Sunday, May 20, 2007

Roses are us....

This is the rose season at our home. We have 10 very healthy and beautiful rose bushes which each year come out to play at this time. Two are the same, the rest are all different. 8 of them run in a straight line down our shared driveway. Most of them have an enormous "bloom" period right now, and if you cut off the blooms once they finish up, the bushes will keep on producing.

When we bought our home, there were only 9, and they were much smaller in size. They had been neglected for years in terms of watering and trimming. When our drip irrigation lines went in, they immediately started showing their full colors.

My wife requested, and received an additional bush a couple years ago. She wanted something non-pink and non red. She wanted yellow, one of Sweden's national colors. It bloomed the first year, but this year was its first year of real production.

Enjoy the pictures:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Heaviest Door I've ever lifted

Yesterday (Saturday), I refinished the front door of our Bungalow. It had an amber shellac finish on it, which had become very two-tone. The bottom 2 feet had long been shaded by the solid portion of the screen door, and looked a lot like a door was supposed to. The rest--above it, was literally sunbaked grime. The power of the sun was very, very evident: especially over almost 90 years. The door is big, and original. It weighed a ton.

The results were so worth it. I worked on the door on the "horizontal," making it much easier. The first step was just using a lot of denatured alcohol and steel wool. Denatured alcohol dissolves shellac, the steel wool makes it faster. Old t-shirts wipe up the grime. I sacrificed 2 to the cause. After the old finish was removed, I lightly sanded the door with 220 sandpaper once, then wiped it off with a wet rag.

The veneer on the outside of the door is quartersawn red oak. Great looking stuff. On the inside, the wood is gumwood, like the rest of the living room. My wife's advice--make the color similar. Having done this in the past with other pieces, I used a Mahogany stain, but had to use it multiple times to get the color even. Then came 2 coats of exterior varnish to seal it all up. The result is perfect. The door is now the welcoming beauty it always was intended to be.

I had some help moving the door out, and moving it back in. As I was hauling it out the door, I met the first fan of this blog known to me. He is an army chaplain, and owns a home 2 1/2 blocks down my street--the only prairie school home in Provo. It was great to meet him and his wife, and once again be reassured that I'm not the only Old House Lover in town.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sound proofing:

Since we've torn open the entire ceiling, the sound travels nearly perfectly between basement and our living room. When I'm working down there I can hear everything my kids say and do, and can almost pay attention to the TV. Yikes. One of the goals I had in doing all this was to create much more of a sound barrier between that basement apartment and the rest of the home. So, here's the process:

First, after the electrical went in, all the ceiling cavities and wall cavities were filled with R-19 insulation. Just the pink stuff. Then, the crew is putting on Sound Board over all of it. It looks like a brown, fiberous stuff, about an inch thick, but lighter than sheet rock. Underneath that will hang the RC channels, which have the job of separating the sheet rock (when hung) from the joists. They don't allow noise to travel through the wood floor structure. Perhaps when this is done I won't have to yell at my children to stop making so much noise all the time.

Don't I wish......