Archive for the 'Renovations' Category

House Renovations – Bedroom Two

Bedroom Two Old and NewIt would appear I’ve been MIA for a long while (other than the Taco post). Rest assured I’m still here and kicking, just been chewing through a fairly hefty renovation job on one of the bedrooms of our house, which I have now thankfully finished.

The Room itself is fairly small (2.2m x 3.4m), as this room backs onto the lounge room and shares a common wall with were we have the TV hanging it added some additional work. A short summary of whats been completed:

  • Additional power sockets added by the TV – this included insuring they were on 2 different circuits. To keep the power in 2 studs only there was also some cable tidy up.
  • Cable channel added behind the wall to keep cables tidy
  • Conduit mounted for speaker cable and speaker cable run.
  • Common wall with lounge room soundproofed/insulated
  • Additional power point added for bedroom
  • Cupboard built in for bedroom
  • Shelving built onto one end of cupboard to maximize space
  • Bedroom door shifted 40cm to the left and changed from full height door to normal height door.
  • server/network (Node Zero) cupboard constructed and power sockets added above bedroom cupboard – this is pending completion.
  • All skirting and cornice replaced
  • Full repaint
  • Carpet still needs replacing

I find it fairly difficult to photograph rooms but hopefully the below gives an idea of whats been done.

Bedroom Two Old and NewLeft Old and Right New

The draw unit in the cupboard is actual a flatpack kitchen draw set, unfortunately I had to hand cut all the draw face plates and build a box to slide the unit into. It does work very well and the kitchen draw slides are much more robust than what you normally find in wardrobes so hopefully I wont have a problem with the draws for a long time.

Bedroom Two DrawersLion drawer handles we wanted labyrinth handles but couldn’t find any small ones

The shelving built onto the left end of the cupboard are also built-in. We left the end closest open so that when you look into the room from the doorway (or out) it doesn’t block sight lines and helps to make the room feel bigger. The unit itself took me about 2-3 solid days to make (curve at the bottom was a bit of a challenge) and each shelf is routed into the back and side to maximize support. Even with that we’ll only use half of each shelf for books and the free ends for ornaments/nick-naks.

Bedroom Two Display shelfIt’s held to the wall with a number of screws in the back and side
Bedroom Two In through the doorLooking in through the door with the temporary curtains drawn

This seems like a really short post for something that I spent close to every spare weekend since February working on. We spent last weekend moving some stuff back into the room so there are now somethings on the shelves and pictures on the walls.

Bedroom Two

I plan on taking a break from house renovations/fixing for a short time so expect to see a bit more paper/wargaming stuff in the next few posts I have a heap to catchup on :).

Trailer – Easy Trailer Folding Trailer

It has been a while since my last post however I have been very busy,  until now I haven’t completed any projects. I try to keep my blog for things I finish so that I do finish them. This is the first post of three showing one of the big projects I’ve/We’ve (Wife, Dad, Mum, Odd Tradesman) have been working on over the past 3 months, the other two projects being; having my house re-clad and working hard to finish off the refurbishment of the spare room.

I bought an easy trailer folding trailer from carlex based in Melbourne, I’m pretty sure if your in the US these are the same trailers you can buy through Harbour Freight. I settled on this trailer for a few reasons:

  • Firstly it’s light about 100kg (220lbs) assembled as a tabletop trailer, I have a small car so I wanted to minimize the dead weight I tow.
  • Secondly the gross tare for the trailer exactly matches the max tow capacity for my car (Toyota Yaris)
  • Thirdly I can fold it up and more easily push it around and store it without it taking up a huge amount of space.

I wont do a big blow by blow assembly post there are quiet a few nice U-tube videos showing assembly and folding. Overall the assembly was reasonably easy although it did take two of us about 6 hours to go from 3 box’s of parts to a finished trailer with working lights. I didn’t order a floor from carlex as I couldn’t see the point in  shipping ply halfway across Australia.

