Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big House Projects

Hubby and I (sometimes with the help of family) have been doing some serious improvements to our house lately.  This is partly because we took it off the market after nearly a year and decided that if we're staying here, we need to fix a few things.  It is also partly nesting, because we need better storage to rearrange everything to make room for the baby.

Therefore, we've done two big projects so far:  we built a linen closet in our basement bathroom and we installed a bunch of cabinets in half of our garage.

The linen closet took us from January 16 to March 15, all told.  Our house tragically lacked a linen closet and we've just been using space in the spare bedroom/my office's closet all this time.  However, my office is becoming a nursery, so that storage is going away.  Here are "before" and "after" shots of the bathroom.

As you can see in the "before" shot, there was a very narrow gap between the shower and the wall.  Our original plan was just to build some shelves to fit in that gap, but then we realized that factoring in for the thickness of the materials, any such shelves would only hold one rolled-up towel.  So we asked my dad for his advice.  The cabinet door
you can see in the "before" picture just opened up access to the water shutoff valve, but there was a lot of wasted space there.  So Dad said "why don't we just take out this wall and build a real closet?"  We looked at each other, a little shocked because we hadn't planned to do any major renovations, and then asked "are you volunteering?" 

Fortunately, Dad enjoys this kind of project, so we all set to work.  Many weekends of my parents visiting (Mom graciously kept our son out of our hair--or at least from hurting himself on the power tools) plus many evenings of hubby and I by ourselves, and we took out the existing wall...
...framed the new ones...
...drywalled, mudded, sanded...
...installed shelves, caulked...
...and painted.  Then we had an open closet for about a month before we figured out how we were going to do the doors.
We finally decided to create the look of a frame door by attaching trim to a piece of particle board.
The doors then came together over two days.
For good measure, we also added an over-the-toilet cabinet for even more storage.  Tada!  Basement bathroom has a "DONE" stamp!

Our garage took us from February 20 to March 13.  I didn't get a very good "before" shot--so this tight one will have to do.
We started by building a cabinet to hold extra kitchen gadgets (most of which have been in storage for a while.)  It was originally going to be a second pantry, but we couldn't decide on safe foods to keep in the garage so we moved the food to other cabinets and put all the gadgets here.
Then we got busy on the side wall.  First my dad came over to help us install an electrical outlet before we closed off access to the studs.  (Well, okay, technically we helped him, not the other way around.)
Then we insulated...
...and drywalled, figuring that we'd never be able to get behind our new cabinets to do that at a later time.  Many thanks to hubby's parents who helped us out with the drywalling.
Then I built a two-shelf thingy to hold our recycling bins, allowing us to stack them on top of each other and save space.
Next came another large cabinet to hold paint, automotive stuff, large yard tools, and other miscellaneous items we have stored in the garage.
One of the harder things about putting any cabinets in the garage, though, was getting them lofted over the foundation.  The garage's foundation forms a concrete lip above floor level that goes around the entire perimeter of the garage.  This makes it impossible for any item to sit flat on the garage floor and be flush against the wall at the same time.  So while
hubby built the bulk of the various cabinets, I was busy building risers for them to sit on--not the easiest thing when you consider that the garage floor slopes away from the house and the foundation I'm setting the back of the riser on is level.  I'm rather proud of my (limited) carpentry work on all of these.
After the big cabinet, we got busy on my garden center.  My garden stuff used to be housed on two open shelves, but over the years this got really messy.  Now I have two lower cabinets and three upper cabinets, plus a pegboard and a workbench area to keep everything organized.
A few other miscellaneous things hung on the wall, and half of our garage is complete.  Now, two weeks later, I still smile every time I go into the garage.  It makes me want to finish the other half of the garage, which is still 2x4s and siding.  However, the other half isn't a priority right now.  Getting the kiddo into a big boy bed so we can reuse the crib (which requires building his bed,) moving my office down into hubby's office in the basement, and getting the baby's room set up in my old office are all our immediate priorities.  I'm sure I will be posting about them as they happen.  But for now, we're proud of our work and wanted to share.


Linda said...

Your projects turned out great! I am very impressed with your garden center. I have recently gained room in our "old" shed for my gardening stuff but haven't gotten it set up yet.

Marina J. Lostetter said...

Wow, busy busy! If only I could find the motivation to start my own home-improvement projects.

CNHolmberg said...

Holy bologna, I don't think I could do all that. XD