Redesigning my home instead of a website

Discussion in 'Other Home Decorating & Remodeling Projects' started by Jim McClain, May 14, 2009.

  1. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    A few years ago, I got sick and had to leave the home I had for 17 years and had just done a major addition and total redesign. It was a devastating loss and, combined with learning I had lung disease, I spent the next 3 years mostly in a funk and not caring one bit about where or how I lived. I moved into a converted garage for a living room and kitchen and a bedroom sliced off the unit next door. My closest friend for many years gave me a place to live, but I haven't been too thrilled about it. I'm an ungrateful son of a bitch sometimes. :(

    Recently I found myself emerging from this self-imposed social and emotional exile and have decided to make the best of what I got. I know, I know, I have been see-sawing back and forth for months, fine one minute, pissy the next, and it will likely continue. But I see it as a couple steps forward, stumble some, a step or two more forward, etc.

    Anyway, for the last few weeks I have been trying to come up with a scheme to make my hovel into a palace for me. I drew up a bunch of plans for different projects and couldn't wait for my landlord to come back from Arizona to ask him and his wife to let me do some of these things. He was also a builder and one of my customers, but it's been a few years and he never had me do anything but the cheapest flooring in his spec homes. Even though he saw what I did to my other home, he doesn't think of me as multi-talented - especially these days. :ohno:

    He arrived home a few days ago and I kinda bombarded him with all my ideas. Both he and his wife gave me a decidedly tepid response. I realized if I couldn't convince him that what I want to do will make his rental even more valuable when I'm gone, he'll never let me do much. I managed to get him and his wife to okay me doing some trim around the two 4-0 4-0 windows (4' by 4'). He was the original builder and this is what he put in the living area and the bedroom:

    lvrm-window-old03.jpg bedrm-window-old02.jpg

    Pretty awful - dingy and characterless - and I am the guilty one for those hideous curtains.

    My plan (well, one of them for several different projects - this is the window plan):


    Notice I put a picture of him and his wife on the wall that I took last year. There's also their godchildren, who lived next door for a while and loved to play with my oxygen tanks. And my dog, who had to leave because he nearly bit one of the kids on the face.

    Yesterday and today I should have been doing a bunch of other stuff, like taking care of a couple websites I manage, but I spent yesterday begging for left-over lumber and then buying what else I needed. Today I cut and installed all the trim except the small quarter round below the sills. I don't have to paint them yet - that's another project.

    window-step5-05.jpg window-step5-01.jpg

    I was very pleased. The landlord let me borrow all the tools I needed and he set them up for me, but I didn't see him again for the rest of the day. I went next door to turn off the compressor (finish nailer's are wonderful when pounding a hammer tires you out) and he followed me over to have a look.

    The best part of the day was listening to him praise what I'd done. He always joked about being a better framer than a builder, but he could never stand taking orders, so he always built spec homes and did all the work he could himself. He like what I did and just as he was leaving, he said whatever I wanted to do, no need to ask.

    Actually, I had anticipated a favorable response when I first got this bug up my butt. I have been trying to harangue a couple members here to see if I could get some new flooring donated. I hope that works out because now I know I can do it. There might be a couple other things I will try to hit some of you up for. I don't really like asking for this stuff, but it's the only way I'm gonna be able to do some of these things. I'll try not to be obnoxious, but I'm anxious to crawl out of this cave I've been living in for 3 years now and turn it into something I feel good in.

    I imagine I will sleep good tonight - I am one tired old man. Damn thing took all day to do and I missed my nap. :D

  2. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Certainly looks a lot better Jim. Good on you
  3. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Resting In Peace

    Looks good T .
  4. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    It does look good. But why in the world would you want to paint stain grade??

  5. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    You work faster than Lo does.:yesss:
    The builder was impressed because if he only does spec homes, he's never seen anyone do the detail work that you did. Looks great, Jim.
    I've worked in a lot of homes over the past couple of years and people are getting away from white and off white paint on the walls. It's amazing how the room feels much more comfortable with a little color on them. I've seen a lot of shades of green and browns on walls that really warm up a room.
  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Too many different wood/wood-like surfaces will make it look too busy. I am hoping for a vinyl or laminate material for the floor that looks like real wood. The cabinets are all Oak and my furniture is mostly assorted woods. The living/kitchen area is only 11[sup]3[/sup] x 19 and bedroom considerably smaller, so my goal is to make it feel less cluttered and more open. Installing trim around all windows and doors and painting it a warm white will add nice contrast to the light, cool color I will paint the walls. That will make the wood floor, furniture and cabinets stand out more.

