Radiator Shuffle Update!

About a month ago, I posted about shuffling around a few radiators in the house. We removed exposed heating pipes in the dining room that fed a radiator upstairs and moved them onto the other side of the wall in the pantry. Then we moved the hallway radiator onto a wall in the dining room, and then we moved the original dining room radiator onto a different wall in the hallway. And by “we,” I mean my plumbers. The only part I did was boss people around and pretend I didn’t notice them smoking Newports in my basement.

Apparently, I’m a very “while we’re at it, why don’t we just”¦” type of renovator. I thought we were pretty much done messing with the radiator plumbing, but then I started looking around the house and thinking about how nice it would be to eliminate more of the exposed heating pipes. It’s funny, because it really isn’t something that bothered me before, but if I had to choose between exposed heating pipes and not-exposed heating pipes, I mean, no contest. Sometimes I see before-and-after pictures of historic restorations, and burying the heat pipes is always such a nice touch. I wouldn’t even have been thinking about any of this if our ceilings were intact and all of that, but while everything was wide open anyway? Seemed worthwhile to explore the options.


Here’s an oooollllllddddd picture of the exposed heating pipes in the soon-to-be-library downstairs, which feed the radiator in our bedroom upstairs. They ran up through the floor, right in front of the window casings, and up into the ceiling. Not so great, right?

I actually asked my plumber about losing these pipes a while ago, and he basically said that we’d need to run them up the opposite wall (where the faux-fireplace will be) and then across all of the joists, basically meaning we’d need to drill two 1″ (0r 1.25″, maybe?) holes through each of the 14-ish joists, which just sounded like an all-around bad idea. I get twitchy when the electricians have to drill out a new path for a few electrical wires in the basement, and that’s nothing compared to this. Realistically I guess it would probably be OK, but I get really freaked out about messing with major structural elements like that. So I nixed that idea.

This is the kind of thing where it comes in handy to, like, have a brain and sort of know what’s going on with your house, though.

After we knew we were ripping out the ceiling in the hallway in preparation for the new sheetrock to go up, I started thinking about running the pipes up through a wall cavity in the hallway wall and across the ceiling, parallel instead of perpendicular to the joists. I ran the idea by my plumber, and he said it was a good one, and I felt pretty clever, and we decided to do it.


Sorry this picture is so laughably lousy, but basically I had to cut three very large holes in the plaster wall to the left of the door so that they could snake the new pipes up. The new plumbing is 1″ PEX piping, which is a fairly inexpensive and easy to install plastic piping with some flex, which makes it really good for these types of jobs. The hole in the middle was to expose the fire-stop so that they could drill through that.

When I made the holes, I drew them using a pencil and a level so that they’d be perfect(ish) rectangles, and then cut them out using my handy oscillating tool, which is the only thing I really know of that can make such clean cuts in plaster. These holes will get patched over with drywall and then skim-coated, and you should never know they’re there when all is said and done.


Once we decided to remove the pipes running up through the library, I sort of became fixated with getting rid of the ones in the entryway, too. One of them covered part of the door casing (that’s the door that leads to the porch) and the other sort of cut that wall in half—there’s another door to the right just out of frame. Again, totally not something I would even be thinking about”¦.but if the ceiling is open and the wall has huge holes in it”¦it’s kind of now or never, right?


Actually, that’s not totally true. In the back corner of the hallway, there are still two pipes that feed the radiator in the upstairs bathroom. These will eventually get re-routed, too, but that sort of requires me coming up with a renovation plan for the upstairs bathroom, which just feels sooooo far down the line. At the very least, the pipes will get moved inside the downstairs bathroom walls, but it’s also possible we’ll end up doing something entirely different for heat up there. Anyway, they can stay until I figure it out.


LOOK, TECHNOLOGY! So those four plastic pipes are replacing the four exposed ones I just talked about above. In case you are lost and confused. In case you even care. Is this post even worth writing? Whatever. It’s happening.


Look at that madness! I know this sort of seems like it’s wrong and shouldn’t work the same way, but it does! So whatever!

Before we put the ceilings up, we insulated these first two bays where the pipes run. As I mentioned in the ceiling post, we didn’t want to insulate the whole ceiling, but insulating the exterior wall and around the pipes seemed prudent.


