Return of Houseblog: finishing old projects

During the days this week while not teaching SAT classes, I’ve finally been doing some much needed work around the house. Two projects have been particularly stalled, and now seemed the perfect time to address them: patching small holes in the kitchen ceiling that we left after an ice dam adventure in January, and re-finishing the doorway from which I removed the trim so we could install our refrigerator.

—Ice dam? I see I didn’t write about this one… Here’s how ice dams form, and we had one after the first big snowfall in January that dripped water down through the kitchen ceiling as everything else melted. Since we caught the problem and drilled small holes to drain the accumulated water before the plaster crumbled and fell, all I had to do was to patch the holes with spackle and paint. I’ve got the holes patched, but at Lisa’s request moved on to the other project, since it’s a lot easier to do without dogs in the house.

As you’ll recall, our narrow 1941 doors were too small to permit a big refrigerator to move into the house, so I somewhat precipitously got out crowbar and reciprocating saw and removed the door molding from one of the kitchen entrances. And it stayed that way for some time, as visitors to our house can attest, while Lisa and I tried to decide what to do with the doorway. We didn’t want to reinstall all the trim, since we didn’t plan to hang a door there again. We talked about building an arch, like the doorway into the living room that faces the kitchen doorway. At the end we decided to go easy on ourselves and mud the exposed framing, then sand and paint and reinstall just the baseboard trim.

So I spent a few hours yesterday mudding one side and the top of the doorjamb. Or at least most of it. The surface left after the molding was removed was less even than I thought, requiring a lot of compound to fill in the holes and make everything level. One side has a half-inch gap between the kitchen wall and the wood framing of the door, so I need to go pick up something—probably blueboard or something like it—to patch the surface and raise it so I don’t consume another tub of the compound in the process.

For the record, I’m using a slow drying patching/joint compound to do the work. It’s hard to work, but I think it will dry much harder than the quick-paint stuff I used to patch the wall around the radiator cover. That stuff was scary—it was like shaving cream. Pictures will be posted once the mudding is done.

Oh yeah—the Houseblog section is now a part of the webring at, the group houseblogging site run by Jeanne and Aaron from HouseInProgress. Check out the web ring link, on the front page of my site in the site navigation, and visit some of the other great sites.