Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We Be Plumbing

Looks like some plumbing work got done today. First up is the basement/garage powder room sink. My mom found a cool, new bar sink at some kitchen supply type place in the strip for under $100, plus it looks cool. We salvaged one of the lights from the original garage and used it for the above the sink light. I was a little worried this whole thing we were going for wouldn't work, but I like it a lot and am glad we did it:

I ran the water and checked to see if the instantaneous water heater was working yet....

... but it wasn't even plugged in. Oh well, at least it looks impressive. The washer and dryer will go under the water heater and to the left from the perspective of this picture. I only have a dryer now... so if anybody reading this has a not-horrible washing machine they want to get rid of, I could use one.

Tonight I had my first meal in the backyard with my mom (she took the picture):

I even made a little video of the microwave's first use to heat up our Qdoba, but I think I'm going to spare the general public and leave that on my computer.

Tonight I finished adjusting the kitchen stainless wall cabinet doors. There's still a lot more that needs to be done (install and adjust glass cabinets above microwave, adjust drawers, install and adjust under sink doors), and there's no countertop yet, so I'm still withholding any pictures.

The bathroom cultured marble tub surround is installed now and it looks preeeeeeeetty awesome. I can't wait to see it with the steel gray countertop. The cabinets are installed as well, and although they look very nice, the laminate we got has a neat texture to it, that doesn't visually stand out. You can tell it's there if you look, and you definitely will be able to feel the difference though. That's probably for the best anyways, considering the busy-ness of the counter and surround. Pictures to come once installation comes nearer to completion.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday Sunday Sunday

It's Sunday night... that means it's late and I'm putting off getting to sleep in order to do some updating. Before I do that though, let me just say that my two favorite characters on my other Sunday night activity the Sopranos and Entourage are Paulie and Johnny Drama.

So I've been going over to the house a good bit to work on stuff, and one of the biggest, but also least exciting tasks has been sanding and varnishing/polyurethaning the baseboards. My mom had always suggested we clearcoat/polyurethane the baseboards and trim etc rather than paint it like is normally done. Seemed fine to me, so I didn't think anything of it... untill we started, and I found out that doing that involves sanding, then painting on the polyurethane, then sanding, then more poly, then more sanding, then installing, then more poly and more sanding. It's quite the task, and if you don't put the polyurethane on just right it leaves funny marks on the wood. I'm getting better at it, but it was a struggle at first. (btw, don't ask me why it's called clear coating, varnishing, and polyurethaning.... but all three mean the same thing).

This is some of the baseboards on sawhorses during the sanding/coating process:

While over there today, I also picked up a bunch of the cardboard on the floor (to protect it) and swept a bunch of the saw dust up. I've been waiting to post good pictures of the floor until there's not much stuff on it and it's cleaned... but it's probably going to be a little bit before that happens, so I just went ahead and took this picture while it was the closest it's been in a little while:

The pattern turned out real nice. My only concern with it is it getting damaged because it's so soft. There were some small mess-ups with it from installation alone, and although there aren't that many workers going in and out of the upstairs, it's still taking wear and tear from all that's going on :/ I'm trying to leave lots of cardboard around to protect it, but I almost worry that because the cardboard's there, the workers think they can be more cavalier than they should be. I've found a few dents and scratches that definitely weren't there before.

The good news on that tip is that I started messing around with doing some patching of the cork. I cut out a little section on a scrap piece, then got some other cork, cut it up into pieces, jammed it in the section of missing cork, and coated it with polyurethane. Then I gently sanded it down flat, coated with more poly, etc etc. It didn't work perfectly, but it worked pretty well! With some practice (and I think maybe using a little glue initially), I should be able to patch it if bad things happen to it.

Another thing I've been working on, but withholding documenting quite yet are the kitchen cabinets. I drilled the handle holes, attached the handles and hung the doors this past week (after much thought and discussion into exactly how to position the handles) and this weekend I spent some time adjusting them so all the doors are spaced properly in relation to each other. The Ikea doors have three things that you can adjust to do this, and although they clearly show how to adjust each axis, it took a good bit of futsing about to figure out a good technique. The real problem is that if you change one thing, then you have to change 2 others on the same door, then if that changes how the door hangs in relation to the doors around it, you have to change all those. I'm doing a double stack of 24" tall cabinets too, so this makes the "surrounding doors" issue even worse. I finally got the hang of it today though and got a good bit done. Hopefuly I can get that finished up soon so I can take a proper photo n'at.

