Saturday, August 6

Kitchen (Almost) Complete

Summer is in full swing, As you know that means many things to do and many things to see! Amidst all the chaos we've managed to complete a dew more things! YAY

Finally, After a year and a half, I've got the terrible ceiling fans replaced in the living room. It's been long overdue. The problem is i really wanted some Minka Aire Artemis fans, but i couldn't fathom spending the $500 per fan. So i looked, and looked, and looked some more. I finally found some that i thought were ok, And frankly it was HOT and we need some air movement! So the new ones went up, albeit with lots of swearing, yelling, and much frustration. I have to admit that they are not perfect, but they'll do for now…or at least until i win the lottery for some Minka Aire's!

The main forward progress has been put into the kitchen completion. We started with the backsplash area. The rail was cut into two and prepped to be added again. Small blocks willed the area where the rail is cut to fill the hole. The cut piece of the rail was then added to the backsplash and put into place. The stainless over the range was next to go on, We made sure that we got everything lined up and then we put it in place.

The next item was to put up the backing boards to level out the stainless to the wood under neath the cabinets. Making sure everything fit in tight and neatly. The panels were cut, test fitted and then finished before they were put into place. After it was all together a small bead of caulk was placed and it's FINALLY complete! What a change it look i must say. It looks GREAT and just how i had hoped. The under cabinet lighting that i added really makes the wood shine!

One piece of this puzzle was to veneer the sides of the cabinets…lets just say that this was a little stressful, although a good learning experience, well really my dad did most of the work. After one failed attempt the second worked pretty good. From there on out it was all good.

During the whole backsplash project, I figured that the rail was in dire need of a refinish. After sanding and filling all the nail holes, it was covered with 5 coats of finish to really make it shine! The rail really hold the whole kitchen together and it now looks wonderful.

The last project to report on is the finishing of the ceiling above the island. This is an area that has been driving me crazy for a long time. It was a great relief to hide the electrical and the dirty celestial windows above. We did the best we could to match the existing stain and color to the new boards, and they came out pretty close. The completion of the ceiling really makes the kitchen feel bigger, although it does darken it up a little. Finally this is done!

So the last item in the kitchen to complete is that unsightly pole….that will be completed very soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 1

Long Time, No Post.

Well it seems like forever since i've posted, or had the time to post… I really need to get back to monthly blog posts at MOST….we'll see how that goes.

Summer is well upon us, Especially now that the 4th is this weekend! Before we know it it'll be fall and we'll wonder where the whole summer went. I don't know if everyone's schedule is like mine, but i seem to have something to go every single weekend of the summer. Before i have time to blink or sit and relax it's already september and everything is winding down. I'm giving you the sob story, but in all reality its actually all good, I enjoy going places and doing things.

Just a small point before we get started, You may have noticed a new layout. I was tired of the "out of the box" template i was using before. I wanted something a little more personalized to my blog. The header graphic is one that a gentleman had made for me of my property, I did some digital changes but the original is his… So thanks again Craig, Although we have not spoke in a while…hope all is well! The new layout is cleaner and straight to the point… I also have plans on developing additional pages in the header for a photo gallery of my favorites, A Plan Page to view the House Plans, Perhaps a Project List and much more!

Today I'll give you a massive post about whats been up at the Usonian Automatic Household. It's been moving along somewhat slow, because of all those fun weekends as I told you before. Most of what we have been going relates to outdoor projects, being spring and all.

Outdoors Projects

As soon as the temps started to warm, we were outside getting a head start on moving some plants from one location to another, cleaning up the yard, cutting trees, bushes, and all the normal spring yard work things. Overall we were in a much better place than the previous year!

Far less crap in the yard

The pool EARLY Spring

The plants alongside the pool were a real problem last year. The tall grass totally took over the pool deck and leaned into the pool.. That needed to go! There were other pool plants that were moved and new ones added.

Moved the grass to the front

most plants removed from left of pool

Garden Planters
Instead of tilling the gowned up for Dawn's garden this season, We decided to build some garden planters… Thanks to Ana White and her plans, we did these done for about $12 per planter! I purchased cedar fence pickets and cut them up for a final size of 6'x3'. Dawn and I get everything and got it all setup in just a few hours.

