December 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

December 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

Set to weather well

Often, we’ve had guests who, against all reason, have actually volunteered to stay overnight in our chaotic household so that they may donate their elbow grease to our renovation cause. (Perhaps they are persuaded by the embarrassingly large breakfasts we serve.) One project I look on as a special monument to generous houseguests: the cedar shingles my sister-in-law and I installed on the front of our dormer.

The dormer lacked siding (top) until we shingled it with sweet-smelling cedar (bottom).

The dormer had been retrofitted with a bay window that was A) unattractive and B) smashed, so my husband and I had replaced it with a flat picture window. In doing so, we more or less destroyed the siding that surrounded it. This provided a convenient excuse to add cedar shingles in its place—an upscale-looking material, but not expensive when you only need to cover a few square feet.

My able partner and I spent one whole day mapping out the top row of shingles, which had to be custom-cut to fit around the rafters, and marking the backs of them with an arcane numbering system. The second day was for nailing up first those, then the row below, and so on until the dormer was fully suited up.

This, while our husbands were removing and replacing much of the house’s wiring. My sister-in-law and I were quite pleased with ourselves, none the less so when we realized we’d nailed one shingle (number A2, if you must know) with its mark facing out. I consider it a lasting memento of our partnership.—Spackled Egg