Friday, February 28, 2014

And it's done!

The hall closet is finished! We needed to install doors and drawers to finish it off and those were finished today. Cooper, of course, provided much needed assistance.

Cooper inspects the drill
That's a drawer on the right. It's huge!
That drill smells weird
Chris had to squeeze between the cross bars to install the drawer glides. Unfortunately he didn't quite fit and got stuck. Cooper was again very helpful.

So comfy
Once Chris escaped, this photo soon followed.

Well that's an odd perspective...
And this is why.

I even managed to turn around in there
Probably seems funny, but getting inside the unit allowed me to easily drill the pilot holes and screw in the glide rails. 

Should I have gotten an enclosed space permit?
Once the rails were in place Chris installed the glides on the drawer and started test fitting.

Look at that organized closet in the background!

Test fit number 1. There were many.
Had a bit of trouble getting the drawer to slide properly but we got there eventually. Then we needed to install the hardware. The fun part is that we decided to use pry bars as handles. We bought a mixed-size 3-piece set and painted them black.

Bolting on the pry bar handles
And here it is finished. The funny thing is that the drawer handles are level. But the curve of the pry bar  fools the eye into seeing a curve. No, really - we used a level and everything.

Love the curve of the handles

Nicely organized interior

Linen drawers and final Cooper inspection
We're now designing the upstairs clothes closet and will post progress pictures of that soon. We've got an 11 foot space to fill and it's going to be wonderful to get the rest of our clothes out of boxes!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Enjoying winter

It's easy to complain about the snow and cold of winter, but we did choose to live in the Northeast so we probably aught to also admit that we like living up here. One way to get through a long winter is to have some fun with it. So we had a sledding party.

Our access road is private so it doesn't see any traffic except our vehicles. That means we can clean just enough snow to leave a good sledding base. And we don't have to worry about traffic on sledding day.

Start of the long hill with some nice curves
The downside to a very long hill is that it takes forever to walk back up it. The upside is that you can keep building speed. You get going surprisingly fast and the curves add some excitement. Trees on curves add even more.

You can't even see the bottom of the hill
We usually had people at the top and bottom of the hill to give you a push, cheer on the long slides, and groan at the wrecks.
Cheering the launch
Cooper had great fun chasing the sleds and running through the snow. But eventually even a high-energy dog gets cold and tired. That's when she needs a warm ride back to the top of the hill.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Progress on goals

Just a quick note to say that some progress has been made on the 2014 goals!! In addition to the work we've done on the downstairs closet (goal #1), I cut in the paint in the kitchen/dining room/living room (goal #7). We had originally decided to ignore the cutting in since we'd have trim to cover it up. But since we're going to use lumber sawn from trees cut from the property, and since the trees are down but the boards won't be sawn until summer, it's going to be another year until they air dry enough to install. A year of looking at haphazardly painted walls was more than Chris could take so out came the paint and voila! It's begun! I can't say it's done as I still have the pantry and bathroom downstairs to complete (I may force the issue on the bathroom and just buy trim boards), but I got fully half the first floor done today and expect to finish the rest of it quickly. Nice!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cooper at agility training

Chris and Cooper are in their second series of agility classes and getting ready to head to another set in a couple weeks. It's been great fun for both them.

Look how happy she is
The biggest obstacle hasn't been the course - it's been Cooper's desire to play with the other dogs. She thinks they're the best things ever and wishes her Dad would just let her goof off all night.

But once he gets her focused on the course, she does pretty darn good for such a wee thing.
 She had to do two jumps, then go through the tunnel, then back around to the seesaw.

Heading to the tunnel (off screen)

Runs up the seesaw

And slowly advances until her weight tips the end down
She's such fun to watch on the seesaw. She's little enough that it takes a bit of forward progress before her weight tips the balance. She braces for the bounce and then it's off to the next obstacle!

It's also a big difference watching her on the official course versus running around in our woods. Similar things to navigate - limbs to jump, logs to balance on, stumps to stand on, and occasionally a knot of branches that looks surprisingly like a hoop that must be jumped through. In the woods she careens around like a soda bubble, bouncing around and off things; in class she is obviously thinking about what she's doing and how to best get through. Frankly, I like both approaches. She needs as much mental stimulation as she does physical, and agility is providing both.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Filling the closet

I am an extremely organized person. Lots of A's in my profile: accountant, analyst, anal-retentive, Type A; I'm sure you get the drift. The good news is that the house build allowed me to give full reign to that aspect of my personality. I could actually design shelves and closets and storage space that would specifically fit my needs. So - here's how I organized the hall closet (apparently that's what we're calling it).

Start with it empty and write down your storage vision. Yes, write it down. What do you need to store? What makes sense to store in that location? How easily does it need to be accessed? How often? Many of these questions were asked during the design phase as well, but I got more specific this time around. (Chris is still building the drawers and doors but they'll be up soon).

A clean slate
Start putting stuff away. Only put in the things that you are sure need to go there. You can put visual place holders if necessary (beer, paper towels, etc). Move things around to see how they fit.
Starting to get organized
The right side was for cleaning supplies. I fussed around with vacuum and hose placement, where the broom and dustpan should hang, how low the metal bins should hang for ease of use. A few things got changed but it was a good start.

Ahhh, so neat and tidy
Then I started filling in the left side. And the great thing is that I actually have an empty shelf - I need to unpack a few more pantry boxes before officially deciding what goes there.

Yes, I need a ladder for the top shelf
After using it for a few days I decided I wanted a couple of shallow shelves at the back for cleaning solutions that don't get pulled out as often as the ones in the bins.

Adding shelves
I realize that what is stored here will change over time. After all, I don't actually have my kitchen cabinets installed yet and the big pantry is also still in the design stage. But this gives me such an excellent start! Everything in here came from somewhere else - somewhere that now has empty space that needs to be utilized. I'm already identifying more boxes to unpack!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Downstairs Closet (wardrobe? unit? storage thingy?)

We got the closet in place! It's huge so it had to be moved in two sections. It's not completely done yet, but it's in, it fits, and I think it looks great.

The bottom will have two drawers: a shallow one for place mats and napkins and a deep one for table linens. Probably. You know what it's like when you're planning storage. Sometimes you change your mind once the drawers are actually in place.

The unit fits in the alcove between the bathroom (left) and pantry (right). We put sliding barn doors on both rooms and they are designed to slide back into the space on either side of the wardrobe. So they kinda look like pocket doors.

Bathroom and pantry doors open
You should have seen us maneuvering this thing into place. Had to use a rolling car jack to lift the top unit into place and we wiped out the light bulb and the smoke detector in the process. 
Bathroom and pantry doors closed
We created a wine rack in between the cupboards. The unit is 33 inches deep so I can store four bottles in each cubby. That's 40 bottles of wine! I don't typically have that much wine on hand, but it sure sounds exciting.

The cupboard on the right is for the vacuum and assorted cleaning implements/supplies. We went shopping today for storage solutions like hooks, trays, and baskets. At the store I realized that I already had all the storage solutions I needed at home - I should have shopped the house first. Argh. Still, we bought a heavy duty hook for the vacuum hose and saved some money in the end. Not a totally wasted trip I guess. I'll post pictures of the organization once it's done.

The left cupboard is for bulk storage. Paper towels, TP, beer and soda cases will all fit in that area. I've got four shelves to hang and we can always add more if needed. Storage! I can start unpacking more boxes! And get stuff off the pantry floor!

T'BD preparing to jump out at the dog
In other news, T'BD and Cooper are officially playing together. No action photos are possible as they move way too fast for my little camera. I keep just getting blurred shots of cat paws and dog heads.