Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Phase 2 (Shortened)

The second part of the remodel has been completed. It involved the removal of the tatami room and lowering the floor and glass slider door. Sounds easy enough…right? I was responsible for the demolition of the floor structure. Our carpenter, Inagakisan, removed the lower supporting logs. Together, we removed the slider and retractable storm window. Inagakisan quickly built the new framing for the slider and the door was reinstalled before lunch. After lunch, the floor supports were installed. The next day, three vertical support beams were added to provide additional support for the upper floors. The lower logs were notched to accept the 28mm plywood floor. Tile will be installed later so the additional support is needed. The last step was to install the insulation and plywood floor.
It's finally time to say goodbye to the tatami room!


The existing floor structure was removed.


The lower log needs to be removed and the slider lowered.

This log has been a pain ever since we moved in. It's been a tripping hazard and an eyesore. The log separates the living room from the dining room, but...

...not  anymore. Inagakisan removed the log in three easy-to-manage pieces.

We removed the slider and storm window. There's a huge hole in the house!

The lower log is removed and ready for framing.

Time for lunch.

New floor supports were installed and treated.

Wasting little time, the slider was installed in a lower position. The dogs can easily enter the house from the fenced yard without climbing any steps.

Insulation was installed and then the 28mm plywood. The floor is solid. The room should be much warmer this winter with the improvments. The biggest improvement...no more mildew smell!!

Nice! The floor is the same height as the rest of the house. 

 The storm window is installed and were ready for the next phase.

It’s really nice to have the floor the same height throughout the first floor. We never wanted tatami in our home. It smelled bad in the summer and it was hard to keep clean with dogs in the house. The room was poorly insulated and it was impossible to position our furniture with the elevated floor. With the tatami room gone, we can turn the space into a proper dining room with an entertainment center. The logs under the tatami floor have been damaged with fasteners and notches. The logs are discolored and will require a lot of work to match the existing wood work.

The original plan for Phase 2 was to have the roof replaced, but the roofers have been busy with the flood damaged homes throughout Japan. We have to wait our turn. Perhaps in November, Phase 3 will begin…stay tuned.   George

Friday, September 4, 2015

Autumn is finally here!

Lately, we have been experiencing cooler temperatures. It’s starting to feel like autumn. I hope the rain goes away so that I can seal and stain the outside of the remodel before winter arrives.

Erika has been busy cutting all of the smaller logs. She’s turning into a real “Lumber Jill”. She refuses to admit it, but I think she likes to use a chainsaw. More POWER^^^^^^^^^^^^^^!!

I’ve been working on the hallway connecting the remodel with the rest of the house. Not much to show for all my effort since all of the newly installed flooring (tile and laminate) are protected with cardboard. The walls are prepped for primer and paint. The ceiling has been stained and clear coated. 

This is one section of the hallway leading from the bedroom to the utility and guest bathroom. This photo was taken before the walls were prepped for paint and the ceiling stained. Now. it's ready to go!

In between jobs, I have been painting kitchen cabinets and adding hardware. I built a couple of huge sliding drawers for pots and pans underneath the IH cook top. The under cabinet lighting has been installed and I’ll take pictures after the backsplash has been grouted and sealed.



These drawer slides are soft close and allow full access to the entire drawer. It's a nice feature to have.


Plenty of room for pots and pans. The sliding shelf is made of 28mm plywood. I could easily stand on the shelf and it would slide effortlessly. That's how strong and rigid it is.

Another job I just completed was painting the outdoor furniture. We’ve had the patio furniture for about 10 years and it desperately needed a paint job. I took advantage of the cool, still, morning air and repainted all of the furniture. First, I removed the rust and primed the bare metal. Then, I gave it a coat of satin black paint. The project took a few mornings, but it was worth the effort.

It's hard to tell, but on the left is the rusted old chair. The freshly painted chair is on the right.

Currently, I’m working on the guest bathroom. We’ll be tiling the floor and backsplash this week. The toilet area will have tile about a third of the way up the walls. This will take some time to complete as we can only install a row of tile at a time due to the weight of the material. I prefer to install the tile over cement backer board, but that’s not available in Japan. 

Well that's it for now. We are waiting for the weather to clear before the start of phase 2 of the remodel. More on that later...              George