Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let's Finish the Studio!!!

...And let's get all crazy and write TWO posts at once! (Actually, it's mainly because I have a tough time with uploading too many photos in one post. Yep, I'm LAZY that way!).

So now I've got my Very Own Shed! Soon-To-Be My Very Own Studio - Yay!!!

I'll try to smoosh in some interior pictures here but basically I've got an 8x12 shed with THREE (count 'em, THREE windows!), a 9-light house-door with a WINDOW, and a Skylight Vent overhead.

Is it bright?! You bet'cha!!! I *love* sunny and bright (our house, OTOH, oftentimes feels a bit like a cave!)...

Sunny 'n Bright! :-)

Doorway, Window and Skylight Vent

Durock floor in the Kiln Korner (Durock went on the walls, too)

Electrician wuz here!

Insulation going up...

Insulation and Drywall, going up.

Big Attic Ventilation Fan in my Kiln-Corner (Plus Durock on the walls/floor)

Last piece of drywall going up!!

Skylight, after excavation (it got insulated and drywalled-over).

View thru the door (excuse the cardboard and wood-scraps for stepping stones!)
View thru my work-table window.
Come fall, I should be able to reach out and pick plums from the tree!

The shed, itself, was walled w/exterior sheathing over 2x4 studs. The floor was OSB. I plan to spend a LOT of time out there, creating whatever crap my heart-desires. Plus I'm gonna have a medium-sized high-fire kiln out there (courtesy of Santa-Rog). So now I've gotta "finish" the sumbitch!!!

I hired a bona-fide Electrician to install an 80amp sub-panel, running to the shed. Plus install lighting and a buttload of electrical outlets (the kiln requires 2 x 120v/20amp circuits). We built it with "room-to-grow" - in case I ever decide to upgrade to a 240v kiln someday...

I also hired my friend's son, Chris (aka "Rent-A-Son-Services, LLC"), hereafter known as "RASS" or "Chris" (depending upon my mood!), to handle some of the "finish" work. I purchased some El-Cheapo Brand Oak Laminate Flooring from Home Depot, which Chris installed in 2 days. Then I hired my B-I-L to do the insulation and drywall work since, ostensibly, that was what he did for a living (when he was employed - but let's not go there, okay?!)...

I was going to write a completely separate "Rant"/post about the positively sh*t-tastic job he did of installing the insulation and drywall (he insulated and drywalled *over* my skylight vent AND plastered and/or drywalled *over* two electrical outlets!!!). But I have decided to "take the high road" and skip the full-blown "rant." (but I *was* pissed-off BEYOND comprehension!!!).

Instead, I hired my neighbor to scrape-down the sh*t work and re-do the drywall texturing for me. All told, I spent *as much* (if not more) than I would have - had I hired a drywall contractor in the first place...
Final Texturing Job (Looks freaking awesome!!!)
(I'm not even gonna post pics of the sh*t texture that B-I-L put-on)

Anyway, I now have Oak Laminate Flooring, and a nicely textured drywall surface, and R-19 insulation in the walls (and a visible/usable skylight vent!). Presently, we are in the process of priming the walls... Then, I intend to get all Artsy-Crazy on the walls and try to do a trompe l'oei painting, so the studio *looks* like a Tiki Bar on the beach... We'll see how *that* goes!

OMG - I think I'm "up-to-date" on the Studio Progress! Hell, that must mean I won't post again for at least another 6 months!!! ;-)

Let's Build a Shed!

So yeah... We cleared a space in the yard and I finally decided that two-extra-feet was gonna make a world of difference.

I also ended up blowing-off Tuff-Shed's bid (too high) and went with California Custom Sheds, instead. They built the "other" shed in our yard and we are very happy with it. Their price was better *and* they build the entire thing on-site in one day. Tuff-Shed pre-fabs the shed, and brings it in, in pieces. This could be problematic given the fact that the far-back-side-yard is fenced in, has a narrow pergola, and *still* has an abundance of fruit trees. I don't think they could bring it in one-wall-at-a-time.

