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civicdrivr's house things thread

 
Old 11-15-2018, 03:56 PM
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civicdrivr's house things thread

Back in early 2017, I got tired of my rent going up every year, so I decided to start looking around at houses. A bunch of the houses I looked at were pricey, or built in the late 90s or early 2000s and needed more work then it was worth to modernize them. Because I'm incredibly picky, I decided that it would be best for me to build. So I found a neighborhood that I liked, and chose a lot:



It's in a cul-de-sac, and has the second largest backyard in the neighborhood. It's just under .4 acres (most of the other lots are half the size), which isn't a ton of land, but the home itself is only 1760sqft - three bed, two bath. I've got about 300 photos of the house throughout the build process, but I'll save you guys from that boredom and skip straight to the day I closed on the house. Don't mind the blue tape in some of the photos, that was for items that needed to be touched up.



I kept the upgrades to a minimum, but most went into the kitchen and bathrooms. The standard kitchen layout doesn't have the wall oven, nor does it have deeper cabinets or slide out drawers under the cooktop (the standard kitchen uses a 30" range). After living with the kitchen for a little over a year now, I do wish I went with a different layout - probably by using a 36" slide in range, put the fridge where the wall oven is now, and extend the counter top & cabinets all the way to the wall near the mud room. My girlfriend and I love to cook, and counter space is usually an issue for both of us. The island does help a bit, but I do most of my prep work right next to the cooktop. Live and learn though - if I'm still in this house in another 5-7 years, I may redo it. I didn't do the backsplash through the builder since I didn't like any of their options, and instead just took the credit from them. I've got tile but haven't done it yet since I'm waiting on them to fix my countertop...



Dining and family room. You can see the 8ft x 10ft screened porch through the sliding door:




Master bedroom:



Master bath; I only upgraded the cabinets, tile, and went with the frameless door. I do wish I ditched the fiberglass base in the shower and went full tile:




Guest bath; I went with the taller vanity since the standard height vanity is made for little people:



The other modifications I went with were the companion meter for the irrigation system and hose bibs, a tankless water heater, and a utility sink in the garage.

My first "modification" was replacing the builders grade faucet in the kitchen. It was a bitch since my sink is oversized, so reaching up to get on the fasteners was a pain. But it was worth it - I love this faucet. I don't even remember who makes it, but it's stainless steel bodied and heavy.



My LG fridge and washer & drier came in a few days later. I had an employee discount through Lowes, plus a 20% coupon off the entire order, which saved me about $1k - then I got a call from them saying the fridge was out of stock everyone, but there was a display model at a nearby store. It had some scrapes and some small dings, so I had them knock off another $400. I was pleased. Once the fridge was delivered, I broke out the stainless polish and got to work. It's hard to see the damage once it's slid into it's home.




Then I picked up an Emerson fan, and a tall ass ladder so I could install it. But hey, at least I have a ladder now...



And then some pendants over the island. I've since swapped out those bulbs with some LED Edison style bulbs and a dimmer switch.



Obligatory messy garage photo... I put up ceiling storage as well as a wall mounted wheel rack.



I've since moved this up about two feet so my toolbox could fit underneath.



Christmas 2017! I'd like to put up better lights this year, but I was broke last year (still am...).



Right around the new year, I had purchased a new mattress, and wanted to try my hand at building a bed frame:



Sanded:



Stained:



In place:



I had a ton of fun building this frame, and it wasn't very expensive either. I think I spent less than $250 in supplies.

A few months later I had a storm door installed. It's insulated so I can have it open when it's cooler out, but it also has a screen that I can swap in when the weather is warmer.



Around the beginning of the summer, my girlfriend and I wanted to make a change to this area:



So we picked up some new plants and I put her to work:



It added a nice little splash of color. We've since replaced the cluster of flowers near the light post with some mums.



I didn't want to keep my trashcan in the garage, so I decided to build something that would appease the HOA. I wanted it to be easily accessible, so I chose this location, to the left of the garage:

\

After removing one of the bushes and building out the frame:



Completed, mostly. I still need to get some pavers in place leading to the driveway, so we're not walking all over the grass, but it's functional for now. You can also see the fence I had installed in the background, but that's turned into a shitshow that may end up in a legal battle...



I've also installed some slat wall for my garden tools, and built a charging station/shelf out of some scrap wood. There's wood filler on it since I plan on finishing it when I paint the garage.



