I just finished a fun project in north Asheville's historic Grove Park neighborhood: installing new wainscot and chair rail in a home office.
We started out with a blank canvas: the room had nice white trim and French doors, but there was plenty of room for architectural interest.
I started off by installing a chair railing, which is nice in an office or dining room because it protects the wall from nicks and dings caused by the backs of chairs.
The homeowner requested a two-piece railing built up from pre-milled, pre-painted trim.
If you look closely at the right-hand photo, you can also see that I've penciled in the lines for the wainscoting.
Then I installed squares of moulding directly on the wall. Using the existing wall (instead of adding a wooden backing) makes a significant cost savings.
Wow! What a big difference this trim makes! It looks like something you'd see in the White House, and it's perfectly suited to this historic home.
Interestingly, the cost difference to install the two piece chair rail (as opposed to the generic standard) was very minor, and it is much more elegant than the plain piece would have been.
Wainscoting like this could be what sets your home apart from the "plain white box" construction that we see in so many modern houses. If you have a room that needs a little dressing up, get in touch with us. We'll be glad to help.
Every house has one: the ugly circuit breaker panel.
You don't want to leave it in plain sight, but you have to allow easy access to it, just in case.
What to do?
One of my customers recently had their basement remodeled, and the circuit breaker was right where the kids might play. They wanted a way to cover the panel safely.
After some discussion, we came up with the idea of a built-in pair of doors with shelves underneath to corral the kids' toys.
I started by building the shelves off site, using pre-primed boards which I painted white.
Since the opening was so large (more than five feet tall) I installed 2" x 8" boards attached to the studs in the wall. This gave me a sturdy place to anchor the doors.
The doors themselves were a pair of off-the-shelf hollow core models which I shortened by several inches.
The finished piece is sleek and unobtrusive... much better than the circuit breaker. Plus, the kids can play there safely and have a place to put their toys when they're done.
If you need a way to cover your circuit breaker panel, or if you're just in need of a new set of shelves, give me a call. I love this stuff!
I'm pleased to announce a new addition to our Network of Craftsmen: Saul Gomez of Blue Ridge Custom Painting, LLC.
We've offered interior painting services in Asheville since we opened our doors, but Saul brings our painting service to a whole new level. He heads an experienced team who can paint the whole exterior of your home. He also does interior painting and deck staining.
Another reason I'm excited to introduce Saul to our team is that he does wallpaper removal and popcorn ceiling removal. This is a much-needed service in the many vintage homes in Asheville, so if you have an outdated ceiling finish that you're ready to get rid of, give us a call and we'll be glad to connect you with Saul.
Take a look at some of the work he's done recently. He's a meticulous painter who obviously takes great pride in doing a good job.
Getting your home repainted from time to time is an important part of maintenance. It's not just for looks... it protects the finishes and the underlying structure.
So don't put off your home maintenance... if your house needs a fresh coat of paint, give us a call and we'll be glad to connect you with the right team for the job.
Today I want to highlight some excellent work done by Jesse Scott of J. Scott Handyman and More, LLC.
Jesse is one of the craftsmen in our referral network, and he sent some awesome photos of a tuckpointing job he recently completed here in Asheville.
"Tuckpointing" (which is also called "repointing") simply means replacing the mortar between bricks.
Bricks can last for hundreds of years, but the mortar between them usually wears out in about 25 years. Water gets into the joints and freezes and thaws repeatedly until finally the mortar crumbles away and if the wall is left unrepaired, the bricks tumble down.
In this case, the bricks were part of the foundation of a house. They had been plastered over and painted blue some years before, so he had to remove the crumbling plaster first, then carefully replace the mortar where it had disintegrated.
Let's get a close-up of that beautiful wall. I know from experience that tuckpointing is hard physical labor, and Jesse did a great job!
It's not just a question of hard work... good masonry repair also requires know-how, and that is where Jesse's experience really shines through. In his words,
I custom blended the mortar batch by batch to ensure that the bricks would not “deface” any further. Most folks just shove in a bunch of mortar from off the shelf, and that is not the correct way. The mortar needs to be as soft as, or softer than, the bricks. If not, then the bricks “deface” and degrade prematurely.
So this isn't just a quick patch job... it's a real repair that will last for another generation.
As a bonus, the newly-exposed red brick looks great against the green siding, much better than the crumbling old blue plaster. Talk about curb appeal! His customers must be very happy with their new foundation.
If your home needs repairs done with the same care and experience that Jesse brought to this brick foundation, give us a call. We'll put you in touch with a craftsman who's just right for the job.
The New Year is nearly here, and I like to take this time to look back on the old year and remember all of the cool projects that came our way.
Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Click any picture to read the original post about the project.
Two Custom Laundry Closets
Tailored laundry closets can make a big difference in the value of your home with a relatively small investment... and meanwhile you get to enjoy a well-organized space to do your household chores.
These two laundry areas were designed to fit very different spaces; one is tucked into a hallway, and the other is a complete room with extra cupboards and a coat rack.
This little bed has a big surprise...
..drawers that pull open to allow storage of clothes or toys. When the little girl grows up, it can serve as a window seat instead.
Speaking of storing your kids' stuff, check out these mudroom cubbies which I built for a family of seven. Now that winter has rolled around, they're really getting some use out of them.
This island has a classic and versatile style, and it could be sized to fit any kitchen. It has storage for dishes on one side, and seating on the other, so it doubles as a breakfast bar.
I know I showed these tiles off fairly recently, but since I installed them, the homeowner has mentioned a few interesting facts which I left out in my original post. These are reclaimed vintage tiles from Portugal, and their original use was industrial, which is hard to believe given how beautiful they are. (My customer says, "They decorate everything over there.")
The tiles make wonderful "washable art."
Since we're headed into the depths of winter, I couldn't resist showing off my favorite outdoor project from last summer, just to remind us all that the warm weather will return soon.
If you're ready to get a head start on the New Year and get some of your projects done, give us a call. We'll be glad to make your vision into reality.