No glory or reimbursements, but I'll give 'em a plug just the same: California Custom Sheds. I'm just a very happy customer.

I was even able to arrange everything via email/phone calls. I've been "dreaming" about my studio for quite some time, so I already had a spreadsheet illustrating what-goes-where. They built it to my exact specifications and they delivered "when they said they would!" Actually, there was a delay - due to weather. But they were very good about communicating and squeezed me into the first available slot - after the rains had subsided.

Here are a few shots of the shed going up:

4x4 Pressure-Treated Skids going down

Walls going up!

All done!

They arrived just before 9:00am, and were gone by 4:00pm. I brought them cold sodas while they worked (which they appreciated, I'm sure. It was surprisingly hot that day!). They even painted the exterior to match the house. Yay!

All of this went down a couple-three weeks ago...

Am I done yet? Oh, hell no!!! Now I've gotta finish the inside!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miscellaneous Projects Continue (Backyard Studio and Bathroom Reno)

Hmmm... I think the whole idea behind blogging is to provide brief, daily (or at least weekly) updates in whatever "areas of interest" you are yammering about, right?

Not wait for 2-3 months to pass and re-write freaking "War and Peace!" :::sigh:::

Yeah, well, brevity was never my strong-suit! So if you're here - "Deal with it!" ;-)

Mom's house is sold (Yay!). We closed escrow on February 28. While we didn't get as much as we were hoping (damned housing market!), it was still a halfway decent chunk-o-change (which is gonna get locked-up in some super-safe, modest-return, tax-exempt kind of investment).

I am spending some of it, though. Two Projects are in varying states of "underway-ness!"

Bathroom Reno: I ended up with three bids, and I have made my contractor selection. Original Kitchen-Guy came in with a decent "Labor-Only" bid. But his business has changed (he's now focusing almost exclusively on "cabinets"), and I'm really not up for running all over hell-and-creation, schlepping bathtubs in the back of my pickup truck! No, I'm gonna go with a "One-Stop-Shop" kinda place that specializes in Kitchens and Baths (that will do the schlepping for me!). It'll cost a bit more, but it'll be worth it.

American Kitchen and Bath is the Winner... They came highly recommended by my boss - and their bid was right in-line with what we are prepared to spend. Now, I just need to get the project rolling................

(Heck, maybe I'll even blog about it!) (What a concept!!!).

In the meantime, I have been a bit preoccupied with my Backyard Studio Project. See, this is where "blogging as you go" comes in handy! Oh, well!

Basically, about a month ago, I'd gotten an email from Tuff Sheds where they had some kinda Super-Duper Promotion of "Get a bid now and save a Jillion dollars" or something like that. They do have a showroom in Milpitas and I figured I needed to go see the sheds "in person" to decide what I needed... So I trudged up there one weekend and stood in several different sheds. Got 'em to write up a quote for an 8x10 shed, then came home to see if I had an 8x10 space in the yard!

Luckily, that was the first sunny, spring-like weekend we'd had in months. I determined that yes, I did have an 8x10 space - but we'd have to cut down three fruit trees, two palm-tree seedlings, and clear out a whole buttload of Gawd-Only-Knows-What in order to make room. I mentioned this to Rog and when he heard "cut down trees" his eyes lit up in a rather eerie way. "Do you want me to get the chain-saw???"

15 minutes later:
Fruit trees - Gone!

Then 30 minutes after that:

I bought replacements!
(Dwarf Cherry Tree on the left, and Satsuma Plum on the right.
I also went back a few days later and bought a Dwarf Apricot Tree)

Then a few days later:

Massive debris pile

And a few days after that:

Ooh! A building site!!! (Yes, the Inspectors are on duty!)

Okay... That's enough for now! Next installment: Let's build a shed!!!

View my page on Meet the Phlockers