I need to go through and take new photos, since I'm missing entire rooms, like the office, guest room, mud room and pantry

I have a long list of items that I still need to do, but it's moving slowly since it's gotten cold out:
- install Ring doorbell
- epoxy the garage floor
- paint the garage
- decide if I want to do stamped concrete or a paver patio in the backyard
- build grill
- build fire pit
- install irrigation in backyard
- plant some privacy bushes/trees in backyard
- install shed in the backyard so I can move all of the lawn tools out of the garage
- remove the remaining holly trees and two of the oak trees from the backyard
- stain the deck
- build outdoor sectional and table for the porch
- build cabinetry and shelving on either side of the fireplace
- build bar in mud room
- build new shelving for pantry, to replace the wire rack shelving
- built in closet in the master - not sure if I want to sub this out and try my hand at building it
- replace the carpet in the bedrooms and master closet with wood, although I'm rethinking this since Jamesons nails have destroyed the wood in the main part of the house

I never thought home ownership would be fun - stressful, but fun. It's certainly changed my priorities. In the past, I'd throw money at cars without a thought, but now I look at a new intake for the R and think "that's wood for x project" or "that's paint for these rooms" I'm sure things will settle down, but I'm always looking for a new project to add to the list.
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Old 11-15-2018, 05:02 PM
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Old 11-15-2018, 05:07 PM
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Don't know where to begin, but awesome job man! The bedframe stood out the most to me. That's a lot of pocket holes! Kreg jig?
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Old 11-16-2018, 08:02 AM
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Looks great man! The bed frame is amazing, great work. I got the same faucet haha (just purchased in May 2018) If you ever need some real estate assistance, I'm licensed in DC, MD & VA now. Congrats on the "new" place!
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Old 11-16-2018, 09:17 AM
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Looks great, m. I'll admit I have gotten the itch lately to get into a smaller home with a bigger yard.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post
Don't know where to begin, but awesome job man! The bedframe stood out the most to me. That's a lot of pocket holes! Kreg jig?
It was the first time using a Kreg, and I didn't read the instructions So I had to redo some of the pocket holes on a few pieces. I've learned a lot on that frame, so I think I'll do a much cleaner job when I build the sectional (gotta order the cedar, but I want to stain the deck first) and some of the random tables. Once that's done, I plan on building a new dining room table. And just last night I was standing in the pantry thinking "It would be sweet if I did some built-ins in here..."

Gotta sell that FR-S first though lol

Originally Posted by kurtatx View Post
Looks great, m. I'll admit I have gotten the itch lately to get into a smaller home with a bigger yard.
I need to get some photos of the backyard - it's the perfect size for me since I can be pretty lazy with yardwork I've never truly liked large houses, especially since I don't really need the excess space. I always wanted a larger garage, which typically comes with a larger house - so I was happy to find this one with a serviceable garage.

Here's the plat of my lot, with where I'd like to place the shed (I believe the HOA limits me to a 10'x12' shed) and grill. I want to do a patio near the grill along with a table and chairs, but I'm unsure of how I want it laid out, and I'm still trying to decide where to put the firepit.



The builder left a bunch of trees on my lot - which I preferred - but they took over about half my backyard. At the beginning of the year, my neighbor and I started to thin out the trees that was on our property lines. Most were dead; broken from wind storms or damaged when they took out the other trees when the builder cleared the lots. There were a bunch of smaller holly trees, which I despise (the spread like weeds and have thorny leaves). I think we cut down around 25 of those fuckers. This is during the clean up process. The other side of the yard got a similar treatment, but there weren't as many. I ended up with quite a bit of firewood that's currently drying out for use in the firepit next year. And I still have about 14 more trees (holly, dead/diseased, or too close to the house) that I'm going to have removed.



Lots of ideas and projects, but not a whole lot of time

Last edited by civicdrivr; 11-16-2018 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:30 PM
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Damn, nice looking house man.

