June 10, 2017

New Look for the driveway

I decided to widen the driveway a little as well as make it so I can back the truck to the shed during winter without having to snow blow an extra 20 feet of berm that the town's street plow leaves at the side of the road. This meant getting rid of the lilac tree and the forsythia. Additionally, I wanted the two stumps pulled, one on either side of the driveway, from the cedars I had cut down in 2014.

I hired a local guy who does hardscaping as an evening/weekend job. He started on Monday after I left for my night job and he worked in the never ending rain. This is what I came homer to (before and after pic shown)

Driveway head on - before
Driveway head on - before

Mound of dirt from rocks-stumps gone


He did not get to work on Tuesday as it was raining even harder, but he resumed the work removing the rocks that were jumbled at the side of the driveway. By Friday it had really taken shape and everything was done except bringing in hard pack to fill in between the retaining wall and asphalt, as well as a "parking pad".

Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall

Today he finished up so that the hardpack is down and he even brought in a load of loam to lay over the areas of disturbed dirt. I no longer have to pick which side of the truck I can access if I need to back up to the garage door (like this afternoon when I brought home some plywood). And now, the truck is on the parking pad so I can move the car out of the garage in the morning without shuffling vehicles.

Parking pad
Parking pad

Oh, and added bonus, after complaining thru their website about the propane tank STILL being there, they came and picked it up on Wednesday so the view from the back porch is much better. Today I spent some time digging a trench to remove the 25 feet of gas line from where the tank had been and the house. Then, of course, I filled the trench back in and used a tamper to solidify the ground.

Propane tank gone

So now, planting stuff in the area cleared during the driveway renovation is hopefully, coming soon.

Posted by Bogie on June 10, 2017 at 08:56 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 29, 2017

Window Treatments

At the beginning of the month we had a couple of sunny, 95*+ days. I started thinking of ways to keep the house from heating up so badly and the simplest is to keep the sun from coming in the windows to the east and south side of the house I had already taken care of the west side bay windows. My house being older, does not have "traditional sized" windows so I had to special order. Fortunately, H*me Dep*t had a 20% off sale going for Bali window treatments, so I took advantage.

For the south facing window in the living room, there was special consideration to be given since it is just behind the pellet stove. Technically, it should be fine with any type of window treatment, but why take chances? So, I went with a metal blind. I got really lucky as the color I picked closely matches the bay window curtains. I ordered a cordless blind so there was no potential for cats to get themselves in trouble (the white item to the right is a plastic stick that opens/closes the slats).

Window Blind behind stove

For color comparison, here are the drapes on the bay window

Living room drapes-curtains2

For the window above the kitchen sink, I wanted more of a shade. Then I ran across shades that I could see thru - icing on the cake. Of course, I can only see thru it when it is lighter outside than in - and the see thru works opposite; people can see in if it is lighter inside than out. But I don't worry about people being able to see my microwave on the opposite wall, so it was perfect. The see thru picture below was taken this morning - a very cloudy, dark, gloomy day where it is just slightly brighter outside than inside with the lights off.

Window shade above kitchen sink
Window shade above kitchen sink

I still need to get a treatment for the bay window beside the refrigerator (south side), but that is shaded most of the day by the willow tree and it has large plants in it to also help keep sun out. Plus, I am having difficulty figuring out what to put there since access to open/close is not good and I can't place the rod above the window as it would interfere with opening a cabinet door.

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. While I was thinking of it I measured the actual space needed and found that I could indeed install an outside mount shade to the kitchen bay widow and the cabinet door would have just enough room to open all the way. So, while the sale was still going on for Bali shades, I ordered the same type as I have on the other kitchen window, except motorized so I'll be able to use a remote. I got a bit of sticker shock with the motorization, but then adding up the costs for the motorized  drapes in the living room, found that it was  in the same ballpark. I will just have to make sure that I keep the plants trimmed so none of their branches/leaves stick outside the plane of the shade.

Posted by Bogie on May 29, 2017 at 08:17 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

May 27, 2017

Once I get Started . . .

