Reader, Should I?


Please ignore the mess. Oh…and I have plenty “Mechanic’s Companion” available…the sales of which would help 😉

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I live in a circa 1906 house that I’ve been restoring from a 1950s two-family conversion back to a one family (which in my case consists of me and some cats).

Right now, I’m meant to be putting the finishing touches on the two new upstairs bathrooms, working on a built-in linen closet for the hallway, then tackling the spindles and handrail for the front stairs.


Far down on my reno list is doing something with the large opening between the front hall and the living room (see above). Originally, there were likely either columns atop knee walls there (like the house two doors down to my right) or a slightly smaller opening and pocket doors (like the houses one and four doors down to my left). I can’t put in pocket doors; there is HVAC ducting and wiring now in the walls. So I’ve been planning to someday put in knee walls and columns, and perhaps those knee walls would be bookcases, with glass doors.


Yesterday, I visited a local salvage place to donate some stuff I don’t need. I should not have looked around. There, tucked in tightly behind other stuff (so tightly that I couldn’t get a good picture) are two columns atop (non-bookcase) knee walls. And the fit is off by only a little  – an easy fix by eschewing the three-sided frame, and having the bits connect directly to the plaster walls and header (And OK, adding a small base…but that’s simple).

The price – $900. I can’t build these for $900 (heck – I’m not even sure I can build the columns at all…not that I’ve ever let that stop me before!). But I have become markedly parsimonious in my self-employment, and this reno job is near the bottom my list (because it’s not truly necessary). Still…what are the odds on the (almost) exact thing I want ever again becoming available?

I’m leaning toward yes. (But if I fret over it long enough, someone else will buy them…problem solved!)

IMG_0291 copy

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
This entry was posted in Foyer, Renovation/Restoration, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Reader, Should I?

  1. Go for it. Years ago I missed out on a beautiful double mahogany confessional that I had a place to store. A few weeks later a customer asked for a changing room for her pool. I could have put a roof on the confessional and supplied the whole thing for a third of the bid I placed to build new. Lost the job to the guy who bought them. Moral: Always buy the good stuff! 😁

  2. Jack says:

    It was meant to happen.

  3. bookmarklex51 says:

    My wife and I love columned half wall openings. Go for it. It will look great and it will keep the redo of the opening from being put off.

  4. Paul Sutcliffe says:

    Thinking, go for it. Temptation may not pass your way again.

  5. tombuhl says:

    You know the answer, Fitz. Need help moving them home…where they belong?

  6. Stephen Yoder says:

    Every time something like this has happened to me and I ultimately didn’t buy whatever it was (usually a tool), I end up ruing my decision once the item is no longer available. If the $900 won’t preclude making your next house payment, I say, “go for it”. Years from now you’ll look admiringly at the columns and won’t even remember what you paid for them.

  7. No. No you should not. You have a carefully thought through plan and this will only delay it. Listen to your head.
    If it will stop you doing it I’ll lend you my huge (#18-22) hollow planes and talk you through bird’s mouth construction for the columns. You’ll then crave a new career as a spar builder.
    Don’t do it.

  8. Brian Glendenning says:

    I would let finances be my guide – it’s a great opportunity to do a low priority thing more easily and cheaper than it could otherwise be done in some distant future. If it’s not a financial strain at all I would do it, if it is I wouldn’t.

  9. Jerry Strojny says:

    As Tom has already stated. You know the answer. I don’t think you even needed to ask. I wish I was closer to help you move it in. Great find.

  10. Richard Wile says:

    The bottom floor is the home’s showcase, what better way to set it off!!

  11. When you see something as perfect as this that you love, get it!

  12. Kyle Barton says:

    Go for it! What’s the worse that can happen…in 10 years they’re still sitting in your basement 😉

  13. dodie says:

    Of course you should get it, you will regret it forever the minute they are gone.

  14. Randy Allender says:

    Go for it. you will be happy you did in a few years.

  15. johncashman73 says:

    Do it. Put off one of the other projects for now. Youd go the rest of your life before finding something like this again.

  16. J.C. says:

    Of course they belong in your home. They were waiting for YOU to do them justice. Before some pistol-leg pants wearing hipster scum with soft hands and a man-bun buys them up and turns them into industrial waste proudly hanging from the ceiling in his loft.

  17. terrygday says:

    Do it! You are talented, work hard, treat yourself and make sure that someone doesn’t buy an architectural gem and chop it up into pieces for a home bar.

  18. Gary Heinz says:

    A rare find…I’d do it!

  19. jmwagle86 says:

    Oh my yes! It’s going to be wonderful and you’ll forget about all the bad stuff (if your memory is anything like mine, you’ll forget it quickly).

  20. Andrew Brant says:

    One more vote for do it! They really add some flavor while still letting light around. Back in my more antique restoration/interior design days my mentor was really big on adding reclaimed architectural columns, and it really works well. I think these would look lovely in your home

  21. claydeforge says:

    Pull the trigger and buy it! You will be glad you did, maybe not now, but next year….. or the year after!

  22. Ira says:

    Go for it. You might be able to get the price lowered if you offer to give them a plug.

  23. Peggy Schneider says:

    I vote to get them, especially if they are so close to what you need. In the long run you will save time and money and regret.

  24. texasbelliott says:

    Offer $500, and when you get them for $750 you’ll be glad you did. 😉

  25. John says:

    Yes. This sort of this is getting harder to find and you can’t build them for that. — Like Peggy Schneider said…

  26. toolnut says:

    Buy? The part about not being able to build for that price ( or even at all) was you telling yourself to buy. Still up in the air? Remember, it’s kind of a unique item and they don’t come up for sale much so ask yourself how you will feel if it’s not there when you go back, disappointed or relieved. That will tell you all you need to know.

  27. Eric R says:

    Remember, “it’s better to have it, and not need it, then to need it, and not have it”…

  28. SSteve says:

    I think the fact that you asked here is proof that deep down you feel like you should buy them. You knew you weren’t going to get a resounding “no” from this crowd. Of course, it’s easy for us to spend your money, and that’s the true limiting factor. I hope you’re able to buy them and that you enjoy them. You deserve it.

  29. Paul Beaudoin says:

    It was fate that you found this item at all!! texasbelliott had the best advice yet, offer $500, settle on $750 (or LESS) and the enjoyment of getting them for under the asking price will add to the enjoyment for all the years that you get enjoy them.

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