Baby steps key in nursery remodel

Baby steps key in nursery remodel
The Toronto Star Home, Personal Home, Personal

I’ll be getting this child a toy tool set. This I solemnly swore to myself (in between other swearing) while struggling to install a new light fixture in what will soon be the nursery for me and my wife’s first child. Hopefully, impossibly, this baby girl or boy will be born with the DIY gene their dad is lacking.

For the past two years I’ve been working on making my east Toronto fixer-upper into a home my wife and I can be proud to live in.

There’s still much to do, but in that time I’ve gone from feeling incompetent to somewhat comfortable doing renovations.

Of course, just as I’ve started feeling more at ease with one challenge, those old feelings of self doubt and, frankly, fear of the unknown have returned as I prepare for my next “project” of raising a child.

Any day now, we will be bringing a little person home with us, and I have a feeling that my usual reno tactic of watching YouTube videos won’t cut it when caring for a living, breathing human.

First, though, I had the more familiar task of trying to remodel the spare room into a nursery.

Here I was reminded that even things I thought I’d figured out could pose a fresh challenge. For instance, that light fixture I found myself struggling with, even though it was the fourth fixture I’ve replaced.

I’d removed the existing fixture (a square bit of slightly curved, frosted glass that lit the room poorly), and found myself eye-to-eye with the previous owner’s handiwork. The fixture’s junction box jiggled from side to side inside the ceiling and I realized it was secured on one side to a beam by a single screw. Not for the first time, I shook my head and wondered, “Why did they do it that way?” And not for the first time, I would soon realize the next owners of this house will likely be asking themselves the same question about me.

Still, I imagined this would be a simple task. But I hadn’t paid proper attention when removing that old junction box and I struggled to thread the screws through two just-too-small holes. I even tried to force the screws with a power drill but succeeded only in stripping them. Belatedly, I realized I could feed the screws through wider, oval-shaped holes.

Once I figured that out (and bought new screws), it got easier and the fixture was light enough that I could hold it in one hand and attach the wires with the other. Baby steps, I suppose.

Our other minor concern was the nursery’s door, which was catching on the door jamb and making loud popping noises. I consulted Google for a solution and decided to use a wood-shaping hand plane tool to shave down the corner of the door.

I’m pretty sure the tutorials envisioned the door lying flat on a workbench, but I wanted a quick fix. So I stood atop a stepladder and, holding the door with one hand, tried to slice away layers of wood with the other. This proved tricky, as the plane kept catching on the wood.

I had to resort to using the coarsest sandpaper I could find in our basement to sand the door furiously until the door latched with the softest of pops.

Luckily, we had some things done in advance. My wife had painted the room a neutral yellow more than a year ago, and a few months ago we’d built the light-grey crib together, as she was six months pregnant and getting up and down from the floor wasn’t as much of a challenge for her.

My last contribution was painting a chestnut brown dresser a matching grey last month so it could be used as a change table/dresser stocked full of onesies. I moved the dresser outside and with a small roller, small hand brush and artist’s brush, surprised myself by doing a half-decent job. My wife later added white and grey decals to the front drawers and hung a bit of wall art above it.

Now their room is ready when they are. As for the parents-to-be, we’re as ready as we can be.



This article was written by Matthew Chung from The Toronto Star and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Edited on 28 June 2017

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