Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's that time of year to review hints and tips when building

I want to re-visit a some of these as you would have to dig way back in my blog history to find these.  I will also add in some I have heard from others.

-Getting an island?  Add an outlet to both sides of it.  We got the standard one outlet and found a second one on the opposite side would be great for laptop charging cable, phone chargers, etc...
-Add a tube running from the attic to the basement.  I ran a 3/4" flexible smurf tube.  This allowed me to run an attic antenna to the basement.  My neighbors have a satellite dish on the roof with the coax strapped to the siding all the way down.  The tube would have saved them this.
-Running rear speakers?  I put in a low voltage electrical box in the family room on the TV wall with some smurf tube punching into the basement.  I put another on the opposite wall.  When I moved in, I just ran my speaker wire down to the basement, strapped it across and back up into the family room.  Perfect!
-TV over the fireplace?  Don't pay for Guardians pre-wire (it was quoted $500 for us).  Just run a PVC pipe from the side to where you want it above the fireplace.  When you install it, run a string and tape it off.  That way, after move in, you just tie the string off to the cables and pull.  Don't forget to get Ryan to put in an outlet.
-Hate stacking pots and pans?  check out the pull out shelves from Rev-a-Shelf.  We bought one from Lowes.  Easily the best damn thing in my kitchen.  I actually show it off to visitors.
-Under cabinet lighting?  Don't pay Ryan's obscene cost.  Just buy the puck kit for $30-ish and install yourself.  They come with a toggle switch you can opt to install.  Mount it behind the front edge of a cabinet and run them in line.  Then run the power cord up between two cabinets, drill a hole in the top of the one over the micro.  Cut the end off and hook up a 90degree plug.  Then just plug it in to the microwave outlet and you're good to go.
Note-if you pay for a switched outlet to be put in a cabinet, you can have a wall switch and skip the toggle.
-Have a dog or plan to get one?  Put a 1" PVC pipe down below the driveway when they pour concrete.  I have one so that I can run a underground dog fence through it and not deal with a concrete saw.  Consider the size of pipe.  Running a sprinkler line through would work too.  Depending on your layout, running one under the walkway would be smart too.
Update-dog fence installers can just as easily use a concrete saw and caulk at a joint.  But if I ever run a water line....the pipe is there for me. 
-Mount a TV on the wall in a room?  Screw in some chunks of 2x6 between some studs pre-drywall.  Makes screwing brackets in a breeze not having to find a stud.
-Second floor laundry?  Get the dryer exhaust vent put high enough to hook up AFTER you have pushed the dryer in place.  Trust me on this one.
-Second floor laundry part II, screw some chucks of 2x6 or 2x8 between the joists under the washer.  We have dealt with the "high speed shakes"and finally minimized it by removing the pedestal, adding anti-vibe feet and pushing pieces of those foam pool tubes between the washer and wall/dryer.
NOTE: I don't know if this will help or not, but it can't hurt can it?
-CONSIDER LIGHT SWITCH PLACEMENT.  I like the idea of the garage coach lights operated from front door.  Many have chosen to get the garage interior light switched INSIDE house.  Some even prefer the basement light switch at the top of the stairs.
-Hose bibs.  You get two at the plumbers discretion.  I advise you hammer your PM for specific locations desired.  I would also consider getting a third or fourth as well.  You have four sides of your house with grass all around.  Seems getting four hose bibs would have been brilliant.
-plan to put a laundry tub in the garage.  But one could have considered paying for the plumbing outlets and drain roughed in.
-I have heard of some getting a drain in the garage.  Seems like a good idea
-HUGE TIP....Work a deal with the concrete guys to push the width of the driveway to the edges of the garage (approx. and additional 2' on each side).  We paid $300 on the side to the concrete guys to do this.  I cannot explain how great that additional 2' on each side is.  

more ideas added from comments in the past.
 - On the kitchen island, depending on your model, you may be able to move the island over and extend the countertop to give your family additional seating in the kitchen. Costs a little extra, but definitely something I wanted.
- 6" higher master closet shelf run to help make space for a 2nd lower course of shelving 

If you have more, add them in comments.

