Archive for Thursday, October 9, 2008

DIY projects lack finishing touches

October 9, 2008

Before any project is complete, there comes a point where its final shape and appearance are easily apparent: a sort of almost-complete, if you will.

That’s where my basement is now: finished except for some final details like painting the bookcase, installing the last of the crown molding around the ceiling and filling the nail holes in the rest of the trim.

As I sit down to write this, I’m waiting for the delivery truck that is scheduled to bring the new furniture we ordered for this space.

Getting a project to this stage is pretty sweet, actually. It’s pleasant to sit and admire what you’ve done. You sort of complete it in your mind’s eye, I guess.

Actually, I spend a fair amount of time looking over my work. The only problem I have with that is that until you reach the tipping point, what you’re apt to see is what remains to be done rather than what’s been completed, which is something of a downer. (That’s the only problem I have; others might have suggested that they have problems with the amount of time I spend looking at my work, but that’s another story.)

I should confess that my track record with household projects like this one is not really very good. I tend to start more than I finish, as my wife will attest.

For example, I actually began this project almost five years ago. For years I’d wanted a home darkroom, so I started by walling off a space near the furnace and water heater. Then one thing led to another.

But nevertheless I soldiered on. I painted the walls and put up what we used to call acoustical tiles on the ceiling — most of it anyway. The wife, it should be noted, put tiles down on the floor, and unlike me, she didn’t leave any of it unfinished.

The basement remained in this partially completed state for several years, until I retired at the end of February.

It moved back up to the top of the list after that, although with a few new “enhancements.”

We decided to put up decorative paneling and wainscoting. We found some paneling we liked and went to our local home center to order it, only to discover the product had been discontinued and they hadn’t yet bothered to take down the display.

So we wound up putting up Sheetrock, with a two-tone paint scheme divided by a chair rail about waist-high. Plus, of course, the baseboard and crown molding to finish off the ceiling.

As we neared the end, we decided to add a floor-to-ceiling bookcase along one wall, complete with a library ladder. This allowed me to get rid of some old bookcases, as well as add a little shelf space for books in the bargain. Through the years we’ve had several conversations about the extent of my book collection. I prefer to think of it as my library. I should probably add that although the bookcase if finished, the same is not true of the ladder; that remains to be completed later.

In the span of time since I wrote the third paragraph, the deliverymen arrived. So now I can sit and admire not only our new furnishings, but my handiwork as well. One of these days, I’ll get around to finishing it.

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