‘Restoration’ Archive

Victorian Library Build Day Two August 20, 2011 1 Comment

Two Bookcases Complete

As day two comes to a close we have made a great deal of progress. As you can see from the photo above we have two bookcases fully assembled. The rest of the pieces are waiting for assembly tomorrow morning.

We also finished all the electrical and home theater wiring. Now is the time to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need because once this is all sealed up its very hard to access. Luckily for us, this isn’t the first time we’ve wired a theater. We leave ‘chases’ for ourselves so we can fish more wires in and out as technology changes. We also ran two CAT6 cables in, just as we do for each room we work on.

Home Theater Wiring

For more photos visit the Victorian Library photo set on Flickr.

Victorian Library Build Day One August 19, 2011 No Comments

Victorian library bookcase bases

After a quick jaunt to SF Victoriana to pick up our milled parts we got to work this afternoon. We had to create a base to elevate the bookcases a foot off the floor. This will be covered by a nice oak baseboard that will have an HVAC vent as well as electrical outlets. The base is simply made from 2×4′s and a bunch of 2×4′s ripped in half. The top is simple 1/2″ MDF that we shimmed and leveled.

Below is a photo of the rolling ladder that we had shipped all the way from Putnam Ladders in Brooklyn, NY. They have been making ladders since 1905, 15 years after my house was built.

Victorian Rolling Ladder

For more photo’s visit the Victorian Library photo set on Flickr. Tomorrow we start the bookcases so stay tuned for more photos.

Victorian Library Begins August 10, 2011 5 Comments

Victorian Wallpaper(photo courtesy of Johnny Cupcakes)

After many years of planning and other projects to complete first, we have finally gotten around to my dream of creating a traditional victorian library. When complete, the walls will be wrapped in velvet, drenched in dark leathers and woods, and topped off with an oak wall-to-tall bookcase with a sliding ladder. There will be a globe in the corner that is actually a bar, tufted leather chairs that would be suitable for Gatsby himself, and a record player powered with glass tube amps.
On Saturday August 20th we will finally be starting the build.

My Father, roommate Brian, and I will be building for about 5 days and I will be tweeting the entire process of the bookcase build with photos. If you want to watch it unfold live, follow me at @johnclarkemills where I will be tweeting photos. I will also be updating this blog daily with new photos and a quick writeup.


About the Library

Just like the staircase we built two summers ago, the Library will also be built of red oak. The bookcases themselves will be eleven feet tall from wall-to-wall with a matching red oak sliding ladder on a brass railing. The vertical pilasters between the casings will be 3 1/2″ wide fluted red oak columns. The decorative head piece on top is almost a foot tall and covered in dental moldings. Once the wood arrives I will be sure to add photos.

Wood Parts List

9 – 4×8 sheets of A1 quarter-sawn red oak 3/4″ thick
5 – 4×8 sheets of A1 quarter-sawn red oak 1/4″ thick
6 – 8′ fluted pilasters (SF Victoriana ID: 40-8)
2 – 9′ fluted pilasters (SF Victoriana ID: 40-8)
1 – 15′ dental head piece (SF Victoriana ID: 7-61DC w/ dental)
10 – 8′ trim (SF Victoriana ID: 1-42)
12 – 8′ trim for shelves (SF Victoriana ID: 2-4)
1 – 15′ oak baseboard (SF Victoriana ID: 20-40
6 – oak medallions (SF Victoriana ID: 18-10)
2 – 15′ 3/4″ thick x 8″ wide solid oak plank
1 – Ladder from Putnam Ladders

Opening up the room

In preparation for the Library, we had to open up the two rooms to create a double parlor. We want the library to be very masculine and dark but not cramped so the wall had to come down. Below you can see the wall removed and two columns installed in between the rooms to add some definition to the spaces. They will soon be painted white like the rest of the trim in the house.

looking in towards the future victorian library

Below is a closeup of one of the column caps being finished up. The columns we bought online from Pacific Columns.

Victorian Column Top

Although these two rooms will be very traditional, we decided to add a modern amenity as it didn’t interfere with the aesthetics. When we knocked down the dividing wall we also added a soffit and stuffed a projection screen inside. Watch the video below to see it in action.

Once the entire screen project is done I will document more of the process, but for now you can see more photos in the victorian library Flickr set. Thats it for now. Follow me on twitter to watch the process unfold next weekend!

Backyard Gets New Fences May 1, 2011 2 Comments

Although you are seeing the unfinished sides of the fences in the photos below, we’re moving ahead slowly on the backyard project. The old dilapidated fences have been removed and framed with new redwood. Once we get the masonry is done, we will be wrapping the fences in beautiful ipe wood.

Fence on the left:

Fence on the right:

More to come as the project continues. To see where the project began check out the rest of the backyard project blog.

Rear Siding Complete March 6, 2011 3 Comments

Back deck complete

Well after 4 months, well over the allotted time for the job, the back of the house is complete. Everything is buttoned up, painted, and in working order. The entire back of the house was opened up, stuffed with insulation, covered with plywood, wrapped with a vapor barrier, and finally draped in concrete-fiber clapboards called Hardiplank. Hardiplank is cheap, easy to install, and lasts decades. Also, since its made from concrete it wont rot, warp, or be attacked by bugs.

In addition to the new siding, the master bedroom got 3 new double insulated Pella windows as did the kitchen and bathroom. The deck was also beefed up structurally and properly bolted to a new ledger that was absent before. How this deck stood up for so many years as it was is still a mystery to me.

All in all, its good to have this thing buttoned up on the western side as it takes the brunt of the weather. I wish I could say the insulation helped more than it does but we still have so many sides not insulated that it didnt make much of a difference; although the master bedroom does benefit from the new windows slightly.

Rear siding complete

Here is the Flikr photo set of the process:

Renovating the Rear Siding October 15, 2010 2 Comments

Back of the house being torn apart

Construction began on our house over a month ago and is finally approaching the final stages. We had the entire back of the house opened up to replace all the siding, move the electrical and plumbing inside, fix a few of the beat up windows, as well as add insulation. The job was supposed to be much simpler but of course there is always an unexpected turn with an old house. Our contractor found dry rot as well as some very unsafe workmanship when the house was built which had to be replaced.

Below is a photo of what the back of the house used to look like. The previous owner probably decided to cover the thing in shingles rather than deal with the upkeep of the original clapboards.

More pictures to follow as the project continues. For now, check out the progress on flickr.

Recreating Moldings July 22, 2010 4 Comments

Recreating victorian moldings

After the old fireplace was removed and the new one was put in we had to recreate moldings that were long gone. To do this, we called our friends at SF Victoriana to recreate the moldings from a scribe. This is also how we had the staircase recreated. This time however, we had the luxury of cutting some of the molding we already had so they could create it perfectly.

After a week or so they had our paint grade poplar moldings done. Unfortunately it had to be created in three separate pieces because it was so tall. No matter, the nail gun loaded with brad nails made it easy to attach to the wall after lots of mitering and test fitting. All in all it turned out great and this room is finally complete.

Victorian moldings restored