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, October 30, 2016

Master Bedroom — Part 4

Well, the new wall isn't yet finished, but it's been awhile since the last post, and the wall is done except for joint compound and paint, so this post will bring you up to date.

It's taken awhile because the old wall was dividing the house proper and the attached garage, so it was load-bearing, and the ceilings were not on quite the same level.  So I needed to add structure in the attic to support the mild load of the roof (already supported with trusses), and add structure for the new portion of the bedroom ceiling to make it level with the existing ceiling.  Fussy work.

The other time consumer was what had originally been a compartment for the furnace (located in the garage when the house was built).  When an early owner converted the back half of the garage to a bedroom, the furnace went up in the attic, but the small compartment was just walled over, sloppily, instead of ripping out the platform and restructuring that space into a useful part of the house or garage.  What I ended up with was an appalling mess, consistent with the other work by this particular contractor that I uncovered when I put new windows in that part of the house.

In my last post, I had built the new wall, from the garage side.  That built, I added the supporting structure in the attic and then removed the old bedroom wall.  In this photo, you can see the new insulation (installed early to get it out of the way), with some of the old garage ceiling drywall still in place (to hold up the water lines and electrical cable above).  I have just started putting in the 2 x 4 cross supports for the new ceiling drywall at the left end (with spacers to make them level — garage trusses lower than the house trusses).

At the right end of the wall is the old furnace cubicle, partially removed (including an old electrical receptacle for the original furnace), which will become a new small closet (it protrudes a bit deeper into the garage than the main bedroom extension).  On the very right (pink insulation), the conversion contractor did not install floor-to-ceiling studs, and in one place had two layers of drywall.  A lot of the structure was not fastened to anything but the drywall, so when I removed some of the furnace base structure, the drywall in the hallway simply broke free!

What was holding it all together was more than a half-inch of joint compound.  When I put a straight-edge against the wall, I discovered there was a large bulge.

So back on the inside, I installed a baseplate at what would be the new floor level, and a corresponding top plate at the ceiling, aligned with the rest of the bedroom wall.  Then I cut away enough of the maze of wood to install a couple new floor-to-ceiling studs.  The new baseplate, and the old half-studs that extended down only as far as the original furnace platform:

A lot of tedious work.  The dogs didn't seem to mind.

And then back to putting in the rest of the structure for the new ceiling.

And the structure for the new closet (sorry, I forgot the photos, but it's a basic stud wall), and then drywall goes up, followed by joint compound.  This is where I am now:

With all the debris from this (and more demolition in the guest bathroom) piling up outside, it is once again time to rent a truck and make another dump run.  Really hate it, but it's so nice after it's all gone.

Next, more joint compound and paint, and more attic work getting ready for the new heat pump and duct work.  High temps in the 80s ahead (November in southern California), so no worries yet about not having a heating system in place.

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