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Old 12-24-2011, 04:36 PM   #31
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Oops. Double-post.

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Old 12-24-2011, 04:38 PM   #32
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Diagonal laying is even more of a headace because you greatly increase the number of cuts that need to be made. Also, it's much harder to lay out and cut everything before you start slapping down thinset. Multiple courses make things even worse.

Just laid a floor with a ) shape to it a few months ago with a diagonal center field, a border course, two sizes and colors of tile. See here: 1958 Ranch Home, Full of Character - First Home, First Major Project (page 7)
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:00 PM   #33
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Well this is one of those situations where more "pain in the ass and a few extra bucks" would have been if fine if it ended in a better result. Clearly diagonal tiles would have helped to mask the room's out of squareness. That said I'm pretty pleased how it turned out, having split the "out of kilter" angle between the right wall (outside window wall) and the threshold. It ended up looking quaintly skewed, but the whole effect was mitigated from what I might have encountered had I chosen a wall to line up with.

Also these were 13" tiles. The wet saw chews through them pretty quick and had I upped the number of tiles needed by say 50% to accomodate cutting for diagonals it would not have broken the bank and would have been worth had result had been noticeably better. As it stands I think it turned out well and I'm happy it's not diagonal, in fact.

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Old 12-24-2011, 09:48 PM   #34
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Fair enough.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:10 PM   #35
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Deciding that I needed music to deal with the relative tedium of all the painting I have yet to do, I set about setting up the audio system and along the way juggling around some of the network stuff that I have.

Before we moved, I had over a period of time built out a SONOS system in our old house. In short, this is a wireless audio system allows you to play music from a whole fistful of sources through any speakers you like. It will search for all the music libraries on any running computers in your house, play Pandora music off the net, connect to your Sirius/XM account if you have one, and play any of thousands of internet radio stations. Best of all, you can set up zones throughout your house, connect zones so they play the same music, select music sources, playlists, etc, all from your smart phone. I put my system together on the cheap, buying the pieces I needed over time through eBay.

In the new house I installed in-ceiling speakers in the kitchen, the family room, the parlor, and the powder room. They are hooked into wall volume controllers and then all the wires run down into the basement where I installed a wall rack from IKEA for about $40:



The wires run into a speaker selection box which is acting as nothing more than a distribution hub, and from there into a beefy Sonnance whole-house amp that I also got off eBay. It's main advantage is that it has an auto-on feature when it detects a signal, and shuts itself off after a period of no signal.

The rack also includes most of my network stuff--my FIOS modem/router, and my Netgear NAS network storage box which houses two 2 TB drives that store music, movies, photos, and computer backups. All this is right under where the home theater system will be above in the family room, making it easy to hook them together to watch movies off the Netgear through the Boxee Box I have. There will be another wireless access point on the second floor, connected to the main router though a pair of powerline adapters, to provide a fast connection to the bedrooms. The SONOS system is also connected to stand-alone speakers in the bedrooms.

I'm glad how all this worked out. Old houses can be particularly difficult creatures to insert new technology into. I swear our previous house must have had tin foil in the walls given how hard it was to set up a good wireless network in there. This has all turned out well and I really love having a place to put networked equipment that puts it out of sight and makes it easy to maintain.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #36
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I find that I typically have the best luck with whole-house WiFi if I mount the router/AP close to or on the ceiling and rotate the antennae close to horizontal.

Most nice routers/APs have external directional antennae. Easiest way to imagine the direction of signal spread is to imagine putting a donut on the antenna.

Though if you wired that sound system, I'd imagine you already knew that... moving on.

Edit: Clearly jealous of your FiOS availability, for the record.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:13 AM   #37
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In my old house I tried everything under the sun to get better wifi coverage, including trying external directional antennae, a few of which I built myself out of tennis ball cans, and a few other tricks. For whatever reason, I just could not get full coverage of the dwelling, even with N-standard units, from one access point and ended up having to set up a two access points at each end of the house. I linked them through powerline networking which ended up being a revelation given how fast and rock solid it was. Oddly enough, the house we moved to is older and more robust, yet the Actiontec router (an extremely impressive piece of equipment which you can see a the top left in the photo above) that Verizon supplies reaches the whole house, from the basement and with one antenna, with ease. I may put my D-Link 655 up in my bedroom closet which would then give the whole back yard coverage which would be pretty cool in the summer. During the renovation I pulled some Cat6 up there and also to the attic so linking them will be easy.

FIOS is bloody amazing. We have 25/25 in large part because I work from home a fair amount and we are heavy consumers of streaming movies and music. In addition, Verizon is best service provider I have ever had, bar none, and I've had them all going back to the late eighties. The service never goes down and if you ever call them with an issue you are soon talking to someone who clearly knows what they are talking about.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:43 AM   #38
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Blah. I have Comcast. No idea what the rating is, but I consistently pull a tested 12/3-4. Think I pay $45 on a promo bundle that runs out... like, today.

Definitely no FIOS available here. Maybe uVerse, but the speed is terrible from what I recall.

Gotta call today to see if I can get another promo rate. I'm really considering dropping all TV and streaming everything through the XBox, the Wii, two Smart TVs and a Smart home theater. Maybe throw a Boxee or a Roku in the mix if they won't give me a price break.

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Old 01-01-2012, 01:29 PM   #39
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The secret code for getting them to give you a break is "I can't afford it." That triggers the CSR to cut you a deal. They will give you deal and then if you say "I can't afford that either." they will usually cut it down some more. If you just say "I don't want to pay that." or "So and so will give it to me cheaper." then they are far less likely to give you a good deal as they know you're just shopping around.

I'm close to dropping TV as well. We dropped our landline when we moved (and I actually just finished ripping out all the old wiring and junction boxes in the basement yesterday) and I've always expected that we would drop TV in the near future. We already watch streamed Netflix more than anything else, and then watch files off the NAS through the Boxee Box. I love the Boxee Box by the way. I had built an HTPC that ran XMBC and then Boxee but the Boxee Box does it all in a much smaller form factor using much less power.

Dropping TV service will also mean I can punt the Tivo which will be another $15/month in savings.

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