Sunday, June 3, 2012

The great building moratorium of 2010-12 is now over...

Hi there!! It’s been a while! The great building moratorium of 2010-12 is now over. After the railing project, and multiple situations occurring at work, a building moratorium was put into effect for muah. We just needed to chill a bit. But in 2012 I’m now back at it and here’s what we are doing now…


After we finished the kitchen, painted the walls, and got some more up-to-date furniture – our kitchen/family room (great room) had a big ‘ol elephant in it. It was a 90’s country brick fireplace that just didn’t fit the d├ęcor. That thing just looked just awful in the current design – but what do you do? At first we were thinking about painting it white – but that would just look like a white out-of-place fireplace. Then we thought about doing fireplace in the kitchen backsplash – WRONG - that would just make it look like the bridge of the starship enterprise. Then we both agreed (after some convincing on my part) that a stone facing would be best.


Well, Cherie didn’t quite get it so I had to come up with a Photoshop rendering that would put the concept on paper for her. This is what I came up with…







… she bought it. Now how do we get from this rendering to the end product? At first, I said I would do it all – and for a couple of months I thought I could. Then things got tricky at work and I was put into a new job that required a little more than 8 hrs a day, and I no longer had free cycles. There goes that idea! Next, where can we get a contractor who can build my idea? The first thing we did was check Angie’s list and, by happenstance, found a place called Artistic Designs located here in Laurel/Savage. Worth a look…


Artistic designs is located in Savage Mills (just a ½ mile down the road) so one Saturday we took Ziggy on a walk and decided to stop by (had a printout of the rendering in my pocket just in case). We looked around and then after seeing some of their floor models and final pics we figured this was the place for us to contract to. I showed Jay the rendering and he said “sure- no problem”. Now Angie’s list recommended them, so I was willing to take a gamble, and we got a $200 discount (pays the subscription for a couple more years!).


Well that was early March, then April blew through, then the beginning of May came around. We were on the schedule for mid-May and that kind of worked for everyone. Then the call. The stone we wanted was on backorder and wouldn’t be in for the install and Jay wanted to meet to show us an alternate (first thought, here’s where everything starts to slip downhill). Well since the stone we ordered was a little different than the original concept drawing, we said “what the hell, let’s see what he’s got”. Jay pulled out a stone that had a very similar texture to the rendering with a close coloration and we said “let’s roll w/it”.


Well something I failed to mention so far was that the comments on Angie’s wasn’t so much a complement the sales staff, bur really had kudos for the installers. I’m feeling pretty good now about things. Well initial day comes and the installers come. Two very nice and knowledgeable guys who I felt comfortable with. I explained the design, the challenges, and what I wanted to see. I showed them the original (in front of them) and described what needed to be done…









… then I showed them the rendering…








And I said that they need to take it from there. They asked a couple of questions, but they pretty much took it from there. There were a couple of issues, but they brought them up promptly and we quickly worked a solution. All, in all, these two guys knew what they were doing and I was going to let them. Here's what it looked like after day 1...







It took a day longer than expected, but the end result was fantastic… In hindsight… these guys did a better job than I could have in the time that they did it. I could have saved a thousand or so dollars by doing it myself, but I just don’t have the time anymore. Angie’s list was right! These guys were top notch professionals!


Well I finished the side painting today and here’s the new fireplace….








… it’s no longer the elephant in the room, but is now the “wow” in the room! Hint: Join Angie’s list and get someone who knows what they are doing. Artistic Designs in Laurel really knows what they are doing! The two installers are real professionals and Jay found an alternate stone that looks even better than the original!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The rail's in, the paint's done, off to Erin's place...

It rained most of the weekend at Deepcreek, so was a good time to to work on the place without feeling guilty for not spinning up the boat. Cherie took on painting the guest bathroom, and I tackled the iron pickets and railing. We spent most of the day Saturday getting paint and running errands and Sunday was wall to wall work.

The interesting thing about the place is that none of the measurements are the same anywhere. The distance between the support 4x4 were 36, 37, 38, and 42 inches wide. I swear the builders were drinking Iron City throughout the job! But it was my job to make it work. Everything went as plan and the install was fairly easy until the very end.

