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July 6, 2014 / aaronmarkson

Finished Attic

Confession – I finished off our attic space 11 months ago. In that time, my wife and I welcomed our daughter, June to the world. She’s awesome (in case you were wondering). Anyways, I guess it’s time to toss some pics of the finished space on here.

We found some pre-finished cherry hardwood flooring on clearance at a local hardwood floor distributor so I snatched it up, borrowed a flooring stapler from a friend and stapled it in place. Cherry is a little bit soft compared to some hardwoods, but since this is a bedroom that won’t get lots of foot traffic, it should hold up just fine and it looks really nice. Much better than in the pictures to be honest.

The trim is painted white to match the rest of the house, and the wall color is a light grey. We wanted to keep it as light as possible up there, but didn’t want white walls with white trim. I’m pleased with the color, and mostly pleased with the drywall job. After paint, there are always little imperfect spots that become more visible. I’m sure I notice them more than anyone else. Given all the angles, I still give myself an A-

The Dormer off the front of the house is much shorter than the rest, so I made it a large walk in closet to make the best use of that space. If I ever have more clothes than I can put in here, it’s time to get rid of some. The doorway leading into the closet is just over 6′, so a bit low, but that was as tall as I could make it.

The Bathroom is tucked in a fairly tight spot due to the roof line and layout. I was worried that it would feel cramped, but surprisingly it doesn’t. It would’t be great for anyone over 6’4″, but since I am 6′ with shoes on, and my wife is shorter by several inches, it works great for us. We used some penny tile on the floor and subway tile installed vertically in the shower. I put a window into the shower in addition to the glass shower door to let as much light as possible into the shower area since there wasn’t space to put a light in there.

We have enjoyed the new space very much for the last year. It is amazing how finishing that space off has made the whole house feel bigger.

Next up… Basement? Exterior? landscaping?

April 13, 2013 / aaronmarkson

Attic: Drywall Finished!

I have finished the drywall.  There was a lot of cutting, a lot of angles, and a lot of seams.  I took my time and am very happy with the results.  There are just one or two spots to touch up that were revealed after priming the drywall.  I also laid some plywood down over the old 1x subfloor. I glued it and screwed through both layers and into the joists. The floor is now squeek free and much more solid.  Here’s what it looks like currently.  Next up: Flooring!







April 10, 2013 / aaronmarkson

Attic Update

Although I haven’t posted anything on the blog for some time now, I have made some progress on my attic.  The summer of 2012 was insanely busy for me with the band I play in, so I didn’t do much work on the attic at all over the summer. My goal was to get the space insulated before the MN winter came. This meant that I had to finish up some framing, run all the electrical, and do all the plumbing before I could insulate.  It was a busy fall an early winter with pre-production and recording a new album with the band, but I managed to meet my goal.



I used Roxul insulation for the first time and was really happy with the results.  Before putting the insulation in, I put baffles in between each roof rafter to allow for an air gap between the insulation and roof decking. In addition to the Roxul, I installed foil face sheathing on the knee wall, angled walls and ceiling to meet insulation codes. The foil facing acts as a vapor barrier too when all the seams are sealed up.



After this was time to start hanging drywall. All of the angles made for a lot of cutting, and the rigid foam forced me to use longer drywall screws, but all in all it went up well. I didn’t take many pictures during these steps, but here’s one during the progress of hanging the drywall…excuse the mess.



I have actually completed hanging the drywall, and taping all the seams, and just put the first coat of primer on yesterday! It’s really starting to look like a room that can be used now.  I’ll be sure to take some pictures once I am done priming the new drywall. Now I need to figure out what kind of flooring to put in, and pick out tile for the bathroom. My goal is to have it all done by the end of July. While that seems totally do-able in many ways, It’s gonna be tight in terms of having the time and money to get it all done by then. It’s good to set goals though, right?

June 19, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Paver Path

After completing our patio, I decided to re-do our path from the side door to the driveway with pavers. The path used to slope towards the house, was really narrow, and in very poor shape, so something needed to be done.  I didn’t take pictures of the process since I did that on the patio, and there are tons of resources on this, but here’s what It looks like. I made it 4 ft wide and used a 1:1 running bond pattern with the pavers. Our back yard is finally becoming a place I want to hang out. Now I just need to get rid of a bunch of concrete and grass/dirt clumps.


June 11, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Kamado Grill/Smoker Table

I have been wanting to get a charcoal grill for some time now. We have an old propane grill that works ok, but I wanted something that was more versatile, and I like the fast of food prepared over charcoal rather than propane.  So, after a bunch of research online, I bought a Kamado style grill and smoker from lowes made by char griller. Most of this style cookers are all ceramic and cost a lot of money, but this one was insulated steel like an indoor oven, and much cheaper, so I decided to get it. This Grill had a couple of shelves and sat on a stand with wheels, but I had seen some others that have made or bought tables for these, so I decided to build one.  It looks great and gives me plenty of room for work space when grilling.  So far the Kamado is working out great as a grill, and I look forward to using it as a smoker soon.

