Author Topic: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations  (Read 10041 times)

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    • RobDiesel
DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« on: May 03, 2012, 11:24:36 PM »
I bought a house, not knowing shit about owning houses.

Being a cheapass, I had to do all this myself. It's fun and WTH, it's my house so if it's a disaster, I redo it until it's right!

The backyard was hard to maintain, so first I installed a sprinkler system;


Then I realized that I watered it a lot so I could mow it. Water cost, plus time, plus gas and maintenance on a lawnmower? All for a plain backyard? Nope. Change it again to low water grass.

Level with topsoil in areas and add seed.




I realized that having grass was a pain, so stop watering and throw in crushed gravel, some shrubs and trees and convert the sprinklers to drip/spot irrigation;





Almost done.  Walkway with gravel. Spot irrigation and drought resistant trees and shrubs.




At this point, there's about an hour of work every fall to cut/trim some bushes, and the automatic irrigation does whatever little maintenance remains throughout the year.

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    • RobDiesel
Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 11:27:40 PM »
This is a before picture of my attic.  To the left is my master bedroom which had no insulation over it and a lot of windows. It was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
Thankfully I realized there was no insulation when I installed a ceiling fan and called the warranty people out to have it added.

I wish I had a picture after they added a lot of insulation.  What you see here is the original 6-8 inches, and they added another 4-5 inches on top of it in the entire attic last fall when I bitched.




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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 11:31:21 PM »
I didn't have the carriage lights on each side of the garage, but wanted something to pretty up the house a bit. As I couldn't see an easy way to add them to the side of the house, I decided to pick up some cheap ($19) IKEA down-lights and stick them in the soffits.

Some stringing of romex, some drilling and measuring and suddenly my house looked more upscale than anything else on the street. The romex wire was free as I found it on the side of the road many moons ago.

Two days of labor, crawling in the attic, stringing wire with a 12' pipe and flip the switch (I wired it to an existing switch in the house, so I knew when the entry light inside was on, the outside lights were on too).

The flagstone is for the walkway I was building at the same time, and the pile of rocks to the right is for the same project.




Mactrader

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 06:52:44 AM »
That looks awesome, I may consider doing something along these lines real soon. It's amazing how a few small modifications can really make a house pop like that. I always found those lights to be very classy.

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 07:20:28 AM »
Indeed. It doesn't take much and I also hope that it gives the house an edge if/when it comes time to sell.

Another addition was the odd nook behind the garage. It looked perfect for a small shed to get lawn tools and stuff out of the garage.

To save money (as always) a few neighbors pooled up for concrete for patios, walkways and me for the foundation for the shed;



Start erecting some framing - all this was done with an eye to making the shed 'disappear' into the house. It shouldn't be visible. Mostly because I like things to blend in, but also that I don't want any eventual roaming teenagers to think they want to break in to look for valuables (in a shed?!). CAll it paranoia. :)





I think it came out alright. Same shingles as the house, same colors and trim. Door is lockable and it's about 54 sqf of space with a 7' ceiling. Hoses, rakes, lawn mower etc goes in there. The garage is far less cluttered and looks much better.



arebelspy

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 07:44:32 AM »
That's a good lookin' shed.  Well done.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 07:50:50 AM »
Thank you. Just in building this shed alone, my DeWalt cordless kit paid for itself.
Although, it was brand new (still sealed and unused!) and half the cost of new as I found it on craigslist locally.

It didn't hurt that I worked for a major food manufacturer and have traded meat for help/favors in the past. That always means labor and foods and supplies are mine for the asking. hjeh hjeh hjeh (Norwegian laugh).


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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 08:14:01 AM »
I was tired of the clunky and idiotic "entertainment center" in my house. While it's a new (well, built in '05 and I bought it shortly thereafter) house, it sure could have benefited from a "Queer Eye for the Straight Home builder" tips, I decided to take matters into my own unskilled hands and make something better.

