It’s a good idea to take a step back

We’re exhausted, hot and thirsty… but once we weren’t nose down in the dirt and stood back it was all worth it. Sure, Paula did most of the work, but I’ll take credit for all of it.

I think that covers about 10% of our flower beds… should be done with spring cleaning by about November.

Home Tech

The magic of 3 and 4 way switches

Our front hall light has three switches, downstairs, upstairs and on the landing by the front door. I finally got tired of having to run up and down the stairs to adjust the dimmer so this weekend up replaced the three rocker switches with some smarter components which allow me to adjust the light level from any of the three switches, no more running up and down stairs. Ah… laziness is such a great motivator.

Four way light switch

Replacing light switches is generally pretty simple… but replacing a four-way circuit was something new to me. A key thing to understand: the number in “3” and “4”-way switches has nothing to do with the number of light switches, it has to do with the number of switched wires. In my entryway I have three light switches… the circuit is, however, made up of two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch. I wasn’t quite sure what makes a four-way circuit work but thankfully came across an excellent animation by Rick Mathews which completely demystified 4-way switches.

So, a bit of studying on the internet, a bit of wiring, a bit of testing, a bit of finding the lights don’t work and a bit more wiring… I’m now a happy, lazy nerd.

Light switches

Home Idle

A Productive Weekend

At around 8 tonight (which should have felt like 7 due to the time change) exhaustion set in. I didn’t really feel like I should be all that tired but looking back on what I got done the fatigue feels a bit more justified.

It all started with building a shelf top and then kind of snowballed…

When we tore out and replaced our patio we put in a hot/cold hose faucet for washing the dog (yes, it’s totally worth it, no more muddy greyhound coming through the house). In order to make sure the tap doesn’t freeze in the winter the pipes have to extend 16″ into the house… but our wall is on 12″ thick. To disguise the intruding pipes we found a cool looking deco-style doorbell cover at a local architectural salvage yard. I’ve had the cover mounted on my wall for over a year now and always intended to build a shelf to go on top. This weekend I finally finished the shelf (and Finney approves).

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Saturday morning I woke around 6 and needed to occupy myself so I popped down to Home Depot and picked up some wood for the shelf. Once I cut down the stock, mitered the trim and glued it all together I sanded and prepped the chime box to get it ready for paint. The sanding went quickly, however, and I was now forced to sit and wait while the glue dried.



Never one to be happy waiting I decided it was a good time to experiment with cutting down some Ikea cabinet doors we picked up at their parking lot sale.

The desk I built for my office was intended to have doors and drawers, but I never made it past just building and finishing the outer cabinets. We purchased the surplus doors from Ikea to use on my desk… a little over a year later and the first door has finally made it onto my desk.


I already had purchased a set of hinges to try out, but I didn’t think to buy any sort of stop or catch for the door. This provided me with my next project opportunity: interior shelves for my desk. Thanks to some left over melamine shelves I was able to knock another thing off my hit list (and The King approves).


By the time Sunday morning rolled around the glue on my shelf had set up nicely and after a little light sanding it was time for a coat of primer. Primer has to dry too, nuts. What else is there?

When we replaced our garage doors in 2008 the installer just ran the wire on the outside of the wall. At the time I was good with them not trying to cut into our drywall but it always bugged me the way the wires looked. While the primer dried I did a little rewiring. Garage door openers now look professionally installed (or it will… once I finish painting the wall).


The shelf still needed painting and painting meant more drying time… but the weekend was winding down so while the paint dried I busied myself by putting away all the toys I got out this weekend, the majority of which were occupying Paula’s parking space in the garage.

Building the shelf led to making a desk door which led to making a desk shelf which led to rewiring my garage door which led to one thoroughly exhausted Reeves.

Home Idle

That’s going to leave a mark

Paula and I spent the day in the garden, pulling weeds, putting down landscaping cloth and covering the whole thing with mulch. The result is tremendously satisfying. It was, however, an all-day affair and I’m sure I’ll feel it in the morning.
Here’s a snap of the back yard. I’ll take a picture of the front tomorrow morning… provided I’m still able to lift my arms.
Picture of garden
Cleaned out the weeds, added ground cover.




I made a box!

Exciting stuff, right?
It’s my prototype for my new office built-ins.

My box
Now I’m ready for the real thing, just needs to be a bit bigger. I have the layout all planned out on the wall… it reminds me of a cell-shaded video game. The wood is all out in the garage waiting for me, shelf brackets should arrive this week… the end is so close.


Resource Furniture: the Q of interior design

This furniture is just way too cool. I just need an excuse to move into a 200 square foot New York loft.

You expect me to talk? No Mr. Bond, I expect you to sleep.


I want this Bed/Desk combo for my office:

image image

via: core77


Tonight’s project: retrofit a retro lamp

Last weekend Paula and I were in Space Oddity, a retro antique shop in Ballard, and I spotted a cool, old desk lamp. It reminded me a lot of the type of lamp my dad had on his desk when I was growing up. Since I have his antique desk, I thought, why not get the semi-antique lamp to go with it?

The lamp took two fluorescent bulbs (I hate fluorescent) and the switch on the lamp was broken. But, hey, it was 25 bucks, so why not?

A bit of clipping, drilling and wiring later I now have a retro lamp with some very nice xenon bulbs. The whole thing only took about an hour and a half, not bad for a Reeves project.

Wabbit basking under the clean white light of my “new” lamp.


Bathroom remodel, days eleven and twelve

Paula had a break in her homework load and so we did some tag team tile work. The weekend flew and we now have just a little edge-work left before doing the grout.




Bathroom remodel, days nine and ten

Roughly another day of work, spread across Saturday and Sunday, and I put a whole bunch more tile up on the back wall of the shower surround. Time to turn my attention to the side walls.



Bathroom remodel, days seven and eight

Okay, I admit it, I was a little intimidated by the tile portion of the project. I knew if I screwed up the other stuff that it could be easily corrected or hidden behind… yep, you guessed it… the tile. Since the tile is the last bit I wanted to be doubly-sure it looked great and so was very cautious about getting started.

I spent a few hours Saturday reading about the process… and said process was different depending on which book I read, nice. On Sunday I dragged my feet, prepped the area, snapped some chalk lines, arranged some tools…  I finally got started around 1:30 or 2. After a couple hours I got the hang of it, but really only put up a few rows of tile.

No biggie, now I have the hang of it and the rest will go more quickly… and less stressfully. 😀