We Are Not 100% There Yet But We Are Working On It!
We had plans to make changes/improvements and we thought we could do everything in six months... A year later and things are still coming coming together.
We Have The Keys (May 10, 2021)
Sydney brought us the keys, we are now happy homeowners.
Cabinets (May 13, 2021)
The garage had several (eight) large cabinets but they were not in the proper spot to allow for me to have a shop so we had to remove them and store them outside on the driveway!
They were perfect but they had to be relocated.
I hired two gorillas to assist me (Zachary, Joe, and Paul)
We disassembled them and put them in the driveway.
Return Of The Cabinets (May 16 2021)
The closets were unwrapped in the driveway and moved back inside. Joe and Carrie came over and put them in place. We have storage!
They were remounted on the back way and hold oodles of goodies.
Bob Z and Joe worked hard getting everything in place!
Garage Floor Coating (May 14th 2021)
I always disliked concrete floors in a garage and wanted an epoxy coating that allowed the garage to be sprayed out. So we called the coating company and the next day, the garage was transformed.
Morning Fog was the answer!
The concrete was leveled and minor cracks filled.
The epoxy was applied and allowed to "dry" for two hours.
Sprinkled with fairy dust!
Complete; ready for the closets to come back inside.
Swim Spa (July 2021)
We decided to move Mary's Swim Spa from Bluebonnet To Valencia and that was quite a job; the neighbors had their fingers crossed that the living room would not get an unexpected swim spa delivered! We use it all the time.
Getting ready to receive the spa!
An optical conclusion, we hope!
Dangling mid air over the house; what, us worry??
We use the Swim Spa almost every day either in the morning early when we get up, usually by 6:00 AM or late at night before retiring.
Many problems of the world have been solved in these waters!
Attic Fans (July 2021)
Joe came over and he installed attic fans in the garage attic as well as the house attic. They are on a thermostat and turn on after the area reaches 90 degrees. It made a difference in the temperatures we saw in the house and the garage.
In the garage, Joe and Charlie installed a thermal barrier in addition to the fans and that also made a difference.
New Hot Water Heater/Instant-On/Soft Water System (June 8, 2021)
The original was an original, it was thirty years old and on its last legs. We went with the new Noritz tank less unit with enough capacity to run two showers, the dishwasher and the washing machine at the same time. While we were at it, we put in a soft-water machine and also made the kitchen instant-on; we get hot water 2-3 seconds after turning on the hot water; it used to take a few minutes!
Rain Gutters (TBD 2021)
There were no rain gutters on the house and the first time it rained we decided they were needed. We had gutters all the way around the house and on the She and He Sheds!
How Much Stuff Do You Have Mary? The She-Shed (July 2021)
After being our homes for three decades, putting everything together was a challenge. So, we added a second shed in the back yard since we have so much room. The She-Shed came in July and it was immediately filled to the brim!
We had plenty of room!
We named them He-Shed and She-Shed!
One day and it was up and ready to use! Mary's needed a concrete foundation because of the expected weight!
Will it fit???
They looked quite nice with their little signs.
The sheds hold a lot of "stuff" and are now adjacent to the new vegetable garden!
We Fly Them High; Mary Flew Flags On Her Front Porch (September 2021)
We had to show the colors so with assistance from Colleen, we have a 40' flag pole and with the assistance from Joe and Alexa, the flags are lit every night at dusk.
We have a flag for almost every holiday and occasion because the flags can be switched out in about five minutes.
Flying the U.S. Army Flag!
Happy Easter to all!
OMG, Cars In The Garage? (October 2021)
In our previous homes, we had to walk sideways to get into the cars. In the new home, after some unpacking and arranging, we got both cars in and we can both get into the cars WITHOUT doing acrobatics.
Side by side!
There is plenty of room for a full shop with the cars in place.
Coming home from a dance!
We put in laser guidance systems!
Shower Doors Replaced (October 2021)
The house was a "flipper" and they installed inexpensive shower doors so we got the local glass store to come out and replace them with the latest thing, barn-door shower doors. These puppies roll so smoothly and the wheels are four inches in diameter, they will not wear out in out lifetime.
Fireplace ( October 24, 2021)
The fireplace was a mess so we have a mason come in and fix the fireplace with decorative stone. We hand picked the stone which was trucked in from Idaho!
The stone was fit together like a puzzle.
It looked pretty classy when it was done.
The gas logs are amazing; the temperature of the logs are about 750 Fahrenheit.
Drip System(s) October 2021
Our yard is 110' deep by 90' wide meaning we have almost 10,000 square feel of backyard. Mary was watering everything and it took about two hours.
She suggested a drip system so we now have four Hunter Professional controllers, three in the back yard and one in the front. It is smart and tied to the Internet so it will stop watering if it rains, increase the watering time of the temperature remains over 85 degrees, and we have complete control via the iPhone.
