Monday, January 25, 2010

I've been clean for 41 hours!!!

Due to some playing engagements this weekend, that is exactly how long it's been since the last time I got dirty - and it feels great! I feel like an actual human being for a change. I hate getting dirty and anyone who thinks I've enjoyed the activities of the past three and a half years has definitely gotten the wrong impression. I'm looking at this period of non-dirty activities as a preview of my life in the not-too-distant future. No more day in and day out of dirt and dust and gross clothes for me anymore. A return to civilized living is finally in the works!

But now I've got on my freshly laundered work clothes and I'll be heading back over there to get back to work this evening. It was nice while it lasted.

This past week we've been putting in 14 and 16 hour days that often went until 5am. But I guess it was worth it because we got a lot done. Doug put in a sensor so that the lights will automatically come on when he gets near the door and also every time a deer walks by. He shouldn't have any trouble finding his key from now on. He also installed the door trim both inside and out. It looks really nice. And he installed all of his fluorescent light fixtures which took him a really long time for some reason.

While he was doing all of that, I finished up with the painting. I had some leftover paint from the ceiling of the back porch which I used to make the garage less drab and industrial looking. So the RL Faded Seafoam color is now in the basement too. I think it looks pretty pleasant for a garage.

We used some nasty stuff called UGL to fill in some of the texture of the cinderblock walls, but unbeknownst to us it has sand in it so although it's a bit smoother, it still has a finely textured roughness to it. It's kind of like stucco or something. I'd like to go over it with some semigloss, but that's going to have to wait a bit.

A couple of days after I'd finished beautifying his garage, Doug asked me if there was some reason he should know about regarding why I had gone to so much trouble to make his garage look nice. He wanted to know if I had any future plans and had the nerve to imply that I had made it look so good because I was entertaining the notion of eventually using the garage for my own purposes. He wanted to know what my "plans" were. He's so suspicious! I replied truthfully that I had just painted it that way so I wouldn't be as grossed out if and when I ever had to walk through there. I've already taken the farewell photo of the one and only time my car will ever be able to fit in there. It's his garage, I swear!

He's got all of his junk moved back in now and even with all that stuff in there it looks a million times better than it did before.

Doug's been putting up drywall in the basement all day while I was having fun playing music. He's pooped now.

I'm going over to get the piano room ready for the flooring which I will install tomorrow. Doug left a bunch of "Good Stuff" foam oozing out of all of the edges of the sub floor. I need to scrape that off and move all of the wood and everything else out of there, and re-install the floor heat mat. I think that's probably just a few hours of work.

I'm very eager for Doug to finish the drywall in the basement - the final two rooms in our entire house - so that we can do the mudding and taping. I can't wait to paint it! I've got some cool colors picked out!

Also, the plumber has finished all of his work and we now apparently have hot water, which I didn't notice the past four times I washed the paintbrushes because I'm so used to not having it that it didn't even occur to me to turn it on, especially since I was not informed right away about this exciting new development.

The electrician is coming on Tuesday to finish, and supposedly the HVAC guy will be here then too. It will be interesting to have an actual heating system hooked up, although with our insulation the two space heaters and one kerosene heater have been doing just fine.

I guess we'll need more heat to stay warm when we get finished overexerting ourselves in another few weeks.

Oh, and today when I stopped in there for a minute on the way home from my concert, I accidentally said to him "Hey, my garage still looks good even with all your stuff moved back in there." Oops!

Monday, January 18, 2010

just like papier mache

After we got up all of the drywall in the garage (Doug did most of this but I helped him lift all of the sheets onto the drywall lift), it was time to begin the finish work.

The first step is to mud each seam and then apply the tape. The drywall mud is this gloopy white paste that is about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Doug would slop it onto the seam while I measured and cut the drywall tape and wet it in a bucket of water to get it ready to put on. We had to coordinate closely to get this done quickly and properly since we hadn't ever taped the seams in an entire room before. It's tricky working up on the ceiling.

After the paper tape was dampened, I would hold it in place while Doug smoothed it and the mud out with a taping knife which is basically a five inch wide spatula. All those lines you see there on the ceiling are the seams where the sheets of drywall intersect.

