Archive of posts with category 'House'

Icy Wall

I think the pictures below perfectly show why I was concentrating all my tuckpointing repairs on this particular section of my house. I have to work on the gutter this summer to fix this issue. Hopefully, the little bit of tuckpointing that I did will limit the amount of water that gets into the basement. I’m sure that some will get in, but as long as it’s not too much, I should be ok. If it’s a lot, I’m going to have a huge mess to clean up.

Sewing Desk

I’ve been trying to use a bunch of old scraps to make a new table for my sewing machine. I had a lot of great plans for how I was going to do this. And I can also tell you that I failed at most of my plans. But I do have an acceptable table that seems to work. Most of the things that failed were part of my plan to make it easily disassembleable for moving. So that’s ok. I did learn a lot from these failures, so it’s not a big deal. Pictures below. I like it though I haven’t yet done any sewing on it. But it’s a definitely improvement over what I had been using.

No Idea What I'm Doing

I bought an old house, which I love, but which needs a ton of work. And I tend to put things off until they’re really a problem. A few months ago, it rained a lot and there was a lot of water in my basement. After taking a closer look, I’m pretty sure that the problem is due to a leak in my gutter that lets water drip down the side of the house. And this has been happening so long that it has pretty much worn away a lot of the mortar between the bricks. So, my plan, fix the gutter and then repoint the bricks. (*sarcasm)Easy peasy.(*sarcasm)

Still Not Square Part II

I made another box and it’s still not square. Again out of boards I found in my basement. I tried to be a little more artistic with this one. Not perfect, but I’m happy with how it came out. My intent was to have a box to put my off-season clothing in. I’m not planning on going into the box very often. But I found an old hinge in my basement, so I used that for the top.

Still Not Square

In addition to not being able to make a square quilt, I also can’t really make a square box in woodworking. However, that doesn’t stop my from trying. I had some cedar boards and some old oak floor boards, so I decided to make a box. I wanted to have a box to store out-of-season clothes in, since I’m currently using a garbage bag in my room. I thought it would be good practice to try to make a nice box. Sadly, I didn’t succeed in making it square. Nor is it level. I’ve ordered some casters for it, so I should be able to use them to make it level. As for the lack of squareness, it’s not a big deal, except for the fact that it bugs me that I can’t make a square box.

Sewing Machines

I took the sewing machine that was given to me in to get tuned up. The repairman called and said it needed a lot of work and that it would cost around $250-$300. For an old sewing machine that I didn’t like all that much, it was too much money. So I let them keep it for whatever parts they could salvage from it. I don’t sew a lot, but it is a tool that I’d like to have. So I’ve been researching sewing machines.

Frustration!

I thought that I would take today and try to finish the curtains that I’m making for my bedroom doors. My mom gave me a new iron, which works fantastically well. I also got an ironing board, which also makes ironing so much easier. So I was making great progress with ironing and sewing the side seams. Then, I ran out of thread on my bobbin. No problem, I thought. I learned how to thread the bobbin a while back and even made a youtube video of it. So I thread the bobbin and get back to work. But I don’t get back to work. For reasons I cannot determine, the machine is not moving the material forward. If I press the reverse button, it goes back with no problem. But it won’t go forward. So I screw around with it for a while. What did I do? No idea, but the material starts to move forward slowly. (Reverse goes backwards much quicker than the material is going forward.) So I try again, but things still aren’t right, as the thread is bunching on the bottom. I remember the rule that thread problems on the top of the seam are usually due to the bobbin and problems on the bottom are usually due to the needle. So I rethread the needle and it’s just not working correctly. By and large, I have a decent amount of patience, but this drained ALL of it. I can guarantee by neighbors heard the slew of obscenties I spewed. I then decided to buy a new sewing machine and started researching them online. This gave me some time for my blood pressure to drop and to calm down.

Final Fun

Before I even think about going back to work tomorrow, I decided to try to do something fun in my basement. My project is to make something to hang coats by my door. I have a couple of boards that I made out of lathe that are around 6″ wide and maybe 30″ long. I sanded them down and painted them red with milk paint. Once they dry, I’m going to pound in some of the original nails to use as hooks. Then I’ll hang one of the boards on the wall by the door. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll hang them both. I think I’ll see if I like the one by itself first to see if I like how it looks. And how the nails work as hooks.

Full Circle

Lathe are strips of wood that are nailed to studs when building a wall. Before drywall was invented, plaster and lathe were how walls were put up in houses. My house had all plaster and lathe walls on the first floor. Here is a picture of the back of a plaster and lathe wall, as I was gutting the room that is currently my bedroom.

Financial Independence

The past couple of weeks, I have been obsessing about becoming financially independent. When I was a kid, I would have thought of this as being rich. But now, all I want to do is be able to do what I want, without having to think about money. I’d like to have the option to do things for people or not, based on whether I think it’s interesting or not, taking money out of the equation entirely.

Stuck

The good news is that my kitchen is almost done. The bad news is that my kitchen is almost done. What’s left to do? I have to caulk around the windows, finish painting the trim around the big window and finish installing floor trim. Nope, not a lot to do. Why haven’t I done it? I don’t know. I did go to the store to try to buy the trim for the floor and I can’t find the same stuff that the contractor put in. That’s annoying. I was also thinking of installing another cabinet for storage. And I just found out that Ikea is discontinuing my kitchen cabinets. So if I want to buy it, I need to do it now. Already the first cabinet that I had picked out is no longer available. You’d think that would make me jump up and drive out to Ikea, but no, I haven’t done that.

Wrapping It Up

I need to get my kitchen finished because I want to move on to some other things. Over the past couple of days I’ve been:

Cabinets In

Spent a couple of hours finishing my cabinet installation last week. The last ones went in on Sunday morning. The Ikea directions were a bit of a pain, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy. My biggest problem was the blister that I got on my hand from using the screwdriver so much.

Another Cabinet Down

I went to Home Depot with Julie today. She wanted to buy paint, I needed to get an assortment of wood screws and a board to put behind the sink cabinet. With that board, I was able to install the cabinet. I also put the fronts on and it looks ok.

