Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

Home Renovation – Where We Are Now

July 2007

My last post brings my blog up-to-date as it has now caught up in time where we really stand with this project. I have plotted a timeline for the remaining construction phases such that we would be able to move into the room by October. I want to say that I’m still on track for that, but I’m not. The budget has grinded construction to a halt and the summer already seems to be flying by. There are some small things I can get done, like fix some of my poor drywall seems, fix the gutters outside, find some window hardware I’m missing… but there are still thousands of dollars that need to be spent to finish the construction.

I am also back to that planning stage. I have no idea how I want the trim to wok as I have some painted white windows and some raw wood windows I planned on staining. Moulding is expensive and tedious work. I was considering some shelves, but I have no idea how to make them look, let alone how to put them together. I’m unsure on the portion of the floor that needs to be tiled (between the doors); unsure of what type of tile to use, how far it should go into the room, and how to shape it.

I will still update my blog when I have something to say, but for now, I’ll leave you with my summarized list of phases for down the road.

The end seems so close, yet so far away.

Construction Phases

  • Finish electrical and lighting (ceiling fan, circuit box hook up, dimmers, etc…)
  • Window, door, floor and ceiling trim work
  • Floor tiles between doors
  • Carpet

Finishing Details

  • Window treatments
  • New sofa
  • End tables
  • Coffee table
  • General decorating

Home Theater

  • Move in current equipment
  • Upgrades… (power conditioner, TV, antenna, AMP, DVR, media center, remote, media server, GB backbone, game console… probably in that order for the most part)

July 30, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | Leave a comment

Home Renovation – The Ceiling

June 2007

“And then I blinked and April & May disappeared. Absolutely no progress was made on the project.”

But, I was expecting that and now that May was coming to an end, we started to feel the pressure piling back on to get back on track. While we were off on the actual schedule, I still felt we could make up time. Time to get to it…

Getting started is the hardest thing in all projects and this was no different. I re-setup the room and re-checked my saw settings. After putting up one piece of the top beam, we realized that we would need it to be thicker for things to line up right in the end. So, after a trip to home depot, we restart.


That wasn’t too bad, but then we spent lots of hours on figuring out the first rip angle and calculating how things should progress. It basically took about a day to get one row up.




Over the next couple of weekends, we found our groove. My wife was the brains and I was the brawn. While I understood the pattern and calculations, once we did the first couple of rows, I never had to think about it again. She would just mark the boards with a sticker and I would cut.







That is not to say it was a piece of cake, rather the opposite. This was one of the hardest things we’ve done yet. First, despite that we sorted all of the wood at Home Depot into piles of good, bad & ugly, taking up the entire aisle, we still had boards that were not so straight. Secondly, the room is not perfectly square and even, particularly the height that the joists reach down making for a slightly wavy ceiling (you can only see it when you are up there). It took a lot of muscle and tweaking slide in and mount each plank. On top of that, working above your head made for some extremely sore shoulders, not to mention the going up and down on the ladders.


I might make a separate post with the details on how this was all put together because it is a pretty interesting project. But for now, here is what the aftermath of the room looked liked when we were done.


And, here is what we paid for with blood, sweat and tears.




July 23, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | 1 Comment

Home Renovation – Staining and Sealing

March 2007

101 boards is a lot of wood, but we were going to have fun cranking through this step.




We had to come up with a plan to rack and let the boards dry and our system worked pretty well.






A few weekends later it was almost April and we were still making good progress. The weather turned cold making the step of sealing the boards a little more difficult. We chose to use a real lacquer instead of a poly urethane because it dried quicker and requires a bit less care when applying. If I could have found a flat finish poly (which I understand exists), I probably would have chose that, but since I couldn’t, the satin finish lacquer would have to do.

The problem with real lacquer is that not only is it flammable (as is poly urethane), the fumes themselves are also flammable. Thus, we had to setup in the cold garage (about 50 degrees) and push through the sealing. (your hand gets quite cold and numb holding a brush for a couple of hours)




We eventually got through two coats of lacquer on all 101 boards, doing 34 at a time because that was all we could fit in the garage at one time. The boards looked great, although we were still unsure how it would look installed.

It was the second week in April 2007 and I started to prep the room with my compound miter and table saws and all of the other tools we would need.



And then I blinked and April & May disappeared. Absolutely no progress was made on the project.

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | Leave a comment