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Friday, July 19, 2019

Heating Up and Cooling Down - Next Phase of She Shed

Aaacckk!!! We are miserable in this horrible heat and humidity that is engulfing most of the country right now. As I type this we are at 88 degrees with a heat index of 98. That's hot enough, thank you very much. In the meantime we are staying inside and not working at all on our She Shed.

Ahhhh but I can still write a blog! This is a preview of the upcoming attractions!

We just got our building permit approved for the rest of the work that we are doing on the exterior of the She Shed. This garage room conversion is going to be my studio space. It will hold my weaving looms, quilting machine and frame, my sock knitting machine and spinning wheel, plus a little sunroom area looking out to the East over our big big backyard.

Some time back among the previous owners or renters, somebody had covered some of the walls with a buffalo chip board material. Around the edges was some grey flannel felt and we were thinking it might possibly be insulated behind there. Now it was time to rip it off to see. Nope. No insulation. But that's okay, we are going to insulate the ceiling and the walls and finish them off with a nice clean fresh drywall or tongue and groove carsiding.  We will see what the budget is like when we get that far.

But before we can really think about walls or ceiling we are going to put in the new windows and one more door to the far right in the photo below. That exterior door will lead out to the doggies' potty yard. It matches the one we just installed on the other side of the room. It will be a full insulated glass with little French pane grids in between the layers. We just picked up a cute old fashioned wooden screen door that will also go there on the outside, to let in fresh air but keep the bugs out.

This will be our "BEFORE" picture:

The two sets of junky old garage windows that you can see in this photo above will be coming out soon. They are just single pane glass and in very rough shape.

In their place we are going to put something really cool. After the headers are installed correctly, up to code, we will be placing these large panels of heavy insulated Anderson French exterior doors. We bought four of them brand new in the boxes that were a custom order that someone never followed through on. Another guy had bought them to use in his house and never got around to doing it either. So he sold them on Facebook Marketplace to us. They are a bit shorter than the normal 80 inch tall doors, so nobody wants them. After wheeling and dealing a little bit we ended up with them for $20 each!!! They retail for $800 each online!!! That means Steve found over $3,000 worth of doors for $80.

Steve will frame them all around in place as stationary window panels unless we decide to make them as opening doors. We really don't see the need to make them open up.  Using them as windows will work well too. They even have weatherstripping built in on all four sides. We do have the special brand specific hinges that correspond to these doors, in case we change our mind and make them into operating French doors.

Here are pics from where Steve set them into place. The two doors take up the same space as the three windows in both Eastern facing sections of the She Shed. After framing around them properly, they should fit perfectly!

They will reach almost from floor to ceiling and give the most beautiful access view out of the back of the She Shed. The view out into our backyard is one of the main reasons we picked this house to live in. 2.5 acres of beauty with a nature conservancy behind us (never any backyard neighbors) and lots of deer, turkey, foxes and a few coyotes we are told. 

This little scribble drawing from my phone gives you an idea what this East side will look like. Once we cut away the excess wood underneath the existing windows, we will have enough of the cedar shake siding leftover pieces to repair other damaged areas of siding.

On the inside, here's another scribble drawing that gives you an idea of how the windows will be from just about the top to just about the bottom. I can just imagine the dogs laying on their little ottomans in front of the windows, looking out at anything they can find to bark at.  Thinking of night time with back yard flood lights shining out to find the elusive deer and foxes, or maybe snowflakes falling softly while inside we will be cozy and warm. I think we will be spending a lot of time in the She Shed. 

There is one other little tiny window at the top of the stairs leading into the kitchen. It's an odd shape of 41" x 21". We inquired at Menards about having a small window custom-made to put in that spot. Holy cow! They wanted $290!

We had stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Marinette. Their ad said they had 75% off all windows and doors. You just never know...

OMG! We found a used window that was 39 in by 21 in that will fit that space with a 1-inch spacer on each side! It is a very high quality Pella window with insulated thermal pane glass with the little pane grids in between just like all of our other entrance doors and French windows! It's a vertical casement crank out window, but we are going to mount it horizontally in the opening.

And the price of this bargain, you ask? Well! It was marked at $20. And then with the 75% off and brought it down to only $5.00 --- Score!

Okay. That was the preview of coming attractions. Once this hot weather settles down we can get out there and get started on some of those things.


Right now, on the inside, Steve is finishing up the last few details on our laundry room half bath conversion that we started last month.

Originally the only bathroom to this home was in this room. The previous owners removed the toilet and sink and just had a washer and dryer in there.

Instead they had made a large bath with master access out of the third bedroom space, so they figured they really didn't need another bath. They wanted a first-floor laundry. I could see that making sense.

But we could also see the convenience of having an extra half bathroom in the house as well. Steve agreed.

The other thing that we wanted to do was to change was the entrance into that laundry room. It was located on the longest wall of the dining room. I wanted that full span of wall to set my large buffet against. So Steve figured out that he could close off that existing doorway and make a solid wall for me. Then he would make a different entrance to that room from the kitchen.

