Phase 1 and 2 done!

April 20th, 2014

The bathroom and office are done! I just finished caulking the new baseboards and quarter-round 20 minutes ago. I’m taking this opportunity to show off my handiwork. First, the bathroom, with toilet back in place and working (with no leaks!):

done-1Vinyl flooring, which I’d really prefer to be at least laminate if not true hardwood, but I can’t really do that for reasons I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Still, it does a pretty damn good imitation of actual wood, I think!

Looking at the floor of the shower area from the same place:

done-2I suppose I should caulk around the shower basin. Meh, I’ll get to it tonight.

The shower room and into the toilet room from the doorway from the main room:

done-3The quarter round comes out into the open doorway, which it wouldn’t if there were a door there.

Now for the office. This is where I’ll be spending quite a bit of my “work from home” or “on-call” time, so there are some things I wish I could have done better, but they’re small and damn near unnoticeable. So no, I won’t be bringing any of those items to your attention. 🙂 First, looking at the laundry room door from where the printer will be:

done-4I still need to caulk around the top of the backsplash above the countertop, but look at how smooth and shiny that countertop is!

Looking at the cabinets from the door from the main room:

done-5Why yes, the wine is there already, even before the wine rack gets built. 🙂

Looking towards the computer desk corner from the cabinets:

done-6That lamp has survived six moves – I’m quite frankly amazed it’s still around. It may not be for much longer – if you want a free two-light floor lamp, let me know. The main light and side swivel light are on a single common circuit but switched independently (means they work separate (with apologies to Cap’n Barbossa)).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go shower and change into clothes that wouldn’t scare Freddy Kruger into becoming a monk.

Yay power tools!

April 13th, 2014

Yay indeed… started working on the quarter-round in the bathroom this morning around 9. I also had two short sections of baseboard to replace. Between the mitre saw and the pneumatic nailer, all I have left is waiting for the glue to cure on the transition strip between the laminate and vinyl, caulking around the trim, and putting the toilet back. Plus, I’ve gotten two pieces of door trim cut (though not yet nailed up). The baseboards promise to be a bit more work as I have to use the bevel – they’re too tall for the mitre – but once I get started they should go in somewhat quickly as there’s not as much cutting, since the runs are longer. Pictures will be forthcoming after I’ve gotten the toilet back in and the trim caulked.

Wow fumes

April 11th, 2014

Discovered the other night that I needed a cement sealer before putting down the vinyl tiles in the bathroom. Just put the sealer down – it’s the consistency of skim milk – and holy crap does it have some nasty fumes once it starts drying. I was going to try to paint a bit tonight, but I’m skipping that in favor of avoiding mixing fumes – even if I’m so unaffected by latex paint fumes that I don’t even notice it. I think I’ll go do something outside.

Track lighting done

March 30th, 2014

The track lighting is up, and all the lights are in place. I decided on seven lights total – I could probably take one out and still be happy with the distribution, but I’ll also have to reevaluate after the railroad shelf and any artwork is up. Here’s the view from the back of the main room:

track-1And then from the front of the room, with the lights on:

track-2No, they’re not all aimed properly. The aim is just a guess when I plugged the modules into the track. After I get the shelf and possibly artwork up, I’ll adjust the aim accordingly.

Flooring progress

March 14th, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve made an update, and since the flooring is going in rather nicely and is almost complete in the office, I figured I’d brag a bit. I have to take up the carpet tack strip at the laundry room door and put down the tack strip for the hardwood divider, but that’ll be semi-easy. So, with no further ado, the office, part 1:

floor1-1The baseboards aren’t in yet (obviously) and there’s a bit of painting touch-up to be done, but damn it looks good (if I do say so myself). It even runs into the closet seen in the upper left hand corner of the picture – it’s a small closet, but it’s a closet. Part 2:

floor1-2The HVAC closet is on the right behind the fanfold doors. This is the first time in 2 years (possibly more) that those fanfold doors have been closed, simply because closing them on a bare cement slab would have been pointless. I also decided not to put in a divider at the doorway since the total length is about 35 feet, 5 feet shy of requiring an expansion strip per the manufacturer.

