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Father-Daughter Built-in Bookcase

13 Mar

Time for some spring sprucing! I love this time of year, even though it’s technically not spring yet, it sure does feel like it. And it’s spring break in Tuscaloosa — even for me! Since most grown-ups have to work, I get one week to myself. I’ve dubbed it #midlifespringbreak. It’s dedicated to home improvement, cleaning, cooking, sleeping and drinking.

Before- the wide upstairs hallway

My father is retired military so I asked him to come down for a day and help me build a bookcase in my upstairs landing. It’s actually an extra wide hallway. My book collection is slowly growing, as I’m in a book club (Tuscaloosa’s Coolest Book Club or TCBC) and a lot of people are giving me books as gifts lately.  Note, I often try to use the public library for book club books but sometimes that’s not possible. Take this year. We read The Hunger Games trilogy and there were loooong waiting lists for those books.

So, I decided to turn my wide hallway upstairs into my “library landing.”

I have a spare bedroom that I have as an office (with a twin bed just in case I have lots of visitors one night) in addition to a guest bedroom. I would eventually like to turn my office into a dressing room. That sounds extravagant but I have two reasons for doing this.

One, I never use the office. I work in an office all day. The last thing I want to do is go home and spend more time in one. Because of this, it’s wasted space. And I really think you should utilize space if you have it.

Two, my bedroom is often a mess because I have clothes and makeup and hairbrushes everywhere. Your bedroom should be restful, right? Now, there will probably still be a mess, it’ll just be in a different room. 🙂

OK, so more on the dressing room later, when I can save up enough money for it! Back to the book case.

Post-building, pre-painting

It was really only about five, maybe six hours of actual work. We used a combination of reclaimed wood (the vertical support beams are from wood I had used as railings in an old bed), mdf planks, mdf base board and wood side and top molding. Sorry, I don’t have any step-by-step instructions. They would all be something like, “measure, measure, cut.”

It took us less then 24 hours to design, shop for supplies, cut the wood, mdf and moldings and build it.

Little Liam inspects the newly built book case.

Painting took a couple of days as I needed to prime and paint two coats. Most of that though was waiting for it to dry enough to put on the next coat. I had some trim paint leftover from when I first moved in and built a shelf for my TV but I needed to go to Sherwin Williams to get some more. Since I bought my house brand new and the painters used this store, they have my colors on file. This has proved helpful during the past five years.

The finished book case

The total cost for this project was less than $100. A bargain! The book case is about 8′ long and 3′ tall and looks like it’s been there forever.

I love it!

And can’t wait to build more things with my dad!


Signs, signs, everywhere a sign. But they’re pretty!

5 Jun

My neighborhood finally has a neighborhood identification marker!

St. Charles Place was established about five years ago (my home will be four next month — my how time flies!) and for some reason, the developers didn’t install a neighborhood sign. There’s a lovely brick and iron fence on both sides of the entrance, just no sign. I had to always tell people “the townhouse development at the bottom of the hill” if they were visiting for the first time.

The Homeowners Association board has talked about putting something up since the association was turned over to the actual home owners three years ago. As vice president of the HOA, I took this on as my special project… after only about two years in office. Since our ‘hood has a sort of New Orleans-theme to it, wrought iron signage would fit in aesthetically and would be a somewhat easy process, so I thought.

Before installation. That huge truck took out of the old stop sign and also helped put up the new signs.

Turns out where we live, neighborhood i.d. markers must have masonry (brick). To get around that, we had to apply for an exemption and go to a zoning commission meeting to plead our case! I also had to apply for a right of way permit and all sorts of things. I was lucky to have come in contact early on with one city planner who went out of his way to walk me through this process. (There is a thank you letter on its way to him!)

After. New sign! See the frilly street/stop sign in the background too!

After going back and forth with the designer/installer and the HOA board and multiple city meetings and applications, the St. Charles Place sign was installed Friday! While we were at that, we also got a new street/stop sign (decorative black pole instead of the standard aluminum) and put up a private residences sign (the neighborhood across the street got one of these, so of course we wanted one too. And we do get lots of visitors during the day since we’re in a residential area withing city limits).

Welcome visitors! But keep out if you're trying to sell us something.

The landscaper is scheduled to come within the week and I’ll probably get out there to plant some pretty annual flowers after that. The pansies from last fall are almost fried to a crisp! I’m currently looking into lighting options as it’s in a median, and it gets pretty dark at night down in our little valley. I’m thinking of trying some industrial-strength solar lights.

One challenge we now have as we continue to make home and ‘hood improvements is the lack of available home improvement workers and other resources due to the rebuilding efforts after the storm. This city’s resources are stretched thin, but I’m excited about the possibilities of how great this city can become!

Summer bummer already!

31 May

Summer is here in full force! It’s almost 100 degrees down here in Alabama, and contrary to popular belief, that’s not normal. It’s record-breaking hot.

And, wouldn’t you know, my AC stops working.

There’s a small belief in my mind that it is working; it’s just so hot that my house won’t cool below 82. But that would mean I have a sucky AC.

My AC repair process:
1. Cut it off for a little while. Cut it back on and hope it miraculously repaired itself. (It works with computers! And it worked with my ice maker!)
2.a. Don’t spend a dime on anything because a repair is sure to be costly.
2. b.Schedule a repair visit for Friday. Give it some time to start working on its own. Really, I’ll already be home then supervising some other home projects.
3. Sleep downstairs where the AC does work and hope that one doesn’t quit either!