Also really digging the bed frame/headboard that stain is perfect. Nice job!
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:14 AM
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Love the house and great job on the bed. We are also struggling to find what we want in our next home so I have been debating on building but I don't want to wait

What's going on with the fence "Legal" battle, HOA? I see that pic is down so I assume so....Good luck and I hope they aren't as bad as ours because it sucks to sell a house you like.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Love the house and great job on the bed. We are also struggling to find what we want in our next home so I have been debating on building but I don't want to wait

What's going on with the fence "Legal" battle, HOA? I see that pic is down so I assume so....Good luck and I hope they aren't as bad as ours because it sucks to sell a house you like.
The HOA was actually a dream to work with. The issues lie with Lowe's and the terrible installation. Long story short, I purchased the fence in March, they started the installation May 15th, and didn't finish the installation until August. On top of that, there are damaged posts, crooked gates (hung in the opening incorrectly), latches that are drilled into the corner of the posts, 8ft sections where they installed one 3.5ft and one 4.5ft section (which looks ridiculous), trenches that were dug into the ground for the fence to sit in (affecting water drainage), and most importantly, the privacy portion was not installed to code. Code in my county requires the cement holding the post in place to be set 2' below the surface. They used garden shovels to do the installs - not post hole diggers or augers - and have the cement down 12-18". The fence is already falling over along one section. The rest looks like absolute shit. I've escalated all the way up to the corporate office (which was a battle in itself) and requested a full refund and removal of the fence. They said no, because - according to the installers - it's installed properly. I fought tooth and nail to have them send out an independent inspector, which they finally did in late September, but they will not release the report to me - but they have admitted that there "are a few items on the list that need to be addressed". However, they won't tell me what the items are.

So yeah, I'm sure they're trying to cover their ass at this point, so I'll be moving forward with a lawsuit. The fence was supposed to add value to my home, and the shoddy installation and shit quality is detracting from it instead.
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:43 PM
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Damn man, sorry to hear; did the city inspect and pass it?

Lowes uses individual installers that "Partner" with them, correct? If so, I'm surprised Lowes hasn't stepped up and helped you out. I used to think my parents didn't give people a chance and were negative, now I realize they just had way more experience with people and knew what to expect, the worst
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Damn man, sorry to hear; did the city inspect and pass it?

Lowes uses individual installers that "Partner" with them, correct? If so, I'm surprised Lowes hasn't stepped up and helped you out. I used to think my parents didn't give people a chance and were negative, now I realize they just had way more experience with people and knew what to expect, the worst
I'm currently trying to get the city to come out and inspect, but haven't gotten any traction on that yet. Most inspectors in the area won't even look at fences. The person Lowe's got to inspect came from three hours away.

And you're correct - Lowe's does use third party contractors for the installs. I've spoken with people who have worked at Lowe's in many capacities over the years (and some still work there), and they all tell me that the installers are supposed to come on site and walk the fence line with me after the sales rep does his thing but before anything is ordered. This is to confirm that the fence line is free of obstruction, the measurements are correct, and the gates and posts are placed in a logical spacing to be both structurally sound and visually appealing. That never happened here. When I asked the installer about it when they came back to do their "inspection" (prior to the third party inspector), he said he wasn't aware of that procedure, and he was pretty sure it's no longer the case anyway. I asked how long he has been working with Lowe's, and he said "w-well...you're house is the first." That was not a very good day since he had already gotten very dismissive of the issues I had pointed out to him during his "inspection".

I keep using quotes because he was not interesting in actually inspecting anything; he merely responded to the concerns I had, and typically those responses were excuses.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:13 AM
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Awesome house man and looks like you are getting the hang of the wood working just fine with that bed. Can't wait to see what you create for cedar sectional outback.
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Old 11-19-2018, 09:49 AM
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Nice place! Looking forward to seeing the projects develop.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:01 PM
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Awesome house Morgan! What part of VA are you in? I need to get the hell out of Northern Virginia so that I can get a single family home for under 600k.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by akplaya92 View Post
Awesome house Morgan! What part of VA are you in? I need to get the hell out of Northern Virginia so that I can get a single family home for under 600k.
Thanks! I'm in the Richmond area. I'm so happy I don't live in NoVA, prices there are absurd But prices here have started to go up over the past year or two. It's definitely a sellers market.
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:27 AM
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Sorry to hear that, I guess with hurricanes and such, they are on top of inspecting fences in South Florida.

We lived in RVA for a bit but just renting in Shockoe Bottom. Glad we got out of that area because the Bottom got a bit sketchy despite our nice building, has it gotten any nicer?
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Sorry to hear that, I guess with hurricanes and such, they are on top of inspecting fences in South Florida.

We lived in RVA for a bit but just renting in Shockoe Bottom. Glad we got out of that area because the Bottom got a bit sketchy despite our nice building, has it gotten any nicer?
I'm not sure how long ago you lived here - there are pockets in that area that are nice, but it's not as sketchy as it used to be.

