Garage Remodel: Workshop

As you may know, I have been putting in a lot of time and effort to making my garage a better place to work and be able to park my vehicles inside. I have started a new job and it seems that a lot of my time and thinking are spent there and not at home and in the garage.

We did quite a bit of work this weekend, but still not finished. DSCN2562From this photo, you can see that I was able to get at least one car into the garage. We’re smack dab in the middle of tornado season and I just finished paying off my little sports car, so I was happy to have it garaged.

DSCN2563I did pick up the grey cupboards and got them installed, along with the butcher block counter that came from a free work table. I loved the countertop, but didn’t want the open space below, it was much too easy for things to just get jammed in there and look messy and dirty and filled with saw dust.

The top wasn’t long enough to cover both cabinets, so I made an extension. I cute 2 x 2’s into 30″ segments and glue and screw them together. Then I used a concoction of glue and saw dust to fill into the spaces left from the slightly rounded edges of 2 x 2’s and let them dry. The pieces all assembled were a tad too shallow to match up with the existing countertop, so I glue the pieces to a sheet of 3/8’s luan, which actually stabilizes it as well. I bought another tool that I’ve been wanting, a belt sander, to make the job of smoothing it all a tad easier.

DSCN2564The piece was laid end-to-end with the butcher block and then glued. The entire top was bolted to the lower cabinet and inset to keep a smooth surface. I opted to cut off the corner as I could easily envision bumping it with my hip every single time I came into the garage. 🙂

This week, The Kid has been tasked with sanding the existing butcher block top down to bare wood and then I will put a few coats of polyurethane to give it a nice hard surface that should endure. And it should look pretty sharp too. I am hoping that by the end of next weekend, this will be completed.

DSCN2572At the right end of the work surface is a 10 foot high storage. The space not easily accessed holds less used items and the center I made into a paint station. The paint rollers are stored on a dowel placed end to end inside the cabinet and one cubby hole below holds brushes of all kinds and roller pads. The lower cabinet will house the shop vac and all of its accessories as well as some other materials that just are unsightly. Still room at this point to use to store tools and materials.

At the right of the photo in the smaller garage stall are two (free) shelving units, one holds tools boxes and the other holds the one gallon paint cans. The quart cans, the sample jars and spray paint are all house in one of the existing cabinets the line the back of the the garage.

DSCN2571At the end of the white shelving units are a little workstation. I picked up this smaller sized cabinets I picked up free from CraigsList a year or so ago. On top is a piece of salvaged Corian countertop and then collected drawers are utilized to create storage for much used materials, like sandpaper for the sanders.

DSCN2570This is a quick shot of the third stall, currently packed with projects and more materials. Once again, from CraigsList, I got the carpet squares free and it pretty much carpeted this side of the garage. It will serve as a nicer place to showcase finished items and they can be parked on once winter comes. Heck of a mess, right? I know it is driving me crazy to not have more organization here!

I did manage to get the dead trees in front of the house replaced as well. Hopefully these will fare better than the previous ones, I even used Miracle Grow potting mix to plant them.

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The Kid has been working on his own project as well, this is going to be a metal forge. A couple of weekends ago, he and I walked along the train track near the silos downtown and picked up pieces of coal that had escaped from the coal cars. We ended the night getting what we needed, but was escorted off the premises by two of Kansas City’s finest. I guess that trespassing around large train cars is bad or maybe dangerous… but I guess I can understand it from the railroad’s point of view.

Once The Kid has made some progress, I will let him do a guest blog post to explain what he is making and how to do it. Again, for him it is good skills to have and to know that it isn’t something that he would want to do for a living. I keep telling him that he is better off working with his head than his hands and his back.

Just as soon as this garage project is done, I will have photos up here. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Minor Updates Can Make a Big Difference

So much going on these past few days that it doesn’t seem that I’ve had time to do anything but work. Which is ironic, since today was my last day at my current contract position. I work in IT and very often do between 3 months and a year’s worth of work for a company and then just be done. It can be tough sometimes, just about the time I feel comfortable in the commute and start to really make some friends, it’s time to move on. I think the worst part is the looking for the next contract, which is almost constant, and I am getting to the point where I think I might like to settle into a company and stay a while.

