Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Bedroom (Page 2 of 4)

Spring, Dry Wall, and Allegies

Spring is finally here in the ranch house. In what seems to be overnight, our crab apple tree put out thousand of flowers:

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The weather is still too cold to plant vegetable gardens, but it is warm enough for perennials:

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I selected these sweet white flowers for the spot under the crab apple tree, and paired with them with some color:

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We also planted rosemary and lavender around the mailbox.

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The plants might be small, but I trust them to fill in nicely with refreshing aroma and green foliage in a few years:

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Just to remind you, this is the same spot last year when we moved in:

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We removed all the weeds and transplanted roses from the front flower bed.

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And one of these roses survived. Its new leaves just peeked out of the mulch.

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Our indoor plants are also all happy and growing well:

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I am propagating some succulents I brought back from Southern California, hoping to use them as ground cover someday.

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Spring also means allergy. And I am hit. Flu-like symptoms kept me down, and drywall work inside does not help either.

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It has been over a month since we hung the drywall. So it is nice to finally get them finished. However, the actual work sucks. It is so slow and messy, and because this is Slav’s first time doing drywall, it is slower and messier. I wish we had hired it out – but with just a few seams no professional will take such a small job.

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We would have had all the drywall patches finished it by now, but Slav found black stuff in our drywall compound and it turned out to be mold. Yes, the drywall compound we bought from the local Home Depot is contaminated with mold. 🙁 So instead of having the walls ready to paint, we are chipping and sanding everything off (with masks) and restart.

I have to admit, when Slav told me that he had to restart, I lost it. It has been two weeks since the mudding and sanding started, and now we are back to the starting line. To pick myself up in the midst of this conundrum, I started choosing paint colors.

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The living room and office will stay white, just a brighter white. Our bedroom is more closed off from rest of the space. I am thinking about want to use a subtle pink color here:

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I like the slightly purple/lavender one on the top. We have lots of grey and a blue painting in the bedroom and this color speaks to them. It also looks good in the closet:

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All the trims will go Ultra Pure White. I am 99% sure that we will use SW’s Extra White in all the ceilings and rest of the walls. Now we just need these damn drywall to be finished.

I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to see it.

Finishing What I Started – Floating Nightstand Build

Have you ever started something with great momentum, worked through 90% of it, then “took a break” that lasted forever? This describes half of my renovation projects, which are mostly done but not completed:

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There are many hypothesis on the psychology underlying the inability of finishing tasks. One theory is that the procrastination is actually fueled by perfectionism and the fear that the finished product will not impress. People who are good at seeing big picture have a hard time to break it down into manageable tasks. For me, it might just be simply short attention spin. I got excited at starting a new thing but lose interests quickly during execution.

It dos not help that I live with a very accommodating partner. Slav, my housemate of 8 years and husband of nearly 5, is one of the most mild-tempered individual that you’d ever meet. He nods to every new idea I had (exciting!), cheers along every project I started (Oh! I did not think it would be so hard!), and most gratefully, tolerates all the almost-done projects I failed to complete (I will tackle it next week, I promise!). He thinks everything I did in the house is an improvement, “although incremental”. However, as a neuroscientist, who is fully aware  my own psychological shortcomings, I cannot let myself slip into this chronic procrastination crack. I need to overcome my own laziness and bring some project, a project to complete completion.

There is no shortage of contenders, as shown above. And the winner is…

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Floating bedside tables for our master!

The design evolution

I have long wanted floating nightstands – shall we call it “nightfloats” for short? The most important reason: cleanliness. We have a Labrador who sheds non-stop (but he is cute! And we love him very much). A couple days without vacuuming, you can see black hairballs rolling along the baseboards (eww). Floating furniture allow us to vacuum every corner of our rooms. So, when I made our headboard during Christmas. I also designed a sideboard/nightfloat combination for both sides of the bed.

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This SketchUp image shows how I designed the nightfloats originally. The side panels, which are as deep as the headboard, will be standing on both sides of the bed and secured to the wall. Two nightfloats and two sconces will be mounted on the side panels, which hide all the wires behind. The blue rectangle represents a window above the bed.

