Terrific Broth

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

Tag: Office (Page 1 of 5)

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, finishing drywall sucks. It is slow and messy, and because this is Slav’s first time doing drywall, it is slower and messier. I wish I could hire it out – but we have just a few seams so no professional will take such a small job.

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We would have finished it by now, but Slav found black stuff in our drywall compound and it turned out to be mold. Yes, that drywall compound we bought was contaminated with mold. 🙁 So instead of having the wall ready to paint this weekend, we are chipping everything off and restart.

I have to admit, when Slav told me that he decided to restart I was like 99% lost it. It has been two weeks since Slav started finishing these nine seams, 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 remain white. And I want to use a subtle pink color in the bedroom:

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I like the slightly purple/lavender one on the top. We have lots of grey and blue 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 by Behr in semi-gloss. And ceilings will be covered by SW’s Extra White in flat. We might use SW Extra White on the walls too, just in eggshell. Now we just need these damn drywall to be finished.

I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I just can’t see it yet.

Wrapping up in the office: Finishing Library Built-ins

Another week went by while we worked on office finishes. Yesterday, we trimmed out our library bookcases! It is a rather straight-forward task but really gave the bookcase a built-in look.

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Boy have we slaved for these books! Not to to mention moving cross country with all the books, just to make room for this whole wall built-in, we had to reverse a closet and moving the door way. Now the framing and floor work have completed, trimming around these bookcases became the first and foremost of finishing the room.

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I have made baseboard drawers for these cases to put the space underneath into a good use. To do so, we bought an extra matching bookcase so the grain and finishes match. While most of the shelves were turned into the drawer fronts and sides, the sides and the backing of the bookcases were saved to trim the space between and above the cases.

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We cut the sides a bit narrower to create two long panels, which cover the space above the bookcases. Strips of 2″x4″s were attached to the ceiling (drilled into the ceiling joints above) for the panels to grab onto.

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The panels were screwed onto the wood strips and plastic cap were used to hide the screw heads:

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To cover the space between the bookcases, I ripped the backing of the extra bookcase to narrow strips on a table saw:

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The strips of backing were glued onto the sides of neighboring cases. Each space in between cases took two strips, which blended in quite well.

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The outside of the built-ins have ~3 5/8″ space to each side of the wall, we also covered them with the backing strips. We worked late into Saturday night and this morning, I was greeted by this beauty:

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Instead of a blank wall, this is now the view when you walk into our front door:

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To give you an idea of the living space, this is now the view of the office from our living room sofa.  You can see our bedroom door at the end of the small hallway.

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We are hanging the french doors this coming weekend, which should be the last immediate task for office finishes. It has been two whole months since we started the office renovation and it feels so good to be so close to the finish line! We do plan to paint and upgrade the trims and baseboards in the office. But these tasks have to wait until we finish all the wood floors, which is a big task we are tackling when Spring comes around. At the mean time, we will be busy with plenty of outdoor projects, aka preparing the backyard for planting!

 

Ethernet for Internet – An Electronic Upgrade

Hi! I hope y’all had a good weekend! We went on a ski trip with my sister and her boyfriend this past weekend and we had TONS of fun. It is really sweet to see how happy everyone was and how much we enjoyed each other’s company.

Of course, away from home = no renovation progress. The office doors and library trims have to wait another week. I do have something to report though – something I am not familiar with at all and honestly, care very little. But the man in the house could not live without this upgrade and thinks it is “crucial for the quality of life”. So here goes his recent DIY work – Ethernet connections.

Before adding insulation to our attic, Slav laid down some Ethernet cables on the attic floor. They are to deliver wired internet service to all the rooms on the main floor, as well as to provide fast connections between the media server in the garage and Slav’s computer. We are also required to have a home security system by our home insurance, which needs to be connected with Ethernet cable too. So Slav got cables and terminals on bulk and laid down an extensive network in the attic.

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After the blown-in insulation, Slav connected the cables to our router and started setting up the ports in each room. In our bedroom, we decided the ports should live on the wall our bed faces, next to the wall outlet. We have no plan to hang TV or projector in the bedroom, but having the Ethernet port and the outlet next to each other provides an opportunity for future users.

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Our wall studs have horizontal bracing in between, making it difficult to fish these cables out. Slav made a hook from a piece of rigid copper wire, and taped his endoscope camera on it. This home-made tool helped him to get wires out fairly easily.

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Did you notice the electrical tape on his wrist? He wrapped it on tight around the sleeves so insulation would not get into his hoodie. True DIY spirit I’d say.

After fishing the cables out, he made the connection with a special tool and installed the wall plate. Now we have two Ethernet ports in our bedroom!

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The installation in Slav’s office was easier since we had cable terminal there to begin with. Slav simply eliminated the cable terminal, and used the existing cable to piggyback the Ethernet cable into the office.

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He then made the terminal for the Ethernet cables and installed the wall plate where the cable terminal used to be.

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Having Slav’s computer on Ethernet significantly increased the upload speed, which is important for his work since he often needs to upload large files. Needless to say that it made the man very happy.

The other reason of having Ethernet is for connecting the home security cameras. We do not feel that we need any security system, since we have two large dogs and a state trooper living right across the street. But installing one can significantly decrease our home insurance rate, so it is well worth it.

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Slav installed all four security cameras under the soffit at various locations, then threaded cables out to connect to the cameras to our server:

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These cameras are motion-sensitive and point to our garage door, front and back doors, and the whole backyard. They will start recording when any movement is detected around our doors. We can check the live footage or pull up the recordings anytime from our laptops and phones.

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You can probably tell from the lack of progress photos how little I know about these electronic upgrades (LOL). But I hope some of you out there are just as excited as Slav about this small (but important!) DIY project. As for me, I will be back to trimming bookcases and undoubtedly take way too many pictures and write an unnecessary long post about it. So be sure to check on us later this week!

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