    Even the ready-made oak cabinets are a bit much. I have a plan to bring them into the over-all scheme and turn an eyesore into a feature. This is what they look like now (you can also see my former dining room table and chairs are now my "desk" and chair):


    The plan or vision I have is to move the refrig to a position just across from where it's at now and turned to face the kitchen. Then I can move the stove (that's a 20 incher) and microwave, add a 18" dishwasher and a lot more counter and cabinet space. And that's cork on the backsplash to deaden the sound (common wall with the landlord's bedroom) and make the wall easier to clean (I think). That's the plan anyway, it will prob'ly change some by the time I can do that part.

    Be sure to click the images to see them full-size.

    The treatment for the cabinet doors is coated fabric (with a painted warm white edging on the doors). Again, to deaden the sound or sound absorption. It's a very heavy fabric that I'd like to put on the wall to the right of the kitchen, which is also a common wall to the landlord. On that wall, my plan is to put some half inch quilting batting on the wall and cover it with the fabric. Bringing it to the raised panels of the cabinets repeats the theme, makes the whole area look larger, updates the look of the cabinets and absorb a little sound - remember, this room used to be a garage with no insulation.


    Lo, green is a cool color. ;) I will have plenty of color spread around. This is a very tiny place and I need to be careful how I use color and other elements. The drapery for the windows will have plenty of color and the fabric covered wall will be my gallery for showing off a lot of my own photography. Here's the tentative plan for that wall:


    The Coke magazine ad and the dog in a marshmallow can are not my pictures, but the rest are. The dividers are faux columns holding up faux beams on the ceiling - the columns also hide the seams between fabric panels. For those not familiar with the style I am following, it's the American Craftsman style, with a bit of my own personal style thrown in.

    I hope to replace my old couch with a couple upholstered chairs and an ottoman in bold colors and there will be other decorative elements that add color. The backsplash and cabinet doors should add a good use of color and feature the kitchen wall nicely.

    All my plan pictures are to scale, by the way.

  7. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    And during this span of time you got TFP up and running and guided it to where it is today. In my book you're THE MAN!!:bow::good:

    Just think, with T in a good mood (not GRUMPY) one can only imagine where TFP will be in another 3 years.:yesss:
  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's amazing what you can do with a resentment. :D
  9. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Jim, I'd die for a kitchen that big. :yesss: I ain't kiddin neither. :ohno:
    If I could, I'd swap the micro and fridge positions because of the accessibility issue. Microwaves always open that way for some reason. (open to the left)
    Wanna trade up fer some top end 5/16" thick5 ply real walnut trailer paneling? :yesss::yesss::yesss:
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  10. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    I'm not sure, but I think more could be done with sound deadening without a lot of cost. If the cabinets are just screwed in, is it possible for a sound deadening membrain to be installed on that wall, like the one under laminate flooring? The light green stuff that everyone likes. I can't recall the name of it. Floor muffler?
    add 2 by 2's to furr it out and a layer or sheetrock.
    Existing drywall then add a strip of sound deadener on two sides of a 2X2 furring strip then sheetrock.
    Simpler would be, existing sheetrock covered with a full layer of Floor muffler, then soundboard, another layer of sound muffler then new 9/16" sheetrock. Minimal fasteners to limit sound transmission.

    This stuff Acoustiblok, would be ideal, but probably spendy unless you could work out an advertising deal with them on the website.
    I have a small sample of it here somewhere. They sent it to me after I viewed their website link from an engineering newsletter.
    It's a thin, heavy and very dense rubber membrane.
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    There are a couple of things that need important consideration: Cost because I have so little money and physical labor involved because I have so little lung capacity.

    Removing cabinets to install sound deadening material is out of the question. I have to do what I can without that. I know there are ways to do this better, but I can't do it that way. There are only a few things my landlord is willing to do - painting and any necessary taping and texturing of sheetrock and he will be able to help me move my heavy furniture around. He also said he'd help do a concrete countertop, if that's what I want. He volunteered to do that so he could practice on mine before he did his own. hmmm

    Anyway, I have a huge list of small projects that make up all this remodeling and I will just try to tackle each one when and how I can. I'm looking forward to it.

  12. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Jim I reckon you need a working b. If I wasn't so far away I would be a starter. Time costs nothing
  13. Jerry Thomas

    Jerry Thomas Charter Member Senior Member

    I wish I lived close to you, I'd be glad to offer a hand. Is there anything we can do from a long distance away?
  14. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Thanks for asking, Jerry. Although this is all going to take me time to do because of the physical limitations I have now, I am looking forward to being able to do most of the work myself. But the time to do all of this will be greatly extended because of the financial limitations. I have contacted a couple of members here that have close manufacturer connections to see if I can get donations of flooring material (I want the hardwood floor look, but need to be able to leave a spill if I can't clean it up right away - and leave behind something another tenant might not take care of when it's time for me to go), so I am optimistic for that.

    There's still a few things I will have a very difficult time affording. I think the biggest item is an 18" white dishwasher (no dishwasher here now and no space for anything bigger).

