Sunday, December 29, 2013

Watch Your Step

We started tackling one of the last remaining big jobs in the house this weekend - refinishing the steps from the first floor to the second floor.  These were in place when we bought the house, although they previously led to a glorified attic rather than a proper second floor.  And although it was nice to have a fixed staircase already in place, they definitely needed some work to match the rest of the now-renovated house.  So, we started by pulling off the old treads, which will be replaced with bamboo treads when we're done, and sanding down and cleaning up the backboards in order to paint them white.  We also added construction adhesive and some additional nails to make sure the stairs don't squeak when it's finished.  When it's done, we'll have white trim and stair backs and new bamboo treads.  It should be a big improvement - but in the meantime, we have to be careful walking up and down!

Old stairs - not looking too good
Pulling off the old treads
Almost all off...

First coat of paint

Second coat - looking better

Careful on the stairs - lots of room to fall in!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trimming and Decorating the Garage

Some people spend the holiday season trimming a tree and decorating the house...we spent the last couple of weeks and holiday break working on our garage!  It was time well spent, though, as in just a few weekends, we insulated and drywalled the first floor of the garage, have one coat of mud and tape on about half the garage, and reinstalled all of our shelves and storage again.  The heaters have been working really well too - they easily raise the temperature by about 20 degrees in an hour or two, which makes a big difference when it's as cold as it's been outside.  Back to indoor projects next but we'll enjoy using the garage for the rest of the winter!

In progress - stairwell door installed, most drywall up, still very disorganized!

First coat of mud and tape

Large wall shelf and overhead shelves reinstalled - finally some organization!

Some contractors bags ready for next garbage pick-up but otherwise cleaned up

Overhead shelves, full of spare materials out of the way!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Drywall and Decorations

We're back to work after a holiday break and moving forward on finishing the garage.  We decided to insulate, drywall, and heat the garage.  By fire code, we had to drywall two of the walls due to the garage's location on our property so, since we were required to undertake a certain amount of work already, it seemed to make sense to go ahead and drywall the whole thing and install two baseboard heaters to combat the usual cold of a detached garage.  We don't expect to ever set the thermostat very high but it should be helpful for getting our cars a bit warmer in the morning than they otherwise would be.  Of course, in order to have our cars warm and toasty, we have to finish the work first!  But we've made good progress so far, getting two walls and half of the ceiling finished and it was a great excuse to buy a new home improvement toy - a drywall lift.  This one has come in very handy and is quite fun to use too.  A couple more weekends and our garage should be fully completed.  We also took some time to do a little seasonal decorating since this is the first time in a couple of years that we've had enough finished space to get a Christmas tree.  Quite an improvement from last year's Christmas construction zone!

Insulated ceiling and walls, ready for drywall

One wall nearly done

Breaking in the drywall lift

Works great!

Ready for the holidays