Friday, February 22, 2013

Pruning At The Bamboo Lagoon

It is that time of year when lots of things need to be pruned before new growth starts. The yardwaste bin was also going out on Monday so the nice weather provided the perfect opportunity to get out and get some of it knocked out. I haven't completed even a third of what needs to be done, but I did make a dent.

I cut back all the nandinas in the front and side yards.

One of many nandinas (before)
Same nandina (after)
I got to all the roses in the front, side and back yard. I also managed to get my herb pots cleaned up.

Herbs (before)
Herbs (after)
I cleaned out two flower beds for future planting.

Front bed (before)
Front bed (after)
Porch bed for future bamboo (after)
In the process of cutting back some of the roses, I was able to also get rid of some nasty blackberries that were trying to entangle things. I also discovered how the white lattice is attached to the pool deck and now can get back behind it to clean out some things that are trying to sprout up through the deck boards.

Blackberry and roses in front of pool (before)
Only roses left in front of pool (after)
I still need to get up on the higher terraces (hope to knock some of that out this week, weather permitting). There is rock wall repair and sprinkler repair that needs to be done as well. But as I see it, it is a work in progress and none of it is going to happen all at once.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Drape Fix At The Bamboo Lagoon

Before with 3 1/2 inch gap at bottom
For some reason, the previous owner of The Bamboo Lagoon mounted curtain rods over both of the sliding glass doors about 3 1/2 inches higher than they are standardly mounted, so when anyone put any standard length panels up, they were 3 1/2 inches short on the bottom.

I am not sure how any of the renters dealt with it, but for the last six months, we have had 3 panels hanging on each door that all look like they are waiting for a flood. At the DIY store, I found a sliding glass door rod that I liked and so I was able to tackle the back sliding glass door. The front one will take a bit more work but I am very happy with the back door and can't wait for the store to get another one of the rods in stock so I can get the front slider done too. The rod is very simple and fits with the desired look.

When I took the old rod down, I found that I needed to fill the holes left by the old mount and also needed to paint. So I set about doing that (thankfully we still have left over paint from the interior paint job that was done in 2009). Managed to walk around and touch up a few other small spots on the paint in the main living area which was kind of nice.

First two brackets, after paint and filling
Almost perfect

Once the paint (2 coats) dried, I started the mounting process, which was relatively easy. After installing the first two brackets, I put up the rod so I could check for level and without even trying, I was almost perfectly level on the first try.

After, with nice rod and no gap!
As you can see from the last pic, the panels now reach the floor...and some day when there is no carpet in here, they will be at a perfect height. I would love to eventually put a different kind of door in here later but that is a wish for another day, far, far away...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today's Just One Thing

Before heading over to the aunt and uncle's for dinner, I had to knock out my one thing at The Bamboo Lagoon today. It wasn't a big thing, but something that just needed to be done.

I had taken the glass cover off this light fixture earlier in the week so I could try to find a less ornate replacement at the DIY store. I was okay with the base piece so just replacing the glass would be the easiest way to update it without having to do any more electrical.

I found this frosted simple glass cover at Lowe's and it does just what we need it to do for a hallway light.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finished Livingroom Electrical At The Bamboo Lagoon

Cable jack and blank plate behind TV (before)
Last but not least, there were four outlets of various types left in the living room that needed to be done. Two regular outlets, one cable outlet, and one blank plate that had been painted over.

I had to put in two blue boxes in the midst of this (which I have gotten pretty good at now). The only trick was that the cable jack is hooked to the booster for the entire house, so while working on it, no cable, no Internet, and no house phone.

In order to put the blue boxes in and a new plate cover, I would have to cut the connector off the end of the cable and put a new one on. I was using some twist-on ones, so I wouldn't have to buy a crimper/stripper tool for it.

Last outlet (before)
I did the first outlet rather quickly and then I moved to the two blue boxes. Pulled off the painted over cover, cut the cable end on the other so it could be removed, started marking and cutting the sheetrock. I got the boxes put in pretty easily and the blank box done completely. I finished up the cable one, and decided before moving furniture back into place, I would hook everything back up, turn on the breaker and make sure the cable was working like it should.

