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Old 08-16-2011, 09:15 PM   #16
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Time for the master. It's still more or less in its original state, and one of the next projects on the list. Pay no mind to my mess; 12-hour shifts make it difficult to clean between work days.

I found these doors stashed away in the laundry room, devoid of their hardware. Two sliding door restoration kits later, and they're back in business. The brackets on the bottom aren't mounted ideally, so they had to be adjusted all the way down the take up about 15 degress of inward lean on each door. Previous HO graciously left knobs on there of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Ermmm... thanks.

The two holes probably shouldn't come as a surprise by now. They're patches, but not sanded, as I didn't want to expose the sanded surface to air until I was ready to prime. Note that previous paint job on the trim, and that it's the only in the house with that half-round design.

The dresser is a mess, I know. It's a very nice 9-drawer that I picked up with this Thomasville set from Craigslist. Note the odd place where the cable comes in on the left... about 4 feet off the floor, and the lack of baseboards again. This is the cable you see randomly on the front of the house. Again, used the beefiest bracket I could find for 31" of pull-out on this 50", same as in the living room. :D
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:19 PM   #17
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Not much to say here. I took this one to show the color of the accent wall that the previous HO left. I'm not sure how they set this room up for their bed to be on that wall. The room just doesn't work in that orientation. (sorry about my mess, again )

Here's a better shot of that cable drop. I still don't understand that one.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:23 PM   #18
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Backing out to the dining room, you'll see the only window with moulding and a built-up sill. I really like this look, and will probably match the other windows to its moulding, if I can find it reasonably priced. Though I'm not adverse to redoing that if I find another style that will save on project costs.

I picked up this solid wood table with two extensions and a total of 8 chairs. Two need a little glue, two have paint from the previous owner, and one needs reupholstering. But I still think I made out pretty decently for $100 total.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #19
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


The office is an utter mess right now. It's pretty much my dumping ground when I find nick nacks while unpacking, bills, letters, etc. But, it does have the only alabaster light and ceiling texture that I could photograph with good lighting, and the light being off.

The rest of the common area ceilings are a bit less blotchy in pattern, but I think you cab get the idea of what they did here.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:31 PM   #20
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Lastly, the laundry room. This room is so beat up I don't know where to start!

There's the random lawn timer. The outlet with an oversized hole and a standard plate. The other oversized hole with an oversized plate that still wasn't big enough, so they crammed some wallboard compound in the top of the crack.

There's also two 6" holes that I didn't take a picture of. They're almost ready for primer now. The random receptacles half way up the wall, right beside the back door. That switch doesn't seem to go to anything.

Well, time for work! Hopefully my next post has more before-after photos of completed work.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:39 AM   #21
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


The little lady came to me a couple of days ago. She was having a rather rough time at night traversing the hallway to the kitchen and bathroom without any light sources on. I suggested a night light, but then quickly rethought my plan once I realized that would require a new receptacle installed in the hallway (there aren't any). I haven't mapped the existing circuits yet, and with the some of the retrofits I've seen so far, I'd rather not open a wall without knowing I can add a new drop safely and in a timely manner.

(Plus, I hate how plug-in night lights look, especially at floor-level. A motion-activated valence was out of the question.)

An in-box nightlight seemed to be the solution. I skipped over the nightlight/switch combo device and the rear-lighted switch, right for a full rocker-size nightlight. This is what Lowes yielded. While not a perfect style match, I was happy to it fit the same style switch covers I've been putting in the rest of the home.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:54 AM   #22
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I removed the switch cover to find a substantial drywall gouge behind. Ugh, I hope it hides behind the next plate. I removed the switch to find a new work plastic box. Well, that's a little unusual considering the home's age. After determining that this wall much have been at least re-rocked in recent history, I snapped the box into tiny bits for extraction. I went to grab my reciprocating saw, but it was nowhere to be found. After 30 minutes of searching and puzzling, and a quick trip into the crawlspace , the stud face bracket was cut off flush and the last remaining bits of plastic removed.

