Pretending I Live Here

Once the house was insulated and getting warmer every day, I began spending more time inside, and I imagined my day-to-day life playing out. This inspired a number of changes (yes, more) to fine-tune things to my needs.

A Great Big Built-In Bookcase

Although the project was born as a bookcase in January 2019, the seed for undefined storage space was actually planted sometime back in 2016...

In the days when I was framing the house, friends were visiting and remarked at how the long wall between the kitchen and the closet/laundry—seen above on 2 July 2016—seemed to "waste" so much space since it's framed with 2x6s instead of 2x4s because it's load-bearing. That observation hung around in the back of my mind the whole time, and I finally decided what to do with the "wasteful" wall: turn it into a big built-in bookcase (highlighted in red, below).

With more than eight feet of wall available to use, plus as much of its full height as I wanted, the finished bookcase will be quite generous in size. While I'll need to push it into the closet/laundry to gain sufficient depth, there's more than enough space to spare, and I absolutely won't feel the loss. (This will free up lots of space in the office originally slated for bookcase, which will greatly benefit my future business.)

Above is a graphic outline of the proposed bookcase. Below, I've posed some structural members to get a feel for the space the shelves will consume inside the laundry.

I'm not bothered at all by the loss of space; in fact, it will make things look better since there was over a foot of empty area to the right of the washer and dryer, and the room would seem more designed to suit the appliances after becoming a little narrower.

Framing for the bookcase began on 22 January 2019, and was completed on 10 July. Owing to a change in the washer and dryer selections, the shape was altered on 13 July to accommodate a larger appliance platform, and the wall was rocked by 21 July.

Construction began on 9 August, and by 11 August the bookcase was about 85% complete. I also started loading it with books as construction progressed.

Incidentally, there are three sizes of shelves. The bottom row is extra tall and deep for big "coffee table" books. The next three rows accommodate most typical books, as well as my DVD albums. And the top two rows are sized for paperbacks.

On 20 January 2020 I installed the strip lights. Still to do: install trim strips in front of the above-eye-level lights, and fill in all of the screw holes in the woodwork.

Optimizing Kitchen Storage

I've said all along that the kitchen design provided more than ample storage space for all of my stuff, even without utilizing the empty areas above the refrigerator as well as above and below the oven. Then I began thinking long and hard about the organization of what I have, not the amount, and realized the kitchen would be more efficient if things were spread out into multiple dedicated areas.

Thus I built cabinets into the three previously untapped spaces: above the oven will be spice racks; below the oven will be baking and broiling items; and above the refrigerator will be the liquor cabinet... all of which will leave the remaining cabinets with plenty of spare room in which to to better organize their contents.

Framing for the cabinets got started on 22 January 2018. Much of the lumber was "free," consisting of the materials in which the Pella windows were shipped.

As a bonus, I also built a kitty cubby over the refrigerator, behind the beverage cabinet (second pair of images). It even features "central heat," which is a small vent over the back of the refrigerator to allow its waste heat to rise up into the cubby. And it will be lined with carpeting to make it cozy.

Aside from the doors and trim, the cabinets were all done by 2 July 2019.

Shuffling Stuff in the Studio

After spending some quality time thinking about the work I'd be doing in the studio, on 15 January 2019 I added more outlets (below left), and on 19 January 2019 I moved the utility sink from the middle of the long wall closer to the corner (below right).

For the water lines, I switched from copper to PEX because it would have been absurdly complicated to run copper through the wall and around existing ductwork.

Garage Rearrangement

Up to this point, the garage has had the workshop clustered at the interior end of the space, with a workbench running the full width. But now that I've set up my big table and miter saws—which will be crucial for all of the cabinetry and woodwork to come—I'm seeing a need to redistribute things. I'm moving the workbench from across the end (grey rectangle, below) to along one side (red rectangle), leaving the entire end of the garage wide open so the big power tools have plenty of operating area and can be moved around freely as needed. Naturally I'll be building storage cabinets as well, and these will be located above and below the workbench. Also, the yellow box is the tool chest, the pink circle is an air compressor, and the green rectangle will be a dedicated manufacturing space for my future business.

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