Archive for June, 2012
Yup, we rearranged some furniture! Wait, what did you think we meant by new moves in the bedroom?
First lets rewind to this post where I said “As for if the bed can move, the floor plan of this room is a definite challenge thanks to “things” on each wall (two very off-centered windows, a nook across from the door, and a nook with the sink tucked into it on another wall – and a chandelier in the exact center that looks off if the bed isn’t in the right place). So we’ve tried the bed in a bunch of spots, but the place that works best for us is where it lives now (it’s the only long flat wall in our entire room).”
Well, after seeing a few inspiring glossy mag photos, we decided it might not be the weirdest thing in the world for the bed to be right next to a window. See, moving the bed would do one major thing for us: allow us to ditch our sadly-too-small-for-our-giant-room side tables (which we couldn’t do on the old wall where they lived, since the door would swing open and hit anything larger).
So although we weren’t 100% sure how we’d handle the odd nook to the right of the bed and the window that would nearly touch the bed on the left, we just decided to go for it and see what we could come up with. But before we moved anything, we got new curtains from Ikea for $5 a pop (Vivan panels, which are our favorites from our first house). They come two per pack for $9.99, and aren’t super heavy or super sheer, just sort of breezy and light – which we thought this room could use since it has a big dark rug on the floor (and we’d eventually love to stain the wood floors a dark mocha color).
They definitely layer right in and add some softness (we hope to reuse the old green curtains I made in the playroom). Didn’t hem the new guys yet though- but I probably will someday. Haha.
Then it was time to move stuff around. First we removed our insanely heavy organic mattress (which can best be described as the equivalent of lifting 50 dead bodies, not that we’d know…) and then we slowly inched the bed over to its new spot across from the doorway (so you can walk at least ten steps into the room instead of three before slamming into the side of it, which happened in its old position by the door).
Next we shimmied the rug into position under the bed in its new spot before nearly blowing a gasket moving the mattress back onto the bed in its new spot. It still looked really really weird.
I was excited to start moving some other furniture around, but John had to duck outside to work on some deck stuff and Clara was napping so you know what I did, right? That’s right, my 5’2″ self got it done on my own. Haha. I hauled our dresser into the nook to act as a much larger bedside table and then stared at the blank space under the window on the other side of the wall for a nice long time while I caught my breath. It wasn’t functional to give up a night table and we definitely appreciate the balance of having two bedside lamps (especially along a wall with an off-centered window and an odd corner nook without any sort of symmetry going for it at all).
So I literally walked around the house (avoiding the nursery so as not to wake the
dragon Clara) to see if there was something we already owned that I could bring in to use as my bedside table under the window. Sure enough, my eyes rested on this guy who has been hanging out in the dining room:
The funny thing is that this cabinet is actually meant to be a bedside table, so here I was thinking I was being a rebel to stick it in the dining room, only to drag it into the bedroom and realize that I loved it under the window. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it in the dining room too, so for one of those places we’ll have to grab something else (it might just be a placeholder in the bedroom and we’ll get another table and return it to the dining room eventually – or vice versa). Update: Folks are asking if the chandelier is still centered over the bed, since it’s hard to tell from this angle. Thankfully it’s still perfectly centered! If the nook were a foot wider this arrangement wouldn’t have worked – and if we had a king-sized bed instead of a queen it would have been no dice! Whew.
Then I hung the art that used to hang above the dresser in the nook, and put up an old oil-rubbed bronze mirror over the bed – which used to hang in our living room, but was replaced with a white mirror about six months ago. It added a little more “something” to the big blank wall above the bed, but we’re thinking that down the road we’d love to make a big upholstered headboard for that area and maybe move the mirror up so it’s closer to the height of the big round chandelier in the middle of the room since we think height in the center of that wall might be really nice and will further disguise the fact that our bed is jammed between an awkward nook and an oddly off-centered window.
Here’s Burger stretching. That is the only reason I took this shot. Cracks me up. I actually really liked the smaller white table on one side with a larger wood dresser on the other side since they both seemed to fit into those spaces well and the matching artichoke lamps added some nice balance. Ideally the white night table would be a bit taller so both lamps would be at the same height, but for now I just grabbed a stack of books to add some height to that light on my side of the bed. Maybe down the line we’ll add castors or little legs to give it a bit more lift, but for now it does the trick.