A Mistake

Last weekend, I wanted to install the new track lighting I bought to go over the sink. When I went to attach the bit that gets hooked up to the electrical box, I realized that I used a regular box in the ceiling when I should have used a ceiling box. This just seems dumb to me and I remember installing the box and not thinking much about it. I basically just bought a bunch of deep, square boxes and put one wherever I wanted outlets or switches. But the part of the light that attaches to the ceiling is designed to go onto a smaller box. When I discovered this, I just assumed that I’d be able to get an adapter of some type to allow me to hook things up. I looked at both Ace and Home Depot and couldn’t find anything like this. So then I tried to come up with something else that would work. The problem was, anything I came up with required me to remove the drywall ring (I don’t know what it’s really called) that was already installed. This meant that I also screwed up the drywall around the box, as everything had already been taped. After much messing around I finally got things up and working. Unfortunately, I also have to fix the drywall around the box.

Oven Hood

Spent the last weekend working on the installation of the hood over the oven. This turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. First off, I wasn’t sure exactly how high it should have been installed. There seem to be a number of different opinions out there. I thought I had measured this all out before the drywall went up, but I stupidly didn’t write this information down. In the (very poorly written) instructions for the hood, there was no mention of how high it should go. All I found was on a sticker inside the hood that said it should be more than 24″ from the cooktop. So I put it in a little higher than that.

And it’s over

So much for saying that I was having a good month. I thought I’d finish off the electrical work today and hook up the last outlets. All was going well until I turned the power back on. I’ve set things up so that in each box, the outlets on the left were on one circuit and the outlets on the right were in another. I have gcfi outlets in the first box where the power comes up through the basement. So it’s easy for me to turn off one circuit or another.

Mistake

Since I came back a day before I planned, I had some time to work on my house on Monday. So I decided to paint my kitchen. After a little hiccup where the paint I bought was yellow and not white (said white on the can), I got started. It didn’t take too long, but I did find a rather large mistake I made when we installed the window. I think I should have raised it up a little because there’s about a 1/2″ gap along the top edge.

Hood Vent

One thing I had to finish before my awesome drywalling party was to install the vent in the wall for my oven hood. I had to drill a 6″ hole in my brick house.

Drywall

Finally got the pictures up from the drywalling party. They are here. I owe my niece Abby a movie for being a fabulous photographer. Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who came and helped out. I love you all more than you can possibly know. I got most of you to sign the back of one of my cabinets to be a part of my kitchen forever. I’ll try to catch those who didn’t sign it before I hang the cabinet, but if I don’t it’s ok. You all are the people who mean the most to me in the world.

Insane

It’s been a while since I posted, but not for lack of activity. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I have been so busy. Things got so much out of control that I think it contributed to me getting sick earlier in the week. So I decided to take some action and start saying no to some things.

Onward!

I got a late start yesterday, but got a few tasks that needed to be done taken care of. First, I went to Menards and found that they had the piece to finish the vent in the kitchen. So I went from this:

My Day Off

My employer has deemed that I can no longer accumulate any more vacation days until I use some. So, I’m off today and tomorrow. Today was a pretty good day. I filled my entire recycling bin with paper that I shredded. And still have a couple of more bags to put out. I even bought a new shredder to help me since this is a job that I had been putting off for years. And by getting rid of the paper, I made a dent in cleaning up my bedroom. Now I just need to start going through old computer equipment and recycling that.

Back At It

Back to work on my kitchen today. The hood that I ordered came in so I could try to determine where the outlet for it should go. I’m glad I bought it because I had it way too low. I found this out by eyeballing it, since the hood did not come with any installation instructions. I looked online and found that a hood should be 30″-36″ above the stove. Then, I measured where the power on the hood was and it was about 10″ above the bottom of the hood. I had to move my power outlet about 10″ higher. Next I put in a board so I’d have something to screw into to hold the hood up. I’m pretty happy that except for the hole for the vent, I think I have everything done for the hood. I also bought some insulation to put between the 2x4s in the wall. And I finished the wall on the back of the house. All I have to do now is put in an outlet for the dishwasher, which I completely forgot to do. Install the insulation. And cut the breakfast bar area to the right height and I’m READY FOR DRYWALL! Barring any more disasters, I’m thinking this will happen next month. Yay! Here’s how things look now.

Conduit!

This weekend was the time to put in conduit for all my outlets. And that’s what I did. I’ve put in a lot of outlets and think that I have set everything up quite nicely. I’m really happy that my conduit bending skills have improved quite a lot. Here are some pictures:

I Earned a Cookie

I had a pretty good Thanksgiving weekend. Got the wall done, so I feel I’ve earned a cookie.

Getting There!

My favorite holiday weekend is going on. I had planned on renting a truck and fighting the crowds at Home Depot to get the rest of the insulation that I needed. Alas, the truck I usually get was rented for the day. So I had to change my plan. Instead I finished hooking up my drain vent. Hopefully it’s ok. It goes up somewhere upstairs. I’ll have to find it when I get to work on the upstairs.

Back in the Swing of Things

My two weeks of jury duty threw me off my game a bit, but I got back to working on the house again. This weekend I built the half wall, though I left it tall because I’m not sure how high it should be. I also finally rented a truck and bought some insulation. I started attaching it to the wall as well. Here are some pictures I took this weekend.

Good Weekend

I got a lot done this weekend. Today, I finished up by cutting and laying out all the pipe for the new kitchen drain and stack. I haven’t glued it all together because I want Mickey to come and double-check it, but I think it’s going to work.

Idiot

Take a look at the new water lines in the kitchen. Notice anything odd about them?

Good Morning So Far

I installed my new water lines this morning. Yay! But I have a leak. Boo! I’ll have to fix that later. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon, so I wanted to get the outside of the window I installed finished. I took some aluminum to work to bend on our brake there. Unfortunately, it’s only 2′ wide, so I had to use two pieces to fit my window. But I got it in. I’m sure a real window-installer would have made it look nicer, but I think it’s waterproof, which is my only concern.

The Challenge

Paul proposed that I host Thanksgiving again. Will I be able to do it at my house? This is going to require a kitchen. Here’s what mine looks like now.

Front Stairs

While waiting for the new window to arrive, I decided to tackle some other tasks that I’ve been ignoring. First up, my horribly dangerous front stairs. Since I’m getting a roommate soon, who will unquestionably complain about them, I decided I should do something. None of the contractors I contacted over the summer got back to me, so it’s looking like the stairs won’t get rebuilt this year. I had mixed a little mortar the other week to fix the gaps around my window and it was pretty easy to work with. So I thought, why not give it a try?

