Archive for the 'Home Improvement' Category

Growing Kids

The kids are really growing up quickly. And now we have a way to track their progress. Kim’s friend made a growth chart for another friend and gave it to her at a baby shower. Kim liked it so much she took a photo of it and convinced me to help her make one for ourselves.

Work In Progress

Work In Progress

We bought the numbers and some paint from Michael’s and got a 1×8 board from Home Depot. I cut the board to size and spray painted it with a color called pistachio. From there I touched up the paint on the numbers, glued them to one side of the board, and added measurement lines on the other side with a paint pen.

On The Wall

On The Wall

After letting it all dry I added the kids measurements from their yearly doctor visits with a thinner paint pen. I put some mounting hardware on the back and hung it up on the wall outside of their bedrooms. I was able to get it all done in just a few hours of work on a recent snowy day and I think it turned out great.

Building A Master Suite

The third floor of our house has always been setup as a master suite. It is the only bedroom in our house with its own bathroom. When our second kid came along we decided to move our bedroom furniture from the second floor up to the third and let the new baby have our old room. In order to do this, we realized that we needed a much larger closet than what was already available on the third floor.

Removing Trim

Removing Trim

I came up with a plan to tear down the old closet wall, and build a new wall perpendicular to it. This would easily double if not triple the amount of closet space available to us. Since the bathroom is at the back of the house, the new closet would be a walk-through.

Demolition Time

Demolition Time

My dad came over before the baby was born to help with the demolition and construction of the new wall.

The New Wall

The New Wall

The demolition is definitely the most fun part of the project, but it was nice to see progress once the construction started.

Wall Complete

Wall Complete

Kim’s uncle Joe helped me to hang the drywall and get it taped and mudded.

Drywall Hung

Drywall Hung

He also added a switch so that the two lights in the old room could be turned on independently of the other. One of the lights would now be inside the walk-through closet.

Interior Of New Closet

Interior Of New Closet

Mud Applied

Mud Applied

After three coats of mud it was time for some paint. I decided to keep it simple and paint the inside of the closet the same color as the bedroom. This made it easy on me since a couple of the old walls were already painted the correct color, and most of the ceiling too.

New Paint

New Paint

After tearing up the carpet to build the new wall across the room, it was pretty obvious to me that the old carpet would not be useful anymore. It was at this time that I decided to put down some laminate flooring.

New Floors

New Floors

This was the click together kind, which I found very easy to work with. So far it seems a lot more durable than the stick together kind. The only disadvantage is the installation of the stick together only needed a razor blade, while the thicker click together required a saw.

Floors Complete

Floors Complete

Once the walls and floors were complete I started working on a design for the shelving. I decided to use a combination of Rubbermaid’s HomeFree series and their FastTrack along with a lot of the FreeSlide wire shelving for our hanging clothes.

New Shelving

New Shelving

Once the shelving was all installed we very quickly filled it up completely.

More Shelving

More Shelving

I even had one of my shelves fall off the wall, but have since found some studs to screw the supports back and the shelf is operational once more.

Even More Shelving

Even More Shelving

Somewhere along the way we also had the four windows on the third floor replaced. These were the last four single pane windows left on the house.

New Windows Exterior

New Windows Exterior

The old windows either didn’t open or wouldn’t stay open. Plus we didn’t have any screens for them. The new windows are wonderfully easy to operate and help us cool and heat the space.

New Windows Interior

New Windows Interior

The only thing we are considering now is installing a mini-split system for air conditioning and heat. There are no vents for the system that is already installed on the other floors. I think that will definitely come before next summer. We are really loving all the extra space!

Mortgage Loan Refinancing

If you’ve been thinking of refinancing your mortgage with today’s low rates, I have a great recommendation for you. We just closed on our refinance this afternoon and were able to drop our rate down to 3.5% from 4.25% with absolutely zero closing costs. After shopping around a little bit, we used a recommendation from my brother and it couldn’t have been any easier. I contacted Ron Erdmann Jr. with First Place Bank on October 1 and we closed less than 20 days later. Most of the work was done through email and faxes, with just a couple of minutes spent on the phone to put together our application. Now that’s how I like to do business!

Fabness Three Canvas Print

We have slowly been adding more decor to our home over the last year. I wanted a way to display some of my photography and was sold on the idea of getting one of those canvas prints created. The problem was that I wanted to get something at least three feet wide, and I just wasn’t finding many options for that.

Enter Fabness and a recent LivingSocial deal. For $69 I was able to get three 12×18 canvas prints. And with their simple to use website, you can easily have one photo span all three canvases. Essentially that created one three-foot wide and 18 inch tall print.

New Wall Art

The LivingSocial deal did not include shipping, which was another $20. However I think it is still a deal for under $100 and the results look great! Normal price from Fabness would be $315 before shipping, though they do seem to run sales very regularly.

Closeup

Original Photo

They have many other options available. So I may have to use them again for another print in the future.

Our Second Home

With all the fun going on down at Williamstown Lake this past weekend, it’s amazing that we still found time to do a little work on the lake house. I was too busy to make it down last weekend, but my future brother-in-law started working on the baseboards and trim in the rooms where I put down new flooring. He came down again on Saturday and we worked together to finish this project. All of the trim is done except for the main living room / kitchen area. We still have some major work to do in the kitchen, so we are waiting to put down the finishing touches.