Moving that art into the nook to sort of balance the window on the other side of the bed seemed to make an instant difference since that nook no longer looked like a big blank wall, and the two frames felt rectangular and balanced with the window on the other side of the bed (admittedly more so in person since the window is blown out in this pic, but is very easy to see in real life).
I also mentioned that I dragged the leaning mirror from across the room to where the wood dresser used to be, which seemed to add even more balance to the new setup since it was a nice shot of dark wood next to the white nightstand to tie into the wood dresser on the other side of the bed. We had that guy anchored on the wall so Clara can’t pull it down on herself, but thankfully the system just uses cable ties, so we were able to reuse the same system with two new zip ties in its new spot (you can see how the whole anchoring thing works here).
Here’s another view of things. Of course those two botanical frames look crazy on the wall with no bed under them, so we’re planning to rehang them in the corner of the room that’s on the other side of the sink nook (not pictured, but there’s a chair and a side table over there). And then anything from a cabinet or console to a large piece of art could end up on that wall someday. But this view definitely looks extra weird since it’s so unfinished on that back wall.
At this point we were tired but hopeful. It still looks kind of crazy to us, but not bad for about an hour of work. And we definitely have bigger plans to help it make more sense over time, so we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here’s Exhibit A that we’re dorks for life. Yes, we had the tripod all set up so we took a moment to pretend to be angry monsters under the bed. Although looking back John just looks like a mischievous kid and I look like a sullen teenage vampire.
Then we pretended to sleep. Totally normal, right?
Then we thought we were done taking pictures, but later that night we found ourselves standing in the hallway – just marveling at the new view.
We couldn’t find a recent pic of the old view into the bedroom, but this is one from over a year ago, just to give you an idea of how the side of the bed was sort of the only thing you’d see before:
Now instead of seeing the bed, there’s just a straight shot into the room with the dresser in the nook. It’s actually really nice not to see the bed from the hall anymore, and the nook looks a lot less weird and bare when there’s actually something in it.
So that’s where we landed after a few hours of bedroom noodling. Although I must admit that we did something a little more DIY-heavy after this little furniture-move-a-palooza, so we’ll share those details this afternoon (just have to upload the pics and write the post). In short: we’re getting somewhere, but we’re definitely not completely there yet (but what else is new around here, haha). More soon!
*** This giveaway has reached its cap of 10,000 entries, and has been closed – see who won below!***
After reaching our cap within 24 hours, we’ve gone ahead and let random.org pick our one lucky winner. They are… AJ (who can’t wait to take our next picture for our annual anniversary photo). We know the feeling. Congrats!
…I’m gonna let it… be organized online? If you’re one of those people that can’t seem to get a handle on your family photos – between your camera, phone, computer, and Facebook / Instagram / Flickr – you just might find the answer to your prayers in ThisLife. It’s a free cloud photo storage tool that, among other things, easily imports and organizes your photos into one central place. It also has cool features like face recognition, a timeline, and it keeps things private by default. They’ve even got a free iPhone and iPad app… which brings us to the first part of this week’s prize: a 16GB iPad courtesy of ThisLife!
But since we’re firm believers that your pictures aren’t meant to just live online, as the second part of this week’s prize, we got MyPublisher to throw in an $100 gift card that can be used toward their high-quality bound photobooks – or even a canvas print (they recently added those to their repertoire). So one lucky winner will walk away with a new iPad for safely storing all of their photos online, and a place to display and appreciate their favorites of the bunch in a photobook or a canvas print.
- PRIZE: A 16GB iPad courtesy of ThisLife (a $499 value) and a $100 gift card to MyPublisher.
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “LIFE ME” and tell us…
- BONUS QUESTION: … what moment you’re most looking forward to capturing on film this summer. Got a great vacation coming up? Or a graduation that you want to always remember? Or maybe a big home project that has you looking forward to snapping a few “after” pictures?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, June 20th at 8pm EST or at 10,000 entries (whichever comes first)
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
- PRIZE SHIPS: The United States (although we do try to wrangle as many international giveaways as possible)
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday for the announcement of our winner. Good luck…
Note: We aren’t paid or perked for hosting these giveaways, we just do ‘em to thank you awesome folks for stopping in. See our Giveaway FAQ page for more info. Pics courtesy of ThisLife and MyPublisher.