Depressing

Sometimes you don’t want to know the state of your house and other times you can’t help but notice. I really, really need to have my house tuckpointed. This is a shot of the inside of the old hood vent. Yes, that is water pouring down.

It Works!

Yes, the new car is small, but I can still move stuff. It just takes me a few more trips than usual. To get 18 2″x4″x10′, took me three trips to Home Depot. But it’s a beautiful day, so I’m ok with that.

Status Report

I’m a little stuck. Here’s how things look now.

Cold-Air Return Moved

I can cross number 2 from the last post off. I moved the cold-air return much lower to the floor and cut the wall to about half size. I just cut the wall shorter, but didn’t measure anything because I’m not sure how high, exactly, it should be. I’ll have to cut them down again later when I know how high the countertop will be.

More Demolition

Today I decided to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Well, not take the whole wall down, but just take off all the drywall so I could see what was there. I’m going to have to cut this wall down to match the height of the kitchen cabinets. But since this wall is at the end of the slope in the floor, I’m not exactly sure where to cut it yet. That will come later. I also finished pulling all the furring strips that were close to the ceiling down, so the brick walls are bare, except for the outlets on them. I would have taken them off too, but that requires me to cut the power to the room, which means the lights won’t work. And today it has been storming quite a bit, so there isn’t much natural light to work with. I’ll see if tomorrow is better for that.

Really Done Now

It took a little over an hour, but I got the floor grouted. I will have to inspect it more closely in the morning when the light is better, but I think it looks pretty good.

Know What’s Better Than Perfect? Done!

I am really tired, but the tile is all in. Sometime this week, I’ll grout and it’ll be completely done, but that’s pretty easy. The difficult stuff was this weekend and I got it done. It’s no where near perfect. In fact, I ended up needing one more red tile. But since it was going in a place that will be under cabinets, I just stuck two smaller pieces together. And if you look closely, you’ll see a number of other mistakes, but I’m going to try to not look closely and just be happy with it.

So Close

My intention today was to finish putting down the tile in my kitchen. I got really close, but then ran out of thinset again. So I need to go to Home Depot for more and then I can finish it tomorrow. Yay!

Smarter Than I Look

I’m getting to the point in my kitchen where I’m rebuilding walls. Unfortunately, my memory of how the contractor did the rest of the house is fuzzy. So I searched through iPhoto on my laptop to see if I could find any pictures of how the walls went up. And I found a movie I made where I walked through the house to look at the electrical connections and could see how the walls were built. And even better, I said what this piece of electrical conduit that’s currently sticking in my kitchen is for. That was great because I was leaning toward cutting it out since I didn’t know why it was there. Yay me! So this morning I’m going to make another movie for myself just for future reference.

Kitchen Tile

I took a few days this week and got to work on the tile floor in the kitchen. I had hoped to get more of it finished, but ran out of thin set mortar and energy. Thankfully, Julie came over to visit and Paul brought us both lunch, so I had a lovely lunch with them. Not sure if I’ll be able to finish it tomorrow, so I this may be on hold for a week or so. Going to try to just be satisfied with what I got done today.

First Cabinet

It probably says something about me (that I wouldn’t like) that a thoroughly enjoyable evening to me is to have a baseball game on while assembling a cabinet in my pajamas. I bought two cabinets yesterday and put together my first one today.

Rebuilding Begins!

I made my first repairs today.

Gutted!

That’s basically it for gutting the kitchen.

Partial Success

I got a lot done today. But pulling up floor boards is hard on my back. And by around lunchtime, I knew I was done for the day. I got most of the room done and generated a large amount of garbage, which is basically how I measure how much I worked.

Looking on the Bright Side

My sister has returned to town, so I had to return her car, making me carless for the time-being. I have finally decided on a car and was supposed to go and pick it up today. But, because I’m a moron, I forgot to call my insurance company to pay for insurance on my brand-new car. So, I decided to postpone picking up the car until Monday.

Lots to Do

Since I was feeling depressed after realizing how much there still is to do on the kitchen, I thought I should take a minute to see how far I’ve come. Below are some pictures I took on the final walkthru of the house when I bought it in 2005 and how it looks now. Eight years of my life. Not sure it was worth it.

Walls Down

I finally finished taking down the walls in the kitchen, though I think I still have to pull off those furring strips. However, I have generated a ton of garbage, so I’ll hold off on that for now. I also have to make the wall between the kitchen and dining room into a half wall, but that can come later. I think the next step will be to rip out the floor down to the subfloor. After that, I’m not sure. I may have to consult with Mick.

Crazy

Mickey the Great came over today and we moved the gas line in my kitchen. As an added bonus, we put in some shutoff valves which I was missing. And lastly, we fully disconnected the dishwasher. We also hauled it out to the alley and two hours later, it’s already gone. Now I’ll be able to put out my beautiful old stove (that has a hole in the side) as well.

It’s Over

There will be no more cooking or cleaning at my house for the foreseeable future. I just finished removing the sink. It’s somewhat depressing thinking about how much more work I have to do.

A Little Bit More

Had to fill my garbage cans again, so I took out a cabinet. Now I need to put a valve on my gas line, so I can disconnect the stove. And then it will be time to get rid of the sink. At that point, I’ll be sad because washing dishes will be a pain. (I’m thinking I’ll just go and buy paper plates and cups.)

Little More Work

I took the morning and tried to take down a bit more of the wall in the kitchen. It was nice being able to stand on the counter to reach the high parts. Here’s how things look now.

Little Work

My organizing kick really tired me out. I slept for a very long time and didn’t feel like doing anything today. But I felt I should do something today, so I decided to just finish taking the drywall off the back of the kitchen. It didn’t take long, but since I was already tired, it pretty much finished me for the day.

Organizing Kick

Since I was doing a bit of organizing at work this week, it has carried over to my house. This is not a mood I’m usually in, so I decided to take advantage of it and do a little work on my basement. My basement needs a lot of work, so this put a very small dent into it. I’d say I cleaned up about a quarter of the basement. And I’m pretty happy with that.

A Few Good Hours

I woke up and decided I better get started. So, down came the upper cabinets, except for the one with the vent going outside. I’ll do that later.

It Begins Again

It’s March and I’ve finally saved up enough (I hope), so I started work on my kitchen. Here’s a shot of the first two cabinets I took down.