I decided to use two different types of end shoes for the pickets - a plastic shoe for the top of the picket and an iron shoe for the floor. Good idea because the plastic shoe is much lighter than the iron shoe and is a little less likely to give over time. Now the issue... the anchor screw in each of the shoes has an odd "star" opening - but I had my star bits so I was still in business - but over 50% of them were totally welded in on the iron ones and painted in on the plastic shoes. SO trying to tighten them only stripped them. Since they were already on the picket, and the pickets were already epoxy'd in, it's not like I can return them or anything, so I decided to epoxy them on. They are permanent now - but since the pickets are also epoxy'd in, I guess it's no different epoxying the shoes too. Here's a couple of pics of how things turned out...





... the next time we are up there I'll stain and poly them to match the floor.

Cherie, on the other hand, did a great job on the guest bedroom - it looks fantastic! We used Walmart (yes, Walmart) paint. Their "brand" is Kilz, and it's actually a very good paint at a very affordable price. I like it better than Home Depot's Behr which spreads like Elmers glue and is tons cheaper than Lowes Valspar - which is my second fav brand. Kilz is alot like Dutch Boy in how it covers and it probably is the best for the money.

Now that we've finished the painting, just about done with the railings, and waiting for the remaining kitchen pieces to arrive, we're off to the College Park condo this weekend to get it ready for the comming school year.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Let's try Iron Railings...

We finally finished painting the kitchen and family room this week and now have a couple of days of downtime while we are waiting on the final shipments to arrive. All that remains before I can start the before/after photoshoot is the pecan counter, sliding glass door, the basement door, counter stools, the correct doors for the cabinet above the beverage center, and the hardware for the ceiling light. Those should be trickling in over the next month - so we should be wrapping up in September.

In the mean time, my Deepcreek railing project is underway. When the floors were replaced last year, the 4x4 load bearing beams got a little torn up in the process. I basically had two options... 1. replace the beams, or 2. wrap the beams to create a fresh outward appearance. Since the beams are tied into the structure itself, that chore seemed like a little more than I wanted to bite off with the kitchen going on and all. So I decided to wrap them.

The picture below has a montage of before and how I did the wrap. The leftmost image is what I started with - some pretty old 4x4s with rips and holes all over it. The second image reviews how I did the wrap... I used a 4x8 sheet of 1/4 thick red oak plywood, cut 4"x8" strips with the edges at a 45 degree angle, then used PL375 as the adhesive. The far right image is how I attached the wrap - just a bunch of painter's tape using elmers wood glue for the 45 degree cuts to make a seemless edge.




The images below are the taped up job on the left and the final product on the right...



What I did was actually create what appears to be 4x4 solid oak support beams. The PL375 when mooshed against the original 4x4 created the solid feel when you tap against the wood.

Now that the support beams are complete, I'm going to do the oak railing and iron pickets using a style like this...


Iron railings will be a first for me, but you have to start somewhere!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Silence...

The silence is deafening! The contractors finished up yesterday and everything on our punch-out list has been completed. Here's a little before/after pic of the job...


...there's still a lot of touch-up to do and it will be about a month until we have all the pieces in place. Cherie and I will be finishing things up... still left is the clean-up, the sliding glass door install, the pecan top install for the kitchen/family room divider, the basement door install, stools for the counter, more painting, and a weekend run to Costco for more Advil.

A lot is ahead of us, but having a fully functional kitchen after several weeks of various states of disrepair is fantastic!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What a week!!!

It's been a week since my last post and has it been a big one. Seems like we have been on an episode of Battle on the Block. Here's what things look like now....


And here's a peek at the beverage center...


Today the replacement microwave was installed first. We are GE customers for life - great customer service and got a replacement out to us in a week's time. Next Brian from Dundee corporation (our contractors) came by and started with the handles and then moved on to the backsplash. About 9:30, the granite people came by and installed the counter tops. At about 1:30 the counter was complete and the rest of the day was backsplash work.

Things are looking really good!!

Last weekend and through yesterday "late" night we painted, and painted, and painted - and then painted a little more. In order to make painting the ceiling (in both the kitchen and the family room) we went out and got a Wagner Power Roller ($25 at Wallmart). This is a pretty slick way to do a ceiling and really cuts down on the mess and the amount of "dipping". Now for the downside... fully extended it's about 4 feet long and fully contracted it's about 4 feet long. Walls it works well on, but ceilings, it's your stairmaster workout on the 6 foot ladder for the day. Also, this thing is pretty light (about 2 lbs) without paint. Once you fill the chamber with paint (especially the thick Behr ceiling paint), the thing weighs about 5-7 lbs. Quite a shoulder workout to go along with you stairmaster!!! So don't go to the gym before you paint!

Wednesday through Friday got us to this point...



... where we had the floor grouted and the cupboards installed.