The main room isn’t nearly as far along – I still have quite a bit of cleanup to do before I can even put down the underlayment, much less the flooring. Still, here’s the main room:

floor1-3The silver is the underlayment. The floor literally just snaps together – no glue, no nailing, nothing. On the left is the newel post I put in – I have to finish that out and put up drywall there, but I still haven’t completely figured out what order I’m going to attack that in (drywall, stair treads, stair risers, etc). My wiring closet:

floor1-4Again, no baseboards. The “wall” in the back will eventually be solid and have a shelf in front of it, but be openable to get to the storage space  behind it. The yellow things in that space are sawhorses. The table saw in the picture is the one I scored on clearance today – $230 table saw for $137! A slightly different angle showing the current closet rack holding my network gear:

floor1-5The Black & Decker bag with the drill in it will eventually live behind the wall. Once everything is done, the cabling will get a serious cleanup, and a shelf will go in on the right that my frankenstorage server will sit on. Probably also going to put a monitor arm on the right wall with a small (15 to 17 inch) LCD panel since I don’t really have a “crash cart” and putting up a permanent monitor would be a heck of a lot smarter than trying to kit out and then store a crash cart so I can roll it into this very closet when something goes wrong, then roll it back out when I fix whatever it is. Hey, I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid!


Newel Post!

March 1st, 2014

So in the middle of ordering the next batch of laminate for the main room, I decided I wanted to open up the staircase a bit. I can’t remember the blog I got the idea from right now – and my Google-fu is failing me, but it wasn’t entirely an original idea. Well, right after removing the ugly siding on the inside of the stair at the bottom, I realized that that igly siding was how it was secured. My bottom two steps now had no support aside from the riser on the outside! Eeep!

Fortunately, I was able to work around it by bracing them on the newel post I put in, which wasn’t purchased, it was (so far) custom built from project lumber. Why? Two reasons – the newel posts I could buy were all expensive as sin, and I didn’t like the looks of any of them.

So, I started with the core, which is four 1×3’s, 5 feet long, formed into a square. My new pneumatic nailer made this almost absurdly easy, by the way – I strongly recommend a pneumatic nailer for any sort of home improvement project that involves nailing things. A big thank you to Scott Zekanis for loaning me a framing nailer to secure the core to the floor piece – I wasn’t comfortable with 16ga brads doing that job.

So, anyway… After putting in the core, I cut and placed the bottom finish pieces. It’s not the final design by any means, but here’s what it looks like (currently) from inside the main entertainment room:

newel1-1It looks a little tall from this angle, and I may have to shorten it a bit later, but in real life it’s not as tall as this makes it look.The two pieces of wood to the right that look like they’re not doing anything? Heh… they’re bracing the bottom of the stair casing. Since it doesn’t go all the way to the floor any longer. And all that. Yeah. Moving right along…

Here’s a closeup of the top of the lower finish pieces. Yes, there’s about a 3/8″ gap between the finish pieces and the core – I’ll take care of that when I do the finishing bits.

newel1-3The second tread from the bottom will wrap all the way around the newel, coming out from it about an inch, with the bottom tread being a full step out from the newel towards the opposite wall. It will look quite nice. Finally, a view from directly in front of the staircase:

newel1-4This side of the bottom finish piece doesn’t extend all the way to the floor because it doesn’t have to. The second riser will go over it and extend out so it’s edge is flush with where the drywall will go, letting the newel protrude out about 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the drywall. This is intentional, I didn’t decide to do it that way because I dorked up somewhere else. The small piece sitting on the 2×4 I put in place initially to simply steady the core of the newel while I was securing it to the tread braces, and since it will be entirely hidden I saw no reason to pull it back up.

Cabinet assembled

February 16th, 2014

The only thing left is the final poly coat on the front, side, and backsplash and the glazecoat on the top. Final front:
cabinetdone-1A different angle:

cabinetdone-2Note the slight “divot” taken out of the backsplash at the power outlet – I missed by about 1/8 of an inch when placing the outlet box against the stud. Due to code requirements, I have to have the divot taken out – outlet faceplates can’t be split between two different levels of wall backing. This is usually more of a concern in kitchens and bathrooms with tile backsplashes or decorative tile strips, but it’s just as much a concern here. Now that I think about it, I probably should have just planed down the backsplash to have it sit below the faceplate without having to take out the divot. Oh the joys of hindsight.

The left side backsplash:

cabinetdone-4All joints are mitred at 45 degrees, though I’ll need to drop in some wood filler in various places. A closeup of the tail:

cabinetdone-5Once the glazecoat goes on the still-slightly-visible height differences will be much less visible. I’m debating giving it a slightly darker stain before coating it, though – this is pretty much the level of contrast I was going for, but the countertop looks just a bit light to me. Opinions on that are welcome, though time to register them is limited.

