Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Food Storage

Picked up these cute little sealed storage containers at Wal-Mart. They were really cheap and dress up the kitchen nicely. I used a wine glass marker to label the jars that needed labeling. A lot better than having a bunch of boxes to sort through and I've since found that I'm more likely to use the ingredients since they're not stowed away in the back of a cabinet. Plus, roaches can't get in them if they ever decide to return for a final show-off.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hello, Dave.

Got a Nest 'smart' thermostat installed! You can also see the drywall that I skim coated and primed. It used to be textured, yuck. I had to patch the wall where the old thermostat used to be, but the patch blends in seamlessly with the rest of the work I did on the drywall in the hallway.

This YouTube video gives a pretty good overview of how the Nest works and why it is so awesome:

I'm quite pleased with the product. It was super easy to install, has a great interface that's comparable to turning the dial on an iPod, and has a sleek looking digital display that really packs the 'wow' punch.

The Nest quickly learned my schedule and has been very reliable. Through its connection to my wireless network, the Nest identifies the relative outdoor heat and humidity. With this information, it powers on the HVAC system so that the indoor temperature is adjusted to my desired temperature by the time I arrive home from work. What makes this feature really amazing is that it will begin cooling the house down at a different time each day, based upon on the outdoor temperature. The programmable thermostat that I had before did not take the weather into account, so some days I would come home to a hot house, since it hadn't had enough time to cool down. Considering that the house is currently a construction zone and is hardly air sealed, the Nest has drastically improved my comfort. For those of you that don't know, Houston is hot, and I mean HOT. The type of hot where you're drenched in sweat after just a few minutes outside. Imagine taking a shower and 5 minutes later you've already drenched through your undershirt. Having a temperature controlled home is a must and the Nest has really outshined the old Honeywell digital thermostat.

Here's what really impresses me about the Nest, that the YouTube review doesn't cover:

  • Whenever you adjust the temperature, it displays the estimated time that it will take to reach that temperature <--- way cool!
  • The display color corresponds with whether you are running the heater or the AC. It turns a brighter blue when set to a cooler temperature for the AC. Likewise, it turns brighter red when set to a higher temperature for the heater

At $250 the price is a little steep, but thanks to the Historic Houston's Salvage Warehouse, I picked this puppy up for $185. Still expensive, but well worth the investment.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sleeping Porch: Restoring Old Windows

It involves a lot of paint scraping

Viking Stove

Picked up a Viking 6 burner gas stove for $315 at Historic Houston's Salvage Warehouse! Can't wait to install it!

DIY Miter Saw Stand

First I built the top, using a piece of plywood from the wall in the sleeping porch and some rails from the dining room wainscottting where the archway was uncovered:

This was my first time using a circular saw.

Some caulking around the edges helped make it look finished:

and of course, primer:

To create the insets for the legs, I used a circular saw to make a lot of narrow cuts, then chiseled out the pieces with a wood chisel:

I did the same on the corners:

But I've since learned that it's better to create the base, then place the top on last.

So here's the problem...

I had some trouble getting it out of the door since the clawfoot tub was in the way. A circular saw took care of the issue in a jiffy. 

So then it was finally outside and upright.

And at long last my miter saw arrived!

So then I  got to building the feeds for the miter saw. Naturally, it was built from scrap materials:

The table top is from the easter bunny room (a.k.a., the sleeping porch)
The wood floor is salvaged from the bathroom
The 2x4s for the table are from the bathroom divider wall that was torn out
The scrap piece of plywood is from under the refrigerator

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Priming Wood

It's easier to prime the pine before installing the door and window casings:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sleeping Porch: Priming Days 1 and 2

This is going to take a while. Pink is notoriously hard to cover up. I'm also going to have to do something about the cracks in the ceiling. There's no shiplap above it, so those cracks let the cool air just seep right up into the attic.

2 coats of primer later and the pink and green walls are still visible. This is definitely going to take a while. You can see where I patched the wood on the door casing with wood filler. Once the primer dries I'll sand it down and prime it again. Although I had done some work on the door casing prior to priming it, the coat of white paint really brings out the flaws in the wood, so it acts as a helpful guide for finding the problem areas that need to be addressed.

This 16' piece of old wood was placed over the joints between 2 pieces of shiplap (you can see it still on the wall in the top right of the previous photo):

Here's what the cladding looked like before and after priming. I caulked all the gaps to air seal the room and give it a polished look:


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hallway Walls Primed

The walls are finally primed in the hallway! A while back I'd skim coated the walls in the hallway to remove all that fugly texture on them. I think the smooth walls make it look more modern, clean, and sleek. Plus the hallway and the trim aren't pink anymore. Hooray!

Decorating while renovating 101:
Use Benjamin Moore paint sampler books, lights you need to hang, and jars with foam brushes in them to bring some life and coziness to your rooms while in the middle of renovation construction :P

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hallway and Kitchen Doorways Painted

Got the archway casings between the kitchen and the hallway painted!

The casings were sanded, then primed with oil-based primer, and painted with Benjamin Moore, White Dove, Regal Oil-based Satin finish. The paint was applied with a foam roller for smooth to semi-smooth finishes.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Master Bedroom Painted

The patchy red walls in the bedroom were bugging me so I went ahead and painted this room. I love the color, which pairs well with the stained wood. Since the bedroom is usually dark I skipped skim coating and priming the walls. I suppose someday I'll go back and do that, but other rooms have priority at this time.

The hardwoods in this room have note been exposed yet. All things in good time.

Panorama View
Paint Color: Clark and Kensington, Blackberry, Flat finish

Monday, June 1, 2015


This mega thing was flying around my kitchen light. I killed it, thinking it was a yellow jacket, but my friend Roy (a man who has a spectacular knowledge of critters), informed me that  it is a potter wasp, which is a solo, non-aggressive wasp that is beneficial to the garden :_(

Sleeping Porch: Re-glazing Old Windows

The window glazing before (yikes!)
The windows after I re-glazed them

Kitchen Cabinets Painted

Here's how this goes:

1. Remove all cabinet doors and hinges
2. Clean ever roach crack and crevice
3. Caulk every roach crack and crevice
4. Use a 120 grit sanding sponge to coarsen up the paint finish
5. Apply primer
6. Sand with 180 grit sanding sponge
7. Apply 2nd coat of primer
8. Sand with 180 grit sanding sponge
9. Apply Benjamin Moore's White Dove, satin finish
10. Sand with 180 grit sanding sponge
11. Apply final coat
12. Sand lightly with 220 grit sanding sponge