Terrific Broth

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

Tag: Office (Page 2 of 6)

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.

IMG_1789

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.

IMG_1146

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.

IMG_1701

IMG_1227

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.

IMG_1755

IMG_1768

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

IMG_1766

IMG_1762

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

IMG_1770

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.

IMG_1782

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:

IMG_1784

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

IMG_1789

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.

IMG_1805

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.

IMG_0736

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.

IMG_0762

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.

IMG_0764

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!

IMG_0765

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.

IMG_0750

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

IMG_0755

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.

IMG_0848

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

IMG_0850

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.

IMG_0849

IMG_0852

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!

Adding Hidden Storage to the Office

Howdy, friends and family! I cannot believe we are entering March already! February was a busy month for us. We are both meeting deadlines at work, while trying to ski once a week before the winter ends. On top of everything, we managed to make steady progresses on Slav’s office. After the structure work was done (including reversing the closet, moving the doorway (12), and patching the floor), we entered a new stage of work: the finishes. As many of you DIYers know, this stage can feel really slow and never ending. There are sooo many small details to consider! Drywall, paint, trims, baseboards, doors and windows treatment. The room may look 80% of its new version, but 50% of the work is still ahead of us.

Last week we installed new lighting and new window treatment (the same blinds we used in the living room); and this week, we started patching drywall.

IMG_1715

IMG_1706

IMG_1716

IMG_1726

Drywall work is nothing glorious, so I am not going to bore you with the details. Long story short, it’s messy. What kept us going is the believe that we will eventually come out of it with beautiful walls. But I need more pick-me-up than that. So…

I built drawers, again!

The Design

The drawers I am building this time are baseboard drawers. I first saw this idea from Ana White‘s tiny house kitchen build, and have been wanting to incorporate it into our house since. When we tried to choose baseboards for our library bookcases, a light bulb went off – why not build some baseboard drawers? Our IKEA Billy bookcases are sitting on a 2″x4″ wooden base, putting the bottom shelves almost 7″ above the floor, which is a decent height for drawers. These little caves are prefect hidden storage for Slav’s bazillions of cables and small computer parts.

IMG_1156

I built drawers only once before, and it was such a positive learning experience for me. Since then, I have read about many alternative ways of building drawers and really would like to improve my skills. I knew the principles, I learned from my mistakes, and I am more confidence this time going into the build.

The only decision I had a hard time to make was the material. Normally, drawers are build with either real wood, plywood, or MDF boards. MDF is the cheapest option, but in our case the MDF drawers need to be covered with wood veneer to match the bookcase. Real wood and plywood can be stained to match, but getting the color and wood grain right might be a struggle. One night, we talked, talked, and talked our options, until Slav came up with the perfect solution – why not buy another bookcase, and use the material to build the drawers?

IMG_1645

We grabbed another Billy in brown veneer and I tried to cut one piece on the table saw. The material cuts really well without chipping. Now I could get to work!

IMG_1658

I made an interesting discovery about IKEA Billy this time – the five bookcases we got last time on IKEA’s big sale has almost all the boards veneered on both sides. But the new IKEA Billy does not. The sides that are not showing after assembly are all plain. I guess it saves a few cents for IKEA.

We did not really consider building baseboard drawers when we built the wood base. Fortunately, the 2″x4″ are all parallel and precise enough to support the drawers. We did chip off a bit wood here and there for the drawer front to fit, but it was not too bad.

IMG_1648

The 2″x4″ wood base is around 9″ deep and ~29″ wide, so the drawers would be all 8 1/2″ in depth and ~28″ in width (the drawer slides take up to 1″). I laid out the plan on a piece of paper.

IMG_1704

The Prototype

To get my hands warm, I decided to build a prototype first. This time around, I set a work station in the garage for efficiency and it helped a lot. I used a sheet of plywood to create a large work surface, and surrounded myself with circular saw, miter saw, table saw, brad nailer + compressor, and all the material and hardware needed. This set up made the work much more streamlined and pleasant. A vanilla scented candle added feminine touch and softness to the ice cold garage.

IMG_1652

This is how the drawers were assembled: I used the toe kick pieces to create the two sides, then sliced the shelves to make the drawer faces. The left over stripes from the shelves were used as the front side of the drawers, I do not have enough material to create the back, so I cut some plywood off the my temporary table to make the back pieces.

IMG_1659

The drawer was made 1″ narrower than the opening to accommodate the drawer slides. I decided to try these 8″ full extension drawer slides and they worked great.

IMG_1660

The bottom of the drawers were made from 5mm plywood (leftover from covering our garage walls). Brad nails held it in place.

IMG_1662

Now is time for the test! I mounted the other side of the slides onto the 2″x4″s, and it worked pretty smoothly. You can see how it works in this video.

IMG_1665

Mass Production

With the prototype working well, I spent the next a couple hours making all five drawers. I test fit all of them before installing the drawer slides.

IMG_1681

Roxie was interested.

IMG_1682

Instead of measuring, I used a block and a piece of 5mm plywood to prop the  drawer slides up when mounting them onto the drawers. When I needed to mount the other side of the drawer slides to the wood base, I used the same block and two layers of 5mm plywood, creating 5mm clearance at the bottom of the drawers.

IMG_1688

All mounted and slide smoothly!

IMG_1697

Attaching the Drawer Face

Next, I moved onto attaching the drawer faces.  These are made from the shelves from the extra bookcase and cut just a hair higher than the bottom shelves.

IMG_1693

I attached the drawer faces to the front side of the drawers with double-sided tape. This woodworking tape got lots of good reviews so I decided to give it a try. It is strong enough to hold the faces in place when I fired the nailer, but I was able to take the faces off fairly easily to adjust their positions.

IMG_1699

This is what the drawers looks like when they are fully installed. The gap in between the bookcase will soon be covered from the floor to ceiling.

IMG_1701

I adore these baseboard drawers. They hold lots of small electronics and still slide smoothly. I hope they will help Slav to get more organized!

IMG_1727

Update Our To-Dos

After completing the baseboard drawers, we are moving onto the last step for the library built-ins – trimming between and around the bookcases. Hopefully by this time next week, I can show you a finished built-in wall. Here is our current office to-do list:

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 (in progress)
8. Build Slav’s desk

Page 2 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén