Friday, September 8, 2017
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I wanted to get a bunch of things done before winter arrives. It's been a very hot and humid summer and it was hard make any progress on the house. I've learned from Erika about "multi-tasking" and this was a good time to give it a go. Instead of finishing one project at a time, I decided to do four things at once: build a bench for the entry area, make cabinet doors for the utility room and hallway, build a rock wall to prevent visitors from driving too fast past the observatory and kicking up dust, and build an attic in the garage in order to make room for our automobiles. Let's get started!
I have quite a few hinoki logs in the garage that have been saved for legs on future work benches and seats. I'll also be making railing posts for the stairs leading up to the third floor (more on this in a later post). The logs needed to be prepared for use. I removed the branch stubs which left knots in the wood. The knots give the wood more character. Later, I planed the wood with a razor.
The last step was to give the entire bench several coats of clear finish.
Moving on to the rock wall...the stones were gathered nearby and carefully placed. No mortar was used. However, each nook and cranny was filled with coarse gravel. This creates a stronger wall which might be important should we have another earthquake.
Somehow, I was able to squeeze in a few moments to build cabinet doors for the hallway and utility room.
While the doors dried, I went ahead and prepared the wood beams for installation.
Each beam needed to be trimmed to fit the metal rafter supports.
This stack of plywood will be used upstairs to replace the existing floor (more on that in a later post).
Here's some photos of the new attic space in the garage. Lots of room for hiding things.
Last, but not least, is the finished rock wall. I hope this is the last rock wall I will have to build. It seems that every home that I have owned has a rock wall. Not sure why that is, but I have plenty of practice at building these things. Up next...time to remodel the stairs and the second floor. Stay tuned.
Friday, August 25, 2017
Since June 1st, it's been cloudy every evening. The clouds seem to disappear for an hour only to return again. The one night that did not have any clouds happened to be an entire night with a full moon! I’ve just about given up hope to do any imaging until autumn. The good news is that it’s given me some time to tune up my processing skills. I reprocessed several images that I posted earlier this year. I did not add any additional integration time (too many clouds) to the images. I just tweaked some of the settings and used some of the other processing options available in PixInsight. Here's two "before and after" images that I reprocessed:
AFTER (The image was flipped and left uncropped) The galaxy has more contrast and color. The dark lanes can easily be seen. A few more distant galaxies are visible. The image could use more integration time, especially in Ha to bring out the nebulosity. I'll image this one
AFTER (Deconvolution and a few other processes were added) The core has more contrast and the nebulosity is more apparent. The galaxy appears much larger in this image as the faint outer arms are visible. The image is noisy, but the star colors look much more realistic.
Hopefully, the clouds will part long enough so that I can finish a project I started earlier this year, M13 (Hercules Globular Cluster). Up next...cabinet doors (kitchen and utility room), bench (entry area) and a rock retaining wall. Stay tuned. George
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Continuing with the kitchen remodel, I built a rollaway work station. The moveable "island" is the same height as the kitchen counters. It can be easily rolled to the counters and becomes an extra work surface. The garbage cans sit on a shelf that pulls out. Wooden bumpers were installed to prevent the tile from chipping when placed next to the kitchen counters.
Here's a photo of the casters mounted to the bottom of the cabinet. All of the hardware was purchased at Handsman (my favorite store).
Friday, August 4, 2017
Here are some pictures of the finishing touches to the entry area. The sink area needed to be tiled and this was done at the same time the entry floor tile was installed. The painted area where the sink is going was scraped so that the adhesive would bond.
All the tile pieces were cut and ready for installation.
The area is ready for the sink and moulding to be installed.
I'm prepping the entry area for tile. I will not miss that ugly tile the original owners installed.
Goodbye ugly brownish red tile, hello beautiful new black tile!
The new "sleeping area?" was also tiled. It looks small, but the area is 2 meters long and 1 meter wide.
The sink area with tile and moulding. The intarsia frog on the cabinet was made about 10 years ago out of poplar and cedar. I'm glad it finally found a permanent home. All the area needs is a mirror, light, and a towel rack.
The sink is plumbed and ready to go!
Here's the newly remodeled area under the stairs. Flooring, paint and moulding are installed. The recessed lighting adds a nice touch.
The paint scheme blends in nicely with the rest of the house.
It's hard to believe this used to be the ugliest part of the house.
Here's a photo of the floor lighting. This will come in handy if someone does decides to sleep in this space.
That's it for now. This project took about 3 months to complete. Up next, I will be finishing up the main entry area, kitchen, and utility room. Next year, I'll begin the stairwell and the second and third floor remodel. There's a lot more to come...stay tuned. George
This is the last area on the first floor that requires some attention. It’s located next to the front door. The room was built without a floor. Huh? Well, sort of. The floor is the concrete foundation. The previous owners installed the ugliest tile on top of the concrete and called it finished. This created all kinds of problems during the rainy season. The floor would be wet from the rains. This caused mold and mildew to form on anything that was placed in the room. The smell from the mildew was sickening and it often stunk up the entire first floor entry area.
In order to fix the problem, a real floor had to be installed above the foundation. A foundation vent provides air circulation under the floor. The floor is made of 1.5 inch plywood and is supported with 4x4's. The exposed wood under the stairs was cleaned, primed and painted to prevent any mildew from forming. The treated wood was then covered with plywood and wallpaper. Some additional ceiling and floor lighting was added to give the area an updated, fresh look. The exposed logs were cleaned and coated with a gloss sealer. The new and existing floors received new black tiles. The new entry also received new tiles which blended the whole area together.
This area is located under the stairs. The floor is concrete and the vent allows water to enter during typhoons. This is the worst area of the house and I plan on making it the nicest.
The light haze on the logs is mildew...yuk!
Looking up is the bottom of some of the stairs. This is going to be an interesting and challenging job.
The surfaces are irregular and the angles go in all kinds of directions. What should I do?
The light is a sorry attempt at lighting the area. The previous owners really didn't care about this area. I find this surprising since it is the first thing that can be seen (and smelled) when entering the house. All right...let's get started.
See any difference? (The next few steps are not pictured). The first thing that needed to be done was to remove and clean anything that had mildew. Next, I added supports and a new plywood floor. Plywood walls were also added and then covered in wallpaper. Electrical wiring was installed before the plywood was added. Recessed lighting was added under the first and second set of steps. I also added an additional electrical outlet for charging batteries and stuff.
The various angles were a lot of fun to cut out of plywood. A piece of black tile was placed to give an idea of what the new floor will look like.
Shelving was also added. Here you can see the wiring for the recessed lighting. The wall paper was a real challenge to install.
The area is large enough to comfortably sleep. It comes complete with lighting, a window, and a downstairs entry sink. This is a view of the entry into the remodeled area looking outwards towards the main entry. Confused?
Well anyway, primer, paint, and some molding will finish the walls. Here is a view of some of the unfinished electrical. To get to this stage of the project took about 2 months.
The next post I'll show the finished project. Erika is really happy with how it came out out...me too. Stay tuned. George