trimming out the window was fun, but time consuming – learning as you go means that you have to be extra-careful.

2012-03-11 Bathroom trim  03

Because this is a new window retro-fitted into the original opening, a standard stool (the flat part) wasn’t going to work. I made measurements and worked with my carpenter friend to trim and route a custom piece. (It still feels good whenever I set something on it, knowing I formed it out of raw wood.)

2012-03-11 Bathroom trim  03

The trim doesn’t look great with only one coat of primer on, but I thought I’d include this to show some of the more time-consuming detail work. The end-caps for the piece of trim under the stool are really hard to get right, and if the corner doesn’t look really clean, it’s extremely noticeable. The final product looks a lot better than this picture with a little sanding and paint, but I was really happy with the precision.

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Practicing the art of bringing guns to a knife fight.

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