Cabinet doors

February 8th, 2014

I’ve gotten the doors mostly done, two of them are in place. I had a countertop of poplar, but there are two problems – one, the stain I used was way too dark with the poplar, and two, I don’t like the way the poplar grain goes from light to dark so rapidly. So, I’m redoing the countertop with 1×2 pine strips. It’ll take a while, but it’s already looking nice.

So this is what the front of the doors looks like:

doorfrontAll oak. The sides are 1×3’s, the middle is wainscotting in 3 1/2 wide strips. Yes, that’s normally the stuff you put on walls if you want wooden paneling. The back of the door is flat:

doorbackYou can see the wainscotting doesn’t cover the whole back surface. The 1×3’s will be flush against the cabinet front, the wainscotting fits inside each door opening. Here’s what it looks like with the two outside doors attached:


That’s a bit dark, so here’s a closeup of the right door in place:


The middle door is still getting it’s wainscotting glued on, so it won’t be attached until tomorrow at the earliest. The light boards you see on top are the new countertop being built, the upright on the upper right is part of the old countertop (still in place, but not secured). You can see the old countertop just above the doors – I wanted a lot more contrast between the oak and the countertop. Once I finish assembling the countertop, I’ll have that contrast, since I’ll be using a very incredibly almost insanely light stain on it before glazecoating it. That will probably take me until the middle of next week at the earliest, simply because it takes so long for each pine strip to set enough to unclamp it and put on the next one.

Once all that’s done, I’m ready to buy the flooring. Woot!

Cabinet front done!

January 29th, 2014

Put in the final two front uprights on the cabinets today. The spacing is a bit off – I got some math wrong somehow, but it looks okay and I’m not worried enough to unscrew them and move them. I’ve got three door openings at (roughly) 22, 20, and 21 inches wide in that order. Here’s what is looks like from standing height:

cabinet3-1I’ve got a bit of cleanup to do from where I had to step inside the cabinet to attach things, but otherwise the front facade is done save for the doors.

A more direct look:

cabinet3-2The top braces you see in the first picture are 4 feet from the far side, since I’ll be using four foot planks across the top. They’ll go in next, though I haven’t bought them, much less cut or stained them, yet. They don’t line up exactly with the front facade pieces, but they’re pretty damn close:

cabinet3-3Yes, they are a bit wider, and no they aren’t stained, because (like the bracing strips on the walls) they won’t be visible.

As an added bonus, which I was neither planning nor counting on, the cabinets are deep enough to fit both 6-gallon carboys in line, which means I have room for just about all of my homebrew gear inside the cabinets. Including three of the four-plus cases of bottles (all of which are empty at this moment). Talk about luck… suddenly there’s way more room in my kitchen now that all that gear is downstairs “inside” the cabinets! And since that’s it’s new permanent home, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to put it after I’m done with everything – it’s already where it will live. Once the coutertop is in and I can start putting together the wine rack bits, that will clear up even more room in the kitchen and living room where my wine bottles currently live (though I doubt I’ll be making any additional batches of wine). I’m feeling quite good about things – thank you snow day for giving me a work-at-home morning and a half “Administrative Leave” afternoon (which honestly will probably end up being charged as either sick or vacation time because I’d feel guilty otherwise) and letting me make far more progress on things than just adding two plans would seem to imply!

Drawers vs doors

January 26th, 2014

I just did some comparative measurements on the cabinets downstairs versus my kitchen cabinets. The space between the bottom faceboard and the top faceboard downstairs is about an inch and a half less than the space between the same boards in the kitchen. While this makes me really happy with my initial “guess” placement of the top wall boards, it leaves me in an interesting quandary. The space between the bottom of the drawer and the top of the cabinet door in the kitchen is only about a half inch, which means I either have shorter doors or shallower drawers downstairs, if I put in drawers, or really tall (about 28 inches tall, to be precise) doors if I don’t put in drawers. Aesthetically, I’m fine with that, but the design I want for the doors involves vertical slats making up each door panel, and at 28 inches, that leaves a hell of a lot of unusable planking. Well, not entirely unusable, but it would be difficult to repurpose it. If it were whitewood, fine, I could use it for hidden bracing in another project, but it’s finish-quality oak, which would feel like a waste if it’s totally hidden.

I think I can reuse the short planks to build out some wall shelves – perhaps wall shelving for the server closet? I’m kind of tempted to try to make another DVD rack, but that’s a project for another day. Okay, I’m going to go ponder some more.