May 2010
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If not in one ... try two

May 31, 2010

After conquering our challenges last weekend it was time to enter our second weekend of this minor reno. As of last weekend we had the post-bolt in the floor and were awaiting the floor boards and drywall. It took several days to get all the drywall patch needed to fill in the area left by the missing wall, but once that was done we could complete the measurements and cut the boards.

With the boards bolted down we moved on to installing the Newel post with double the brackets needed to secure it - then further screwed down the floor board - and managed a decently post if we do say so.

The next challenge that stood before us; placement while ensuring we used minimal balusters, kept equal distance, and restricted a 4" sphere from passing through the rails.

In the end, the math was less of the problem than just making sure the measurements were not out. A small mistake easily becomes a big one, as we noticed several times. We also picked up on the fact that the Baluster-to-Newel post distances would be different than the others due to the 4" minimum, so we changed the numbers and ran things again. After fighting with using 20 Balusters and not feeling 'safe', we op'd for 21 and ensured we were good with "the code".

With things spaced out, we could now measure for cutting. Remember our floor was not even so neither would the balusters so each baluster got a number. At one point we started taking just chopping 2" off each post. I was placing for final measurements while Melissa cut ... until I found an issue ... 2" was going to be too much for many of the posts. We stopped, re-placed the cut boards and worked one at a time from that point. We saved a trip to Lowes for new Balusters by one cut ... at it was marked an on the saw when I called Melissa. Talk about close calls. This was further fueled with our thoughts as we started placing them into their slots that we actually over cut [a possible $100 1/8" mis-measurement] ... took some playing, but things finally settled into place and we could close up shop for the weekend.

As always, the work could not have gotten done without our little helpers. They cracked bolts in, held boards, and I hope learned a little. Then again, I think they enjoyed a weekend of movies, root beer floats, and watermelon (Joe's pick) more ;)

Posted by csb at 11:48 PM


you guys are amazing...way to go for attempting and completing such a project!
see you soon, with Alicia!

Posted by: mom at June 4, 2010 1:31 AM

The Renos look awesome!!! You conquered the task. Are you happy with the open look this gives you? I think I would be. Congratulations on a job well done. Now for the father's inspection eh? Don't worry. He's too busy working to come down to inspect. You're safe for a while.

Posted by: Nana at June 6, 2010 2:37 AM

Totally happy. Completely changes the look of the house. Can't wait to show it off.

Posted by: Cameron at June 8, 2010 11:39 PM

The weekend project

May 24, 2010

After starting to "play" and prepare for replacing our stairway landing wall with a banister over the week, we finally removed the wall Thursday night - leaving us three days to complete the project.

Once the wall was removed we needed to do some leveling work on the concrete, lucky for me I had plenty of help.

This occupied quite a lot of our time as we (1) didn't know how exactly we wanted to handle it (2) we ended up spending a lot of time grabbing tools and extras as we found them tied to our plan. Essentially, it is critical that we keep things level and level with the carpet then we needed to ensure that the Newel post would be stable. Since we are not time pressured we took our time and I think we put together a plan and are executing as best we possibly can.

Once we did some clipping and determined the placement of the Newel post, we placed in the bolt for support.

We then did some finished the leveling job with a concrete patch.

Now, with 24 hours waiting for everything to cure ... we finished the demo job on the wall.

After the boys had fun, we cleaned up and got things ready for trash day.


Posted by csb at 12:48 AM


A first renovation

May 15, 2010

We have been talking about getting rid of the half-wall along our stairs for a few months now. Today we started with the boys putting a hole in the wall so we could get a better view and start making some decisions on what to do.

Owen takes charge with power tools

Joe is not going to be out-done

A "peep" hole was cut

With the hole cut and some visual of the internals we visited the store and started a materials sheet. So, while we will be forming the final budget tomorrow we still thought we could get more done. And after the kids went to bed we continued to cut out the wall - being careful to leave things so that the stairwell is safe. However, we managed to salvage some things, but most of it was just fun!

Surveying the damage

Proud mom!

Of course ... this all followed a night of fun with our good friends the McCoy's ...

Joe, Owen, Tiffany and Tyler let loose

Posted by csb at 11:46 PM


Joe's Fifth, the pictures tell it all!

May 15, 2010

Joe really had a blast celebrating this year. Turning five has been a big milestone for us, and he reminded us again, again, and again.

See the gallery

Posted by csb at 11:28 PM


5 years and counting

May 2, 2010

Can you believe that it has been five years since this was taken? Joe has gone from being this quiet, cuddly baby, to a toddler, and now ... well a boy.

Today Joe got to spend his birthday with Nana, Papa, Great Grandma, the Aunt and Uncles and of course Mom and Owen. Even Dad joined in the fun via video conference.

Happy Birthday Joe! We all love you so much.

Posted by csb at 11:30 AM


Glad you still update your site ;)

Posted by: Kurt at May 6, 2010 10:06 PM

so glad you were born to our family JOe!
What a precious boy!
Lots of love and hugs,
Grandma and Doug,

Posted by: grandma at May 9, 2010 9:22 PM