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As you can see, there is not a lot of room on either side of the bed. I decided to make the side panel/nightfloat 19″ wide, which is the distance between the bed and the wall to the right.

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However, when I actually pop a big piece of plywood next to the bed, the room felt so… filled up to the brim. The bed assembly took over the entire back wall, making the room feel cramped. With a king and storage bed, it is so critical for us to keep everything else light and minimal. Hence the choice of curtains on the closet, the ladder for clothes drop-off, and the minimal decor. We quickly nix the idea of side panels, and decided to only make the nightfloats.

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Without the side panels, one drawer nightstand looked a bit too skinny. So we opt for a more balanced two-drawer design. This guest post from The house of wood confirmed that this is the look we wanted. Although I did not follow their plan and building material, the dimensions and building process is fairly similar.

Building the carcass

With SketchUp plan in hand, I started cutting all the pieces to size.

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I usually do not keep a cut list, but rather try to use up various pieces with minimal waste. After building two nightstand, I have only waste some trimmings that could be picked up by two hands – I’d say that it is pretty good!!!

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I also collect all the sawdust for composting later. We keep a small bin in the kitchen for collecting green waste. Layering in sawdust kept it odor-free and dry. A win-win in my book.

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I decided to join all the pieces with pocket hole joints.

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Slav gifted me these quick release bar clamp (similar here) which are life savers for a one-man operation.

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Ta-dah!

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Drawer build

Now it comes my favorite part: building the drawers. There is something very comforting about the repetitive process of assembling drawers. I can build drawers everyday. If you are in the Denver area and want a few drawers built, let me know!

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There are also many ways to build drawers which I am having fun trying. The first drawer I built uses butt joint and screws, and my second batch was built with butt joint and brad nails. For both cases, the drawer bottoms were screwed/nailed directly onto the bottom of the drawer frame. This time I used pocket hole joints for the frame, and cut grooves with the tablesaw on all sides of the drawer frame to sink the drawer bottoms in.

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The groove were cut to fit the 5 mm plywood I had on hand (left from this project). I used a piece to make sure the groove lining up perfectly while jointing pieces together:

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For small drawers like what I am building, these plywood sheets are rigid enough and should not bend easily. If you are making drawers than exceed 2′ on one side, much wider drawers, I will recommend a center support.

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After inserting the drawer bottoms, I closed them off by joining in the last side. These drawers felt super solid and I am very happy with them. 🙂

The assembly

I attached all the drawer slides which is pretty straightforward. I maxed out the drawer depth by having very limited space between them, but math worked.

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I cut a piece of plywood to cover the whole front (including the frames), then sliced it into two pieces where the drawers divide. The cut took off 1/8″ of plywood horizontally, which left a perfect reveal between the two drawers while keeping the wood grain continuous.

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Slav helped me to mount them in the bedroom. We used the Hangman french cleat for our headboard and it was rock solid. So this time we used two of this smaller version for the nightfloats.

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Finished around 10 pm, perfect timing for bed:

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As planned, the nightstand on Slav’s side fits like a glove.

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And them just cleared the storage bed drawers:

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Customer Review:

We have used these nightfloats for a couple nights and they are perfect. The top provides plenty of space for lights, clock, and a glass of water much needed for sleeping in such dry climate. The bottom drawers are reserved for undies and socks, and the top drawers are perfect for ear buds, night guards, and glasses.

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We love the seamless look in the front so we will not be adding hardware to the drawers. They are not difficult to open – all it takes is a firm grip on both sides. We might add finger pulls down the road if we see something we like enough.

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We do however, plan to paint the nightfloats – should they be white as the walls, black as the bed frame, or grey as our headboard? (Apparently there are only three color in my world!)

These drawers remain empty until we paint the nightfloats. It is funny that I have added nine drawers – nine! – to our house within the last a couple weeks, yet none of them got filled. Should I celebrate our lack of stuff, or be charged of overbuild?

Let There Be Light

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Howdy, friends and family! We had another winter storm and it is really cold! One good news is that even though the weather is significantly colder, we still paid 20% less for heating in January compared to last December. I think the attic insulation we recently added is doing its job!

