Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hey Everybody! The Study's Done!

Check it out!

It might just be the most beautiful study I've ever seen. And it only took 9 months to complete!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Hallway Ceiling Saga

Ranch style homes. Everybody knows that they are objectively the best home design in human history. Simple, functional, elegant. One of the most well-recognized features of ranchers is their long, straight hallways. We have one. You may remember our hallway from such videos as that way-too-long timelapse of me stumbling my way through installing hardwoods.

P.S. Look how awesome it turned out (although this is pre paint and baseboards):

Well, since these hallways are what feels like 50 feet long, our lighting seemed to be a bit on the, oh, how shall I say it?, I-can't-see-anything-I'm-sorry-mom-I-haven't-been-eating-my-carrots-even-though-you-said-superman-ate-them side. We had one fixture near the entrance of the hall, and that was it. One light and then 500 feet to go. There were many-a-night where, on the trek back to our bedroom, I would become unsure of myself and have to call out to Natalie to come find me in the abyss.

Simple solution? Another light fixture!

We found this fixture at CSN Lighting. $18 a pop. Simple, functional, elegant. Perfect for our humble abyss.
As soon as the fixtures arrived, I spent 20 minutes replacing the existing fixture, then ran the wiring in the attic and had the new fixture installed in another 30 minutes. Oh, wait.

Mr. Graham got a bit wobbly in the attic, and being frustrated at his horrible lack of balance, got angry and kicked his foot through the ceiling! 30 minute project just turned into a 2 week project. Which brings us to...

How to Fix Your Ceiling When You Put Your Foot Through It

  1. Put a hole in your ceiling. Be creative! (pictured above)

  2. Mark all extremities of wonky-shaped hole and create a square. Extend square as far as you need to expose half of nearest rafers in order to fasten the drywall. If that is impossible, put a 2x4 above drywall and attach to neighboring drywall for support.

     3. Do your standard taping/bedding magic.

    4. Texture to match, which we all know is 100% impossible, so let's just call it what it really is: texture to make it look good enough to not notice every time you walk by.

    5. Prime your new ceilingbaby up.

    6. Paint your ceiling the same way you just got done doing a few short weeks ago. Disregard blotchiness-- wet paint.

    7. And after all of that, install your new light fixture, thus allowing you to travel your hallway safely for years to come.

P.S. Our bathroom door is uneven for no reason. Well, probably for the same reason as only having one light.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Before and After

We got carpet installed today, which brings our 4 bedroom renovation project to a near close. Here are some befores and afters.

The Study:

This has been the most major change we've made in our house. We ripped out a hallway-facing closet and added the room to the study. Unfortunately, I don't have any good photos on me that show the progress neatly.

Walls have been yellowed, new carpet installed. It will be furnished by this weekend. Still left: replace light fixture with something less... pull-stringy.

The Master Bedroom:

We decided to remove the shelf/desk built-in right inside the door because it completely blocked the light switch. So we did.
 Much better.

 Before (note the lighter square in the carpet. That's where the previous owner's bed used to be. Gross):


 New carpet, new paint, new blinds. It's... just... *sniff*... so beautiful. We especially like the green/purple colors.

So, that's just a start the magical bedrooms. We'll work to get some better pictures together and give you a tour.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bedroom #3

Ah yes. This was my favorite room when we moved in. I especially liked the flowery border wallpaper.

Natalie did not.

And here's some of my shoddy photography to show our progress. We've just finished painting all of the bedrooms, hung blinds, and just measured for carpet. I can't believe we're going to be able to sleep in our bedroom again soon...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our Life for the Past Month

1. We have been priming all of the bedroom walls and trim, and installing .75" reclaimed red oak strip wood flooring.

2. Here is the current cost outline for our entire back-of-the-house project (four bedrooms):
  • $500 for paint+primer+brushes+rollers+etc. (4 bedrooms, hallway, entry way)
  • $175 for 100 square feet of hardwoods
  • $15 for nails and staples for hardwoods
  • $38 to rent flooring stapler
  • $150 for drywall supplies/tools
  • $30 for sandpaper
That makes a grand total of $908. We've also spent a little here and there for various tools, but I will be using those for the rest of my life, so I won't include them.

3. Thank you to our friends Justin, Annie, Katy, Sarah, Anna, Mark, Crawford, Rachel, Chris, David and Bonnie for the help!