Before we get to our weekly deck update, we just have to say HOLY COW you guys have awesome homes! So many folks submitted house crashing photos for our upcoming trip to Atlanta for the Haven conference – and we wish we had time to see every last one of you! We’ve worked out a plan to crash as many as we can fit in and are crying a little inside that we can’t get to all of you - but we might be back out that way for book tour stuff in the fall so there’s always next time! So this is just a huge thanks to everyone for offering to allow a toddler, a chihuahua, and two curious bloggers to snoop around.
Ok, back to business. I’m quite proud of this post title as it includes not one, but two deck puns about our latest accomplishments: leveling more stuff and digging holes. Continuing with the theme of Deck Day #1, Day #2 wasn’t quite as productive as we had envisioned. Day #2 actually happened the day after #1, but since that progress wasn’t really post-worthy we wanted to squeeze in a bit more ’til writing another update. But we finally accomplished both a fully completed ledger board and made all of our post holes thanks to Deck Day #3, so here’s the rundown on those last two days of deck work.
You may recall that we left off with hanging one ledger board on the brick side of the alley and had readied the siding side for ledger board-ing as well.
Obviously the first task for Day #2 was to get the other ledger board hung against the house (for more explanation of what these guys do and how they’re installed, check out this post). So the first thing we did was mark where all of our hangers would go (the metal piece that a joist sits in) so that we didn’t put any bolts in those spots. Since the hangers would have to line up with the hangers we had already marked on the brick side of the house, I created a little diagram with all of my measurements so we could mark them accurately. Clara is responsible for the crayon scribble.
The ledger was a bit of a bear to maneuver because it was one 17-foot-long 2×8′ board. But my dad and I managed to get it into place – and between our two sets of hands and some scrap board for propping, were able to level and screw it in without too much trouble. The actual bolting process was faster since (a) we only had to use 6″ lag screws this time and (b) we were going through wood, not brick.
Since the ledger board attachment phase went faster than expected, we decided to insert another task to our to-do list: attaching all of the joist hangers. Our ultimate goal was to dig post holes by the end of the day, but since it was barely 11am we thought we could knock out the hangers pretty fast. So off we went with our level and scrap joist, hammering in the hangers right down the line. Although we actually did every third hanger first (to take advantage of the full length of our level) and then went back and filled in the ones between.
It was a relatively straight-forward process, though a bit more time consuming than we had bargained for.
And just like the day before, we had our cheering section observing from the door. Unlike the day before, the cheering section was no longer wearing clothes for some reason (except, thankfully, for a blue cloth diaper). This doesn’t include my wife (she was diaperless, yet clothed – and thankfully very helpful for photo taking and conferring throughout the day while she Clara-wrangled).
By about 1pm, my dad and I had finished all of the hangers on one side of the house. And we were growing a bit less confident about our schedule and more than a little hungry.
So instead of tackling the hangers on the brick side of the house, we decided to get some food in our bellies and then turn our attention to digging post holes since our first inspection was only about footings, not ledgers or hangers or any of that other jazz. But can’t you just see it- our future deck. Try to squint and imagine beams going across these ledgers and boards running on top of those. Bam: instant imaginary deck. If only making that a reality were that easy. We can only devote one or two days a week to it since it calls for such big chunks of our time (we’re also working around my dad’s schedule, which we’re happy to do in return for his help) so our goal is to complete it before the end of July. So expect weekly updates for the next month or so and then hopefully we’ll have a nice purty after picture for ya. Haha.
After our late lunch we got right to planning where our post holes needed to go. On paper, it looked fairly straightforward. As you can sort of tell from this 3D rendering that 84 Lumber provided with my plans (this is a few from underneath – almost as if you were beneath our AC unit) – we’d need two posts at the end of the deck, two in the middle of the stairs, and (although not shown clearly) two at the very bottom of the steps.
Actually figuring out where those holes went on the ground was a bit more involved. For the two at the end of the deck, we first had to figure out exactly where the end of our deck was and what angle the stairs would come off at (we made it easy on ourselves and went for 45 degrees). We marked our lines with some string tethered between two bolts hammered into the dirt.
