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Friday, March 6, 2015


I didn't exactly stick to my Hallway plan, but I am still quite satisfied with the way it is turning out.  Shortly after:
  • Adding the backsplash (Kitchen)
  • Installing in ceiling speakers (Family Room & Kitchen & Dining Room)
  • Painting the ceiling (Family Room & Kitchen)
  • Adding crown molding (Family Room & Kitchen)
... I started on installing crown molding in the Hallway.  This space was already painted when I built up the wainscoting, so thankfully there wasn't any painting there to do first.  As for the crown pattern, I decided to keep it the same as was done in our Sitting Room, where I had built up the coffered ceiling.

This build up consists of 4 pieces...

Monday, March 2, 2015
Crown & Surround

Crown & Surround

Not shortly after we (mostly) finished the backsplash, our order of crown molding showed up.  But before I talk about that, let me first step back and talk about whole home audio.

We had rejected the idea & cost of our Low-Level Voltage installation consultation.  If we had gone the route of requesting them to install things like speakers, cabling, etc it would have jacked up the price of our home tremendously.  It wasn't until I visited a friend's home that did have in-ceiling speakers installed that I started to see how nice that feature really is.  I got envious ;)

How does one install in-ceiling speakers after the fact?  The answer is... crown!

Much like I had done in the Sitting Room, where I was able to run wire from one place to another to wire-up recessed LED lights, I was able to use the same technique to run 14 gauge wire from the Dining Room, the Kitchen, and the Family Room to the basement, then hide it all using crown molding.

In total, I installed 8 ceiling speakers across 3 zones.  Four speakers in the main zone (Family Room), two speakers in second zone (Kitchen), and two speakers in the third zone (Dining Room).  All of these wires travel down the outside corner of the bulkhead to a hole I punched in the wall near the fireplace.

Wiring from the Dining Room was a challenge.  I was able to fish the wires over the HVAC inside the bulkhead to come out into the Kitchen.

The fireplace is just to the right and down.  To the left is my office.

We painted the ceilings a light gray to compliment the dark gray walls.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of the crown.  I will upload those later.

Updated: photo at the top.

A note about home audio... generally I see most home audio controlled zones using a remote, or IR transmitters and receivers.  I can't say this is a favorable option, especially since many audio receivers are now network ready.  Rather than keep track of a remote you rarely use, it is better to just download an app to your android, or iOS and control your audio that way.  Between tablets and phones, any of us in our household can queue up music, and specify where they want to listen to it.




Previously I talked about how I was able to raise the cabinets.  This was a double benefit:
  1. More counter top space
  2. Not perfectly fits 1 full sheet of tile
Having a little cabin fever with the recent snow, we decided to get out to lowes and look at grout colors. We ended up with two grout colors, anthracite (black) and a silver.  We chose two (non-sanded, because we were putting up glass tile) because they really didn't have the color of gray we were looking for.  Not sure if this is common, but we did notice that to color ended up drying lighter than the color ratio we mixed it with.  Perhaps this is due to the water added making it look darker?

Putting up this mesh-back tile was really easy!

Our fridge doesn't exactly fit in the space, so tiling a five square perimeter makes it look a lot better.

We agreed that facing the light switches with white face plates was a bad idea.  On the other hand, getting the faceplate pictured, took forever.  We think they make them special order, but that is a guess.  They are expensive though, which kinda sucks, but in the end I think the look is worth it.

 Still more to do, will discuss in the next post.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Working on the downstairs actually started with a desire to improve the cabinets... but that plan was deferred.  Several months back, I purchased some crown molding for the cabinets, and even black splash tile.  But the more I put thought into it, the more I realized I wanted to go the extra distance and add cabinet lighting.

I ordered LED cabinet lighting from an online source, which told me I needed to include a Magnetic Low-Voltage (MLV) transformer.  I received the lights alright, but no transformer.  Turns out, it was back ordered forever. Months later, after Christmas, I found the transformer on another site and low-and-behold, they had it in stock!  In the mean time, though, I did all the other stuff I already talked about.

Well bored, and needing a project, I picked back up the cabinet effort.  Here are my objectives:
  • Raise the cabinets about and 1 1/2" (Done)
  • Trim with bead molding (Partly Done)
  • Trim with cove crown molding (Partly Done)
  • Over cabinet lighting (To do)
  • Under cabinet lighting (To do)
  • Redo outlets and switches with Adorne Collection (To do)
  • Backsplash (To do)
I was successful in raising the cabinets.  In fact the subtle 1.5" added height is a profound difference.  It's like they can breath now.  Super happy with the result, plus, the new height perfectly fits a sheet of the mosaic tile we picked out.

With the bead molding.  I decided I would trim entirely around the whole cabinet.  That means across the full edge of the top, down the side next to the microwave, and across the bottom.  The one thing that bothered me originally was the sides of the cabinet face actually protrude past the side panel about 1/4".  I saw where our neighbors builder just bent the bead trim inward, which looks half-assed.  Our other neighbors had a piece of filler inserted in this space (which maybe that is the norm).  Not liking any of these options, I decided to miter cut the small peices and trim around the whole profile.  Wow!  The result is subtle, but looks sophisticated and amazing!

A starter Hardywood collection

Ran out of bead trim at the bottom left, more on order.

Here is where we once kept our coffee maker.  Less than two years you can see the damage.  But fortunately it will get covered up with bead molding.

Nicely mitered corner to run down the edge, adds another nice line to follow.

You can see the back splash tile we are going to use.  Might add 4" beaten copper decoratives to break it up.

Nice shot (slightly outta focus though) or the way I trimmed around the edge.

Excuse the mess, we were cooking. :)

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