Fun

I can’t believe that my nieces and nephews don’t like coming to my house because I have no games. I let them play with real tools like drills, hammers, saws, etc. That’s way more fun. Here’s Abby using a drill.

Floor Pictures

I’m basically done with the floor, but forgot to post the pictures I took of the process. So, for future reference, here they are:

Blinds!

The floor is basically done. I just put some brown paper on it for protection as I washed all the walls and repainted in a few areas. I also put up blinds! They look great and work wonderfully as well. To help me with the blinds, I brought down my table and put that in the dining room so I could work easily.

Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted work done at the house, but work has progressed quite a bit.

How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend

Aside from the time I spent working on my laptop, I did get quite a bit done at the house. I was going to do the final sanding of the wood floor, but then decided that doing the tiling would probably scuff it up a lot. So, instead I decided to start working on the area around the stairs, which will be tiled.

Last Patch

There was a small area between the dining room and the bedroom that had some weird wood in the floor. I found out why when I removed it and tried to piece in some pieces I had pulled up elsewhere. The opening was a little bit bigger than the thickness of two pieces. So, I decided to fill it using the maple floor that I had left. Here’s how it looked when I was about halfway through. I think it looks pretty good.

Ready for Sanding

I think I’ve now finished all the repairs on the floor. The wooden floor is now ready for more sanding before finishing. I even broke out the good camera to take some pictures. Here’s how things look, including some of the mistakes that I made.

Finished Something

It took a while, but I finally finished the big flooring replacement at my house. Putting the very last piece in took a bit of work and it’s by no means perfect, but I’m happy with it. Hopefully, I didn’t make any big mistakes that will cause the floor to buckle in winter. I still have two smaller places to patch, but I’m happy with the bit I finished today.

Little Bit at a Time

I’ve tried to stop by my house every day after work this week and just install one row of flooring. (It’s been in the 90s, so I really can’t work that long anyway.) I figure I’ll slowly make progress this week. Here’s how things are looking after today.

I Am So Tired

I worked a lot on the house today. Put in a pretty full day. First up was repairing the bad subfloor, which wasn’t bad at all.

Start of New Flooring Installation

Today, I started putting down the maple flooring that I bought to fix the bad areas. Here’s my first row.

Getting There

I spent a very short time working on the house this weekend, due to a graduation party and very hot weather. But I did manage to take out all the wood that I’m going to replace with the new maple flooring. Here’s how it looks.

Living Room Patched

I finished patching the holes in the living room. I’m no expert at working with wood floors, but I think I did an ok job. At least, I’m not too embarrassed to say that I did the floor. Now, I have two small areas to do in the dining room, a small area in the bedroom and then the big patch of maple. I’m getting excited because I can definitely see the progress and the end seems near.

Patching Continues

I biked out to a lumber liquidators store on Friday and ordered ~80 square feet of maple flooring. I’m going to cut out the big section between the dining and living rooms and put maple in there. It will look very different, but I’m ok with that. I had wanted to use a bunch of different kinds of wood, but since you have to buy 20 square feet at a time, I would have had to buy a lot. So I decided to just go with maple.

Patching Begins

Over the weekend, I finished the basic sanding (yay!) and started patching. I think it’s going to turn out ok. Here’s how it looks now.

Another Day…

I’m getting close to finishing the first sanding layer. Here’s all I have left to do in the living room. After this, I should be able to start patching holes.

Chugging Along

No work last weekend, since I was suffering with back issues. Today, I went for a run and then back to the house to work on the floor. The dining room is basically done, at least with paint/finish removal. Now I’m working on the living room. Here’s how it looked about halfway through.

More Floor Work

Pulled a muscle in my back yesterday, so today was spent lying around making sure I didn’t make it worse. I bought the movie “The Visitor” and watched in a large number of times. Julie always says that I like sad movies and I guess she’s right. I do love that one.

Floor Status

Work on sanding the floor has begun. It’s painful to my knees and back and very slow. On day 1, I rented a floor sander for a few hours to do the bulk of the work. Now, I’m trying to clean things up with my little belt sander. We’ll see how long it lasts before I burn out the motor.

Typical Weekend

As I spend most weekends, I was working at my house today. I met my contractor in the morning to discuss putting in the back door. He’d rather just come back one more time to finish everything, so I have to buy my lights and then give him a call. So, I may be able to get all that done in a few weeks. Good thing I did my taxes, so I’ll have a little money to buy the lights.

A Full Day

Earlier this week, I had a bad day. I had two cars that I couldn’t drive, my bike had a flat, my iphone was in pieces, the power supply for my laptop was working sporadically (ended up buying a new one) and I was dreading doing my taxes. Today is much, much better.

Ready for Grout

I didn’t feel like posting yet another pictures of the floor in my kitchen. However, it is now done, up to the back door. The next step is grouting. I’m debating whether I should grout or wait until I finish the whole thing before grouting. Either way, the tiles are all in. Took a while, but I think it looks pretty good.

Just Get Started

I could be messing around with arranging tiles on the kitchen floor for years. I finally decided that I just need to set the tile and see how it turns out. If I make a mistake, so be it. I’ll figure out a way to fix it. So I spent today setting tile. I have about half of the area done that I want to do. I could have probably done the entire kitchen, but realized that this would block access to my bathroom. This meant that I couldn’t get to either bathroom in the house. The upstairs one is blocked because I started sanding the stairs. Blocking the downstairs one just seemed like a stupid idea. So I did half the area, to leave a path. I’ll do the other half after I can walk on the tile I just installed. So, here’s how things look so far.

Floor Progress

Here’s where I am on the floor.

Little Work Over Weekend

I fixed most of the bad boards in the subfloor of the kitchen. And cut out some cement board to use as a sublayer. Here is how the house is looking.

Subfloor Preparation

Even though the floor has a definite slope, I figured I had to replace some bad boards in the subfloor. Here are the boards I’ve replaced so far. I probably need to do one more, but I think I’ll use a 1″x8″ instead of a 1″x6″, since there’s a bigger hole to fill.

The Work is Slow

I spent the days working on the house. Made a big mistake, but learned a valuable lesson.

