April 25, 2010

It’s a room!

If not yet dark.

Visible progress is slow but I feel I’ve reached a milestone with this: the new wall and door are in and the room is sealed up and insulated. It’s amazing how much better the air conditioner works! At the other end of the room, the window needs to be covered up, but that shouldn’t take long.

Finishing the tape and float on the sheetrock and painting is the next major phase. This takes a certain amount of time no matter hard one works at it because things have to dry. I’m going to go with your basic white on the paint color. There is much debate on various boards about what color to paint a darkroom, but it really comes down to what an individual wants. There is a school of thought about black walls, especially around the enlarger. I intend to address this later, but the room will be painted white.

After paint: overhead lighting and plumbing.  Then I begin to install actual fixtures and equipment. The 8 foot sink is already in the room, since I had to get it inside before I framed and installed the door. Otherwise, it would have never turned the corner at the top of the stairs.

I also had a 9 foot countertop from the old darkroom. Nothing special about it except I had it and it was drilled and tapped for mounting an Omega 4x5 enlarger. It is not an actual “countertop”, but a heavy exterior door that I rescued from a trip to a landfill. Veneer over one and a half inch thick particle board! Weighs a ton. Flat. Stable. I also wrestled this thing up the stairs prior to framing and installing the door. I got all the way to the top landing and was negotiating the turn to take it into the darkroom when it slipped out of my grip and fell flat back onto the stairs. It hit nothing and damaged nothing in the seemingly slow-motion fall, but broke into two almost equal pieces when it hit. The two pieces were much easier to take back down then the intact thing was to haul up!

April 19, 2010


Back from working out of town. Rain all weekend and tired from the trip, but I still managed to get some work done. Got the remaining sheetrock up on the wet side and started taping and bedding. Also took down the fluorescent fixtures. (Some of you were concerned).

This evening I am going to go purchase the door, so that I will have it for precise measurements. Next step is to frame the door in the added partition, then put the wiring in the new partition before closing up the wall and actually installing the door. Then, all the sheetrock can be finished and painting started. This is all a lot of physical work, but nothing too complicated.

Wiring for the ceiling lights - and a ceiling fan - will be surface mounted. What little attic space there is above the ceiling is not accessible and so trying to fish wires is just too much effort. I can live with conduit and boxes. It is a darkroom after all. Plus, if I ever want to change anything, it makes the wiring "modular", or at least accessible and changeable. The plumbing will be the same way.

We have two light fixtures in the house that are coming down (eventually). One is in the wife's studio and is a small pool table sort of light. Since, of course, she doesn't have a pool table in her studio, I think it might work as a work light over the area where I will have a desk/worktable space.

The other is a bit more whimsical. There is a chandelier in the dining room. We are not using the "dining room" as a dining room and so have always planned to replace the light with a ceiling fan. I could put the chandelier in the darkroom. As opposed to throwing it out, why not? We'll see.

I'm really motivated to move this along now, as I am anxious to get back to developing and printing. I spend way too much time thinking about buying a DSLR, and I have to get back into the chemicals or I am going to give in!

April 5, 2010

Floor is done

The tile floor is done.  I even got some drywall up before the tile was laid down!  Now it all rests for two weeks and I'll get back at it.  Should go faster then.

April 1, 2010


I was afraid of this.  My employer insists that I go out of town for two weeks and do some work.  It's not that this isn't a great time of year to go where I'm going (Washington DC), but it would also be a great time of year to be home and get some work done at the house (and the darkroom).  Sigh ...

The tile man is laying backer board as I write and should have the floor finished by Monday.  This means I can't work on the darkroom over the weekend, but I hadn't planned to anyway, what with Easter and all.  But then, it will be two more weeks before there's any progress.  Sigh ...