DIY… home office – the current situation (a.k.a. years later)

I think it is getting closer to being done.  My buddy came up and helped me finish up the drop ceiling.  Started out thinking about using canned lights but switched to some LED lights, maybe I will do a separate post on that.

The floor is the first thing I need to finalize.  I think I bit off more than I can chew from the beginning.  Should have probably just went with some more carpet but of course….. I want to do hardwood.  After finding out the floor was insanely not level and just a complete mess we got that fixed up with a while bunch of self leveling concrete.  Also added a layer of DriCore flooring.  My plan was just to level it off to the closet door and main door and figure something out from there.


Now I’m to that point.  I have decided to use stair nose as a “threshold.”  Obviously not going to be easy but hey “Go BIG or go home!”  I’m trying to figure out the logistics of cutting the stair nose to make things work.  Basically the “nose” will be on the inside of the closet and on the outside of the office in the hallway.  So I need to figure out how to notch the wood cleanly.  Unfortunately I don’t have the plethora of tools that I could probably use.  I think I am going to call in a favor or two on this one.

stairnose1Need to cleanly cut where the red line is and not make it look like I did it with a butterknife

Once I get that done I will pretty much use that to “lock” the floating floor in and be done with that project.  I will have to do some monkeying around for some of the little pieces I will have to custom make in order to finish it.  I have a ton of scrap and I can play with that and goof up several times before the “final.”

Unfortunately with the stair nose I am limited.  I ordered my flooring from Lumber Liquidators years ago and they no longer have that flooring available and they had to look all over the US to get the two pieces I was able to get.

Then will come the closet door and office door.  Both I think I am going to have to call some favors in on too.  NEVER EVER done anything like those before but I am definitely willing to learn.  I can always do a lot of DIY, HGTV and YouTube watching.

Unsure what I will do for doors.  I do like the look of knotty pine, but I think that might be mixing too many different types of wood.  For sure I will be using solid core.  I want to get rid of the hollow cores entirely in the house.

So we shall see.

This has always been my big focal point of the room and I actually had plans from Day 1 on what to do with it.  I love the look of rough cedar so thats what I covered the wall with.


I really enjoyed picking out the wood for this wall.  I think cedar has a lot of “personality” and uniqueness and it shows pretty easily.  I did not want it to look anywhere near perfect.   I like the the little imperfections, wrong spacing, etc….  The one thing I wish I would have done was painted the wall black first and then started placing the wood on it.  Oh well….. live and learn.

The focal point of this wall will be a large map of the ocean floors that my friend Tim bought me as a house warming gift back when I moved in.  I loved the look of the map and was just waiting for the right place for it and this wall is it!


I definitely do need to come up with something frame wise for the map.  It just won’t look right by itself.  More to come on this…

My plan is to also surround the map by some of my own photography including places I have been around the United States, some other odds and ends and most likely all of the passes I have from my travels to different conventions over the years.  I know for sure I will have a picture I took of the Stanley Hotel in Colorado somewhere on that wall.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a bit of a nerd and darn proud of it.

  • I have collected comics since I was a young child, my brother got me into them when I was really little.
  • Have a large collection of toys (Star Wars, POP Vinyl, McFarlane, etc)
  • LEGOs (Love ’em)
  • Prints that I have collected at various conventions I have attended (still need to get my grail, a print by Ramos)

So far I have started one wall, the wall I will eventually have my computer desk against.  Started with 3 baseball bat display cases from Michaels’ to show off some of my favorite POP Vinyl’s and some other collectibles I will be taking out of storage eventually.


I also put up some prints up that I have picked up along the way.  Two of my favorites from UrbnPop of Godzilla and Groot.  I ran out of frames for the other half of the wall but have them on order so I can finish off that wall in its entirety.


I wanted something unique for the window treatment.  I didn’t want just a plain old curtain rod.  I wanted something unique so the wife and I did a little looking on good ‘ole Pinterest and came across several pins of people using black pipe for a curtain rod.

A) It’s strong

B) It’s unique looking

C) It’s cheaper then a chintzy curtain rod

So we made the measurements and headed off to Home Depot to have the pipe cut.  Absolutely love the final product.  Sure it was a pain in the butt to get the curtain on but it sure as heck looks cool.



  • I’ve been working on a handmade computer desk for a while.  Still need to make the leg structure and most likely some sort of structure underneath to store things like a scanner and printer.
  • Since I have a back injury I think I am going to look into getting some sort of convertible addition to the desk so I can stand when I need to.  Unfortunately those aren’t the cheapest things on the planet
  • I will need to either purchase or DIY some sort of multi monitor stand.  I currently use four monitors at work and would like to have at least two if not more at home.  Since I do photo editing multiple monitors always help.
  • Need to make some sort of work desk on the opposite wall.  I want to start getting back into drawing and doing some other customization stuff.  Need a good place to work on that kind of thing.  Plus I want a place where I can build LEGOs when my kids are of age.
  • Looking for some sort of storage for my cameras and all the gear that goes along with that.  I have an old plastic Stanley work cabinet that would work awesome as a base of a work desk and has a ton of room but I would need another one and can not find them anymore.  The one I have is probably 10+ years old.
  • Trying to figure out a way to display some of my comic books.  I don’t have any holy grails worth millions so its not for anything like that but I love the artistry in comics and would love to be able to display some of my favorites.

So as you can see, I have my work cut out for me but I love doing this stuff and as long as my wife is patient with me I will get it done ONE DAY!!

At the end of the day I can also say “I DID THIS”…… It gives me and my wife things to do together that we both enjoy…. so its a win win!

