Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer House List - The sequel

Here's where we stand with our current projects, both with the permitted work we pulled last fall, and our summer house list.  I checked of somethings that I haven't blogged about  yet.  I also added some new items that cropped up... and very few of these pictures I'd call current.




Eve’s Room
    Finishing mudding, sanding, priming and painting Eve's room. 
    Install door and frame window. 
    Install window blinds. 
    Pass inspection (!)
    Move crap out, clean and move Eve back in.
    Decorate and get furniture for Eve.


 New Linen Closet/Upstairs Hall
    Finish framing/painting the closet door. Install closest door for realz.
    Install new floor molding.  Paint old and new molding.
    Pass inspection (!)
    Organize closest and hang wall items.

 Master Bedroom
   Install new domer window. Repair floor/walls, and everything else that was leaked on from old window.
   Sort clutter and donate items.
   Move crib in.
   Buy/Build changing table
   Make 'nursery'  area where clutter was.

Living Room
    Sand, paint and 'install' molding around floors, new and old. 
    Build, stain and seal transitions to the laminate flooring from hall.
    Frame new wall opening.
    Build up shelves for kids drawing table.
    Pass inspection (!)

 Hallway/Entryway
    Patch holes in ceiling and wall of hallway/entryway. 
    Build coat hook bar hang coat hooks
    Paint and install molding around floors of new wall.
    Pass inspection (!)
    Build a built in coat rack… someday.


Downstairs bathroom/Laundry Room
    Adjust cupboards and repair wall behind them.
    Mud, sand, prime and paint.
    Caulk around sink.  Caulk around counter.
    Sand and paint heater.
    Cut down counter so the dryer doesn’t stick out.
    Buy/Build, paint and hang hooks and drying racks.
    Possibly buy new washer and dryer… if I can beg Jon into it.


Computer Desk
    Build, seal, paint and install sliding printer shelf.
    Build, seal and install middle and upper shelves.
    Attach power strips cords and router to desk.
    Build a little paper divider shelf
    Prototype hinges for keyboard/laptop shelf. 
    Build, seal and install keyboard shelf. Build seal and install laptop shelf.
    Put molding around the base and top of cabinet.
    Buy/make cabinet doors, paint and install.
    Upgrade computer – new monitors, fix crashes, new speakers, new case that fits in cabinet.
 
Kitchen
    Paint
    Build, seal and install a sliding pot shelves (x2).
    Buy and install a kitchen faucet.  Repair area under sink.
    Figure out broken dishwasher problem, order part, install and wash a whole lot of dishes.

Basement
    Buy and install or repair our basement door.
    Donate the donations!
    Clear out, organize, and burn scrap wood.
    Mitigate mold issues until a real gutting can be done

Electrical
Upgrade all switches to white ones
Upgrade all outlets to white tamper resistant outlets

Remove lightswitch from upstairs hall, and rewire other switch
Add outlet/light to upstairs hall

Add recessed lights for eve's room
Re-rout switch from outlet to lights
Add extra outlets to Eve's room in key places
Move switches from demo and under window
Add extra outlets to Boys room behind dresser
Add ceiling light to boys room
Re-rout switch from outlet to light

Add smoke alarms to all three bedrooms, wired to the existing hardwired smoke alarms
Add closet light to new closet w/switch
Add outlet for dustbuster in new closet

Add recessed lights in office
Add recessed lights in livingroom
Add extra outlets in livingroom where needed (computer, TV, etc)
Finish coax installation behind TV 
Replace and fix the dimmer switch in dining room.



Outdoor stuff (All clumped together for now)
    Put in new front steps.  Put in a new walkway.
    Set up a raised garden bed, mulch, remove poison ivy, add another fruit tree, make our lawn grow grass again.
    Get/build a new compost bin, and put it closer to the house.
    Finish digging up the sinkhole, and then filling it in.
    Get an engineer to look at drainage.  Fix what we can around the porch, deck and driveway
    Put in a longer bar across the playset and add some new swings.  Build a sandbox and stock with sand.
    Take down most of the old deck, salvage enough to still have a small deck.
    Repair pool liner, get pool started for the season, build/buy some sort of ladder so we (I) can get in.
    Finish building up the campfire, get it inspected, and start burning some of the wood on our lawn.  Stain log seat.
    Install some sort of clothes line.


