Months of sweat equity and pinching pennies has led me to the stage of finish work and the need for a finish carpenter.  Recently my friend Joan hired Ed Vach of Progressive Design to replace spindles in the stairway of her OTR 5-story walk up.  She told him about my project and provided an opportunity for us to meet on her job.  We talked and he came and took a look at my house and agreed to do some work for me.

The first floor bathroom can be the first completed room in the house as I have all the window trims, fixtures and tile purchased.  Laying the tile can’t start until the casing, molding, and aprons (new term I just learned thanks to Ed) have been placed around the windows and doors.  While I could have tackled this myself, I know I lack proficiency that would lead to material waste and a lack of efficiency.  I want to move in my house this year and start my new journey, so I turned this over to Ed.  He charges by the hour, but gets a lot accomplished and his quality is GREAT!

The 1st floor bath, when I went to remove the trim from around the window disintegrated, I assumed due to decades of moisture build up.  In the kitchen, I resized a window and relocated the pantry, so the original trim will not work.  As you can guess my exact trim is not made any longer.  My budget does not allow to have it custom milled, so I decided to get a close match and place all new trim in these rooms and installing it is Ed’s project.

Fortunately I took a lot of before pictures, so I was able to show him how the original trim had been applied and he did an awesome job getting it close.  Here are some before pictures:

Here are some after/work in progress pictures:

During that first walk-through Ed called me a “purest”, because when/where possible I’m trying to replicate or restore the original.  I turned the entrance to the 1st floor bath into a pocket door, but still plan to use the original door and glass knob.  What I needed to add was a pocket door locking mechanism, so Ed handled that too.


Against his recommendation I had him place the new lock in the location of the original lock and because the original screw holes were so ate up, the new lock won’t secure, making it difficult to notch it for recessing.  I’ll have to do some wood epoxy patching, but the hard part (drilling hole in door) is complete.   I feel comfortable finishing it up myself.  Per the instructions from the Johnson Hardware pocket door kit, I need to paint or stain the top of the door before attaching the hanging hardware.  I still need to match stain colors, so Ed can’t complete this project at this moment anyway.

Ed also taught me a valuable lesson about wood qualities, stain grade vs. paint grade.  I went to Hyde Park Lumber for the trim and they sold me stain grade wood, no knots.  It’s expensive.  What I could have gotten and ended up purchasing from Doppes Building Materials (serving Cincinnati since 1869) was #2 pine.  I will be painting the new wood in the kitchen and bath, so I was able to save my stain grade wood for new window sills in the entire house.  About 50% were cracked or missing, so Ed’s final project, on this rotation (he’ll be back – say it like Arnold) will be cutting the sills for the entire first floor.

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