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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bunk House Dreams

While between projects I've been searching for ideas on what to do with our lake bunk house.   It's a tiny house about 100 square feet - 9.5 by 11.5 on the inside.  The roof has been leaking for 2 years and there are some moisture problems with some of the structure.  We currently have a tarp over the roof, so we can ignore the problem until we can attack it.  We are planning to attack it this summer.

I do have some wonderful dreams for the little shack.  Here's one of my favorite.  Unfortunately, I don't have the link to the site where I found this.  Sorry.

One bed would not be practical for a bunk house that is intended to sleep more people than we can fit in the main house.  I'd love to be able to put in a bunk bed with a full bed on the bottom.  Here is something that is a bit more than we need, but still very cool with the stairs serving as extra storage.

Bunk Bed King

This one is much more rustic and looks like a great option for a cabin atmosphere.
The Log Furniture Store
Most likely I'll be at a flea market or garage sale and see something much more simple and inexpensive and I'll grab it up.  This one would work for our little lake cab-age (combo of cabin/cottage!).  Where is that garage sail when you need it? :)


I don't actually have many pictures of the bunk house at this time.  The focus has been the main house and the land around it.

Interior before we bought the place

Before any foundation work - Bunk House to the left of car
During our main house foundation work - next to the CAT

Here are some plans while I dream of the end result.  The roof is completely different.

As this project gets going, I'll be sure to blog the progress.  Unfortunately, I can't get to the Cab-age until it warms up.  We usually open up the main house the end of April.  I can still dream.

Tell me what your dreams are for this summer.

Friday, January 30, 2015

When gambling pays off!

I've been waiting for Lu to do the finishing touches on her laundry room/porch.  I wanted to wait to provide you with before and after pics.   The wait is still on, but my pursuit of projects continues.

Some time ago, our microwave/range hood stopped working as a microwave.  We purchased a new microwave because no one can live without one these days, but we kept the old one to use as a range exhaust fan and light until I could decide on and purchase a new range hood.  Yup, the light and fan worked, but the microwave only made noise, but didn't actually microwave.

After removing it from above the stove
I saw the microwave failure as a blessing.  The unit was an almond colored appliance, yet we had already owned a stainless steel look fridge, stove, and microwave.  Besides color, having a microwave above your cook top gives you little room to work with large pots.  The unit gave me only about 18 inches of room above the cook top.   Getting a separate counter top microwave was my goal.  I bought one and put in on a baker's rack in our kitchen.  Now I just needed the range hood for exhaust and lighting.  I've priced some at around 200.00 and up. 

Today I went shopping at St Vinny's in Verona, WI.  I wasn't shopping for anything special.  It was just a way to 'treat' myself on my day off from working my usual job.  Yes, this is what I do when I can't afford a weekly spa treatment!  It paid off.  What I found ended up saving me almost $150.00.

There was a box, taped up with no particular signage to draw anyone to it.  Since I was taking my time looking through the store, I looked closer at the box and found it was a cook top range hood.  Could it be one I would be happy with?  Was it the size I needed?  Was it stainless steel or black to match my stove?

I started with using my phone's barcode app to check it out since there was a label with a barcode.  Take a look at the St. Vinny's green price!  Under $50.00.  Was it a bargain or a waste of money?

The barcode scan brought me to a Costco ad for a stainless steel range hood that cost $189.00 - Take a look

I know that one concern I've had was how I was going to install a range hood that required direct electrical wiring versus a plug-in appliance.  Our current microwave plugged into an outlet.  This range hood needed to be 'hard wired' into the wall.  There was no plug.  Hmm.  Only $45.00....Stainless steel...the right width (30 inches).  Why not?  I asked for the box to be opened.  It had the plastic protective covering still on.  It had the mounting screws and instruction manual included.  Again - why not?  Note - when I went to Vegas, I didn't really gamble.  Here at St. Vinny's -  I decided to roll the dice.  I bought it.

At home, I convinced Don to help me remove the old microwave to see what we were dealing with.  The old microwave was held to the upper cabinet with two large screws.  You see the one on the right removed here after we got the appliance removed.

The next hurdle was removing the metal plate that helped hold the microwave up.  It wasn't a big deal.  I just remove 4 anchor bolts.

After removing the plate, I did a happy dance because I saw that there was some electrical wiring in the wall.  I did not have to settle for just installing my range hood only to wait for an electrician to do magic to make it work.  I could make it work!  

Shutting off the electricity was a bit of an adventure.  Don turned off breakers while I tested the wires.  Apparently I really don't know how to read the meter I have.  I thought I did.  Luckily, this is a happy ending.  I thought we shut off the electricity to these wires.  But, NOPE.  I was able to be extremely careful with how I held the wires.  There was a bit of a surge that made me jump, but didn't think much of it.

WARNING: Trusting licensed electricians is a good thing!

I got everything connected, then Don suggested I test it by turning on the light switch.  Guess what?  The lights went on.  The wires WERE live.  But HEY.  More importantly (okay I'm not advertising doing your own electrical work.  I'm just trying to write an interesting blog post!) I'm going to be able to install this wonderful bargain that was very much needed.

I went forward with the installation instructions.  I removed the plate for the exhaust.

I installed the duct extension and completed the wiring.

After a bit of adjusting to get the screws to line up properly, we were able to install my NEW range hood.  It works wonderfully!
Another project - a backsplash above the stove!

