Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grill Area

The BBQ grill area had "lumpy" mexican tile with large and lower grout gaps and the surface was lower at the back toward the house wall. When it rained the water pooled toward the back and in the grout lines. The grill was also very old and rusting out. There was also a stupid looking arch of tile.

I knocked off the arch of tile and had to replace it with something to cover the marks left on the wall. Since I needed clearance for the grill lid to open up behind the grill I didn't have space for real rock (the preferred option) so I used "cultured" rock. I wish I would have used a different kind (dry stack look) but it is done and I didn't feel like spending hours tearing the new stuff down with a hammer drill. Since the top was so uneven I used leveling cement to level the top with a very slight slope so water could run off. I tiled the top with 18" unfilled travertine (called walnut colored). With unfilled travertine you can really manipulate the look by the color of the grout you use for the joint and it also fills in the voids in the travertine. The perimeter edges are tiled with multicolor slate. I still need to get a replacement stainless steel grill. When I install the grill I will finish the top off tile in the grill cutout area. I installed a fluorescent floodlight on top of the ramada column by the grill. A box with wiring was already present but not being used (can be seen in before picture). There was already conduit running to the top of the column. I attached a box, pulled wired and installed the light and switch.

After (but before new grill):

Dog Shade Area

I forgot to post a picture of the dog shade area I made after I finished the doghouse. It consists of a simple column of block (on a concrete footer). The top block is loose and just sitting on top - I'll explain why later. Eye hook bolts are anchored in the concrete filling the block at the outside diagonal corners. The second to last block is not filled completely. I cut a groove in the block by the anchors so a metal cable has a slot to rest in. The cable is attached to the wrought iron fence and to an eye hook for each open edge. Sun cloth is attached to the fence and the cable with ties and then screwed between two blocks of wood (larger attachment point to prevent tearing) that are concealed in the second to top block. This allows easy replacement of the sun cloth when it becomes degraded by the sun over time. This is topped of by a solid block that conceals the eye hooks and blocks holding the sun cloth.

(The mesquite tree just dropped its seed pods so the dog yard is covered. Fringe likes eating them. The pods provide food for javelina and other desert animals and must be tasty enough for a dog.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Upstairs Wood Floors and Stairs

I never liked the white carpet upstairs and planned to eventually replace it with wood floors.

Tucson dust + dogs + carpet harbors disgusting things anyway = skanky white carpet

I installed solid 3/4" thick nail down white oak hand scrapped flooring. The stair treads are red oak stained with Minwax early american. The stair risers are multicolor slate just like the slate used elsewhere in the house. I wanted thicker and taller baseboards than what you can buy so I made my own baseboards using select pine 1x4's and my router to chamfer the edge. The baseboards are stained english chestnut (Minwax). Pine stains differently from oak and this stain on pine matched the floor. The stair treads and baseboards were finished with coats of Varethane water based floor poly (this stuff is nice, 4 coats on the treads and 2 on the baseboards).

I removed the not so stylish 80's mirrored closet doors with gold trim on the closet. Eventually I may add more contemporary closet doors but it is not an urgent matter. I installed a Closet Maid track system (after I painted the components anodized bronze) and then made shelving out of oak stained english chestnut to match the paper holder I made earlier.

The flooring/stairs/closet project took me 2.5 three day weekends and about a week and a half of weeknights after work.

The previous owners left the twin bed which is now in the extra room.

Previous work not blogged:
I added lights to the two fans that did not have them. The switch plates & outlet covers are satin nickel and the vents painted to match. The windows are S and W facing so I had Huper Optik Drei window film applied which really cuts the heat and blocks UV to prevent fading. The blue walls are Behr flat enamel Newport Blue and the extra room is Gobi Desert. The walls of the stairwell are Harvest Brown like the living room. The inside of the closet is Harvest Brown.

Before pictures of white carpet and stairs: After Pictures:
View from top of stairs. (black picture frames for my travel pics. I haven't decided which ones.)
Top of stairs looking in:
View of Office Area:
View towards stairs from office area:
Wood Floor Detail:
View of "extra room" from office area:

Speaker Wires:

I also ran speaker wires through the walls for the rear speakers.