OK, FOLKS. Let this be a lesson to you. Even if you aren’t doing your own electrical/plumbing/whatever, it ALWAYS pays to pay attention and have some basic understanding of how things work. My contractors probably all hate me because I shadow them pretty closely while they’re working, but it’s IMPORTANT. The photo above, for instance, is how they were planning to connect the newly-plumbed radiators. It’s hard to tell what’s going on in the picture maybe, but basically the original elbow-shaped piece is connected to a new reducer (the black piece) to bring the size of the pipe down from the original larger size (I can’t remember the dimension) to the new 1″ size. That reducer is attached to the PEX adaptor (the brass piece). The end of the length of PEX is basically temporarily expanded with a special tool, slipped over the end of this adaptor, and then quickly tightens and forms a water-tight seal.

So basically the plan was that all of this would be exposed above the floor! You’d see all of this, and about an inch or so of PEX wrapping the bottom of the brass part. Above the floor! NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.


Before they could get as far as drilling out the floor and enacting this plan, I asked why we couldn’t just use a 6 or 8 inch pipe of the original size, bring that down through the floor, and then reduce it and transition to PEX below the floor level. The plumbers, adorably, didn’t seem to understand the utility of this plan, but agreed that there was nothing wrong with it aside from them having to go back to the store to pick up some extra parts. So in the end it cost slightly more time and money, but the result is WAY better looking. You’d never know these radiators were messed with! Crisis averted!


Much better, yes? Yes.

I need to pick up escutcheons for all the radiators, but that can wait. Maybe I’ll agonize over that decision, too.

As you might have gathered by this point, another little communication snafu between the plumbers and I is that they HIGHLY recommended reconnecting all of the radiators AND filling the system before the ceilings went up to test for leaks in all of the new plumbing, which I wasn’t really anticipating. I’m glad we did it, since it turned out there were some minor leaks that needed to be fixed. Had I known this was part of the plan, I would have been focused on at least skim coating and painting the spaces behind where the radiators would go in preparation for their install, but I didn’t get a chance to do that. Boo.

The original plan was to try to have the disconnected radiators sandblasted and powder coated and the floors refinished while they were away, which admittedly was a little ambitious, but it looks like that’s not happening! At least this year. I’ve now had two quotes for refinishing the floors and both refinishers have said that sanding around the radiators isn’t an issue at all, so it’s not a huge deal. And as much as I’d like to have the radiators refinished, it can also wait a year or two or three. Maybe at that point we can just spring to have all of the radiators in the house done at once, which would be pretty fancy, so maybe it’s all for the best.

Whatever! I’m just happy that we went for it and buried the exposed heating pipes, some of the radiators are in better locations, and they all still work! All the other stuff isn’t that important. Right now I’m kind of just riding the high of finally having CEILINGS and being *this close* to being able to start painting the dining room and library and putting furniture in and living in, like, a real house! EEP!

All this is a little hard to do, though, when you have”¦MONO! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, last week I came down with what I thought was some wretched late-summer cold/flu thing, and I did a very uncharacteristic thing and actually visited a doctor, and it turns out I have mono! Like a fucking teenager who kissed too many boys at junior prom. How did this happen? I DON’T KNOW. But it is pissing me off, because I have a lot to do, and it took me four days to write this blog post because I kept falling asleep, and I basically feel like a pile of diseased garbage with internet access. So, forgive me if the pace is a little slow”¦I’m trying”¦but I’m also so tired and nauseous and congested and did I mention tired? Like laughably tired. I’m totally worthless.

I have to go nap now.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 9.4.14
    amey judd said:

    the light in your house is ravishing.
    your attention to this kind of infrastructure detail adds to the — nurturing feeling? your house exudes.
    i hope you feel better soon. your home is taking care of you. what goes around is coming around.

  2. 9.4.14
    ne said:

    I hope that once it is done, your home is open to blog readers, you know like tours of the Buckingham palace – we’re getting all sucked into the history and story of your place! (Some of it admittedly, rather gruesome ;)

    Feel better soon!!

  3. 9.4.14
    Bostonian said:

    Hope you feel better soon. It must be because of all the hard work:(

  4. 9.4.14
    Kaye said:

    I’ve had mono. You think you’re dying, but I promise you’ll get over it.

  5. 9.4.14
    Kim said:

    The house is coming along beautifully!

    About 4 years ago when I was 26, I had a sore throat that would not go away no matter what I took. I got some of the worst cold sweats of my life. After multiple tests and diagnoses, the doctor realized I had mono. I had it for 6 months which is insane! Hope you start feeling better soon!

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      SIX MONTHS! Noooooooo, don’t even tell me that!