Alright, before I crash, here's a little video I took walking down the spiral stairs and into the patio. My mom brought over a little plastic table she got for free and some plastic chairs she got for a dollar, or something ridiculously as little. (Update: it seems as though the plastic table wasn't there when this was filmed... but don't worry, it's there now)

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Hotbox

I've been trying to come up with a name for a while now for my house, and with the help of Ash and Wikipedia, I think I found a keeper: The Hotbox!

My place looks a good bit like a railroad car, so I threw that into Wikipedia and then Ash found it.

Hotbox: An axle bearing that has become excessively hot due to friction.

It's great for my place because:
1 - Hotbox is a railroad car term
2 - My house quite boxy.
3 - My house is HOT (and this is why it's hot, hot; this is why it's hot).
4 - My house is red... like something hot.
5 - Just cause it's a cool term.
6 - etc

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No-Party Time, Not Particularly Excellent

So up until a couple weeks ago I've described the non-finished portion of the floor as "garage/work/storage/party" area.... but unfortunately I've come to realize that it's probably going to be more like just "garage/work/storage" area.

I talked with the head of the acoustics department at work about soundproofing it, and he basically said that if there's a garage door, the only thing I could do to keep sound from getting out would be to build a whole new wall inside the garage. This is pretty much out of the question because I want to leave room for at least two cars to park (I will have two for a small period of time, plus future owners may have two), and building a wall after that much space would leave very little room for partying anyways.

He often times is overly cautious about acoustics in general, so at first I passed his comments off as exageration.... until yesterday when I was in the back of the finished area (about 40 feet from the front) and I could hear two people standing in the street front of the garage door outside talking. Not only could I hear them, but I could hear them fairly well, and they weren't talking particularly loud. The garage door closes in a way that leaves gaps around the edges, and I would imagine is the way most garage doors function as well (this might even be a requirement to allow venting of fumes).

What this means is that the garage door will acoustically act like a screen door.

Considering that a few of my neighbors hate me, that sound will bleed out of the garage area all over, and that my upstairs would be destroyed if I had a party there............ I've pretty much come to the conclusion that parties at my house are almost definitely not going to happen. This really sucks. I like throwing parties at my house and was really looking forward to it. The plan from the start was to have the basement/garage be a party area.

I'm not saying that I won't try my hardest to find a way around this problem.... but I really don't think it's likely. My best thinking now would be large wrestling mats that I'd have to hang from the ceiling to the ground right in front of the garage door, and somehow make a seal between them and the walls. Don't ask me where I'd get these from, or where I'd store them... but ummmm.... yeah.

Anybody that read this want to offer up their house for me to throw parties at instead (couch (or bed) for me to crash on at the end of the party is required)?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Kitchens are a good thing

I really should be going to bed now, but instead I'm going to finish with the major house updates.

While working on the flooring Wednesday the appliances were delivered. After a small scare of the fridge not fitting up the stairs (!!!), they got everything into the kitchen area. We laid cardboard all over the floors to prevent scratching and it seems to have done a good job.

Slide in range with convection feature:

Slick dual drawer washer:

Fridge with bottom freezer and french doors:

The cabinets were going in at the same time, so it worked out perfectly timing wise:

The microwave got installed today as well, but I don't have a picture of that. Unfortunately there will need to be an outlet in the cabinet directly above it, but thems the breaks, as they say.

To leave a little more of my personal touch on the house I wrote a note to future owners, and along with a dollar bill I sealed them with plastic and slid it under the cork tiles in the bedroom.

(yes that's a T2 allusion, and yes I realize how dorky/lame the entire message is :P)

Spiraling out of Control

Things seem to have reached a new state of completeness now that the spiral stairs have been installed and the outside patio has been finished. Maybe it's because I'm so happy with how it turned out, or maybe it's because it's the first large section that's "done"... but it really overwhelmed me.