 . . . I just have to add on. About 3 weeks ago I installed some flooring where I store pallets of pellets in the basement. Well, I decided while there were no pellets there that it would be the perfect time to put up some sheet rock over the rigid foam insulation and Reflectix foil. This all sounds good in theory, but that wall had never been framed in and with all kinds of plumbing hanging down along the wall I couldn't really install a 2x4 along the sill. Add to that that I have never done framing of any sort, much less that had to be anchored to a concrete wall and I was feeling that the project was probably beyond my abilities.

And then, somehow, some way, I ran into metal furring, also known at hat channels and after some research possibilities opened up. Happily, I work with someone who would lend me a hammer drill so all I needed to buy were materials. Two weeks ago I went to pick up the furring materials, which come in 10' strips. I found that from the dash in front of the passengers seat to the far back corner of the truck was just under 10' and made for a nice snug, secure fit against the hatch just below the window. I couldn't quite close the window but had it secured with rope for the 30 mile trip home.

  10 ft strapping to dash

10 ft strapping to hatch-trnd

Hatch not quite closed-trnd

Drilling holes is no fun even with a hammer drill. But I got it done and last weekend I had a full wall of furring strips, plus the started furring strip for the wall behind the stove. Additionally, I had one of the 4.5" PVC "trim" board installed at the bottom for the sheet rock to rest on so it is far away from any dampness from the floor.

  Metal studs along wall to safe
Metal studs along wall to safe

Sunday evening I installed the other PVC board and got up two sheets of sheet rock but decided the pieces that would go behind the safe would have to wait. These would be difficult as at 800 pounds, and being anchored into the concrete, I was not moving it (I tried before doing the flooring - it's the anchors that kill the deal).

First 2 pieces of sheetrock

Last night, being the first Friday night I haven't worked (filling in at another place), I decided to tackle the part behind the safe. It was a bear wrestling those things in as there was just enough space, but finally I persevered. And, I got it taped and first coat of mud too.

Wall by safe sheetrocked

 I'll only get one piece of sheet rock installed on the other wall, but that is all I need before lugging in 3 tons of pellets - if it ever stops raining that is.

Posted by Bogie on May 27, 2017 at 09:04 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 13, 2017

Basement Flooring

Last summer I installed flooring in half of the basement. Since the floor is damp during the spring I had to put in an Air Gap system, then install the plywood on top of that. A couple of weeks ago since the pallets of pellets I keep in another corner of the basement were pretty much empty, I decided to do the same thing.

First I cleared out the 10 bags of pellets, the pallets, and other miscellaneous stuff from that corner.

Bare basement floor
Bare basement floor-side-trnd

.Then I installed the Air Gap system

Basement floor w air gap-trnd

Then I covered with plywood. I was pretty proud of myself for doing a "once and done" cutting of that piece with the hole for the floor drain.

Basement floor w plywood-trnd
Basement floor w plywood-trnd

I also covered the rest of that Air Gap with another piece of plywood for now. It will probably come back up as I will need to have a fire proof material there in front of the stove. In fact, I may be cutting out to the drain for that reason, but the stove is off for the season, so it makes walking on it easier to have it all the same height.

Maybe next summer I will get the rest of that basement floor covered :)

Posted by Bogie on May 13, 2017 at 08:05 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 06, 2017

Yard Work When It's too Wet to do Yard Work

When I bought this house, the mailbox post was sitting in a metal pail which had been filled with concrete. The pail has always been rusty, but this winter it really started falling apart. Last weekend I pealed off the rusty pail parts and the concrete stayed pretty much in one piece. So I bought a planter and just stuck it in there, filled the remaining room with rocks from the yard, and voila, it's not only stable again but looks pretty good too.

Rusty mail box pail parts
Rusty mail box pail parts

And, I didn't stop there with yard work. Although it was too wet to mow, I got the worst of the leaves and the rest of the bigger branches loaded up and took them to the town dump's brush pile.

Truck filled with leaves-back
Truck filled with leaves-back

 

I was hoping to mow and use the mower to mulch more leaves this weekend but it rained a lot last week and then we had heavy rains last night and earlier today, so the jungle continues to grow.