The Idiot Returns

While staying at my sister’s condo, I thought that her furnace seemed rather loud. In fact, it’s loud enough that it has woken me up a few times. I was thinking that maybe it was getting louder because the furnace filter needed to be changed. So, when it woke me up at 5am this morning, I decided to find out what size the filter was so I could buy a new one after work. Since it’s above the ceiling in the bathroom, I needed a ladder to reach it easily. There’s only a step stool here, so I was stretching quite a bit to try to get to it. I quickly saw that this was a size filter that I had never seen before. I figured it was roughly 12″x36″. I went to Home Depot after work, thinking there wouldn’t be many filters in that size and I’d notice it right away. Well, there were no filters in that size. Nothing remotely close. So, I got a tape measure and actually measured the filter when I got home. The size, 9 7/8″ x 39 3/4″. Basically, 10″x39″. Looked online and didn’t find anything remotely around that size. It looks like this was going to have to be custom made.

State of the Floor

The floor is probably not going to be beautiful, but I think it’ll look ok. And I love the fact that I’m using the same wood that was in the floor. Stuff that had square nails in it when I pulled it out.

One Coat of Stain

I finally decided that I was never going to get the floor perfect with sanding and that it was finally good enough. So today, I bought a can of stain and decided to just put it on to see what happens. I was going to just stain the one side of the floor that looked lighter, but then decided to do the whole thing. I didn’t really wipe any off on the lighter side of the floor, but did wipe off right away on the darker side. When I go back tomorrow, I’ll see how it turned out. If it’s ok, then I’ll put on the finish coat. If it’s not ok, I’ll probably also put on the finish coat because I have no idea how to fix this.

Fullfilling a Promise (from Google Cache)

Originally posted on July 27, 2008

My House Style (from Google Cache)

Originally posted August 3, 2008

Recycling

It was beautiful out yesterday and I couldn’t go anywhere because my car is still in the shop. So, I decided to put the vent for the bathroom fan on my house. I also did some cleaning in the basement.

A Little Bit of Work

I admit that I have not been working on my house much of late. I’m pretty much completely satisfied with the fact that I can take a shower in my own house. Pretty much anything else is just gravy.

My Favorite Things

I bought myself an easter lily yesterday. They are, unquestionably, my favorite flower. I like lillies in general, but the white, easter lily just smells so nice and looks so pretty that I love it. Now my house has that nice smell as well. And since I spent today doing some cleaning, my house is rather neat as well. Altogether, a pleasant place to be.

What’s the Point?

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about money. And it’s just depressing, though it shouldn’t be. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, I’m quite well off. I have a good job with good benefits and I own my house. Well, the bank owns it, but they’re letting me live there as long as I give them 21% of my take home pay for the next 18 years. Aside from my mortgage, I have no other debt, so that’s good. I guess what is depressing me is that I don’t live that extravagantly, but that I feel like I’m always stretched for cash. For most of my working life, I’ve been saving as much as I can for retirement. It just doesn’t look like there’s ever going to be enough there for me to retire.

Views of the Shower

Today is the last day of 2007. I think I’ll remember this year as the year that I had no shower. It took just about the entire year, but I got things basically done. Here are some pics of the finished bathroom. (Note that there are no shots of the ceiling because that’s not yet done.)

Easy Repairs

I talked to my boss at work today and he told me that perhaps my showerhead had a regulator in it that restricted the flow. I took it off and indeed there was a little plastic regulator. So I took a pair of pliers and pulled it out. I then switched the pipe for the showerhead around because I had it in backwards. This solved my problem of not being able to get the cover on, which makes me happy. I replaced the showerhead and can’t really tell a difference in the flow. So I guess it didn’t make that much of a difference. Oh well.

My First Shower

I started remodeling the bathroom on January 27, 2007. I’ve just taken my first shower in my remodeled bathroom. The entire room is not done, but the tub area is, so I figured I could take a shower. It was a bit of a let-down. I guess I was expecting a fantastic experience after all the work I put into it. But, it turned out to be a shower just like the ones I took before I did anything, except that the water did in fact get hot. (That’s more likely related to the fact that I finally turned the heat up on the hot-water heater.)

Window Tile

Finally, I have the tile done around the window. It’s not fantastic, but it’s not bad. If I had built the original wall square, I would have had a lot fewer problems. But, live and learn.

Moving Right Along

Took Friday off from work (where they pay me) to work on my bathroom (where I don’t pay me). I got lots done. I painted and put the floor tiles in. Today (or yesterday as I write this), my brother Mark came over and we did lots of tiling on the walls. He was a great help and I got tons more done with him here than I would have done by myself. We got all the tile in around the shower and most of the window done. I just have to finish the top (arch) of the window and the wall behind the toilet and sink. Turns out that I’m going to have to get more tile, but that’s ok. No pictures today. It’s getting close to being done and I’m getting excited.

Progress!

Since I spent just about all the time I had off for Thanksgiving (minus the day itself) working on the bathroom, I should have something to show for it. So, here it is. I just finished priming and should be able to paint tomorrow. Then, finally, I can start tiling! I am so looking forward to taking a shower at home, I really can’t put it into words.

Getting Closer

Mickey the Great has just left. He came over today to install the drain for the toilet, shutoff valves on all the pipes in the bathroom and drill a hole in my brick house for a bathroom vent. All the while recovering from the flu. He is altogether deserving of any praise I can heap on him. Thanks Mick! I owe you big time!

Progress

Last weekend, we got a lot done. We, being the operative word. Mom, Mark, Paul, John and Jack were all over. They did a ton of cleaning, which was great. Mark helped frame out the medicine cabinet. Then Paul came over and we hung a bunch of drywall. Today, I hung the cement board that goes over the controls of the tub. I have to buy a door so that I know where to end the drywall on the last wall. And then I’ll be ready for tile!

House Pains

I haven’t written much about the house lately, not for lack of work on it. I’m just tired of explaining to people that it’s still not done. I work slowly because I really don’t know what I’m doing. Yes, it is a pain to have to go elsewhere to take a shower, but it’s not the big of a deal.

