Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Omega and the Alpha

A new blog entry usually means the "end and the beginning" of a home project.  It feels pretty good to sit down and write down what has transpired and what is  yet to come.

We have been working hard on the house and yard the past several weeks.  The weather is still nice but Fall usually means you better get some things done before the moist,wet air complicates your next project.

Our major project was updating the guest bedroom/office.  This once dark, weather-challenged room has now been upgraded to a bright, comfortable space.  We did some things we hadn't done before which includes adding some crown moulding.  They say crown adds 'height' to the room and I would say that that is true.  Also, the room had 0 insulation and we found large gaps in the exterior siding behind the drywall which explains why that room got so cold in the winter.  Apparently this room was were the original Victorian kitchen was located.  Back then, kitchens were small, utilitarian zones and not a place families gathered together.

Let me amend that statement; HALF of the room was the kitchen and the other half was some kind of porch.
In the middle of the room was what looked like a low hanging beam that ran from one wall to the other.  After taking out the gypsum, it turns out the beam ran about 3/4 of the way and had exterior siding attached to it.

I thought about taking out the siding but felt that if I braced the beam to the other wall and kept the siding, the room (and therefore the house) would be structurally stronger for it. When you work on a house in California, you constantly have to weigh design against structural strength. So we added more strength to the beam AND used drywall to give it a bit of an interesting design. (you can see it in the 2nd pic)

For design inspiration, we recalled the time we stayed at a B&B that had beadboard ceilings and Andrea said she wanted to have some of that.  So we added some, along with a new fan to give the room a cottage feel.

 We opted to just use semi-glossy white paint for all the moulding, ceiling and base moulding.  This allows light from the window to help keep the room bright.  We re-used the carpet from the parlor which we yanked out a few years ago even though it was brand new.  We kept it and were able to use the one whole piece in the room.

I think we probably would add some kind of large daybed, an armoir and floating desk.  It will still be a flexible room that can operate either as guest quarters or computer room.

We purchased a nice 5 gallon paint bucket for $20 at the discount section at HD, which I recommend checking out before shelling out $25 for just 1 gallon. The color is nice and we could probably paint the Master bedroom with it too.  Total cost was around $700 for materials.

Other Projects

While on the topic of saving money, here are a few other things we did.

 We recycled the front window security bars into a garden trellis and used Rustoleum Deck restore to give new life to the weather, aging deck.  The restore material is painted onto the wood and gives it a weather-proof, rubbery consistency that adds traction and looks pretty good!

The other big project was pulling up another large section of concrete in the backyard and free some of the soil beneath it.  By jackhammering the cement into sections, I was able to create a new veggie garden planter down the middle of the yard. Not only does this save money in having to have it taken to the dump, it's easier on the back because you are really moving the broken pieces a few feet or so.  I topped off the top with some smooth, blue stone that will be mortared down and suitable for seating.

We decided the new, open dirt area will consist of soft, green moss. We placed a few patches of the moss and made a 'moss shake' and poured it around the stepping stones Andrea made.  Keep it moist for awhile and we expect the moss to take over the newly exposed area.  It would be nice to take off the shoes and walk on it someday!

 This blog entry means I've had a day or so to recover from these projects and now it's on to some other renovations.  Just a few days ago, I found a discounted dual pane window at HD for a great price and plan on finishing replacing the last window in the living room.  We are also going to work more on the basement and the garden area while the weather is still good.   Thanks for reading.