Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We Suddenly Have a Family Room

The last time I posted any photos of the family room it looked like this
We cleaned it up a bit in preparation for the drywall
And then I didn't bother to take any photos until we had the carpet installed.
We're not finished yet.  We still need to finish the fireplace and get some trim installed, but the room is looking infinitely better.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Laundry Room Evolution

 After four houses Luke and I have changed.  Our tastes and ideas have evolved.  Our abilities and budgets have increased along the way and I think this is most obvious in the evolution of our laundry rooms

Rapid City, SD
Before - Our first home had a large laundry room.  With so many holes in the walls we had a lot of mice to contend with at first.
After - Although the room was spacious we had almost no storage.  Luke was in college and I was paying his tuition so there wasn't a lot of money left over for cabinets.  It was my first time laying tile and I was immediately hooked.

Wenatchee, WA
Our second house had a very small, very gross laundry room.  The wall was full of mold and the gap under the door did nothing to keep mice out.  We removed the window so we could stack the washer and dryer.

The stacked washer/dryer allowed space for a few cabinets and a drying rack.  Because the laundry room was directly off the kitchen we matched the cabinet and countertops for continuity.

Butte, MT
Our third house started with this laundry nook in the kitchen.
 We removed the wall to open up the kitchen to the living room so the laundry room was relocated to a corner of the basement.  The bathroom is on the left, the future laundry room on the right.
The new basement laundry room featured a butcherblock style counter over the laundry appliances. 
 The controls for the hydronic heat system are hidden behind the louvered doors.  Cabinets below provided a lot of extra storage.
Helena, MT
Our latest laundry room started as an unfinished corner of the basement.
Somehow this room morphed into a mini-kitchen more than a laundry room.  Cherry cabinets, tile backsplash, undercabinet lighting...I'm not sure where to draw the line between a few nice features and overkill.
If our pattern holds true we'll have to step it up for our next house, but I'm really not sure how short of hiring a maid who actually does the laundry room for us.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Laundry Room Before & After

 Three years ago the laundry room was just a messy corner of the basement.
We turned one wall into a large utility closet which made for a smaller laundry room, but left it looking cleaner.
Eventually the little room got a new window, lights and insulation.
A few weeks later the room was finished. 
The floor tile was a clearance find for $.57 per sq ft.  We bought it three years ago and have moved the boxes at least a dozen times over the last three years.
 Last year I debated buying a premade laundry room sink and cabinet from Costco but balked at the $299 price tag.  Instead we bought cherry cabinets from craigslist, a sink and faucet from Restore and I built the countertop out of sheetformica.  Total cost $245.
The pattern on the formica can hide just about anything.
That $245 price tag also includes the cabinet on the other side of the room over the freezer.  I had LED undercabinet lighting leftover from the kitchen.  I had to buy an $8 power supply from Amazon but it was worth it to have light when rooting through the freezer.

In addition to the laundry room we are just about finished with the family room.  The carpet should be installed on Thursday so I should have more photos soon.

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.