Saturday, December 25, 2010

Base/Plinth Installation

Just prior to the hardwood floor installation, I had put in a temporary base/plinth design at the bottom of the new wraps I built at the entrance of the dining room.  Since I'm in between major projects, this made a great time to circle back and finish these wraps once and for all.  The temporary design is below.

 To dress up the wraps, I wanted a simple build-up design that added dimension where the wrap met the floor.  The possibilities here are endless.  I decided to keep the design in the theme I had with the other moulding I had put in throughout the home.  The first step was to put in a base/plinth that was higher than the baseboard yet shorter than the cut-out design.  I went with a sixth inch height.  I cut MDF to size on the table saw and mitered the edges on the compound miter saw.  MDF was a good choice for the blocks as MDF is stable (when not around water) and takes paint like a champ.  It produces alot of dust so be careful when cutting.  The mitered edges avoided my having to fill the rough/porous edges.  Below is the dry fit.

After the dry fit was good, I attached the blocks with an 18-guage pneumatic nail gun.  Senco is nailer  brand I prefer - typically used by the pros so it is good enough for me.

Next, I attached a shoe mould over the block to provide a simple transition to the wrap surface and re-attached/adjusted the base moulding.

Next, I tapped off the surrounding areas and painted the area.  When painting crucial projects like this, I go with the best paint possible.  That is, Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore.  The paints like Behr and Valspar provide great colors but the quality cannot compare.  Thus, when it matters most, I go with the good stuff.  In this case, I used Duration from Sherwin.  This is a paint/primer in-one mixture that is by far the best paint I have used in the past 15 years - no comparison.  This particular paint is exterior paint - yep - exterior paint.  You can use exterior paint on the interior...but never vise versa.  Don't make that mistake.

Cut/install the shoe moulding...and you have the finished product.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Custom Wood Range Hood

The final renovation project for the kitchen is now finished!!  After much planning and design, I built and installed a custom wood range hood.  Thankfully I am somewhat adept with woodworking as the same cabinet design was quoted to us at over $2,000 which was a total ripoff.  If you search the internet for resources for building such a hood, there is very little out there.  Some of the best ideas I got came from touring homes that were in the process of being custom built.  

Below are the photos showing progression of the installation.  

Demolition - removed the previous cabinet - when we moved in the house, a microwave was installed below the cabinet.  Now the microwave rests in the center island.  It was quite painful cutting through the cabinet's three-layer crown I custom built two years ago but it had to be done.  

I pre-built a frame to exact specifications to enclose the blower surround (bottom) yet fit perfectly in the space between the cabinets.  Not exactly a job for the faint of heart.  Went in the first time with no problems.  Sides built out of 3/4" birch hardwood/plywood and framed with the help of a KREG pocket hole jig set. I set the depth such that the hood would come outward 6" from the existing cabinets - certainly adds dimension to the cabinets now.  I also applied birch edge-band (hot melted) on the sides' bottom edges.

Installed the base blower/power pack very easily.  Manufacturer of blower sold surround to fit perfectly.  Luckily my electrical was in place from the old microwave.

Custom built my own duct work.

Attached the front frame - built out of 1 x 4 and 1 x 6 S4S and put together with the help of a KREG pocket hole jig set, of course.  Corbels, courtesy of, were attached in anticipation of holding a shelf.

Repaired existing crown and installed new crown to match.  Built/installed a shelf.  Routed out a channel for displaying any dish we choose (example dish shown)....and here you have it!!...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Birthday and Snow

Today is Johna's birthday and a gift of white powder has arrived.  We're taking the day of rough weather to get some holiday baking done.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tom Silva? Norm Abrams? No..Mr. Sprinkles

Just ran across these photos I took this past spring while doing some restoration work on a window.  I had a little help from my friend, Mr. Sprinkles.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Garage Transformation Part II

The garage transformation continues.  After what seemed like an eternity of mudding and sanding, I applied a sealer to the bare drywall to prepare the surface for paint.  Next, I extended the color scheme of the interior out to the garage.  I installed baseboards to provide a nice set-off and living space feeling.  Finally, I began installing window sills/casings with a new coat of paint.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Garage (Man Cave) Transformation Begins

The garage is our latest demolition area.  After two years as serving as a disorganized yet functional base camp for interior woodworking/remodeling projects, it was high time the garage got its turn at a manly makeover.  Code in NC only requires the walls that correspond to an interior room to have insulation and drywall.  This had to change - bare studs are not appealing and the garage was freezing in the winter.  The result was a bonus room above the garage with uncontrollable temps and a cold place for woodworking.

