Terrific Broth

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

Tag: House Tours Page 2 of 4

Getting Into the Slav Zone – Ranch House Garage Tour

Welcome to the last tour to our ranch house! I should have asked Slav to write this last post, since garage is totally his zone. He was the one who requested two-car garages, and he is totally the master mind behind how we are gonna use it.

Ranch House - 4

Without further ado, here is our garage:

Our garage is a little less than 18.5′ x 21.5′, a “compact” two-car garage. Since it is not over-sized, we decided that we would not use it as storage from the beginning. here are the plans we have for the garage:

Ranch main floor_3D_transparent

A workshop and shelter for both cars

We want to be able to park both cars here – Denver gets snow and ice storms in winter and hail in spring, and we want to be able to protect our cars against bad weather. Slav also wants to be able to maintain our cars here, which means having plenty of space around a car when it is parked in the garage. Because of its size, there is not a lot of room on each side when we park two cars inside at the same time (you can see from the video how little space we have on each side of the garage door). That means that we cannot set up deep work benches or store bulky items on the side of the garage.

Limited by the width, the only space for a work bench in this garage is at the back. When we got our electrical work done, we asked our electrician to put in a series of outlets along the back wall:


We already had a chest freezer, which was settled in the corner of the garage. We then taped the floor to determine the size of the work bench:


The future work bench will be 3′ deep and 40″ tall, and run between the freezer and the garage door area. It will look something like this:


You can see the outlets right above the bench, the garage door to its left and the freezer to its right. The cylinder next to the freezer is Slav’s winter tires, and the rectangle block indicates the bench seating we inherited.

All the tools and the Shop-Vac will be stored underneath the work bench. For small tool storage, Slav got some pegboards from Habitat for Humanity for only $8 a pop (the small one is only $3)! They will be mounted above the workbench and rest of the wall will be covered by drywall.


A garage for work, not storage

The second plan we have for the garage is not to use as a storage. but rather delicate it to car work and DIYs. All of gardening stuff including our lawnmowers will be stored in the backyard shed, and we will try not to accumulate clothing or decor more than we can display.


Aside from the work bench and Slav’s tools, we plan to mount a couple narrow shelving along the right wall, directly under the garage door track. All our paint cans will be organized on it. In this way they will not longer occupy floor space, and it will be easier for us to see what color of the paint we have. When we need to paint something, we just need to put some drop clothes down on the floor and it will become a paint corner.

Create a functional mudroom for winter

The third important function of this garage, aside from parking two cars and tool/paint storage, is to serve as a mudroom. In winter, we will be driving in with snow gears with lots of dirt under our shoes, and we need an area to unload wet gears and muddy boots before entering the house. To use the least space to gain the most function, we mounted our shoes on the wall next to the door going into the kitchen, and put down a big outdoor mat in front of the step.

Garage_3D_Northern wall

The wall space under the garage door track on the left will be dedicated to snowboards and skies.

Insulation and ceiling

As I told you in the video, the garage is mostly (but poorly) insulated on two sides, but not on the door nor the wall facing the kitchen. We will add insulation into the kitchen wall to make the house cooling in the summer, and patch the missing insulation on the back wall. We will also add some light insulation panels on the garage door and see how much it would help. The goal is to insulate the garage in the way that it can be comfortable with the help of a space heater in winter and a window AC in summer, without breaking our bank.

The last big project we would like to do is to vault the ceiling of the garage. Currently, there is no insulation above the garage ceiling. The current ceiling is just random sizes of dry wall taped together, which is weak and ready to fall on our heads. The lighting situation here is also terrible – all tube lighting with wires interconnected because they did not want to pay for installing light sockets on the ceiling! When the inspector came in to see the electrical work, he gave us a green light to take down ceiling in the garage because “it only makes it safer”, especially if we clean up the electrical system and install new lighting here. We think having a tall ceiling will make this compact-sized garage feel a lot bigger! It will be such a cool place for Slav to work on the cars and for me to DIY.


There you have it, our garage tour and plans. We need to take down the broken ceiling/attic ladder, add new sub-roof and insulation in between, add new lighting for the garage, put up pegboard/drywall the back wall, build a work bench for Slav, hang shelves on the right side for paint can storage, and hangers on the left wall for our winter gears. There are plenty work to do but getting the garage in good shape is something we both very excited about!

The Hidden Half – Ranch House Basement Tour

Hello family and friends! I hope you enjoy the house tours we shared with you so far. We spent 95% of our time in the ranch on the main floor and in the backyard. Sometimes we forget that we still have entire half of of house beneath our feet! Yes. The hidden half of our house – a full basement!

As I told you yesterday, the ranch is about 1700 sqft (not counting the garage), and it is divided into 850sqft on the main floor and 850 sqft in the basement. The basement floor plan look like this:

Ranch basement_current

Which is really similar to the main floor plan:

Ranch main floor_no garage

The biggest difference is that the main floor has a kitchen, and the basement has a third bedroom and utility room. The front bedroom is also slightly smaller than the main floor office.

In this first video, we will walk down the stairs, and take a look at the basement living room, and two of the bedrooms:

As you can see, most of the basement floor is covered by carpet, and there is no hardwood floor underneath. We poked around a little and think that under the carpet, there is concrete floor in one bedroom, and old linoleum flooring in another bedroom and in the living room. It will take us some time to clean everything off the floor, and we need to decide what type of flooring we want to use here.

The wood paneling wall is also up for debate. It is in a pretty decent shape, and it is costly to dry wall. but Slav haaaates it. So at least we will paint it a lighter color?

This second video showed you the utility room and the third bedroom I talked about.

