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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Getting the colors to match

This is what the logs look like in the rest of the house. The color is formed naturally from exposure to sunlight. I needed to create the same look for the remodel.

This is what the logs look like in the remodel. The logs were weathered and turning grey. I had to power wash the logs to remove the oxidation. All of the logs and ceiling panels required extensive sanding. This step required over five weeks to complete. I don't want to do anymore sanding for a long time! The picture above shows the log after sanding and the first coat of stain. Three coats of stain were needed along with three coats of clear gloss. The photo below shows the finished result. It was labor intensive, but I think it matches the logs in the rest of the house perfectly.

This should give you a good idea of the "before and after". The logs appear more yellow than they actually are. Later, I'll take a picture of a log that is half "original" and half "stained" to give you an idea of how close the colors match. It really is amazing! Stay tuned...

The logs on the right are after power washing. Of course the walls were installed after the logs were power washed. Remember, this used to be the garage.

The right side is an unfinished wall of the master bedroom closet. I'll probably sheet rock over these logs to save time rather than repairing them.   George

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kitchen Update

The cook top has been a challenge to install.

The control panel retracts under the counter.

The range hood is roughly installed. A stainless steel cover will blend the hood into the cabinets. Stay tuned...

The control panel is retracted. The problem is...

...that the gap between the counter top and control panel is allowing flex in the counter top. No flex is allowed since the counter will be covered with tile. The slight gap is needed to allow movement of the control panel so that it can retract and extend.

To reinforce the counter, I added a couple of metal angles to the top and bottom of the counter.

The angles were drilled and countersunk for the screws.

Next, I routed a channel in the counter top for the metal angles. This allows the angles to sit flush so that the tile can be installed over the angles.

Angles are installed and the flex has been eliminated. It's time for tile!

A few more cabinets are installed. I still have six cabinets to go.

Here's one of the challenging cuts for the cook top tile.

Here's another cut that took some extra effort.

I had to be innovative with the plumbing since garbage disposers are rare in Japan. This disposer was purchased in the states a few years back. It's rated for use with a septic system. I'll be using a step up transformer since the motor is rated at 1hp at 120 volts. It's  huge, powerful, very efficient, and whisper quiet.

The stainless sink and faucet were purchased in the states about 4 years ago. It's great to finally see it installed.

The IH cook top is almost ready to go. It's rated at 200V at 30 amps. Erika can't wait to get rid of the single burner camping stove she has been using for the past 5 months.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"For Sale"

Our home is “For Sale”. No, not in Tsukahara…Federal Way, Washington. We tried to sell our home in Washington a few years ago. Home prices were quickly dropping as the real estate market was turning sour. We had our home on the market for almost a year with very few offers. I had spent every weekend for two years remodeling our home. The effort failed to produce a buyer. However, it did produce a home that was easy to rent out. The home had been a rental for the past 3.5 years. The home went on the market in February. Currently, the house is “pending”. This basically means that we have agreed on a price with the buyer and the home will be inspected, appraised, and financed. A lot can happen until the house is sold, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Why sell the house? Good question. To keep the house in a rentable condition requires maintenance. Maintenance requires money. It boils down to this: Being a landlord is a pain-in-the-butt! If the house does not sell by the end of June, I will rent it out…again. It’s not the best choice, but I have a great property manager and the house is ready to rent.

The second bit of news is that my services are no longer needed with the Board of Education in Yufuin. However, my services will be used at our company (Y.E.S.). Erika has done a spectacular job building the business to a point where it can support both of us. I’m excited to be finally working for “us” instead of someone else. My few years at the BOE were not a complete waste of time. I gained valuable experience and confidence from teaching elementary school students. I met a lot of great people and I had a chance to see how the Japanese education system works.The most important thing I learned are the limitations an ALT must endure by following the guidelines set forth by the BOE. I won’t go into this any further except to say that my skills will be utilized more "efficiently" at YES. 

So, there you have it. On the days I’m not teaching at YES, I’m working on the house. Stay tuned…                 George

UPDATE:  The house in Washington sold! It wasn't easy, but it's someone elses headache.