Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Building a Dream

Reading one of my favorite blogs by Rosie Hawthorne about her recent kitchen remodel has put me back in the mood to work on renovations in my own home. We have many plans for finishing spaces, but alas, money (or the lack thereof) has delayed this much anticipated construction. My husband would like to add a lower deck on the back of our house; my daughter would like to finish the basement, adding a bathroom and kitchenette; and I would like to finally finish the room above the garage.

The attic room is above the garage.

When we bought our house almost 10 years ago, we had every intention of finishing the room above the garage, turning it into a spare bedroom. Over the years, that vision has altered, and I have laid claim to that space. In that spirit, I have decided that I want to do most of the work myself, so that I will truly own the end result. The room is 11’ x 22’, with a ceiling height of 7’ in the middle while the knee walls are 5’ tall. There is a window that faces north and I have plans on putting a closet in on the other end of the room, which will shorten the room by 2 or 3 feet. Thus far, I have put dry wall on the end walls, added 2 ceiling lights to the stairway, moved one of the ceiling fixtures in the room, rewired the lights, moved an outlet, and laid out where the closet will go. In fact, the only jobs I anticipate needing help with are moving the door to the house from the garage (so this room will actually be inside the house), cutting the door to the room, hooking the heating and a/c ductwork to the system, and the carpet installation.

Getting ready to drywall the end wall. The closet will go here later.

As I have rewired lamps and changed out light fixtures in our house before, I was not intimidated by the prospect of doing the electrical work myself. It took an afternoon to install the stairway lights, with the only problem being a loose wire that was easily found and corrected. Adding a new light switch for the room’s ceiling lights was a bit more problematic. After several frustrating attempts to correctly wire the switch, I finally realized that I had been trying to wire it as I would wire a light fixture. Wrong. A light switch is wired all together differently. (Read: I finally read the directions. Yeah, I can be so masculine in that. Instructions are for wimps!) So now I know. Moving the light fixture and the outlet were more a matter of brawn than finesse, so that went easily. Although, I do seem to remember the hammer bouncing off the ceiling fixture and hitting me in the forehead…

The new light fixtures. The stains on the ceiling are from when a can of cola exploded during a cold spell several years ago.

I have hung drywall before, so that too was relatively easy, if not heavy. While the side walls are still open, I took the opportunity to install spacers behind the existing insulation in the sloped ceilings. Believe it or not, those spacers will help protect the roof and prolong the life of the shingles.

Now I need to purchase more insulation and get back to work. Then I need to get drywall, 2x4’s for the closet, doors and wood trim. Oh well, one step at a time.

And just what do I plan to do with this room? It will be my own personal retreat from my family and the world. I have already told my husband and daughter that they will not be welcome there. I have no hope of keeping the cat out of there, so he will be allowed access. This room will be my refuge when the weather is too cold, too hot or too rainy for me to sit out on my back deck.

I plan on installing cable so I can have my own TV and watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and snark away on Sandra Lee and her faux food to my heart’s content. A daybed will allow the room to be used as an occasional guest room or just as a place for me to nap, while a library table will hold my laptop computer and bookshelves will house my garden books. I also anticipate my dollhouses moving up there (much to my husband’s delight) and will likely decorate the room with a garden inspired theme.

Sigh, yet another home improvement project that is on hold.

This doll house only needs to be wired for lights. The sign reads "Rose Cottage Garden Shoppe".

I made all the furniture in this shop.

Let’s see: first I’ve got to clean off those stairs so I can actually get up there. Then I need to buy a few rolls of insulation… I can hardly wait.

Houston, we have problem.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

OMG. I am impressed with and totally jealous of your considerable talents. Do you do your own car repairs too?

RE: The doll houses. I do hope you'll do a Sandyscape utilizing the doll houses. That would be f'ntastic!

Marilyn said...

Well, once my daughter asked me to look under the hood of her car. I was able to helpfully confirm that it was indeed an engine.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Those boxes on the steps look quite familiar.