Monday House – never ending story

With the Monday Family moved in … and the kitchen counters installed last week … you might well think the Monday House rebuild is done and over. Twenty-some weeks and its compleat.

But, it isn’t.

The Monday’s are living in the midst of a still-construction site. Lego blocks mix with cardboard sheets from IKEA boxes with battery chargers for electric tools. Baby bibs hide behind the paint cans. The construction bench is a great place to put down the heavy bundle of new diapers. The box of bed pillows still hasn’t been found.

There are even some elements of the house that haven’t been addressed at all, for example, the main staircase remains untouched.

Four carpenters worked all week on finishing details, while the homeowners worked all night putting stuff away into just-finished closets and onto shelves.


The electric smoke-detectors and carbon-monoxide thingys remain in their little dust caps.

But the air conditioner now works, and there is even a thermostat:


Drawer handles appeared throughout the kitchen, making it easier to open drawers one at a time. The focus isn’t so much organizing the kitchen as getting rid of another damn moving box.


All the drawer and cupboard fronts have been fine tuned to be level and centred.


All the ductwork in the house was redone during the reconstruction. Heated or cooled air is now delivered thru modern registers located on the floor under each window. All of the old registers were set aside, and this one has been put to use as a cold-air return cover in the upstairs:


The new back door was installed in the playroom/addition to the rear of the house:


and the new front door arrived too, colour matched to the blue interior walls of the living room:


In what seems to be a never ending task, the old wood trim is being cleaned and scraped and repaired for reuse on the main floor of the house. The preparation for re-use is important for heritage and sustainability reasons, but is of dubious economics as it has chewed up so much (expensive) time:


All of the old wood trim was painted white when the house was built in 1902. However, sometime afterwards, someone painted faux-finish woodgrain on all the trim. Then varnished. This was later painted over in white again. Scraping tells the story:


The little decorative pegs in the pic above are corner posts. Basically, a square post is shaped to a fancy end on a lathe, and then split into four quadrants. Each quarter-post is then put in the corner of the room, and then the baseboard is cut easily with a square end to fit up against the corner post. No fancy coping saw work required to get the curvy baseboard profiles to turn corners. Today, we are more familiar with rosettes put at the top corners of door frames to avoid 45 degree corner cuts. Here’s a corner post put in the room in prep for the rest of the old wall baseboard to be cut to the new size:


It is easier on the back to pre-paint most of the wood outdoors, and there isn’t much room inside anyway with the Mondays in residence. It also helps mitigate off-gassing and fumes from the paint to do it outdoors rather than where Little Miss Monday can breathe it. Due to noise, she takes afternoon naps with the next door neighbours.


All the doorways were relocated or resized throughout the house. So every old door has to be scraped and squared off to fit the new size openings. By design, this usually means planing off a bit of wood to downsize the door, but in some cases additional bits of wood were added because doors had been previously “fixed” by cutting them into trapezoids  to still close in a sagging house.

People who park cars on the street return to find sawdust-drifts on their windows.


Amazing what one finds behind old doors:


Old hinges were kept, as were the odd-assortment of door knobs and surface-mounted locking hardware. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle trying to match the door bits to the frame bits.

The tile work in the main bathroom is complete, and only then can the glass door manufacturers come inside to measure for the shower cabinet door and wall panel that separates the shower from the tub compartment. It takes about 14 working days to make up the glass … and in the meantime the Monday family is living in sawdust-land. So a couple of pieces of copper pipe were assembled and tacked into place with three dabs of silicone glue (which will later be rubbed off) for a makeshift shower curtain:


(note, in above pic is evidence that the bathtub is being put to use by someone …)


The Monday’s can’t help but feel they will never be rid of those carpenters, fine folks that they are. But there is always another task, unexpected or only dimly anticipated.

The dryer needs a vent to the outside. The exterior doors need the new hardware installed. Oops, knob set didn’t fit. Go get another. The indoor outdoor carpet on the verandah looks sh…ty with the new door, better take that off. Then the old hardware on an old door won’t click correctly with the just-installed strike plate that was found to match the gap in the reconditioned door trim. The back of the counter needs caulk. Did you clean up the living room? Good, now we’ll router-in a groove to take the old fashioned floor register. It’s only saw dust. The kitchen is finished … wait, except for the window trim which last week was deemed not necessary for moving in, but now sticks out like a sore thumb. Wait, do you really need 14 tools and a compressor to install a window frame?

When will it be finished?

Never, of course, because owning an old house is a never ending story.