No, not dead. Without INTERNET (and phone and TV) which, after 2.5 weeks, is sort of pretty much like being dead. So after taking care of the absolute must-do’s once we were connected: paying bills and watching the episode of Top Chef we missed (priorities, people, priorities!), we’re finally up and running here at OPB HQ. Note to the locals: if you plan on signing up for Verizon FIOS service in Hampton Roads, make sure you give yourself at least a month of lead time. They are really booked up for new installs! It (obviously) took a lot longer then we thought. I had these grandiose plans to blog from the library and keep you abreast of every detail but Thanksgiving, work, moving, sleep, destroying the kitchen I think perhaps I was a tiiiiny bit over ambitious. I’m quite flattered to hear that all five of my nice readers missed us.
(Seriously, you know you’re overdue when your MOM is all “so, are you EVER going to write anything in that blog thing again?”)
Class, today’s lesson is a little tutorial on three small but useful improvements you can make while you are destroying your house. There are small details, but details that hopefully will be nice to have later on.
There are certain advantages to having no walls (or ceilings, for that matter). First, you can continue to put off choosing a wall color – since you don’t have any, no need to paint! Money saved! Second, you can avoid having yet another discussion with your spouse about where to hang that lovely clock/neon beer sign/velvet Elvis. Third, and most important, you have the opportunity to change lives!, I mean LIGHTS. Lights, as in switches, sockets and the location of both.
While we had the walls open, we were able to add a couple of additional outlets to the wall where the TV and all its paraphernalia will go as well as relocate a switch (the one there on the left) that was oddly placed. Older houses never have enough outlets for all of our many gadgets, so you can’t really go wrong here. Once we decided where all the A/V stuff would go, we also ran some new coax cable and phone lines for future use. Of course this is not impossible to do when you have walls, just a heck of a lot easier when your not worried about damaging the plaster or drywall.
Things are looking up!
Don’t forget to think ahead for what you will want in the space above. We also changed out the wimpy ceiling fan can/bracket for this much beefier version that will securely support anything we choose to hang in that space. Since Russ and I are huge fan fans (I kill myself, really), we know we need a strong and stable base for the room where we will spend a lot of our time at home. Additionally, two of the largest (and ugliest) recessed lighting cans we’ve ever seen were hanging out in the existing ceiling. We knew we wanted some recessed lights eventually, but the when/where/how wasn’t decided just yet. Solution: we simply turned the power to them off and pushed them into the attic space. We’ll replace them later on, when we know what we want and where exactly we’d like them to be placed – but the wiring is already there and ready to go.
If you are more ambitious/a better planner/not a zombie when doing this, there are a number of things you could add, like surround sound, Cat-5 or a full room of recessed lighting.
We also took the time to add insulation between the kitchen and den walls. Of course, since this is an interior wall it’s not required to have insulation. However, since we will be watching TV (TOP CHEF FINALE THIS WEEK!) in the den we’d like to limit the noise of running water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher that lurk just behind the wall. This couldn’t have been any easier: buy some bats, push them in the space. Done! Except that we didn’t buy enough the first time, so Russ had to make an eeeeeeearly morning Depot Dash (did you know they open at 6a?) for another bag before the plaster guys showed up. Alas, I forgot to take a picture of the insulation so just imagine this wall full of nice fluffy yellow stuff. There, I knew you could!
(I’d love to tell you that the insulation works great, but I currently have no kitchen sink or dishwasher, so I really have no idea. Humor me.)
One other small detail that we took care of all over the house involved the duct work. For some oddball reason here in Virginia, most houses (even single story) have the duct work in the crawlspace and air registers in the floor. Texas people, do not be alarmed, these are simply the strange ways of the frozen North. I don’t know why they do it but it is ANNOYING. Anyway, some of the ducting was fairly beat-up and misshapen, leaving gaps around the openings – gaps that led directly into the crawlspace. We hammered them back as best we could, then used a roll of nifty (and Shiny!) foil tape to wrap the inside and outside edges- this makes for a smooth, airtight pathway right up to the bottom of the register cover. Hopefully his will make then just a little more energy efficient. And every little bit helps. I should point out that we taped these registers off after we put in the new plywood and before the wood floor was laid, just so no one thinks we’ve got nifty (and Shiny!) tape hanging out on top of the new wood – it’s down below, where no one will ever see it.
So, there you have it: three simple ways to capitalize on the demolition phase of your house. Good Stuff. Speaking of demo, I think we’ve seen enough pictures of destruction for a while. Check back tomorrow for Paint: The Epic Saga Part 1).