Not a Productive Weekend

Friday night I went to a play at Victory Gardens, called “A Park in Our House”, I think. It was ok. About a family in Cuba in the 60s, I’d guess. I enjoyed it and Janet’s friend Becca and I were saying that we liked this one better than the last one we saw. And it’s true in that this one was easier to follow. Funny thing is, I think about the first one “The Defiant Muse”, more. Though I’m pretty sure that this is because I’m still trying to understand it completely. It was about a writer whose main character seemed to come to life for her. So, it jumped back and forth between real-life and life with her character. It was pretty interesting how they did it, but since there were only so many actors, I wasn’t really sure if it was real-life or a scene from her book. Oh well, either way, it’s great to see live theater.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday, and the annual Mary tradition is to not work, so I’m keeping that one today. I had great plans to go and do something fantastic, but those plans all fell through. So, I’m going to do my usual thing and go downtown to hang out. I also want to go to this new store:

Glass Block Window Installation

The glass block window went in really easily. John, Janet and I had it in and mortarted in about two hours. I saved about $500 by doing it myself instead of hiring the guys I called.

Catching Up

As soon as I get some time, I’ll post the pictures from Bloomington. I didn’t take too many because the battery on my camera died on the first day and I forgot to bring my charger. But I’ll have Jack’s and Em’s pictures to put up as well.

My House Has a Hole

I finally took the old, rotted window out of my bathroom. This left me with this hole.

Bathroom Work

Finally, I got a good day of work in on the bathroom today. Basically, I built the wall by the sink. Here’s what it looks like.

Bathroom Floor—Happiness

Here’s what my bathroom has looked like of late.

Work Continues…

Tonight, I finally got off the old cast-iron drain from the tub. It was connected to the main stack with lead. So I had to drill some holes into it and then just chisel it out. I broke one drill bit (9/16″ RIP) and also cracked the screwdriver that I was using to pry it out. But, after about 2 hours, I got the pipe out. So, I’m very happy that’s over.

Fixed Bedroom Electricity

So, as I was going to bed last night, I plugged my laptop in the outlet by my mattress and poof, lights in the room went out. I thought I had blown the circuit, but then turned and found that the stuff plugged in on the other side of the room was still on. I went to the basement and found that the circuit was not blown. I figured that whatever was loose in the box that I put the cover on the other day, must have finally separated. Since it was around 11pm when I discovered this, I decided not to try to fix it immediately. (I don’t ever work on stuff when I’m tired because that seems to be when I make truly dumb mistakes.) I shut the breaker off to the room, just to be on the safe side and went to bed. I got up around 6am and decided to check the wires in the one box. After retwisting them together, I put the cap on and some electrical tape for good measure. When I turned the breaker back on, everything worked fine. So, small problem fixed.

Removing the Floor

The last bit that I need to remove from the bathroom is the floor. Rather, the sort of vinyl top and plywood floor that’s over the subfloor. This is a royal pain. Why? Screws! The vinyl (it’s not really vinyl, but I don’t know what it is) floor is covering the heads of the screws, so it was really hard to get up. In fact, I only took up half the floor. I used my circular saw to cut it into pieces and then had to pry the pieces off. This was really hard and my back is pretty sore. It’s just proving to me how much better screws are at holding things than nails. Tomorrow, hopefully, the rest will come up and I’ll be done gutting.

Electricity in the Bathroom

After a stupid mistake yesterday, where I learned a valuable lesson about rough edges in conduit and what happens when you cut through the coating on wire, I finally have electricity in the bathroom. (Lesson, MAKE SURE all edges on conduit are SMOOTH because if you hook a wire and rip through the coating, it’s a HUGE flash and will scare the bejesus out of you.)

Empty Bathroom and Bad News

Here’s a shot of my completely gutted bathroom.

Boneheaded Mistake

I still haven’t put the pictures of the bathroom up. I’ve taken some, but am too lazy to get the cable for my camera out. Anyway, I can describe the bathroom, it’s completely empty. I spent Sunday morning cutting the old cast iron vent pipe (that was connected to nothing on either side) to get it out of the wall. Tonight, I decided to move the electrical conduit that went across the ceiling and up next to the main stack. I did a really good job of bending the conduit, which was a little difficult because it wasn’t a 90 degree bend. But then stupidity took over. The way the conduit came up, it looked easy to just run it right into the cover of the box in the attic. So, that’s what I did. Then, as I was struggling to put the cover on (after I reconnected the 6 pairs (3 black, 3 white) of wire, did I realize that I forgot to put the little ring on the inside of the conduit. So, the conduit I just added doesn’t really stay attached to the box. Basically, I just ungrounded everything upstairs. So, tomorrow, I’ll be doing basically the same thing I did today, just hopefully, I’ll do it correctly.

Bathroom Demolished

Thanks to my cousin Janet, my tub is gone. And just about everything else in the bathroom is gone as well. Pictures to follow…

Back to Work…

…on the house, of course. I’ve just about finished gutting the bathroom. It was a pain because it was updated at some point. Whoever did it, didn’t remove the old plaster and lathe, they just put drywall over it. So I had to remove both the drywall and the plaster/lathe. Fun. And, as an added bonus, I no longer have anywhere to take a shower. But, one of the reasons that I joined the gym at work was so that I could take a shower there before work. So, this isn’t really a big deal. The coolest thing though is that I now have a window in the bathroom. I LOVE it!

Bathroom Has Begun

I finally started working on my bathroom. I’m going to gut the entire room, fix any plumbing issues and then put new stuff in. The putting new stuff in is a little foggy right now because I’m really not sure what I want to do. So, I’m off to the bookstore to get some magazines about remodelling bathrooms, so I have an idea of what I want to do.

Gross House Work

This didn’t happen at my house, but it was still gross. My brother Paul’s sump pump broke right before Christmas. I went over to help him replace it. That was BY FAR, the most disgusting, smelly job I have ever done. Thank god my house doesn’t have a sump pump. Though, I’m fairly certain that I’ll have similar problems with my catch basin. With either one, though, YUCK!

Insanity!

So much has happened, I don’t know where to begin.

Server Upgrade

The machine hosting this blog has now been upgraded to Fedora Core 6. Coldandheartless has been down for a few days because I’m having an electrical problem at home. Right now, my house does not have a main circuit breaker for the entire house. My entire circuit panel is scheduled to be replaced next week. Anyway, since I was making some changes to the computer, I thought I’d upgrade it as well. So, thankfully, the upgrade from FC3 to FC6 went pretty well. There were very few things I had to fix.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

My one-year anniversary of living in the house passed yesterday. I did not meet my deadline of one room per year, but I am close to finishing. In fact, after these pictures, I’m not posting any more until it’s done. I’m basically just finishing up the trim, and the room will be done. The closet however, won’t be. But that’s mainly because I haven’t figured out how I’m going to use it.