    I'd like to use prefinished cork tile for the backsplash (see one of my posted pictures for the look I'm after) and am thinking about making a new desk to replace my too big dining table and topping that with the same cork, which is about 46 sq ft (23sf of each color) of 12 x 12 cork tile for both surfaces.

    This place has never had a built-in heater, so I have been using a borrowed portable electric heater the last 3 winters. I'd like to build in a 4' hydronic baseboard heater (hydronic heaters are good for people with asthma or emphysema). The landlord said he would add a 220 volt circuit to do it, if I got the heater.

    There is already a 2-bulb ceiling light fixture centered in the "living room" and a ceiling fan I have to duck when I'm on my Segway near the kitchen area. I'd like to remove the fan and replace the light fixture with a flush mount, low profile ceiling fan/light (and I wouldn't mind having another one of those in the bedroom to replace the single light fixture). This would unclutter the ceiling (there's also a smoke detector and a 4' florescent fixture to light the kitchen) and offer good lighting and cooling.

    Those are the biggest items. Lumber to build the desk, refer enclosure, built-in storage for the bedroom, storage bed, faux ceiling beams and other things are fairly manageable as I have the energy to build them - and there are a few builders I used to do work for that I can get some lumber from. The landlord said he will supply the paint, but I have to pay the difference from his standard cheap brand, flat off-white, but it's a small place and that shouldn't be too much (mine is about 6 or 7 bucks a gallon more).

    This kinda reminds me of the Christmas wish lists my mother used to ask for when we were kids. Can't remember ever getting anything on the list. [​IMG] But I appreciate you asking anyway. I have a bunch of old lunch pails I'm gonna try to sell on eBay. I also have some really beautiful, but way too big maple bedroom furniture I am going to have to sell. When I build my new desk, I'll have a nice dining table and 4 chairs to sell too. Those will help me.


  15. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Not just Jerry, a lot of us do Jim. You know that we are all thinkin of you and what you have done for all of us. For me payback isn't in the cards right now. Last month grossed a whoppin' $460. I have more free time than a clock. :D
    .............. but not to despair buddy, it's lookin better by the minute. I spent $1 on Powerball, so both of us will be doin' great tomorrow night. :D
    .......movin' on up, to the eastside, to a big apartment in the sky................ we're movin' on up........... :dance::dance::dance:
  16. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Just a little update... The remodeling and design of my apartment is moving forward. My landlord actually suggested that I make a new entry by adding a tiny addition to my apartment. That is what I have worked on for the last 4 or 5 days. I haven't done anything like this for a very long time. Using power tools and swinging a hammer didn't used to be this hard, but I think it's all going to be worth it. The outside is finished except for the painting. The inside still needs sheetrock, trim and a light on the ceiling.

    Click images to see full-size.

    This adds only 4' wide by 3' deep additional space, but as you can see in the picture, my Segway needs a parking spot that doesn't keep the door from opening all the way. This is just the ticket.

    The existing door will come out, along with all the framing and part of the wall on each side so it has a 4' wide opening. I have to replace the header and raise it up some. I found a shorter, but thicker header that is rated the same in his old lumber pile. Now I have to tear out some sheetrock on the inside and make a new perch for the wider header so I don't have those short walls where the old door is.


    I've also been trying some different paint patches...


    ... and have pretty much decided on a blue. The picture doesn't show what it looks like nearly as well as it looks here in the room - and I have 4 different patches around the room to get a good idea what it's going to look like at any given time of the day. 'Course, I may be jumping the gun because the fabric I want to put on the wall to deaden the sound has been changed. I haven't gotten the samples in yet, but it's going to be one of the blue duck cloth samples I hope arrive soon. I'm hoping it will look something like this:


    Then the cabinet doors will also get the same fabric - it's a coated fabric and can be wiped clean. To help deaden the sound from the kitchen wall, which is also a common wall with the landlord's bedroom just on the other side, I want to do cork. I mentioned that in a previous post, but I've since changed my color choices:


    Some of you may have noticed the banner ad at the very top of the site - Globus Cork. These people manufacture cork flooring, wall and ceiling panels and tiles. Really nice looking stuff, comes in a huge assortment of colors and sizes and they will also custom color for you, as well as custom size their material. They are very nice folks and have agreed to trade me some ad space for the tile I need for my backsplash. I hope you will take a moment to visit their site to see what they have: Natural Cork Flooring - Globus Cork - Colored Cork Floor and Cork Wall Tiles

    I'm off to my regular doctor's appointment tomorrow (maybe that's why I'm such an asshole every Tuesday night) and will pick up a few more things for my remodel/design. A little bit here and a little bit there. I think I may try to work out a trade with a couple of other companies/manufacturers. Maybe I can get the ceiling fan/light I want that way, maybe even a nice area rug. It only works with companies that are within our realm of interior remodeling or design - things our members and visitors would also be thinking about while they are thinking about their floors.