The girlfriend and I have been looking at houses downtown - probably in the Museum district, Maymont, the Fan, or Church Hill area. We both miss living in a city setting and being able to walk everywhere. Since my house is in a desirable neighborhood and school district, I'd probably rent it out and move back when we have kids, unless I can get a really good price for it. But we're in the really early stages of that idea, and we wouldn't make any moves for at a year.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:44 PM
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I picked up the Ring Alarm system when the 8 piece kit was on sale on Amazon about two weeks ago (though Costco ended up having the 10 piece kit for the same price). It came with the base unit, one keypad, three contact sensors, a range extender, and two motion detectors. I shopped it against the Nest system as well as Abode, but Nest was cost prohibitive - I needed 13 contact sensors, and their sensors are $50/ea while the Ring sensors are $20/ea. The Abode system was admittedly very nice, but as I plan on installing a few cameras and a doorbell, it just made more sense to have everything in one ecosystem/app.

I've had it installed and running in practice mode for a little over a week, and so far, I like it. The setup was a breeze. I had it up and running in less than 30 minutes. I still need to order some more contact contact sensors, but I'll do that once I'm off the trial period for monitoring so I can use the 10% discount. And speaking of monitoring - it's $10/mo ($100 annually if paid in full) for alarm monitoring and any cameras or doorbell I install, including cloud storage - right now it's 60 days of storage but they are dropping that to 30 days in 2019 (not a big deal imo). I will probably pick up the cameras and doorbell next month - I plan on putting two or three cameras outside the house, and one in the family room so I can keep an eye on Jameson while I'm not home. I've thought about mounting one in my garage as well, but I'm not sure. I may also look into IFTTT, so if the alarm ever goes off, all of the lights in my home turn on so I can get a positive ID on camera.

My only complaint thus far is that the contact sensors are a bit large. But, the white matches my doors and windows so they don't stick out too much. I had to use some Sugru to build out the trim for the magnet to mount to, but even that isn't too noticeable. I don't have any pictures of the base station, but I will probably wall mount it somewhere and run PoE to it since I plan on running PoE for the security cameras.




Overall, it was an inexpensive option that seems to work pretty well thus far, and it puts the girlfriend at ease when she's home alone.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:42 PM
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What type of battery powers the contact sensor? Ring site just says "3V Lithium".
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by stogie1020 View Post
What type of battery powers the contact sensor? Ring site just says "3V Lithium".

Jeez stogz... first google hit: https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/ar...-Alarm-Devices


CR123A

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Old 11-29-2018, 01:37 PM
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Looks good Morgan!
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:10 AM
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Nice, I've been looking into the newer systems since I did our SmartThings sensors a few years ago but I'm on the fence with Ring.

RVA - I lived there 2013-4 in the "Upper Lofts" by the Holocaust museum. I liked that I could walk to Tobacco Company for dinner and such but I would not advise my wife to walk alone; hell, I wouldn't want her to walk with me. The apartment was super cool with 20 foot windows and higher ceilings but the crime, not so cool.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:45 AM
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Doesn't sound like you need more sensors but Best Buy has them on sale

https://slickdeals.net/f/12389410-ri...&src=frontpage
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Nice, I've been looking into the newer systems since I did our SmartThings sensors a few years ago but I'm on the fence with Ring.

RVA - I lived there 2013-4 in the "Upper Lofts" by the Holocaust museum. I liked that I could walk to Tobacco Company for dinner and such but I would not advise my wife to walk alone; hell, I wouldn't want her to walk with me. The apartment was super cool with 20 foot windows and higher ceilings but the crime, not so cool.
Yeah, near that area is so-so lol but it is getting better. A lot of the apartments downtown are sweet though.

Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Doesn't sound like you need more sensors but Best Buy has them on sale

https://slickdeals.net/f/12389410-ri...&src=frontpage
I actually did need a few more sensors for the windows. Thanks!!
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post
Jeez stogz... first google hit: https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/ar...-Alarm-Devices


CR123A

But which way do you insert the battery????