4. We did timelapse through the whole project. Surprisingly, you can't see my butt crack even once! I'm very proud.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Renovations Update

Well, Natalie and I have now been working on the study for about 4 months now. We are SO CLOSE!

Here's what we've done in the study alone:
1. Basic demolition: ripped out drywall, outlets, lightswitch, ceiling fan, built in cabinets, tore up carpet carpet+padding. Opened hall closet into bedroom.

2. New drywall, taping and bedding. This was the most time consuming. For those who have never tried it: it's not that hard-- just get the tape wet before applying to the wall.

3. Textured walls. How? Watered down (like pretty thick pancake batter) compound and a paint roller. Didn't turn out exactly like the rest of the house, but it's subtle and it looks nice.

4. Finished subfloor around old crawlspace access (bottom left of picture below).

5. This is the biggie. When ol' Wendell put in his magical 80's mystery shelves, somebody went CRAZY with the ceiling texture-- it almost looked like acoustic (popcorn) texture, but it was made from compound. So I consider my options to make it look nice again:
  1. Tear down existing, then hang new drywall on ceiling. Cost? Another $30 or so. Time? Demo, cleanup, hanging new, taping, texturing... 12 hours work? Maybe. A big mess? YES.
  2. Hang new drywall over existing drywall. Still $30 and a lot of time.
  3. Scrape off fake popcorn texture and see what happens...
Hey. Not bad! I spent about 2 hours spraying with a squirt bottle, scraping, then scrubbing off this previous texture. It looked BEAUTIFUL underneath-- just like the original ceilings. So I asked myself... why, Wendell, WHY? Why did you cover up the modest ceiling texture? I should have known...

At the end of my two hours of backbreaking, over the head arm-work, I got to a spot in the ceiling that acted funny. I scraped and all that was underneath was more compound. I still don't quite know what's going on with it. Natalie suspects that his leg went through the ceiling at some point and he just patched the whole area (about 3'x3') with putty.

Anyway-- my idea was a bust. Which brings us to my solution:

4. Scrape off as much of the texture on the ceilings as you can. Sand down any noticeable bumps. After a good wipe-down, float a layer of compound with a 10" drywall knife in one direction (I started going south to north). Allow compound to dry. Sand again. Float another layer of compound over in the other direction (this time I tricked it up a bit-- I went west to east sometimes, and east to west other times-- it was a total hoot).

So-- here it is. The near final product. I'm about 92% happy with it. Maybe it will look better with a layer of primer then some nice paint.

*deep breath*

Monday, January 18, 2010

Craigslist Finds Part IV

Item: Couch
Cost: $150

Well, Natalie roped me into buying another couch. It is our fourth. FOURTH.

The fabric is called Naugahyde. It's plastic-coated fabric, so you can clean your couch with window cleaner.

We haven't looked for labels or any info on it, since it currently resides in our garage, so I'm lacking many interesting details.

It folds out into a sleeper, which is awesome, and since it just uses the cushions it doesn't have a nappy matress all folded up underneath it.

Why, it's a chaise lounge!

Or IS IT!?!?

Anyway, it was a fun find. More to come later.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yet Another Date Night...

Natalie and I usually have fancy date nights at fancy places with fancy people and fancy music playing... like this one:

This is my first foray into timelapse photography. I've always found it extremely interesting... and I hope to tackle some more interesting projects, but I thought this would be a good start.

If you're interested in making your own time lapse photography, here are the tools I used (and a couple I found and didn't have to use).

  1. A webcam. I used a Logitech C200. $30. Available at Walmart.
  2. Webcam Timershot Powertoy for XP-- this saves JPG files at specified intervals from your webcam. I've seen lots of people have problems with the program not detecting webcams, and I've actually had a lot of trouble in the past, but I had no trouble with mine now.
  3. Yawcam-- free webcam software with motion detection, FTP upload... seems very cool. You can even set it up as a quickie security system! I will probably use this in the future because Timershot doesn't support Vista or Windows 7.
  4. JPGVideo-- this takes a series of JPG files and combines them to create a video file.
  5. Windows Movie Maker-- I use this to do editing, video compression, and adding music and effects.

Simple-- and all (except the webcam) free! Hurrah!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We're still here. Promise.

We have two posts in the works, but between work, the holidays, and renovating the bedrooms we haven't had much time to do anything else.

We also have a fun craigslist find to share with you guys once Graham finishes up the post.

Hopefully (Graham hates it when I say that, apparently it is not proper English), we will get a new post up for you guys soon.