Wouter’s room

We started with a three-bedroom house. A three-bedroom house with a single garage converted to an activity room, and a huge free-standing triple+ garage.

Somewhere along the way we decided to make the activity room into our main bedroom. The smallest of the three bedrooms would then become Tanya’s scrapbooking room. Which of course relegated Yours Truly to the huge free-standing triple+ garage.

I built a batten-and-shutterboard wall across the back portion of the garage, put down some of the carpets we took out of the main house, and put up the kitchen cupboards we took out.

Also had Frank put in a ceiling, with insulation, but it still gets very hot in there. Anyway, it’s starting to look good.

Now all I need is a bed and a fridge and Tanya will never see me :-)

Dealing With Idiots, part five thousand and … something.

So I ordered the last of the kitchen cabinets from Lansdowne Boards. These took a while because we were still deciding what we wanted to do, and I had to wrap my head around the drip tray that I got from A&D distributors.

Collected the stuff last Wednesday. Found that they had only supplied two of the three units (but all four doors). No wonder they gave me a large, unexpected off-cut — that was of course supposed to be the third unit.

Returned the offcut to them for making into unit #3.

That was last week.

Over the weekend I found that the double doors for the Colossal Cupboard were too small. The formula is : door width = cupboard width divided by two, less 4mm. Taking the 1mm edging into account, that means the wood for a door for a 750mm wide cupboard should be 369mm. The drawing shows 369mm, the cut list shows 369mm, but the measuring tape shows… 365mm. This creates a rather unsightly gap between the two doors, of course.

Took that back on Monday, nicely asked the fellow to have my kitchen unit ready by Wednesday.

Wednesday came around, I phoned. Nosir, maybe by Friday.

Are they nuts? I ordered this stuff weeks ago. They stuffed up. All they need to do is to quickly cut and edge a unit, one unit, and that will keep the customer happy. So what do they do? Sweet Fanny Adams.

And they’re still sitting on the replacement shelves for the one bookshelf where they got the holes skew. Something to do with them having to buy the chipboard for the replacement unit, which of course they are loathe to do. I suspect they can just massage the replacement white units out of someone else’s order, but few people order mahogany…


/me goes back to listening to Lily Allen with a vengeance.

Drip tray above kitchen sink

The drip tray hardware comes from A&D Distributors in Maitland. It comes with instructions, but I decided to ignore their recommended dimensions in favour of centering the (222mm deep) drip tray in the (300mm) deep cupboard unit.

I want the backsplash to extend up behind the drip tray, so I sat with Julian and designed a unit with a cupboard at the top and a backless bottomless area at the bottom.

I also realised that this would happen, and told Julian how I wanted it done. (Because of the curve of the saw blade, getting the slot for the backing board deep enough on the top (left in the picture) of the shelf means that the cut extends. I was quite prepared to have the cut stop above the shelf, I would then route the last bit by hand).

But as we say in Afrikaans, “‘n Halwe begrip het ‘n goeie woord nodig.” In the case of these guys, I think the good explanation has to be punctuated with a baseball bat for things to sink in, though.

Looking good…

Drip tray over sink, part 2

These are the top and bottom sides for the wall units from Lansdowne Boards. No mistakes or inconsistencies here (for once), this is how they do it.

Of course, if they put the slot for the backing board on the other side, the holes for the cam system would end up on the outside of the unit. Which won’t be visible. In this design, the cams end up inside the unit, which is visible.

Doesn’t look too bad though.

I still havn’t figured out how to avoid holes in the backing board. Using their hanging system, one ends up with two holes in each upper corner, and two holes across the bottom. Using what I did here, I ended up with four holes. I guess bodyputty and paint is a solution…

Happy Anniversary

Today, a year ago, we took possession of the house. It’s been… a journey. A long one, and we’re still on it.

Maybe it’s time for the long awaited kitchen sink backsplash post. Frank finished the tiling and grouting last Friday, but I’ve been somewhat busy, so blogging had to wait.

Drip tray hardware from A&D Distributors in Maitland.

We invited some people over on Saturday evening, so the rush was on to finish the bathroom shelves (only way I get things done, invite people over :-)

These rods are also from A&D…

..and this is what they look like installed. Since this particular wall consists of tile over shutterboard, I just drilled a hole and used a 6mm bolt from the other side to hold the rod to the wall.

For the shelf on the other side, I used two lengths of 12mm aliminium angle, cut and filed and drilled. This is where I noticed that the whole thing is completely out of square, the tiler could have done a lot better.

I still have to change the bath… *sigh* but it’ll be nice when it’s done. And Tanya wants “her” light on the same circuit as the downlighters, there’s a DB in the ceiling, I just have to get up there…

I would have liked to go and see the Kontiki rafts, but driving to the Fruit & Veg in Bellville to buy snack-ey party stuff, and putting up the shelves, took my whole day. OK, I also spent an hour at the range early on Saturday but that doesn’t count :-) Found a pretty good 7mm TC/U cast bullet load. Subject of another posting, maybe.