The first step was insulation...and alot of it.  R13 in between the wall studs and R19 in the attic/ceiling.  This alone has already made a big difference in temps in the bonus room and garage.

The next step was to hang drywall.  As usual, I'm a one-man show on my remodeling projects so I've spent two solid weekends cutting, hanging, and mudding floor to ceiling.  The drywall is 5/8" fire rated so it is super heavy - taking about 1400 lbs of drywall for this project alone.  Below are some pics of the progression.

Drywall is but the first step here...epoxy flooring, base moldings, decorative paint design, new lighting, insulated garage doors, etc. all to come on this big project.  The ultimate goal is to have a clean, crisp, organized space for the cars that will also double as a woodworking area...not to mention an extra place to hang out and watch the game.  

Pretty much buttoned up at this point...installed new electrical outlets in anticipation of under-shelf lighting over my workbench...and hopefully a flat-panel television at the top outlet for a man-cave touch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parents Visit

My parents recently visited us.  We spent one day on the coast visiting Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington.  We highly recommend the Oceanic restaurant if you are over in this area.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bear Island - North Carolina

We recently visited Hammocks Beach State Park and took a ferry out to Bear Island.  The ferry service runs from the Hammocks Beach State Park headquarters on the mainland to Bear Island via Cow Channel. While the ride, which some 200,000 people a year take, is only 15 minutes long, it is narrow and winding.  It offers a great spot to launch kayaks so we will be returning with our kayaks once the weather is cooler and no hurricanes are in sight. 

Due to its location, Bear Island and nearby Huggins Island have often played a role in the protection of the mainland. During the Civil War, Confederate troops on Bear Island defended it against Union forces.  

We also had the rare opportunity to view loggerhead turtles making their way to the surf.  This was truly a rare event to witness such a sight.  Our photos were requested to be provided to the state of North Carolina for education programs.  We obliged.  

FYI...Loggerhead turtles are the most abundant of all the marine turtle species in U.S. waters. But persistent population declines due to pollution, shrimp trawling, and development in their nesting areas, among other factors, have kept this wide-ranging seagoer on the threatened species list since 1978.  Mature females will often return, sometimes over thousands of miles, to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Memphis vs. East Carolina University (ECU) Football Game

Last Saturday we attended the University of Memphis vs ECU game in Greenville, NC.  Some friends of ours are alums with season tickets so we tagged along.  The folks in east carolina take their football seriously.  There were 50K people in attendance.  Sadly, the game was not very good as ECU scored 28 points in the first quarter before Memphis woke up from the plane ride.  Better luck next time for Memphis!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Victoria, British Columbia

We visited Victoria, British Columbia on our final stop before heading back to Seattle.  Victoria was a beautiful town with lots of shopping, restaurants and beautiful architecture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ketchikan, Alaska - Salmon Capital

Ketchikan relies on tourism and fishing, and the city is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World."  For those interested in politics, the ½-mile-wide channel called the Tongass Narrows separates Ketchikan from Gravina Island (where Ketchikan International Airport is located) is now famous. In August 2005 the 2005 Highway Bill provided for $223m to build the Gravina Island Bridge (nicknamed "the Bridge to Nowhere" by its critics) between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Ketchikan also hosts members of the "The Deadliest Catch" crew regularly.

On our day in Ketchikan, we took a short bus ride at 6AM through town and out to another bay area to go out salmon fishing.  We were accompanied by a man and his son who were visiting from the Caymans.  We caught about a dozen salmon (king, pink, silver).  We witnessed many eagles and even trolled past a lighthouse on our trip.  Our captain offered to smoke/ship the salmon to us back home, albeit for a hefty fee, but we declined.

We returned and did some shopping in town before heading back to the ship to head to Victoria, British Columbia.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Glacier Bay National Park - Alaska

We spent nearly an entire day cruising through Glacier Bay National Park viewing glaciers and wildlife.  Photos cannot do this day justice but we provide a sample here.  We got up at 5AM and claimed a prime table/chairs on a back deck of the ship.  The temperature was in the 40's so we put on layers and hit the coffee machines pretty hard.  We stayed outside for about nine hours so we were very glad we had packed some warm clothes.  The unfortunate part of having a great photo spot on the ship was constantly being ask to play photographer for the 3,000 others that woke up at 10AM.  At any rate, the scenery was unbelievable and we even witnessed some small brown bears eating a beached whale carcass.  Rangers from the park boarded the ship and narrated the major glaciers/attractions.  We would highly recommend this park (and the cruise for that matter) to anyone that loves the wild outdoors and raw natural wonders.