Another excellent idea thanks to Dr. Mary.
New Fruit Trees (November 23rd 2021)
This was an experience. We bought an orange and avocado tree complete with insurance. They were planted in the back yard and they soon died! We had them replaced and again, they died!
We called the nursery and said, "Let's try again but let's move them to the front yard!" We got the third set planted and they are doing well!
A planting we will go!
Mary inspects the front yard!
Electrical (March 24th-26th, 2022)
The house was built in 1975 when electronics were unknown! We had no wall sockets in one bathroom and only two outlets in another. We needed power run to the He-Shed and She-Shed plus power for parties in the South-40.
We had five electricians here for two days adding circuits, replacing the main power panel with a 240 A box, and many other minor things like GFIs everywhere, motion sensitive lights in the two major hallways, lighting in the attic, and weatherproof boxes for the Christmas decorations, lights in two closets, and added plugs around the periphery of the house.
They showed up in force and stayed three days!
The garage has its own sub-panel!
We wired up the two sheds with plugs and lighting.
The old box was a Zinsco that needed to be replaced!
The new box was set up for solar and it had a lot more room for circuits.
We had the guys put a sub-panel in the garage and in the back yard so we could add more circuitry when needed.
Fire Pit! (June 1st 2022)
We had a great fire pit but it was not gas; it needed wood! Not a great idea around a pool. So we gassed it! The cost to under the concrete was excessive so we decided to run a flex line above the ground and put a professional cable guard over the line. It works fine and saved about $3,500 dollars.
Before! I dug the lava rocks out by hand and learned a lesson, use gloves!
Success! This puppy throws off a lot of heat!
Morning and night!
The kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids are drawn to the fire like moths to a light. It is fun to watch.
Insulation (August 2022)
The house had the original R-13 insulation which was flatter than a pancake. We had the attic emptied of all manner of items including old wiring from a Honeywell alarm system dating back 30 years. We blew in 5,000 cubic feet of R-38 insulation, pretty in pink!
We noticed the difference as the house stays at 76-78 degrees while the attic goes into the 100s!
24" thick gives an R-38 rating.
Vegetable Garden (Start May 2022 - November 2022)
Mary and I love to garden and vegetables are on the-top of the list so we started construction in May of 2022 and it may complete at the end of September!
We got started on the 20th of May!
We are only using about 25% of the grass area or 12 1/2% of the yard!
Inspecting the progress in August 2022
Workshop (June 18, 2021)
I always wanted a workshop but in the previous two home I lived in the garages were double and small! Finally Casa Valencia has a full three car garage without the roof line interfering with everything.
Joe mounts the wall cabinets!
...and we have several closets containing parts/wires/hardware!
Mirrored Closet Doors (January 2022)
All the big closet doors in the house were solid wood, we change that to floor-to-ceiling mirrors! We changed 14 doors from wood to mirrors and it made a fantastic difference.
This is going to be the office; the doors are twelve feet wide!
The room looks twice as big now!
Mary Has A New Heating System In The Master Bathroom
The master bathroom is quite large and often a little cool when stepping out of the shower. Also, the mirrors would fog over!We solved this by putting in a ceiling header/fan/lighting unit. With 1500 W of heating and 150 CFM of air removal, the bathroom is quite pleasant even with two shower heads going.
Whole House Fan
Joe and Zachary with the help of Colleen installed this fan in about three hours. Since we installed the insulation we learned that it also keeps the heat in as well as out so a whole house fan was the answer.
Now, with the flick of a switch, we can exchange the air in the house in four minutes flat ans the bedrooms are super cool at night!
When it is on, it blows the leaves off the neighbors lawn!
Slide Out Drawers
We had plenty of space but the drawers were depp and it made for a lot of work to get to goodies in the back. Solution, slide out drawers!
They showed up and measured!
Colleen emptied everything!
The formal dining room was the staging area!
We spent a day and a half moving things back inside.
Done and it is WONDERFUL!!!
Small But Significant Changes We Have Made
- Security System - We have twelve security cameras located around the property all tied to our on-line system - we see all and record all!
- Patio Lights - We have lights added to the patios in the back of the house as well as the gazebo and swim spa; all controlled via Alexa.
- Roll Out Screen Door - Our family room connected to the patio with a fifteen foot folding door meaning we have a great view. But the little bugs used to be able to come inside. Now we have a roll-up screen door which we open and the bugs (including Scout) have to stay outside.
- Security Screen - Our front door faces the street and the street does have some traffic. We wanted to keep the door open and let the breeze move air across the living and family rooms. We got a security screen which is impervious to attack; a bulldozer might get through but its multiple locking devices on three sides plus the steel frame put onto the house with 6" lag bolts will keep intruders from intruding.
- Flower Garden - There were some plants but kind of non-descript. Mary used her artistic abilities and we put in a new flower garden which the neighbors all commented on.