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January 3, 2009
Reframing the closets

Gail installs drywall in the master bedroom closets

Gail and Russell celebrated the New Year by – what else? – going up to our mountain property to continue building our house.

Back on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving (when stores hold huge sales) we had tried to get some portable heaters at Fry’s Electronics; they were on sale for 75 percent off. We didn’t bother going there until early afternoon, and by then they were completely sold out.

We were surprised to see them on sale again after Christmas. This time, we took Cameron first thing in the morning, waited in line before the store opened, ran in and grabbed three heaters. (If we had been five minutes later, they would have been sold out again.)

The big question was whether these heaters would be adequate for the mountain house. So on New Year’s Day morning, we left the boys asleep in bed and drove up in the van with three heaters.

We were treated to crisp, sunny weather, book-ended by a gorgeous fog in the mornings and evenings. We plugged in the heaters and let them run automatically with their built-in thermostats. We were pleased to find that the house held a comfortable ambient temperature inside.

A panorama of the southern view on New Year's Day evening, as the fog rolls in

The same panorama the following morning, as sunlight melts the fog away

We also continued our construction work. With the electrical still on hold, Gail continued drywalling one side of each framed wall. This time around, she tackled the master bedroom closets.

Russell had intended to work outside with his wood chipper, but his agenda was soon superseded by Gail’s. Because of our high ceilings, we had framed the closets with a large interior space above each closet door. As Gail drywalled, she decided that this was wasted space. She asked Russell if he could reframe the closets with an additional door above the main door, to access the extra space.

The master bedroom closets, before and after drywalling

The reframing of the closets required several steps. First, we removed the electrical wiring from the vertical studs above the closet doors. Second, we removed the studs themselves, essentially creating another opening in the wall above the closet doors. Third, we installed a new set of horizontal joists at the top of the closet doors. This essentially lowered the ceiling of the closet, while creating a floor for the new space above.

The master bedroom closets, before and after installing the new shelf

It was a bit of work, but the closets were greatly improved. Gail also drywalled the master bedroom and half the hallway; Russell ultimately had some time to chip wood outside.

Russell constructs a frame of joists to lower the closet ceiling
Gail installs drywall at the end of the upstairs hallway

Our friend Dennis invited us to dinner with his family, and we spent New Year’s Day evening teaching our hosts how to play the “Settlers of Catan” board game. Overall, it was a relaxing yet productive trip – and a great way to ring in the New Year.

Oh, yes... the Soleus LX-100 portable air conditioner/heater, regularly $400 but on sale for $100


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