Category Archives: Renovation
First pic of the new kitchen
On the Catwalk
Paths and Decks
Let’s catch up
Hi. Been a while, and I’ve been busy. The house itself is (mostly)* done (sort of) and so my attention has been turning to outside. Lots of gardening and landscaping, and a fun project or two thrown in for good measure. Let’s take a look.
Sword making and restoration is not easy, but it’s fun. I made all new fittings for an old katana. Used curly maple for the handle and saya.
Came out great. The restored sword is light, quick, and very sharp. Good grip. Good balance. Very much ready for the zombie apocalypse.
We have frogs in our garden.
And more plants.
The pergola has kind of turned into a little shrine for relaxation and watching the world go by. I should spend more time there, I know. I put a wisteria in that planter bed behind the chairs, it should grow into the pergola nicely.
Made an outdoor table.
It’s such a nice place to sit and stare at the water.
Front planting beds are doing great.
Up the hill is where the shed is, and it’s like the Final Frontier. The last untouched remnant of the old house is up there, because except for the green paint that shed is just about how we found it. I made those stairs going up the rocks, and soon I’ll be putting a new deck up there and making the shed look nice.
The shop is looking great. Cabinets are all finished. I did the math: it’s 102 cubic feet of cabinet space that I added to the shop.
I added a TV to the shop. It’s great during hockey season. It also swings around so you can watch it while on the elliptical.
And I found some cool cabinet knobs.
Inky likes the beach. It has the biggest scratching posts.
Shop Renovation – Tables and More Cabinets
My shop needed some organization. I didn’t realize until now how hastily put together everything was. I didn’t have any time to spend on the shop because I needed to get the house put together. Now that the house is habitable and, dare I say, finished, it’s time to make some storage and organization out there. I have so many homeless, orphan tools in boxes and I don’t even know where they are. Several times I’ve bought a duplicate tool because I forgot I had it. Well, now, maybe some places to put things so that they’re accessible, it’ll help.
As part of all this, I’m raising the heights of my side tables a bit, and to do that I’ll build some drawers to go on top of them. I’ll get more storage space, and I’ll be able to use all the tables to support large pieces of wood when I’m cutting them.
It’s easy to install the drawer hardware if you do it before everything’s assembled.
Not sure if lasers make anything any easier, but it is more fun.
The drawers are pretty solid, and I made some partitions in front to help sort things out. It’s a pain to do, but worth it in the end.
Now I’ve got a little Festool work station going on. And when I put a piece of wood on that saw, it’s the same height as the tables over to the right, so I can cut large pieces and they’re fully supported.
A little paint along this wall made a big difference.
Every once in a while, I open an old cardboard box and find some torn up cardboard and a small pile of cat food. A mouse was nesting in this box. I think he was gathering cat food to have enough to survive a zombie apocalypse.
More cabinets went up over the router table.
Even more cabinets. And no, I’m not done. I still have about 22 square feet of wall space I can cover with more cabinets.
Yeah, I know, I get more excited about shop cabinets than most people do, or should.
The Log Conundrum
Is the house finished if we still have these big freaking logs set in the walls as corner posts? I don’t really feel like it’s my house while these logs are still here, providing living space to more insects than you’d find on the set of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. But like most islanders, we have to share our space with nature, at least a little bit.
There’s one in the corner in the picture above. You may not see it, for your eyes are probably drawn to that ridiculous old lamp and whatever gang graffiti was scrawled on its side. But once you see it, you can’t unsee it. There are huge logs in the corners of my house.
They roll down stairs, alone or in pairs. They’re big, they’re heavy, they’re wood. They’re logs! (don’t get the reference? click here…) And they came with my house. For better or for worse, I decided to keep them. Probably more of a pain to rip them out than it would be to just let them stay. Some people have even said that they like the logs. I think they’re all just saying that to be nice, though.
Okay, that’s it, that’s really every ‘before’ picture I have of the bedroom. We had taken the paneling out in the above pic to put in a new electrical box, many years ago. We did put the paneling back up when we were done. I don’t know why. Could have just left it like that.
Now, all the paneling is gone. New 4×4 beams are in place, partly aesthetic and partly structural – they really help tie this room to the rest of the house which has exposed beams everywhere, and they also help hold up the floor in the loft above. The logs don’t do a damn thing, except provide housing to wasps nesting for the winter.
To finish this room up, the bed had to come out and get set up in the living room for a few days. I used our dresser as a work table in the middle of the room. It’s a pretty solid dresser, made a great work space.
There’s an electric baseboard heater that’s more than a little ugly but puts out good heat, probably because it doesn’t have to be energy star compliant or some crap. It’s the kind of heater you can cook hot dogs on if you needed to. I painted it copper, made it a little more passable to look at.
Now we’re all done, logs and all. New lighting, new paint, new trim, new windowsills, new caulk, new paint, new everything. Only those logs remain, and at least I slathered them with spar urethane.
I encased the ends of the beams with brackets to conceal the joist hangers. I think my creativity was kind of running out at this point, but they look okay. Anyway, best solution I could come up with.
I really like the closet doors on their big barn door hardware. The space is a little tight and they could still use some adjusting but they look good to me.
The iron weighs more than the doors do.
New copper switchplates, custom made copper finger pulls for the doors.
Drawer No. 2 is obstructed by that big dresser, but you can still access the space through a trap door inside the closet. I’m hoping that dresser can move to another bedroom someday, if we add on to the house or something.
So, what are you thinking? “Hey, Joe? You know those big logs that washed up on the beach? I think we can use them for corner posts on the next house we build. Wouldn’t that be great?” Seriously, how many beers do you need to get to that point?
I guess I’ll call the house finished, logs and all.