Um, okay, some of those pictures are crazy old.  Like, when-we-moved-in old.  I think I need to go through the house and take some updated, full room pictures.  I'm pretty sure I'm more focused on the indoor list, because that's the stuff I do the most of.  Outdoor is a much bigger mix of Jon and I.

Really though, I just want to see our progress on the list. Current pictures could help too.  But man, having the electrical checklist from before, and seeing it now makes me real happy to see.  I'm actually holding off on the few switches/outlets I have left, since those will be easy enough to do when I get into the third trimester.  Living up the second right now, trying to get as much as I can done!  Let check off more of the list!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Landscape and Gardening!

So one thing I mentioned in my summer house list was my desire to have a raised garden bed. 

Skip a few steps.. and here it is!


Okay, so this was one of the easiest builds ever.  I did the construction with a little bit of Jon's help, but it was pretty easy, even for my pregnant self.  Isn't the second trimester great?

It probably took Jon more work to dig the hole for it (I wanted it recessed a little), than it did for me to slap it together.


I used white cedar from Lowes.  Six 1"x 6"x 8's and one 2"x4" for about... $50, I think.  Plus I sealed it with Thomson's water seal.  I put down some landscape fabric and topped with a little bit of our dirt to hold it down.

We weren't completely sure of the "best" location, but over by the apple trees seemed fitting enough.  The tomatoes that grew from our compost (around the apple trees) seemed to like the spot well enough.  We can always move it if we don't like it there.

We borrowed my parents SUV/wagon and hauled some topsoil from a local place.  It was a good experience in that we learned 1) Wagon's can't haul much.  We could only do 1/2 cu yard at a time. and 2) We're going to hire a delivery truck for our future landscape needs over 1 cu yard or outside of 'local'.

 We used a few tarps to make the transition easier.  While they did help a lot, it was still a bit of work.


And that's about it for the garden bed!

Onto other gardening endeavors, last year we bought these pretty floxes...  um I think that's what they are.  Really though, I just wanted a perennial flower that smelled good and looked pretty.  These were great! 
Sort of.

Funny enough, we bought two, but a random neighborhood cat pooped right in the middle of the the right side flowers just after we transplanted them last year and kill them.  Weird, right?  In a stroke of genius my husband ripped off some of the good plant last fall and stuck them in the right pot.

They took! It's so funny how easily that worked.


I also mulched the front area.  Seems like getting bags during Lowe's labor day sale is the way to go.  We can just load a cubic yard in our van (we needed to mulch the front of the house too), and the price was cheaper than buying in bulk.

 We also added in the a few more plants to the front garden area from around the lawn.  


Actually, if you payed close attention to far away picture with the truck, you'll notice a few things.  We've actually destroyed a 'garden' around the rock in front of my raised garden bend.  It had some small trees and, well a bunch of stuff we never really payed attention to.  It was sort of an odd placement for us, and more than we wanted to manage.  I'm more of a veggie grower anyway.  Jon wants that rock out of there someday too.

But we were resourceful, in that we took some of those nicer looking plants over to the mulch area.


Also, you can see two other projects we're working towards. 

One, is that Jon found more lawn to dig up :(  There was a bunch of roots and stumps buried in the lawn that was causing the grass to grow a little weird.  So Jon made it a big pile of dirt instead.  I'm not sure I understand him.  At somepoint though, we will be getting a quote from a drainage specialist and then backhoe. And then he can dig to his hearts desire and we can have a plan for drainage.  And then put grass on it.  And mow it and dig it up anymore.  That's my goal at least

Two, you can see our collection of pavers.  We decided, at least somewhat, the direction we want to go with our walkway.  Again, we're waiting on a backhoe to help us do some of the dirty work.

