Some friends say they are going to do something and others do what they say. My friend Joan falls in the do what they say category. She was the only non family member that performed physical work on my house without expecting to be paid. In my pre-electric days she or her husband Rick would come and change the batteries in my Simpli Safe security system if I was not able to do so. The batteries had to be changed every 3 days. She got down on her hands and knees to pull staples out of the floor and to clean the floors after the dry wall crew left them a mess. She painted walls. Many days she worked, since she had the key, while I was out of town on business travel. She called Sista Girl with Skills about hiring her for some repair work and projects at their new condo; her friend showed up instead.
From close to move-in was only about 20 days, but fortunately she had access to the space prior to and was able to line up some key tradesmen to start the day of the close. I felt like I was testing my GC (general contractor) skills as I was able to connect her with two tradesmen I used on my project. There were noticeable fade marks and some deep scratches on the composite wood floors. I referred and she used my kitchen floor savior, Sergio Sosa of Sosa Flooring to fix them and he did a fabulous job.
I also got to dabble a bit in interior design. The finish had worn off on the master toilet paper roll fixture. I found some Kohler Devonshire fixtures that were a perfect match to her existing faucets. She ordered and I installed them. Also in the bathroom for some bizarre reason the builder put a door with a huge glass opening for the water closet. The previous owner had grandma looking sheers covering it. Joan found this really cool patterned, static cling product that we applied to the inside of the glass. It obscures enough when door is closed.
The initial call included asking if I could replace the tile floor in her guest bathroom. She hated it. It was hideous red color and looked like a brick floor. It was it perfect condition. The first time I walked through another of her friends was there and suggested that she just paint the floor. I agreed and even reminded her to call Miracle Method, a company she had told me about. The floor wasn’t the only issue. The border in the tub area was red too. My biggest victory was getting her to leave a perfectly good, well made, dovetail drawers, vanity alone. She did not like it either. She called Miracle Method, they painted the floor white with black specs and painted the border black, the bathroom is gorgeous. That vanity just needs new knobs.
I helped put up curtain rods, set up the wifi, changed out some light fixtures and removed the existing closet wire racks, which left a boat load of holes that I had to fill and then paint the walls, so that she could get her California Closet systems installed. I so wish I had taken a picture of the wire racks before I took them down because she gave them to me. I’ll be able to use them in my garage project. It is amazing what limited pops of color can do to mundane spaces. Joan was the person that gave me the idea to wallpaper my closets, so that guest will get a pleasant surprise when hanging their coats.
My most time consuming project was patching holes created by my electrician Mr. McGhee. She needed several new outlets and he had to make small holes to fish wires through. Honestly I hate patching holes, drywall is not by strong suite. Plastering is truly an art. I have not quite mastered the feathering technique, so I over apply mud and have to sand a lot. I decided to try a new technique learned on YouTube, the California patch. You use the paper from the drywall as the tape. I will admit I was patting myself on the back after this work, my best patches to date!
My last project may become another side hustle, cabinet shelves. Joan had two boards, one painted white and another laminated particle board that she asked if I could cut down to the right length to give her some additional shelves in her kitchen cabinets. She did not care that they wouldn’t match the originals. The laminated board was too narrow and could not be used, but I planned to cut the white one down to size on my miter saw. I had not thrown away the scrapes from Cassandra’s bench project, so I told her I could make one for the smaller cabinet.
Her original shelves appeared to have a laminate meant to imitate birch. I ripped the scrap down to the right width, cut it to the right length and then applied 3/4″ pine trim on the outer edge to hide the plys of wood. I sanded them and then coated them with polyacrylic I had on hand (3 coats on the top, 2 on bottom). When they were done it was hard to discern which was which, especially the shelves I made with birch plywood. I hated the thought of her having this one white shelf, so I made one for that too. These turned out so well she asked me to make two more AND I even made one for my own kitchen. I had wanted an extra shelf in the cabinet where I store my coffee mugs, but they wanted $50 for that one tiny shelf. Since this was scrap wood, not all the grains were running horizontal, but that wouldn’t be noticeable and did not impact function. Hence the potential new side hustle. Need a shelf, call me.
I thought all was done and I got a request for three more shelves for the guest closet. They discoved the condo basement storage is minimal, so she wanted some additional shelves for her California Closet system. These would be painted and I didn’t have enough scrap left so I bought a 2’x4′ piece of 3/4″ pine and I did not get the good stuff. It was full of knots, especially on one side, but I thought they’d cover with paint. NOT. After the first coat I ended up filling the knots with wood putty. After 3 coats on bottom side and 4 coats on top side the shelves looked great, but lesson learned to buy quality plywood if I’m asked to make anymore.
The cover photo is a view from their balcony. I was in high school the last time I went downtown for the Labor Day fireworks. I was my mother’s number two when she was invited to her colleague’s Lytle One apartment for a fireworks party. I said then I’d never get in that crowd again, a private balcony party is the only way to go. Well I’ve already been penciled in, so now finger’s crossed that Covid-19 will be at bay enough to let the show go on.