All I Want for Christmas 5

The yearly tradition continues! Want to see what I wanted in 2009? Click Here What about 2008? Click Here What about 2007? Click here. What about 2006? Click here.

And now for 2010:

Ok here we go:

1. New Downstairs Bathroom: stand up shower American Standard Champion toilet, small vanity, stand up shower, mosaic tile, river stone floor tile, pocket door

2. Kitchen: Fix drywall and repaint, new cabinets

 3. MudRoom: reinstall wainscot, baseboard trim, dining set from IKEA - the white round table and the wickerish chairs.

4. Living Room: crown moulding, reinstall that one crooked window, fix the durn curtain rod, fireplace?

5. Hallway/Stairway: banister, stairway trim, top stair step, dimmer for stair light, install octagonal window, second electrical outlet

6. Mikey's Room: fix closet light

7. Office: Closet organizer, door to the attic crawl space, bigger area rug

8. Bedroom: new mattress, new HDTV, more drawers for my Closetmaid set, door for attic loft space, window and closet door trim

9. Upstairs Bath: BUILD IT - frame it, electrify, insulate, drywall, paint, pretty tile, Corner Jacuzzi tub for two, new vanity, stand up shower, American Standard Champion toilet, pocket door, linen closet

10. Garage: Drywall and paint, Three garage doors, storage system with shelves

11. House exterior: new clapboard siding on the remaining 3 sides, complete farmer's porch stairs, window boxes, green shutters, lamppost, more nice plantings, a shed, chimney overlay, another chimney to vent wood stove, hammock, new driveway (ie, repour it), re-do the rocks

12. Basement: finish it off with a bathroom (toilet, vanity, stand up shower), bedroom, work room, and rec room (comfy dark colored furniture and rug, pool table, air hockey, HDTV and storage unit). And I want my wood stove hooked up down therez.

Amazing how much I was able to delete off the list this year! What an exciting time! There's finally l
light at the end of the tunnel after more then 6 years working, more then 5 years blogging!

Our goals for this year?
Complete the porch before winter really sets in
Re-side the new-window side of the house before winter really sets in
Complete the radiant heat
Install all new garage doors
Build the basement bathroom
Frame out the basement bedroom (since we're right there anyway)
Begin work on 1st and new 2nd floor bathroom


Rainy Sunday. No fun. Except if you decide to install radiant heating!

Now, if you recall (no, not the most famous reindeer of all) we ordered all the materials needed months ago from TruVal... but just hadn't had the time to pick them up and install. Until this past Sunday! The forecast was rainy and windy, so the guys weren't planning on working outside. But it was also going to be 50 degrees - what a perfect time to shut down the heat for the day! So Mike grabbed up all the tubing and fittings on his way home from work on Saturday.

Sunday, everything went fairly smoothly - for a heating job. Usually, when copper pipe is involved, it's a long, strenuous, expensive day. And we get leaks and other things go wrong... Plumbing is downright difficult! Mike's become rather adept at it over the years, but he's no master plumber. This experience was the exact opposite. The only real problem - and we knew it as soon as we started uncoiling the tubing - we didn't have enough to do the entire downstairs, only the living room. (And we also had to run to the DeepHo for about 10 extra feet...)

We cut and removed a couple of the long copper sections, then just attached one end of the tube at the beginning of the loop, snaked it up and down the floor joists, and attached it at the end of the loop. (Sounds like it took 5 minutes, but there was a lot of drilling and connecting involved.) At the end of the day, Mike strapped the entire living room section to hold the tubing up near the floor.

Pre-strapping - the white may look like wires. Nope it's tubing.
The concept is simple. Hot water travels through the pipes. Heat radiates out and up onto the floor. Then, heat radiates up from the floor and heats the room. We still have our baseboards, this just helps our home reach optimum temp faster and more efficiently. Plus, the floors are toasty.

We've had heating problemos in the past, mostly because our house is old, but partially because we didn't evenly distribute the length of baseboards when we installed. (Mikey's room, strangely enough, has the longest one, so if his door is closed, his room gets super warm while the rest of the house is at a normal temp.) The only zone downstairs is controlled by a thermostat in the living room. We had at first considered adding another zone for Mikey's room... but we think this will prove more economical and efficient.

We hope to complete the radiant heat in the rest of the downstairs soon, before it gets any colder around here. Of course, the porch still needs finishing. My "no-new-projects" rule is still kinda upheld... this just happened to be a "rainy-day-project." And that's totally different, right?

