Well, I did it! I kept my pre-New Year’s resolution to finish the baseboard along my staircase and hallway. But to show you where this project started we actually have to flash back — WAY back, I’m embarrassed to admit, to last January…

…when the aforementioned baseboard was covered in something that resembled Barney the Dinosaur’s cuddly purple hide.

Worse than that, the baseboard wasn’t even one board:

^This is a mess that was clearly never meant to see the light of day.

My options were to rip it all out or try to unify it. And honestly, neither option seemed practical — unification was never going to be perfect, but how would I ever cut another baseboard to match the grooves of my 91 year-old staircase? In the interest of not making a bad situation worse, I decided to make the best of what I was given and leave the boards in place.

I armed myself with a putty knife and got to work. And what do you know — I made amazing progress! At first. Then my hallway rug was delivered and I hastily slapped a coat of primer on this thing, and abandoned the project. Whoops.

It took about two solid days of very dull, repetitive work to finally finish what I had started 11 months ago. After a lot more patching and sanding, the unification plan was (again) going pretty well. I added a bit of molding to make my Frankenboard look a little more purposefully designed:

Then came even more sanding, caulking, and top-coat painting, after which I very carefully peeled away the vintage January ’11 painter’s tape and neatened up my paint lines by scraping the stairs with various pointy objects.

Each side took about an hour and a half to clean up. Just to clean up! SO TEDIOUS. I listened to EIGHT HOURS of Radiolab alone in two days working on these damn stairs.

But it was worth it. Behold:

Frankenboard lives!

It’s not perfect, of course — it has its share of waves and lumps — but considering the original condition of the thing, I think it came out pretty well.

I also managed to get smaller baseboards (that match the ones in my bedroom) added to the other side of the hallway.

I still have a little finishing work to do on those, but it can wait another 11 months.


I think.

Speaking of 2012, I thought I’d do a quick wrap-up of my greatest accomplishments of the year for new readers. I think this was actually a pretty good year, house-wise. The rest of it was terrible, awful, no good and very bad, but within these narrow walls things did, in fact, improve. In 2011, I:

Thanks, everyone, for your supportive tweets and comments throughout it all. I appreciate it. You help keep me going when I’m on spackle round six of some nutso project, my muscles are sore, my nose is itchy and I’m running on repeat podcasts.

And now, a prix fixe menu is calling my name. Happy New Year, everyone!


About laurenhallden

Artist, Designer, DIYer
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