The box was located at the last foot of the kitchen/hallway wall, where it ends to create the dining room. Just my luck, the end stud was framed about 4" OC from the previous one, leaving a nominal 3" cavity between them. A two-gang box requires 4". How lovely.

Deciding against chiseling out a portion of the next stud, the only solution was to go vertical. Together two old work boxes went, and into the hole. It was a tight fit, as the boxes were about 3/32" too large for the stud spacing after metal thickness was considered. There's no way it can come out, except in pieces. I had to be careful to keep the old wiring from getting caught as it went in, but it luckily came in from above the box.

It was time to make some pig tails!
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:01 AM   #23
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While making my second pigtail, I was having trouble visualizing how this would all connect together. I ran over to the box and screamed when I realized what a few of you problably already have...

"Ah, damnit..."

"...that's a..."

Switch leg. There's no neutral in this box. That's a switch leg on which the previous HO/electrician never marked the re-purposed white. Gahhh! The kitchen light switch on the other side of the wall is also a switch leg.

I decided to hold off on going into the attic this afternoon due to the heat. I'll be up there first thing in the morning, hoping I can find the hole for the old drop. I'll take the Romex clamp out of the box, tape two pieces of Romex to the old wiring, and pray that I can pull both conductors through the top plate. I doubt it'll be quite that easy, but I'm hoping.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:35 PM   #24
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Wow, what a night! Sorry I didn't get a chance to write up all the new happenings this morning. Even coffee couldn't keep me up after the all-nighter to get myself back on the work/sleep schedule I need to be on.

I played around on the computer most of the morning. I got up at 7am, ready to work on the attic. The little lady wanted to help, and I didn't want to crawl back-and-forth across the attic all morning, so I waited for her to get up. Not til after 10am! -.- By the time she'd done her morning routine, it was nearly 11. Toss in a couple errors reported for investigation on the credit report and it was 11:30 before anything was started.

Into the attic! I've included a picture of the catwalk. If not for this thing, I'd be dieing up there. The entire garage conversion area over the living room is well covered in sheeted wood and this catwalk, making for easy movement. It was in rather disrepair when we moved in, and we considered it a Week 1 project. You can also see the "door" in the firewall here. At about 2'x2' and 12" above the ceiling joists, it's a rather tough squeeze for a tall fellow. Oh, yeah, and the door is missing. Somewhat negates the reason for having a firewall.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:47 PM   #25
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Found this one a little funny. Notice the 16" section of lead pipe just sitting on the cellulose. What really gets me is that there's no water or gas lines in the attic at all, so I have no idea where that came from. Oh well, the recycle truck likes it all the same.

Next came getting past the 1x8 truss. Ugh, wth? Nearly impossible to get past without any sheet material to step on. Especially with tools-in-hand.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:56 PM   #26
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Next I passed this. No idea what it is. It's over the kitchen area, so I can only imagine it has something to do with the gas stove. I don't have an exhaust fan, so it can't be that. It feels like metal coated in a ceramic.

After digging through the insulation for what felt like an hour (to the sounds of the little lady screaming "no, go THAT way a foot" with no idea which direction that way was), I found what I came for.

Notice the hot indication? Yeah, there's a section of 12-2 going down the same wall cavity for God-only-knows-what circuit that I hadn't expected. She promptly killed the circuit or me. The red-texted 14-2 strand is the kitchen light switch leg, and the one on the far right is the dining room chandelier switch leg that I'd been working on. Notice the lack of staples and foam on all 3 drops.

I jiggled the wire. She saw no movement. We tapped around for a bit. It's definitely the right drop. I figured maybe it's stapled inside the wall, but that made no sense. So I drilled a 3/4" hole right between the two drops, being careful not to nick any of them. Dropped down my trusty nylon string, about 15 feet of it. Nothing.