The weather really slowed down our office renovation – we can not do wood work inside with windows and doors shut, and the garage is pretty cold to work in now. Unsatisfied with the lack of progress, we revisited our office to-do list to see if there is anything we could work on without making sawdust:

1. Frame the new opening between office and living room
2. Patch the hardwood floor
3. Drywall and trim around the new opening
4. Hang doors
5. Install new lighting and window treatment in the office
6. Build baseboard drawers for the bookcases
7. Trim out the bookcases
8. Build a new desk w/ storage cabinet
9. Enlarge office window (phase II)

It did not take long for us to identify the obvious choice: the lighting! We have been wanting to try the PS 2014 lamp from IKEA, and Slav’s room seemed to be a good spot for it.

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While browsing lighting in IKEA, we also found this sleek Barometer track light. Slav was leaning towards using this track light in the office since PS 2014 does not give out too much light.

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Office lighting

We assembled both lights. The PS 2014 comes in many pieces but was fairly easy to assemble.

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Here is our old overhead lighting in the office, which is apparently called “nipple light” in US.

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Slav took it off and found the ceiling above it was not painted. So I cleaned the ceiling with some TSP solution and sanded it a bit, then gave it a coat of white paint.

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The existing ceiling color reads a bit more flat, probably due to the age of the paint. We plan to paint the whole main floor down the road so a bit difference in texture did not bother us.

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Slav is right, the PS 2014 hung way too low in the office. Not only Slav, but also I have to duck when passing it. So track lighting it is.

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The new light looks much better. The brass color is masculine, fits the color of the bookcases, and the smooth and modern lines balance the rather traditional shelves very well.

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A pretty big difference between the “nipple light” and the new Barometer.

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Bedroom lighting

With the track lighting installed in the office, we decided to hang the PS 2014 in our bedroom. Slav got to take down the second “nipple light”.

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The bedroom light left a more obvious mark on the ceiling. It took two coats of paint to cover the yellowish ceiling.

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I painted with a brush and intentionally left the brush mark to match the ceiling pattern.

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It dried to almost the same color.

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Slav hung the PS 2014 and we were very impressed with the effect it gives.

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Make you think of the Star Wars movies, right? This lamp is popular for IKEA hacks and the most creative I’ve seen might be this “death stars” project.

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You can use the two strings on the bottom to adjust how much it opens:

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And it leaves the prettiest pattern on our ceiling:

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It hangs pretty low, but we do not mind since it was mounted directly above our bed. It is also a fairly dark light. We used a 95W equivalent LED bulb, and even with the lamp shades fully open, you should not read under it.

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However, it is perfect for bedroom use. When the lamp is mostly closed, you can turn it on in the middle of darkness without hurting your eyes. I usually goes to bed a lot earlier than Slav. With this light, he could turn it on without waking me up.

Garage lighting

We also recently upgraded our garage lights – about a months ago? It was too small of a project to report, but it actually made a big impact. Gosh we are on such a lighting rush now!

The garage lights are actually the ones that really needed an upgrade. We changed all the light bulbs in the house to LED as soon as we moved in, but the old garage lights are these tube lighting and they do not take LED bulbs. They were not only inefficient and dark, but also dirty and covered with rust.

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LED work lights are not cheap, but we really wanted LEDs so we took the holiday sales and got these.

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Slav mounted all the new lights flush to the ceiling beams – the old ones were suspended on chains (!!!). Mounting the new light higher also helped to hide loose wires. They made the whole garage look neater and more pleasant to be in.

We are very impressed with these lights. They are very bright. We got four with the assumption that we might need to add additional task lighting over the work benches. But in fact, four of these lights brightened up the whole garage (18″ x 24″) without any dark corners (mounting them higher also helped).  These lights made it possible to work in the garage at night, even on the work benches without other task lighting. We also picked warm white (2700 Kevin), so although these light are bright, it does not feel cold or sharp.

With all the new lighting in the office, bedroom and garage, we have upgraded 50% of lighting on the main floor. We are still searching for additional light source for the living room (the only room without overhead lighting), and we cannot wait to upgrade the lights in our kitchen and hallway. But for now, it makes us smile everything we turn on the bedroom light and see the “star”.

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