Greengate Ranch Remodel
Remodeling a Daylight Ranch in Oregon

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Victorian Christmas

The following set of pictures are from my parents' home. They live in a true victorian, inside and out (hunting dogs and all). It's all a bit busy for me, but they do a very nice job of putting it all together. I appreciate what they have done over the years. One thing a victorian is good for: Christmas decoration.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Building Bookshelves #3

I was able to get the first set of bookshelves trimmed out today. It wasn't difficult, just a lot of detail work - but as the picture shows, it was rewarding - I really like the look of them.

I would definitely not want these shelves to be adjustable. This ended up being a nice architectural feature, and having random shelf heights would take that away.

The MDF makes a nice surface for painting. It took about three hours to mill the pieces for this and the other two sets I will install later. After that it took another three hours to install the ones here.

Previously, I installed two 4" can lights as accents. These will help highlight the bookshelf.

Here are the shelf fronts, all cut over-length by about 3 inches. I decided to install the long vertical pieces first, then scribe and cut each of these horizontal ones to fit. I made a little 3/16" offset template for the verticals.

I numbered each one of these, then marked them for the cut. Once they were all marked, I cut everything at once - this is way more efficient that moving back and forth for each piece.

Here is a tip to make really accurate cuts: Put a scrap piece of the same thickness next to the fence, tack it in place (or clamp it), then cut it off. This will give the exact position of where the blade cuts. Line up the pieces you want to cut at this edge, and they will be right on.

The outside face frames are even with the sheetrock (with an 1/8") all the way around. I will trim this out the same as I would a door frame, with a 1/4" reveal.

I filled the nail holes, sanded, then filled them again with thinned down filler. Once primed, they should be invsible.

Good Site for Inspiration Pictures

The Maple Forest Cottage is a fairly popular house plan, with a lot of really neat features. I found a site that has a number of photos of it, and a lot of others as well:

I really like these support pieces, and I want to include something like this when we get to the exterior part of the remodel...

Table Saw Set Up

Like most shops, my table saw is the heart of most of the activity. Someday, hopefully soon, I will be building a shop so I can have a fixed setup for all my tools - but for now I share space in the garage. To make this work, I built a moble base for the saw.

The photo above shows the saw (yup, it's messy) rolled out into the driveway. As much as possible, I like to work outside - more room, less dust, and less noise.

This diagram shows the basic layout of the base (42" x 42"). It has shelves around three sides, and dust collection on the center. I put a plastic bin in the bottom so its easy to get the dust out. The top of the base forms a deck to hold my fence and other tools. This who thing sits on five 3" locking casters - 4 in the corners and once in the center for support.

This is made from two sheets of 3/4" OSB, with furring strip edging. I kept the edging one inch proud to give me places to put clamps.

I installed power outlets on both sides of the base, which come in really handy. When the saw is plugged in, the outlets are live. It also has a shopvac dust collection point that comes in from the back.

I built a small outfeed table as part of the base. This gives me just enough extra support to for my two-foot deep cross-cut box, to keep from falling off the back. I left an opening in the back allow access to the motor, and provide airflow around it.

Here is a picture of the saw and my workbench together. The workbench is build in the same style, and has an integrated router table. It sits 1/2" lower than the saw to allow easy outfeed. Again, this has power incorporated. I plug the bench into the saw, so I have power all the way around the setup.

I have had this for about 7 years, its it has really served me well. I have some things that I would like to improve: a few more outlets, side support tables for cross-cutting longer boards, better clamp storage.


Since the weather was so nice yesterday, I spent a few minutes outside taking pictures. Here is the kids' treehouse. We built this over the past couple of summers. This is not a "story book" treehouse, but more of a "tree fort", which is what we called them as kids.

The first story has an easy-access ladder so that almost all kids, no matter how small, can get up there and have fun. The second story has a rope ladder that goes up to it, and is more challenging to get into.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Building Bookshelves #2

We had great weather in Portland, so I was able to get the beadboard bookshelves built and installed today (and get the Christmas lights up). The following photo set shows the process.

Here are the routed uprights:

Shelves attached to the first side:

I glued and stapled these in place.

I put in two screws to hold the shelves in tight during assembly:

I flipped it over to it's other side:

And put the other upright on:

Here is my son helping out a bit:

Here are two of the shelving units standing upright, after I glued and stapled the beadboard plywood to the backs:

Close-up shot of the shelves:

The installation of the four units went really well. I shimmed the right side plumb, and went from there. I put a few shims in a the back against the studs, but mainly sprayed expanding insulation foam back there.

Each unit has a 3/8" spacer (extra beadboard) between it and the next. This allows for easy adjustment. It makes the units has as through they were hinged, so they can be aligned.

Now I need to put the faceframe pieces on, then trim it out.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Building Bookshelves #1

I started building the built-in bookshelves that go into basement. The diagram here shows where the first set will go.

The unit will be 7 feet tall and 8 feet wide. There will also be two more units of hte same design at the other end of the basement. These will each be about 3 1/2 feet wide. Here is the concept from the computer model of the house:

I was cut the uprights out of 1/2 prefinshed (on one side) plywood that was left over from our kitchen cabinets I built. We are painting these, so I turned the finished side outwards. The shelves are out of 3/4 hardwood plywood.

I used a one foot speed square to lay out the lines for the shelves. I always make an X mark on the side of the line where the shelf goes, so I don't get confused later on.

I decided to route 1/8" deep dadoes into the uprights to make assebly easy. My initial plan was to just glue and screw the shelves together, which would give plenty of support. The downside of this is that I would have to hold each shelf exactly square. Dados provide easy alignment, so it was worth the extra effort.

Here is the jig I built to simplify the routing...

The jig works with my trim router. Sincne these dadoes are only 1/8" deep, it cuts them easily. Whenever possible, I use the trim router instead of a larger one, since it's light and easy to handle with one hand. Also, this one cost me $20 at Harbor Freight on sale (been going strong for 3 years), and it's the one I want to use up.

Here is a completed upright. Now on to mounting the shelves...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Posting the Menu

I built a chalkboard for the kitchen for my DW to "post" the upcoming week's menu. I used Rust-oleum chalkboard paint, which worked fine with two coats.

My DW loves to cook, but hates to always have to decide what we are going to eat. Now we have the board on the wall, she asks us (five in all) during the weekend what we would like to have her make. It seems like everyone wins with this system.

The artwork is courtesy of our daughter.

More detail in my article library on eHow...

You can't remodel your location...

When we bought our current house, there were a lot that we felt needed to be done to it to make it the kind of place we wanted, but there were things that made it worth it. This picture shows one of them...

Our master bedroom has a deck that overlooks the woods behind our house. Here is the view we have during a light snow this morning. No amount of remodeling can produce this, and it's a key feature of our home. Our house is located on a slope, which puts our deck rail better than 30 feet above the base of the trees. In the book Patterns of Home, this is termed "Refuge and Outlook".

From the Architecture Week article link:
  • One of the fundamental pleasures that shelter offers is the sense of a solid, stable, and protected place from which you can look out over a "great beyond." This can be vividly experienced on a hike in the hills, when you finally arrive at a stone lodge that provides shelter and a view out over the landscape below. Good homes invite their inhabitants to enact this drama daily in a variety of spaces.
See my article library on eHow...