  6. 9.4.14
    amey judd said:

    just watched the 1999 movie of mansfield park (jonny lee miller!!!). the shot of your hallway reminds me of some of those interiors: grand old building stripped down to original surfaces. as you know one style of doing this in europe is to leave it stripped down.

    beautiful mansfield hall interiors were shot in this place:


  7. 9.4.14
    Sara L. said:

    I love how obsessive you are about aesthetics. That pipe situation would have driven me bonkers as well, so glad you came up with a logical, easy solution. I do the same thing, and probably drive contractors mad as well. We had a new roof put on, a light grey one for energy saving reasons, and the flashing around a very major dormer was left as is. Black. I couldn’t stop staring at that ugly black flashing, ever time I looked at the roof. When the roofer came back to give us our guarantees and finish up with paperwork, he said, “Doesn’t the roof look great?” “Actually…” I said, and then pointed out the flashing. He stared at me like I was crazy, but gave us a quote for matching flashing, and I felt better. Crazy. I mean me.

  8. 9.4.14
    Rachel said:

    Very clever fix for the exposed pipes… I love it!! And I love that you stopped them from putting the PEX connection above the floor, looks much better your way! I just watched an old This Old House yesterday where I totally learned about PEX and that little expander tool and how they make the connections… so I guess I just feel really informed now. And it reminded me that one reason I love TOH soooo much is that they’re insanely particular about details and everything looking good… just like you. hehe.

    and ugh, the mono SUCKS!!! If it makes you feel any better, the reason I was watching four back to back episodes of This Old House yesterday while my boyfriend when out to dinner with our friends was that I’m pretty sure I have West Nile virus. I’m not even a hypochondriac, but based on flu-like symptoms plus nausea plus “retro-orbital pain associated with eye movement” I’m pretty convinced. anyway, just wanted to commiserate on the “getting obscure flu-like illnesses you really didn’t expect to get” front. feel better!!

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh no, West Nile!! Dude, be careful! Have you been to a doctor? Isn’t there a pretty simple blood test for that? Yikes yikes yikes.

  9. 9.4.14
    TaraP said:

    I missed a month of 6 grade to mono….the worst I’ve ever felt in my life….even over morning sickness & childbirth. Rest up & take care of yourself!

  10. 9.4.14
    Debbie said:

    The hidden pipes will be like 100 times better. Great thinking to move them now. I had mono one summer as did many people in my office (caused by shared mugs in the office kitchen which we cleaned but apparently not well…now I always the same mug that I keep at my desk). I was so sore and tired and the back of my neck and head had swollen glands that ached. It was awful. The weirdest thing about having mono was that the doctor brought in 4 med students to feel my enlarged spleen as I was the first case of mono they had seen that month. The worst thing was not being able to have any alcohol for months.

  11. 9.4.14
    kathyg said:

    Oh yeah, so worth getting the pipes hidden! You won’t regret the “while we are at it” decisions. This is all going to come together at one time and be so amazing! So Sorry about the Mono! But you must respect it, rest, eat well, and Netflix binge.

  12. 9.4.14
    Meg said:

    I was diagnosed with mono in the spring. Also, strep throat. I got sick like a teenager and I am no where near teenaged. Talk about a blow to the ego. Mono sucks, but I felt a lot better after I finally found out what was wrong because then I could make sure to take care of myself instead of pushing myself to ignore symptoms. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  13. 9.4.14

    Get well soon!!!

  14. 9.4.14
    Meg said:

    Oh, dear, mono! You absolutely MUST take excellent care of yourself! I know, because when I got mono (at age 18), I just pushed along, didn’t eat well, and ”¦. I never got completely over it. Yup. I’m one of those people with chronic Epstein-Barr—and it’s not something you want to happen to you. So, as kathyg said, you MUST RESPECT IT. Eat lots of veggies, maybe even take a low-dose general vitamin, and get lots of sleep. Please! What should happen is that after a few weeks, you’ll very suddenly have your old energy back. That means the virus is vanquished. Rest until then!

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh man, thank you for telling me about that, Meg—I had no idea that could even happen! I definitely don’t want that. As somebody with a tendency to try to push through it, that’s definitely a good warning. I’m sorry that happened to you!

    • 9.4.14
      Ryan said:

      And make sure to drink plenty of water. I apparently infected my girlfriend in college (who i didn’t start dating until 3 months after i had mono) and felt super guilty when she ended up in the hospital for 2 days for dehydration. I may have been contagious several months later, but i felt fine-ish (it was college after all and I stayed up late a lot).

      Your pex looks great. I’m super excited to replace my 100 year plumbing soon and plan on using pex. It isn’t a big house (1 bathroom, kitchen, basement laundry) so I hope to do it all in a day. At least i can bucket flush the toilet if it takes longer I guess.

  15. 9.4.14
    Dusa said:

    At least you get to snuggle with some pooches? And hallucinate about paint colors?