Well, enough with the lawnwork.  Hoping we can get some of these projects done!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hit the deck!

 As I mentioned in the my Summer House List, it's the last days of our giant deck.  It was poorly structured and joist hangers started failing.  You can read the specifics in that big ol' list.

I so wish it was savable.  The setup was great.  Big deck for furniture, the grill was right outside the kitchen, the awning covered a large area for eating, and the deck wrapped the pool.  What more could we want?  Well nothing really.... and well.... the size was part of the issue. 


There are so many things that needed to be repaired, there was so much square footage, and many of the failures were because the foundation was poor.  It didn't seem worth keeping, especially since we probably only have about 2-3 more years until the decking would need replacing.

So, down it goes.  We went super conservatively with the removal.  The corner of the house was so unsupported that it was hard to predict what could cause a collapse.  Even having just some shifting could cause damage to the house, pool, or our new chimney.

First we removed a bunch of deck boards from the side of the house.  Seeing Jon with a drill was a little funny.  We probably only got out 5 screws total.  The rest of the attemps just breaking the head of screws. It helped though.

We found having two people, each with a crowbar, pulling on both sides of the boar at the support joist was best.  It caused less splitting and the nails/screws gave more easily.


Once we got a large section of deck done, we took down the side rails and stairs. There was some 4x4 bracing on the outside, clearly put on later.


Whatever this was, clearly wasn't going to hold.  Once that bracing was taken off (thank goodness it was on), Jon had no problem tackling the original structure.








Once the railing was down, we just had simple supports to get out.  They were really easy to get out as most of the screws were basically rusty wire.




 At this point, we could get a closer investigation of some of my concerns.  Joist hangers barley hanging on.

Crooked very very very structural pole. I can't emphasize how much weight this post was bearing, and it became more and more clear as we went on.


One thing that caught me by surprise was the pattern I saw as we took down the hangers.  See how the joist hangers go from very bad to completely normal looking ? The first one was the one that was dangling in the picture I took earlier, and the last one I could actually take off by unscrewing the very normal looking screws.


The same pattern was repeated on the other side, but the damage was less severe.



That's the point when I realized that while the deck's construction was poor, it was not the reason we were tearing it down... this year at least.  Guess what was around the corner where that joist hanger failed?

This guy.

Yeah, this one.


So not only had the power heater vent, which should have never been under a deck, been causing exhaust in our house... and on the deck....  plus off and on heat/hot water troubles since we bought the house... it was also actually the culprit with all the rusted joist hangers. Yay.

In the vent's defense, it was there first.  Some idiot to build a giant deck over it.  If you're contemplating it.  Don't do it.  Don't.  Put down the hammer, and call a chimney company.

So thankful for this guy.

Anyway, back to the deck.  Another concern of ours was the lack of flashing next to the house.  We did find a fair amount of rot, mold and carpenter ant damage.  Thankfully though, it was almost all contained to the sheathing, and the very important header joist (holding our kitchen floor joists up) was almost completely unscathed. We were worried, but all is fine.


Rot and mold...
 Carpenter ant damage.

Once the side was down, we started on the pool side.  First up, we pulled down the railing (and any decking in the way).

Then Jon started cutting the boards section by section.  Despite my fears using with Jon using a circular saw where we probably should have been using a reciprocating saw, it was going smoothly.

Section by section...

Piece by piece...

Until it was all gone!  Thankful no injuries to my hubby, and no damage to our pool!

Finally, our skimmer was free and the deck was no longer pressing on it!


While Jon was working on the pool sections, I was pulling up more decking. This here is the section right next to a joist.


Actually, it's the joist that I've mentioned a few times.  The one that's carrying a whole lot of load, but is actually unattached at the house side.  The one that the crooked support is under. I had to be very careful prying this board up, as it was helping hold that section on.  I did accidentally pry too hard and make that corner section drop a few inches.  While I was on it.  Pregnant ladies can move fast when need be.

