Archive for June, 2009

Heads up: Glidden is giving away free quarts of paint (eggshell finish, your choice of about 200 colors) until July 2nd.  Take ’em up on it,  yo.


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Subprime Housing

GoogleReader also brought me this amusing Craigslist ad (emphasis added):

Looking for an experienced craftsman to build me cabinets for a home library. I have a 3 year old home so the workmanship must be excellent. Looking for someone to help me create a library, someone with great ideas. I’m trying to stay away from the high prices from contractors. Would prefer a retired person or a wood craftsman looking for a side job. If this sounds like something you can do. Lets Talk. .E-mail me and we can set up a time for an estimate. Thanks. Have a great day.

This Atlantic article may not be reflective of this 3 year-old house, but given the odds, a more appropriate second sentence would be, “I have a 3 year old home, but the worksmanship must be excellent anyway”.   I’m sure lots and lots of brand-new houses are built with quality and craftsmanship, but that’s the exception and not the rule.  There’s a reason hosts on HGTV sneer about contractor-grade details, and it ain’t out of professional admiration.

This future is not likely to wear well on suburban housing. Many of the inner-city neighborhoods that began their decline in the 1960s consisted of sturdily built, turn-of-the-century row houses, tough enough to withstand being broken up into apartments, and requiring relatively little upkeep. By comparison, modern suburban houses, even high-end McMansions, are cheaply built. Hollow doors and wallboard are less durable than solid-oak doors and lath-and-plaster walls. The plywood floors that lurk under wood veneers or carpeting tend to break up and warp as the glue that holds the wood together dries out; asphalt-shingle roofs typically need replacing after 10 years. Many recently built houses take what structural integrity they have from drywall—their thin wooden frames are too flimsy to hold the houses up.

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Drainboard sink

As I’ve mentioned, Googlereader keeps an eye on Craigslist so I don’t have to.  One of the things its patrolling for is “vintage sink”, because something like this would be perfect.  Perfect, that is, if (1) it wasn’t much, much too big and (2) Missy liked it.  But other than those two hurdles, perfect.

Drainboard sink

For what it’s worth, the ad this photo came from is obnoxious in multiple ways.

Antique Drainboard Sink – $500

Single Bay Double Drainboard Kitchen Sink. Photo is not of actual sink. Mine is just really dirty and I was too lazy to clean it up to take a photo of it. The sink I have has a chip out of the paint on the left hand side. It is otherwise identical to the photo.

Cash only, please no scams and no cashier check offers.

Really?  First, cut that price in half.  Aaaaand one more time.  There’s what it’ll sell for.  Second, yours is “otherwise identical” except for all the crud and damage?  You know what?  Cut your price in half one more time, just for being so lazy.  Third, post some measurements.  Without them, you’re asking me to waste my time,  even if it’s just to e-mail for information that should have been in the ad in the first place.  Finally, and I hate to break this to you, but “please no scams” isn’t what I would call the most effective defense.  In fact, I’d even go a little further: it’s hilariously stupid.

Update: Oh no!  Dueling opinions in the comments regarding porcelain’s ease-of-cleaning!

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Wooden benches inside the house: yes/no?  Open-ended follow-up: where?




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It’s about time that I get some help with house projects around here.  I’ll show you how to use the heat gun next, kiddo.

Josie 11451

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I’ve been in Vermont for a week, learning about teaching about war from some of the best military-academic folks in the country.  This weekend is commencement, and then, officially, summer work begins.  I hate the assumption that college teachers get summers off (publication pressure makes sure that’s nowhere near the case), but not teaching does make my already-flexible schedule even…flexier?

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Maine Cottage

You know what?  It turns out we can’t afford a $2,000 coffee table from Maine Cottage.    Bummer.

Coffee Table 012

So I cut the legs off a $10 table from Re-Store, sanded the varnish off the top, painted it robin’s egg blue, and bob’s-your-uncle, there you go.

Coffee Table 007

Then I helped the baby take pictures of a cat.

Coffee Table 022

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