Honestly, i looked on their site and didn't see it. Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:03 AM
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 1StGenCL View Post
Doesn't sound like you need more sensors but Best Buy has them on sale

https://slickdeals.net/f/12389410-ri...&src=frontpage
Good price.. 5-10 dollars cheaper than at Costco:

https://www.costco.com/Ring-DoorWind...100427989.html

https://www.costco.com/Ring-Alarm-2-...100428039.html
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rockstar143 View Post
I'm coming to live with you.
You know how to party.
I'm a pretty boring person, most of the time. But get some liquor into me, and...

Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post
Yeah, I ended up picking up the remaining sensors that I needed. It just sucked that I had to do separate orders But, it worked out to ~20% off when factoring in tax vs the 10% I could get through Ring directly.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:57 PM
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While I'm in here - my girlfriends family was visiting on Sunday, so I put her dad and her brother in law to work and had them help me drop some trees. All of the "trees" in green are still standing, the ones in red are down and cut into ~16" sections for fire wood for the future fire pit. Most of the trees were either Holly trees, too close to the house for comfort, or dead/decaying.



After clearing out that left side of the yard, I think I'm going to change up where I wanted to place the shed and go with something like this:



The green trees above are all existing. The red tree would be a new Japanese Maple that I'd like to plant. I'll probably tuck the firepit into that back corner so it's not right on the house. I'll be doing a paver patio in the spring as well, but unsure of final shape. And the shed would end up going on the right side of the yard, in between a cluster of trees towards the fence line. I'd also like space for a garden, but not sure where I want to put that yet. My home is pretty much west-facing, so the house will cast shadows in the backyard after ~1pm during the summer.

This coming Saturday looks like it's only going to be in the 30s, but it looks dry, so I'm hoping to have the time to run the Christmas lights on the house before the snow on Sunday
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:08 PM
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Is that a CAD mockup?!








I'm just jealous.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:13 PM
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I actually took the plat I was provided, erased everything I didn't need, and then started using that as a blank slate to plan shit lol I would've used CAD (or even Photoshop), but Paint 3D is quick and easy, so I just used that for basic shit. It works pretty well as long as I scale things properly
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:33 PM
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Man, I wish I was close to you. Some fresh cut logs make for good wood slabs.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Man, I wish I was close to you. Some fresh cut logs make for good wood slabs.
Shit, I wish the cedar I had to take down was larger - the wood from that was beautiful and damn near purple. At least it'll smell good in the fire pit.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by civicdrivr View Post
Shit, I wish the cedar I had to take down was larger - the wood from that was beautiful and damn near purple. At least it'll smell good in the fire pit.



make some cedar plank salmon fam!

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Old 12-05-2018, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post



make some cedar plank salmon fam!
That's a pretty good idea! I'll reserve some logs for that
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:47 AM
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Or cedar shoe trees..


Or just throw some in your closet to keep the moths away..


so many options! What a waste of cedar
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:35 AM
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Cedar plank salmon is the bomb.
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:28 PM
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I installed a Ring Pro last week. It was a pain in the ass finding the breaker that the doorbell is on, but apparently it's on the family room outlet circuit, which is...strange, given the placement of everything. After that, the install took all of 20 mins. Thankfully my existing doorbell uses a 16v transformer, so I didn't need to get anything additional for it to work. I had to use both angle brackets to get the view that I wanted, but it looks good. My only complaint is that there is a 2-3 second delay when pressing the button and the mechanical chime, uhhh...chiming. I like the customizable motion zones though, I get notified whenever UPS/Fedex/Amazon delivers something since they very rarely ring the doorbell.



And no, there usually isn't a port-a-potty outside my house The house next door is being built.






I also got the remaining contact sensors for the alarm installed. I ended up having to pull the magnet out of the housing and mounting it to the upper window frames using the provided double sided tape.

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Old 12-18-2018, 04:43 PM
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Nice home, dude!
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by civicdrivr View Post
I installed a Ring Pro last week. It was a pain in the ass finding the breaker that the doorbell is on, but apparently it's on the family room outlet circuit, which is...strange, given the placement of everything. After that, the install took all of 20 mins. Thankfully my existing doorbell uses a 16v transformer, so I didn't need to get anything additional for it to work. I had to use both angle brackets to get the view that I wanted, but it looks good. My only complaint is that there is a 2-3 second delay when pressing the button and the mechanical chime, uhhh...chiming. I like the customizable motion zones though, I get notified whenever UPS/Fedex/Amazon delivers something since they very rarely ring the doorbell.
the transformer is probably right above the family room for whatever reason

To get around the delay, you can always just disconnect your mechanical chime and buy the Ring wifi one
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