Friday, June 19, 2015

Installing a Counter Top over a Washer and Dryer

Almost done with the mudroom!

Now that our washer and dryer are actually next to each other, we're putting a countertop over them. This will give them a built-in look, and also make a large functional surface for folding, ironing, etc.

First, we needed to build a frame to secure and support the counter top. A rectangular frame above the washer and dryer, mounted to the wall, will hold up the heavy top. Then a piece of MDF on the exposed side will help shore up the side not touching a wall, and also create a nice finished-looking edge.

Is my husband sexy or what?

We built the frame first, then installed it securely to the wall.

Bonus - now the washing machine can't vibrate itself halfway across the room.

We found a piece of salvaged marble that's about the right size, so that will be the top. Where we're a little stuck, though, is finding someone to cut it to the right size. We don't have the right tools, and there's no room for error so we can't experiment. We found a couple places that will work with our material, but they're crazy expensive! Hopefully we can find a good solution soon.

In the meantime, we have an empty counter top frame in the mudroom and a counter top in the carport. At this point I'm considering giving up and moving into the chicken coop.

Judgmental chicken says NO.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hermione Can Swim!!!

Hermione major life milestone alert!

Hermie is about a year and a half old. She's been exposed to bodies of water regularly for her entire life. We live close to a variety of sandy, rocky, grassy, paved, and forested shorelines, and walk them often. But until this week, our pup showed absolutely zero interest in diving in. In fact, the first time she saw the Sound, she tried to scare the waves away by barking at them. Sometimes she still tries to bite the ocean. Any accidental exposure to moisture is met with furious paw-licking.

 She doesn't even get along with the hose.

So when we took Hermie to a popular dog beach last weekend, we were mostly thinking about our own toes in the water, not hers.

A few minutes in to our walk, Hermione started intently watching the other dogs, who were having a ball swimming around and playing fetch in the water. Then she followed us in! Pretty soon, she was willing to pick up a paw or two to reach a stick. Then another paw. Then ... swimming!!!

We spent the next hour squealing with glee as she chased sticks and other dogs into the water. She's still a little hesitant, and she won't go any further into the water than she's seen us walk. But she can swim! I can't wait to take her out in our kayak this summer.

This was seriously one of the most fun mornings I've had in my entire life.

(Also one of the most sunburn-y, but I guess that's the price you pay!)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Small House Survival

Our house is small. Personally I love the size, even if we plan to add a small human or two to our pack at some point. I like the reduced cost, smaller environmental impact, and increased togetherness of a space that's not too large.

However, there is one thing that's absolutely essential for small house survival: smart storage. I want our spaces to feel open and relaxing, never cluttered. And I HATE HATE HATE not knowing where to find something. I am a librarian, after all. Brett's lucky I don't put Dewey Decimal labels on everything we own.

(Obviously I would never actually do that. Library of Congress would be a much better classification system for us. Or I could create our own custom taxonomy! Where's that label maker? Wait, back to the point...)


So here's one little way we added some storage.

The small bathroom off the mudroom is very, very narrow. But we're blessed with high ceilings on the whole first floor, so we added some built-in shelving to make use of the vertical space.

First, we screwed ledgers into the wall. These are boards that the shelves will sit on.  

Hard at work, alledgerdly

In the corners, we were able to screw right into the studs. But the shelves are only 12" deep, and the studs are 16" apart. We were worried that the ledgers wouldn't be able to hold enough weight if we just used regular drywall mollies. We did a little research and decided that metal mollies would do the trick.

Once the ledgers were attached to each side wall, we cut the shelves to the right width and set them on top.

That's it for functionality - they're now ready to use. We did face them with some nicer-looking wood to cover the ledgers and seams.

Fill with junk and call it a day!
I just dumped a bunch of homeless items onto these shelves for the moment, so they'll look a little nicer later on.

Hooray for storage!