Anyway, one that board was gone, it was only the very rusted joist hangers (on on side 3 were already off), and the double joist header (Jon's prepping it for cutting) holding it on.


And with a little prodding... okay, kicking...  it fell over. It did start swinging towards the pool, but we were able to adjust it's path a little.

No Mom, the kids weren't on it when it was falling.  They were actually recording it on video for us :D

We did have to keep ol' crooked support (Jon's standing next to it), as it was still holding up the other side of the deck.

Yep.  Der's yer problem.


That about wraps it up for that Saturday's worth of work.  So painful to be destroying that much money and material.  Plus, we have to figure out how to rid ourselves of the old deck boards, without costing a fortune.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kitchen Faucet

As I mentioned last time, our sink was a hot mess - the handle stuck and it sprayed all over the place.  It's been like this since we bought the house, and I could not for the life of me find an aerator that fit.


Fast forward almost two years, and now that more of our big ticket items have been checked off the list, it was time for a treat.  Thanks tax return!

Jon and I agreed on the styling - clean lines and a horizontal handle.  After some online shopping, we had our eyes set on the "bar version" of this faucet.  At around $250, it wasn't cheap.


 
And this particular one came in a touchless version as well, for a steep $350.  Yet, after watching their commercial...  they may have just swayed me.  Maybe it's my weird humor, or maybe it just caught me off guard actually looking for a faucet... but that's good stuff.
 
Anyway, we decided on the bar size after checking out how faucets looked at real sinks (no one saw me measure the sink at work, right??) and online.  We decided 18" was just way too tall for our kitchen.


But, we took a trip to local stores to check what was available anyway, and how sizes compare in person.  Just as we were about to leave Home Depot, we spotted a clearance stack of faucets behind a display.  Long story short, for $119 we came home with a Glacier Bay Invee faucet, which was the correct size, the style we wanted and half the price we planned on paying. The brand was less reputable, but after looking over reviews, and double checking it's return policy, we decided it was worth the savings to just try it.


We're going to jump along here, because, well no one want to see a whole lot of butt pictures, and well, I didn't take any.  Every sink set up is different, but thankfully we were able to fight the uninstall enough, and didn't require any extra trips to the store mid-install.

Compared to the removal of the old faucet, putting in the new faucet was a breeze.  It came with some sort of top mounting, clamp down thing... and it was super easy.  Good job, Glacier Bay!


We turned on the water, checked for leaks and gave it a go.  Amazingly enough, everything worked first try! And it was AMAZING.  We all clambered around it, like it was the most novel thing we've ever seen.

 Well it was pretty amazing to go from this...


...to this.

In just one afternoon.

Part of me wishes we had done it sooner, but part of me is proud of myself for not jumping to cosmetic changes and spend our time and money on the real issues.  We'll get there.  Baby steps.

Before I wrap it up, I made one more sink-related change that afternoon.

 Under the sink was a little gross, a little moldy, and little bit unusable for storage.  Something must have leaked a while ago.  Jon cleaned up the mold with my goto vinegar/borax mixture and I cut some vinyl flooring.  Actually...


...I can't remember if I blogged about it, but before had our laminate floors in, our wheels were digging up the plywood.  We decided to buy a sheet of thick vinyl floor  to use as our custom wheel mat.  It did keep the plywood from getting damaged, and it works just as well protecting our laminate floors.  It was a great idea, costing less than $20 and requiring only scissors to finish.

Anyway, it left me with a fair amount of scrap in our basement, and under the sinks seemed like a great place to use some up.


I cut it over sized, to create a sort of bin.  That worked well.  I was also a little concerned about the drips running down the pipes... so in keeping it classy... I just used duct tape.   I might look up a real solution at some point.  Maybe even some craft foam (and clear duct tape) would do better?

Either way, we have a useable, not cringe worthy, storage area! Yay!


Well, that, and a sweet faucet.