Image borrowed from carlex catalog

Once the trailer was assembled and the floor was on I rolled it down to my local blue slip inspection station. I wont say it was an easy process to get the trailer blue slipped but it definitely was not as tough as getting a Custom built job engineered and then blue slipped. Small tip replace the nuts that come on your light fittings with nylocks one of mine rattled a little loose on the way to the inspection station and then they wouldn’t pass it, which meant my trailer then got trapped unregistered on the other side of my wall cladding material for 4 weeks. I suspect most people wont have the issue of having there new external wall cladding blocking the rear garden gate so it was really a non-issue :).

Once the trailer was registered I built up a wooden cage that provides approximately 95cm (just over 3 feet high) of height to make garbage hauling etc much easier, this gives me approximately 2 square meters of garbage/stuff hauling capacity. The cage itself took about 10-12 hours to build and paint. I pretty much followed the instructions available on the carlex website (available on this page) however I did make some minor changes:

  • I used Aussie hardwood fence slates for the rails should be tougher and stronger, the uprights are standard structural pine.
  • Added a double swing gate to the rear that meets in the middle for easier loading and unloading.

Someone else might like to add rear gates so I’ve included a few close up pictures below of how I mounted my gate. The ocy strap is just in case, but I have been unable to rattle the drop bolts apart when driving and I’ve tried hard. My gates wont fold back 270 degrees but they do go back a little more than 180. You could mount the hinges on the side and use normal square hinges for a full fold back. I decided to stick with the below configuration as the T hinges provide added support to each of the gates.

I plan on eventually having 4 configurations for my trailer:

  • As a tabletop trailer for hauling plasterboard, doors and other large flat building supplies (done).
  • A friend is going to use it to move his motorbike around on the odd occasion so it will also be fitted with a removable front wheel channel (to be mounted).
  • As a 6×4 cage trailer for hauling rubbish or moving odd bits of furniture quickly (done).
  • As a standard 6×4 with small sides (need to build or buy these)

All in all I’m very happy with my folding trailer all up costs for the kit, rego and crate are about $1000, for a 6×4 trailer which weights with crate about 135-145kg. Not the cheapest 6×4 you can buy but probably one of the more versatile and easy to store.

Repainting the Lounge Room

This was an unexpected project that pretty much cropped up as we had got rid of the nasty wood paneling but it really bought the mould yellow walls and green curtains into stark focus, not much we could do about the heavily stained carpet. I didn’t get a true before photo but below is a photo of what we started with:

As is always the case when repainting, first stop was the hardware shop and the mandatory 2 hour spousal debate about which shade of colour to get and just when you think you both have something you can live with of course a totally different colour catches your eye. In the end we settled on something called Dusky Rose by nippon paints which we then had mixed up in 4 liters of British paints flat base. Below is a picture of the colour card:

I’d recommend to anyone thinking of painting to put the dog outside we ended up with pink paw prints all across the nice chocolate brown lounge. Fortunately as the paint was water based a quick wipe with a damp cloth had the paint removed, although we probably could have said it was a new trendy pattern.

While we waited for the paint to dry we headed to spotlight to get some new curtains. We didn’t really want a christmas theme in the lounge room of green curtains with light pink walls. We found some very nice deep red/claret curtains in spotlight that where full blockout and quiet heavy. We bought three sets to replace the 3 green sets in the lounge room. Although with the both of us knowing about as much about curtains as we do about brain surgery we did forget to buy the string you need to thread through the top that makes them pencil up, but we hung them up anyway and they look much better than green.

The last little job was to hang two new lights on the side wall were the old fake gold ones had been we went with simple round lights. Although neither of us is to hot on the chrome. They were cheap and as the wall they hang on is probably going to be removed in the future when we re-do the kitchen they will do the job for now and certainly look better than the old half broken light fixtures.

Here’s a couple of photo’s of the whole room:

Although this wasn’t an expected project it’s certainly helped improve the look of the lounge room and it feels more like our house (the lounge area anyway) now rather than somewhere we just happen to be living.

I’ll be moving back to one of the three main pending projects now and having a think about what I’ll add as a fourth.

