Friday, September 25, 2015

Salvaged Front Door Project Part 6 - Mouldings And Finishing Touches

With the door hung, nailed, and insulated around the edges, it was time for some trim. I wanted to get this done so that I could finish painting the jamb (since it had only one coat of white, and now had puttied nail holes everywhere). The weather is already starting to get cold, so caulking and painting had to happen ASAP!

Before I get into all the details of the trim work, here's a before and after showing the finished product!

Pretty dramatic, right? The white is so clean right now compared to the rest of the porch that a lot of the details are hard to make out. I know this won't last, but the porch will also need complete repainting, and it also needs restoration work to all the windows, which is a big job.

Alright, so for the trim, I wanted something very similar to what I have in the rest of the house, but a bit beefed-up (because of the size), and a bit fancier since it's the front door. I wanted it to make a statement, but still "match". I know for a fact that the original mouldings for the door would NOT have been this fancy, but there's no reason why I can't elevate them just a bit. It's not everyone who has free access to a professional trim carpenter (me), so I'm taking advantage of the situation! Haha.

The design for the trim is largely based off the trim from the "Edgewater Pad", which is a Chicago "2-flat" owned by Tate Gunnerson and his partner ( I fell in love with their home when I first saw it a few years ago, and it was the inspiration for the paint scheme for my entire house. I posted a few photos of their place in my third post on the blog (2011) called "Inspiration".

This trim is basically the same idea as my regular trim, but instead of a small crown, the moulding is made up of a few pieces. This is a very classical design, and it dates back to ancient Roman architecture:

For the vertical side pieces, I needed a fairly wide moulding, and I looked through my stash of salvaged trim. I had one long length of trim from the hallway door casing (I talked about this in Update No.5), and then I bought an additional length for the other side.

The top's main section is simply a rectangular board with a bead moulding for a bottom division. Above this is a large cove moulding. They used to sell a nice 1" deep cove, but apparently they don't carry this anymore, and these days you're lucky if you can find close to 3/4". Seems like everything is getting smaller, crappier, and more expensive. I had to make this cove on the table saw from scratch. I just used scrap MDF (it's very messy co cut, but it was free). The crown portion is simply a 3/4" flat board with a 1/4" thick flat face piece nailed in place. The ogee moulding was just routed with a standard router bit, and this was nailed over the 1/4" strip. It's important that the 1/4" strip overhangs the bottom by a bit. Mine drops down 1/4" but it can be less. It depends how large your mouldings are. The overhang helps to make a dramatic silhouette when the light hits it. If you look at the architectural drawing (above), they use a beaded groove instead, but I prefer the overhang.

One thing that I forgot to photograph were the filler boards. If you go back to the previous post, you might be able to see that the new door jamb lands flush with the original cedar siding (meaning that there was a 3/4" deep and 2-3" wide gap in between the jamb and the edge of the siding). I added sections of 3/4" thick scrap pine boards to fill this gap (all the way around) to make everything flush before installing the plinth blocks, side pieces, and crown. For ease of installation, the entire crown assembly was nailed together and caulked before installing it. If I hadn't done this, it would have been a nightmare to try and caulk in all the gaps, especially under the 1/4" top reveal.

I designed the top to fit in place around the existing tin sheeting that was originally over the door (both to hide it, and to preserve it without needing to remove it).

For those who are curious about dimensions, the plinth blocks are 11" tall, 1" thick and 5 1/2" wide, the side columns are 5 1/4" wide (5/8" thick MDF), and the total height of the crown is around 6 1/2" with the crown protruding 3" from the edges of the flat top board. By comparison, the interior door casings in the house have 10" high plinth blocks, 4 1/4" wide side casings, and the full height of the tops are 6" with 1 1/4" projecting crowns. So the proportions are very close to the same, just a bit larger.

After sanding, primer, and lots of caulking between all the siding gaps along the sides (use acrylic/painter's caulking), and after 3 coats of white:

The threshold and small moulding in the centre base will eventually be painted grey to match with the porch floor (and because white will be too hard to keep clean). For now, it will stay white until I redo the porch floor/interior.

Again, since everything is so clean and bright it's hard to see all the moulding details. I like how the side casings match the look of the window trim from the door.

I couldn't get the whole door in one shot (The first photo at the top of this post was stitched together).

It was nice to finally install the doorbell nice and neatly. It was fully functional before, but I had just hacked away at the moulding to make it fit since I knew I'd be scrapping it and redoing it later. The original installation also used big ugly screws (the ones provided), and this time I found two smaller slot-head screws in brass to match.

I love the old wavy glass in the door!

This photo shows off the mouldings the best.

Salvaged Front Door Project Part 5 - Installing The New Jamb And Door

The front door project is pretty much wrapped up now, and I just need to post the last few entries about it. I could post everything in one post, but there are nearly 40 photos, so I'm splitting it up in 2 parts (Part 5 and Part 6). Another third entry (Part 7) will show the installation of traditional bronze weatherstripping (only partially completed as of this writing).

As you know, the salvaged antique door has been stripped, repaired, lightly stained, and varnished, and I've built a new jamb for the door. Before installing the door, however, let's take a last look at the door that's been on the house since I bought it back in 2010.

Originally I had thought of keeping the existing (new) door jamb and simply changing the door for an antique one, but in the end, that was a stupid idea. In the meantime, I had trimmed-out the door (several years ago) but I didn't cut and install the top crown since I wasn't sure if this door would stay, and I have very limited supplies of the door crown mouldings. I'm glad I waited.

The interior of the old door is still fairly nice (keeping in mind that I still hate modern steel doors).

View from the living room (green) and from the office (grey).

