I've been a buuuuusy little beaver. Mainly I've been paint paint painting my studio. Since it was all shit brown in there (except the new wall I built), the procedure is primer, then two coats of Really Expensive Behr Ultra White Self-Priming Enamel (the "self-priming" part kinda goes out the window when you're painting white on brown), so essentially you end up painting everything three times. The plus side is that the room has ceiling tiles that I'm keeping, so I don't have to paint the ceiling, and the floor is presently raw plywood, so you don't have to be concerned about getting paint on the floor (I'll be installing a laminate wood floor soon). For those who don't like reading all those troublesome words, boy do I have a bunch of pics today!
As you can see in these "stand-on-stepstool-in-the-corner" shots, the walls are done and I'm painting the doors the same slate blue as the wall. One of them is the crazy heavy solid-core one I got for the vocal booth and the other is the existing hollow one for the storage closet that you can't see in the pics. I took them down so I could make all nice and perfect (i.e. no paint on the hinges). I also bought brushed-nickel hardware for them- Lowe's actually has nice silver hinges, but I had to order the O.G. mid-century Schlage "Orbit" knobs- they sell them at Lowe's and the Depot, but not in brushed nickel (they're cheaper online anyway).
There are other options for slick minimal door knobs and levers, but they get pricey real quick, and I'd guesstimate there's something like 20 doorknobs in my place, so I'll stick with the sub-$20 ones, thanks. The other plus is that they've made this style forever so there are lots of variations- everything from the dummy ones I'm gonna use for my latching studio door (I don't want make a big hole in it) to a beefy locking one for my front door.
Besides the paint party, I've finally started working out the window situation I've been planning forever up there. There are three windows in there and they're pretty big- two 2'x8' ones one either side and a 4'x8' one in front, all with a stationary piece of glass in the center and sliding panes on either side. Problem is they're old-school single-pane windows thus they do a poor job of insulating from weather and sound. The weather angle is especially bad because, being an over-garage addition, it has no "interior" walls, i.e. all four walls get hit with the elements. And from a sound standpoint, I'm not concerned so much with sound coming in as I am annoying my neighbors when I'm banging away doing music at 1:00 AM. The logical solution would be to just replace them with modern dual(or triple)-pane windows. They're sort of pricey, not crazy (probably around $600 for all three), but removing and replacing three relatively large second story windows is no trivial task, certainly not something I'd take on, and would probably tack another $1000 or more onto the proceedings. With this in mind, Handyman Keith and I came up with another idea- it's sort of ghetto in a way, but we think (hope!) it'll work. Basically the idea is to leave the existing windows and add an additional window "inside" as it were. For the big front window, we essentially ordered a regular window like the one already there, but with slightly funky hardware so we can mount it from the inside. This one will be double-pane glass and low-E (excellent sun blocking), so I'll essentially have three panes of glass with around three inches of airspace in between (this is a good thing to have for weather and sound isolation). The only weird thing will be that I'll need to open both the front and back windows to actual open the window, but that's ok.
Since we'll already have a giant openable window in front, we decided to simply install solid pieces of raw 1/4" tempered glass (above pic) in the openings of the side windows, held in by 3/4" quarter round. Besides being a lot cheaper than regular windows, the idea is that sound and weather get in through all the cracks in a regular openable window, so this averts that issue. The only issue I can see is that I'm actually violating building code because all windows are supposed to open, but the reality is that if the place is on fire, I wouldn't be going out of my way to jump out of a second-story window, and if I did fling my firey self out, I'd use the huge one, not the high-up two-foot tall ones. These aren't low-E (because it's a delicate coating that has to live between two pieces of sandwiched glass), so I'm gonna tint them with something not dark but with lots of UV blocking. Doing the tint will be super easy because I'll do it before we install them- just stick it on the glass and trim the edges.
That's the good window news. The bad window news is that I'll essentially be making the inside of the existing side windows permanently non-accessible... this means they better be REALLY damn clean before we put in the new glass. And this place being, well, this place, they were all FILTHY. Frames, glass, hardware, everything. So.. for the last two days, I've been cleaning them like mad, which is tedious as hell. And just for extra fun, I couldn't get a couple of the sliding ones out. The window frames actually have shrunk slightly due to structural setting, so I had to cut notches in the frames with a Dremel tool to allow the bottom glides clearance. Even with that I had to wrestle them a bit which is pretty exciting when there's glass involved. Anway, here's what I was doing a lot of:
Not only were they dirty, but whoever painted the house previously wasn't too concerned about overspray, thus there was a fair amount of paint to remove but fortunately that stuff comes off easier than you'd expect. Still, there was a substantial amount of elbow grease with a scrubby sponge, Scotchbrite pad, soap, Windex, etc. And since the middle part of the windows aren't removable, I had to reach outside, and still couldn't reach all the way to the middle, so I'll have to rig up a squeegee on a stick of some sort to finish that.
The side windows and all frames are all clean now and I painted the sills as well, so they're pretty much ready to have the new glass installed. We're still waiting for the glass place to get the big window for the front, so I haven't taken on cleaning that one up yet. In case you were wondering, here's what the view out the front looks like:
In the midst of all this, Handyman Keith was here finishing off the stucco for the sliding glass doors I had installed months ago:
It looks pretty perfect, but obviously needs paint. He finished the big one in the back of the house too, but I don't have a pic. He needed three 80lb bags for the whole job! We also figured out (by examining stucco) that there used to be another window on the side of the house near where my piano sits. Who knew?
While Keith was doing the stucco job, I though it would be a good time to yank out this fossil, an intercom next to the back sliding door. Not sure what it attached to as there's no evidence of any other ones in the house, but I yanked it and Keith stucco'd the hole it left behind. Goooood riddance.
Here is the apple pie my very nice neighbor made for me. Seriously. Who does that kind of thing in L.A.? It was really good too.
While juggling all this mess, I've also been tracking down tile for my kitchen backsplash. I ordered a sample which is below. Might not be obvious in the pic, but it's 1"x3" clear glass with a white background. I need three boxes, and the con artists at Floor & Decor are going to charge $130 to ship it. I'm not pleased about it, but after crazy research, I don't think anyone else on the planet sells tile like this.
Next episode, I'll be taking on the floor... stay tuned...