Thursday, September 18, 2014

Window with a View

Remember this window that I took out in order to put in the sliding glass door?

And, remember how dark and depressing my study is?

And, remember this amazing view our house has, which was the big reason we bought this property?

Well, it just so happens that the architect who designed this house didn't put even one window on the East side of the house to allow you to see this amazing view from inside the house!  Crazy!  Oh, how I wish I could have designed this house from the ground up . . . .  Well, although I cannot rebuild the whole house, I figured that since I have this extra, huge window lying around, have a study that makes me depressed all winter long, and have a view that I wish I could see all day long, I might as well put the window on the one and only wall that will solve all three of those problems.  And, yesterday I did it!  I now have natural light, a gorgeous mountain view, and have not wasted my leftover window!  I am so excited!  Unfortunately, I'm not very good at remembering to take pictures along the way, so here are the few pictures that I did remember to get throughout the process:
Cut out the drywall to access the framing
Had to preserve what I could from the blown-in insulation--it was such a mess and pain to deal with.
Here, I forgot to take pictures after I framed the header for the new window and put back the insulation above and below the window.  I also forgot to take pictures of rerouting the wiring (which is always the thing to get me wanting to curse--it's always SO MUCH HARDER than I think it will be).  I was so exhausted from the process, pics were the last thing on my mind. It's painful even thinking back on it.  :)

Cut out the plywood sheathing outside and was nearly blinded by the light it let in--SO EXCITING!

Even though the weather forecast said clear, sunny skies, a crazy rain storm decided to pass over right after I cut the hole!  I was so lucky that my husband just happened to get off work early at exactly that moment and was able to help me lift the window into place.  Needless to say, I got soaked while we installed the window.

After the storm past, I got back to installing the waterproof membrane and decided to wait another day for everything to dry out before replacing the siding.

But, the window is in, so I don't have to worry about kids falling out of the hole anymore!

I put some furniture back so that the room is functional until I can get around to the finish trim and built-in bookshelves I'm planning to build around the room to make the study a library as well.
These are my plans for the library--built-in bookshelves around the window and door and along the opposing wall and homework/work station desks and computers along the fourth wall.
We are LOVING our new view and natural light!  Now, if I can just get the time and energy to do the library and finish work in this study . . . .

UPDATE:  I installed the siding this morning.  Yay!
I suppose it looks a little strange to have this be the only window on this side of the house, but the light and view it lets into the inside compensates for that fact, I think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sliding Glass Door and outdoor Pendant Light

So, I can't bear another winter without a window in my study.  So, I decided to replace the window in our dining room with a sliding glass door.  This accomplishes two things: 1) it allows us to walk straight out to the outside dining table directly from the kitchen and 2) it frees up a window to install in the study.  So, I finally got around to installing the door.

This is how the dining room looked when we moved in, with the window:

We love to eat outside, but don't love our kids having to carry food around and through the carpeted family room in order to get to the outdoor table.  This picture shows where we eat and the window that I'm replacing with a door:

First thing I did, was cut out the drywall and remove the insulation from below the window so I could access the wiring below the window and re-route it over the doorway (don't have any pictures of re-routing the wiring, but I created a junction box, by adding an outdoor outlet beside the door outside and, while I was at it, I figured I might as well add an outdoor pendant light to hang above our outdoor dining table).

I then had to remove the siding, so that I could access the window to remove it:

After I pulled out the window, I cut out the wall beneath it (since there is already a header above the window, the framing below the window supports only the window itself).  I asked Ben if he wanted to pull the wall down and he was SO excited to get to help with that:

Next, I had to adjust the framing of the opening to fit the door and raise it to the height of the threshold.  I then had to waterproof the new opening, by wrapping it with vinyl flashing tape (you can also see the new outlet to the right of the door in this picture):

Then, it was time to calk and install the door and replace the siding around it.  Once I finished that, I also finished installing the new outlet and light fixture (I figured, I might as well put the light on a dimmer switch so we can have dinner by "candle-light" when we want). I then had to install the interior trim (which I've primed, but haven't painted yet).  Here are some pictures:

Once I add the interior trim, I will try to add some interior pictures.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Step Stool

As you know, I built a new bedroom for my nine-year-old and two-year-old to share.  They have been really enjoying it, but the two year old has to step on the drawer handles in order to get into bed (or get a running start)--Haha!  Well, it just so happens that he has a birthday coming up this week, so I am taking this opportunity to build him a step stool to keep next to his bed (which I've been putting off since remodeling his room--I've been a little busy having a baby, putting on Christmas, etc. since then).  :)  So, I started it yesterday, and this is how it's coming along this morning (with the pieces just stacked into place minus the top step):

I'm hoping to get it routed this afternoon or tomorrow.  Then all I'll have left is assembling and painting it.  Hopefully I get it done before his birthday this weekend. I'll try to update photos as I go, so check back in next week to see the final product!

UPDATE:  Today I assembled the stool:

This afternoon, I will fill all the screw holes with wood fill so that I can give it a final sanding and prime tomorrow.

UPDATE:  It's DONE!!!  Yay!  I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Accordion Swing-arm Wall Lamp

So ever since I remodeled his room, my son has been begging me to find the time to get him a bedside reading lamp like the ones I installed in his brothers' room.  Well, it just so happens that he has a science fair this week at school and this year it's actually a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fair.  So, we decided to take this opportunity to do an electrical engineering project and make him a bedside wall lamp--I'm all for killing two birds with one stone.  He took many factors into consideration when designing the lamp, including function, cost, and aesthetics and after researching how electricity works in your home and contemplating several different options for how he wanted to build his light, he settled on an accordion-style lamp.  This will allow him to hang  the lamp to the side so that we can install a fabric bed canopy later (which he's particularly excited about) and still allow him to swing the lamp above his head while in bed.This is the final product.  He plans to make one for his brother's bed too.  Here are some pictures of his final product:
We wired a matching silver power cord to a silver pull chain socket and attached the cord to the backside of an accordion bracket (we took off a mirror I was planning to use in my master bath someday) with 20 gauge wire so that it's not visible from the front.
We affixed the light socket to the bracket and then supplied it with a 25 watt bulb, which we decided was bright enough to read by but dim enough to not disturb his sleeping brother when he reads at night.
We found a cheap utility light and removed it's metal bell shade to use in our fixture and hung it over the light socket.  My son then chose a temporary pull chain to use until he gets the frog-shaped one that he really wants for his birthday (which is expensive so it needs to be a gift--remember how I feel about the 2 birds with 1 stone).
The light can be extended and swung out over the bed . . . .
. . . . or retracted at the bedside.
Overall, the project turned out rather nice.  I'm excited to see how the finished room looks once we get the canopies in.  They will be just half-canopies over the heads of the beds.  Now we just need to make the other light for the second bed and buy some new accordion mirrors for me to use in my bathroom when I get around to the remodel in there.