Sunday, November 1, 2009

An EXCITING...New Evaporative Cooler Cover?

Not that exciting, but maybe useful for someone else with the same issue.

You have an evaporative cooler, but you see that cover at your local hardware store, and the mustardy baby diaper color just isn't what you'd choose to put on a highly visible item on the top of your house.


Marine-grade canvas, in customizable colors. Pretty sweet. About double the cost of a normal cover; but having owned two of the old ones, I can tell you the one I have is going to last a LONG time while the others were lucky to make it through a season or two without ripping.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rocks that Smell Like the Ocean

Just a small update--after removing all the rose bushes this year, I finally got around to redoing one of the beds on the southeast side of the house. Last year, I took a trip with my brother to see Radiohead in Santa Barbara, and we stayed at the Presidio Motel there in town. It's a very modern/minimalist boutique motel that the owners Kenny and Chris did a great job of renovating. (Similar to the Jupiter in Portland, but MUCH quieter!) In talking to them about their renovations, one thing I really liked was this rock they had used sparingly to landscape the front of the motel. They had used some Mexican Beach Pebble, and I loved the way it looked. Modern and simple, and with an almost Japanese zen garden kind of quality. So, after searching around the Denver metro area for the better part of a year, I finally found it at Paulino Gardens.

So anyhow...pretty simple project. Hardest part was finding the damn rocks.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

You Will Have to Do Your Pull-Ups Elsewhere....

Just a small update--this weekend, I took it upon myself to remove the rest of the rose bushes (16 in all?) and while doing so, I decided to take on a slightly larger project--getting rid of the ridiculous pull-up bar that has been an eyesore in our courtyard area.

It actually took my mom seeing the thing to even tell us what it was. We suspected that it was a pull-up bar, but really...who would install a pull-up bar in their courtyard? (No offense to the Ramsey's--apparently they had use for it.)

Anyhow, upon digging down on both posts and realizing that this thing had a huge cement base entrenched below ground level, I ran to the 'Pot and bought a metal-cutting blade for the sawzall. Sawzall - 2, bushes/galvanized steel - 0! I didn't think it would be able to gut through the galvanized steel to be honest, but it took all of 30 minutes to get the thing knocked over. I'm going to leave the cement block there for eternity--no need to dig it out manually that I can see. There's video at the bottom for anyone who is interested in the moment of truth.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"It's been a long, long, long time..."

A little Beatles to open this up. And it has been a long, long, long time since I've posted. Almost a year. And that's because all of last year was full of travel and very little changes to the house. But that has changed, pretty drastically. We have finally updated the rest of the den.

The first phase was over a year ago--a simple removal of one old heating solution, nasty cork tile that had all but melted/frozen/something into the wall, and the result was re-drywalling the whole western face of the room and painting it. Not to mention painting the door and windows in the room. Somehow that took a month.

This project took only two weeks, but that's because we enlisted some help from a professional. So let me plug Sally Loomis of Loomis Improvements right now. For any of you in the Denver area needing a friendly, dependable, capable, and fairly priced contractor who will get things done, we highly recommend her.

I should also take this time to thank Michael Eltrich of Invision Architecture, who supplied the concept drawings/elevations for our new stairs.

Anyhow, I'll try to let the pictures do the talking, but we basically contracted Loomis Improvements to turn the stairwell in our den to accomodate a new couch, and to really allow the room to do what it was meant to do--basically be a lounge around watching tv or chat with friends kind of room. In doing so, we also added some heating ducts to the room (it's always cold), so they did so by poking some holes through our foundation walls and adding a heating duct and a return to get air circulating down there.

The rest was simple stuff done by us which included using Dricore subflooring on top of the old asbestos tiling that was under the carpet (just leave that stuff alone--better to cover it up than to break it up and try to get it out!). A little painting, putting down some new FLOR carpet tiles (our second adventure with FLOR--we really like their new shag tiles!) and the addition of a new EQ3 couch that we picked up at Invironments in Boulder. We have to highly recommend Invironments as well. They do all sorts of custom cabinets/countertops/etc. and some really cool furniture. We've been looking for a couch for two years now, and Invironments helped us find it in addition to having it shipped to the store for next to nothing. (They can help arrange getting it to your house if needed, but now this is sounding like an advertisement.)

That's it in a nutshell. It was a lot of work for all involved, but besides waiting for the last of the carpet tiles to come in (we changed the design on the fly and were then short on what we needed), it's all done. We might add a railing at some point, and we will finish the oak platform and stairs when we refinish the rest of the floors in the house...which hopefully will happen in 2009 sometime. Here we go, from how it looked to now:

As it was....note awesome brown carpet and smelly blue couch. No bueno.

Bye bye, last of the brown carpet.

Anyone want some lead paint stored beneath our stairs for the last 50 years? Too late, it's already gone, as are your chances for serious birth defects.

Trying to have fun with mundane work.

Note awesome cinder blocks. No they don't go straight to the crawl space, but they might as well have. Serious drafts come through there. Got some insulation to fill the holes and had Loomis cover with drywall.

Loomis removed the old stairs and built a new oak platform by the back door. Note sweet brownish asbestos tiles that were under our equally sweet brown carpet.

Gus enjoying his new playground.

To cut all the Dricore subfloor, I had to invest in a small and cheap, but effective, table saw. Made cutting the Dricore a breeze!

Laying down the Dricore all Saturday...weirdly satisfying to make it fit as perfectly as possible. This stuff is pretty cool--we'll see what I think in 5 years, but it was very easy to use and is great for any basement/dropped room with thermal issues. (Aka, it's always too damn cold in the room.)

