The Pantry!

As I mentioned in the previous post, we’ve been firing through our to-do list. It took about three weeks to finish the project, mostly because things always take longer than I plan.

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The annoying part of our pantry was that the California closet style wire shelving was bending under the weight of our couponing. To compensate, we put all of our cans on the floor – and as we bought more and more they expanded outward and consumed the pantry.

Our plan was to take these out and put in some stronger, better supported Melanine shelves. While we were at it we’d paint and add some pizazz.

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Fun fact: shelving like this is held in entirely with anchors. And tearing them out will destroy your wall. I was surprised at how much wall repair was necessary with this project – but in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been.

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The wall is fixed!

For stylins, we decided to paint the wall a nice grayish/slate blue and then use a white stencil for a cool pattern. Why stencil? Affordability and easy make-over-ness compared to wallpaper if we wanted to change it in the future.

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The Stencil (from THIS site)
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Let’s talk Stencils. On a simple flat accent wall? AMAZING! So easy! So quick! So beautiful! On walls that have corners and edges? MISERABLE. The stencil instructions from Royal Design Studio were pretty good for corners, but it was tough and didn’t work that well in our application.

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With the walls complete I started in on the shelves. I was METICULOUS with my methods and tried very hard to be as precise as possible. The problem, was that I had foolishly assumed that the corner of the pantry was 90 degrees. Ohhhhh… so foolish. The angle was actually about 100 degrees, so I’ll have to do some trim fix ups.

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The bottom three shelves have a reinforcing beam right down the center. I intend to add front faces as well, but haven’t cut the pieces yet. That, however, didn’t prevent us from filling the pantry!


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BOOM! Project complete!!*

*Complete enough that I can move on to the next one…

Electric Pneumatic Fantasic

It’s been a race against the clock for home rennovations at the House of D. As soon as Baby D rolls in time is expected to be in short short supply, so we best clean up our to-do list ASAP.

We’ve had four goals for the year:

  1. Shed. DONE
  2. Basement electric work. JUST FINISHED
  3. Pantry renovation
  4. Utility Sink

Today’s post discusses #2 with its extra bonus pneumatic system.

The problem: Ain’t no outlets in the basement.

When our house was built there were only two outlets put in the basement. This makes having a little workshop extremely inconvenient. In fact, for these first two years of living, the workshop has been running off the outlet for the water heater fan. Further, the lighting was terrible: a single bulb lit up each quadrant of the basement. No bueno. Admittedly, I am not very familiar with electric work but figured its something that every dad should know how to do. So after some quick conversations with Dad D, Sander, and a few of my electrical peers I got to work.

The solution: Add in a 15amp and a 20amp circuit, spotlights, and a bonus pneumatic line to the garage. Check it out:


I added two outlets on the right wall, one on the rear, and two on the left. There are also now beautiful spotlights above each workbench blasting extra light to the workspaces. Here’s the air compressor:


Note the small manifold on the right with black pipe that goes up and to the left. This busts through the wall to the garage. The compressor is plugged into an outlet controlled by a switch in the same gang box. That’s a three-way switch with one switch in the basement and the other in the garage…

air hose

where we have a reeled air hose! DANG! So now I can quick turn on the air compressor from the garage if I need to refill tires or do some autowork. It’s beautiful!

I feel extremely accomplished. Next up, the pantry and the Utility sink!

The Shed – Part 3: Siding & Roofing

While walking through a lumber yard with the shingle guy

mike d: “It’s a beautiful day for working outside!”
shingle guy: “It’s never a beautiful day for roofing.”

True thing shingle guy. True thing.

Once the framing was complete, my father in law returned to help with the roofing and the walls. Far more challenging than the actual construction was the creative ladder work and scaffolding to accommodate the precipitously steep hill and the at this point seemingly terrible decision of a steep roof.

Siding? No major issue. I used textured plywood (T1-11) for the siding. We pre-stained it (critical) but we painted it once it was mounted (not nearly as critical for reasons unknown). The roof? Shingle guy was totally right.

Examples of scaffolding/laddering/etc:


Hill ladders







HOW AMAZING IS THIS! A 14 foot 2×8 board atop two ladders that are clamped to either side of the shed. SO GOOD.


The roofing took two weekends and was mostly exhausting. Jen cut the shingles while my father and I braved the (occasionally sketch) scaffolding and hammered in the 4,000 nails.

The Shed – Part 2: Framing

Framing a shed is not challenging. There are four parts:

1. measure and cut everything in advance
2. buy a nailgun and air compressor
3. use the nailgun
4. take frequent snack breaks

This is one of those cases where the prep takes as much time as the actual construction. Jen and I spent a full day measuring and cutting in preparation. Jen measured and marked each piece as I used the chop saw to cut. Every single one was flawless – except for the one piece that I happened to have measured. Ha!


We setup all the wood at the floor and used the floor as a table for construction. To make our life easier on the trusses, I setup a jig on the floor that was preset to the angle of the roof. The roof is 50° off plumb on each side – or a 110° roof. While a 45 degree roof would have made construction easier (everyone loves 90 degree angles) I’m glad we stuck with the 110. Forty five degree roofs are more common for saltbox type sheds – 50 is better for a colonial style and easier (though only marginally) for shingling.

Staging in process
Staging in process

My father-in-law came over to help with the construction. I also purchased an awesome 33Gal Air Compressor on Craigslist for $120! DAAAAANG! What a deal! My neighbor loaned me a framing gun and I bought 1000 nails. Literally a thousand nails. Nail gun framing nails don’t come in quantities much less than this. I did not run out of nails.

With the tools and an extra set of hands the framing commenced!

The build!
The build!

All Walls

As I mentioned in the previous post, I modified the plan designs so that it had four windows and a door on the front side instead of the gable side of the shed. The door is 48 inches wide and just six feet tall which works great for me but anyone taller will constantly bump their heads.


We built all the trusses before putting up the walls. And just like the walls, it was a simple task to get them up and nailed into place.

The trusses lined up and ready to be raised
The trusses lined up and ready to be raised
Now it looks like a Shed
Now it looks like a Shed

All the framing took place in a single day!

I call this next part the Error Amplification Phase. Even the tiniest of errors ended up escalating exponentially. 1/8″ gap difference across the door frame? Prepare yourself for 30 hours of rework.

Thankfully there were only three or so errors besides that door one that ended up costing me later.

1. I made the floor 10ft x 12ft. The roof was designed for a slight overhang on each end – but since I made my floor the full width, the roof line extended to about 12 feet 4 inches. Since my roofline lumber was 12′ long and I wanted to plywood the roof without weird-sauce cuts, we had to reposition the end trusses to not overhang and I had to do all sorts of extra crazy trim stuff at the end. Ugh.

2. This one was phenomenally stupid. We centered the edge of the studs not the centers. We should have measured to center. That means come time to put up the plywood walls it was a roll of the dice if they happened to fall on a stud. We were lucky everywhere except for 3 spots where the seam falls NEXT to a stud. Ugh^2

3. My windows were framed EXACTLY TO FIT. Come on Mike D, get it together! I admit that I’m a bit arrogant when it comes to expectations of the quality of my work, but sizing a window frame to 22 x 26″ for a window that is manufactured at 22 x 26″ is not a bright thing to do.

Next up? The walls and the roofing.