Thursday, June 30, 2011

Got us some new carpet

Today, the carpet installer was in, replacing the carpet in the family room and guest room.  Although the picture doesn't do it justice, it looks great in combination with the paint.  This shot, taken in the family room, facing the TV and fireplace, shows the two town color scheme.

Tomorrow, its back to work on the shed.  I was hoping to get the bulk of the work done this weekend, but a couple of unexpected expenses (plumbing and truck tires) are going to slow us down on projects this summer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going Slow

No, no new pictures today.  Mostly, I've been doing small stuff that doesn't show.  Measuring the walls as they were built to make sure I knew  how wide to make the roof trusses (the walls were vertical within about 1/2 inch), cleaning out the garage a little bit (to make room to build the trusses -- possible afternoon thundershower) and stuff like that.  Hoping to lay out the truss pattern this evening.  I don't know if I'll have time to build five trusses before I have to go out with the Boy Scouts on Sunday.

One thing that I did notice... when I took the hand level, and laid it on the top of the wall, I found that the whole shed was sloping to the north... i.e., toward the door.  Not a whole lot; maybe 1" of drop from one end to the other.  But combined with the gap under the SW corner, it tells me that the problem with the slab was not that I poured the corner low, but that I poured the center a little high.  Geez.. that's what I get from building my form from scrap lumber... the form wasn't straight!  Not a big deal.  Still looks pretty good, and any spills inside will drain to the door.  By the time I finish next month, it should look as good as if it were professionally built.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Busy Weekend

It was a busy weekend.  Not to mention, HOT!  I went through four t-shirts on Saturday, changing shirts every time one got completely soaked through.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I had completed the shed slab, and was ready to put up the actual structure.   Of course, I have some practical experience in house construction, so it wasn't that big of a deal to assemble the walls. 

As you can see in this picture, I put up the long (8') walls first.
The short walls (6') were easier in some ways, since I already had something to nail them to.  Harder in other ways, since the had to fit between the existing side walls.  I kind of goofed on the end with the door, since I measured 5' 5" clear, but then cut 5' 4".  Not that big of a deal, since I had plenty of scrap to shim the difference, but that's what I get for not writing things down.

After I had the walls up, it was obvious that the slab wasn't quite right.  The back right corner (as seen looking in the door) is low, with a gap of an inch or so between the concrete and the bottom plate.  I'm not too concerned... I figure I can add a layer of mortar to build it up a little bit... I need to coat much of the finished surface to get it to look good anyway.

Next up:  the roof.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Carpet Scheduled

The other day, Pam caught a commercial from the carpet company that we were planning to have come in and put new carpet in our guest bedroom offering a buy one get two free deal.  Of course, they're just talking the carpet... not the labor, but it made it affordable enough that we could swing more than the one room.  So we had the sales rep stop buy yesterday afternoon, and contracted to have new carpet installed in both the guest room and family room, which we had just finished painting.  After we get this done, that end of the down stairs is going to look sweet.  I'll have to take a picture of the bedroom once we've got it all set up. (Not the family room... the furniture looks like junk yard rejects!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pour, Pour Me

Spent the weekend, and two days of time off from work more or less completing the slab for the shed.  Word of advice:  if you ever get the chance to hand mix and pour a concrete slab of any size, don't.  I wouldn't mind doing something smaller, but this thing turned out to be a monster

We hauled the 35 sacks of concrete mix to the back yard on Saturday morning.  Knowing that it was going to take a while to mix and pour, I delayed starting the job until Sunday morning.  We (my 13 year old son and I) spent about four hours mixing and pouring on Sunday morning, before running short of concrete.  I left the end incomplete, and went to buy more.

Monday morning, we mixed and poured four more bags.   Still not enough (but close).  More concrete...  it took one more bag, but we got it done on Tuesday morning.  I also mixed up a bag of mortar to dress up the first part of the slab poured on Sunday, since when I followed the directions, it was really stiff and difficult to work satisfactorily.  Adding 30% more water made it a a lot better.  It was probably the heat.  Still looks like $#!&, but I figure that I can throw down a thin layer of mortar to dress it after I get the bottom plates (and walls) installed.

Pictures coming soon.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ready to Pour

Did the final touch ups on reinforcing wire today, and placed the anchor bolts.  Also got a palette of sack concrete.  Tomorrow morning, when its cooler, I will start mixing it up and filling my form with concrete.

Also, snapped a picture from the back porch that shows the patio that I'll be building.

More pictures after the pour.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting ready for another big weekend

The last two nights have been kind of slow for household projects.  Yes, I did finish moving the pile of gravel in the driveway to the back yard.  The shed pad is pretty close to leveled, and I've squared the form and staked it down.  The painting in the house is mostly done (except for the family room trim).