  16. 9.4.14
    Janine said:

    Feel better soon, weekend-warrior-slash-sleeping-beauty!
    All the pex is freaking awesome. I could read 1,000 posts about awful rad water lines and replacing them with pex.

  17. 9.4.14
    Devyn said:

    Looking great Daniel… It is totally in the details!
    Pure coincidence, our radiators are disconnected (and sitting in our bathroom) as we await the refinishing of our floors. I was looking at these flanges (escutcheons) for our rad’s… Perhaps they might work for you.
    (Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with these folks, and have no experience ordering from them.)

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      I’ve actually seen those! There are some pretty fancy flange options out there. I need a total of 22 in my house just for the radiators, so I might need a more budget option than those, though! :)

  18. 9.4.14
    Kristan said:

    Ugh, mono. After a doctor’s visit where he dismissed my concerns, my clothes falling off from weight loss, and spending weeks researching things like lymphatic cancer as I wondered if I was dying, I went back to the doctor. The nurse took one look at me and said, “You’re still having symptoms? Honey, you have mono. I’m getting you tested right now.” It took a looong time to get better, so take it slow. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.

  19. 9.4.14

    I love your house and I love your passion for it. Be well. Cheers

  20. 9.4.14
    kara said:

    how have i never noticed the wallpaper in your house? it’s like nothing i’ve ever seen before!! what is going on in there? shopping carts? reverberating backs of chairs?! kind of awesome, really.

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Ha, I don’t know!! It’s actually not even wallpaper—it’s painted with a patterned roller! At some point the ENTIRE house (EVERY. SINGLE. ROOM.) was painted in some similar treatment”¦it must have been really something!

  21. 9.4.14
    LD said:

    Fabulous progress. Mono does suck. It ruined my daughter’s senior year of college, the gap year was spent getting better and we are hoping she is done with it after a third relapse earlier this year. Grad school has been put on hold for a year and hoping for a January entrance. I really hope you have a mild case. The fevers are what zonked her completely. Rest like the dr. says. Advice from a fellow mother, because you can never have too many!!

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Yikes, poor thing!!! I definitely have my fingers crossed that it’s a mild case”¦I’m somewhere around the end of week 2 of noticing symptoms. I haven’t had a fever for a couple of days, and I’m eating a little more today and have WAY more energy than I have in the past week or so”¦so we’ll see. I’m horrendous at “taking it easy” but doing my best!

    • 9.5.14
      Suzanne said:

      Be well soon! *sending the good health vibes your way*

  22. 9.4.14
    Mike said:

    Pex is great, just remember to keep these pictures and their locations handy; so you don’t nail/screw something in the wall through the Pex by accident.

  23. 9.4.14
    Kerrie said:

    I always feel like a bad person when I laugh at your descriptions of your angsty, convoluted decision making journeys – but the good news is, it always works out in the end :)
    I am a huge fan of buried pipes – I noticed the exposed rear hallway pipes in the last post while I was admiring the amazing fixed ceiling, so thanks for adding them to the list.
    I hope you feel better soon and I hope Max isn’t quizzing you too hard on who you went to junior prom with

  24. 9.4.14
    Debbie in toronto said:

    Oh Daniel… Mono! Poor guy, hope you feel better soon

    And gotta say RIP Joan Rivers, one of a kind and a harder worker than you if that’s possible ( only just)

    Take it easy kiddo

  25. 9.4.14

    I’ve never seen radiator pipes end up in such wacky spots. Ours at least have the decency to dwell in corners, so I sort of love them – the exposed iron also acts as a mini rad, pumping more heat into the room, which we need. I’m very curious about how stable your rads are with just the pipe through the floor (and their own weight of course) keeping them in place. It’d be nice to know if the pex would work for us if we end up moving any around.

  26. 9.4.14
    Margret said:

    Oh you have glandular fever! Boo :(
    (I had to google mono). So much better to have those pipes dealt with. I would have done it drilling through all the floor joists too. Drilling a hole that size would not affect their structural integrity. The international building code allows a hole up to a third of the structural depth to be cut if it’s centered between the top and bottom of the joist. Anything to hide pipes I say!!

  27. 9.4.14
    Gillianne said:

    Echoing Meg on giving yourself the TLC you’d insist on for anyone you cared about who had mono. My daughter’s friend who had mono kept trying to return to school too fast and relapsing, a horrible cycle. She ended up losing an academic year. Sometimes you just have to give in to the diagnosis. Fighting it can cost you more in the end than taking whatever time your body needs to rest and heal — the medical version of “penny wise, pound foolish.”

