Monday, August 24, 2015

(Aug 23) IKEA Furniture & Microwave

Well, wasn't what we planned but it all worked out fine. We had thought that we'd plumb the cistern to the house this weekend but near 100° days discouraged us and we were easily distracted to put furniture together. We had been anxiously anticipating getting the IKEA PAX wardrobe put up so that we could start storing some clothes out here. It actually went together very smoothly. Once I figured out how to adjust the hinges on the doors, it looked very nice.

PAX Wardrobe mounted to wall

We were very happy to see that it had survived the last 6 months lying on our living room floor, pretending to be a napping platform for the cats. :)  We didn't find any scratches or dings as we put it together. Also glad to see it went together plumb and square. It fit nice and tight against the wall. We lined it up so that one of the studs matched up with one of the mounting brackets against the back of the wardrobe. We put a 1/2" toggle into the wall through the other corner bracket to secure it. 

We got the closet rod and the top shelf installed after a little struggle to figure out how the shelf pegs were to be oriented. Next was the light. The hardest part about this was dealing with the tiny screws that secured the mounting hardware to the underside of the shelf. We'll get some split loom to conceal the electric cord and drill a hole in the bottom corner of the cabinet to take it to the wall outlet. We had originally planned this unit against another wall. This was going to allow us to have an electric outlet mounted behind the unit. We could then have just cut an opening and plugged the unit in without having to run the cord to an exterior outlet. Oh well, I really like the placement and it's size helps define the living and kitchen areas as separate. 

The light has sensors that come on when the door is opened

Lots of room for now. We'll add a 2nd Elfa rack of drawers when we move in full time. 

 We set the shelf above the clothes rod at 9" tall. Plenty for our pillows. :)  Yes, IKEA had drawer units for the PAX series but we wanted to go with the Elfa drawers from The Container Store to match our kitchen sets. 2 of the wide drawer units fit nicely inside. For now, we'll use the other half of the interior to store our broom, mop and vacuum. They will eventually move to the other cabinet, that will also have a set of Elfa drawers as well as Kim's sewing cabinet, that will be built in the living area against the bathroom wall.

Where the ceiling and the wall meet, we're adding a cove trim. Luckily, we had a 1/2" to spare with this giant wardrobe! :o  It will be just enough room to mount a small block of wood to lock the top of the unit against the wall. I just don't want this to ever get pulled down on anyone, especially a small child or an adult acting like a small child.

Next, we turned our attention to putting the desk unit together. It was too wide for the bathroom wall that it was to go against so we trimmed about 3" off with the table saw. Luckily, there was about 4" of solid particle board in each end of the desk's top that was designed to secure the base of the legs to. We had layed it out in our heads that we would have the drawer unit act as a base on one side and have 2 legs mounted on the other but cutting the width was only going to leave about 18" for leg room in between. After playing with it, we decided that it was too little to sit there comfortable for any time and decided to turn the drawer unit so that it faced the opening towards the refrigerator. This freed up nearly a foot of foot room and was wide enough to completely do away with the legs. I secured the desktop to the drawer unit with some 2" wood screws and it was done! Simple and nice!

Desk, mounted on drawer unit, against bathroom wall

Desk with drawers closed

Desk with drawers pulled out into walk way

We left a little reveal at the front of the drawers and enough room on the back side to accommodate a trash can. Our kitchen trash can is now too tall to fit under our kitchen sink (because of the plumbing) so it will suffice for now until we find something that matches the desk. We also confirmed that the sliding bathroom door that will go behind the desk needs a 2 1/2" gap between the desk and the wall. This also means that the shelves we got for the wall behind the desk will have to be reallocated. One should mount nicely on the bar which will go against the left side of the desk where the dresser is now. We'll put a cork board or white board against the back of the bar and build a hutch over the iMac at the back of the desk to house the printer and any books and accessories we deem necessary. Our scanner tucks neatly under the body of our iMac into the base. We just pull it out, use it and slide it back into place.

