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February 13, 2011
Drywalling the center cap

Gail works (sometimes creatively) to drywall the cap of the center chase

If Russell’s nightmare for the past several months has been the deck posts, then Gail’s nightmare has been the drywall. Putting up drywall in our 2,000-sq. ft. mountain home has been a huge amount of work, especially given the odd shapes and angles required by an octagonal house.

As Gail proceeds with drywalling, the remaining work keeps becoming more and more eccentric. One particular task she has been putting off has been the downstairs center chase.

In January 2008, we first realized that we would need to construct a center chase. Even though it was not in the original blueprints, we realized that there was no other way to get the plumbing pipes from upstairs to downstairs.

In May 2008, Russell constructed the first chase. In July 2008, he decided he was unhappy with the first chase and rebuilt the entire thing. In October 2008, Russell passed another milestone when he constructed a “cap” on top of the chase. In October 2009, with the chase electrically wired, Gail was finally able to start drywalling the sides.

Drywalling the cap was another matter, and Gail put it off for more than a year as she tried to figure out how to do it. The chase cap, like the chase itself, is designed as a non-uniform hexagon, with three long sides alternated by three short sides. Even worse, it runs into an octagonal ceiling with posts and beams. The combination of the six-sided chase and eight-sided ceiling means that every facet of the cap has different angles and challenges. Further complicating the design is the fact that various wires and pipes come through the ceiling in odd places.

The “before” pictures – each of the six sides is unique

In December 2010, with the inclement weather preventing outside work, Gail finally began tackling the drywall on the center chase cap. As expected, the work was frustrating, sometimes bordering on the ridiculous. Gail had to cut and splice many small pieces, sometimes adding extra framing just to have something to affix the drywall to.

Evolution of a section

Gail continued her work during her visits in January and February. Finally, during our early Valentine’s Day trip, Gail finished the bulk of the center chase cap – the same day that Russell finished the deck posts.

The “after” pictures – that’s some creative drywalling!

There is still one small section remaining. A pipe is exposed and Gail still hasn’t figured out what she’s going to do there. That will have to wait for another day.

The last unfinished section – what to do about that pipe?

Another thing that Gail has done over the past few months is go crazy shopping for space heaters on craigslist. We now have a baseboard heater that fits perfectly in the master bedroom. We have a small electric heater that looks like a wood-burning stove – it even creates a lifelike flame! And we have two convection heaters that attach to the wall. (These will ultimately go into Cameron’s and Joss’ bedrooms, but for the time being they are heating the downstairs.)

As we continue to suffer record cold spells, at least we will be warm and comfortable as we continue to work inside!

A parade of heaters: baseboard, convection and even a faux wood-burning stove!


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