    Also, your perfectionism is one of the delights of this blog. Your house thanks you, your eyes thank you, your readers thank you. Now go take a nap, young man!

  28. 9.4.14
    Jennifer I said:

    So sorry you are ill! We thought my little boy had mono in June but turned out he had lymes disease. Those immune system disorders are tricky to pin down. My doctor told me that almost everyone sheds mono, that once you have it, it is in your system, and that they think there are times when a perfectly healthy person may be shedding it and give it to you. So, you could have gotten it from anyone. :( Take care of yourself.

  29. 9.4.14
    Jen said:

    MONO?! You’re adorable.

  30. 9.4.14
    Erica W. said:

    As my dear departed mother used to say, “stop staying up too late and running yourself ragged, you’ll get the mononucleosis!” Now that I’m the age that my mother was when she said that to me (and, yes, I am turning into my mother), I understand the wisdom of her advice. Oy vey! Rest a little, already!

  31. 9.4.14
    CarolGK said:

    So sorry to find you’re not feeling well. I’m sure Dr. Max and nurses Mekko and Linus are taking good care of you. Listen to all your friends (readers and traditional friends – analog friends?) and take care of yourself. The house can wait and so can we.

  32. 9.4.14

    Wow, the hidden pipes DO look MUCH better, and the Pex work is great too, and I love the do it while we’re at it idea as it’s often cheaper to do just that, while you’re at it than it is when you have to open up to do it later (and it’s MUCH easier to do while open in the first place).

    So sorry to hear you have Mono, thankfully, I’ve not gotten that one, that I know of, though I’ve had an intestinal infection, and the following year a chest infection, and neither are fun either. The cruel irony of both of them was they took place over spring break while in tech school in the late 80’s. :-(

    Take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, eat lots of veggies and/or fruits, get plenty of water in you and rest, lots of rest, and you should get better as we readers want to read the NEXT thing you have up your sleeve. ;-)

  33. 9.4.14
    Jo said:

    Seriously, dude: STAY IN BED for a couple more days, okay? Mono sucks rocks. I had it for longer than you care to think about (these folks with their six-month courses have me saying, “Oh. . .how adorable”) and I can tell you that the only thing that helps is rest. Rest and a good multivitamin, and drinking tons of non-caffeinated liquids.

    I’m curious to know: when the plumbers had to drill through your fireblock, did they have the same problem my plumbers did in my 70+-year-old house? Namely, that the fireblock was made of such old, dry, ancient wood that it broke several drill bits and a routing attachment? Has your fireblock brought Baptist electricians to cursing? Is it, in fact, the hardest substance known to man?

    Because mine was, and did, and was, and it sucked rocks equal to those that mono sucks,

    Hope you feel better soonest.

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Jo! And oh lord, I don’t think I want to know how long your mono lasted. YIKES. I refuse to be sick for a long time. NOT. AN. OPTION.

      That’s interesting about your fire block! My plumbers all curse like sailers about everything all the time anyway, but I don’t think this was particularly bad at all. I guess that bodes well for your house in case of fire, though!

  34. 9.4.14
    Emily said:

    I need to know- what are you using to hide/cover up the old radiator holes in te floor? We have those all over our old house after removing our radiators and haven’t found a solution. Would love to hear what you’re thinking!

    • 9.4.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh! Well, since we need to refinish the floors anyway, I’ve been patching in sections of the affected boards with salvaged pieces from elsewhere in the house (the downstairs bathroom had the same fir flooring, as did a small section of the side porch that I removed for this purpose). The alternative is basically to “plug” the holes with pieces of wood just cut to the shape/size of the hole, but feathering in a new board will obviously give a more seamless result when all is said and done. Sometimes you can steal floorboards from spaces like closets and stuff, or you might be able to find matching wood at a salvage place. I’ll do a post about patching in the floors soon!

  35. 9.4.14
    signora sessofiglio said:

    I had mono when I was 30. It was a whole year before I felt like myself. Taking it easy is absolutely necessary.

    House is coming along nicely. :)

  36. 9.5.14
    Jay said:

    Mono sucks. I had it for months. Like everyone else advises, rest. And when you feel better, rest some more. I’d think I was on the mend, push myself a little and end up setting myself back weeks.

  37. 9.5.14
    linette said:

    Je vous souhaite une bonne santé pour faire votre super travail de rénovation. Votre maison sera belle. Linette de France

  38. 9.5.14
    Bonnie said:

    Gosh, please don’t stop blogging about fixing up your house! Or your apartment! Or your clients’ places! You’re a fantastic writer. Reading about renovating/decorating houses is endlessly fascinating. It’s my version of armchair traveling.