Monday evening sunset, straight off the camera, no Photoshoppery.

So there we were, four against a piano…

… fortunately the other three fellows are strong.

Friday, we loaded the old living room furniture and the washing machine on Frank’s uncle’s kick-ass trailer.

Then we went to the in-laws’ soon-to-be-ex-place, where we unloaded the furniture and washing machine and loaded what used to be their living room furniture, a washing machine, a display cabinet, a bed, and a pot plant. And the piano.

And then we drove back to Fish Hoek rather slowly, and unloaded the whole mess.

The new furniture carries the contented kitty seal of approval.

Tanya had to unpack and repack all her cats to move the lounge display cabinet.

Ended the day by driving through to Bellville and having supper with my folks. We stayed over, because some damn fools were running all over the mountain Saturday morning, which means that we’re effectively isolated because of road closures, and we wanted to go to the Bloemendal bubbly & oyster thing. Which was lekker.

More moving moments

OK, so now we had new furniture, and the white melamine stuff had to go. Of course we only figured this out after we’d returned the trailer and all.

So on Sunday Tanya and I loaded the lighter unit in the Rand-Lover and the bloody heavy one on to the roof, took them through to Kommetjie, and returned with a Welsh dresser which is almost but not quite too big for the space we have. And five chairs, which are lighter in colour than the ones we had, and as such blends in better (I’m told, I’m ovary-deficient).

I don’t have a picture, I’m afraid, so I shamelessly stole this one from Tanya.

I need to modify (using a wood chisel and hammer) the trim around the top left corner of the door, so that I can move the Welsh dresser a few centimetres to the right, lose that white stipe poking out. Don’t stress, a previous owner pre-modified that whole area, I just need to finish what they started.

Then on Monday we took our four dark wood chairs through and returned with the sixth chair.

We’re getting there…

My prophet spoke to me today…

I’ve been lax. Living the good life. Not working on the house like I should.

On the one side, day-to-day life interferes. Cooking and cleaning and watching House and Leverage and Inkheart. Hey, I earned it, working on the house for the past year-and-a-bit.

On the other side, I’m lazy. And the credits I built up, working on the house for the past year-and-a-bit, are pretty much spent.

So I need to get my arse in gear.

And my guru Bob Hoover is on exactly the same wavelength, today.

Here it is: Do something every day. That is, something leading toward the completion of whatever it is you’re trying to do, such as building a house, overhauling an antique car, building an airplane from scratch… It doesn’t matter what you’re building. Or rather, trying to build. The secret of success is to do something every single day. It doesn’t matter what it is… drilling a single hole, setting a single rivet or whatever, what matters is that you Do It! Every day. No exceptions nor excuses.

Here’s why it works: Every project has a finite number of steps. If you do even one of those steps every day you will eventually run out of things to do; the project will be finished.

No, you can’t make bargains with yourself, such as promising to do five things next Saturday instead of one thing every night for the coming week. That’s not allowed. You have to do something every single day.

What you’re doing here is developing the habit of doing something every day.

Yeah, it sounds kinda wacky. But it works.

Yes Sir, Mr Hoover, I’ll get on to it right away.

(I did do some wiring over the weekend (added two plug points to the kitchen, and let me tell you, it was a lot more work than I anticipated) and I’ve made a start on the kitchen kick plates — because I know there’s only one way to get something done and that’s to actually do it.)

Sunday at home

Last Sunday I decided that I had to get my lazy bum in gear and finish the kitchen wiring.

Before and after. I built a 3 way multiplug into the appliance garage so we can leave the stuff plugged in, just pull it out to use it.

The plugpoint on the left is special. I originally bought it to use it in the bathroom, because hair dryers etc often have two pin plugs. But Tanya’s hair dryer has the “euro” connector that doesn’t fit into that socket. So I swapped a single socket into the bathroom and put this one here so that I can plug the wall-wart to charge the bamix.

All of this took longer than expected, and since I had been monopolising the kitchen the munchkins were hungry.

So Tamsyn made french toast. Using three eggs per person, so we had scrambled egg afterwards :-)

And we started a batch of ice cream but that will be the subject of another post.

Supper was my stoo on the left and vegetarian parsnip stew on the right. Both were great.

Controlled burn, my hairy… donkey

On the way home yesterday, people were calling in to the local radio station, asking about all the smoke in the air. Initial reports were that it was a controlled burn, but later on people reported fire engines and water-carrying helicopters.

This was the view from our porch last night.


The fire came over the mountain and down to the firebreak, probably no more than 50m from the top row of houses. Fortunately there was absolutely no wind (well, just a breeze, carrying the smoke to the right as you can see).

Here’s a Google Earth image of the area. We live over there, on the right, between the red roofs at the top and the circle on the right edge. The camera’s pointing just a touch south of west.

google Click to embiggen.

The white line is where I guess the fireline was.


Gratuitous moon shot.