Friday, February 8, 2013

the DIY Age

"As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. 
The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.' "
-Marshall McLuhan


Monday, February 4, 2013

DIY Custom designed Carriage Doors

In Jonathan Sager's, ' The Garage: Its History and Preservation', he states,  "Over the course of the twentieth century, the presence of the car radically altered the landscape of much of the United States, and no aspect of this change is more representative of the automobile's influence than how individuals have related to the car at their residences."

Sager's book on the subject is extensive and worth reading. Essentially, consumer driven cars started to become popular around the turn of the 20th century and were comparable in size to many current sub compact cars. Consequently, garages evolved as cars evolved throughout the times.

So on to our DIY story.  First, we finally cleared out the small garage space that we were using as a debris bin. Within a few weeks of this, our old, reliable 1994 Mazda broke down and we thought it was a good time to buy a new car.  We decided to measure the garage and we decided that a Chevy Spark would fit nicely in it.   The old garage door hung on iron elbow arms and lifted up in a wobbly, crooked way.  HD was also offering a good deal for a newly installed, motorized, steel garage door that lifted up.  We thought, "Great, we should do that."  But as it turned out, the garage ceiling was flush with the top of the garage door, making it impossible to install an automatic garage door.  So what to do?

After a bit of research, and after driving around Alameda county looking at old homes, we started to warm to the idea of carriage doors that opened outward like regular doors.  The problem was cost.  Average cost to have something like this installed was about $3k.  DIY alarms went off in our heads and we decided to see if we could design our own. 

I came across this great DIY video from the 'Project House Blog' on how to create carriage doors.  Using their advice, I took some rough measurements and calculated what materials would be needed for our project.  I wanted to keep the style simple enough but sturdy and strong too.  So after two days, I was able to construct the doors using redwood lumber, plywood, deck screws and nice redwood trim to finish it off.  I also added stiff, insulation material and finished the inside off with thin plyboard.  Andrea and I painted it a few hours before the SuperBowl was to start and viola!   All materials and hardware cost about $500 and the work was relatively hassle free, except for dealing with the general crookedness of the opening and floor.  Me thinks the house once had carriage doors because of the hole in floor which seem designed for a metal bar to hold such doors. What do you think of the result?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shoulda, Coulda, WOODa

Happy New Year!

We've been off to a good start.
art room hardwood floor
I've decided to take on some DIY work restoring some wood floors. In the art room/office, under the carpet is old vinyl and glue that I'm stripping off using a heat gun, after a lesson from the Pro.

I can appreciate all the hard work George did restoring the parlor floor all by himself. It's hard work but knee pads, patience, and face mask help.

George has nearly completed two projects already! First the front entry closet. He cleaned up and repaired the walls, then insulated and put up new drywall. I helped him strip the wood floor hiding under carpet in that closet, and now we're ready to paint the walls and put a little shine on the floor.

Entry Closet
Entry Closet

Then he was able to build the carriage doors for the garage! Today I helped paint the doors while he stained the wood trim. We couldn't be happier with the results! He will post a more detailed story about this project.

Custom built carriage doors