Friday, September 02, 2016

Building the Basement Bedrooms

When I last posted I shared photos of the framed basement bedrooms
I'm pleased to report that the bedrooms are looking a little more complete.
 The window seats provide the perfect little reading nook and will also make it easier to get out of the egress windows in an emergency.
The bedrooms will now be ignored for months until we get the carpet installed.  There's a lot to do in the rest of the basement until then.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Final Phase of the Remodel Begins

After months of work on the exterior and landscaping I am finally ready to begin the final phase of the remodel : finishing the basement.  We've already done some preliminary work, so let's do a brief update on what has been accomplished so far.
Before -The previous owners used the open space at the bottom of the stairs as a bedroom.  The door on the left led to a non-compliant bedroom.
In progress -We gutted the entire basement and started from scratch.  This is shot from approximately the same angle as the photo above. The open space at the bottom of the stairs and the former bedroom will now be our media room.
Before -The basement was already plumbed for a bathroom. 
In progress - We framed in the walls and will be putting in a dropped ceiling to accommodate the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom.
Before - The laundry room 
 In Progress - We added a utility closet for the hydronic controls and water softener.  We also moved the washer and dryer locations so they will not block access to the electrical panel.
The previous laundry room did not have a door.  We added an angled door at the end of the hallway so laundry noise would not interfere with the media room.
 Before - The storage room adjacent to the laundry was framed as a bedroom but never finished.
 In Progress - We framed two bedrooms into this corner of the house.  The mirrored layout allows the bedrooms to share a single egress window well, eliminating the need to cut more holes in the foundation.
There's a lot of work to be done and of course a lot of money to be spent, but I'm excited to start on the basement and not be working in the heat outside.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

No Room for Guests in the Guest Room

Last Christmas Luke and I splurged and bought a new bedroom set for the master bedroom and moved our oversized log bed to the guest room.  I love the log bed, but the guest room is only 10x11 and the log bed is huge.
There was barely enough space for the bedroom door to clear the foot board and any luggage blocked the path around the bed. 
Bolstered by some recent success with woodworking projects I decided to build my own headboard and attach it to a cheap metal bed frame we have stored in the basement.  Using maple scraps leftover from previous projects I designed and built a simple headboard.
I wanted the look warm look of aged cherry wood.  It took a base coat of red mahogany, followed by a coat of cherry and two coats of english chestnut to get the color I wanted.
 Just so the change is more dramatic I've included a shot from the day my brother moved in.  Please note the classic rust-color shag carpet.
Without the log bed frame we had enough room to move Luke's old dresser for guests to use.  Since we don't have a media room at the moment we brought in the old tv.  It's more comfortable than watching movies in the garage.
With the guest room finished and the exterior work done for the time being it's time to start the next big project, finishing the basement.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Master Bedroom Finished

The master bedroom in our house has never been anything special.  In fact, the only reason the front bedroom was called the master is that it is slightly larger than the other bedroom.  Lacking a bathroom or any special features, there was nothing master-ish about it.
The room was long, but narrow, less than 10' wide.
The closet took up most of the limited wall space so there were few options for dresser placement.
 We replaced the casement window with single hung windows which brought a lot more natural light into the room.
 Last summer we began our first floor remodel and we finally made some real changes to the floor plan.  After gutting the bedroom I framed in a new walk-in closet for the bedroom and moved the adjoining coat closet to the hallway wall.
 The new layout shortened the bedroom by a few feet, but the new closet layout allowed more storage and wall space for the room.  However I neglected to take any more photos until after we finished the room, so let's jump forward to the finished product.  I've posted the before photos below so you won't have to scroll back and forth
Bedroom Before
Bedroom After - Still not large but the southern windows make it a bright and cheery space.
Before-The oversized log bed was just too big for the space.

After - We splurged and bought a maple bedroom set from Costco.
Before - No room for a dresser without blocking the closet

After - The new walk-in closet is separated from the bedroom by a pocket door and leaves plenty of room for a dresser.
We only have a one small dresser in the bedroom so I built a tower in the closet for additional storage.  It was my first solo attempt at actual cabinetry and I learned some valuable lessons about how not to build something.  Still, it looks okay and gives us a lot of space for clothing without taking up too much space.  Outlets with USB ports make this a convenient spot to charge our electronics.
Yes, that's a dog bed in the closet.  Rikka likes to sleep in our closet so we made room for her  orthopedic bed.
Obviously the master bedroom has its faults, but it works well for us and is so much better than what we started with.  I plan to eventually get some art on the walls but I've been saying that for six months so it's obviously a low priority.
By the way, if you thought the log bed was too big for our room, wait till you see it crammed into the guest bedroom.  The bedroom door just barely clears the foot board.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Finally Finished the Front Porch

It's been two years since we did our first real project on our current home
Adding a 6'x10' porch added some visual interest to the ugly little box of a house but we never completely finished the porch.
Since then we've built a garage, replaced the roof, siding, doors and windows but the porch remained unfinished.
This spring I have been focusing on the landscaping and wrapping up the exterior work.  It seemed like it was finally time to finish the porch.  After building a frame I installed a couple rows of 12" fascia to close up the front and sides.
I also decided that it was time to do something about the posts.  Although our house is just a 70's ranch we've tried to add a craftsman theme.  The 4x6 porch posts were rather plain until I used scrap lumber to mimic the lines of the craftsman fireplace in the living roo.

The bases are painted in the same dark accent color we used on the gables with the house color in the inset areas.
I can't resist one more before and after.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Foundation Coat Makes All The Difference

A few weeks ago I posted photos of our egress window well.  In the first picture you can see the mismatched concrete from where we filled in the old basement window opening.
 We used a textured foundation coating to hide the different concrete as well as to dress up the exposed foundation.
But that wasn't our only use for the texture.  The kitchen addition we built last year has treated plywood skirting, affordable and rot resistant, but not attractive.
After patching all the nailheads I spread the texture with a trowel then used a stipple brush to put a stucco finish on the plywood.
I intentionally made some areas thicker and more uneven than others to mimic some of the unevenness of the concrete foundation.
Once everything is textured you can't tell the concrete foundation from the wood skirting.
I thought of the texture as a nice little detail that no one was likely to notice but to my surprise we've already had neighbors from down the street asking where they can buy the texture.  If you're feeling inspired to try it yourself just look for Tuff II on the Home Depot website.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Deck and Then Some

I think the image below pretty much sums up our plans for some outdoor living space
It all started with our back deck.  It was small, the steps were too tall for crippled old dogs and five of the six support posts had rotted off.  We decided to tear it down and start fresh.
We wanted a large outdoor living space and composite decking is expensive.  So we came up with the idea of a small deck that led down to a larger patio behind the garage.  We would have space to bbq on the deck and still have room for a patio set and fireplace on the patio.  A 12x18 patio would give us plenty of space, but the concrete delivery was free if we upped the order to four yards.  So we decided to extend the pad in front of the deck to make room for a hot tub. 

This bumped our outdoor living space from 96 sq ft to 412 sq ft, which seems huge at the moment.

The deck is 12'8" long, but the decking comes in 12' lengths so we put a picture frame around the perimeter to avoid having any seams.
It's not done yet, I still need to build a surround and we've decided to add railings, even though the deck is only 28" tall.  Still, it looks much nicer than the old one ever did.