Awesome Gift

Since my birthday was this week, I decided to get myself a gift. I had planned on buying myself the Lego Mindstorms robot kit because it looked pretty cool and a lot of fun. But, now that I am so much older and wiser, I decided on a more practical gift. You know, something that I need. I was a bit depressed about this, but decided it was the grown-up thing to do.

End of the Job in Sight

I finally have heat in the room. I put the duct in last week and finally connected it to the furnace the other day. Connecting ducts and putting them in was actually a fun job. I enjoyed it.

ORANGE!

I finished painting the room and it’s orange. Somewhat of an odd color, but I wanted to try it and I like it. I know a couple of people think it’s nuts, but I can always paint again, if it ends up driving me crazy. Here’s what it looked like after I finished the trim.

I Have a Floor, and it Looks Good!

So I’ve used my new favorite tool, a Rigid Random Orbital Sander, to finish the sanding of my floor. I still have more sanding to do with finer grit paper, but here’s what it looked like when I was half-way done.

Something is DONE!!!

I had the urge to completely finish something. The only thing I have that could be completely installed is the ceiling fan, so I installed it. Took just under two hours. Here’s what it looks like:

Paint is Mostly Gone

I rode my bike over to Home Depot on the way home from work today and picked up some more sandpaper. It didn’t take long to finish taking the last of the paint off the floor. There is still a bit that I might have to do right along the wall, but I’m not worried about that right now. I think I can now switch to the big sander that Janet is letting me use. Hopefully, I remember how it works.

Back to Work

After a long weekend in Tennessee, it’s back to work on the house. Amazingly, while I was gone, no little elves showed up in my house to finish sanding the floor. It was still in the half-finished state that I left it in last week. So today I did a little sanding. Actually, it was a decent amount of sanding. I used all 12 sandpaper belts that I had and probably could use around six more. I still have about six square feet of crappy paint to remove and then I should be able to use the big sander to make the floor smooth, instead of trying to remove crap from it. I’m hoping that while I’m at work tomorrow those elves might finally show up. I’ll leave some cookies out to see if that entices them.

Bought Fan and Light and Went Back to Drywall Taping

Today was basically a wasted day. Though I did purchase a ceiling fan for the bedroom and light for the closet. I went with an iron fan and a black light. I think these will go together, but I’m not sure. The problem I had is that I found a fan I liked, but I couldn’t find a light kit that went with it. My solution was to buy a white one and some black paint. I painted it and hope it will look ok.

Floor Stripped and Ceiling Painted

I got some paint stripper and took off as much paint as I could from the floor. I need to start sanding now, but since the temperature has been in the 90s for the past few days, I’ve been holding off. It’s not good to sand things when I have all the windows shut because the a/c is on. On the one day when it did cool off this week, I went ahead and painted the ceiling. It looks ok. Since it was hot, it seemed like a good time to go shopping for ceiling fans and lights for the bedroom. That is something I’m still working on. The choices are many and I’ve yet to actually purchase anything. Though, I do think I’ve narrowed things down a bit. I’ll probably do more shopping this weekend, and hopefully pick out the fan/light combo that I want.

Floor Issues

Sanding the floor is proving somewhat difficult. The problem is the area near the walls, which was painted. When I use the sander on it, it seems to melt the paint which gums up the sandpaper, making it useless. Today I used paint stripper on the area to take off some of the paint. It’s incredibly smelly, but I think I did a good job of ventilating the room. I got about a quarter of the outside done. After I finish the entire room, I’ll probably do it another time, because there seems to be a couple of coats of paint on the floor.

The Floor Begins

I had intended on putting a cork floor in the bedroom, but when I went to the store to order it, the store was closed. (Even though the website said they were open until 8 and I got there at 7:15.) I’m taking this as a sign that I shouldn’t install the cork floor. Instead, I’m just going to try to clean up the pine floor that’s already in the room. Janet brought over a floor sander and we started cleaning it up the other day. I think it’s going to look pretty nice.

My Backyard

My backyard looked great last month. I didn’t do anything, just let everything grow. I guess I’ll have to look up how to care for roses, so I can keep them looking nice.

Shopping

I’m basically done with the drywall and ready to start painting. This has caused me to basically stop working while I decide on how I want the final room to look. One thing I did do was buy a gallon of flat white paint for the ceiling. I thought about painting the entire room white because it would be easy, but now I’m pretty sure I want some color. Unfortunately, picking out the color is pretty hard. I’m also looking for a ceiling fan and window sills and since these things should probably match the floor, I’m taking my time with it. So, these days, I’m doing the one thing I really dislike, shopping.

Back to Work

The class at IIT was not meeting my expectations, so I decided to quit going. This means I can get cracking on the room again. I think I’m just about done with the drywall taping. I just need to wipe down the coat I put on yesterday and I’ll be ready to prime it. I also started working on the floor. I cut out the bad pieces and cut some new plywood to fill. I may have to put something thin beneath the plywood to make sure it’s level with the rest of the floor. But I think it’ll be ok. Another trip to Home Depot to buy the ductwork and I should be good to go.

Temporary Delay

I’ve started a class this summer at IIT and it’s taking quite a bit of my time. Needless to say, nothing has been done on the house since the class started. However, this needs to change. My last success was the installation of my new window. Now, I can finish taping the closet and the area around the window. So, to finish the room, I need to do the following:

Window Installation – Part 1

Ok, got the window and started the installation. First thing I did was to take the old window out, scrape off as much old paint as I could and clean it up. Then, I painted all the old wood that was there.

Window Ready!

I got a call that my window is in. Now I just have to find a way to get to a place that’s only open Monday-Friday from 7am – 5pm. I think I’ll have to take a morning one day and drive up before work to pick it up. It’s just too hard to try to get there by 5.

Primer On!

My mom came over yesterday morning and we primed most of the room. It looks pretty good. It’s not perfect. Since I know where all the seams are, I can look closely and see where I didn’t do a good job tapering them out. But, if I don’t look closely, it doesn’t look too bad. I still have to finish sanding the closet, so that I can prime that. And I am waiting for my window to come in, so that I can install that and finish the drywall around the window. But, overall, I’m happy with how it looks.

