Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fireplace Demolition - Or - How I spent my Saturday

This Saturday I decided to finally remove the obsolete fireplace in the basement. Before anyone decides to go postal on me for removing what seems to be a perfect woodburning fireplace - let me assure you that it was not.
The fireplace was an open style wood burner that I used all of once in the winter of 2007/2008. After that I decided that it just was not worth the effort to have the entire house smell like a smoker!!!!

Besides, the chimney stack was plumbed through the basement ceiling, right through Aaliyah's floor and out through her ceiling. I addressed this in 2008 when I removed the chimney, and repaired Aaliyah's floor prior to refinishing it. Lynda and the girls stood outside the window and took care of the bricks and the rubble.

Posts are here, here, here, and here.

I decided to get rid of the fireplace as the basement plan calls for wall to wall bookcases (my comic collection growed!!!) I also had to make place for Lynda to relocate her stuff while I redid her (our) studio.

I made a time lapse movie using over 400 images spanning three hours using a YongNuo MC-36R  timer that  I purchased from Ebay. Images were taken at 20 second intervals. I was quite please at the timer as I paid just CAD 36.00. A similar offering from Canon would've set me back hundreds.

Starring....... Me.

A bigger video uploaded to YouTube here

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Popcorn Ceilings.........

A month or so ago, I started work on the Main Floor Living area as Lynda wishes to have it double up as a gallery of sorts for her 'Art Open Houses'. The Living Room had a pelmet or valance on three walls that hid fluorescent lighting that were fairly old and for the best part, did not work.

I pulled those out with minimal damage to the ceiling and discovered that the popcorn (or acoustic) treatment had been installed after the valances had gone up and was not present on the ceiling part behind them. That meant that I would have to build up the treatment to match or remove the popcorn from the entire ceiling.

Since I seem to have a penchant for doing things the hard way, I opted for the latter. Plus I HATE HATE HATE popcorn!!! Popcorn is mainly used by builders because it is so much easier to do than paint. Plus it hides any defects in the mudding and taping of the joints as well as poor workmanship. Did I mention that I hate popcorn??? or for that matter any ceiling treatment?? They seem to be the one thing that instantly date a house. They trap dirt and are generally FUGLY!!!!

So I Googled popcorn removal and the videos and instructions made it look so darned easy. Just spray the ceiling with water and scrape off with a wide trowel. The popcorn drops off and leaving you with a nice smooth ceiling. NOT. My popcorn was mutant!!! I used my floor scraper with a new blade and all that I managed to get off the ceiling was the first few millimeters.

I had to then wait for the ceiling to dry, sand it down with a pole sander with vacuum attachment, skim coat with joint compound, allow to dry, sand, skim coat again and hope that it looks good.

This is a Vacuum Pole Sander that saved my sanity and probably my marriage. The dust gets sucked right into the attached vacuum.

.......and this is the HEPA filter that saved my Shop Vac. Without this, the filter would allow the drywall dust to blow right through and eventually clog. Pricey, but washable and reusable. This is well worth the price.

After all of that work, I've got (half of the surface area at least) a ceiling that is smooth, looks modern and will look amazing painted in Benjamin Moore's 'Decorators White'

However if asked in the future how to deal with Popcorn ceilings, my simple answer would be - Move!! This is not a job for the faint hearted, the lazy or the ones daunted by a Living Room in a mess for the better part of 2 months. Moving just might be less work.

Simple Bedside Shelves - Done!!!

So here are the shelves finally done and mounted on the walls in the girls rooms. I was lucky that the placement of the girls' beds allowed the shelves to be mounted directly to studs.

I painted the shelves using my small touch up sprayer with some leftover paint that I had sitting in the crawlspace. I should get myself one of those HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) as they tend to be more controlled regarding the overspray issues.

 This is Aaliyah's shelf with her 'Baby Beanie' her DSi and her book.

and this is Layla's with 'Steggy' and the rest of her stuff.

So that's it. No more of their stuff on the floor and me screaming for them to clean up their rooms. Well.... I still scream........... but that's probably never going to stop......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hidden Treasure - Sort of......

We all dream of unearthing some sort of hidden treasure in an older house. Who knows if previous owners buried gold below their basement floors or maybe even used their unaccounted wads of cash to insulate their exterior walls... Anyways - I've dug enough in my basement and ripped out more walls in my house to know that  I'm not going to find anything here!

However - the other day while scouting between the basement ceiling joists (Yes - I do these things for no apparent reason) I saw what looked like a box. On closer inspection and reaching out, I found a total of 5 vintage Leviton boxes all with their products contained within.

Not sure about you..... but I'm calling it Treasure!!!!!

Simple Bedside Shelves

We finally got Aaliyah & Layla to clean out their rooms and purge a lot of their older toys and books. The rooms look more streamlined now, but I did note that they tended to drop their books and DSi's in the floor near their beds when it was 'lights-out'. We thought about getting them bedside tables, but decided against that as it would make their already small rooms look more cluttered.

So it was off to the drawing board and this is what I came up with. I envisioned a curved shelf on which they could rest their gaming consoles for the night while being charged, and a shelf below in which could be kept their books that are currently being read.

I did not plan on spending anything on this with the exception of my time. Thankfully I had some ¾" MDF in the crawl space and some ¼" MDF from the barricades that we had made to keep Coach confined to the Kitchen when he was younger.

I cut the pieces on the circular saw, used the jigsaw to shape the tops and bottoms and then glued and nailed them together using a Pneumatic brad nailer. I finally had a chance to use the Ryobi OSS500 that I scored on Craigslist for only CAD 40.00. This unit is no longer in production and the closest alternatives are from Rockwell and Ridgid. The tool did an amazing job of profiling the sides to match the contour of the half ellipse that forms the top and bottom. - Shout-out here to my cousin JB who was kind enough to drive over to the Danforth area and collect and hold on to the tool for me.

I finally coated the cut edges of the MDF with joint compound and will let it dry till tomorrow when I will sand and paint. The joint compound stops the MDF from soaking in the paint and appearing rough.

Here they are, prior to filling in with the joint compound. The girls are quite eager to have these put up in their rooms and I will have to paint prior to their return from school tomorrow. I'll do another post when they're painted and on the walls.

These wound up looking like Horn Tweeters
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