This is what I started with;




Obviously a bigger TV wouldn't fit and it just looked... cheap and relatively unsymmetrical. Insymmetrical? Desymmetrical?  Hmm... it wasn't symmetric at all.

My grand plan wanted a recessed wall so a larger TV would still be flush with the wall and not protrude too much, and still have some ability to angle left/right and come out a bit. I also wanted the cables hidden a bit better.

As with many DIY things, the specs changed while I was in the process...

What does your discerning eye see?  A curved wall? Indeed!
That was the hard part. All the wiring and outlets etc was pretty simple.  I basically made extenders of the HDMI, RCA and other connectors from the plate behind the TV down to the cubby where media center and stuff would sit.




Mostly done. Cubby and wall finished. Mudding done, texture sprayed and paint sample is applied.  You can spot the ceiling fan. Might as well add that if I'm already accessing wiring. :)




Paint is finished, trim applied and painted. single-stud, fully articulating mounting bracket for up to 65" TV installed!   It mounts vertically since the wall is curved. A horizontal bracket wouldn't work. This is also why there is a massive six studs tied together behind it for lots of support.



The TV is in, along with the sound system.
To show my mustachian roots (long before I knew I was a mustachian), this TV and soundbar was purchased at Walmart. Yes, I researched what I wanted/needed and they had it.
Since I get credit card points, I found that if I used my points website to click through to Walmart, I would get five times the points for the purchase.
Every 10K points is $100 cash back in my account.  Effectively a $100 discount on the TV.

sol

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 08:15:27 PM »
Every 10K points is $100 cash back in my account.  Effectively a $100 discount on the TV.

Lol.  Perhaps all good mustachians on the forum should consider cashing in on this great deal  You mean I can get a $100 discount and all I have to do is spend $10k at Walmart?  Where do I sign?  I'll be rich in no time!

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 08:20:20 PM »
Lol.  Perhaps all good mustachians on the forum should consider cashing in on this great deal  You mean I can get a $100 discount and all I have to do is spend $10k at Walmart?  Where do I sign?  I'll be rich in no time!

Haha, indeed.  No, I was planning on buying these items anyway, and as I wrote above, I got five times the points for using the click-through to Walmart. The difference being paying online and picking up locally, or picking up and paying locally.

I use my credit card for everything, so points add up. Adding them up a little quicker for a purchase I was going to do anyway makes sense. It's the mustachian way.
Learn it, live it, love it.

jwystup

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2012, 10:16:41 AM »
I love the cubby for the TV! I want to do something similar this summer and we have the perfect wall for it. Instead of curving the wall though, I wanted to make some slim shelf space for things like the wii and the htpc I'm working on, I think there will still need to be a separate cubby for the blu ray player like you have below though.

What is the tv mount you used? We haven't purchased a new tv yet but I was hoping to find something that might swing out so that we could access the wii and things behind the tv, but maybe I'll wind up just doing something like you did, it looks very nice and I think the color I have chosen for the living room is pretty damn close to what you have in that picture! :) well, maybe it's a darker brown... the lighter one in the hallways is closer to your picture. Our wall isn't that deep but now you have me thinking about using some unused space in the room behind it... *gears turning in my brain*. That could actually be awesome as it would make a little ledge in the dining room... hmmmm

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 11:16:34 AM »
Hehe, thanks.  Yeah, there's a bit of a shelf below it where the soundbar is (was, I moved!). I was going to go with a regular recess, but had to spruce it up a bit. :)
The wall behind it and the fireplace still has enough room for me to walk in before I closed it all up again, so there's a lot of wasted space. I kind of wanted a wall safe or something, but hidden. I couldn't conjure up a neat working idea before I had to wrap this stuff up.

