Lately Roger has used most of his spare time to work on the large project of refinishing all the natural wood in our house, including doors and casings, windows and casings, fireplace mantles, stairs, baseboards, cabinets, etc. The house is only ten years old and very well-built, but as happens so often, the finishing work wasn't done properly. We found many areas that had stain, but no varnish, and drips, sags and missed sections in other places. The beautiful wood didn't look nearly as good as it could, so Roger decided to refinish it, all of it...
My contribution has been to keep him well supplied with soup and encouragement, and to make sure our three cats aren't being too helpful. Because of the cold weather, Roger can't do anything that has to be opened, like the exterior doors and the window sills, but what he's finished so far looks wonderful.
I often consult with people who are coping with poor quality finishing work in their home. The most common problems are boring or clashing colors, accenting the wrong things or failing to accent the right ones, little or no cosmetic preparation and improper application of materials. Often the work is so bad that even the nicest houses look a little shabby and poorly constructed. That's bad for property values and makes living there much less enjoyable.
I know how lucky I am that Roger is so skilled, and that he wants to take on the job of making our home look its best. Although he can only work on the project sporadically as our business and the weather allow, he's made a great start. I owe him a batch of cookies.