Dawn Helping

Planters Assembled and in place!

2 Yards of Dirt to fill them up

All filled up!

Extra Added to Planter

Tree Removal
Since I moved in, we have had a dead tree in the front yard, and i had been meaning to cut it down but something else always came up. Well once day we came home and i noticed that the tree was leaning more than normal…so instead of cutting i just enlisted a few friends to help push it over so i could cut it up…as you can see, it must have been dead for a long time!

The Pool Planter
Another small project that has been an eyesore for a long time has been the planter near the pool…This spring I made it a point to do something with the planter. I decided that i wanted to have a small Rock/Zen garden with a Bonsai type Juniper. After we removed the old stump and some of the dirt, we got the tree and gravel and put it all together. I think it came out perfect!

"The Before"

Nasty stump in the background

Tree in!

Gravel in too


Opening the pool for the season was a much easier project this year than last! Upon removing the cover you could immediately see to the bottom! A vacuuming and some chlorine and we were good to go!

Vacuumed Shallow End

See to the bottom!

Another addition this season to the pool is a solar heater! I did lots of planning on how to get everything setup and purchased the panels, built a frame for the panels, and re-plumbed everything. After using this heater for a few months, I've gotta say it is a great addition! We were swimming in 80+ degree weather starting early may! The previous year it was near the end of june before it was that worm. The ting works great and was totally worth the investment. These photos are during, Now everything has been secured down and has been wind tested multiple times without fail!

unpacked and laid out.

Set up and within frame

All Plumbed, still some work on the frame to do.

Ski rack came in handy for connection tubing!

Patio Furniture
I decided to build a patio sectional to match the lounge charrs i make last year…Again Thanks to Ana White for plans! The couch is a total of 6'x12' and can be arranged in different layouts if needed, I just decided on a long L. I still have a coffee table to assemble to place within the area. There are 4 armless sections and 3 armed corner sections. These were pretty easy to put together and work great for sitting lots of people. I also got some cushions for them so they are nice and comfy!

Everything cup up

Corner Done

Put 2 together for a love seat!

All Assembled

Dawn And I

Fits lots of people!

Indoor Projects

indoor projects have been much slower going. Really all thats been going on is the kitchen backsplash…Well just the tiles actually. I've got all the tiles up with the kind help of my friend Matt. We decided to go without grout lines to get a nice blend. After cutting the rail, all the tiles were cut and then put into place. I must say that it looks great! after an oil it really blends nice with the counters…here's some photos:

Before I cut the rail

After the rail removal

Started behind the sink and worked from there.

Tiles mostly In!

Caulk bead to finish up the job

After Adding Some Oil.

Blends Great!

Looking down the kitchen

I just got in the stainless backspalsh for behind the range, so hopefully we'll be completing the kitchen very soon. Other than this area, we still just have to encase the beam support, and the overhang above the island and we'll be done!

Additions to the house
I've also got a new addition to our family….You probably saw him wondering/helping in some of the photos above but i'll formally introduce him. He's a Golden Retriever and his name is Ferguson! He's been a pretty good boy, Training is going well, and he is starting to fit in well! Here's some photos of him…WARNING, he's pretty cute!

The day he came home!

Posing for the camera

chew chew chew!

record craigslist sell: 1:15min!

Guarding the swimmers

While were on the pet subject….Mishka has been going outside to enjoy the summer…and as most kittens do, She climbed our tree, TO THE TOP! Needless to say she spent the night up there and she has yet to do it again. Here are some photos of her WAY up there.

Can you see her up there?

There she is! LOL

Misc Photos

That gets us up to speed about all the projects…I'll finish up with some random images of whats been going on. Some of which include photos from our annual Colorado trip, Dawns Birthday Bash, Flowers in out yard, and some random house photos.

Top of Vail!

Hanging at the Basin beach.

Freak Late April Snow!

Crazy weather!

Ferns Just Coming Up

Lilly's are popping up

New Bird feeders out front… so cool!

Dawns First Strawberry!

Pool Fun!

A Balmy Game of Pool Pong at 72 degrees!

Current Living Room

Another Shot

My Grandma Came to Visit!

We'll that'll about do it with all the images i've got so far. I'll try and keep them shorter and more often…

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!