Monday, December 19, 2011

The laundry "room"

So, after getting the dryer vent issues fixed, I figured we might as well keep making the laundry area more functional. So, I repaired the leaky hot water valve, replaced the washer hoses with these super-duper reinforced hoses that as supposedly better than stainless steel:

I also put a plastic tray under the washing machine -- just in case.

Next, I repainted the alcove in the same color as the living room, Cornerstone. We had two gallons of it left over.



Two shelves will be going up (one is actually already in place, but don't have a photo at the moment).

Here is a pic of the dryer vent routing now -- much better:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The chimney cap

Just following up on a previous post about painting the chimney it is in all it's new found glory:

A lot better than this:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The front fireplace

I've never smelled a fireplace that's as bad as ours. The flue is closed and yet it still smells from time to time. Not all the time, but sometimes. So I cleaned it, and this helped some.

In addition to kind of smelling like a smoky fireplace, it's also not totally pretty inside:

That doesn't look so bad...

... but if I use the flash: 

While the prettiness of a fireplace is trivial, we don't even use it so it might as well look decent. Right?

So, I got some black Rustoleum heat proof paint (resists up to 1,000F) and painted the inside. Not only should this block in a lot of the smell, but it looks a lot nicer now too:

The Woodland nursery, a beginning

We've begun to actually decorate the baby's nursery in the woodland or "woodsy" theme.

The painted white hutch thing, got some wood grain pattern to the backs of it.

For the wood grain, we were going to use this paper from Paper Source:

But it's not cheap, and shipping nearly doubled the price. note: both Portland and Boston had a Paper Source ----- closest one now is Berkeley.

So instead, wandering the aisles at OSH the other day, we stumbled upon wood grain contact/shelf liner paper for $8:

We were going to use foam core board, but after I saw that it was $3 a sheet and each sheet would do one section ($3 x 5 = $15) I began to rethink and remembered that Home Depot sells jumbo moving boxes. One large moving box later ($1.39) and we had the boards to mount the shelf liner paper to.

Some careful measuring and cutting was all that was left:

Room, before the hutch was finished:

Oh and I also painted the back of the door.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Solving a mystery

So we had assumed that our house originally had a 2 car garage and that they took half of that garage and made it a part of the awesomely large kitchen. Last night, I crawled into the attic above the garage and found evidence otherwise:

That's an old exterior vent ----- this was the old outside of the home (there's one on the other side of the house too). So basically, what they did was took the one car garage, converted it into part of the kitchen. Then built a whole new garage and added it to the side of the house. 

Here's a bird's eye view ---- the pink boxes show the additions to the house:

The attic space above the garage was insulated with R-11 insulation (Energy Star recommends R-38 and higher is better). Bonus is that there was mostly plywood over that ---- so tons of Rubbermaid storage boxes of holiday decor could be relocated here!

Dryer Venting part two of two

So after I realized our dryer vent was out of code, I went to work on it on Saturday. This first step involved cutting away the sheet rock to get better access to it:

One problem with this dryer vent is that there is nothing to attach the pipe from the dryer to (there is no flange). You basically just stick the dryer vent in that hole, which doesn't impress me. 

Next, I climbed into the attic. It was a bit like an Indiana Jones movie as far as the cob webs went: 

But I hacked my way to the dryer vent coming up from below. And pleasantly found that what I thought was the dryer vent in the back of the house was not. The dryer vent went up through the roof and vented above. Very cool.

However, it was still not up to code. There was about five feet of flexible 3" pipe. Code is 4 inch and should not be flexible. I climbed up onto the roof to inspect the venting and found this:

That perfectly cut hole is, I think, from the dryer snake I used a few days ago ----- about the perfect size. 

I ended up pulling out all of the dryer vent, and replacing it with 4" round solid tubing in 5 foot sections. Additionally, I cleaned out all of the lint from the roof vent and put in a standard elbow at the dryer side to make attaching the vent from the dryer easier. Not super impressive, but this is the new pipe coming up into the attic and making a slight bend to exit out the roof. 

Here it is exiting:

While I was up on the roof, I removed one of two non-functional satellite dishes, swept the leaves off, cleaned out some of the gutters and took off our above pictured "Home Saver Pro" ----- chimney cover. And gave her a good cleaning, coat of rust inhibiting primer and a final coat of rust inhibiting charcoal grey paint. 

Lastly, I made a cover out of wood to repair the square hole I cut into the wall:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beginning to look a lot like Xmas

Got a tree topper for the retro tree:

Decorated the larger Christmas tree on Sunday morning:

Then Rachel and I went craft shopping and came back and got to work: 

I made the garland for the front room's mantle (as inspired from here), and Rachel made the first of a few stockings!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dryer Vent re-routing

Not the sexiest topic on this blog, but my next project is going to be re-routing the dryer vent. Most city codes allow for 25 feet of straight dryer duct. However, each 90 degree bend counts as 5 feet. I estimate that our current vent has four 90 degree bends (20 feet) plus about 30 feet of straight pipe = 50 feet. The dryer vent goes into the wall, up into the attic, across the attic, down through the back wall of the house and then out onto the back patio.

