Nearing the finish line on the baby bedroom

Progress is chugging along on the room I’m supposed to call the nursery, which still sounds a little weird to me. Maybe that’s because of the years I’ve spent in church where there’s always a “nursery,” which always means a room full of noisy, hyperactive  lovely little kids. This is a room for one child. Whom will always be well behaved, quiet, and saintly, but only if he or she gets zero genetic material from me.

I started working in this room on November 27th right after painting the dining room 5 minutes after our family departed after Thanksgiving, which means I’ve been working in here for just about a week short of two months. Of course, nothing happened for about two weeks around Christmas when we did Christmasey DC things, ate good food and I drank Belgian Christmas beers by the truckload. I spent a week or so waiting for the electrician in January after not being able to get my regular guy in December. (I seriously did check the Post obituaries one day after my 9th call to him in November. No dice. So he’s not dead at least.)

Progress has been moving along much faster than the previous bedroom and it’s quickly nearing the finish line, which as usual, continues to move a step ahead of me immediately after every step  I take toward it.

I had the 3 walls where I could save the plaster scraped free of paint and wallpaper in only 3-5 days this time instead of a solid month of depressing nights listening to the Atlanta Braves throw away the wild card last September, which was entirely possible due to an eight-dollar scraper that I didn’t know existed for the last year. Facepalm.

It turned what had been the most tedious, mind-numbing, wrist-killing, soul-draining part of this process into one so delightful by comparison that you could probably hear me laughing deliriously and maniacally as I peeled off yards of wallpaper in the course of a single Bon Iver song. Making great use of the hours and days that I saved, I went back and wrote a glowing, long-winded review of it on Amazon.

After that, I got the plaster on the south wall and the west wall around the window skimmed and primed and ready for paint. I wanted to get the walls sealed with the primer so that any bumps or dings from the electrician or drywall guy wouldn’t gouge out the skimcoat or mud on the cracks. Because people other than me always work with great care in our home, right? Like the time they cracked a stair tread. Or put what looks like a “butt depression” in the stairway wall. Or broke 4 pieces of HardiePlank I was going to take back for a refund.

The electrician came and knocked out the three things I needed to do in just a few hours. I was so proud of how far I talked him down on the price that I didn’t notice at the time that I actually paid him about a bazillion dollars per hour once he was done. He removed the conduit from the ceiling and stuck the wiring in the attic, recessed the switch on the wall, moved the north receptacle into the wall, and replaced the wiring in the south baseboard receptacle.


He did all this while not shocking himself, which continues to amaze me, considering I’ve already been shocked a half dozen times in the last year while doing minor electrical tasks. “Professional Electrician” is probably not a career that exists anywhere in my future. Unless my future is a very short one, capped off by a fiery and painful death with a live black wire in my hand. Oh, the black one is the hot one? Oops.

I took down the plaster and terrible drywall patch job on the ceiling, as well as the Washington Post pages?? from early fall 2001 that featured a cover story on Rep. Gary Condit and the Chandra Levy thing. (Random thought:, did Gary Condit send Bin Laden a thank-you note for making him as instantly forgotten as hair metal bands were in 1994 when Pearl Jam and Nirvana broke?)


I quickly pulled down the plaster and lath on the north wall and picked up the soundproofing batts 2 Saturdays ago. I used Roxul Safe’n’Sound, which is the only company I could find that made soundproofing batts. They don’t provide any R-value — only sound attenuation —  but they’re also rated as fire block, which is good. (Go ahead and try, youngest child! You can’t burn down your brother/sister’s room! Not fast enough that we won’t notice anyway!)


Last Thursday, my brother-in-law and I started putting up the soundproofing drywall on that south wall and I finished it over the MLK weekend, in addition to installing the attic access. I’m better than a year ago, but also a job not in my future: “Professional Drywall Installer.” It was about the ugliest drywall job I’ve ever done, and I’m paying the price for my terrible seams with about 6 coats of mud to float them out. I blame the fact that the top ceiling edge was hilariously sloped (picture below), and maybe also the fact that the razor blade I was using to cut the thicker soundproofing drywall was about as sharp as a bowling ball.

Bedroom 3 soundproofing drywall in

Next week, my regular drywall guy is going to come and install the drywall on the almost comically un-level ceiling, which is why I’m not doing it. (See: Reasons I’m Not a Professional Drywaller, above.)

After that, there will only be a few things left to do:

Strip, sand, and re-paint the window frame. The window casing was painted using the previous owner’s preferred technique for everything else in the house: drop a grenade in a can of paint and quickly evacuate the room. “Fire in the hole!” Since I’m not in a rush here and the hand grenade painting method is “out,” according to Dwell Magazine, I’m going to break out the heat gun this weekend and strip it down as best as I can and try to get it looking fresh and less covered-in-a-can-of-paint-looking. Bonus: probably removes some old lead paint from near the baby’s mouth, lung and brain area, which is crucial to living, and stuff.

Decide on a paint color. We had a shade of green picked out already, but we decided against it in a instant at IKEA Monday night. We were walking up to a demonstration room and before Rachel could say anything, I said “oh man, that green is terrible. Gross. I’d really like to vomit all over it.” With an evil glare in her eye back at me, Rachel pulled out our paint chip and put it against the wall and it matched exactly. After a minute of looking at it, though, she grudgingly agreed that I was right, so we took a picture of that rare moment and I’m going to frame it and put it up somewhere in the house. But back to the drawing board on color.

Baseboards and trim. I’m going to go ahead and put in the baseboards this weekend but I can’t finish the trim on top until we paint the walls. (This allows me to paint with a roller down to the baseboard behind the trim so that edge doesn’t have to be cut in. Much faster. It’s amazing I’m smart enough to have figured this out.

Closet. I’ve been using the closet to store my tools while working, so I haven’t touched it. I’ll need to determine if I can save the plaster and just paint over the wallpaper in here, or will need to re-drywall in there. I’m also thinking of putting in a new shelf higher up in the closet, since it’s possibly the smallest closet ever built.

Rehang the door and reinstall all the door trim, including transom. I’m probably going to get a carpenter friend to do this for me. The house has settled and the trim is seriously out of whack here, especially the door. It has a 2 inch gap at the top of it in places, which would do a poor job of locking in the crying when we’re ignoring the baby so we can sleep. But we’ll do this at some point in the next 5 months — doesn’t have to happen before we paint and finish up and move furniture in.

Hoping to have this room finished by next weekend, which is totally feasible. And therefore will probably not happen.

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