The next day I went over and mudded the screws, which was a pretty easy job considering how many screws there were. All of those polka dots are where the screws are.

After the seams were dry, I scrapped all of the excess dried chunks off of the edges of the seams and then Doug did a second smoother coat and he did another coat over all of the screws as well.

Today I went over to do more scraping but the mud wasn't all the way dry, so I didn't do it after all. I looked at Doug's second coat and decided that once it was dry it would be good enough for a garage, so I'll just go straight to sanding it, hopefully tomorrow.

So today, instead of sanding and doing another coat of drywall mud, we painted the cinderblock walls on the inside of the garage. That was a pretty vigorous activity due to the rough texture of the walls. Tomorrow we'll put a second coat of paint on the cinderblock and sand and prime the ceiling and the walls that are drywall.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Two More Projects

Last year around this time, I installed all of the insulation in the upstairs walls (for soundproofing purposes). It was an absolutely miserable experience and so when it came time to put fiberglass in the basement, I did everything in my power (and succeeded!) to not get stuck working with it again. That stuff is horrible. It gets in your hair, all over your clothes, and last year it did weird abrasive things to the skin on my hands that took months to go away. I get it got ground in or something. Anyway, I don't want to touch the stuff. Ever again.

So I came up with some things to do instead, like finishing the closets in the spare bedroom. This is a very weird closet configuration that I came up with as a by product of a change we made to the stairwell and it will work great for our purposes. There are actually four compartments in this closet, two of which you can't see. I'll spare you the details. Anyway, I put the flooring in the two elevated sections and got Doug to do a little finish work so that I could finish painting it. It seems that one of my big thrills in life is painting the closet walls a different color than the walls in the room. In this case they are the same color as the hallway just outside the room.

Here's a closeup of the flooring I put in this section of the closet. I wish I could have done all of the other rooms that quickly.

When I was at the antique store buying the leaded glass windows for the kitchen, what I had really been looking for was a transom sized window to go over the door of the pink bathroom. Casually looking, since I didn't have the measurements with me. But I did have Doug with me, and in his usual manner he suggested that I buy this window anyway because it might work and if it didn't we could use it elsewhere.

So I used some of my fiberglass avoidance time to clean up all of the paint spatters and to sand off most of the gunky old paint. The frame was a little lopsided so I got Doug to make a piece that I could glue and nail onto the top.

Then I got the brilliant notion to use some of the reject crown moulding from the kitchen to go on the very top. I cut the pieces and glued them together and Doug attached them together more firmly with his finish nailer.

See how thrifty I am? I reused the blue tape from the kitchen windows. I decided to paint the frame the same color as the kitchen windows since that had worked out so well against the yellow walls.

It looks okay in this picture, but in stairwell where it's going to hang, the color didn't look as good for some reason I think the northern lighting in the window kind of washes it out. So I repainted it the same color as the back door and the hall closet. They are nearby so it kind of ties in.

The color combination of deep aqua blue against the pale creamy yellow has really started to permeate my house. It's spread from the kitchen out into the back hall, and now it's in the stairwell too. I'm not going to let it come too far upstairs though. Enough is enough already!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grey Matter

We're not talking IQ here, we're talking R-value. Apparently our house is very scientific, in addition to being well insulated. Our garage is directly under our living/dining room and it is required to have a certain R-value worth of insulation in the ceiling since it is considered to be an outdoor space, in spite of the fact that it lies within the walls of the foundation.

Since we are into overkill in the insulation department, we hired an insulation company to come in and spray a solid foam called Icynene into all of the joist bays in the ceiling of the garage.

They came early in the morning and put plastic over everything and suited up to protect themselves in case any of the foam accidentally dripped.

When they were finished our ceiling had four inches of Icynene packed in to all of the open spaces. Icynene has an R-value of 3.6 per inch. Another advantage of using it is that it seals all of the cracks in a much more thorough way than is possible just using fiberglass.

They did the walls between the garage and the bathroom too. The other wall is made out of foam core panels so it doesn't need any additional help.

Our house is very foamy between the foam core panels, the icynene, and one of our favorite colors upstairs, Faded Seafoam, which we've used in several different places including the ceiling of the back porch.

Here's a shot of the intersection between the bathroom wall and the ceiling.