The exterior of the door, however, has always looked like shit. The mouldings are not properly installed, there's a gap at the top, and I've never liked the look of the ribbed metal threshold.

There are also extra screw holes around the lock area that I never bothered to try and patch.

NOTE: The gap at the top just shows black tar paper, but it's solid wood behind this. There's no "hole" or draftiness from here, it just looks bad.

Demo started with removing all the mouldings. The plinth blocks will be reused, but the vertical boards will be too short now (I can maybe reuse them upstairs on a normal height interior door).

You can see that this newer door was installed against one original side of the door frame, and that the original door had only two 3" hinges.

The door was removed, and the jamb was unscrewed. The jamb slid out of the opening with a bit of persuasion.

You can see that the original height of the door was taller (filled with 2x4 scraps).

All the wood scrap fillers, the remains of the old door jamb, and the spray foam was scraped off. Here you can see the base of the door all cleaned up. You can see the edge of the foundation, a 2x4 bottom stud, and the edges of the barn board (diagonal) subfloor. The grey boards with a bit of a peach edge are part of the porch. And yes I'm still looking forward to getting rid of all that hideous grey tile!

This view is a bit cool to see. This shows the construction of the house. Interior drywall, cardboard/paper, tongue and groove (inside), 2x4 framing, more tongue and groove (outside), black tar paper sheeting, and finally the original cedar wood siding - which isn't visible in this photo but you can see it in the one above (followed by later additions on the rest of the house exterior).

Something that is a bit hard to make out in the other photo is that the bottom 2x4 over the foundation had been hand-cut to form a slope (like a wooden window sill) and I assume that the original door jamb's base had a slope in it. Mine didn't (if I had known I could easily have made it with a slope!) so I had to patch this area to make it square again. I did this with an "L" shaped section of wood in 2 pieces. A 1/2" thick length nailed at the front, then a new board over the whole thing.

I also had a bit too much side-to-side play in the opening, so I filled part of it by nailing some pieces of 1/2" plywood around the opening.

Once the opening was ready, the jamb was installed mainly only on the hinge side. This is important because I had to hang the door FIRST, and then adjust the jamb to clear the door around the 3 other sides. I don't even know if the door is perfectly rectangular, so I couldn't just install everything "level and square" in case it wouldn't work out. It was also much easier to just tweak everything else on the 3 other sides of the door with the door hanging in place.

I found evidence of an old door bell location that is almost at the same place as the new one! The new doorbell will be just about 2" higher than the original was.

Lots of fiddling around had to be done to get the door to sit as nicely as possible. In the end, it's NOT perfect, but it is pretty close, and it looks great, opens and closes properly (OMG! I'm not used to that!) and I'm very happy with it!

What a huge difference already! Next: mouldings!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cornwall Homes - Sydney House Update

I first posted about this house back in 2013!

Cornwall Homes - A Much Needed Restoration

They have been continuing work on the house, but the progress seems slow. I actually didn't realize that it's already been 2 years since they scraped and repainted the house. Since then they've been adding a small front porch to it. It seems like they're nowhere near done, however.

Here are a few shots of the finished paint job (last summer?):

Not long after this, they started hacking away at the house again...

Here's the start of the small porch. I have no idea why they had to remove so much of the siding around the door after all the time spent patching it and painting it!

I believe they started building the porch last year, and it still looks pretty much like the photo above. I don't know if they've made any additional progress on it since then, and it's starting to get cold outside.

As a side note, "Cornwall's Little Historian" Sara Lauzon dug up a pair of historic photos of this house, and originally it had a large wrap-around porch. You will also see that the house was widened on the left side. Originally it was symmetrical. I'm not sure what year the "contemporary view" was taken in.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cornwall Homes - Updates From the Neighbourhood (Part 1)

I currently have about a dozen folders of photos to write about on the blog and I've been falling behind on the majority of them because they are either a jumble of mixed-up photos, or the renovations are only partially done on the homes in question. Some of the houses are well under way, while others have been dragging, or the owners ran out of money or patience on their projects (which I know is the case for one of these homes).

I thought I would start with updates on a very grand home that is just a few blocks away. This is the Rectory for St. Columban's Church.

I was walking by the house on my way home from the bank, and I noticed a recent "renovation" that had been done on the house. Apparently sometime not too long ago, they went and replaced all the lattice work on the wrap-around veranda. It looked OK at first glance, but something was nagging me about it and I knew that they went and changed something about it, and that it didn't "look right".

Here's the current (replaced) lattice work (which hasn't been painted yet):

The house is an extremely ornate Gothic building (and I'll bet that it once had a slate roof as well). This huge plain expanse of lattice just doesn't look good. When I got home and dug up some old photos, I immediately saw what was missing:

The lattice used to have large Tudor style strap "beams" running in a pattern across it. While this is a fairly small and simple detail, it made the lattice appear more "anchored" and it had the appearance of being load bearing. It's possible they might add this detail back in before painting, but I doubt it. :(

Unfortunately the sad news doesn't end there. The second bit of this post is regarding the loss of 3 mature trees at the other end of the block.

During the reconstruction of the sewers, water lines, road, and sidewalks on my street, I noticed several trees marked with an "X".

One of these (the farthest down) wasn't too large, but the other two were massive maples.

Unfortunately I never got better shots than the ones above. The trees were chopped down and gone before I knew it. I have NO IDEA why they were removed, since they did not appear to be in the way of the sidewalks or sewer lines.

This entire corner of the street now looks incredibly bare. The red/white house had the smaller tree while the two large ones stood on the property with the large Victorian (which is hacked-up into 4 or 5 apartments).

More soon!