Two boxes installed
And it wasn't. It seemed like everything was hooked up right, but for some reason nothing was getting a signal...I figured that my connector just wasn't cutting it. There is this booster that I have never used before, and of course we have HD signal now, and I thought maybe the connector I bought was just not that good enough. There is no TV or device hooked up to any of the other jacks I have replaced so none of them have been tested.

Cable jack almost complete
Anyhow, I decided to bite the bullet. It was 5pm on a Sunday night and Home Depot was my only option. I went and got the best of the connectors, an extra piece of coax in case I needed it, and a crimping tool.

Two jacks completed
Last outlet (after)
Came home and finished up the connection using all the new stuff and it now, I have to go back to all the cable jacks I already did (three) and make sure that they have good connectors and connections on them as well. At least I don't have to cut the drywall again, and I am done with all outlets on the main floor (other than the office and the 240 for the dryer).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

12 Gauge Wire Is Not My Favorite

Dimmer and outlet switch in diningroom (before)
Electric continues at the Bamboo Lagoon, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As I mentioned in this earlier post, the living room and dining room outlets are all on 12 gauge wire, even though the breakers are 15A and none of the outlets are 20A. 12 gauge wire is thick and when you have 4 or even 6 wires coming into one box along with a ground wire, it is hard to manipulate.

20A new outlet
One of the first outlets in the living room had 6 wires coming in and there was no way that I was going to be able to wire nut them all together with a piece of 14 gauge in each and then push it all back into the tiny box so on that outlet I opted to put in a 20A outlet because it allows for 12 gauge wire in the back of the outlet and then I only had to put the two extras on the screws.

While I was working with two switches a couple of days ago (finally got rid of the second dimmer switch), I realized that three of the dining room outlets are on a kitchen circuit (that actually is 20A). So one switch was on the living room circuit and the other switch was on the dining room circuit. I was actually taking out one of the switches and just wire nutting the wires together because all it did was run an outlet that I wanted to have on all the time.
Diningroom switch (after)

So today, I finished up the dining room outlets, swearing at the resistant 12 gauge wire the entire time, but fortunately none of the outlets had 6 wires so I was able to use the standard 15A outlets I bought in bulk and I didn't have to use any more 20A outlets (which cost a lot more).

I just have two more outlets, a cable box, and a blank plate left to do in the livingroom and then it is on to the office, and then the outlet, switch, faceplate project will be done (although, there will still be some more electrical projects on the To Do list). It will be nice to have this one knocked out and know that all the outlets and switches are in good shape and working properly, and of course look much better.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Coax Work At The Bamboo Lagoon

Finally got the right "blue boxes" for the coax connections in all the rooms so decided today that my "one thing" would be to finish up the coax connections in the two downstair rooms. I wanted to be able to vacuum up those rooms, and except for changing out the light fixtures, be able to say they were done electrical-wise.

Both rooms also still had old phone jacks in them, and originally, I was going to change them over to white boxes but then realized that while I do want to keep some of the old jacks in the house, I didn't think we needed all five so I removed the jack from each of the downstairs room. We still have phone jacks in the kitchen, small office, and master bedroom and that is plenty. This way, I can also return two of the white jacks I bought and save us some money. I'll just patch the hole in the drywall before we paint those rooms.

In the first pic (which is the first room I did) you can see that they put the phone jack wire through the wood trim of the window...not sure why. I'll have to patch that one with some wood putty before I paint the trim white later on down the line. The second pic is from that same wall, with the new box in place and the faceplate screwed on.

In the second room, while cutting the drywall, I realized that the coax connection was way to close to a stud so I had to shift it to the right a bit but it still worked out okay. They both look so much better. On the second room, I found at least 6 ft of coax that was stuffed in the wall...I shortened it up so it would be nice and neat.