Sunday, we decided to head to Greenville to offer our weekly sacrifice to Home Depot. They're starting to greet us there by name now. :) We found an over-stove microwave unit on clearance at 1/2 price. We had been looking at much cheaper units but this one was the right price and offered a nice exhaust fan that we had decided was a must after cooking for the past year in our Tiny House. Pastas, soups, stir-fry - anything that puts off lots of steam and heat, really builds up quickly if you don't have some way to exhaust it. The microwave also gives us a very efficient way to heat water and reheat food. Had really thought that we would do without a microwave because we didn't have a place for it but combining it with the vent-a-hood served 2 needs.

We talked with the HD guys who recommended getting a cabinet to house the exhaust pipes that we'll take out the south wall. We really weren't happy with our choices available since the ceiling is only 8' against the kitchen wall. Funny how all houses had 8' ceilings or lower when we were growing up. Now, it seems like a major limitation when you're looking for appliances and cabinets! Kim and I wandered around the store and decided to build our own support bracket to suspend the microwave/vent-a-hood over the stove, paint the exhaust pipes and leave them exposed. After an hour of standing in the isles contorting with various lengths of steel, we finally came up with a plan we both liked. After some more planning, measuring and cutting at the house, here's what we ended up with.

Microwave bracket continues the occasional industrial look used in the kitchen and bathroom

The hardest part of the assembly was getting some good anchors into studs, thus the frame extends wide of the bracket on both sides at the top. Once the top was secured, we added toggle bolts to the verticals and the back brace. The IKEA PAX unit offered a lending hand that was too convenient to turn down. We cut some pine 1x4 as a brace inside and drilled some holes for toggle bolts to secure a run of steel as a shelf on the right wall. I still love our metal saw. It made quick work of chopping this stuff up into needed lengths. I used a cutoff saw to trim off the corners for the support straps.

We ended up eating into the wall outlet space a little to get the unit as low as we could to accommodate Kim's being vertically challenged. (Again, planning would have prevented these challenges by supplying outlets behind the microwave and the oven - but what's the fun in that!) The stove underneath the unit will sit out proud of the microwave by more than 6". She may still end up with a step stool or just call me when there's something heavy and hot to pull out of the microwave. :) I think we will probably modify the kitchen window framing also. May play around with some ideas in steel. I think we could make it work. I just want to make sure we can clean it good and that it won't be subject to rusting. We'll have to put some thought into it. The PAX unit will get a lining of stainless steel or tile on the side, haven't decided which yet, as a shield against the stove.

The unit should match our stove/oven perfectly as it is also Chrome and black. Next week's challenge will include cutting the hole in the wall to take a vent pipe up and out at 90°.  We decided this would be much easier than taking it through the ceiling. Since we put the rafters at 12" on center, there was a much higher likelihood that we would hit one of those in comparison to the wall studs at 24" centers.

Through all of this, our generator had a problem arise. Saturday's tank of gas lasted just over 17 hours. Can I tell you how happy I've been with this Briggs and Stratton generator! Not bad for 4.5 gallons of gas on a 3500+ watt unit. It's been running 24 hours/day every weekend for the last 2 1/2 years and still starts on the 1st pull. :)  Anyway, Saturday night rolled around and the generator shut off. I couldn't imagine it was out of gas since I had filled it up 6 hours earlier. It was cool enough in the house that we decided to go to bed and investigate it in the morning.

The next day, I did indeed find it out of gas. I filled it back up and found the problem. Fuel was leaking out of the back of the carburetor. I shut off the gas line and found the float bowl had something rubbing up against it and had worn a hole through it. I found a bolt laying in the grass next to the generator and suspected the two were related. We picked up some high-temp gasket material when at HD and I cut a patch out of a Dr Pepper can. I let is set up an hour and started to put it all back together when I found the culprit that had done the damage. The bolt I found had been holding on a corner of the shroud that housed the pull-start flywheel. With the bolt out, the sheet metal had been vibrating/rubbing against the float bowl and had eventually worn through. I'm just glad the generator didn't catch fire with all of the gas leaking the night before. Bad enough that I've got a 2 foot circle of dirt that I'll have to treat as a Hazmat site and try to remove. Good news is that everything went back together smoothly and it started right up, with a fresh air filter that I had neglected to change in the past 2 years. :) Hopefully, we've still got years of service out of this unit. Next week, I'll take the time to go through and tighten all of the exposed screws and bolts just to make sure.

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