Anyway, enough about that. Been just doing some long neglected chores around the house. The first was to re-caulk the floor tile in my master bedroom. When we first bought the house – new, almost ten years ago – there were a few things that I didn’t like and knew would have to be changed. This is in sharp contrast to the fact that I fell in LOVE with this house almost immediately and changed – or wanted to change – very little.

But the master bedroom bathroom was one thing that I had to change. Apart from the size and layout, almost everything else I disliked. From the builder grade fixtures and cabinets to the blah color of the walls and tile, this was a room that would require change. The very first thing was the fact that the main area of the bathroom was carpeted. CARPETED. Like you would have to step out of the shower or bath tub onto CARPET carpeted. Who does that? Want to talk about the perfect environment for mold and mildew? Carpet in the bathroom. Gah.

Unfortunately, find tile to match what was already in there was going to be tough. This is one time I almost wished they would have used white tile, at least finding something to match would have been easy. I still have about 15 samples of tile colors that I hoped would match but didn’t. I really wanted to rip everything out and start the whole thing over, but we did just buy the house and had already spent big bucks changing the layout of the dining room into the home office (I still need to write a blog about that), adding a new decks leading out the new french doors from the master bedroom and finishing the entire basement (nearly 1500 square feet), not to mention that everything in the bathroom was brand new. Seemed really tough to just rip all that out and throw it away.

So, I endured and finally stumbled onto a tile – being discounted and discontinued – that matched almost perfectly. I had done a fair amount of tiling in my other house in California and felt comfortable with this small area, so I ripped out the carpet and laid the tile. And since the tile was priced so right, that we bought enough for an area of the basement that would benefit from a nonporous surface.

Something wasn’t right though, and before long the grout started cracking. Kept getting worse, until I got fed up and removed it all and replaced it with caulking. Much more flexible and seemed to stay white longer. But over time, and this time more like 5 years, it did peel in a few places and wear. And it was getting dirty looking. So, all of it was scraped out and once again replaced. Only this time, it was done mostly by The Kid, since my knees don’t do so well with the arthritis.

DSCN2193But it is back to looking shiny and new again, so I can stand to look at it again. Until I get to the point where I get so fed up with it that I start ripping it out myself. That might be a while though, as I want a whole new look with subway tiles and a clawfoot tub and some beautiful old vanity to use as a cabinet. I have some wonderful ideas, but now with the contract ended, it is time to reign in the spending for a while.

DSCN2192The other thing that has driven me a little nuts was the kitchen sink. Actually, the upstairs bathtub (in The Kid’s bathroom) too. You see, they are not cast iron, but those fiberglass or plastic pieces. I am sure they are cheaper, easier to install since they are so light and initially they are pretty nice looking. But my experience is that they don’t stay nice looking long… especially if you use chemical cleaners and scrubbing pads to clean them. It seems like you take off the nice, white top layer and then it takes way too much effort to keep it looking clean. It is a little difficult to really see what I am talking about, but here is a photo of the old sink:

 

DSCN2182When it came to the kitchen sink, it was used so much that it didn’t take long for it to start looking dingy. I really wanted a farmhouse sink, but that would have taken some cabinet modification as well as counter top change. It is my intention to install new counters, but again, what I have in mind is just a little too expensive right now.

An avid Craigslist watcher, about six weeks ago I saw a cast iron sink listed – for free. I called up The Kid and had him go over and pick it up. Initially, I was thinking I’d snag it for the sink I wanted to put in the garage, but after cleaning it up, I realized that this particular sink was flawless. No porcelain chips, no stains or rust… it was incredible.

DSCN2196So, it was slated for the kitchen. Actually just a couple of weeks later, I picked up another sink, this time with a steel cabinet that will be perfect for the garage.

Well, I finally got husband and The Kid to install the sink. There are times, like this, that it is an advantage to be married to a plumber. 🙂

DSCN2195It might not seem like much, but to me, it is like night and day to me. It just gleams! I think it is just beautiful. The downside? Now every flaw that I used to be able to overlook is now front and center when I walk into the kitchen. Its that old conundrum that once you start updating something, everything next to it needs it now. I suppose that now that we’re approaching the ten year mark, things are in need of updating and changing. I have a mental list going… the house needs painting, I want to replace the two decks with a single, wider deck and a new staircase, kitchen cabinets need replaced or refaced and I want new counters. I hear this knocking from the washer and I am just holding my breath that the heating and A/C unit holds out another year or so. But first, gotta get back to work.

julie

 

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