Every place I've ever lived has been designed for that "average American family," with lots of bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room, etc. The problem was that I was a single person, not an average family. I needed space, but for hobbies, not people. And because I'm over 6'2", bending over to use sinks designed for children was a constant frustration. Over the years, I collected a list of things I would change if I could have my dream house. As I approached retirement, I realized time was running out for that house; it was now or never.

Dreams are not always perfect, however. I could never afford my dream house, a spacious Southern California home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But I could afford a modest ranch house, with a 20-mile drive to the beach. It was a very long way from perfect, but it had potential.

This blog documents the process of turning that small average house into something that matches my lifestyle. It will be as close to my dream house as I can make it. I'm doing all the work myself to stretch my resources. By not hiring contractors, I can afford high quality materials, and I'll know the job is always done right. The remodeling will be my primary avocation for a few years, even as I try to fit in my writing and other hobbies.

It promises to be an interesting journey, and a challenging one!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Putting up Drywall

Taking a break from the laundry room masonry.  Several other projects have been stalled due to a lack of drywall, but the orientation of the planets recently came into alignment and a truck arrived from Home Depot loaded with "things that would not fit in my car."  To wit:

Up first was the opening between the new laundry room and the home theater.  I had some time ago filled in the space with studs, and then covered that with plastic sheet to keep the clouds of concrete dust out of the home theater (or at least to limit it—the dust goes all over the house).  I couldn't drywall over the studs without first running electrical cables through that wall from the new sub-panel, but running those wires meant I would not be able to get through the stud wall to enter my only bathroom.  That meant taking down the old bathroom wall and putting in a new pocket door for access from the home theater/guest bedroom into the guest bathroom.  Cascading projects.

This next photo shows the restructured wall for the installed pocket door kit (taken from inside the bathroom, looking through the door into the home theater).

Once the wiring was in place inside the wall (laundry room receptacles, plus one facing the home theater, and including a dedicated receptacle circuit for the future heat pump air handler), the drywall went up on the laundry room side.

And a shot from inside the home theater of the other side of the new wall section, plus the new pocket door.

The new drywall still needs to be finished off with joint compound and paint.  The other area that had been waiting for drywall was the south-facing living room wall.  I recently installed a new window there, but I also planned to add an inch of rigid foam insulation over the old drywall, and then put up another layer of drywall.  The extra insulation and mass not only keeps out the heat (and cold), but also attenuates the noise from the busy road behind my back yard.

I added sleepers fastened into the underlying studs, then added the rigid foam insulation, then the new drywall.  After that, the window was trimmed out (with a nice wide sill for the cats).

Lots of joint compound, spackle, caulk, and paint to go, so that's what I'll be doing next.  Complications from my second cataract surgery means no heavy lifting again for awhile, so laundry room masonry and restructuring will have to wait.

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