Arbor, Yay

So this past weekend I finally got around to building the arbor I've been thinking about for the past year. Here's a quick shot of how it came out. I'll paint it once the wood has dried out a bit as well as a full instructable to come.


I've also ported the guide on how to remodel a bathroom over to Instructables where it's been promoted to a featured article. It's the same stuff here but with a little more linear description of the process.


Garden work and more

So I reformed last years garden into a new tiered style garden. I included a picture below, but the complete details of the process are available over at Instructables.

I also added the details of my kitchen renovation to another Instrucable. Make sure you go vote for me in the contest they're running.


And it's done

Perhaps I was a little overly optimistic when I thought I could have everything done in around 5 days with a budget of about $500, but considering everything was wrapped up in two weeks for just shy of $900, I'm pretty excited with my performance. If anyone is interested, here's a rough breakdown of where the budget went:

-Sink and faucet, $100
-Garbage disposal, $100
-Tile (counter, backsplash, and floor), $150
-Grout, thinset, etc, $75
-Electric wire, outlets, accessories, $55
-3/4" Plywood and cement board, $90
-Wood trim (counter, windows, floor), $50
-Paint and caulk, $30
-Tile cutter, $70
-Table and stools, $90
-Misc decorations, $80

Now there's still a couple minor things to do like a few more decorations, a new curtain for above the sink, and so forth, but I'm fully prepared to call this thing done.

PS. Being the avid gamer I that am, I hid one of each Tetris piece in the pseudo-random design of the backsplash, you can see three of them in the pic above.


Project sorting --------------->

So I updated the site a bit and now you can click a project type on the bar over to the right to view all the blog postings I've tagged as that. Also the history menu is now collapsible so hopefully that makes navigation easier. I'm going to register a domain for the site as soon as I come up with something satisfactory.


Kitchen Update News

So when I first got the house I did round 1 of kitchen updates to get it livable but I didn't have time to really do everything I wanted. For the past six months I've been planning what I wanted and the holidays provided a perfect opportunity to get things done. Over a little longer than the past week I've been working to: tear out the old formica counter, add to/extend the cabinetry, install a granite tile countertop, replace the stainless sink with a classic cast-iron sink, add a garbage disposal, fill some insulation, tile a back splash, tile the floor, and other various touch ups. Oh and the budget for all of this is around $500. Pictures are older as you scroll down.

Here's where it stands as of today. I still need to put back trim, seal all my tiles, add an oak border around the counter, and put in base molding. I'm playing with the idea of full size crown molding but we'll see where that goes. I thought I was going to have to paint but moving the curtains from the living room into the kitchen seem to pull everything together with the existing blue.

After the floor tile was all laid.

I also ran out of thinset and stores were again closed for new years day so I had to wait yet another day to finish the floor tile.

Start of the floor tile. I wasn't totally sure I wanted to deal with tiling the floor but after finding 130+ sq feet of tile on clearance to 10 cents a sq ft the choice was really out of my hands.

Finished putting in the 3/4" plywood for the counter along with hardibacker for the the counter and backsplash tile. You can see all the dust in the air from the camera flash. The sink is set on top of the backer but still needs much more work to get it properly installed.

I took the opportunity to fill the walls below the window with blown-in insulation. Most of the walls already have blown-in but it obviously couldn't reach below windows.

Laser kept getting in the way of the power tools so we reached a compromise where he was allowed to stay in the corner on his bed.

To start I had to take down the cabinets to remove the old counter. Then it was back to breaking out plaster down to the lathe. The additional cabinets on the right are set in place for the picture but not installed yet. I actually had to extend a wall vent that was going to be covered through the toe kick. Even though I was lucky enough to pickup cabinets that were identical to what I had, they were still slightly taller and I had to cut off a half inch from the bottom and reframe the base before they could be installed.

This is the kitchen before I started. Much better than it originally was but still a ways from what I would call ideal. The main problem was the awful counter/backsplash and a severe lack of counter space.


Some pictures I never posted

Here's a few pictures of what things were looking like a month ago. In the I added a few trees, built some planters (the unpainted one has since been painted), dug a second garden bed for planting next year, got a solid lawn going, stained the patio tiles, touched up some exterior paint, planted flowers, and replaced the front door/door trim.

I'm also planning the next project to be finishing the kitchen renovations. I finally came up with a layout in my head that will work without moving around too many fixtures around. Along with that I plan on replacing the current counter top with a marble tiled countertop, tiled back splash, tile the floor, and a breakfast bar style table. I should be able to finish it all up for under $500, but that will probably wait until Christmas break. Kitchen, upstairs bathroom, and a garage are the last three big items on my list--then I can sell and start all over again.


Back for Floor

This past weekend I finally made some time to finish the rest of the hardwood floors that had been waiting for over a year now (all of the upstairs except the largest bedroom). Coincidentally it was also the first time I've had a working camera since May. I'd like to send a big thanks to Erik who spent all Saturday helping me. They came out about as good as I could possibly expect from 100 year old floors. Once I mow the yard then I'll get some pictures of that up too(tomorrow, weather permitting).

The sanded floors looked spectacular for the most part, almost to the point where you think maybe they'd look better a lighter color. However, there were areas, especially right at the top of the stairs, where the boards were pretty damaged from the previous owners' animals. The hardwood is laid directly on the joists with no subfloor, so I wasn't going to take any chances sanding down more than I had to. The dark red dose a great job creating a uniform look throughout. Not to mention I already have half the house with the dark floors and there's no chance I'm going to tackle another refinishing job anytime soon. The three strained muscles in my back now are enough to content for quite some time and I still have the stairs to work on when I'm ready to put myself through all that again.


Not really house related but...

So my camera got a bunch of sand in it on vacation to San Diego and it's out of commission until I fix it. The backyard looks a ton better once things filled in so I'll try to get that up when I can. In the mean time I figured I'd post a little something I worked on for father's day. I found had found an old picture of my dad from his twenties with his German Shorthair, Trouble. I decided to replicate it, foo man chu and all, with my shorthair, Laser. Thanks to my cousin Sarah for helping with the photos. Here's how it turned out.


Got a little sidetracked

So I haven't posted an update in a while. Sorry. I got side tracked with finals, Tara's graduation, and what have you. Regardless work hasn't really stopped (or even slowed down much). I finished off the entrance way (in the process of saving for a new door), trimmed out the new attic window, painted an accent wall in the living room (spice up the blah), and completely landscaped the entire backyard the day after I did the bushes. When I say completely landscaped I'm talking 3 yards of topsoil, a couple trees, grass seed, peat moss, got rid of all the scrap I'd been hoarding... the works. I need a better picture of the yard but here's some pictures of the other stuff and 1 of Laser since he didn't manage to sneak into the regular photos.