    I would like to thank a couple of our members, who shall remain nameless for now. They have been working hard at trying to help me come up with some flooring for my apartment. It's very difficult times right now and they have not had much luck so far. But they have tried and it was so very generous of them to even offer to help. Manufacturers and major retailers are very tight right now though. These 2 guys are still on the top of my gratitude list anyway, just for trying so hard. And who knows, it may happen. But if it doesn't, I will know it's because it wasn't meant to at this time. You know who you are - thank you.

    Onward and upward. This is really fun for me, even though every little thing seems to take excruciatingly long to do. I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it. I'm also happy to share it with you. I hope you aren't too awfully bored with it.


  17. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Just don't overdo it, Jim. We need you on here.
  18. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    :eek:............I am gonna seriously question yer choice of color there T..........:hmmm:..........and did I miss somethin, what kindda floorin are ya lookin fer.....I got a whole warehouse full of cra....I mean goods..........:shifty:
  19. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    What, you think blue is a little out there? :D I have other stuff that I have to work around and I think blue will be a really welcome change for me. No more beige! Here's my color inspiration:

    Click images to enlarge.

    I bought an 8-place setting a half dozen years ago. I also have this sofa and chair to deal with (picture from my old house):


    I bought that set quite a while back and am not too awfully fond of the color now, but it's what I got and I can't afford to replace them. As you can see in the dish, both yellow and the piping color are present - that's a red/rust color. My casement furniture, buffet, which doubles as my entertainment center, and my desk, which is actually a dining table is in the red tones and goes well with the dinnerware and sofa colors. So, I have a few choices for the wall colors and I pick blue. I think it'll be alright. I hope. :confused: Here's a concept drawing of the wall my buffet and the entry and bedroom doors are on - the refer is enclosed in the wall to the left of the bedroom door, right across from where its original position is.


    Flooring... My first choice, for ease of installation and durability (it has to be good for my landlord when I'm gone and renters don't take very good care of their units), is Konecto Prestige, either the Sunset or Beach patterns (there might be a couple other patterns that would look good, but I have seen images of those 2 and like the look a lot. I want it to look like real wood as much as possible, mainly because I have wood casement furniture and I need to limit the number of elements so it doesn't look too busy in this tiny space. Tile and carpet are out (although I do want a 6x9 area rug in a modern design using subtle tones of my color scheme). Carpet is too dusty and caring for it is even worse - my lungs can't take it anymore. Tile look is nice, but it would make the space look too busy, even with a very simple style.

    So, if you have 260sf (the room is 11'3" by 19') of something that looks like wood flooring, durable and can stand to have a spill sit on it until I have enough energy to get it cleaned up and fits in the color scheme, that would be great. Unfortunately, I think it's too much to ask of anyone. I think it's why it has been so difficult for the other 2 guys I mentioned to find a dealer or manufacturer willing to donate it. They have tried and neither have admitted defeat, but I just think it's both too much to ask and too difficult to find a donor, especially these days.

    If I have to rob a bank though, I'll get my floor. I spent some time calling some online retailers, but no luck so far on the floor. I think I will be getting the cork backsplash I mentioned earlier, in exchange for the banner ad at the top of this page. I got a call from a lady that owns a lighting company that may be interested in trading ad space for this ceiling fan:


    I'm gonna keep trying. The Konecto would cost about $900.00. I have some things I can sell on eBay and I'll keep saving when I can until I have enough. I can live on bare concrete until then if I have to. :yesss: I have to tear the carpet out real soon so I can build a surround for the new refrigerator position (same old refer, new location). The landlord wants to use the carpet in another rental, so I can't just cut a chunk out of it.

    Part of all of this remodeling/decorating is great therapy for me. I moved in here 3 years ago now and have pretty much closed myself up in this dungeon. I been feelin' sorry for myself because of these damn lungs and more or less just waitin' to die. I know, it sounds morbid, but it's real life and death issue for me. But a couple months ago I had an epiphany or some kind of awakening. I know the inevitable, but I have to live the moments as they come. And I have to work with my hands again as much as possible. I miss that more than anything else (yes, even that). It took about 5 days to frame in that door and install it to what you see in the previous pictures - what would have taken less than half a day before. But I did it (my landlord helped me position the door). I did the window trim and it looks so good to me. I want to install the floor (which is why I need small pieces, so I can rest when I need to and not worry or hurt myself). This makes me feel good and alive and... and... manly. ;)

    Anywayyyyy. :D Thanks for reading.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  20. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    As far as color, I've seen a lot of greens on walls that look really nice too. Most are between the Globus Cork add's green lettering and an olive drab. It really warms up a room. I'm a blue guy, but I like some of those greens a lot.
    Kinda neat how creating a decent project helps the mind relax even if it leaves the body tired.

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