Sunday, 31 December 2006

From ugly to fabulous - our new TV room

Before: ho hum...

In my usual style I first tackled our ugly TV room (okay, it is technically a bedroom but we are using it as a TV room cause we don't like having a TV as the focus of the living room) with no plan other than ripping up the carpet to see what was what. What was was a badly abused fir floor. That was in early 2004. So, I got the worst of the wall compound cleaned off and let it sit for 17 months.

er 2005 and the ball gets rolling again. We found a great deal on some mission style recliners and Robin decides he wants a "craftsman" style room. We restore the french doors we had bought long ago and happily tear out the world's ugliest aluminum framed sliding glass door. Tons of dust and cursing later and the floor is refinished. Intense debate at the paint display before deciding on a butterscotch color (much darker than true craftsman colors but we love it) and the room is coming together. We convert the small closet (which has a tiny window and electricity already) into my office and purchase a really cool rug at the Environmental Home Center, add a few accessories and voila! The best thing of all is that we can sit in that room without feeling a draft from the door. When we were removing the sliding glass monstrosity we discovered (this is an ongoing theme) that the crew that remodeled the house before we bought it completely botched the job - we couldn't figure out how that door had even held in place for 15 years - it was basically tacked in place with very little framing and none that was actually attached to the house!

Fun with concrete and plastic

Time to replace the rotting wooden deck and the de-laminating Louisiana-Pacific siding! Here we are before:

In April and
May 2004 we sorted the siding with help from the family using Hardie Plank (hoping this newfangled stuff holds up better than the old newfangled stuff) on the sunroom addition. We had plenty of prep work to do tearing down the old deck, salvaging wood, replacing and rebuilding spots that the original "builders" of the addition never bothered putting siding over (under the deck where we couldn't see it), and replacing poorly installed window framing. Brother Ed already had experience (and the proper tools for) installing the siding. Brother Paul and nephew-in-law Chris joined in the fun to get the siding up in a jiffy. Robin and I finished up with caulking and painting.

High ho, high ho, it's off to the dump we go...

Paul demonstrates his firefighter skills on the scaffolding while Robin actually works and Chris supervises.

After a few mo
nths of play and travel time we were back on the job rebuilding the deck in September and October. We had decided on Trex which is a combination of recycling plastic and wood fibres (no more wood sealing!). Robin and I spent a lot of time working out the framing reusing as much of the salvaged wood as possible. We enlarged the deck and added a ramp for easy in and out with the bikes. Framing the ramp took a lot of calculating and Robin's head was ready to explode as he was also learning new design software at work and getting up to speed on his new job.

Once we had the frame built we called in the troops for a day of decking. Mom & Dad, brother Ed, sisters Mary & Teresa, niece Megan and her husband Chris, and our neighbor John all joined in. The crew covered painting balusters, preparing lunch and snacks, installing the decking, and building stairs. What a great family! Later we built all the railing sections and brother Ed helped me attach aluminum pieces to the bott
om rails for support because we didn't like the look of using support blocks between the bottom rail and the deck. What a difference, we love our new deck and thank everyone that helped out including Sonia who helped with demolition, and Tom who lent his truck for hauling.

No splinters here! Check out that ramp and that stylish deck!

Friday, 15 December 2006

The big bad wolf at our house

We had a huge windstorm in the Puget Sound area on December 14. Record high winds in many places. In Renton the peak gust was measured at 51 mph at just after midnight. That may not sound like much but we are WAY inland and don't get wind like that. Our beautiful Ponderosa pinetree did not fare well. We were sound asleep when it split and hit the deck and roof. Amazingly it did not break the roof or any windows. The deck we had worked so hard to build just 2 years previously was really battered but it probably took the brunt of the weight that could easily have crushed the roof. Even more amazing was that the chunk that fell off pretty much engulfed our entire house and this was only about a third of the tree.