Latest project: DIY PVC dog cage for our Avalanche

We had a little incident last year with our dogs, baby gates and a 1 year old all crammed in the back seat of our Avalanche.  Our Husky, Nanook, jumped over my left shoulder and into my lap while we driving.  I also had some incidents with both dogs when I would take them to the vet or the groomer.  Luckily nothing major ever happened but the dogs couldn’t go with us until we came up with a solution.

We couldnt simply put them in the back of the truck.  Our Shepard, Kona, already jumped out of the window of a moving car.

Complete spaz dogs.  Sure we could have just got different dogs but I come from a background of dogs not being a possession but a member of the family.

After a whole bunch of online searching I came across a couple guys in Hawaii, worried about their dogs jumping out of their trucks. Both decided to use PVC to create an enclosure in their trucks.

…Of course this got me thinking!!

With only mental plans we headed to Home Depot and picked up some supplies.


  • 8 90s
  • 45 Ts
  • 15 Xs
  • About 50 feet of 1 inch PVC
DSC_2692The first mock up was just a simple “does it fit”

I wanted it to fit in tight and not need too much for attaching it in the bed of the truck.  I figured if worse came to worse I could attach to the tie downs.


The back end of it fits in very tight.  The front fits in pretty snug up under the plastic by the back window.  I would honestly feel comfortable not tying it down, but I do use a couple of longer thicker zip ties to tie it down in the back.

We used Kona to check the initial setup.  If any dog is going to get out of something it will be her.  Sure enough, she could stick her head and pretty much her body through the top and bottom tubes.

Since I bought a whole bunch of extra pieces, just in case, it was easy to do some cuts, add a couple Ts and Xs, throw in some pipes to make the back and sides a little more “escape proof”.

DSC_3859The back corners are wide enough for the dogs to stick their noses out.

Without having any sort of written plan the bars on top were a measurement-figuring-out nightmare!  I had to play around with several different idea before I actually made any cuts.


Eventually I figured everything out, made the cuts and put it together.




Test Run #1

As suspected Nanook either paced or found a corner to sit in and enjoy the ride. Kona, on the other hand, found every way possible to get her head up and out of the cage.  About a mile away from home she figure out how to get her entire body out, stand on her hind legs and look over the truck.  You should have seen the looks on the faces of oncoming traffic.

After some more brainstorming I decided I had two options.  One, add more crossbars or Two, add some netting.  I had purchased some pet friendly patio door screen but decided that would be a royal pain to cut and fit into the contraption.  Headed back to Home Depot and swapped the screen for some PVC netting and a couple of bags of zip ties.

DSC_3938Rachelle jumped in to help attach the netting and clip the 100+ zip ties.

Test Run #2

DSC_3957The netting actually provides a little bit of shading.

This time things went much better……. sort of.  The netting kept both of the dogs in until we were once again close to home.  I hadn’t put any netting on the front, near the back window.  Figured neither of them would try to get out.  Boy was I wrong!  Kona once again snaked her body out, stood on her hind legs and looked over the top of the truck.

Luckily I had a bunch of the netting left over and tied some on to the front.

Test Run #3


Complete success.  Kona has not found any way to get out of the enclosure.

It is light enough where either Rachelle or myself can put it in the back of the truck. The dogs have gone to the dog park without incident a couple times since building the enclosure.

Now I just have to figure out some sort of step so the dogs can easily get into the back of the truck.  They have no issues jumping off the tailgate but we have to pick them up since the tailgate is just a bit too high for them to jump.

Nest thermostat update

We have now been running the Nest for a little over a month and I have to say it is awesome!  Easy to use.  No issues.  The web interface and phone app actually work.  Adding IFTTT to it adds some nice tracking features.

One of the things I really like is how it shows how much energy was used, we can now review it from time to time and if we feel that too much is used we can easily adjust.



I would definitely recommend picking one of these up.  Sure the initial investment is a bit high, but it is well worth it!


New thermostat

We have had a Honeywell programmable thermostat for the past couple of years.  Got a deal on it but it is for Commercial and not Residential.  Kind of a pain to make quick changes or programming changes on.



I’ve been reading about the Nest thermostat for quite some time.  Reviews, install notes, anything I could find.  Finally found an article on a newsletter I get that made the decision for me, decided to use some of our home improvement funds and pick one up.

Having swapped out the thermostat a couple times in the past the install went pretty quickly for me.

Removed the Honeywell from the wall, which was easy since I knew I was going to make a change one day and used Command Strips to mount it.  Labelled the wires using the Nest supplied labels.  Figured it would be good to label just in case I got interrupted by the little man.


After removing the wires from the Honeywell, it was a quick swap into the Nest.


Its nice that the Nest comes with a level built in and the wires are quick connect, no need for a small screwdriver.  They do supply one though.

The thermostat immediately went into an update / reboot cycle.  I got interrupted by the little man during this, I know it rebooted twice.



After the reboot cycle the setup was insanely easy!

  • Setup the wifi connection.  Select a broadcast SSID or enter one, throw the password in, done deal!
  • Go through a few questions about your system.  Including what type of fuel is used, what type of heating, your location (by zip code), what kind of dwelling and where the thermostat is located in the home.

It probably took my a total of 30 minutes to get it setup from start to finish, including the updates.  Much easier to use as it is just like a good old dial thermostat.


After everything was setup I went ahead and set up an online account and registered the thermostat.  The web interface along with the ability to control it via an Android app give you plenty of options on setting the thermostat.

Now to let it learn and see what happens next.