Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good News!: The Devil Cat Doesn't Scratch the New Karlstad Covering

Annie's cat, Hula, had a fond attraction to the nubbly texture on the old Karlstad sofa fabric. Ironically, this was also one of the more expensive covers that they sold for the Karlstad line. The scratching posts would be right next to the couch and she would still scratch the corners... It brought great displeasure to Annie and me. We weren't sure how the new Karlstad sectional covering would do, but Annie opted for the smoother fabric as a deterrent (also cheaper). If Hula went after the corners of the sectional, I vowed that I would remove her front paws entirely. Annie gave me a big frown after that comment. We are more than a month in with this sectional and amazingly, Hula has gone back to using her various scratching posts. Thank the cat gods (or devils) for pitying us! Moral of the story; if you are stuck with a cat, do not get the nubbly textured covering for the Karlstad sofa unless you want a shaggy look for all of the furniture corners. =)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dishwasher

I skipped posting about the dishwasher install several months ago and finally backtracked to post about it.

The older dishwasher seemed to work, but the drain attachment under the dishwasher was cracked. Instead of dealing with replacement parts on a dishwasher that was over 10 years old, I decided to do some shopping. I ended up finding a dishwasher that I liked from Home Depot. It was a black, top-mounted button model by Maytag. I think I paid under $350 for it. Home Depot currently has it for ~$360. The specific model was MDBH969AWB or the Maytag Jet Clean Plus.

I started by plumbing the supply line and drain hose from underneath the sink cabinet. Basically, I drilled two holes near the lower corner of the cabinet to feed the plastic drain line (that Ts off of the garbage disposal) and the 1/4” copper line (Ts off of the hot water supply line).

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Next, I ran the hot water line to get the air out.

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You coil the line like that just to make sure that when you push the dishwasher into place, you don’t kink the supply line. The electrical outlet is a standard socket and is not required to be a GFCI outlet because it is located by a major fixed appliance. This outlet did get its own circuit (shared with the disposal) as recommended by code on separating the disposal and dishwasher on a separate circuit.

Here is a shot of the location of the hot water supply line on the dishwasher. It actually made it quite difficult to fish the supply up to that point once I had the dishwasher in front of its home.

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I also included a couple shots of me wiring the plug. I used 12-2 Romex because this appliance isn’t one that will be moved in and out a lot. For power tools and hand held kitchen appliances, you use a braided cord so the repeated flexing doesn’t cause the metal to fatigue. I bought the receptacle plug at Home Depot. It was a bit more expensive than I was expecting, but I never could find a lower grade plug.

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I hooked everything up and shoved the dishwasher into place. This was where I found out that it was a super tight fit, causing me to have to adjust the insulating every time I moved it back a few inches. Once I got it all the way back, I screwed in the two retaining clips and called it a day.

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Overall, I found this to be a fairly simple install. I am very pleased with the dishwasher after about 6 months of use. It is a bit loud, but an excellent deal and looks great with a button-less front.

Tiling Pictures to Accompany Annie’s Tile Laying Experience

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Annie finally got me to stop dragging my feet this weekend by offering to set the tile for me if I would take care of cutting, mixing thin set and cleaning up at the end. To me it sounded like a pretty good deal. I showed Annie how I typically set my tile, although she preferred placing the thin set on the tile rather than the floor. All in all, she did a great job, getting better as she progressed. It turned out a bit more uneven than my meticulous and time consuming handiwork, but the lines are straight and the grout will hide it all anyway =) Good job!

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I’ll post a final picture after I have spent the week using the grout saw to get the thin set out of the grout lines and grouting the tile. =)

Ahhh Kitchen Floor!

Last week, I told Chris and myself that THIS WAS THE WEEKEND. This was the span of two days in which we would finish tiling the kitchen floor.
That's right. It's been sitting, incomplete and forlorn, for who knows how many months. At first, the logical excuse was "let's wait until we figure out what we're doing with the patio door". Now that the door had been replaced, there was nothing holding us back! We had also picked up extra tile at Floor, Decor & More as backup. We ended up having about a full box left, which is good in case we ever need to do future repairs. But, I get ahead of myself.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, Chris did all the set-up: hooking up the tile saw, mixing the thin-set, and showing me how to put the thin-set on the tile. He had been putting it on the floor, but the lady at The Tile Shop had told us in the little hour-long clinic that "buttering" the tile was ok if you were a beginner and not doing a lot at a time. So I started with that method, and we soon had a good system going. Chris would measure and cut the tiles, and I would lay them, really wiggle them into place, and place the grout spacers. Using that, we got a lot of the full tiles in, and starting filling around the edges. Eventually, we ran out of thin-set and called it a night.

On Sunday, we continued. By the time I got up to the house, Chris had gotten more thin-set and we were ready to go. It was a pretty quick job, and so now... wait for it... IT IS DONE.

... well, at least we're done laying the tile. Tonight Chris went back and sawed the thin-set from between the grout lines. Tomorrow he'll finish that and maybe grout. Yayyy so exciting! Then we'll seal it and then HAVE A KITCHEN TABLE!!! Ahhhhsdfksdjfskdfj;afjalsdkfj you can't even begin to understand my excitement. I guess it's mostly symbolic. Like, this is something that has just been sitting there unfinished for so long, and it feels so good to have said "I'm going to finish this. Let's do it." and then to actually do it and finish it. And it'll allow us to make the kitchen even more complete, and put in the breakfast table, and order chairs, and all that good stuff. I really want to be able to move in eventually, ya know, 'cause we're getting married and that's what married people do, and this is just another step in that process.

Also sorry about the lack of pictures; once again they are on Chris' camera. I really need to find mine and start bringing it so I can process them more quickly.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bathroom Vent

As usual, it has been forever since I last posted. Annie has been much better than I have lately. I am trying to turn a new leaf by moving over to Windows Live Writer for my blogging efforts. This should make the process easier, therefore enticing me to blog more often.
This particular blog is related to the bathroom ventilation. The bathroom did have a vent fan before, but it vented directly to the attic (most people’s do, you have to remember that your builder is trying to make the house price as attractive as possible). Especially after gutting this bathroom and finding mold, I often think about the need to remove moisture. I purchased a 110 CFM Broan model 676. It is a louder unit, but Amazon has it for less than $50 (normally $110) and it was well reviewed. The higher CFM rating addressed the need to remove moisture quickly and the louder unit would produce an effect of added privacy (even though I am insulating every wall of the bathroom for this purpose).
The install was fairly simple. I started by putting a 2x6 in between the trusses. This gave me an adequate nailing surface for the unit.
IMG_1524I made the mistake of facing the exhaust the opposite direction of where my soffit ventilation was to be. I ended up using a pair of 90 degree rigid elbows (I think they were aluminum, maybe they were galvanized).
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You can also see the piece of rigid galvanized that I ran from the elbows to a section of flex. I only did this because I had the left over rigid duct from the kitchen microwave vent sitting in the garage. The system will not likely be submerged in a medium with an electrolyte (or at least I hope it won’t or else I have much bigger problems), so the creation of a galvanic cell is not a concern. Basically, I don’t have to worry about the two different metals reacting.
I transitioned to flex duct so that I could bend it at an awkward angle and feed it through the tight gap between the roof decking and the top stud plate.
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I purchased a cheap (and somewhat flimsy looking) soffit vent. The install was quite simple, requiring only a 4” hole cut into the soffit and some retaining clips to hold the ducting in the opening. You then fasten the plastic vent over the hole. It actually turned out to be very inconspicuous.
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