Posted by Bogie on May 6, 2017 at 08:32 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 28, 2017

Adult Coloring

I am experimenting with a piece of trim that I am going to use as a detail piece in the bathroom. In putting in the vanity, I needed to offset it from the backing wall in order to line up water lines and to cover the hole in the sheet rock that the lines run thru. So I installed a filler strip that the vanity backsplash would butt up to. However, it needs something on top so it doesn't look awkward, hence the need for the detail piece.

Joint between vanity and back wall

I got an unfinished trim piece that has leaf/vine pattern

Bath finsh piece raw

I wanted to color the leaves in autumn hues. Of course they don't make stains the colors I would like so I had to figure out something else. Well, as luck would have it, I have a collection of something like 60 markers so I decided to experiment with mixing their colors to achieve the results I wanted. After coloring in the leaves and letting them dry I stained the background with the stain that I custom mixed for the bathroom door trim, which closely matches the cabinetry.

Bath finsh piece 1

Bath finsh piece 2
Bath finsh piece 2

Here is a panorama of the piece. Since I didn't keep the camera level while taking the picture, it makes the wood look very warped. Rest assured, it isn't :)

Bath finish piece panorama

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the "dots". I am pretty sure I will try a very small paint brush to insert the stain, but may try some colors too.

Posted by Bogie on January 28, 2017 at 07:35 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 14, 2017

Counter Swap

Before Christmas, one of the NH members of a pellet stove forum I belong to was discussing that he needed to install a second stove as his current stove is too small for all of his heating needs. He was also talking about having to wait until he got the funds for exhaust pipe (it is rather expensive and comes in very short sections so you have to buy lots of individual pieces). This is a guy that lives about 15 miles away and I met for the first time when I posted asking for a helping hand to pick up the P43 the spring of 2015. Despite having no knowledge of me (he was a new member to the forum), he volunteered his time and equipment (dolly, straps etc).

I have never forgotten his jumping in to help, so I let him know that I had some pipe left over from my installs. Some new, some used (it came with a used stove), some connections I thought I would need but didn't. He was welcome to it if he wanted it. after all, it gets tiresome moving it around the basement to get it out of my way. Oh, and if he wanted the pipe, he could help me move something while he was here :0

Today he made it over here - and he brought presents (5.5 bags of pellets of different brands - any pellet head will appreciate that!)

Pellets from CleanFire
 

Then he helped me swap the "old" vanity counter - old being the original 48.5" counter

Hutch on counter - turned

For the longer, 55.5" counter that I decided would go better. If you look at the shadows, you can see a 7" space between the counter and the wall. The new counter spans the entire width - even after I moved the cabinets over towards the door so that the left-hand cabinet door wouldn't bang into the wall that juts out.

Bathroom counter from window-trnd
Bathroom counter from window-trnd

Oh, and Cop Car - please notice I got the door trim up too (I had removed it for when I did the mudding/painting of the ceiling and left it off until the counter was in).

I offered the "old" counter to the forum member. It had never been plumbed in, just used as a base covering, so was still in new condition. He gladly accepted as his wife has been bugging him to put another bathroom in the house (which I knew from forum chats, so the offer wasn't a stab in the dark). I was happy it and the exhaust parts were going to someone in need, who is a good guy - and I'm sure his wife is lovely too, and someone I "know" thru the pellet forum.

So, now I just have to see if the plumber I used for installing the tub is still doing side work so I can get the vanity plumbed in and then make a final decision on flooring to finish the bathroom off. And, bonus, that big honking 65"W x 30"W x 20"T box that held the counter is out of the basement as well as two smaller boxes of pipe is gone.

I'm making progress!

Posted by Bogie on January 14, 2017 at 04:45 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 07, 2017

Living Room Bay Window Complete

Cop Car and her HH don't know what they got me for Christmas, so now they get to find out :)

After getting the window trim done my "curtains" in the living room bay window looked rather, should I say, Trailer Trash-ish. The previous curtains, that had come with the house were sheer lace, so for a while I had a blanket up there to keep out the sun in summer and cold in winter. Then I had new windows put in in 2014 and I didn't want to put holes in the wall, and having left over foam board from insulating the basement, I used those in that window. I was looking online for a nice curtain rod and ran into a nice traverse set up which I ordered just before Christmas and came in about a week ago. I have also been looking at lined curtains but needed slightly longer than the normal 63-65" that are common, but shorter than the 86" that are common for drapes. I finally found some I liked that came in 72" and they were waiting on my doorstep yesterday when I got home.