Good luck and remember two things:
1. It never hurts to ask
2. Persistence wears down resistance.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ravenna Owners unite! An idea is born for the foyer!

We are now 13 months into our new Ravenna.  I still love it.
Shortly after moving in, I built two picture ledges (found at  I liked them but always felt there was better use for this 7+ foot wall then two picture ledges.  Not to mention, where the hell do we put jackets, hats, and what not when walking in the front door.  Or for guest's stuff.
I found this on Pinterest....yeah yeah yeah, I peruse Pinterest.  Ran it by the wife and she likey.  So I jumped on it.

I originally planned on 6 hooks, BUT 16" O.C. studs don't line up right if I wanted to hide the mounting screws BEHIND the hooks.  So 5 hooks it is.  We may add more down the road, time will tell.  I can say that 5 hooks works nice without having coats "stacked" on each other.

Again, sorry for the bad pics.  A photographer I'm not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Remember me? I re-finished a Magnavox AstroTuner

I know it's been awhile.  Many new people have come, and some old favorites are still around.  My friend ( is still busy knocking out big improvements in his Ravenna and blogging about it.  Being slightly competitive in nature, I decided it was time to knock out something of my own I can wow you with.
Behold, a cedar planter.....
I decided we needed something to flank the garage door and add curb appeal.  The whole thing is out of cedar except the legs.  Those are 2x2 pine stained to a cedar tint. 

If you like, I sell them as well.  email if you are interested.

But wait, there's more.....

Several months ago, I scored a 60's Magnavox Astrotuner.  A co-worker bought his grandfather's house and wanted to pitch it.  I can't find an original pic, but it looked close to this:
It seemed like it could be a great piece for the family room to hold the TV and components in a more stylish way then the crappy Ikea piece we have had since moving in a year back.

Tammi ( motivates me with her blog furniture projects.  I decided to jump in and try it.  Worse case scenario, I bust it into pieces and burn it with a beer in hand.

So I gutted it.  I pulled out all the old stereo, turntable, speakers, amp, etc..... in it leaving it in this state:

Then my wife went to work sanding and cleaning it.  I already had measurements and started making saw dust.  With it still in pieces, I primed it with grey tinted Gripper primer.

Then we painted it going with Benjamin Moore "Ben" paint.  Black.  Eggshell.  I applied it with a foam roller and my trusty Purdy brush.

With it painted, it was time to build "in-place" the shelf box you see in the above two pictures.  I used 3/4 MDF and a select Pine 1x2 for the shelf lip.  The sides, shelf, and lip are secured with pocket hole screws.  The top (of the box), which is unseen, is literally just sitting in place.  Then I tacked on a 1/8 hardboard cover on the back.  The very top is again, 3/4 MDF cut in roughly a 1/3 - 2/3 pattern.  You will see why here:

The space above the shelf box and below the very top is dead space I used to hide router, speaker wires, plug strip, etc...  I drilled holes in the top of the shelf box to route components plugs.  Two holes in the back to get wires in and out of.  Then I put the 2/3 size lid on and place the TV.
The 1/3 size lid, with a finger hole, allows me easy access to router and plug strip without having to remove the TV. 

 Not the greatest pictures in the world.  But you get the idea.  The bottom shelf holds the speakers.  I have also added some books, a picture, and some glass globe.  I am sure my wife will re-decorate it promptly.
The only thing left to do is add some handles to the front for the faux drawer appearance.  That one is up to the wife to find and like.  Then I will install.  But I am thinking a nice brushed nickel would be nice.
So, there you have it.  My latest project.  I am halfway through some wall boxes and will post those soon.
That is all for now.....Carry on.