Figuring out the stair posts meant actually figuring out how long our stairs would be. My geometry is a bit rusty, so thank goodness for this EZ Stair Calculator I found online. And thank goodness for my fancy schmancy temporary desk:
Even with the calculator, we spent more time staking out our stairs because Sherry, my dad, and I got into this big debate about what the stairs should look like (and what we felt capable enough to build). We had at one point envisioned stairs that flared out at the end. But there were seven stairs instead of three, so that would have gotten too wide for the space.
We even talked about three stairs with a large platform halfway down and then three more stairs. But ultimately we opted to keep things simple and just go with basic straight stairs for now (we didn’t want them to go on forever – which they would do with a platform in the middle – and with the air conditioner to the right of the stairs and the house to the left of them, it sort of limited our creativity). Oh but see the railing on the deck to the right of the stairs in the picture below? We think that’s going to be a big built-in planter box instead. Will keep you posted as we go!
At least our decision to go with “classic stairs” was easy to mark with our string (we later shifted them over five inches away from the house – oh and we’ll plant something to the right of them so there’s a buffer between the steps and the air conditioner – not too close though, so it won’t inhibit the air conditioner’s function).
But by that point it was about 5pm on Deck Day #2, and two straight days of work were catching up with us, so we made the call to leave hole digging for another day. So let’s skip ahead to just a few days ago when my dad arrived with this in his trunk. Enter Deck Day #3, stage right.
That’s a two-man auger from the Home Depot Tool Rental Center. After having not the most fun manually digging holes for our fence last year, I figured we’d got the power tool route this time. It was $60 to rent for 4 hours (and it would have been $85 if we wanted it for a full 24).
To get us started I dug a shallow mark in the ground where we needed our hole to go, which also helped the auger bit sit in the right place before we powered it up.
The thing started up like a lawn mower (you pull the cord and it starts to rev) and, although a bit unwieldy it wasn’t all that challenging to use. It took both of us holding tight while I controlled the speed of the bit with one hand. We’d let the motion and weight of the machine do most of the work – we just had to keep it from falling over. And occasionally we pulled it out to help the dirt actually get out of the hole. NOTE: Always call your local Miss Utility first to ensure you’re not digging through any wires or pipes that could be damaging to yourself or your property. We did this as one of our first deck planning steps way back in May (more on that here).
If you asked me today, I’d say the auger wasn’t that hard to use. But looking back at these pictures, boy does my face tell a different story.
And I guess it wasn’t only my face trying to prove just how hard we were working. Sherry thought it was funny that the veins in my arms were bulging… even several minutes after putting the auger down to rest.
Also contributing to the vein-bulginess was the fact that following each spin with the auger, we had to go back manually with a shovel and a post hole digger to “tidy up” the hole and get it to the required dimensions.
Part of the reason we did this was just to get some of the loose dirt out that the auger had churned up, but not successfully carried out of the hole. The other reason was that (due to a miscommunication with my dad on my part) he rented an 8″ auger bit and we needed 12″ holes to pass inspection. So you can see from the picture below how a “just augered” hole wasn’t quite as wide as we needed.
But once everything was cleared out, we checked all of our dimensions to make sure they would pass inspection. The holes had to be 12 inches wide. Check!
And at least 18″ deep (which is the local requirement given our frost line). We tried to get at least 21″ though, because I plan to put a few inches of gravel in the bottom to help for drainage before I put in the required concrete.
Digging the six required holes only took us about two hours. Pretty speedy compared to all of the other work that had gone into this deck so far. Of course, the day we worked felt like the muggiest and most humid day of the summer so far, so my dad and I were both pretty well spent (not to mention drenched in sweat). I’ll spare you that picture. Instead, I’ll leave you to admire our holes. Wait, that sounds inappropriate…
With our footer holes done we’re now able to proceed with scheduling our first inspection. While I’m super confident about our holes, something about the inspection just makes me nervous. So please keep your fingers crossed for us! Perhaps I’ll have to put on a fancy inspection-getting outfit much like my dapper permit-getting one. Or should I just send Burger and Clara out there to charm the guy?
What did you guys tackle this weekend? Any other auger users out there? Or do you dig the old fashioned way like I did for the patio’s fence installation? I gotta say it took a lot less time, so the $60 rental fee was money well spent!
Psst- Want to follow along as we inch towards a finished deck from the beginning? Here’s a post about planning it, clearing the area, getting a permit, demoing the old deck, and day one of deck building.