Steve's blog

Al Bundy, Home Renovation

Posted by Steve on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 10:09am


A few days ago, Jeannie from House In Progress referred a woman from a new ABC reality show to me. From the email it sounded like she was looking for folks who had gone way over their heads on a home improvement project and needed 911 from the professionals to bail them out.

I told her that this was my fourth major construction project in 25 years and that I wasn't (*harumph*) a rookie at this stuff. I politely declined. But the next day I wondered if I wasn't exactly the sort of Al Bundy cartoon character she wanted. After all, I was three weeks behind where I wanted to be on the master bedroom renovation. That's a Bundy point right there: unrealistic expectations.

My shop is a war zone!

Posted by Steve on Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:57pm


I've completed boxing in the bay windows. I had to deal with these windows downstairs during the living room renovation so I knew this wasn't going to be a cake walk. The original builders pretty much winged the framing so the angles aren't consistent. The trim was essentially supported by a trash can full of shims... some of them three inches thick.


Happy Halloween

Posted by Steve on Wed, 11/01/2006 - 1:41am


The neighborhood was a mob scene of power rangers and fairy princesses tonight. Our state senator had the brilliant idea of turning the park down the block into "Haunted Halloween" with a disco, a haunted walk, hay rides, a food court and kiddy amusements as a safer alternative to trick-or-treating. As a result, half the kids in Brooklyn were there. Then they assaulted my neighborhood for their sugar rush. Next year I want a government subsidy on my candy supply.

Halloween is a kids' thing and since I don't have kids it's not exactly my thing. But I endure it and get to meet a few neighbors in the process.

I haven't posted anything about the master bedroom renovation in almost two weeks. I haven't been loafing, just too busy to sit down and write anything. The plaster repairs are done. I skimcoated and primed the walls and have begun the wainscotting and preliminary finish carpentry.

Wall Prep Tips

Posted by Steve on Mon, 10/23/2006 - 10:38am


I've got a lunch meeting with a prospective client today so I'll dive into the first priming of the master bedroom project this evening. This gives me an opportunity for some virtual renovation this morning: reading the Houseblogs sites and posting to my own.

Bill over at Enon Hall posted a cool Top Ten list. There are some good tips there. Ya'll should check it out (although my lumberyard likes to see double-spaced, typed materials lists with product codes and a letterhead, preferably faxed in advance).

Since I'm in "wall prep mode" I thought I'd post my own Top Ten in that area. So without further ado...

When Robots Attack

Posted by Steve on Sat, 10/21/2006 - 11:00am


Being the gadget freak I am, I'm of course a big fan of home automation. 90% of my house is under X10 control and the command of a FreeBSD server running some perl scripts I hacked together. I've already written some articles about X10 and my trials and tribs with it so I won't repeat them here.

I love having my house turn its own lights on/off. I like setting up whole-house lighting schemes, available at the touch of a button. But truthfully, X10 is a lot like owning a 1970s-vintage Triumph motorcycle. You run it for a while, then you spend a whole lot of time fixing it. X10 devices will work fine for years only to suddenly stop responding to commands. After hours of sleuthing you find that it's because the battery charger for your new camera is generating a noise storm on your household wiring.

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