So I bought this dryer vent snake:

And used it last night = disturbing. It's basically a 12 foot flexible plastic shaft that has an auger brush on the end that you attach to a drill. I put the snake up the dyer vent and hit a blockage about 2 feet in. I pushed through that blockage and a ton of dryer lint came falling down. Then I got the snake another 5 feet in and hit another blockage, and so on until I had used up my 12 feet of snake length. I ended up with half a paper garbage bag full of old dryer lint that was stuck in 12 feet of our dryer vent. This confirms my theory that being out of code on these sorts of things are scary.

Re-routing the Vent

My plan was to run the vent down into the crawlspace then out the front of the house. However, there is foundation under the wall where the dryer vent goes and very little crawl space, so that is out.

As a result, I'm going to go up and into the attic and then out the front.  This will mean only one bend and much less straight pipe as well. However, it's actually not even going to have a bend. How? I bought this gradual 90 joint called an "Ell" (har har) which is meant for dryer venting and is made so that code considers it a straight pipe and not actually a bend:

Additionally, I'll be using something called the dryerbox:

This gets mounted into the wall and the venting tube from the dryer attaches to this. So that the vent from the dryer doesn't get crushed. Currently, the flexible tubing from the dryer is getting crushed in order to close the laundry doors. By mounting this countersunk box, the moist air can escape much more easily. 

If you have some inkling that this is in the realm of tin foil helmet paranoia, take a look at this list of recent dryer fires across the country:

Dryer fire leaves Amherst family homeless
Tony Ellis, the father, said the dryer started smoking. Ellis said he thought he had succeeded in putting out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but smoke started coming from a wall. Cathy Ellis said her husband yelled for everyone to get out of the house. “I just thank God that all my kids got out,” she said.

Jake Ellis, 20, grabbed his 11-year-old sister Alyssa, who is paralyzed and cannot speak, and carried her out of the two-story home.

And if you have a dryer vent that doesn't immediately go outdoors, get the lint snake and see if you have major blocks of lintage in your line.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby dresser: before and after

Got the baby's room nearly painted (just need to do the back of the door) so I moved the furniture back in there.

Here on the left is the baby's dresser in the conceptual stage after some photoshopping ---- was cool to use Photoshop to edit the color 20 different ways until Rachel and I settled on something we liked. On the right, the dresser nearly done being painted:

As a reminder, here is the dresser when we got it home and also this is the photo I used to create the photoshopped image in the above left --- yes it was yellow:

Monday, November 28, 2011

A white christmas...tree

Our $5 white/awesome thrift store Xmas tree came up last night as well as the little led snowscape we got from IKEA last year.

Painting progress

I spent most of the entire day Friday painting the baby's room.As mentioned before, we settled on "Custard Cream" from Behr. The downside is that its light enough that it doesn't cover in one coat though.

Began cutting in the walls (ceiling has been painted white already):

Second coat of paint in progress:

Walls are painted:

 Took the old almond fixtures out and replaced with new white ones ---- cant have white trim with almond outlets. Yes there is wallpaper under this paint, not sure when we'll have to tear it all down. Hopefully not soon. It has bubbled up in a couple of spots and torn in a few others.

Now, I'm working on finishing painting the baseboards and door in white.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is tough

We've had to hem and haw every time we picked a wall color (except the guest room where we just matched the existing). Usually, this means we buy like 2 samples, then another 2 and then decide between the four.

The baby's room has been tougher though (notice the pink in the far right too):

However, I think we've actually settled on a Behr color called "Custard Cream". Luckily, Home Depot sells small samples for only $2.94.

Note: Not shown is that we tried the living room color "cornerstone" in here as well. No luck.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The start of the Xmas lights

Last year, Rachel and I drove and walked through one of the nicer parts of town called the Fab Forties and saw these path lights that looked pretty nice. Basically, they were just large Christmas lights on stakes lighting the path.

I went to Home Depot and got the stakes ($4 for a pack of 25, bought two packs) and Target to get a set of large C9 sized led bulbs ($11 for a pack of 25, bought two).

Before, I installed them, I realized that our pathway was largely overgrown and out of control, so I removed a ton of brush and foliage.

The led lights have a really nice color to them, not blueish. Bonus is that each strand uses 2.4 watts to run compared to standard strand of these sort of lights that uses 175 watts! Heck, even a CFL uses 7-12 watts to run.

We kind of like them enough to leave them up all year! Next up is to add more lights to the gutters, maybe windows and front porch posts as well....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1 year ago today...

Rachel, her mom and I walked through this house. We ended up going to three others that day and none held a candle. We ended up putting in an offer that afternoon.