Lounge Room Wall Repair

The lounge room wall in our house has always looked like it was trapped in the 1970’s . My parents dropped down for visit and to help with one of the many house repairs needed. As this is one of the cheaper repairs required on the house we decided to rip into it. I’d investigated under the fake wood sheeting previously and the plasterboard underneath was heavily damaged and covered in (if you can believe it) a wallpaper even uglier than the fake wood. Additionally we wanted to remove a door that was present between the lounge room and the hallway as it was damaged and we rarely use it.

Day One

We started off by ripping the fake timber pattern of the wall, this pretty much fell off and we were left with an ugly wallpapered wall. Next step was to start removing the old plaster board sheeting with the lovely wallpaper stuck to it. This was a fairly easy task with two pry bars (although three dead desiccated mice did fall on us), we also removed the door jam from the wall side of the door. This was pretty tough as the builder had used very heavy duty nails (10cm) through the jam into the house frame which is some form of Australian hardwood. After much prying with the old blacksnake(6foot crowbar) it came free:

As the doorway was slightly narrower than the hall we had to relocate the uprights that the door Jam on both sides were attached to back in line with the wall. Oddly enough the support on the hinge side of the door that the door jam had been fixed to was actually sitting on nothing…no floor boards, no joist, no bearer. Best guess we have is that the upper massive nails were holding it in place. This of course meant we had to fill a hole in the floor with a small piece of wood. Talk about building to a price :). Unfortunately I didn’t get a before photo but here’s a shot after we had patched it up and set the up right back inline with the wall(it was a right pain fitting the patch in):

After we had the above framing elements all adjusted we put up the new plasterboard on the wall using standard plasterboard nails and glue. Our house has about 2.5m ceilings so when we fitted the two 1.2m wide sheets we had to locate them fairly accurately to ensure we didn’t end up with a gap at the top or the bottom. It would seem metric modern plasterboard really isn’t designed for old houses with high ceilings. We successfully got the top and bottom sheets up and began the plastering, we also painted the lower edge were the skirting go’s to save on cutting in later on when painting. This was pretty much the end of day one’s effort (the below photo is a composite of two photo’s):

Day Two

The look of the wall didn’t change to much during day two. We started of in the morning by doing some sanding of the plaster we finished up last night and putting down the first finish coat of fine plaster in a few places. The big job or fiddly job for the day was trying to fill the gap in the ceiling and match the cornice up from lounge room to hall.

The gap in the ceiling was a problem as the hall ceiling is slightly higher than the lounge room ceiling plus we had a support beam at about the same level as the lounge room ceiling. We ended filling the gap between the support beam and the lounge ceiling with a small piece of plasterboard. Then sanded the support beam surface a little to smooth of the rough edges, finally we skimmed a layer of plaster across the whole lot. We then just made a small plaster step up from the support beam to the hall ceiling and plastered it. The end result looked okay and should look fine once all the sanding is done.

The above problem of course meant the cornice also didn’t line up, so we had to try and custom fit two small pieces of cornice between the existing/new cornice in the lounge room and the old cornice in the hall. This required a lot of fiddling and use of plaster to shape and streamline the pieces together. The result looked okay although a fair amount of sanding and shaping will need to be done tomorrow.

The remains of the day were spent sanding and plastering so as we could hopefully have the wall ready for painting, by the end of tomorrow. We also adjusted the laundry door so it opens and closes easier, although not really part of this project we were waiting for plaster to dry. Below is a picture of what the wall and door (or not door?) looks like at the end of day two:

Day Three

Very little building work today, other than tiding up some skirting board and door architrave. We spent most of the day sanding down plaster and smoothing it out ready for a coat of paint. The house of course ended up in a nice fine layer of white powdered dust from all the sanding as did I :):

Not all the painting was finished but the little bits left can be done later on. A fairly tough 3 days and I’m pretty tired, but I’m very happy with the result and the way it opens the room up, you can see the result in the below picture:

Another project down and time to move along to one of the others 🙂

Project Status

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Design Victorian era City


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