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We've put this project off for too long. Our daughter's bedroom has a serious issue. Technically, it's not a bedroom, because it doesn't have the second exit point required by code.
Through a feat of impressive, intellectual gymnastics, our predecessors saw fit to completely surround this room while installing an addition. They sealed up an exterior window which was on a wall, now part of an interior mini hallway to the office / family room area. The room found itself marooned in the center of the house, with no second exit, no emergency egress.
We didn't think about it when we bought the house, it never came up. The room has plenty of natural light from a skylight. However, without a ladder or a jet-pack, it's useless as an escape window. Unfortunately, our daughter is still to young for a jet pack.
Maybe that Baman rope-shooter thing?
The silly thing is, the room did come with a rescue ladder, supposedly to escape through the skylight. Smart eh?
Nope. Not smart. Stoooooopid.
It's flame broiled too.
What mental giant thought this type of ladder could be helpful for our single story home? This is a thing you use to climb down, not up. How the hell are you supposed to attach this damn thing 15 feet up? Idiots.
We've come up up with a solution. The closet is on an outside wall; we can put a window there! Not perfect, but a solution nonetheless. It's a fairly decent sized walk-in (4' × 6'), but it's currently a sweet 7 year old tom-boy's cave of horror.
Her beat-up play kitchen, heaps of books, battalions of army men, stuffed animals of every species, assorted toys and debris currently choke the cavern. Believe it or not, there are even some clothes in the closet. It's time for some reorganization here anyway. Is a "closet remodel" even a thing?
I started pulling stuff out.
This little girl is a pack rat. She'd saved rocks, bits of wood, and remnants of toy packages along with every kid's meal trinket she had received AND the ones she inherited from her big brother. I even came across found her secret stash of Fruit by the Foot. I managed to dig down to bare carpet without the mine collapsing on me.
We wanted to instal a nice window that would match the look of windows we want to install in the rest of the house. After researching egress requirements, I found it had to be big 36 x 60 (rough opening) to give the proper size for an escape window, After ordering the window, I started laying it out, centered on the wall. Jack came in to help with the measuring.
Photo Credit: AZ DIY Guy Eye in the Sky Cam
As you know, there's not a single, straight, square wall in this home, I used a level to lay out the project on the wall. Windows don't care about straight walls, they want everything plumb and level if they're going to work properly. Picky bastards.
Look kids, no bald spot yet!!!
It was going to be big. Damn big. The whole back wall was going to be window. Jeeze.
The shelf / hanger bar was going to have to go, which meant the budget was climbing already.
Can you mount a closet rod to glass on one end?
Of course, when Gracie noticed her DIY Dad had written measurements on her wall in pencil, she asked if she could get in on the act, only inside the rectangle.
I left her and the pencil alone for a while while I grabbed a sandwich and put my feet up for a bit.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm ethically bound to let you know, it was a damn good sandwich.
Apparently, I also left her alone with access to painter's tape, scissors, frosted tape and a Sharpie as well. Awww... This stuff just melts a Daddy's heart.
"Here's the schematic Daddy"
It's hard to be a steely-jawed, macho-man, nail-driving bad-ass when you come face to face with this sort of scenario. You don't see the seasoned crew of This Old House stopping work to give each other a big old hug, but that's what had to happen on this project.
I think that's a double-headed hammer I'm wielding. Excellence.
After a trip to IKEA for a cheap, temporary, rolling clothing rack to keep her clothes hanging, we emptied the rest of the closet. Her new closet will be the dining room for a while.
Gracie insisted that she be a part of the demo. After all, it was her closet and she is a DIY chick.
The old "pull the crow bar towards your face" trick eh? Sometimes, there was a bit of a height challenge for my little helper.
Although I'd scored the paint edges prior to prying the cheapo, chipboard parts off the wall there were no nice edges left. This closet had clearly been painted with a running start and sloshing a bucket of paint from 10 feet away as if slopping pigs. There are so many glops and runs in the paint job that I'm going to have to do a bunch of work to get it in remotely decent shape.
Oddly, all the shelf weight was carried by finishing nails and paint holding the shelf to the wall, no decent fasteners at all. Weird that it survived over 35+ years.
At least finishing nails make for easy demolition.
There's plenty of fun still to come on this project.
There will be demo and re-framing of the exterior wall to create the opening for the new window. It's going to require some exterior work, including siding, trim, and even some plumbing to move an exterior hose bib (faucet), There will be texturing, calking and painting (oh joy). New window trim will be installed inside and out. Finally, some sort of closet organization system that won't require a hanger rod to be mounted on the new window pane.
The new window install is going to be a first for me. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
UPDATE - Here's the install: Adding a Window: Framing Fun and Foolishness
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No, I didn't finish remodeling the house to look like a pink castle.
We took a long weekend and headed for Disneyland. As always, it was a great time. Nobody does it better when it comes to detail, service, and providing an enjoyable experience, for 10 bazillion people.
If you haven't been, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, to prepare you,... you are going to wait in line. Seriously. You are going to wait in some serious, godawful lines. Sure, it's worth it in the end; the attractions are pure joy for young and old. In fact, the lines are not so bad at first. They're generally theme decorated and everyone is anticipating a day of awesomeness. Early on, the lines are pretty fun...
Cars Land is like stepping into a cartoon! ...but later, as energy wanes and the heat of the day starts wearing you down, the lines are not quite as fun.
"Staaaaar Waaaarssss....better be worth it" (It is!)
