In Which Slow Progress is Slow

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Woody has been working on the front porch for what feels like the last year.

Painters at work

I mean, it hasn't been. It's been under two months. But it feels like it is taking forever, because there is a lot of detail to deal with on the porch. Also because he keeps telling me he is almost done, though I should know better than to believe that. Woody is a talented restorationist, and you are going to be stunned by the quality of his work when the house is unwrapped. But he completely sucks at timelines and schedules. That's just how he is.

Some time ago, he carefully removed the tops of the columns (which he calls "the accordions" although I think they look more like barrels) and added some structural support for the roof of the porch which appears to be held on with pure spite, since it's not cantilevered and it turns out the columns are completely hollow so aren't doing much to hold it up, either. This is also true on the side porch, by the way. Yeah, I have no idea how I still have porch roofs at all.

Removed column tops

He replaced the sides of the column tops, replaced some missing transitional trim, and reinstalled them.

Column tops

Each one took quite a long time to put back in place, because there are a lot of fiddly little bits. The curve is made like a barrel with small chunks of wood that are fitted exactly, so you have to put it back as it was.

Then notice that the ceiling of the porch hadn't been stripped yet, as shown below.

Replaced column tops with the porch ceiling

Yesterday Woody started working on the ceiling cove at the edges, and it was very loose, so they pulled it off. It came away a little too easily, if you know what I'm saying, and he discovered that the somewhat ragged ceiling is actually a piece of applied plywood simulation bead board panel. Under it are the remains of the original ceiling bead board.

This is after he cleaned out a whole lot of junk that was in there, including roofing debris and rotten wood.

Front porch ceiling

At this point in this project, I was a little surprised that he called me up and asked me to approve buying replacement bead board for the ceiling, offering me the prospect of just fixing up the panel. I'm not going to spend this much time and money on this project and cheap out on the front porch ceiling that everybody can see when they visit.

Fortunately, the replacement original style bead board is still available locally, so that's what is going in.

In the meantime, while Woody is working on carpentry outside, his crew has been moving inside to prep rooms there. That keeps things moving along faster (the back rooms are new so don't need any restoration work done) while allowing him the space to get things done at his pace.

Back bedroom prep underway

Looks subtle, but the holes from carpentry are filled, some irregularities in the drywall are smoothed out, and they are starting to tape off to spray the room.

Window opening limiters

The window sashes need to be taken out for painting, so this has been our excitement this week: These little opening limiters which keep the window from opening more than 4" for safety (they can be undone so the window opens entirely, it's just so that a toddler couldn't open the window and plunge to their death). They are wedged in there very tightly and Woody was concerned that they connected to a mechanism. They don't; they are just routed into place. The rep I talked to said, "Yeah, those can get kind of tightly in there if it's been damp." Hello, winter in California. Even in a drought our winters are damp.

So it's moving along, really slowly. I'm hoping to have some dramatic moves coming soon, because once the front porch is done, most of the side scaffolding can come down. But I'm not holding my breath just yet.