  39. 9.5.14
    Catherine said:

    Mono should be an excuse to take a sabbatical from work and do relaxing things like boss plumbers around and repaint doors (hey, you can sit while you paint). Some of those pipes were very unsightly, glad you got them tucked away! Are the floors super bad? Things look better in pictures. I would be inclined to put those off til you have the radiators removed to be refinished because you are going to do it anyway… I don’t know. Any plans to install central air conditioning?

  40. 9.5.14
    Catherine said:

    Kidding about painting doors with mono of course, take care of yourself!

  41. 9.5.14
    Chelsea said:

    Hey Daniel! I’ve been reading your blog since you DIY-ed your little desk way back when you lived in the Manhattan apartment. I’m obsessed with your style and your writing, and you’ve been really inspiring to me over the years… I draw a lot of ideas for my own home from your blog. It’s also been so fun to see you grow–into a new apartment, in a new relationship, and now into a homeowner, designer to the stars etc. :)
    I have to say, though, that some of the recent posts on the house have only been skim-worthy to me. I know you’re renovating, so the focus is different, but I miss the design/decor-focused posts soooo much. Some of these renovation posts are just not relatable or readable. Reducers? Escutcheons? PEX? I find myself scrolling and scrolling trying to get to a tidbit of funny writing, or clicking over and crossing my fingers for a post on paint colors or furniture finds or one like your kitchen redesign reveal. Again, I know you have a lot to do to renovate, but I just thought I’d give you some honest feedback as a longtime reader.

    • 9.5.14
      Daniel said:

      I totally understand where you’re coming from, Chelsea—I really do. I guess I should preface this by saying that when I started reading “houseblogs” way back in, like, 2006, they were pretty much entirely dominated by pretty intense, technical, nitty-gritty old house renovations, and for some reason I’ve always found that stuff interesting, just on a personal level. It seems like pretty much all of the “big” bloggers nowadays are focused almost entirely on interior decorating and/or very light renovation projects, either since their houses are mostly built post-1980 or they have the luxury of hiring everything out, or both”¦and that’s just not what this is. I write about stuff like this for a number of reasons: partially because I think people might learn some stuff if they’re interested, partially because I think it’s interesting and notable, partially to show the realities of the pace and the endless little decisions that go into trying to restore an old home like this, and partially because I want to keep a record for myself (and, I guess in some way, for the house!) of all the stuff we did. And ultimately, all of this boring stuff kind of is design/decor-focused. The room will look prettier because we made the decision to bury the pipes. The room will look prettier because we made the decision to have level ceilings and smooth walls and radiators positioned where they are. It’s all a process—it’s just a lot slower than painting a room and throwing some furniture in.

      ANYWAY, when you’re saying that these posts aren’t relatable or readable, try to bear in mind that you’re speaking for yourself—I think a lot of readers are going through similar stuff (or have gone through similar stuff) and would disagree. At the end of the day, I can’t please every reader with every post, so the best I can really do is continue to share an honest account—nothing more, nothing less. If that ceases to be worth somebody’s time, I’m 100% OK with that.

      That said, I do feel like we’re FINALLY getting to the point in our renovation (and, therefore, on this blog!) where things will finallly start to pay off with, like, actual pretty rooms and all that good stuff.And TRUST ME, nobody is more excited to share all of that than I am! I promise I want to live in a pretty house way more than you want to read about it. :)

      Hope that all makes sense.

    • 9.5.14
      Ann said:

      Wow Chelsea! you must have just “skimmed” this post and missed the MONO part.
      Nothing like giving unsolicited “honest feedback” when a guy is sick. When you preface your feedback with “I have to say” next time ask yourself if you REALLY have to say it.

      Daniel I hope you feel better soon.

    • 9.5.14
      Daniel said:

      It’s really OK! Chelsea’s comment wasn’t mean-spirited. I do know posts like this aren’t going to have a ton of mass appeal, and I don’t mind being told. I can handle it! :)

    • 9.5.14
      Chelsea said:

      Daniel–thanks for replying! I definitely see your perspective and the reason why you’re writing about this stuff does make sense. I never intended to speak for anyone other than myself and don’t believe that I did. Just expressing the things that I miss and am excited to see more of eventually. I will continue to come back as long as you continue to write… I’m not going anywhere. Feel better soon!

