Sippican Cottage

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dining room cartoonized


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

It’s a long road that has no turning, as they say. Let’s finish the dining room and be done with it. I certainly felt that way after a while. It was wintertime, and the living ain’t easy. The fish are frozen, and the cotton in the aspirin bottle was long since thrown away. But interior renovations are a wintertime standard around here. You take advantage of the seasons, and work outside when you can, and inside when you can’t. In this way, your life passes before your eyes like sitting at a crossing, waiting for a freight train with four kinds of cars, repeated endlessly. Well, not endlessly enough, but I’m not arguing for a fifth season or anything.

So, here we are, poised to do…

Well, something. I forget what. I’m performing an autopsy on this room renovation, not surgery. I see from the little bits of blue tape on the woodwork that I was patching the little voids left in the plaster after returning the woodwork to the walls. We removed all the door and window frames, stripped off the errant paint, pulled all the abandoned staples, filled the holes left from dozens of tin barnacles from window treatments past, and put clear wood finish on them. The edge between the plaster and the woodwork looked sharp again when we replaced it, but all the activity left crumbly bits here and there on the wall. I patched then with plaster and put the tape up to avoid starting the process of smearing stuff on the woodwork again.

The new lighting makes working in the room easier. A glance out the window makes you wish you hadn’t glanced out the window. The sun barely crawls over the horizon in the dead of winter, and is rarely a jolly companion. It slinks along like a shadow until March, and is about as useful.

This might be the same day as the last photo. I notice the clock on the wall says eight PM. My wife is standing at the coffee maker, so I assume I’m not done yet. Welcome to the wonderful world of remodeling. The stack of ladders and planks is commuting around the room as I work. I can espy lots of splotchy¬† places on the walls, so this must be the first coat. It was too orange. My wife specified that she wanted the room to be the color of a terra cotta plant pot. This one missed it by a bit. Close enough for primer, though.

Looking in the other direction, I can see that we’ve set up a bivouac in the living room, and we’re using it for three rooms-worth of activities. Beats me why. The dining room is the only room out of service, and it only does one thing at a time. You can’t fold laundry on the table if Thanksgiving dinner is on it, if for no other reason than your guests object. Moochers shouldn’t be so choosy, I say. I you keep your socks and underwear away from the food, Martha Stewart couldn’t object, could she?

My wife liked this darker version better. Dining rooms are generally evening rooms, and a subdued color scheme is appropriate, or used to be, before everyone started painting every room bluish gray. This one will be fine. You may notice that there are no baseboards yet. That’s because we want to paint down behind them a bit to make the joint cleaner. And we’ve go a stash of Mooring (Marden’s flooring) to extend from the kitchen in this room. It’s a blah, woody-looking pattern, but it’s pretty sturdy, and miles better than the battered floor underneath. It has the added benefit of confusing the cat, one of my favorite pastimes. Only confusing my wife is more fun. The clock on the wall says ten to nine, this time. Welcome to the wonderful world of “people are coming over tomorrow.”

The next morning, I returned the baseboards to their home, this time over the flooring instead of butting up against it. The edge was sharp, unlike most of the other walls in the house. Wallpapered walls are usually raggedy along baseboards like these. They’re solid oak, and about seven inches wide, after trimming.

The black piece of furniture belonged to my parents. It’s filled with table cloths and what all. My older brother painted the picture on the wall when he was in high school, and I was a little kid. I distinctly remember watching him do it, and being fascinated by the conjuring of an image out of goo from a tube. It isn’t a very good picture. It’s just wonderful.

And I espy presents on the sideboard. It must be the spare heir’s birthday. He can sit at the table I made, on a bench I made, under the gaze of the picture my brother made, in a room his brother and I made, and blow out the candles on the cake that his mother made, a bunch of years after she made him in the first place. You know, it all sort of seems worth the effort — when the effort’s over.

[Thanks for reading and commenting and buying my book and hitting my tip jar. It is much appreciated]

4 Responses

  1. I’ll second Mike’s comment above; the room looks wonderful.

    I’ll assume you’re familiar with Python’s “Confuse-a-Cat, Ltd.” sketch, noting that my favorite of their listed subsidiaries was “Bewilder-a-Beast”.

    I’m assuming that the soffit over the archway to the other room contains a duct, terminating in the outlet at the left side? I seem to recall that this room had no heat, given that the grate in the floor was the return-air duct for the original furnace. All-in-all in blends in imperceptibly with the rest of the room.

    P.S.: Don’t you know that eating at a dining room table is simply not done? You’re supposed to eat in the vast cavern that is the kitchen, and relegate the dining room to “never go in that room” status. My wife and I still haven’t figured that one out and eat every meal at the dining room table ’cause it’s got the best view of the back yard, and is half-way between the kitchen and the door to the grill out back.

    1. Hi Blackwing. I see you have your engineering hat on. Yeah, the soffit has a circular duct in it that branches off to heat and cool the living room and the dining room. The grate in the floor is now a real cold air return, and feeds a plenum under an air handler in the basement. In addition, there’s a pellet stove in the room. It’s more or less in the middle of the house. When it’s below zero, we augment the heat pump with the pellet stove. The stove dumps the heat into the dining room, it’s sucked into the cold air return, (preheated cold air return) and then distributed throughout the house with ductwork. I suppose I should write about it. Thanks for reading and commenting and noticing things!

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