Work Weekend in Tionesta

My uncle has been building a cabin up in Tionesta, PA (which is near the Allegheny National Forest) …

… near his brothers place, and I’ve been up a few times to help him out during the build. A few weeks ago we went up for the weekend and spent some time digging ditches for electrical and drainage, and some other odds and ends. Here’s a video I put together:

Upstairs update: handrail pt. 1

The awesome weather over the last week or so has put me back in gear with home projects. We started caulking all the trim, put in the garbage disposal, and started the biggest project: getting the upstairs done.

A few things about the upstairs. First off, it was very unsafe. During the demo of the house, I was upstairs at one point and just about fell into the dining room. The floorboards up there were really just tongue and groove flooring set on top the floor joists, so we put another subfloor down over top the existing floor to strengthen everything up.

I also expanded the attic space access area by about two feet so we could either put a chair there or my drumset once the office/studio area is complete.


The biggest update though is the stairway and hand rail. I was able to grab some really awesome old French doors off of craigslist for a cool 40 bucks a while back and had this idea of using them as inserts for the railing. The length turned out to be perfect. I also grabbed some rough cut hemlock from the Amish on the cheap and have been air drying it for this project.

Here’s where I’m at with it right now:












You might have noticed one of the desks I worked on over the winter in the background. Here’s that bad boy:


And here’s the other one I have set up in the dining room as my office until we get this project complete:



They are made of live edge cherry slabs that I sanded and clear coated and the legs are 1″x3″ steel tubing that I welded into trapezoids.

Any finishing ideas for the bare wood sections of handrail?

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It’s been one year!

So today, it’s been exactly one year since we closed on the house. That afternoon around this time we came into an outdated home that smelled like pee, and started ripping out those ammonia drenched carpets right away. From there we have really come a long way and have been working on little projects ever since. I haven’t kept up with this blog in the last few months since we officially moved in, but we’ve kept busy believe me.



It’s pretty awesome how much you can get done in one year, and also how fast a year can actually go by. It really hasn’t felt all that long, but looking back I guess it makes sense.

Hope everyone else’s projects are moving along, talk to you all soon!

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Master bathroom update

As promised, I wanted to post an update for our master bathroom. Looking back at where we started, I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of our bathroom.

Originally, we had two bedrooms where the master bedroom and bathroom are now. We moved the existing wall, installed a support beam, closed off the hall doorway and put in a pocket door to the bathroom to conserve as much space as possible.

Losing that little bedroom was more than worth it. We now have a larger master bedroom and this:


Turning around to see the mirror and vanity:


And the other side of that wall, there’s a built-in closet:


Originally, I took some photos without the wide angle lens and it was kind of difficult to understand the space. It’s not a huge bathroom by any stretch, but the shower more than makes up for it.



It’s 4′ x 6′ and honestly a great place to start the day. We designed the bathroom to be handicap accessible, so there’s no lip on the shower and the vanity accommodates a wheelchair as well. Later on down the road, if we decide to rent the house to either a tenant or as a summer rental, we knew we wanted everything to be as accessible as possible. It also makes for a very comfortable space.

Here’s Lydia’s drum stool that fits nice under the vanity:


And a few more details:








Of course, the list of things we still need to do:
Replace the tile in the shower nook to sit flush with the sill.
Install the partition wall cap
Caulk the trim and shower corners
Put the door in for the laundry chute
Stain/clear the closet
…and try to keep it as clean as it is in these photos. Yeah right.

Thanks for looking!

Oh hello, it’s been a while…

Well since we’ve moved in, I have to tell you, laziness has set in. Coupled with a lack of personal motivation, the negative-whatever-degree weather and short daylight, our daily grind hasn’t been afforded with much productivity. BUT, we have been enjoying ourselves and this awesome winter at the lake. Ice-golf, 6-wheeler riding and being pulled by quads on the ice with skis has all been pretty awesome. And I turned 30 in December. And we got engaged. So I guess it hasn’t been all that lazy, now has it!?!

I was reminded today by my brother and another wordpresser that wordpress does still exist, and that it’s pretty awesome, and that I’ve been away from it for quite a while. Anyway, I never really posted any updates about the house other than the kitchen so I thought I’d share our bedroom today.


That’s looking into the bedroom from the living room. You can see we hung a few pictures on the wall. We ended up framing some of the cool things we found that fell out of the ceiling when we were tearing everything out. Like this old ass snickers bar and a comic from the 50’s.


And here’s what our room looks like so far:






We still have a few things to take care of, like some proper night stands and staining/clearing the built-ins. But then again, I’ve herd there’s always something to do, so my new m.o. is to stop dwelling on what we haven’t done yet and focus on being happy with everything we’ve accomplished so far.

