Saturday, March 24, 2012

Workbench and plumbing exploits

We got into the bad habit of chucking our tools all over our garage...not nice for the tools and it made for treacherous walking.  I found a simple plan for a work bench online and acquired the supplies.  The result is below!  The previous homeowner had nailed peg board flat to the wall in the garage.  I pried it off and mounted it on some scrap 2 x 4's and threw some pegs in it for the tools.  Boom!

There is a slop sink in the laundry room that the washing machine drains has been notoriously slow to the point of stagnancy.  The standing water in the slop sink has been getting sucked back into the washing machine - not good.  I've used chemicals and taken the trap apart to no avail.  We also have a toilet upstairs that is unresponsive to plunging, but will drain slowly.  I charged into the plumbing aisle of Home Depot and got advice of buying a) 25' hand crank drain snake and b) 6' toilet auger.  The toilet auger worked great and I think the problem is solved.  We read the instructions for the drain snake and struggled with prying the grate off of the drain.  As soon as we got the grate off, the water drained and we no longer had a problem.  I shouted "you have got to be kidding me!".  The washing machine is running now, we'll see how it drains.  Matt and I high-fived at our successful evening of plumbing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I've been nerdily researching grass and landscaping. I tested the soil in a number of areas to determine how to supplement the yard, and seeded with a specific species of Kentucky bluegrass.

I used the data at to find the species that would grow best in our area, and Im supplementing that in shaded areas with a fine fescue.

The magnolia out front has bloomed and looks great!

I also setup the weights downstairs with the rubber puzzle pieces to protect our foundation.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pretty much done with master bedroom

Thanks to my brother John's ultra generous gift of work time on our house as a wedding present, we went from this monstrosity:
To this, fantastic room!

To be clear, under the hideous striped wallpaper was painted wallpaper.  The ceiling was wallpapered.  There were 7 different shades of green and brown, which barely coordinated with each other.  The carpet really does look like a putting green...playing through!  We tried in a section to remove both layers, but the quality of the underlying drywall lent itself to deep gouging.  John made the executive decision that we would hide the wallpaper rather than remove it.  The striped wallpaper bubbled up after two coats of Kilz primer and needed to be removed anyway, a terrible mess.  He installed crown molding (by himself, not an easy task) and was kind enough to fix the error's Matt and I made when we were "helping" to cut in around the trim.  It took him over 35 hours to get it to this state and we are eternally grateful!  Thank you John!

Dishwasher and sconces

I worked on the dishwasher this weekend.  The house did come with one, but it's tub wall had rusted out and had become a house for mice...not the ideal scenario.  Aaaanyway, I used my couponing prowess to score a highly Consumer Reports rated dishwasher and insisted on attempting the minimal plumbing and electrical.

 As you can see, the stems for the hot water and drain line are not ideally located.  The kludge for this was shifting the install location over a few inches to accommodate and adding a small plank to cover the water shut-off in case of emergencies.

As you can see, I am thrilled.  We performed it's maiden voyage after having Matt's family over for his mother's birthday dinner.  It definitely seemed like magic to open the dishwasher up and have a clean pile of Fiestaware.  Also noteworthy is that there were zero leaks!  I am making the sounds the Kool-Aid pitcher man makes when he bursts through walls: oooooh yeah!

My weekend projects were rounded out by installing some sconces in our bedroom.  I am still a little wary of electrical projects, and I didn't want to mangle the beautiful work my brother John did on the walls in our room so we opted to just plug them in instead of hard wire them to the house circuit.  Immediately before this photo I was muttering something like "does this have to happen right now?"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

House walkthrough

I took this video a while ago, but forgot to put it up. This is a video walkthrough of the house before we did any work on it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sugar Magnolias...

There is a really nice magnolia in our front yard and it is just about to start blooming.  At the closing of the house, the seller assured us that it is the finest magnolia on the block...we'll see about that!

Bushes and pool

Finished the removal of the corner bushes in the front, and a bunch of brush by the pool with Halley's help





Saturday, March 10, 2012

Matt vs the bushes

In addition to doing a terrible job with caulking the quarter round and some painting in the master closets, today I decided those bushes in the front yard had to go.

Our chainsaw hasn't come yet so I made do with our sawzall.

Here is a before shot

And here are some progress pictures


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Master bedroom

All this week Halley's Brother John has been helping us remove wallpaper and paint the master bedroom. Hes been actually sleeping at the house so he can wake up and work in the morning as well.

He has been doing this for a while so his knowledge has been insanely useful for us. We started by trying to remove the wallpaper, but found two layers. Then we decided to paint over and sand the seams, but then the first layer started to peel off by itself... So John removed the first layer, and sanded the second.

We put up the final paint color today, along with the crown molding and painted the doors. And finally ripped up the carpet to find awesome hardwood floors.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First major project

This weekend we took down two large trees with the guidance of Halleys Dad John. Each tree had 3 trunks coming from it, making a total of 6 pseudo trees to take down.

I was a bit uneasy at first, but after seeing the first one come down, it was actually a pretty simple process. Cut a wedge out of the side you want the tree to fall, tie a rope to the top of the tree, have some people pull towards where you want it to fall, then cut into the wedge from the opposite side and timber! :)