Let The Sun Shine In

by Josh on March 18, 2006 · 7 comments

in Projects

The built-in bookcase that I’m removing from my office is all but gone. I pulled the top bookcase off the cabinet base (with only minor damage) and moved it to the garage for storage with the help of Ms. Bungalow.

Now only the base remains in the office and its continued presence is just a technicality. If there wasn’t a fresh coat of snow and ice on the steps and sidewalk between here and the garage door, it would already be gone from the room.

uncovered windows

Even though the base cabinet is still hanging around, the visual change in the room is evident and dramatic. The picture above doesn’t really capture the full airy quality of this room that now has six windows making up almost all the visual space for two walls. It feels positively porch-like now.

With all these windows, I’ll have some great cross-ventilation for the hot summer days ahead, but in winter the office is now easily the coldest room in the house. Clearly I will need to weatherstrip all of these windows and invest in window insulator kits for winter.

As for the bookcase, I still haven’t decided what to do with it now that it is out of the room. There is a lot of oak boards and plywood that could be useful for another project of some kind. On the other hand, I don’t have any immediate plans for furniture building, so I may give Craigslist a try. For the time being, I am looking for other places around the house to reuse the bookcase.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne March 17, 2006 at 9:23 pm

Wow! What an improvement! I’m curious though … you didn’t know there were windows behind the bookcase? What was on the outside of the house that prevented you from seeing those gorgeous windows? Or maybe I read wrong …


Josh March 17, 2006 at 10:44 pm

I knew the windows were there eventually, Anne. It only took me about a year from when we bought the house to actually make the connection. From the outside the windows were obvious, but they were on a side of the house that I rarely see from the outside. I just never made the connection that the outside view didn’t match the inside view until I tried to look in one of the windows from outside and saw the back of the bookcase. I blogged about that revelation here.


kris March 18, 2006 at 12:18 pm

What a difference–the room looks great! You’ll need sunglasses in there in days like today :-)


Anne March 19, 2006 at 8:48 am

Gotcha. I’m a new reader and not through the archives yet! Thanks for explaining.


Alyssa Allen March 20, 2006 at 10:05 am

You have a beautiful home! I noticed you posted last September about your discovery of chipping and peeling lead paint in your window wells. We found the same problem this weekend with some of the do-it-yourself lead tests from the hardware store. Would you be willing to share how you handled the problem and the results? We also have a wall of chipping lead paint in the garage, which we have been advised to drywall over. I would appreciate any input you can offer!


Josh March 20, 2006 at 11:37 pm

Thanks for asking me to clarify, Anne. I’m never sure exactly how much recapping or linking I need to do when I reference past work/writing in a new entry. I’m sure if you had the question, there were others who had the same question but just didn’t ask. Thanks for being a commenter as well as a reader– I really appreciate it!



Josh March 20, 2006 at 11:55 pm

Alyssa, I wish I had more to tell you– it would mean I was making more progress! There is a lot of lead paint in the house that I want to remove for aesthetic as well as safety reasons. This summer I’m considering having the worst of the radiators sandblasted to remove peeling paint. For the painted woodwork, I’m using some chemicals and the Silent Paint Remover. The SPR uses a lower and more precise heat than most heat guns, so the risk of creating toxic lead gas is effectively eliminated.

For your garage wall, drywalling over the offending area is certainly a workable and relatively simple solution. However, the lead hasn’t gone away, and in the future when you or a subsequent owner break into that drywall for some reason, the lead paint behind it will still be a risk.

If you haven’t already done this, I suggest you cruise over to http://www.houseblogs.net and search the site for “lead abatement” or “paint removal” to see what other home improvers have completed on this.

Thanks for asking about my progress with lead abatement. I’ll be sure to write about it when I’ve got some progress to report. In the meantime good luck with your project and thanks for visiting.



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