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Well. I began to blog about the balcony without slacking.... but here it is, August, and I haven't shown the progress or completion of our now lovely balcony. So, here I am giving another whirlwind tour of the building of the balcony.

First. Let me introduce my fellow observers...

Raven, Flinn, Bronte and Llama.

I was dog sitting. We aren't crazy enough to actually have this many where we live.

So here was the first weekend. Josh, his dad and uncle whipped this baby up in a two day span. Impressive doesn't even begin to describe it.

It was muggy, rainy, sweltering and an all out irritable day... but they carried on and managed to build a balcony as solid as the house it's attached to.

Check out this Edward-Scissor-Hands-style contraption Bill was using.

He was pretty proud of the thing. And yes, it did the trick. No. I don't know what that trick was.

So moving on to a few weekends later. They brought in the rails (thanks to Bill, who did phenomenal work)

That weekend finished with a crazy-sturdy balcony, sweltering heat yet again and three exhausted men.
She's a beauty.

Balcony Demolition

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Tis the season. . . to rip down decks, clean gutters, glaze window panes, scrape old paint, fix shingles, clean tile, scrub grout, pull up old plants, plant new, start a garden, build a deck, strip wood, . . .

You get the picture. Alright. So our goal is to have this
torn down and rebuilt (bigger and better) by mid-June. I would put up an image or sketch of what “bigger and better” is... but alas, I’m still not sure what that will look like. Fear not though, the hubs knows. He has it aaaaaal planned out.

::cue wife tapping foot, crossed arms and eyebrow raise::

No really, I do think I see what he’s going for. I just think he’s envisioning this much larger than I’m envisioning this. It will be interesting. Moving on though, we began this several weeks back and the progression thus far has left us with this
So yes, the back balcony is down. Below is a mini-photo explanation of how it went.

Josh had been ripping off the railing, bits of the deck flooring and had removed the outside light. I thought he was going to stop there for the evening... but he got curious and began picking at a corner.

Leaving us with what we/I thought was a very precarious looking situation.

This entire time I’m man-handling a chicken for supper...a bit clueless.

Little did I know, these posts were useless. They weren’t doing a darned thing. So, Josh and a friend opted to just sledgehammer them a way. (Thanks A, I’m glad he wasn’t alone in the larger demolition projects.)

The two of them did the normal demolition for a bit until they had the brilliant idea of attaching two nylon ropes to corners of the balcony, standing back and giving a heave-ho. One rather large crash later - and we have no balcony.

A few bricks came out, I thought they were intriguing with their stamping. It just screams, “I’m old.” And lastly, just as a bonus, we’re introducing Rufus.

Rufus is the pigeon that seems to have made our overhang roof a daily hang-out. Get his name? Roof-us. Ha! We crack ourselves up.

Cabinet 1 of 2

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I have succeeded......well, half-way there. I've re-wired the wall and the cabinet is up.

Because of the way the exposed studs were I had to do some leveling. I bought 3 boards, 2.5 x 0.75, cut to the height of the cabinet and attached to studs along the wall. This leveled the wall making it possible to (1) attach the cabinet and (2) attach it in such a way that it's level.

See a theme?

Level. Key word.......level.

Another thought kept creeping into my head. "Measure twice, cut once." It turned out to be, "Measure a multitude of times, second-guess yourself, measure again, mark the wood, remeasure and just when you don't think you can take it anymore, cut."

A hard lesson learned at this point. Stud finders do not work with plaster AND lathe board walls. Stud sensors are supposed to sense wood. Lathe board just happens to be wood. Can you see where this is heading? I was quick to assume that my stud sensor was defect, however, after reading online reviews of various sensors, it was then that I put the two together.

So, what's a guy to do? How about find the first stud, start measuring every two inches, drill and discover whether or not there is a stud. I found them, they are in fact 18 inches apart. Just in case you were curious.

After killing two drill bits, placing and replacing the cabinet several times and using my wife to steady the cabinet on the's up.

Hopefully, this coming week I will find myself dry-walling and mudding the wall, then painting. Hopefully. After all of that, the next cabinet can go up on the adjacent wall.

Here's to DIY.