I gambled by paying 45.70 for an appliance in a box at St. Vinny's that could have ended up being a complete throw away.  I ended up with an appliance worth 189.00 online at Costco.  (I'm not even a member.)  Winnings - 143.30.   More importantly, I have room above my stove top to make pasta in some very tall pots.

Hope you enjoyed another side project at the Szarek household!

To Lisa-I promise to get to your Faux Wood project tomorrow.  I just couldn't resist a bargain and seeing it through to implementation.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Ideas 2014

My friends' laundry/porch project is on hold for the holidays.  They have two grand kids with birthdays around the holidays and Chris has a FedEx company and he does tend to get busy around this time of year, so their time to work on their room is quite limited.

Since I can't sit idle and really don't want to start any new projects in my home yet, I thought I'd gather some holiday ideas from the blogging world.  Let me know if any of you find something you will be trying out this year.  I love all of these!

I'd like to wish everyone the happiest of holidays.  I'm taking a blogging break and will come back early next year with the conclusion of my friends' remodel.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friends - Making Cushions and Working in the Cold!!!

When I last worked at Lu's and Chris's home, the weather was so nice I really enjoyed making storage units outside.  Well, it is no longer summer or fall for that matter - IT'S VERY COLD here in Wisconsin!

Lu and I (and a bit of Chris when we needed muscle!) worked on the baseboard trim while it was hovering around freezing.  I bought three 6 foot x 1" x 12" pine boards and cut them down to 3 boards each at 3.5 inches.  (In carpenter terms - I ripped the boards.)  This gave me a total of nine 6 foot boards that were 3.5" wide.  This is the same height as the 2x4's used to raise each of the storage units we built.  I primed them and brought them to Lu's house for more precise measurements.

Sorry, I don't have detailed pictures, but here you can see we 'dry fitted' the baseboards before they were painted the blue trim color and installed permanently.  It makes a nice clean finish.

I needed to cut a hole for this strange protrusion that may be old gas lines or old knob and tube wiring.  Does anyone know what this is?  I thought I had cleverly used Chris's Dremel tool to carve out the back of the baseboard, but the board continued to stick out.  We had many problems with the walls as they curve both horizontally and vertically in various places.  Gee - I wonder who installed that dry wall! :)

After the baseboards, we moved on to two more tricky areas - The window and the door to the kitchen never had the trim fully completed.  Lu used newspaper to create a template for us to cut some scrap pine and I used the jigsaw to cut it out.

Using a level to draw a straight line

The top of the door was tricky in a different way.  The ceiling slopes toward you as you look at the door frame.  There was definitely a gap to cover, but we couldn't use the same size trim for the top as the sides.  We did not want the side trim to go all the way to the ceiling so we ended up cutting a piece of pine as outlined in black.  The door trim will go where I outlined in pink.   The arrows below are pointing to the thin vertical strips of wood needed to fill in gaps between the door jam and the drywall.  I used a 1x2 piece of wood and ripped it lengthwise to get the two strips and with a little finessing on the top ends we were able to fit them in nicely.  (Finessing was done carefully using the table saw which I'm much more comfortable with then the Dremel tool!)


Let's move on to sewing.  This is once again straight from Lu...and actually occurred before we worked on the baseboards!

I ran into a dilemma with the material for the cushions.  This is the material that I really liked, but I was buying the material with my 50% off coupons, which were valid during different time-frames.  I got the curtain material one day, and then went back a couple of days later to get the cushions.  Had to wait till the following Sunday for the last 50% coupon to take effect, but by then this material was no longer available.  I looked all over the store, not just where I originally located it; looked online through JoAnn’s, and even went to another store location.  No luck.  That meant having to look for other material for the cushions.
Lu originally wanted this for the cushions.
This material drew my eye.  It’s similar to the original box material, but it has random dots and a light/dark splotchy pattern instead.  There are silvery/gray-ish dots and the teal dots that match the curtain flowers and material that I used for the hanger storage.

So based on the color palette, I’m going with the dot material for the cushions.  I’ve decided on making tab curtains, so the remaining teal material that I used for the hanger storage will be used for the tabs.  

The only issue I encountered when cutting out the material for the cushions, is there was only a small amount left; not enough for the.cording.

Chris suggested that I use the curtain material for the cording on the cushions. 

I needed 80” for each cord, so I decided to use both edges of the curtain material.  There are 4 cords total.  

I had gotten the rest of the bolt for the curtain material, which was just over 5 yards, more than I needed for the curtains, but I figured it would come in handy. 
The cording is ¼” wide.  I measured out to 80”, then put scotch tape over where I was going to cut.  I repeated that for all four cords.


I didn’t want to deal with zippers on the cushion covers, so I decided on a split opening in the back.  These are the materials needed for each cushion:
·      cushion, cut to size
·      top and bottom panels
·      long panel for 3 edges
·      2 panels for split opening
·      2 lengths of cord
·      2 lengths of cord covering

I sewed the hem on the split edges; then sewed the edging pieces together.  Next step was to cover the cording and pin it to the edging.  I got as far as sewing one length of cording to the edging and pinning it to the top panel, then life happened again and I was gone for a week.

Then, you came over and we worked on the baseboard and remaining trim.

So, you can probably see we will not finish before Thanksgiving.  At least the room is organized and useful at this point.  I can't promise progress on this project when I post again in 2 weeks, but I do have some great fall pictures from our trip to Ohio in October to share.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and relax!