Came down, thinking she just didn't know where to look in the cavity. It's only 3" across though, remember? Nope, not there at all. I can only imagine that the drop comes down through the top plate, then cuts sideways through one or more studs. Looks like I'll have to open the wall.

With the attic temps passing 100F, and me being drenched, I called it a day, leaving my cable cutters, strippers and string up there. Oh well. :\
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:01 PM   #27
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


Had a brilliant idea hit me. I removed the kitchen light switch, destroyed the plastic box, and was ready to cut off the bracket. From here I could easily see the string if it was there, and using an inspection mirror I could look up at the pocket. And then the reciprocating saw blade binded on the cut and yanked the bracket far enough away from the wall that it cracked the drywall and chipped the paint. Oh, lovely. At least I haven't painted this wall yet.

Looking inside, I noticed something odd. The stud face where it had been nailed through was practically missing, as somebody had decided to use an extremely knotty stud for the last one. Ugh. Thanks, cheap-@$$ PHO. Couldn't spring an extra couple bucks for a better piece of lumber?

I wire nutted both lights on, threw away the old switches, covered the holes with plates, and called it a day. Again.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:05 PM   #28
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1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project


A knock came at the door. UPS guy with my Monoprice shipment. So much for calling it a day.

Back when I was in college, I bought a parrot. He's been like a child to me (often acting like one along the way) ever since. He likes to ensure that all my shipments are up to snuff, so I allowed him to make the obligatory inspection.

It seems he approves.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:13 PM   #29
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The "DVD Bracket" is a set of two selves on a 3"x24" vertical track. They sit in the central groove, held by gravity pulling an attached arm forward in the channel, and snugged up by a single allen-headed threaded insert per shelf.

The other 3 boxes are the speaker mounts. At under $3.50 per pair, I figured they were worth a shot. I would have spent twice as much gladly on the metal brackets, but the reviews say that they were terrible quality and that the metal deformed noticeably under less than half their rated load. They're somewhat finicky plastic, but they'll do the trick. Note the 3 sets - 4 for the front sides and surround sides channels, 2 for the double-sized center channel.

As with all Monoprice items, these say "Made in China" proudly all over them. Being American, I have no idea what a measurement of "600" is on this label. I can only imagine it's 600mm, but I'm still unable to picture how large that is in my head. The shelves are just about 14" x 17", for others like me.

Take note of the single page of instructions. The only words on it are units of measurement, I suppose to save on printing in multiple languages. I managed to make due with only the fuzzy pictures.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:24 PM   #30
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A note on the shelves. In all pictures, they look to be just plain metal. Not so! There' about 1/8" of something that resembles glass on top, though since I can find no discernible edge to it, I'm going to assume it's a super hard epoxy. A pretty big plus, since it gives them a nice piano black finish, matching my TV and home theater components well.

However, the tolerances on the shelves themselves were pathetic. Holes were noticeably drill off-center. Parts were assembled far out of square. I had to shim two of the shelves out where they mounted to the bracket because they resulted in the shelf being more than 15 off from the wall to one side or the other. One bolt came looking like it got jammed in the machine dispensing it into the little fastener pouch. And one of the finish pieces that covers an assembly hole was so jagged and sharp that I sliced my thumb deeply open on it trying to tighten it.

They're good shelves at about $30, if you have tons of time to tweak out all the manufacturer's problems.

Under the TV, this is what I had to work with. The coax was originally 3-4" lower, where a DirecTV installer had bored straight in, from the outside stucco, without regard to height and without a low voltage bracket (just face plate screwed into the drywall). Coincidentally, he put it through the last 1/4" of a brace.

When this wall was about to get the first coat of paint, I had only a few minutes to move it out of the brace, without the ability to re-terminate it, and get it to its present location so the wallboard compound could dry. You can see the result. It was time to do it correctly.

This is the outlet about 4" to the right (stud on left). That leaves me just enough room for expansion of both to 2-gang each. You can see that this receptacle far pre-dates the drywall installation.
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