What a difference a week or two makes. Our new house is just about finished. It’ll be a few more weeks for cleaning, touch-ups and last minute items like laying sod, but for the most part the house is complete. Here’s some pics.
We picked out living room furniture for our new house a few weeks ago. We have the usual couch, love seat and recliner setup. Our living room is wider than deep so we want the love seat and recliner to be at 45 angles from the couch so that each of them are facing towards the tv. We want two end tables to go in between the three pieces, but square ones won’t really work out because no matter how you turn them, one of the seats have a corner of the table pointing at them. We didn’t really want a round table either, so we decided to go with an octagon.
Octagon tables are pretty hard to find, and it wasn’t looking likely that we’d be able to find one that matched anything else in the house so I decided to try to make them. I’ve never attempted anything like this before so I was pretty nervous. I drew it up first on Google Sketchup to figure out the sizes for everything and went to buy the wood. I had originally planned on just cutting everything with a handsaw and miter box, but very quickly realized that wasn’t going to be practical.
Fortunately, my dad has a table saw that can do the angled cuts so I went over there to cut all the pieces. Actually, he ended up cutting most of them for me. The assembly wasn’t too bad other than trying to figure out how to get it to stay together long enough to get enough pieces assembled for it to support itself.
The tile and stain match the floor and cabinets in our new house and were a bit of hassle to track down. I borrowed a wet saw from my step-father to cut the tile. This was my second time tiling, I put down tile in the master bath of our current house shortly after moving in. It was much easier than I remembered this time.
Thankfully all the trim pieces fit together nicely around the tile in the end. The only part I’m not real happy about is the stain. I had a hard time getting it consistent across the whole table, but all in all, not too bad for an amateur. I’m going to finish up the second table and if I’m not too burned out afterward, work up a design for a coffee table.
Edit: Crud, just realized we changed our tile selection in the house and I used the original tile on the tables. Oh well, they’re pretty close to each other.
The sheet rock is about to go on our new house, but before it does I wanted to get a series of photos of the house without the sheet rock so I’d know exactly where every pipe, wire and 2×4 is after we move in. It could come in handy.
I took pictures of the whole house, but they’re not really organized very well. I remembered after I got home about Photosynth. It’s a web app from Microsoft that lets you recreate a 3d scene from a series of photographs. I uploaded photos from the living room and game room to create a Photosynth. You can view it by clicking the image below.
You start out in the game room. There are complete 360 views of the living and game room and you can walk between them. It’s a really cool app, but it’s kind of hard to get use to navigating. Here’s a few tips to help you get around.
1. Put it in full screen mode so you can see what you’re doing.
2. It’ll only let you spin around so far from the image your currently viewing. To move further in one direction, click on another image and you can keep going.
3. It’s easy to get stuck. If this happens, use the arrows to navigate or look down and the floor or ceiling to keep moving.
4. You can use your mouse wheel to zoom in. A LOT!
5. It’s easier to walk backwards from the game room to the living room.
I didn’t get much done with the home repairs this week. There has been a single project that consumed the majority of my time. When we moved in there was a good size bird feeder in the back yard. During the ice storms last winter a tree limb fell on it and snapped it in half, leaving a broken 4×4 sticking out of the ground and a cement base.
There is also cable box in our backyard behind a bush and I wanted to just move this cement platform 15 feet or so to be next to it. There are already smaller stepping stones leading to it, so it would have looked ok there and stopped grass and weeds from growing up around the cable box. Now I knew this thing would be heavy, but I wasn’t sure how heavy. My plan was to dig up around it, use a shovel to tip it on it’s side, roll it over to the cable box and cut off the 4×4 sticking out of it. Figured it would take an hour or so.
After digging up the dirt around it, I discovered it was a lot thicker than I expected. I thought it was about a 1″ thick prefabricated disk. Turned out it’s poured concrete, 5″ thick. I tried to pry it up with the shovel anyways but it was clear the shovel was going to loose that battle.
I had to come up with another plan now, so I got to wondering, “Exactly how heavy is this thing?” I first looked up how much concrete weighs and it varies base on the mix, but it’s roughly 2,700 lbs per cubic yard. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, so about 100 lbs per cubic foot.
I went outside and measured it. It’s 5″ thick and has a 5′ diameter. I had to look up the formula for calculating square feet in a circle. It’s:
A=19.63 square feet.
Then multiple that by 5/12 of a foot for the thickness and I came up with 8.18 cubic feet. So this sucker is about 818 lbs. Seems a little overkill for holding up a bird feeder if you ask me.. Anyways, at this point I’m thinking forget it, I’ll just break it up and throw it away. But.. I’m guessing that’s not quite as easy as it sounds either and I doubt the garbage man was going to take 800 lbs of concrete.