Primer Has Been Purchased…

This means that the drywall taping is almost done. My Mom is coming over tomorrow morning to start priming the walls. This means that tonight, I’ll be smoothing out the walls as best I can. Hopefully, they’ll look ok.

Thanks Janet!

My cousin Janet came over last night to help out. She put another coat on my horizontal seams and showed me how to feather it out, so that it will look a little better, hopefully. The coat was pretty thin, so I should be able to smooth it out tonight or tomorrow and see if it needs even another coat or not. Either way, it did wonders for me, even though I was a crabby pain-in-the-ass.

It’s Neverending…

So, I could be taping the drywall in this bedroom for the rest of my life. Today, I decided to put one more coat on the parts that look like they need it. Later this week, I’m going to smooth it out, to the best of my ability and that’s it. It’s never going to be perfect, but it should be ok. The problem is still what to do by the window, but I’ll figure that out eventually. It’s time to move on.

Ahhh, Spring…

There is a temporary halt in work on the bedroom because spring has arrived. Which means, that as a homeowner, I have grass to cut. In the places where my lawn is growing, it is inhabited by not only grass, but also dandilions and some weird little purple flower. I spent last night pulling out the dandilions in the front yard. I also put out some fertilizer and watered a bit. This required the requisite trip to Home Depot to pick up the basics, like a hose and nozzle. I thought about buying a lawn mower there, but since all they had were gas powered ones, I couldn’t get myself to do it. Somewhere I read that gas powered lawn mowers are very polluting and with gas prices going up, it just didn’t seem like a good idea to get one. Plus, as I tend to work on the lawn at night, I didn’t want to disturb the neighbors with the gas powered mower. My Mom offered me a relatively new push mower that she has, so I’m going to use that. It will require me to do a little more work, in that I’ll have to cut more often, but I think that’s a tradeoff I can live with. So hopefully, after tonight, the bits of grass that I do have, will no longer be 8″ tall.

Smoothing It All Out

I feel that I’m pretty close to having all the drywall mud up and that I’m at the point of final smoothing. All of the videos I’ve seen and books I’ve read say that this is when you start sanding. I did a little sanding earlier and it is very messy. I had to wear my heavy duty dust mask so I didn’t breathe all the dust. My cousin Janet instead told me that I could use a sponge and water to wipe down the rough spots. I started doing that a little this evening and it’s working really well. Best part, no dust, which makes it so much easier to work. Hopefully, it’ll turn out great.

Let There Be A Light…

So, after a period of darkness (both me being somewhat depressed about the time things were taking and literally because there was limited electricity in the room), my bedroom now has light. Actually, it has A light.

Have Electricity

Since I couldn’t sand the drywall on Sunday as it was still wet, I did some electrical work. I disconnected the old wire from the breaker and installed a new one. I then went to the bedroom and plugged in a lamp in one of the outlets I’ve installed. IT WORKED! HAPPY DANCE! I then shut the breaker back off because I haven’t finished putting the other outlets and switches in.

Day Off

After a full day of taping yesterday, I took today (Sunday) off. The main reason was that the mud I put on yesterday was still a little wet. So I couldn’t really sand anything. Tomorrow after work, I’ll start sanding and then see how much more mud I have to apply.

Drywall Taping

I’ve started taping the drywall and it’s slow going. It took me a while to get the hang of getting the paper tape up, but I seem to have this part down. Unfortunately, I ran out of paper tape. I have about two more walls of seams to do and should get to them tomorrow morning. Once the “tape” layer is done, the next layer is the fill layer. This is where a little artistic talent will come in, I think. At this point, I need to start to make the walls look smooth. The nice part is that I get to start using the nice metal 8″ trowel instead of the crummy 6″ plastic one that I’ve been using.

First Big Mistake

So, the drywall is done and I’ve started taping. I just did a couple of seams in the closet, to see how it dries and how it will look tomorrow. It’s slow and messy, but definitely doable. I might have to do more sanding to get rid of mistakes, but I think I’ll be able to make it look nice.

Drywall Practically Done

I have all the large pieces of drywall hung. All that needs to be finished is some small pieces to fill in a gap in the ceiling and some pieces around the windows. Taking the day off of work was great. Now I have to study up a bit on how to do drywall taping.

Day Two of Drywalling

Paul came over and we pretty much finished all the sheets that needed two people to hang. The rest of the pieces I should be able to do by myself.

Starting to Look Like a Room

The family came through today. We got a lot of drywall done, though not the entire room. We ran out of both drywall and screws, so had to stop. But we finished the ceiling, which was pretty hard and part of the walls, which was great. On those walls, I only have to put the lowest pieces on, which should be easy. This week, I need to go and buy more drywall, screws and a few other things. But the room is great. It’s actually starting to look like a room and I’m LOVING it.

Out of Energy

I got an early start this morning and got a lot done. Unfortunately, I didn’t get everything done that I wanted. Tomorrow is the drywalling party, and I’m close, but not quite ready. I’ll have to get up early tomorrow and finish putting in the insulation in the new wall in the closet and the ceiling of the closet. I also need to buy a couple more 2x4x10s to finish the closet wall and to make the T for holding up the drywall.

I Have Drywall

Thanks to my brother Paul for coming over last night and helping me buy drywall, I now have 14 sheets of 5/8″ drywall in my garage. As soon as I finish putting up the walls in the closet and insulating, I should be ready to hang it. This weekend might be a bit soon, but I should certainly be ready by next weekend.

Plaster Is Gone

So there is no plaster left in the bedroom. (Finally!) I even put up some photos to show the progress. They are here.

I’m Exhausted

We had to do some new poses today in yoga and they were difficult. Thus, I was already sore when I started working on the house today, but I haven’t done much lately, so I had to do some work. Today, I continued working on the closet. Basically, just taking down plaster and trim around the door and window. I’ve also decided that I’m going to move the entrance of the closet. This way, the light from the window in the closet will get to the rest of the room. After I took the plaster and lathe on the closet wall down, I realized that I really like having the light from the window in the closet come into the room.

No Work This Weekend

Family obligations take precedence, so there is no work being done on the house this weekend. I’ll have to try to do something during the week to make up for this.

Welcome

So I’ve decided to use this blog to, mainly, keep track of the work going on in my house. I might add other things here and there, but since my life is basically about the house right now, this blog will be too.