Living The Good Life

  • Thank you for all of your comments and advice on the built-ins this week.

    I’m not usually so emotional over things, but I took a little time to step away from the project (and away from the computer), and I’m feeling better. The beautiful weather outside isn’t hurting either. Brandon and I are going out tonight, tomorrow I have a date with Eleanor, and I’m looking forward to a show at a new spot in Berwyn on Sunday night with my sister. Things are good, despite some stupid and costly mistakes on a house project.

    I have a couple of bloggy/introspective links to share today…

  • Can a blog die? Of course. Should it? Sometimes.

  • A reminder: Writing a good life requires living that life.

Get the Look: Ione Skye's Bedroom
My Writing, Elsewhere…

  • Get the look: Ione Skye’s bedroom.

  • Need some stylish storage? I’ve rounded up a dozen of my favorite pieces.

    I’m loving that sunburst armoire. I’m sure it’s not to everyone’s liking, but I think it’s charming.

Never Mind

I was trying to be positive yesterday and convince myself that things were fine, but I was gone almost all day and when I came back the doors had been attached. I thought we had agreed to hold off on them and I’d have some time to think about what to do. The wood grain is good enough I guess, and I appreciate the work that went into building everything, but the paneled doors combined with a toe kick? Very eighties, and I hate it.


I made a stupid mistake and I messed up. I didn’t go into details with the carpenter and I thought we were on the same page. I would say things like “I want it to look like it’s always been a part of the house” and to me, that encompassed everything from the quality of the wood to the inclusion of period (not 1980s) details. I’ve never worked on a custom project like this, and my inexperience is showing.

I don’t even know what to do at this point. Getting rid of the recessed toe kick would help immensely, and I think that can be remedied easily enough. The doors though? Learn to like them? Try to cut them down and accept the weird proportions that will result? I’m ready to give up. I cried over these stupid bookshelves yesterday, which is ridiculous. They are bookshelves — get over it, Nicole. I just feel dumb about the whole thing and I’m sick over this costing more to fix my rookie mistakes and lack of communication.

About All That Oak

Built-in Bookshelves Construction #makingitlovely

I talked to the carpenter yesterday, and I’m feeling much better about the bookshelves. The worst of the bad grain is in the oak plywood, which I knew we were using for the backs and some of the parts that won’t be very visible. The facing pieces are solid oak, which looks much better.

Oak Wood #makingitlovely

The original baseboard along the wall was removed, and we’ll save it in the basement in case we ever need it somewhere else in the house. What’s up, 123-year-old plaster? Looking good!

Plaster Walls #makingitlovely

There are holes cut out because we’re tucking an electrical outlet away on each side of the shelves. I don’t know if I’ll be adding lamps or a radio (or whatever else might need some electricity), but it’s nice to have the option. While everything is open, you can see some of the home’s insulation through the holes. All of the siding on the lower half of the house was replaced ten years ago, and when the previous owners did that, they took the opportunity to insulate inside the walls. The kitchen and back room are cantilevered and need some further insulation from below, but the rest of the house is covered.

Cabinet Frame #makingitlovely

The bottom of the bookshelves will have closed storage, and the doors are still up for debate. I was worried that they were going to look like dated 80s kitchen cabinets, and some of you confirmed my fears. We can cut the ones that have been made down (or pay more for new ones) and turn them into inset doors, but the carpenter is advising against it. With kids, the settling of the house, and humidity changes throughout the year, the doors can become misaligned easily. They can be planed down and realigned as things settle, but then the gaps become uneven. The current plan calls for raised panels along the bottom matching the home’s original entryway detailing, but with a top that overhangs the cabinet frame to be flush with the panels. Brandon and I think we’re OK with that, but we’ll take another look before the doors are ready to be attached when the construction is further along.

Cabinet Being Built #makingitlovely

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