Greengate Ranch Remodel
Remodeling a Daylight Ranch in Oregon

Monday, June 23, 2008

Home Theater #18 - Review of Screen

After a couple of weeks of using the new screen, we are really happy with the results. The grey (Behr Color: Silver Screen) is by far better than white. It really brings the colors out quite a bit compared to a pure white screen. Once I get some other projects done, I will get on to building the cabinets and laying the stone...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Central Vacuum Installation Complete

Catching up on the blog...

I received the central vacuum on Thursday, and installed it this morning. As we have been doing our basement remodel, I have taken the opportunity the plumb the house for vacuum.

I located the vacuum right in the middle of the house, in a closet I added next to the HVAC system (used to be part of the hallway).

The plumbing parts were not very expensive - under $300 in all for an almost 4000 sf house. I was able to run just one line each direction from the vacuum with branches going up and down to serve both floors. I bought the parts from Stark's Vacuum in the Portland, Oregon area. I recommend them without reservation. The cost of the parts was comparable to Internet prices, and the staff is very helpful and friendly.

After a bit of research, I ended up buying an AirVac AVR7500 from Central Vacuum Stores. Price was the best I could find at $290 with free shipping. Delivery was on time to the day committed (UPS tracking info emailed to me right after I ordered it online). We also bought the accessories - everything looks good.

The technical part of the job was not too bad. If you are going to have some of your walls open, I would suggest it an upgrade to your house. The unit seems to work really well so far (only about 30 minutes of use). I will give an update on the blog in about three months.

The picture below shows an attachment rack I made and mounted above the vacuum. I drilled and mounted 1 1/8" dowel pieces (4 inches long) in some scrap wood pieces. This along with the hose rack puts everything in one place.

So when everything is totalled up, this was about a $1000 project.
- $290 for the vacuum unit
- $300 for plumbing - 6 outlets
- $350 for two accessory kits (2 hoses, power rug vac, floor vac, etc)
- about $50 for the electrical, misc.
The cost here does not include the demo, framing and sheetrock, which was part of the overall remodel anyway.

One additional note: we added a power dustpan to the kitchen area...

Tip - Plugging a Caulking Tube

I have finally found a way to close back up a caulking tube so it is usable again later. I put a 12d nail into the end, then cover it with masking or electrical tape.

I push the nail all the way in. When I pull it out, there is a hole for the caulk to come out of.

Home Theater #17 - Sheetrock Screen Done

We finally completed the "screen portion" of the sheetrock home theater screen, with good results. I ended up applying and sanding four coats of mud on it, then finished smoothing it out with a wet sponge.

The picture shows the screen painted (by my DW) with flat Bear latex by Home Depot - the color is "Silver Screen". Here is a comparative chip:

Why go with a grey screen instead of white? There is quite a bit of info out there in favor of going with grey, giving better contrast and better overall images. Go to this link for extremely detailed information and pictures.

There is a whole lot of debate out on the AV web sites on what the best screen paint is - so far the silver / grey looks good to me. I know that I don't want pure white, since it washes out the darker colors.

Tallying the cost:
- 1x4 firring for the wall (only counting the screen area) - $14
- 2x3 wood frame - $12
- Two sheets of sheetrock - $16
- Primer & paint - $15
- Misc (mud, screws, tape) - $2
Total is about $60, plus a few hours work.

Now its time to play the DVR of the Euro2008 game (Holland and Russia) and see how it really looks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Home Theater #16 - Sheetrock Screen

I finally settled on the size of the projection screen (60"x80") and the proportions of the cabinets on each side, as shown in the diagram.

The following pictures the installation of the screen. Here is the blank front wall before starting. You can see the paint my DW did on the side walls, which turned out great.

I started by putting 1x4 furring strips across the wall, spaced on 16" centers. I needed to put these on to make sure there was adequate support for the stone backer board, and the screen framing.

Here is the screen framing attached to the furring strips. This is made of 2x3's, which will put the screen out to the same depth as the stone. Also, you can nail through the 2x3 into the furring strips with 16d nails. I also put a number of screws in to make sure everything was secure.

Since there is no insulation behind this basement wall, I put R13 batts into the screen framing - every little bit helps.

Here is the sheetrock and first coat of mud applied:

Finally, a shot of the textured paint my DW did. It actually looks darker than this - the camera flash lightens it somewhat.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend in Oxford

For having a remodeling blog, I sure seem to do a lot a writing about other things...

I needed to spend the better part of this week in Oxford, England, so on the advice of a friend I visited Blenheim Palace. Overall, I think it was well worth it. The literature there states its Britian's greatest palace (I am not quite sure how you measure that), and it's listed a World Heritage site. This is the place where Winston Churchill was born, married and buried - and Being a Churchill fan gave me all the more reason to go.

Here are a couple of pictures I took with my cell phone. It's hard to get a feel for the scale, it beng much larger than shown here.

After all the architecure, decoration and gardens, the most memorable thing I viewed was a short quote by Churchill:

I hope that the home we are remodeling will positively affect our lives. I want it to be a place that we enjoy living in, others enjoy visiting, and I would like that to come from my own hands as much as possible.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our Dog Hates Change...

We have four kids, a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and I am sure some other creatures the family is afraid to tell me about. Of all of them, our dog hates change. Here is a picture of him giving me the "don't texture and paint this room look".

As soon as we start moving the furniture, the dog starts hanging its head and moping around. Once we paint, or move a wall, or whatever, it takes him a day to get back to normal (loosely applied here). Go figure...

Now on to much more interesting things - wall texturing. Here is the texture we are applying to the theater room (and everywhere else in the house). It is a heavier orange peel look, which does a good job of covering imperfections.

I have found the best way to apply this is with the spraying mantis unit. I bought mine at Lowes for about $75 a few years ago.

I mix water into sheetrock mud until it has the texture of pancake batter, using a grout mixer. Then I use my air compressor (21 gallon) to apply it.

It goes on fairly well, but your arms will get tired / stronger lifting the hopper full of mud.
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