The mount for the TV pulls out about a foot or so, and turns either side. It's this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0037NYSGE/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

I almost regret the color on that wall. All the other walls in the house are white and every person from Europe who sees it loves it. Americans usually say "it looks like a hospital". However, I prefer to add splashes with furniture and drapes that can be changed out whenever I feel like it. Painted walls are a pain if you get a new bedroom set that clashes.
I'm lazy, in case you didn't get that. haha

Another thing that makes a HUGE difference is crown molding.

jwystup

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2012, 08:53:40 PM »
I just realized, looking at this again, how did you curve the drywall? Will it bend like that or did you have to do something special?   I'm sad, I noticed that there might be ducting where I was thinking of making a cubby with a ledge on the other side :\ maybe I can work around it somehow.

I wish I had extra space in a wall, our house is so engineered that there isn't any extra space anywhere. We're in a suburb where all the houses were built in the 50's and all of the houses are the same on our block. The layout is very nice and the house feels way bigger than it is, but not much in the way of wasted space that I can do cool things with or architectural details. The previous owners did put crown & chair rail molding in the dining room though and I'd love to continue the crown molding in the living room.

I don't mind painting that much and I have big plans to do all of the rooms this summer, they're in desperate need of updating and wallpaper removal. My biggest issue right now is that the room I'm working on has insanely uneven walls - cracks, holes that need to be filled, holes that were filled and not sanded, spots where paint chipped and was just painted over, ugh! So I'm trying to even out the walls before I paint so I won't have to do it again/later. I haven't ever had an issue with repainting a room, but I guess I've never lived in one spot long enough to have to since I was an apartment dweller up until about a year ago.

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2012, 10:14:36 PM »
Well, I had to do the math on the curve in the wall, with the only criteria being the width of the curved piece and the depth of the center/deepest point.

There's a water heater closet in the garage that takes up space on the far left side so I couldn't make it wider. Then the deepest point had to be 12" deep.
To actually curve the drywall (hehe, it's half inch drywall, no quarter inch cheapo here) I put it face down over some buckets in the garage and used a fairly damp sponge to dampen the drywall and let it sit. The weight of it curved it down over the bucket to get the general bend in it.
Once that was done, I stuck it in place and used a spray bottle to mist water on the back of it and gently forced it to the bend of the wall one step at a time.

It was slow, but it worked.

jwystup

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 05:06:32 PM »
Ah, so it sounds like it'd be similar to bending wood (from what I understand, that would be a method to do that as well). Sounds easy enough if I wind up doing the curve.

I really like the curve (seriously, I've just been staring at this wall and your picture all day, daydreaming), but I can't do 12" deep and I do see that it might be hard to find a tv/mount that would be thin enough to fit in the current width of the wall we have. I did find an ultra-thin tv that fits all of our criteria - including price - that's 1.9" deep, so that's a good start. It seems like in order to have a more low-profile wall mount, I might need to have one that isn't on a single stud like you have (and thus, a curve wouldn't work all the way across). So maybe I'll go over some ideas of using a trapezoid type shape or maybe even a flat part in the middle with a curve on  the ends... (think kind of like this shape: { w/o the pointy piece in the middle). I think I'm going to mess with google sketch up and see what I can come up with. I have all summer since boyfriend just wants the tv set up before football season (and of course we could always just have it on a shelf or something if I don't finish in time). I'm just anxious to paint and it makes more sense to finish this before painting!

trammatic

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2012, 09:57:40 AM »
Thanks for the ideas...I love the backyard!

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 10:07:14 AM »
Sho' thang!  It's not the cheapest because I didn't have any real plans, so I changed it, lived with it for a bit, didn't like it, changed it again.
On the upside, all but two trees were free, the vegetable planter was free (traded installing two shocks in an F150 truck for it), the pebbles and crushed gravel was free, the edging and spikes for the walkway were free and I found most of the irrigation hose too.

Previously, the lawn was free as I found the sod dumped on the side of the road. :)

HeidiO

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2012, 01:09:22 PM »
Love the lights (I need to think about doing something like that), love the backyard, love the shed and the TV wall looks great.  Nice job.
Heidi

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Re: DIY stuff - partially out of 'stachian considerations
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2012, 03:46:42 PM »
Thank you. :)