Completed Room

Slowly more furniture is being added to the house. Two weekends ago bunk beds were brought down for one of the smaller bedrooms for the kids to sleep on. I also think we have two full size beds coming down over the next few weeks. Ideally we won’t have adults sleeping on cots for too much longer. The spare queen size bed that Kim and I brought down has already given us a nice place to sleep for the three nights we’ve stayed at the lake.

Home Away From Home

Williamstown Annex

I’ve written before about Kim’s uncle Joe and his cabin down at Williamstown Lake. On one visit to the lake earlier this summer we all noticed a nearby property that was going to be auctioned off. Even though we have put in a lot of work at Joe’s (plumbing, wiring, dry wall, etc.) and it is looking really nice, it is just a one bedroom cabin. The property for auction was a four bedroom, 2 bathroom house, that definitely needed some TLC, but we soon realized that it could be a great addition to our lake trips.

So when the house went up for auction at the end of May, my father-in-law was logged on to his computer and putting in bids. Kim and I, along with Joe, and another family, decided to chip in on buying the house. When the auction was over we all became vacation home owners! Once all the paperwork went through, we all started working on the new house. First up was ripping out all the old nasty carpeting. Then many holes were patched in the walls, and a fresh coat of paint was applied. Last weekend I started putting down new vinyl flooring in one of the bedrooms.

Prepping Floors

The house is set up for central air conditioning, but the previous owners took the air conditioning unit with them upon their departure. We rigged up a window unit in one of the bedrooms, which has so far just been used as more of a living room, with a large wrap around couch. Although some of the group have slept on the couch, so I guess it is part bedroom too. Anyway, I started putting the flooring in this room. Even with the window unit, it was still a hot and sweaty day.

Installing New Floor

We decided to use vinyl flooring after researching the various types and realizing that this is the most waterproof and should be the most durable in the varying climate changes of the lake house. The floor comes in planks that stick together, but not to the sub-floor, so it’s a floating floor. It was really easy to put down, but all the up and down of left my legs extremely sore for the next few days.

All Done!

I started early in the afternoon by prepping the floor by removing staples, nails, etc.  Unfortunately we then realized that we needed to take the baseboard off, which led to some sanding and painting. Once I finally got started on the floor itself it was already getting late in the afternoon, meaning the floor wasn’t finished until almost 9 that night. Hard work, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

Finished Floors

Trey wanted to help out the whole time, as you can see from the last couple of photos. Two photos up shows the door that leads from this living room/bedroom to the dining and kitchen area. The photo just above shows the large closet door on the left and the door to one of the bathrooms on the right. Back by the bath is the utility closet and hookups for a washer and dryer. Neither the washer or dryer are there, so if you are looking to get rid of some let us know. Also note that there is no oven, and the refrigerator is definitely showing its age.

Last Shot

The door in the photo above goes out to a very large deck. You’ll notice that I still need to put baseboard back on the walls, but that will have to wait. Plans for this weekend call for getting the flooring put down in two additional bedrooms. Once done we plan to move some beds in and we can finally stay the night down at the lake. It’s a lot of work now, but it will be so nice to have all of this for many years to come.

Homearama At Willows Bend

Before I turn my attention to the happenings of this past weekend and this week, I wanted to provide a few pictures from the recently ended Homearama. Kim and I decided last-minute to go check out the Homearama on the last day it was open. This years event took place just off my parents exit on I-275 (Wards Corner) so I drove by it fairly regularly during the two-week opening. Though it never looked overly crowded, it was a relatively cheap ticket to get in ($11 if you bought them at Kroger ahead of time).

Exterior of My Favorite Home

Basically the Homearama is a new home showcase that features some of the latest trends and styles, although it is done at a much higher cost than the average homeowner can afford. Regardless it is still pretty cool to see these lavish homes and dream the day away. Take a look at some of the crazy things that were in these $675,000 – $1,000,000 homes.

007 Bar with 3 TV’s

Basement Wine Cellar

Massive Wraparound Screen

Huge Swimmable Hot Tub

Golf Simulator

Nursery Is Ready

Saturday was a productive day for us at the Paff house.  We spent the majority of the day working on the baby’s room.  Details can be found over at kimandedjr.com.

It's a jungle in there!

Vegetable Garden Update

I am really amazed at how much our little vegetable garden has grown over the last month.  I hope it’s not too much longer before we have some fresh produce.  Here is a picture I snapped as I walked into the house last night after work.

The tomatoes are by far the biggest and I put some cages on them a few weeks ago.  They are followed by the broccoli in the third row, and then probably the kale.  The peppers on the far left side haven’t grown too much, though I’m not sure if that’s normal or not.  The onions were doing great a week ago but then we had a rainy week and they don’t appear to be as tall and strong as before.  Overall I am very impressed with the progress, take a look at this second picture which was taken just over a month ago.

China Cabinet Project Complete

Two weeks ago, I wrote about some improvements we had made to a built-in china cabinet. We finished the work last week, but I kept forgetting to get a picture of the completed project. Well I finally remembered, so here are the before and after photos of the china cabinet. I wish I had a better full size picture of before, but you can still tell how much our work really changed the look.

Before

We removed both of the big glass doors, sanded them, and repainted them. I also spent a good amount of time sanding and painting the inside shelves and trim pieces. We bought matching knobs for the doors, and installed some magnetic cabinet catches to keep the doors closed. I also removed a trim piece of wood from each shelf that must have acted as a plate holder in the past. This allowed us to fully use each shelf and now all the glasses fit much better than they did before.

After