Building Sunroom Bookcases part 3

In the last episode we suspended building the center cabinet until I had a better idea what I was going to do with it- design wise. Sometimes freestyle building is a real head scratcher.

1 plinth block idea

After mucking around with a bunch of pieces of wood I came up with this design. Stay with me now, it’s not as bad as it seems. I’m going to make the lower piece longer and figure out some kind of decorative accent that’s not square or rectangular. That piece of plywood will be replaced with a fluted pilaster.

2 living room bookcase ideaI’m going to add some details that are in the original bookcases that flank the fireplace in the formal living room. The doors have 11 panel designs and the bookcases have fluted pilasters on either side of the doors, so we will add a little of that design to these as well.

3 light placementI also decided to add an articulated light above each window – Francia grows orchids and I have bonsai trees, so this might be a good spot for something living. So you can see the two octagonal light boxes centered above the windows. You see the two hollow rectangles on each side of the center case. These are used to run any wiring or cables I might need.  I will cap them with the fluted pilasters when I’m finished with all the wiring.

4 side trim startThe inside trim detail is added using a simple lattice – this will add the last detail to the window side of the bookcases. The spacer is used to space the trim because I’ll slip a piece of stone in here when we’re finished.

5 template sticksAs with everything that needs repeated, I’ve got a pair of spacer sticks to make sure the short trim pieces are put where they belong.

6 side trim in placeThe trim is in place – I’ll make a template for the stone sills – they’ll be about 34″ wide and 14″ deep.

7 paint startAnd after a couple of days sanding we start the paint. I can’t stress how important surface preparation is to a smooth finish. The room is basically shades of white, so the details will read as a subtle shadow. That’s where we are right now. I’m waiting on the back-ordered TV lift so I can finalize the center cabinet.

Keep the faith, we’ll get to the pretty stuff in the near future.




Sunroom Fiddling

The sunroom is getting some attention because it’s so darn cold and snowy outside. I want to make this room a little more rustic and relaxed, so my idea is to get a wood ceiling up there somehow. First we have to button up the insulation package.

foam insulation

The foam insulation is in place. All gaps and cracks at the collar ties are foamed to decrease air infiltration.

insulation tape detailsThe side walls are 2X6 with R-19 fiberglass. The ladder set up is pretty much the same as the death trap I put together before my big fall.

ladder set upBut this time I clamped a smaller ladder to the side of the larger ladder to make a pretty stable base. No falls this time.

drywall startThe start of the drywall. The drywall must go up first so I can get the plywood aligned for the ceiling.

forgot the speaker wiresAbout this time my wife Francia stopped in and I was explaining the surround sound speaker locations and realized – I had no speaker wires for the back speakers – so out comes some foam insulation and wires go in. Better now than later.

drywall wall detailsSo the drywall gets hung – and I’m pretty happy. I’m doing this by myself and it seems to be going OK. Only it takes a long time. I have to take the ladder rungs one at a time. Step up – bring bad leg up – then next step bring bad leg up. It’s taking 3X as long.

switch wallHere is the switch wall headquarters. I wanted all of the 3 way switches for the kitchen lights here, as well as the sunroom lights all in one place. That way all the other walls are free from switches and I won’t get confused with what wall has what switch for what lights. The two 3 gang boxes to the left have sunroom lights and fan switches – the two 2 gang boxes next to them have the kitchen light switches.

switch layoutI sometimes have a hard time with cutting the drywall just right around boxes that already have the switches installed. A rortozip works great when you have a box without switches, but this layout technique works well. Measure or place the drywall below to get the box sides location and mark those lines on the drywall. Take a piece of square cut cardboard and mark the top and bottom of the box opening.

switch templateTransfer the marks onto the drywall. (The mark at the bottom lines up with my template – just a bad angle in the picture.)

layout linesOnce the lines are on – just cut to the marks.

finished switch wallOf course all of this creates quite a lot of dust.

dirty dirty shoesThis is why I suggest to my wife that leaving shoes around this place is a bad idea – unless you’re wearing them.

We’ll make it – one shaky step at a time. Stay tuned.


I’m Back! well, sort of…

OK – I’ve had enough of this medically induced vacation from the Misadventures in Remodeling blog. Did you think I would give up? Oh, no I’m too foolish to do a sensible thing like that – nope I’m gonna get this place finished if it kills me. Let me rephrase that (as it almost did kill me) – I will do the best I can as long as the renovation Gods will allow. Five surgeries later I walk like an impaired penguin – and going up a ladder is one half step at a time – I still have one good leg, so why not? It’s been seven months since I have been able to walk into this place – it’s like a time capsule left just the way it was in June of last year.

So let’s get busy!

Let’s start on the ground first, shall we?Mud RoomHere’s the mud room – the washer was pulled out in the middle of the room while I fiddled with getting hoses and other parts for the Floodstop system to prevent water leaks from a failed washing machine hose. Since the shut off valves for the washer and steam dryer are not accessible, I have an additional set of shut off valves in the basement – which is good – but then it’s kind of a pain to go downstairs and shut them off after every use, so I decided to add a Floodstop system.

FloodstopThe system consists of two servo motor valves that close in the event of a water leak.

Servo Valves FloodstopThe motorized valves are connected to the hot & cold supplies. Originally the steam dryer water supply was plumbed under the sink, but that wouldn’t allow leak protection. I had to put a ‘y’ on the cold supply to split the water supply to the dryer.

Floor sensorFloor sensors are placed on the floor under the machines and if they detect water they automatically shut the supply valves.

Floodstop ControlThe control is mounted where you can reset or manually control the valves. Here it’s mounted under my mudroom sink cabinet.

Floodstop sensor wireSince there is a water supply to the steam dryer, I ran a sensor under the dryer too. The cabinet floor will conceal the wires. I thought this would be a pretty safe project, being on the floor – but I ended up hurting my leg and back to the doctor I went.

But a couple of days later it’s ladder time! All with the blessings of my doctors who said “If you can do it – then do it”. OK.

Roll insulationNow back to the sunroom. Ceiling insulation time. I had placed ventilation chutes and one layer of unfaced R19 fiberglass in the rafter bays. I couldn’t  find a thicker r-value insulation in my area so I decided to add another r-13 fiberglass layer – the problem is no one stocks unfaced 23.5″ wide R-13 – so I had to get the faced type.

Removing paper from insullation

Now you have to be very careful not to create a ‘moisture sandwich” (two vapor barriers) within the same space. I had to peel the paper (the vapor barrier) off this second layer because of the foam insulation that will be going over this. Also, I needed to make this layer a little thinner because my rafters are 2X10 and the effective thickness of insulation should be around 8″ thick.

Insullation going upHere you can see the second layer of insulation going in. The straps are used to hold it in place.

Foam board insullationThis is foil-faced 3/4″ foamboard going over the unfaced fiberglass. The foil face goes towards the exterior to act as a radiant barrier. The foamboard acts as the vapor barrier, that’s why the fiberglass paper had to be removed.

That’s it for now – not exciting, nor pretty stuff – but we’ll get there.

Renovation Gods willing.