Window In

It's window-time! Now, break it down! Yes, yes, Sunday was Dia de Los Windows, as Mike set himself about cutting out plywood and installing the new window! I brought Mikey outside for the occasion, so we could watch the magic driveway-side.

Cutting cutting cutting (From Inside Out of course!)
Here it comes!

There it goes!

Hey, that's my kitchen! 

Here's Mikey helping on the stairs.

Mikey jots down the measurements

Unfortunately, installing the window was a bit more difficult. We had to shim and re-shim and level and re-level.... Mikey was throwing a fit because we wouldn't allow him to play with the Sazzall.... It was just madness! But we finally accomplished it with beautiful results:

Mikey holds the level, which he kept calling "Bubble" Strangely appropriate, but I think he was trying to say level.

Mike applies heat to adhere the ice and water - keeping those drafty winter winds out.
 After nearly 5 days, I'm still not used the view. We pushed the fridge over to it's proper location and I'm loving the extra room in that little dining area we have. Once we have a corner cabinet on the other side and the new fridge... look out world! But the best part is the loss of two tragically drafty old circa 1950's windows. We can already feel a big difference. Just in time too, as temps are dropping to the teens this week.

This coming weekend, the guys will hopefully be back at work on the stairs. And, now that the window's in, all that shingling on the mudroom end of the kitchen/mudroom side of the house has to go too. Then, that entire side can be sided. Lucky for us, we should have enough siding in stock. Will it all happen this Sunday? Probably no. Will it all happen before Christmas? Likely not. Will it all happen eventually? I hope so.

Stairs, Windows, and Random Plywood

Mike was feeling much better this Sunday. And, with cabin fever setting in, and Timmy due over (haha due-over) to work on the stairs, Mike decided to get himself back to work on the kitchen window. I had some friends coming over at 2:30pm, so the guys were on a strict stop-everything a las 2:30 deadline.

Mike measured the wall and the window, allowing for new-fridge and future-corner-cabinet width. Then, we decided on the exact placement of the new window.

Next step was to create the window frame and insulate the sans-window area. Then came the difficult part. You see - our mudroom was an addition, tacked on to what used to be a cement porch. Unfortunately, when they joined the exterior mudroom wall to the exterior kitchen wall, they did not do a very good job. The two walls are at two different depths....

So... if we want to side that entire side with siding and make it look like a nice, one-piece, continuous house with no stoopid additions that weren't done correctly... We would need to build out the kitchen wall to match the depth of the mudroom wall. Build it out how? Plywood. Layers of plywood.

Lucky for us, we happened to have plywood. Plywood in the basement, plywood in the garage, plywood in the garage addition... plywood plywood everywhere! Leftover from this that or the other project.

You can see here the puzzle of plywood Mike and our neighbor Richard put together. Amazing that we just happened to have just enough to complete the job. Unfortunately, the hunt for plywood + cutting of the plywood + installation of the plywood = longer then expected. Mike was hoping to be able to install the window before the 2:30 deadline, but just couldn't make it. He papered the plywood and called it done for the day.
MEANWHILE! Timmy was hard at work on the side steps. To start, he had to pull up some of the decking to make room for the first post. The second post went down on top of the footing Mike poured last weekend.

From there, it was a simple matter of framing and decking the landing, then the first step. By the time my guests were arriving between 2:30 and 3:00, they had a step to enter on. And by the time they left around 5:30, they had a second step to exit on.

Mike will need to pour some additional concrete for the final groundish-level landing step, but all in all, I'm totally psyched about how the steps came out. Mike decided to make them nice and big - key for bringing up large items, large amounts of people, large people, and holding hands with kids down the stairs.

To finish off the kitchen wall for temporary, Mike put up tar paper. This weekend, the window goes in, do or die. And Timmy will be back on Sunday as well. It's a whole new look for the holidays!

We're so happy to be wrapping up our summer/fall projects. Winter once again will take us indoors, where the basement bathroom will be taking shape soon.

PS - Guess who couldn't resist the Home Depot black Friday appliance sale? I GOT MY FRIDGE! It's the LG model lfx28978ST.... and I saved over $800. The MSRP is $2700 .... I bought for $1899. WITH 18 months of 0% financing and a 4 year extended warranty for only $80 extra!!! Boo-Yah! Only problem is I'll have to wait until Feb 5th for delivery. Backorder.