    • 9.5.14
      Stacey said:

      As the owner of a 130 year old house with absolutely no uniquely charming characteristics I really appreciate seeing Daniel go thru the nitty gritty of fixing the underlying problems first. The post about dry walling the ceilings was especially timely since I had ice dam damage and decided that patching an already badly patched kitchen ceiling was a bad idea and I should just bite the bullet and tear it all out and fix it, especially since this is the only way to replace and move the truly heinous light fixtures in the room. However, the ceiling was never level and now I am wondering if the contractor realizes how complicated it might be to do a good job. If he blows a gasket when I ask him what his plan to level the ceiling maybe he isn’t the right guy for the job. Thanks Daniel!!!!

    • 9.6.14
      Lori said:

      Hi Daniel – I just wanted to add my 2 cents in that I respectfully disagree with Chelsea. I cheer every time I see a new post from you because I enjoy reading everything you write so much – whether it’s about radiator escutcheons, wallpaper, dog collars or ramen. Your writing is so honest and charming and well-crafted and funny that to me all of it is worth my time reading, whether I personally relate to it or not.

      And putting up a blog post when you should be resting and getting well? I don’t know if that is heroic or conscientious or obsessive or what! – but as much as I love seeing new posts from you, please listen to everybody here, take very good care of yourself and for God’s sake please GET SOME REST!!

      Ok that’s all. Thanks for the great blog!

  42. 9.5.14
    Sarah S said:

    Get well soon!

    And I like all your renovation posts (as well as the design ones). Keep posting whatever is interesting to you, because your writing and journey are both interesting.

  43. 9.5.14
    Susan said:

    How can you call the photo of your entryway lousy? I absolutely love it. It has a slightly faded, grainy quality that speaks to the history of the house and a gentle light that reveals the luminous beauty contained within. It’s perfect.

  44. 9.5.14
    Juliska said:

    Back in college I had mono for about half a year. All my teachers were understanding, except one. She gave me a really bad grade for missing a bunch of classes, and wouldn’t let me make them up. When I tried to talk to her about it, she said I didn’t “look that sick.” So I tend to associate mono with a suddenly lower GPA!

    But back to the house; I’m not a really technical person. Types of pipes? Subtle variations in paint color visible only to hummingbirds? Drywall vs. hand-plastering by 100-year-old Cistercian monks? Beyond me, but bring it on! I may not understand it all, but I love to read about it, when you write about it. I will never renovate a beautiful old house. I am happy to live vicariously through your blog. I know there is plenty of design porn coming up, when all the renovation is done. And if I should ever have a minor DIY question, I will search your blog first, because the answer is probably here!

  45. 9.5.14
    Bonnie said:

    I am doing this huge reno on a house and wish I could be doing the decor stuff instead. I look forward to each of your posts because it reminds me I am not alone – deep in the weeds with plaster, and pipe moving, etc.

    Glad you are starting to feel better already. Don’t go back to overdoing it before you are all the way better though – Mono relapses are horrible.

  46. 9.6.14
    Ellie B. said:

    I am so sorry you are sick. I got mono senior year in high-school (forever ago now, 10 years!) and my mom told me I had to go to all my classes or no school musical practice, unthinkable. Worst month of my life but I was on stage opening night! Rest up, mono is rough!

    I’m also glad to hear that my habit of shadowing repair men / contractors has practical applications. I will be sure to share that with my husband.

    I am renovating nothing, my lease says nothing but small holes. I long for a paint brush. I’m convinced when I get a house I will paint everything just because I can. This post is fantastic though. You could probably write a dictionary, drug warning label, or wedding program and it would be enjoyable.

    PS how are wedding plans coming?

  47. 9.6.14
    Linda said:

    My husband, in his 60’s wasn’t feeling well. One night-at 4 AM-he staggered into the bedroom so dizzy that he had to hold the walls to walk. He was nauseated (every meal I made got to him as I cooked it and he still can’t eat steak to this day as the odor made him feel so sick), very dizzy, sick as a dog. His doctor sent him to the emergency room thinking it was something more serious-it turned out to be Mono. Maybe a grandson gave it to him somehow? It turns out Mono can affect the inner ear which it certainly did in his case. Months later and he still gets dizzy. We live in France and one of the treatments is at a place where they put him in a machine and spin him in various directions and see how quickly he recovers. At first he didn’t think it was doing any good but after quite a few treatments he is better. Probably more than you wanted to know about my husband and his mono. I hope you have an easier and faster recovery than he did. I don’t really care anything about home renovation but I keep coming back to your site to see what’s up. It’s fascinating to me but I’m so glad I don’t have to do it. I may have to repaint some walls but I will use white and that’s the extent of my renovation.

  48. 9.6.14
    Luna said:

    I was thinking your usual upbeat tempo was… off. Hope you feel better soon!

