Rethinking More Stuff

Even with the house approaching completion, I'm still changing things. I can't help it; it's my nature. Plus, hindsight is always 20/20; taking action just prior to the point of no return results in improvements that would otherwise be quite difficult to make. Also see:

Front Porch Structural Changes

Owing to a blunder, the front porch had been a longstanding problem. The three freestanding beams (just to the left of "150," below), which serve as the firewood enclosure, were to be covered with a hardwood veneer. But with the fascia and siding becoming more and more rustic than I'd originally envisioned, it didn't seem like the right approach.

Ultimately I decided to replace the existing beams with pressure-treated wood that I'll stain along with the rest of the house. I also decided to add the same freestanding beam design at the other end of the porch, next to the front door, to reinforce the design element (below).

HVAC System Improvements

Although the ductwork for the air handling system was completed months ago and seemed adequate for the job, I couldn't help but think there was room for improvement. Since it could never be changed after the interior is insulated and sheetrocked (at least not without considerable pain), it was now or never.

The problem I perceived was that the air supply ductwork was rather convoluted and restricting; I felt that the system would be more efficient if I did away with the "kinks." So I fabricated a generous main trunk, off of which all of the individual vent ducts feed. Hopefully this will optimize performance, although there'd be no way to quantitatively compare "before and after"; I had to trust my instincts. The building inspector, for what it's worth, liked what he saw.

Security Lighting

The mandated addition of sheathing across the back of the house created a problem with the deck security lights (above left), so I relocated them to the front of the house to illuminate the parking area (above right).

Meanwhile, I moved the motion-activated porch light from one side to the other (above) so as to illuminate the porch and door better, and reduce the glare in visitors' eyes. But this light behaved so erratically that I wound up replacing it with a simple ceiling fixture that consistently comes on when someone approaches the porch (below).

Modified Duct Bump-Out In the Office

I'd already redesigned the office ceiling as well as the bump-out on the wall. After adding insulation to the duct chase in the ceiling, I saw an opportunity to improve the bump-out shape: make it the same width as the duct chase. Below left is the original modification; below right is the modified modification.

Rearranged Electrical Circuits

Originally the guest house electric supply branched off the outdoor outlet circuit, which comprised all four outside outlets including the deck. But I didn't like that much load this placed on one circuit. A while back I'd added a 220-volt outlet for an air compressor; however, the model compressor I finally chose was 110-volt, and eliminating the 220-volt outlet freed up two circuits. So I used one to separate the garage outside outlets (which may one day feed the treehouse, assuming I leave it standing) from the deck, and put the guest house on its own new breaker. Bottom line: all of the electrical loads got balanced out much better. All of this took place on 21 November, just before everything was locked in by insulation.

Kitchen Lighting Control Changes

The three light switches in the kitchen originally controlled:

  • island
  • wall cabinet interior and countertop/peninsula
  • under-cabinet

I rearranged the circuits to be:

  • island
  • countertop/peninsula
  • wall cabinet interior and under-cabinet

Subsequently, I changed things again. After getting the kitchen wall cabinet wired with lighting, I soon discovered that the under-cabinet light wasn't dimmable, while the internal lights were; worse, the non-dimmable light caused the others to flicker if they were dimmed. So, on 12 January 2019 I split the lights into two circuits, adding a fourth switch for the non-dimmable light.

And so now it's:

  • island
  • countertop/peninsula
  • wall cabinet interior
  • under-cabinet

House Number Style

It may be a trivial thing, but I always have my eye on consistent style, where practical. Originally I was going to have fancy "floating" cast metal numbers beside the front door:

But with the finish work on the house becoming progressively more rustic, I decided to use wooden cutout numbers instead, which I'd stain a contrasting color. Also, I'd place them beside the garage door for better visibility.

However, when the wooden numbers arrived, I didn't much like them. So I installed the floating numbers to see how they looked, and they were worse. Ultimately I ordered new wooden numbers from a different vendor, and they're finally acceptable. More or less.

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Copyright 2017-2019 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.
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