The plan is to take down the drywall here and join the third bedroom to the utility room. So at least we can walk around our washer and dryer with their doors open! The studs in this drywall are not even supporting to the roof joints, so it will be pretty easy to just cut every off and open it up.

After we open it up, the basement will change from this:

Ranch basement_current

to something like this:

Ranch basement_proposal 1

So how are we gonna use this 850 sqft space? Tentatively, we would like to convert the basement into a guest suite. Something like this:

Ranch basement_proposal

That includes:

1. We would like to add a private entrance to the basement from the outside, and close the stairs inside.

2. We will keep both bedrooms downstairs, so we can host more family/friends at the same time. The private entrance will take away some of the space from one bedroom, but it is a pretty good size now and it will still fit a single bed/bunk bed without problem.

3. We will make the living room a movie theater/entertainment center by mounting the projector/screen down here.

4. The large room we gained from the third bedroom will be converted into a simple kitchen.

5. We will make a closet to conceal the furnace, water heater, and potential the washer and dryer.

6. We will put egress window in both bedrooms and living room. It is more than what the code asks for, but we care about fire safety and bigger window also let in more light.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Have you remodeled basement in your house, Or installed egress windows yourself?



A Living Place Update – Ranch House Main Floor Tour

Hi friends! Welcome back to our ranch house tours!

Yesterday I’ve shown you our yard and the exterior of the house. Today, I’d like to walk you through the main floor of our ranch:

As you can see, the main floor consists of a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. It is connected to the garage with a door in the kitchen (you can see the floor plan here).

1. The living room

The “1” in the above floor plan is our living room. Since move-in, we have torn off the dirty carpet, brought a dining table, a pair of dining chairs, and added record storage. Slav set up a tech center at the corner for his desktop server and routers and stuff, and I put up some window curtains for privacy.

The green rug is an older IKEA one we brought from North Carolina. It is really cheap – I think it is about $30 now – and easy to replace, but we decided to bring it with us, for our pups’ sake. This rug used to be next to the floor-to-ceiling windows in our NC apartment so our dogs spent lots of time laying and playing on it. It was the zone for patting, grooming, tugging, and eating tons of delicious treats. The smell of this rug must encode so many good memories and so many people they cared about. It smells like home. During the packing and unpacking (we moved twice in three months), this rug became the sanctuary in this big rocking world for our pups. You can always find them chilling on it.

We have not gotten a sofa yet – I want to do something fun with the sofa but I feel that something too modern is not gonna speak to the house well – so we wait. At the mean time, we have gotten two recliners and a nice sideboard! Cannot pass these beautiful trims.

Our immediate plan for the living room is to finish the floors. Down the road, we would like to move the computer stuff into the garage (where our internet cable came in the house), and build some book storage against the garage wall. We have so many books that 1/3 of the Slav’s office is filled with them now. So we need to spread them out a bit.

2. The kitchen

Oh, the kitchen. Among the greasy cabinet, the moldy grout, the old appliances, and the dirty flooring, I do not know which part of the kitchen we hate the most! We cleaned up quite a bit in here to get it up and running, but it is about all I can say with this place.


We have already took our hammer here and removed some cabinets (which did not improve the look at all), and we started to get really curious what is behind the soffits. But hold on! We do not have the budget to do anything to it (except demo, I guess), so we might have to come up with some temporary beautification here.


3. Our bedroom

Our bedroom is the first room we set up after moving in. Having a clean and comfortable place to sleep really made renovation easier. We got a really comfortable mattress from Costco a year ago and have been enjoying it a lot. And our new storage bed is steady as a rock. We actually rotated our bed 90 degrees so we can get more cool air from our floor vent, but the room is still like the day we set it up – simple and calming.

As you can see, we have a really small closet here. We have fair amount of clothing living in colder climate, so this small closet only fits our three-season clothes. All of winter coats, snow gear, and Slav’s formal shirts are kept in the closet in the office, which is directly next to the bedroom closet. The plan is to reverse that closet to the bedroom to make a big closet, with the help of some kind of storage system like the PAX.

4. Slav’s office


The room we have the clearest vision for, is Slav’s office. I knew what I was gonna do to this room as soon as I saw it for the first time. It is 14′ by 10′, a pretty good size, and we will open it to the living room with a pair of french doors – something like this.

We also want to build library shelves here for all the National Geographic we brought from a recent estate sale. Since we plan to close off the closet to the bedroom, the old closet wall becomes the perfect candidate for displaying these beautiful books:

— The closet currently houses all of Slav’s formal clothing, our winter coats, and travel gears. We will reverse it to facing the bedroom to make space for a whole wall of library bookshelves here —

It will be a fun project to remodel this room for sure. Hopefully we can get to it this winter. Opening it up to the living room will open up our living space so much – like you have another living room on the left side when you walk into the door! But we will still be able to close it off with french doors/pocket doors if Slav needs some privacy.

5. The main floor bathroom

Same as the kitchen, our main floor bath definitely can use some re-caulk. I am gonna save you from the pictures of old aluminum windows and moldy silicone for now. Our plan for it is to refresh the caulk and sealant in the bath, and potentially add more storage. Down the road, it will be nice to completely renovate this room, including getting rid of the bathtub (no one takes bath in our family), stealing some space from the hallway to fit a two sinks, and upgrading the toilet.

Here you have it, our main floor living space. It is merely 850 sqft but perfect for two of us. We think that it will be really lovely once we open the office to the living room, and renovate the kitchen and the bathroom. One goal we have for the main floor is to keep it simple and minimal. To be honest, we were a bit surprised that how well we fit in this small space – we have not even used the entire basement yet!

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