Ask Jamie about our fun trip up to Boulder to retrieve our couches.

The old couch was one of two bains to our existence. Now the only one left is our entire kitchen.

Sachi (left) and Gus (right) approve of the new couch. It's IRELAND green btw. Guess where we're heading in May? Ireland. How appropriate.

Jamie getting the carpet tiles adhered to the subfloor. Meanwhile, Gus is curious as usual.

All that's left now is 7 more tiles (we changed the design as we laid the FLOR tiles down, and that resulted in not having enough to finish beneath the stairs), and finishing the wood on the stairs/platform.

And maybe a railing. I think we have to have one to be up to code, but while we're living here, there's really no reason...helps keep the space open. And of course, it's easy to see the tv from the kitchen table.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Small Victory

Let's play "Where's Sachi?" Springtime is arriving in Denver this week. That means flowers blooming, trees budding, and the snowiest month of the year...all at the same time.

It's been awhile since we've done any real work to the house. But a month or so ago I was driving down Evans and saw the grand opening sign of Blue Flame Powder Coating, and I was reminded of some posts I had read on the Eichler Network's Chatterbox Lounge. At some point I was reading about outdoor lighting, and many people recommended getting your older fixtures recoated. It's a win-win--keep your vintage fixtures, but have them look brand new.

So after one of our old fixtures went out in the kitchen (it was rotted out and smelled like those frogs you dissect in 9th grade biology, strangely), we made a little trip down to Mod-Livin to get new (old) fixtures for the bulb portion of the setup. I then took the old hardware and an exterior light fixture from the side of the house to be powder coated and then reinstalled on the front of the house. (The old light was where the old front door of the house used to be.)

I think I could have done a better job on picking the color, but it's certainly better than the bronzeish-gold color that all the fixtures had before, or the crappy old black fixture out front that has not had a glass housing since October when I broke it accidentally. It's been REALLY CLASSY looking out front the last 6 months, let me tell you. But finally, I can cross these small "to-dos" off the list. And I learned a little about doing some simple electrical work, of which I had exactly ZERO experience with before this.

As usual, this whole process took about 50x longer than I expected. I think I'm starting to learn....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Answer to Michael Regarding Fence

Michael--you didn't leave your contact info, so I can't contact you privately. To answer your question, the fence was going to be done with pine actually, upon the advice of Steve from Austin's Vintage Modern. You'll notice a house on his site that acted as partial inspiration for our fence. He did his with pine.

That said, pine was too expensive at the time, and now I'm forgetting what the alternate choice was. But it isn't anything exotic. Just go to your local lumber yard, and it's one of the most conventional options there. Definitely not cedar though. They are 1x4s and 1x2s. Some people do 1x1s, but we've heard there's lots of problems with bowing, so we bumped the size up.

Hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you have more questions!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Denver...We Have a Problem

Well, a small one. I just realized that the first pictures that we posted on the blog were not showing up for the last three or four months apparently. Sorry about that--was hosting them on another server that was no longer valid. So anyone who for some reason wants to see the 70s Grandma Chic style of our house before we moved in, you can now see the pics again.

No offense of course to anyone who is into 70s Grandma Chic. I'm sure it will be popular again soon. Brown carpet for everyone!

In other news, there have been no recent updates to the house. We're hoping to finish the den, completely redo the kitchen, and maybe do some serious landscaping. Of these, the landscaping is the most likely to happen, hopefully this spring.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

70s Den...Meet the 21st Century (Phase 1)

Happy Autumn everyone. We got our first snow on Sunday.

The plan--get Phase 1 of the den transformation done before it gets chilly out. Phase 1 is to be a CHEAP and QUICK change to the den.

1) Remove gas heater
2) Remove built-in shelves
3) Remove cork tiles
4) Prime, paint, and put the built-ins back up

Easy enough right? Somehow a quick two-weekend, four-step project INSTEAD took a month, with work being done several hours almost every day in some way. I will note that we took a weekend off to go to Vail to relax in a nice mountain home up there that a friend of ours can score for the weekend from time to time. Beautiful snow and turning leaves up there, so it was a good break from the dust and paint smell from our house that I'm pretty sure was making Jamie and I feel both sick and high for about three weeks.

But I digress. Here's what really happened:

1) Remove 60s style heater. Besides being an eyesore, our house inspector noted there was a "MINOR gas leak" on the unit. Not sure what that means, but William--Chelsea fan with a thick London accent--from Brothers Plumbing came and helped me remove this dinosaur of a heater and cap the gas line without blowing up the house.

2) Remove built-ins.

3) Remove nasty cork tiles.

4) Attempt to scrape off cork residue and remaining cork tile crust.

5) Realize that 30-year-old cork tile epoxy doesn't evaporate on any part of the wall that is below ground level. The only option? Cordon off the area, knock down wall, and put up new drywall. (Thanks to Twinkie for helping me lift the drywall and even carry a piece of it on the ski rack of my VW--both of us holding an edge out the window! Sorry, no pictures of that.)

6) Paint.

7) Paint.

8) Paint.

9) Almost a month later and just in time for colder weather, enjoy your half-done room by upgrading your tv (new shelving layout wouldn't hold the old 96lb Trinitron!) and watch the Rockies in the World Series.

Phase 2, to be done sometime in 2008 hopefully, will involve moving the electric heaters, rerouting the stairs to permit for a normal place for a couch (and futher back from tv, which has been a problem), remove the last of the ugly brown carpet that used to completely cover the floors in our house, and install a railing on both the stairs and the ledge to the den. Hopefully it will be much easier than this phase :)