I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I figured I just need to tip this thing on it’s side and I can probably roll it from there. High school physics, don’t fail me now! I tried a lever already and that didn’t work out too well. I didn’t have anything tougher than the shovel to try again with. I thought about a car jack, but I couldn’t get it under the block to start with and I figured it would just sink in to the mud. The only other two options I could remember were a pulley and an Archimedes’ screw. It didn’t look like Archimedes was going to be any help so I figured a pulley was my last hope. I didn’t have anything over this block to hang a pulley from, but there was a tree to the side of it, so I figured I could turn the whole thing sideways and use a pulley to get this block tipped onto it’s side. I went down to Wal-Mart to go pulley shopping.
Once I got there I quickly discovered the best pulleys and ropes money can buy (at Wal-Mart) were only rated up to 500-600 pounds. There went that option. I found a towing chain rated up to 5,000 pounds though so I grabbed it and it gave me the idea to head over to automotive to see if they had any better options there. I found a winch! Perfect! Only $30 too! It’s really designed for pulling your boat onto a trailer, but I’ll make due. It was rated to 1500 lbs, so I found some hooks that were also rated for that so I could attach the winch to the chain and wrap the chain around the tree. The plan was coming together.
I went home and got the whole contraption set up and started cranking. Everything I had was rated for 1,500 lbs or more which should be more than enough, but it dawned on me, I’m not really sure what the tree I was hooking this all up to was rated for. I was somewhat concerned about bringing the rest of the tree down on top of me, but figured the 4″ thick wood post should break before the foot thick tree did.
Even with the winch it was proving to be quite difficult to crank and the belt started showing some signs of wear. A crank or two later, the fastener that was holding the whole thing together broke. The threads stripped free and it bent itself open, more accurately. I started questioning exactly how much this concrete pad really weighed again. I also started having serious doubts that I would be able to roll this thing even if I did get it on it’s side.
Frustrated and tired, I thought to myself “You know what would look good there? A bird bath!”. I somehow managed to get Jeanette to go along and we spent the remainder of the week looking for a normal concrete or stone looking bird bath. Apparently bright red and blue ceramic is the style now and that’s all stores carry. We tried Garden Ridge, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Old Time Pottery and Atwoods and none of them had normal bird baths. We finally found one at Lowes.
I sawed off the wood post to be even with the concrete base and put the bird bath out there. I added some concreate glue to keep the dog from knocking it over on herself. Finally that project is done! Although, I may plant some flowers around the base. After feeling how heavy that bird bath was, I’m really glad I didn’t get any further in my attempts to move the base.
The past week or two I’ve been doing all the home maintenance items I’ve been putting off for years in order to get the house ready for sale. So far I have:
- Cut down all tree branches that were damaged by the ice storms.
- Replaced a sink
- Clean paint and grout off baseboards
- Cut and bundled probably 100 unwanted baby trees
- Removed some mold that was growing in one of the sinks
Cutting down the broken tree limbs was pretty fun. My grandpa passed away last December and I ‘inherited’ a pole saw along with some of his other tools. That made the job SO much easier. Jeanette wasn’t thrilled about me using a “chainsaw on a stick” given my track record, but I still have all my limbs and managed to not get hit on the head with a branch.
Fixing the leaking sink was the part I dreaded the most. I swore off ever doing plumbing work again a few years ago. I never can seem to get everything hooked back up without it leaking. After my dad pointed out I could just replace the sink cheaply instead of trying to repair it, I decided to give it one last shot. Turned out to be a piece of cake. Only took about an hour and $30 for a new sink and hoses, and it works great.
When we first moved in, our master bathroom had carpet. After the first time the toilet overflowed, we decided carpet was a REALLY bad idea and installed tile instead. We also repainted the walls a few months later. Being the first time for both, it didn’t dawn on us to tape off the baseboards before starting, so we ended up with quite a mess. We figured we’d have to replace the baseboards to fix it, but we found a paint thinner and grout remover at Wal-Mart that did a pretty good job. It took a LOT of scrubbing and didn’t get rid of everything, but it looks MUCH better than it did. The camera flash makes it look worse than it really was/is.
Chopping down and bundling the baby trees has been the biggest project so far. I spent about 15-20 hours working on it. Much longer than I thought it would take. It’s finally done now and the yard looks much better. I put out 6 bundles of wood for the garbage men last week, fortunately they took them. I have another 5 bundles sitting out there today.
There are still quite a few more projects to do..
Our house is coming along nicely. We’re about at the half way point now. It has been framed, shingled and all the gas water and electric lines have been run. We’re waiting for inspections now before putting up the bricks and sheetrock. We should be on schedule to have it finished right around the time school is letting out. Here are some photos.