The next step was to fill in the rest of the ceiling with R19 fiberglass. So at this point our R-value is well above the required R30.

Since the garage was all nice and cleaned out, I realized that this would probably be the only time I'd ever be able to park my car there (It's Doug's garage, not mine, and I know it will be packed to the gills again once we finish working on it). So I drove on in. It felt kind of fun to park inside for a change. I'm glad I had the chance to try it out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Call Me Ms. Moulding

I haven't posted in ages because I've just been too exhausted. Sitting here writing about all the stuff we did is not the best way to relax after spending a long day doing all the stuff. It's pretty much the last thing I want to think about.

But since the work day was shorter for me today because I had a rehearsal tonight, I'm feeling all peppy and unworn out for a change so I'll attempt to list some of the things we've been up to during the past few weeks. We've put in some really long days. Yesterday we worked from 8AM until 3AM, and that's not a typo after the 3. It felt wonderful to stop at 4:30 this afternoon in order to rest up for my rehearsal.

After we finished all of the outside work that we'll need to pass the occupancy inspection, we started back in on the inside. The plumber came and finished all of his work last Tuesday. All of the plumbing stuff is hooked up now - the faucets, toilets, water purifier, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. - it all works now. It's really nice to have something totally finished.

We got a washer and dryer which we don't have to pay for until May, so that's good news. Our laundry room is a lot smaller now.

Doug finally finished installing the baseboards under the kitchen cabinets so that we could move the refrigerator and dishwasher back into the kitchen. He also installed a vac pan into the island. The vac pan is part of Doug's central vacuum system that he is so thrilled with and just had to have. If you pretend that the sawdust on the floor in the picture below is what the floor looks like after Doug has had a bowl of cereal, (no pretending needed) all I will have to do is flip on the switch with my foot and use a broom (or my foot!) to move the crumbs towards the plate and they will magically disappear.

I've heard that the foot plate is the most convenient thing about having a central vacuum. I'm still a little skeptical about those big long hoses that hook into the wall outlets. Hopefully I'll learn to appreciate this thing once I start using it. I'm keeping my regular vacuum cleaner around just in case. I don't trust all this newfangled nonsense. And it's really loud down in the basement when it's running. The note it hums, or roars depending on where you are, is an F sharp for those of you who care about such things.

Once the kitchen was more or less finished (no crown moulding on the tops of the cabinets yet - he's making me wait), Doug had to start getting rid of/reorganizing all of his junk down in the basement so that we'd have room to maneuver the drywall lift. I was not invited to share my organizational skills, so in order to keep myself from going crazy while I waited for this long and painful (for Doug) process to occur, I started coming up with a few little beautification projects to while away the time.

I felt so good about the added moulding on the outside frame of the back door that I decided to experiment a little bit on the inside too. I'd been planning to have all of the inside doors and trim be white throughout the entire house, hoping it would pull together all of the various room colors, but the effect against the creamy lemon yellow of the kitchen and the hall was looking a little bland. The door below used to be plain white with moulding only around the window. I decided to add a rectangle of moulding on the bottom section of the door and paint it the same color as the outside.

I'm very happy with how it turned out. There were people trying to discourage me but I knew it would look good. I made this moulding by using a flat one that had a small bead on either side as the base and gluing a piece of half-round onto the middle of it. After the glue dried I cut the miters and Doug nailed it into place for me. That was very nice for him to overcome his skepticism and help me with this.

Here's an unpainted cross section where you can see a warped bit of half round that is not quite attached to the base piece.

The blandness of the white window trim in the kitchen had been bothering me for months and it finally occured to me to paint it the same color as the frames around the windows in the pass-through.

It's a much cozier look I think. I sort of like how the blue ceiling of the porch is so compatible with the cabinet color. I don't know why this photo has such a greenish tinge to it.

So I was still twiddling my thumbs while Doug faced the heartbreaking decision to get rid of his beloved water fountain that he had never hooked up, and I suddenly started staring intently at the very plain white hall closet doors. I think I am falling in love with Buc's miter saw. And I knew what I had to do next.

To be continued.......

Don't worry Doug, I'll be getting to the drywall soon enough. I'm way behind schedule due to extreme exhaustion. You know how it is.