Here is where he closed off the wall and studded the opening, adding sheetrock. After that was finished I painted it to match and he added new trim baseboard.

Voila! My buffet now fits
 in a place of honor
in the diningroom.

I love having a large formal dining room that can hold both my buffet and my hutch. Plus having the dining table spread out with both leaves and all eight chairs around it. Perfect for family gatherings and much better than storing chairs and leaves in closets or in other rooms of the house.

A new doorway went well in the space in the kitchen. This is the space where the gas cooking stove used to be. The previous owners had removed the stove and installed a new electric one in the middle of their island that they created. This awkward space was left behind with cabinetry over the top. The top cabinet we are going to re-purpose into a coffee bar later. It's waiting in the garage for another day.

A little creative weaving in with spare pieces of hardwood flooring matched well. Then an oak threshold spanned the space into the half bath. I still have to stain it and poly seal it to match the rest of the kitchen flooring.

The laundry room half bath flooring was in pretty rugged shape. We decided to cover over it with some of this snap together vinyl plank flooring. Our son-in-law Waylen and daughter Erin put this in her bathroom and kitchen as well and it holds up wonderfully with kids and dogs.

Look how easily it snaps together. No gluing no nailing. It's a free floating floor that just sets into place. Then you put the quarter round trim back on the edges which holds it down.

Next on the list was to add some cabinetry over the washer and dryer. We looked at a few home improvement stores and they wanted $100+ for a utility cabinet. We figured we wanted three cabinets across the entire span of the wall over the washer and dryer as additional pantry space.  Ouch.. $300.00?

Back to my Bargain Hunter Steve. Somehow he ran across a Craigslist listing of someone who had some office cabinetry to sell. One of the cabinets is exactly what we wanted for the laundry room! The deal was for $100 we had to take all of it. That's okay. For the price of what one utility cabinet would have cost us, we will now have a full span over the washer and dryer. The rest of the cabinetry will be re-purposed for in my She Shed.

They needed a couple coats of paint, because they are butt ugly!!! There are two lower filing cabinets, a center island desk type cabinet with angled ends, a big half circle piece of laminate countertop, and then a half pony wall with a counter on top of it as a kind of registration desk surface. Just wait to you see what I have in mind for that!!

We hauled it all home on our cute little trailer and the rest of these pieces are stowed away in the garage until the She Shed is done. The cabinets are solid wood and very heavy.

I got out my palm sander and roughed up the surface a little bit. Then a coat of primer and two coats of paint transformed the butt ugly cabinets into a nice row of heavy white wooden cabinets. 10 times better than the junky utility cabinets at the home improvement store.

We put the laundry room back together and suspended the cabinets up over the washer and dryer.  Once they were in place, we screwed the doors back on and Steve added shelving inside at the heights that we wanted for our laundry items, pantry items, and a dog food cabinet.

The half bath laundry room also had a really crappy single pane glass window and a piece of plexiglass over it.  Luckily, it was a common size and did not cost us an arm and a leg for a replacement window.  It went in easily and Steve trimmed it out neatly. It has a nice wide window sill and I put up our little cactus garden from a vacation to New Mexico. It won't get bumped on there and it's up out of reach from the grandchildren.

Now it was time for the toilet and the sink. Since this was already a bathroom, all of the plumbing was right there underneath and Steve just had to hook things back up.

We waited for this adorable little sink to go on sale. It's just the right size for the room, and still allows us to open the dryer door easily.

Now, isn't that the sweetest thing you ever did see? We re-purposed the faucet from replacing the sink in the master bath and it sure looks cute in there.

I also added a sturdy white enamel metal shower curtain rod across the room, just in front of the washer and dryer. It does double duty.

First, it is handy for hanging clothing on hangers as we take things out of the dryer. Most of our clothing goes up on hangers as we don't have dresser drawers. Socks and underthings are kept in fabric bins on the shelf in the closet. Makes for a bigger more roomy bedroom, and less clutter being dumped on top of a dresser!

The second purpose of the shower curtain rod is that with the shower curtains, they can be pulled across the washer and dryer when we have company. Then the bathroom appears to just be a full bath with a shower/tub combo.

The washer and dryer are spaced apart which allows the heating/cooking register vent on the wall behind to circulate into the room unhindered. A laundry basket slips right down in between the washer and dryer in a handy position while folding clothes.

As I type this, Steve just finished up the connections for the little sink. Good "inside" project on a sweltering hot day.  The temps came down a little, not a lot.  Staying inside and eating cool foods for supper.


  1. Once you are finished with all the renovations the former Owners will not recognize the place. That is the good part when you can think things through. Also good that Steve is good at what he does.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your project.

    It's a bout time.

  2. I love the sink! I also love the idea with the shower curtain. I have a few shirts that I like to hang inside to dry and that is a perfect purpose for that!

  3. I like the flooring in the laundry/1/2 bath room. Nice finds with the cabinets you can do so many things with all the left over stuff from that deal. Steve does great work.


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