So, I got to work and finally got the traverse rod up - I was nervous at getting it in the right place so the curtains dropped to just at the bottom of the bottom of the window trim. But I also didn't want them lower because they would mess up the FHW baseboard heat if that was used.

Living room curtain traverse rod

Then I put up the curtains (yes, they are rather wrinkled). They are a nice, deep navy blue with a satin sheen - almost too upscale for my house

Living room drapes-curtains2

But the cool part is this

 

Yep, remote controlled. That way I don't have to get behind the furniture to open / close the curtains.

Posted by Bogie on January 7, 2017 at 05:19 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 01, 2017

Last Two

I got the office windows trimmed today. Took forever because they are side-by-side so I had to figure out how to work with the common side. So here is the finished* product.

Office windows trimmed side-by-side

 

*Finished as in there is only one piece of trim missing; the left side of the right hand window. Of course I didn't have 51.5" left of on outside corner (at least not the size that worked). That is why that piece of cove is leaning on the window - waiting for its companion piece before it can be installed.

Posted by Bogie on January 1, 2017 at 05:45 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

December 31, 2016

Week Off From Work Turns into Work

I have had a week off from my day job, so I decided to tackle a project that has been waiting for over 2 years, installing the interior trim for the windows that I had replaced in the summer of 2014. This is an intimidating project for me because

  • I've never trimmed windows before
  • The windows were installed when there was no sheet rock installed - important because
  • the old sheet rock was 1/4" thick and the sheet rock I had installed was 1/2" thick.
  • and of course the new windows were trued up with the outside trim (they had no choice), so that means all window casings are below the sheet rock
  • I'm not good at visualizing, so figuring out what I needed to make the trim look presentable was daunting
  • Three windows are not like the other windows; two bay windows and the garden window in the bathroom
  • Another two windows are side-by-side, but each with their own casings.
  • Of the 4 windows of roughly the same size and shape, only two are along the same side of the house, so those were the only two that were nominally unsquare the same way.

But with a week off, I figured the only way to get the trim done, was to just freaking start. So I did. And I could bore everyone, including me, by detailing all the steps I took, but let's just suffice to say that since last Saturday, I have spent an entire day shopping, most of a day shopping, and another 2.5 hours shopping (today) - just for parts to put the trim together. If you understand that the closest places to get the stuff I needed was in Concord, 40-45 minutes away, it makes more sense. Plus, one of those "shopping" days I had a dentist appointment (replaced a filling that had cracked) that took a couple of hours and I moved the ton of pellets out of the shed and into the basement. Oh, and then there was the snow storm that kept me hopping with snow blowing and shoveling (the reason I moved the pellets - while I still had easy access to the shed).

These are the first 3 windows I got done; the living room bay window, the small window to the side of the pellet stove in the living room, and the bay window in the bedroom. Why yes, I do have fancy "shades" in the living room (hopefully soon to be rectified).

  Living room bay window trimmed
Living room bay window trimmed
Living room bay window trimmed

These four windows I completed today; the small bedroom window, the craft room side window (it and the small bedroom window were the two I was able to do at the same time since they are on the same wall of the house so were similarly off), the craft room backside window, and the bathroom garden window.

Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd
Bedroom small window trim-trd

I also worked my night job, stained wood (necessitating waiting for dry time), and caulked around all the windows (pre-trim) (had to wait at least 8 hours for that to dry). I was not able to use all the trim that I had taken off, sanded down, stained and polyurethaned last year, but I was able to use some of it.

Those are my excuses for not having the side-by-side windows in the office trimmed. Nor have I caulked the trim work that I have completed so far. And, there is at least one window (that I recall anyway) that still needs 2 minor finish pieces placed along the insides. Those are minor issues that aren't readily evident and I can do at anytime I get the ambition.

I am happy with the progress I have made and the windows look so much better than they did just a week ago.

Posted by Bogie on December 31, 2016 at 07:26 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (3)