May 11, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Paver Patio. DONE

The majority of the pavers took only an hour and half or so to lay…then I had to go around a couple of window wells.  That probably took another couple hours to set up a wet saw and make all the cuts. I am very happy with the overall look of this patio.  It’s a decent size, but not overkill for our small back yard. now I just need to get some grass to grow, which is one of my least favorite things to do.  I now need to buy or build some outdoor furniture.  This project inspired me to possibly re-do our path from the side door to the driveway in back using pavers.  I need to do something to it soon because along the house, the concrete is all cracked and sloping towards the house.  A big no no. Maybe at the end of the summer or early fall.  Here’s how the patio looks:


May 8, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Paver Patio: Preparations

I have been real busy with work and traveling with Farewell Milwaukee on a couple tours, so I haven’t done any work on the attic lately.  Living in Minnesota means long winters and short summers, although this year has been a bit of an exception, so I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and have turned my attention to some outdoor projects.  The first project is to install a paver patio next to the house.  Originally, there was a picnic table on a bed of rocks in the middle of the yard.  The picnic table was rotting and falling apart, so I took that apart and threw it in the dumpster when remodeling the main level of our house.  We then dug up all the rock, and plied it up to use under the pavers.  Then I marked  the area and dug out a space for the new patio. I transferred grass from the new patio area to the former  rock/picnic area.  Then I put the rock down, followed by a ton of class 5 gravel.  I graded this slightly away from the house to encourage water drainage away from the house and compacted it with a plate compactor I rented.


Once that was compacted and sloped the way I wanted it, I laid down some 1″ PVC and started shoveling into that area.  The pvc just acted as a guide to get the sand even and flat. Image

Once I got all the sand laid and flat, I ran the plate compactor over the sand to pack it as much as possible and get the area completely ready to lay the pavers.  It’s a pretty simple process, but did tire me out with all the shoveling and lifting. I think the harder part was to get the plate compactor in and out of my car by myself…not a smart thing to do.  If you rent one of those, make sure you have someone to help you lift it in and out of your car/truck.  Once this area was prepped, I immediately started placing pavers down.  I still have about 10 or so pavers to cut, but the rest of them went down in just a couple hours at most.  I am hoping to get the final pavers cut and installed later this week, and will post some final pictures once its done.


April 1, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Rain Barrels

Since it’s been nice out, we’ve turned our attention to a few outdoor projects we’d like to complete this summer.  I made a 3 barrel rain collection system to use to water what will be our vegetable gardens.  I made a video rather than taking pictures.  It was a simple and cheap project.  check it out.

March 24, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Pedalboard: Making Music

Most of my posts have been about our house, but I thought I’d share about another side of me…making music.  I play electric guitar in a band called Farewell Milwaukee, and have some “tools” that I use. Along with my guitars and my amp, I use some effects pedals to get the specific tones I want at different times.  I had made an awesome pedalboard out of an old suitcase that has served me well for a few years, but due to increased traveling, it has taken quite a beating, so I recently bought a heavy-duty travel worthy case with some birthday money, and built a new pedalboard to fit.  This is the band playing at First Avenue in Minneapolis:

The new pedalboard is pretty simple.  I used some maple that I had…measured & cut it. I put it together with some pocket holes/screws and wood glue.  I stained it with some leftover stain I had, and then cut a piece of plywood to fit, covered it with some automotive carpet so that velcro will stick to it. (the velcro is on the bottom of the pedals) I used small “L” brackets to attach the top to the frame. I mounted my power supply underneath with some brackets I made out of some aluminum, and run it to a jack on the side. this allows me to just plug in an extension cord, and the whole board is powered up.  All in all, I am happy with it. Hopefully it is more sturdy than the suitcase board.

March 12, 2012 / aaronmarkson

Wall Art

My wife has become an avid user of Pinterest and has found lots of ideas for things to do around the house.  She even has a section titled “things maybe my husband will make me”.  Some of these things will never actually be accomplished due to the time/cost/practicality involved, but some are projects that are very do-able.  This is one of those.  I can’t take credit for the creativity of this idea because someone else came up with it, but I am fairly satisfied with my version of it. Check it out:


It is a fairly simple project. Take some plywood…cut out some rectangles…draw out some silverware…cut them out with a jig saw…stain…seal…and hang.  We’ve been living in this house for 9 months now, and still hardly have anything on the walls, so it feels nice to have some decorations up.