Tomorrow, I will be stopping by Lowes to buy reinforcing steel and anchor bolts for the shed slab.  Putting that in is a pretty minor chore, but its the last thing that needs to be done before the sack concrete is delivered Saturday morning.  I expect that Saturday is going to be a long day. 

Sunday will be busy too, since after I get the slab in, I can immediately start getting my framing lumber organized.  There isn't a lot of cutting to do to frame the shed walls, but I want to pre-assemble my trusses (all five of them), and that way the building will go up in a day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another late night

We were up painting last night until about 11:30 p.m., but we got two coats of paint down on the family room walls.   This is one of those rooms with a chair rail at waist height, so we decided to go with a two-tone paint job... light blue above the chair rail, and medium blue below it.  Eventually, when we replace the carpet, it will be an even darker blue.  Still have to repaint the trim, but that shouldn't be any problem (based on our experience in other rooms).

Monday, June 6, 2011

What came before

OK, admittedly this is a late start to the subject of Pam and Mike's House.  We bought the house just over 10 years ago, having it built to our specifications on a subdivision lot of our choosing.  A lot has gone before, and there are pictures, although I can't find any at the moment.  If I do, I'll post them eventually.  For now, I'd like to talk about our current projects, and throw pictures up as I come by them.

[8/18/11 - Here's a photo of the house... its about 7 years old at this point.  You can't see any of the front yard landscaping that we'd done in this picture because of the snow, but there's more than a little.]

This summer, we have three main projects lined up.  One is to convert Pam's office back into a guest room.  Another is to build a garden shed.  The third is to build a patio.

Office conversion first.  It sounds like a simple enough chore, but it isn't quite so simple as all that.  There is a possibility that her dad (retired) may come down to live with us (short term or long term), and we wanted to provide a suitable place for him if this happens.  Rather than sending an elderly gentleman upstairs, we decided that the down stairs bedroom currently being used as an office was a better choice, especially since it has an adjoining bathroom.

Pam works from home a couple of days a week, so she really does need the working space.  We decided that she could set up her office in one corner of the upstairs playroom, which wasn't seeing as much use as it had in earlier years.  Unfortunately, both her office and the playroom needed to be repainted, and the office needed new carpet (the playroom will too, but it isn't in as bad of shape).

To start, we shifted all the stuff (foos-ball & air hockey tables, exercise equipment, bookshelves) in the play room from one side to the other and patched and painted the first side.  Kind of a pink color.  Then everything was shifted back  to paint the other side.  Then things got shifted around again to allow us to paint the trim.  The paint job was BETTER than the original (contractors who built the house were kind of sloppy), but it made the adjoining hallway look bad.

Finally, after all the paint was dry, we moved things more or less into their final place, and started bring furniture up from Pam's office.  This was a real pain, since it involved about five large bookshelves full of books, a LARGE desk assembly, and a couple of very full and heavy metal filing cabinets, plus miscellaneous small stuff.   We got her office relocated, and the future guest room emptied, although the game room is still 50% disorganized... it can wait. 

We proceeded to patch holes in the walls of the guest room, and repeat the performance with paint.  Light blue this time.  We weren't so worried about drips on the carpet this time, since we planned to replace it as soon as the paining projects were done.

Remember how I mentioned that the upstairs hallway looked bad after finishing the game room?  Well, we were getting into the painting thing so much that we decided to paint more stuff (although the game room & guest bedroom were the original extent of the planned work).  We went ahead and painted the upstairs hallway and the back stairway using the same light blue as the guest room.  We also decided to continue the paint job into the family room (at the bottom of the back stairway, off of which opens the guest bedroom).  Colors are two tone:  Light blue above the chair rail that this room includes, and a medium blue below it.  A small study center between the family room and the guest bedroom will be painted entirely in the medium blue.

This is where the painting project stands right now.  We have finished masking the family room, and most of the study alcolve.  I have to finish sanding out my patching jobs, and we will be doing the first coat of paint this evening.

SIMULTANEOUSLY with the paint work, I am also in the back yard working on the projects back there.  Over the last few months, I've been bringing in cement blocks (Castle Wall style) to build a small retaining wall along one side of the back yard.  Friday, I had a load of crushed aggregate (gravel/sand mix) dumped in the driveway, and I spent the entire weekend wheeling loads of this stuff to the back yard and dumping it behind the wall.  I figure I put about 3 yards of material behind the wall, and it is just about there.  I have to level it out, and then I'll be ready to pour concrete for the shed slab (scheduled for delivery on Saturday morning).

The third project is the patio, which is just outside the picture, and to the left.  It will use up the remainder of my load of gravel (another 2 yards), about half of which is still sitting in the driveway.  After I move the rest of the gravel, I'll be ignoring the patio project until after the painting and shed work are done... probably sometime in late July.