Saturday, May 21, 2011

PROgress or REgress?

Plumbing work in the mechanical room, connecting the bathroom fixtures to the main house drain.

Digging in the toilet, sink, and shower drains.

I guess sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Such was the case with the basement bathroom rough-in. First, holes cut in the subfloor. Then, piles of dirt on the floor and eventually piles of dirt moved to the crawl space. Then I had to rip off all the drywall on the plumbing wall so that I could fur out the wall with 2x4s to accommodate the new plumbing and even out the surface of the wall since there's a bump out that won't work with the shower. All that work created mountains of dust and debris, which I hauled out at 1am this morning in six big trash bags.

Someday it will be done. Someday.'s finally done! Check out the finished product here. You'll never believe it's the same room!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I love my little family.

I grabbed this snapshot after Callie's soccer game this weekend. I am in love with it. It captures the essence of each person in the photo. Scott, loving and dedicated. Callie, unpredictable. (What's she gonna do next? Scream? Cry? Smile? You'll never know, and neither will I.) Brynn, genuine, interested, and a little bit mischievous.

I am so blessed.

Look who's here!!

And now, for the not-so-DIY part of the basement...

So glad I'm not doing this leg of the project. As I googled "how to tear out a subfloor" last night, I realized I was in way over my head. Even eating ice cream straight out of the container didn't help me feel less anxiety. When these guys showed up this morning and took their circular saws to my floor, I felt utter relief. As I watched them pile dirt on my basement floor, I felt elated. Digging under the basement floor is not a job I relish, nor is tapping into my main sewer pipe. Yikes. I am happy to stick to trim carpentry and furniture building, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The "S-Word"

Tonight while they brushed their teeth, Brynn and Callie were having an argument. In the midst of that argument, Brynn threatened to use the "s-word" on Callie. Later I asked her, "So what exactly IS the s-word?"

She held up two fingers (Dr. Evil style) and whispered, "Shut up."

Ooooh, right. I should have know that.

It's common to hear that kids are growing up too fast these days. Girls hit puberty earlier than ever before, they have sex earlier than ever before, and they fight for their independence before they are mature enough to handle it. One might expect that by second grade a child would know what the real s-word is and how to use it, especially if that child goes to public school and occasionally witnesses ugly outbursts from her parents. Even more so if at age five, that child screamed about the "faaaahking" rental car window that wouldn't roll up. (She was swiftly told that "faaaahk" is in fact not a real word and, not wanting to sound silly, that word magically disappeared from her vocabulary.) I'm thrilled to say that, although some children definitely are growing up too fast, my children have somehow been spared from that fate. So far.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Barn Door Sliders

Something I've gotten used to since moving to Colorado Springs is the wind. It's not always windy, but it's windy a lot. It knocks over umbrellas at the pool in the summer, separates limbs from trees in the fall and spring, and knocks down fences all year round.

There are certainly some downsides to dealing with the wind, like the occasional broken car windows and dealing with insurance companies to get fences replaced. But there are upsides, too. Super clean air is one of them, along with a clear blue sky. And then there are those fences. They don't do much good for keeping the deer out and the dog in when they're lying on the ground, but it turns out they're great for building.

Hence my journey into building with reclaimed wood.

A neighbor recently had a new fence put in after four of their cedar 4x4 fence posts broke in a wind storm. I looked at the pile of wood every day as I drove past and eventually got up the nerve to ask, "Can I take your old fence?"

"Uh, sure. Take as much as you want, but it's full of nails."

"Yeah, um, I'll be careful. Thanks!"

And so I dragged those fence sections out to the sidewalk and knocked the boards apart, loaded them into the trusty Cherokee and brought them home. I lined them up on my sawhorses, knocked out all the nails, and then came up with a plan to turn them into reclaimed wood cabinet doors and sliders for my new basement closet.

I did it for a couple of reasons. First, I'm cheap and this was free. Second, I hate seeing anything that isn't destroyed making its way to the landfill. Third, I've seen lots of barn doors lately and I love the look. Rustic, warm, unexpected, free. Oh, yeah. Free. Already said that.

Unfortunately my (er, our) miter saw is out of square again and Scott's in no position to fix it at the moment (an unbearably painful sacral shear and torsion have taking him out of the game for a while. Never heard of a sacral shear? Neither had I. Read more about them here and here). So, I had to use butt joints on the cabinet and door frames which probably added to the rustic look. Right? On the cabinet doors, I just glued and nailed the inset panel to the backside of the frame. I had planned to do the same on the sliders, but they would have ended up too thick to pass each other on the sliding track. So for those, I cut the inset wood to fit inside the frame and then joined them to the frame with my kreg jig and glue.

This project helped me learn a few things about reclaimed wood.

First, always take way more than you think you'll need. It's not that I had to discard a lot, the problem was that the cuts for the sliders were just slightly more than half a length of each fence picket. So I had a lot of pieces that were an inch or two too short to use. I'm sure I'll use them eventually -- probably on a table top.

Second, cut off the gnarly ends to reveal fresh wood. The fresh wood joins much better than the gnarly wood and is less likely to split. I didn't realize that until about halfway through, and then I started making sure that all of my ends were freshly cut. It lent much more stability to the final product.

Third, don't worry about the color difference in the freshly cut ends. Painting them with a formula of vinegar and dissolved steel wool oxidizes them almost immediately, matching the patina of the old wood perfectly. Check out this great tutorial to see what I mean.

Clearly, there is much work still to be done in the basement. We haven't quite settled on a plumber to do the bathroom rough-in, though I think we're nearly there. There's electrical and drywall and some framing and the ENTIRE bathroom and trim work and floors and some more popcorn ceiling in the hallway. Ha. Not even close to halfway there. But I like my new doors.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My new love: Reclaimed Wood

I'm still working on that lovely little basement project. You know, the one where we had a leak, I ripped out the drywall and carpet and then decided I might as well turn it into a guest suite?

Two weeks ago I framed in the closet and then last week I did the bedroom door. I finished up the closet framing with some storage above the closet to make use of the 9 foot ceilings.

I considered leaving the upper storage open and using baskets to hold whatever ends up there. Nope, that would be waaay too easy.

Then I decided that, with all the gorgeous barn doors I've seen in blogland lately, I should pick up some wood from a neighbor's old fence and build some old-looking cabinet doors for the top of the closet and sliding doors for the bottom.

I'm still hard at work on the sliding doors (need to go grab a few more pieces of wood to finish them off) but I've finished the cabinet doors and I'm in love.

In love with reclaimed wood.

Why? First, no finishing. No finishing! You build it and then it's done! Okay, so I did oxidize the newly cut ends to make them match the old look of the rest of the wood. But other than that? Nothing. Second, it's free. Need I say more? And third, it's reusing something that would have gone to the landfill. What's not to love about that?

Stay tuned for photos of the finished sliders!