When your's truly wasn't in kid consoling mode or fetching drinks, I was peaking at the details, figuring out how stuff was put together. Check out at this bow-tie / dovetail joinery holding the timbers together at the
Peter Pan line. I imagine, it was probably built in the 1950's.
A " bow-tie / dovetail" (?) Over at the newly-renovated, Thunder Mountain Railroad, the fence was made from some sort of weird resin or acrylic, but it was nicely done.
Dino-mite!!!! There was some seriously rustic timber fit in place with meaty shims.
In the Toy Story - Midway Mania line I was mesmerized by their plank ceiling. I never even thought about setting ours at an angle. Look at all that molding!
We clamored around in Tarzan's house for a while. It truly feels like a massive, vine filled tree...
... especially with this weather tight, flexible electrical conduit, growing from the jungle floor.
Finally, my keen eye spotted this incredibly realistic horse. I couldn't believe the attention to detail the designers had put into this fine piece of animatronic wizardry. I marveled at the heap of steaming Disney magic it deposited on the street, just like a real horse.
Obviously hand crafted realism!
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|Ok. Gracie did have a little wood work project to do.|
|Allow me to show you to your seat sir.|
|Pita chips anyone?|
|Take this back to Hobbiton please.|
Problem: the blades of his ceiling fan spun right through the sleeping area. I told him to scoot over against the wall and not roll around much, but Sweetie convinced me Child Protective Services would have an issue with my solution. So, I removed the fan and installed a simple light fixture. Unfortunately, during the hottest summer nights, it's been warm for him, up by the ceiling. A floor fan just doesn't cut it.
|The lens is missing as a result of an unfortunate incident with a N-Force Vendetta Sword|
|See the black AND blue wires?|
I say "prepared", because that's as far as I got. Why? because I was an over confident putz. In my steely-eyed, experienced-fan-installer confidence, I hadn't even glanced at the instructions. I hadn't paid any attention whatsoever to the fact that this fan had two wires, one to control the fan, the other to control the oscillating. The existing house wiring only had one wire. Moooooron.
|Attic work. I hate attic work.|
|W.W.M.G.D. = What would Mac Gyver do?|
|Here's my rig.|
|Hmmm... AZ DIY Guy, It doesn't look to miserable in the picture.|
|Crazy from the heat.|
At our house, "Daddy, can I water the flowers?" means something that has absolutely nothing to do with flowers, but a lot to do with water. We do need to water our flowers off the back porch, because I have yet to run irrigation over to them. However, when our little princess returns from "watering the flowers", the flowers are still somewhat dry, she is a filthy-soaked mess, there is mud all over the patio, and our backyard is a Martian landscape of empty water canals.
Our pristine desert backyard goes from this...
|Don't leave home without it.|
With the volume of volunteers on site, we finished in an hour or so. Considering the solemn nature of the location, I don't consider the experience "fun", but it was certainly rewarding. I enjoyed hanging out with the 30 for 30 team again. It was a good experience for the kids as well.
Two minutes wielding the mighty Stanley FUBAR (Functional Utility Bar) resulted in lattice and splinters blasted across the front yard like a cruise-missile strike. This beast of a tool is like having the very essence of destruction itself, leashed in your hand.
|Don't you just want to skip barefoot across our lush front yard?|
|"...I smote it's ruin upon the mountainside"|
|Yeah, that's a laundry hamper from the garage. Shhhhhhhh.....|
|It was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a hug, a bag of ice and a stiff drink.|
|Break time is over young lady.|
The two of us left the ladies behind and took a Friday night, before-bed trip down to grab door #4 for our interior door replacement project, this one for Jack's own room. He examined a couple from the top of the stack for dents and scratches before choosing a nice specimen from the middle of the stack.
|Get that doggie rollin'|
|You're going to have to sit this one out boy. Watch the master at work.|
Gracie knows that projects, even crafting projects, get done in the workshop. I guess this includes the space a few feet in the door, right in the traffic path. Evidently, she does not think workshop etiquette requires any cleanup before returning to the family room to snuggle on the couch and that leaving her trip-hazard strewn minefield is A-OK.
My pint-sized worker had gotten into the wood scrap bin and pulled rocks from her toy pickup truck in the corner. She added some styrofoam, twigs, crayons, about 1.25 miles of frosted tape, and finally, the coup-de-grâce, a sack of acorns collected from the park.
The best part is the transition from working significantly hands on as a parent to protect the kids from sharp blades and to teach them the possibilities of school craft projects, to a point that the kids take the lead.
Jack had to do a project showing the layers of the earth, for 7th Grade Science (which of course he dropped on us Sunday morning). The concept was his idea completely, he asked us to pick up some Styrofoam spheres to make a cut-away, and questioned me on how to decorate them. He described what he wanted, right from the start.
|No the sander was not used on this project, but the pliers were!|
So it's a messy workbench.
Aside from some assistance with spray painting and sawing the unwieldy globe (with a hack-saw), he really ran with it.
Spray-Paint?!!! Yeah, we learned that spray-paint and Styrofoam are not really friendly together. The paint melts the Styrofoam, shrinking it, pitting it, and making a lovely snap-crackle-pop sound. We managed to get a decent finish by lightly dusting it with the paint.
Together we experimented with spray painting a continents on cardboard before we attacked the globe. We sliced up smaller globes, painted them, and assembled the whole thing with toothpicks. He labeled the whole thing using a label maker. It was a four-handed job to wrap the labels on finishing nails to make flags.
|Another decade of projects on the way.|