(Wood)Workin’ It

Goodness gracious, I haven’t posted in a while. Why did January get so busy? I have no idea, but it did. And, the never-ending bedroom restoration seems to be just that – never ending. We’ve been working on restoring a lot of lighting, both for Madison Street Salvage, and for some clients (which sounds REALLY official!), and that’s been fun! Which, I suppose, is a good time to slow down on the bedroom a bit (and let the bank account build back up). But I am REALLY ready to get my hands dirty and get it finished!

Seriously – I had to re-read my own blog to remind myself of the last thing I wrote about: ANAGLYPTA! So, the anaglypta is up, the crown moulding is up, and the picture rail is up – mostly.


Why “mostly?” Because turrets are RIDICULOUS. They are like that one friend that everyone has that is SO AMAZING and you could never imagine your life without her, but you know she’s HIGH maintenance and she completely exhausts you and sometime you just need to be around her in small doses because she’s A LOT OF WORK. But she means the world to you and you’d kick anyone’s a** if they said anything bad about her. (Oh, and she’s really pretty.)

That’s what it’s like restoring a turret.

Quick reminders:

Here’s the room when we bought the house. Notice the white painted baseboard. WHY is it painted?


Because, it turns out, the turret was rotted. And covering up a rotted floor with carpet and painting a rotted baseboard is a quick “fix.”


So it had to be re-built, from the outside in.


This is me, last summer, trying to get the baseboard off. I was not remotely strong enough. I got some off, but not all. What I did get off was super crumbly.


Fast forward to the last few weeks. Doug used his big strong muscles to get the rest of the tetanus-filled baseboard off the wall.


We needed to be able to finish the picture rail, but to do that, we needed to get the window moulding back on the wall. Which is not as easy as it seems. Because, curves. We’re replacing the rotted base moulding, but the rest of the wood was in good enough shape to put back up – thank GOODNESS. 


The side pieces went up really well, because they didn’t have to follow the curve.


And we had a company in Indy – Pro-Build – make replacement plinth blocks! They are the perfect match. And, since there’s a pretty decent set-up fee, we tried to make a guess of how many we’d need for other places in the house, and did them all at once. This is really SO EXCITING.


Up they went! I’m staining them once they are installed, when the baseboard are up. So, probably in 2018.




Ack! I really love that wood color with the black. So much. Also, I love how much better my pictures come out in Sunlight.


You can see pretty well in this picture the rotted flooring. Not being fixed now – we’ll do the entire second floor floors at once, when we re-build most of the backside of this floor after it was re-muddled in the middle of the century.


You can see how great this is going to be, right? Now, for the terrifying part : getting the curves back in.


This is 114-year-old wood, that had to be freed from old nails, and has been starting to stretch out over the last year.


Terrifying – the most scared I’ve ever been. WHAT IF WE SCREWED THIS UP? It’s not like we could replicate this. I mean, we could – but not with all the years of love and patina. (But, let’s be honest, I could do without the one part that has decades-old duct tape residue from someone apparently hanging a curtain with tape.)






Okay, to give you a clue how much bend needed to go back into this, I took this from below.


TERRIFYING. And when we started going with it, you could hear it creaking and cracking and protesting. I was freaking out, and Doug was treating it like taking off a band-aid – “Let’s just do this fast, and get it over with, because it has to go back up.”

Doug did the nailing, and I followed ahead of him, putting pressure up to get the board into place.



No major tragedies. But my heart is racing, just re-living this.


Next up was the top moulding pieces, which weren’t nearly as scary.


Seriously. These curves are delicious.



Worth it.


So then, the picture rail needed to get put up in the turret. For this, we used a painted wood, for a couple of reasons – style-wise, I wanted the top of the room to be all white – more of a plaster feel. But also, with the curves, we didn’t want to risk too much expensive wood making the curves, and for this, we used kerfing. Kerfing is cutting the back of the wood in small slices, to make it bendy.

Here’s Doug kerfing the picture rail. You can see at the end how flexible it is!

Once on the wall, you can still see the slices – they’ll be filled in with caulk and painted. Another reason to use painted wood for this.




No baseboards, but other than that, WE HAVE OUR TURRET BACK! Isn’t she lovely?


The next step is the tedious task of caulking ALL the joints and nail holes of the crown moulding and the picture rail. There’s a lot! But once that’s done, the anaglypta can be painted. It’ll remain white, but it needs a layer of paint to protect it.

And my goodness, does caulking make a difference.

Before :


After. Doug was pretty precise with all his initial joinery, anyway, but it is just remarkable how great it looks now.


That’s where we are! Next up is a few more odds and ends, and then we get to put in new baseboards, learn how to steambox, and some closet doors! SOOOOO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!



  1. Oh my goodness– what a beautiful space. The result is incredible. I can imagine it must have been nerve wracking to reattach all that precious woodwork. But it looks fantastic. Great work!

    I am chuckling at your comment about curtains hung with duct tape. When we moved in to our place a few of the curtains were held back with thumb tacks. Actually, they still are because we haven’t gotten around to replacing them yet.

  2. I did have some turret envy (because turrets look so cool) but I think I’m now glad we don’t have any. It looks wonderful finished. Keep up the good work.

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