A useful nook

Nook seat

The owners of this house asked me to help them find a place for their kid's jackets, shoes and caps when they come in from outdoors. My first thought was to turn this little nook into a closet, but a wall would have made the usable space even shallower. We decided on an openable bench with space for shoes, a shelf with coat hooks, and a small cabinet at the top.

Custom cabinet

This project was delayed because of COVID-related materials availability and prices, but I was happy with how it came out. The lower unit is 16" depth; the upper units are 14" depth. The shelves are 5/4 primed pine, and the counter is 1 1/2" maple with a combination of slate gray and red oak Minwax oil stains, finished with polyurethane.

Weatherables railings and fence gate

The owners of this house asked me to design something that would make the small back porch more attractive and help hide the propane tank on the left. I installed a combination of matching composite vinyl railings and and picket fence gates from Weatherables. The railings, stair kits and gates come in components with several height and width options, and can be cut to fit the application before assembly.

Exterior stairs

The posts and frame for the landing and stairs are pressure treated and just needed joist hangers under the deck. I replaced the risers with PVC trimboard and the treads with Centurion Paramount PVC decking. In order to get the correct rail heights, I screwed 4" x 4" pressure treated blocks to the tops of the posts and covered the joints with trim.

Simpson Bungalow doors

These Simpson performance doors are constructed of fir, and the exterior has a thin Medium Density Overlay Water Barrier that provides excellent durability and resists moisture absorption. UltraBlock and Weather Seal technology adds a water-resistant composite block in the bottom of the door stiles

Garden trellis

I laid out the frames on my bench and installed the lattice and trim with trim-head stainless screws. All surfaces received a coat of oil base exterior primer and two coats of white exterior acrylic paint.The units are mounted to 1 1/4" heavy duty angle iron, painted with white Rustoleum, and driven 3' into the ground.

Replacing rotted woodwork with PVC trim and deckboards

Exterior pvc stair trim

The photos below are a job we did in Beverly in May 2014. The fir porch flooring and pine trim were quite rotted and would not hold paint. We replaced the tongue and groove floor with 5/4 PVC decking, and the pine trim was replaced by pvc trimboards. The new scotia moldng is also PVC. Hidden clips hold the slotted deck boards in place, and color-coded deck screws are used for the leading edges and "picture frame" edging.

The best storm door

The 4000 series storm doors have mechanical locking tabs hidden in the door frame that are operated by the handle. Simply push the safety button up, allowing the handle to be raised to a vertical position. This disengages the tabs, and the glass or screen panel comes out by simply leaning it toward you. Put the other panel in place, and turn the handle back down to its normal position. You're done-- it takes less than a minute.

The best paint brushes can last forever

This is a Purdy paint brush I've been using for ten years. The 2 1/2" angled design is perfect for painting straight sharp lines as well as for general usage on medium size surfaces. Purdy is the choice of all professional painters for the quality of their paint brushes -- the bristles do not fray, bend, or fall out and the brush keeps its shape. I prefer their nylon bristle brushes which can be used with any paints.

EPA lead paint law

Effective April 22, 2010, remodeling contractors working on residential homes, home day care centers or any other “child-occupied facility” built before 1978 must be certified to perform any work affecting more than 6 square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior surface. Failure to comply can generate very serious penalties for contractors and painters.

Andersen Woodwright Architectural windows

This week I'm installing Andersen architectural windows in a house from the 1800's (as many homes are here on the Massachusetts North Shore. Years ago the owner replaced a few of the windows with Andersen 200 series (available from Home Depot) and installed vinyl window inserts in the others. These three photos show the difference… Continue reading Andersen Woodwright Architectural windows

Floating locust patio

I picked up some freshly cut locust boards and ran them through my planer, still green and wet, and screwed them to the treated frame, using bar clamps to take out curves. When dry, locust is so hard that it is difficult to work with; my hope was that the boards would stay straight if secured to the frame, and it was an experiment that proved successful.

Installing insulated chimneys

Installing an insulated metal chimney in a flat or cathedral ceiling Note: Wood stove must be installed no closer to the wall than specified on the name plate, and in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Failure to do so can cause a fire. A permit and inspection from your town is  required for installation of wood… Continue reading Installing insulated chimneys