Greengate Ranch Remodel
Remodeling a Daylight Ranch in Oregon

Monday, May 26, 2008

Craft Closet #2

We were able to get the theater room and craft closets textured, primed and ready for paint. I installed the counter tops as shown below. The black counter with the green painted pegboard actually looks good (I never thought I would say peg board looked good...)

Notice the two layers of trim at the top. The ceiling in the closet is 1 1/4" out of level due to the house sagging over the years. The stone fireplace upstairs was not adequately supported (now it is), causing the sag. The lower layer of trim is even with the pegboard holes and the upper layer is partially cut to match the ceiling. It also runs a bit out of level, splitting the difference. All this together effectively hides the out-of-level condition, especially once the closet doors are added.

We bought the laminate counter piece at Home Depot - $78 for an eight foot piece. The other half went to the other craft closet (one for sewing, one for stamping, paper crafts, etc.) It seems like a nice high quality surface, with a fully wrapped front. I cut it with a new carbide saw blade on the table saw, and had no chip-out.

My DW will keep her sewing machine and surger on this counter, so they will always be ready to use. To keep the counter from sagging over time under the constant weight, I added these heavy duty shelf supports (rated at 400 lbs). I quickly painted the wood backup pieces once I installed them, which helps me avoid extra masking. I also glued and screwed a fir 1x4 across the front behind the counter lip.

Next I need to make a couple of shelves for the top of the closet and 3 drawers that go under the counter. After that, my DW will get all the pegboard stuff.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Garden Shed #1 - The Plan

It seems like we always have about half a dozen projects going on at once...

As part pf the larger plan for the property, I am going to add a detached garage / shop at some point in the near future. Currently we have a garden shed that is sitting where the garage needs to go, so we have to move it, and it's too big to easily pick up and relocate in one piece.

I intend to have my 13 year old son deconstruct the current shed, so we can reuse the materials as much as possible - then help build the new one. Obviously he will need some assistance, but I think it's good learning project for him. It keeps him busy this summer, gives him a challenge, lets him earn some money (I am looking at the positive here.) I am sure there will be some disaster recovery along the way, but it will make for a good story later.

Here is a photo of the current shed. It's 10" x 12" and looks like it was built at least 25 years ago. Other than the original shake roof, the shed is in excellent condition. It has ceder lap siding, 2x4 framing, and no plywood at all. The floor, shelves, etc, are all made of fir 1x4, which is mainly clear.

This shed is 120 sq ft. Our city's building code now allows utility sheds up to 200 sq ft without permitting, so we will go for that size.

I want the shed to match the general style of the house (obviously ranch) after we redo the siding (probably next summer). Here is the concept model I am thinking about. I will reuse the cedar lap on the bottom of the shed and do a board-and-batten look on the top. The 1x4 should make good battens, once painted.

The difference between making a really nice looking shed and a plain one is some labor, which I find enjoyable anyway. This shed will be visible from the road, due to the orientation of our house, so I might as well make it look good.

I used PunchPro to design this. It's not the easiest program to use, but one you get the hang of it, it's a fairly robust tool. Once feature I like is the framing view.

A really useful feature is the bill-of-material estimator. It's nice to be able to quickly sketch something up, then get the number of 2x4's, joists, etc.

Here is an image of the interior - I still have not decided on this yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Home Theater #15 - Finishing Sheetrock

I completed the sheetrock work for the theater room. Even though it's dusty and a good deal of work, I like doing it myself (as opposed to contracting it out).

This picture shows the soffit, which creates the tray ceiling in the room. The hole in the corner is for the projector cable. The cabinets I will be building in the next few weeks will go here and have a corresponding opening.

Notice that I have not taped and mudded the corners. I am putting crown moulding both against the ceiling and the wall, so there is no need for the extra work. Since the soffit is an add-on to the room, I don't need to worry about fire-taping the corners.

The recessed lights along the side walls create a very nice effect in the room, but they also show every imperfection in the wall. These wall had a lot of imperfections... The horizontal seams were especially bad, pushing outward in most places. I took a block plane to smooth them down, then re-mudded the wall.

The picture below was taken from the front of the theater room looking back toward the entry.

These pictures all show the first coat of mud. Two coats and a number of hours later, the room was complted. On my next free day I will texture and prime them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Putting in more built-in bookshelves

I finally got back to working on the basement... To get my motivation back up, I decided to work on the rest of built-in bookshelves I needed to do. This rendered image shows the plan:

This mainly shows the entrance to the theater room. The photos below are of the unit on the left.

Here is the rough opening. I framed it a couple of inches wider than the bookshelves to give myself plenty of room to adjust them. Wrestling the units into place is fun enough, without having to work with a tight space. Adding the extra shims on the sides only takes a minute.

Notice in the picture below that is there quite a bit of blocking above the bookshelf. The top of the opening is the original sheetrocked surface of the air-duct soffit, and this gap will be covered by the trim.

Why not build the bookshelves a couple of inches taller and take advantage of the space? The reason is the window opening to the left. I built these shelves so that the top would be even with the top of the window casing. This will make the top trim pieces line up horizontally. I have blogged about this in the past - slightly uneven trim heights are a sure indicator of an amateur job.

I installed the shelves as two pieces, with a 3/8" filler strip in between. This makes getting the units aligned a lot easier. The filler strip acts as a "hinge" to allow for a better alignment. If you put the two flat sides of the bookshelves directly together, you can have the following problems:
- they may not be exactly flat, and you have to force them together - if you can
- your wall may not be straight, and shelves won't easily align to the front surface, since they are a "solid" unit.
- when you are building your shelves, you don't have to countersink the side screws, etc.

This picture shows the front trim strips applied...

I find it much easier to put the front trim on after the units are in place. The vertical strip in the center covers the edges of both the units, making it look like a single large assembly. Since these are going to be painted, I just front-nail and them fill the holes. If this were finished wood, I would have made rabbited / dadoed trim that could be blind nailed.

Finally, since these shelves are under three feet wide, I could have made them using a single shelf all the way across. When I drew it up, it looked more utilitarian than I wanted. The cost to do it as two units was about $10 more, and i think it looks much nicer.

- Qty 1 - 4x8 sheet of 3/8" beadboard plywood for the back (Lowes) $20.
- Qty 1 - 4x8 sheet of 1/2" birch plywood for the sides (Shurway) $22
- Approx 3/4 of a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" birch plywood for the shelves (Home Depot) $28 as sheet.
- Approx 10 sf of 3/4" MDF (Home Depot) - $26 a sheet
- Total cost with glue, fasterners, etc. - $60. This does not include primer, paint or final trim outside time. So figure $80 for the whole thing.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Visit to the Dutch Flower Gardens

I have been traveling again - Holland and Czech Republic. I took the opportunity to go to the Kuekenhof, which is the world's largest tulip garden located outside of Amsterdam. There is a lot of opportunity for inspiration for our own landscaping. Here are two of my favorite pictures...

This photo shows a "stream of flowers", flowing through the woods. I think is this the most striking display in the garden.

I really liked this small area next to a garden shed. I am currently designing our new shed and raised bed garden - and this idea will definitely be included.

At this point, our own landscape is pretty sad. We haven't done much with the place since moving in, since all of our effort has been on the interior. Hopefully was can put more energy into the outside here soon...

One more picture that I like: We had to stop the car for a while due to a parade, so we got out and took a walk through the nearby tulip fields. If you look close, you can see one red tulip in a sea of yellow ones. I think this is a good image of individuality.

Additional photos
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