Mini-Project Turned Moderately-Sized Project

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Since we’ve purchased and moved into our home, Rachel has had only one major complaint. The kitchen cabinets. I’ll be the first to agree with her that they are ugly. So ugly, in fact, that I agreed to this next project.

At some point, we blame the owners in the 70s, someone thought it would look good to paint all of the cabinets a hideous, hunter green. See below:

Back in the fall of 2009, Rachel took it upon herself to search and search and search for kitchen cabinets. After looking long and hard, she discovered someone selling three cabinets, made of wood with a lovely dark honey stain and full glass doors for an amazing price. We talked. We decided to get them, and forgetting all that we’ve learned, we did not measure to space planned for these new cabinets.

It wasn’t until after we got them in our home that we measured them, then measured the space. For one cabinet all I needed was approximately 4 more inches, that’s it. Conveniently, there was a partial wall between the end of the counter-top and the built-in pantry. This wall just happened to be about 4 inches wide. We thought “this will be easy,” just take out the wall, put up the cabinet, trim it all out with nice, finished wood.

Yeah, right.

Fast forward to yesterday, Tuesday, February 9, 2010, I’ve had several days off to work on this little project. Upon removal of said wall, I found some awesome wiring, of course it was knob and tube wiring, right where the cabinet needs to go. See:

[Picture on Left shows where the wall was removed with the wiring and the hinge of the built-in pantry. Picture on the Right shows the wall that was removed and the wall in which the cabinet will hopefully be hung.]

After seeing this, my thoughts turned to, “I never wanted this,” “I was okay with ugly, green cabinets until we’re ready for a full kitchen redo.”

So now I’m waiting to consult with my personal electrician…..Uncle Bill. Hopefully we can work out some “easy” solution to the problem and I can get these cabinets installed for my lovely wife.

We'll keep you posted.

Sista, Sista

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Today (Monday, February 8) we took a dear friend to one of our favorite salvage shops in town. Angela and her hubby, Steven, just purchased their first home; a dreamy, 1940-1950s English Tudor Revival house with old-school lighting and charming built-ins.

What seemed like hours upon hours of looking up, down and all around, in nooks and crannies, trying to take everything in, Rachel then looked up. That’s when we found this newest light fixture:

Sure, our house was built in the 20s but who says we can’t add a little 50’s flare?

Doc, from Whiteriver Salvage, was great! Angela was interested in at least one of these kinds of lights, but there were two in the store. He offered a great deal, actually a steal, for the two of them. The three of us decided to split the cost and each get a lamp for our homes. As Angela would put it, "now we'll have sister homes!!"

Rachel and I have already chosen the perfect spot for the new light. We’re planning to hang it in the breakfast nook. Our plans are to do some quirky, whimsical colors in there…….think Alice in Wonderland, and thought this little beauty would be a great addition to that plan. Fact is, we had been eyeing different kinds of lights and going through many different plans for the room and until we discovered the light we hadn’t made any true plans.

Thanks, Doc!

Operation Spare Room - Done

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It is, of course, WELL past the time we have completed our guest room. (It's actually still lacking the wood trim...we're still stripping that) So in a very quick rendition of our escapades... after the drilling for wires, electrical work and insulation we hung drywall.
For five days, between the hours of 6pm and 2am we hung drywall.

And let me tell you, Josh and I are generally very easy going with one another... but the true test of our relationship was this process...

Some of our lessons learned:

  1. Neither one of us are mind readers. Use your words.
  2. A grumble does not equal a word.
  3. Rachel is a weakling.... (really, holding dry wall above your head while standing on a ladder puts your strength into perspective).
  4. Do not, I repeat, do not wait until the last week before your self-imposed deadline to accomplish something.

That said, the drywall is securely up, mudded, sanded and painted.

Our new windows were put it. (YEAH!!!)

And (drum roll please) the finished (save the wood trim work) spare room!!!

Not half bad for beginners eh? In the subsequent months we opted out of such a big project for the rest of 2009... however we did paint ourselves silly to help feel like we were getting more accomplished.

Upstairs hallway, Dining room

Downstairs bathroom

So there you have it. The spare room is perfectly usable with only a few items needed... three rooms have gotten a bit of a face lift and we are stocking away funds for Project 2010...

A balcony/deck.