The spiral stairs came in Tuesday in three pieces:

Wednesday I took the day off work to get some stuff done at the garage, and that just happened to be when they installed the spiral stairs. It took a bunch of guys and seemed a bit tricky, but got done.

It still is going to need to be painted (we just got it primed to save some money). As of now I'm thinking to just paint it black... I think it looks pretty damn good as it is.

Where to begin...

Since I last dropped some of this hot blog action so much has gone on. I might break this up into a couple posts for organizational reasons, but we'll see.

The biggest thing going on has been the flooring, which I last posted about. The more I worked with it, the more I understood it and the little things you need to do to avoid problems. The most important example of this is how exact the tongue and groove needs to be to fit together correctly. If the tongue smashes at all then it lifts the cork at the edge on one or both tiles. I didn't have a good grasp on how important this was until more than halfway through the process. Although I caught big mess-ups, there were some imperfections that I definitely would've liked to avoid.

Buuut, regardless of that it looks awesome :)

As of May 5th, here's where we were:

My parents were there assembling the kitchen cabinets too:

Towards the end of the day I slammed my finger with the hammer... it didn't hurt that bad after a few minutes, but the fact that a decent section of my finger was halfway disconnected from my finger, it made me a bit uneasy at first:

After cleaning, treating and wrapping it, it felt a lot better and looked better too (and the above picture doesn't show off how bad it was.

One more update to come tonight before I sleep.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

And Then There Was Cork

Last night we started laying the cork (shown above unboxed). After figuring out the dimensions with Otto, we decided there was room for 19.5 rows of cork, so we decided to put 1/4 row on each side so that the pattern I'd come up with would still work.

The first row was the real bitch. It took forever because the wall wasn't perfectly straight and each tile needed to be cut a different size. Just determining that the wall wasn't straight took close to an hour, haha.

Once we got into the groove (no pun intended) with the first row it wasn't so bad... that is until we got to the second row. Hitting the full 1'x3' tiles into the small 3" wide tiles was not so easy. You'd hit into one, and the next 3" wide one would pop off. Then you'd have to go to the end and pound those in, etc etc.

Anyways, Otto and his grandson, Josh, left after about 1.5 rows was done. I then sanded the floors and continued on. I got the feel for it and came up with some better techniques for the second row I was completing. I was feeling real good about my progress so when I got to the end I figured "hey, what the hell, I'll cut the piece for the next row with the circular saw." (I'd never used one before). I did that, it went well... nice cut, good size for the tiles. So I started laying the third row and this was a LOT easier. I got 2.5 tiles in and realized I should start checking when I'm going to need to put one of the dark pieces in.... wellllllllllll, this is when I discovered that although I'd planned on starting in the corner with a 1/2 tile, and we'd done that, what I HADN'T planned on doing with starting with a 1/4 wide row of tiles. Basically that 1/4 wide row was extra to my design, and should have been started with a full tile!

Man, I was so pissed. After all the work we did doing the first and second row, there's now way I'm going back and re-doing it. I decided to call it a night and focus on the pattern.

I came up with a variation on the other one that I'd designed, and it's pretty nice too. I'm going to take some time at lunch today to work with the pattern a little more, but I think I'm fairly decided on what I've come up with.

Here are a couple pictures of the first row and the start of the second row:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I'm a Cork Dork


The new Night cork arrived today. I went over at lunch to check it out, and as promised, it is the same height, width and length and has the same tongue and groove!

Otto (the site supervisor that's going to help me install it) is a beast. He's gotta be over 60, and after a full day of working is going to take a quick dinner break and then come back to begin laying it.

6pm tonight is go time!


Check back late tonight for pix of the install process at Ash's request.

Keep Hope Alive

After talking with the cork company a few times today I think it's all sorted out for me to recieve replacement Night cork that should fit with the Stone that I have. The woman at the cork company was very nice about it and said she'd personally check to make sure what they were going to send me fits with the Stone cork that I have. They also said I could keep the incorrect Night which I received. I'd like to build some boxes/shelves and scratch protectors for the floor out of some scraps, so this will be perfect.

They sent the cork out overnight to me today, so I should have it tomorrow.

I'm really happy they were nice about all this. It would've been a pain to have to deal with some people that didn't care.

I'll post an update tomorrow as to whether or not what shows up fits or not! The suspense is killing me.