While in the mood to brag, the next post will be about the bathroom. In the meantime here’s a quick look at what we’ve got going on:


See you all soon!

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We’ve moved in!

We’re excited to report that we’ve moved in. The inspection and appraisal went great – passed with flying colors and the rest of the funds were released. We paid off our contractor Ed, and started moving boxes in from Lydia’s place. We have crap everywhere, which kind of made the nice empty space look pretty hectic. But we were able to get the kitchen in working order and started to put some other of our stuff away. We’re really loving our new space and it’s working for us really well so far. Here’s an updated view of the kitchen:





We painted one of the mirrors we had this neat green color:





20131023-164328.jpgWe’re trying to take a break this week from doing much of anything, but we spend some time at nights putting more stuff away. Might not hear from me for a bit, I’m going to try and enjoy this break in action for a little while. Once my bug hits, we’ll start our upstairs project. Here’s what we have planned:

-Make a custom half wall at the top of the stairs. (french doors are invloved… it’ll make sense once it’s done.)

-Put down a new subfloor over the existing flooring. Right now it’s just hardwood floors right on top of the joists. Very unsafe with the hardwood spanning and butting against each other between floor joists.

-New flooring. We’re going to do vinyl that mimics dark hardwood. This new stuff really looks like hardwood and feels like hardwood laminate to me. It’s also guaranteed for life so that’s nice.

-Get my office space set up. I picked up two live edge Cherry slabs that I’m planning on making into a desk.

Of course my wheels are spinning, but I wanna enjoy where we are right now for just a bit longer :)

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Just about ready for the appraisal

It’s been a while since I’ve posted because we’ve been a bit busy getting everything ready at the house for our inspection/appraisal. Because of the FHA 203k style loan, we need to have an appraisal inspection done before they release the rest of the funds for our renovation. They send someone here to check their list (maybe twice, Claus?) against what the bid said would be done. We not only have to pass the inspection for that work, but also can’t have any other construction going on at the house or the appraisal won’t be submitted. So we got busy. Here’s a breakdown of the things we’ve completed:

The kitchen is done. Except kick plates (which aren’t required).

All appliances are functional.

The trim is 99% complete. Still need a small piece for the back bedroom and two cabinet holes need baseboard.

Paint is done (minus the remaining trim)

All the flooring is either grouted or stained/poly’d. All done.

Master bedroom and bathroom are done and the mirror is up in the bathroom (that thing was huge! Custom cut 40×56 to fill the space between the sink and the ceiling). Ed still has to finish two of the build-ins though. One more for the bedroom and one for the bathroom.

All the doors are hung (that sucked!) including the pocket door for the master bathroom.

All the door hardware is in and working flawlessly.

Stairs are painted.

Carpet installed.

All the light fixtures are in.

The Florida room got a new wall covering.

…and a cat decided it wants to hang around! So I installed a cat flap in the storm door so he’s got access to the Florida room.

Needless to say we’ve been a bit busy. And got a lot of stuff done I feel like. Ill do a photo dump below, but I’ll also do room breakdowns later on.

Warning: there’s a LOT of photos.



























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It’s crunch time

So I talked with my mortgage draw specialist today and found out that we need to have all… let me capitalize that, ALL! of our construction done by Oct. 4th in order to have the appraisal done and get the rest of our renovation money to our contractor Ed. Even my side projects that are not coming out of the rehab budget need to be done. Like the deck I’m 3/4 done with, the tile floors that I’m financing… Everything. Anyway, waaahh waaaah, yeah yeah, over it. Whatever. All that means is more late nights, and we’ll be in our house sooner than expected with everything done. Score in the long run. So Lydia and I kicked it up a notch tonight and got to hanging the kitchen cabinets.


Got the microwave hung too:


And the brick is finally out in its full glory. I made the crown molding out of two different baseboards and installed that too:



The beast of a sink is in and working as well.


Big Bathroom Update!

This weekend, Lydia and I finished a lot in the bathroom. We finished tiling the shower, installed the shower shelves, grouted everything and installed the toilet. Turning on the shower and flushing the toilet for the first time was really exciting haha!

Only a few more things to do in this room and we’ll be done:

  • Caulk between the tile walls and ceiling
  • Install the sill and partition wall stone (ordered, but not in yet)
  • Install the mirror
  • Baseboard and trim
  • Closet built-in







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Finished laying the bathroom tile

Well it was another late night but I finally finished laying all the tile in the master bathroom. Ready for grout! I’m beat, so this will be a quick post.






Lydi also got a coat of paint on our built-in. Also, a photo of our fall wreath she put up:



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