  49. 9.6.14

    Hi Daniel,

    I haven’t commented for a while but I check your blog every day to see if you have done a new post. I live in Australia and as our climate is quite mild our houses are not constructed the same way. However, I totally enjoy everything you write about and find it all very absorbing. Can hardly contain myself waiting to see what you do with the living and dining. Hope you feel better soon. Cheers

  50. 9.6.14
    Jenny said:

    Hi Daniel, just wanted to say I adore your blog and I hope you feel better soon!

  51. 9.6.14
    Li said:

    Are you still able to detach the radiator if the connection is under the floor, say if you want to sandblast it down the road?

    Get better soon!

    • 9.7.14
      Daniel said:

      Yes! The connection under the floor is just the transition from rigid metal piping to PEX—the radiator actually disconnects at the elbow piece above the floor. It’s all the same as it always was!

  52. 9.6.14
    Steph Nelson said:

    Love the progress!

    Sorry about the Mono, I feel for you. I had it when I was 17-18 or so. On top of feeling so shitty I took antibiotics that I ended up being allergic to. Fun on top of more fun. Hope you feel better soon, it tends
    to stick around for some people.

  53. 9.6.14
    JB said:

    Daniel, I LOVE everything you chronicle in your blog. I can learn more than I ever knew about old house renovation. It’s fun to read as your blog is so well crafted with a sprinkle of quirky wit.

    I was a mono victim many, many, many years ago at 19 YO, worked at a hospital, so probably the germ was lurking there.

    Take the time to get back to normal–get rest! We want you as healthy as possible so we can look forward to more of your genius and delicious drollery.

    Take care!

  54. 9.7.14
    janeH said:

    Chicken soup time! Feel better, Daniel, and thanks for the laughs (again)! Your Newports remark just about made me weep. I, too, have ignored the furtive smoking of the working man.

  55. 9.7.14
    Mike E. Perez said:

    Incidentally, I fell asleep twice while reading this blog post (I mean no offense!) because I was under the influence of heavy cold/flu medication. I was convinced I had mono also, but my boyfriend assures me that if it were mono, I would know. I did spend three hours at the doctor just to be prescribed a z-pak and cough pearls.

    Anyway, I love reading these types of posts because I’m always amazed at the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. Admittedly, I’ll probably never have to worry about having radiator pipes, since I live in Texas, but I do have an a/c condensate drain pipe that feeds into my spare bathroom, which is so ugly and bothersome. I’ll be sure to keep your advice of sticking close to the plumbers and finding the best ways to keep eyesores like exposed plumbing from interfering with the character of my old home. :)

  56. 9.7.14
    Jessie said:

    Exposed PEX? Unacceptable! I’m glad you were able to intervene.

    I just stumbled upon this blog a few days ago, so I haven’t seen any decor/styling types of posts yet. I look forward to it. But you have to do the ugly stuff before you can do the pretty stuff. That’s just how it works.

    Feel better soon.

    • 9.7.14
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Jessie! Welcome! :)

  57. 9.8.14
    Florian said:

    Hey there, get well soon!

    I love the mental picture of you kissing too many boys at the junior prom. Like a bumble bee slowly making the round of all the blossoms…

    Anyhow, I love your posts! Especially since they are so honest. All of this renovation crap is hard, it’s dirty and it takes forever. You don’t gloss over that. Of course the before and after posts are always fun, but I think we can appreciate them much more because we know how arduous it was to get there.

    Vocabulary word of the day: mono in German = Pfeiffersches Drüsenfieber. Looks like a much graver illness, no?

    • 9.8.14
      Daniel said:

      omg, I love that. I will be practicing my german pronunciation today…

  58. 9.8.14
    Joanna said:

    What was the plumber’s reason for not putting in a shut-off valve at the base of the radiator?

    • 9.8.14
      Daniel said:

      Oh! These are hot water radiators, so there are two pipes that connect to each—a supply and a return. There’s a shut-off valve on the supply side (the picture is of the return side).

  59. 9.8.14
    Nicole Ohrlein said:

    So basically you are pregnant.

    • 9.8.14
      Daniel said:

      Basically. :(

    • 11.29.14
      Pebbles said:

      I missed a month of 6 grade to mono”¦.the worst I’ve ever felt in my life”¦.even over morning sickness & childbirth. Rest up & take care of yourself!

  60. 9.9.14
    Colleen said:

    Aw, poor Daniel! How did you even catch mono? Anyhow, good thing you hid those pipes because it amps up the class factor so much. It’s the little things, ya know?

    • 9.9.14
      Daniel said:

      I wish I knew! Probably too much kissing (dogs).