Jobs Blog

Backyard deck and steps

About 6 weeks ago Carolyn called me about building a deck. I had a wait time and the price of lumber was going sky high so we bought the lumber right away and left it in piles until I was able to get to it.

I spent a week building. First I replaced the old stairs. I made them almost exactly the same except I added some posts for a railing.

Next I started on the deck. I worked my way away from the house in sections so that my customers could still access the backyward without climbing over framing. It is 12 feet wide by 25 feet long.

Lastly I added railings and steps.


I worked on a few different gates this week…

This one is for a daycare; I spent a fair bit of time with the customer designing with new, simple, and robust materials. (Of course with 2x4s going for $20+ each it doesn’t mean it comes cheap!)

Then I made a new one on the side of the house as well. This one did not have caster support like the previous ones, so it needed a crosspiece:

Then I installed a metal security gate for Shelley. She measured and ordered it and it is a great product from ULine. Luckily the wall studs were in a pretty good place so there wasn’t much modification needed. It folds up and swings out of the way into a small 6 inch bundle when not in use. (It is not for security, but for safety.)

Flatlay Countertop Re-do

Pomi asked me to re-do the kitchen countertops in her rental house as they looked terrible and she was listing it for sale. There were 2 layers of laminate and the second layer was peeling off (and was not done properly). The edges had fallen off too and one had been fixed with tape.

The problem was that she needed it done ASAP before a showing. So I checked with my supplier and there was only one 5×12 sheet available, a solid grey colour. So we went with that.

I also made splashes which finished it off nicely and add protection from future water damage in the sink area.

Office Partition with doors

Get Well Physiotherapy hired me to divide the office/reception in half. Basically they wanted a private space behind the reception area. (We experimented with one-way (mirror) window film but it didn’t work too well, so went with frosted film.)

I measured the space and made a drawing:

First I built a frame out of 2x4s:

Frame integrates with existing shelf and desk

Next I worked on the doors. I made them out of 1x4s and 2x4s.

Lastly I installed the doors with double swing hinges.

Finished partition

Small Kitchen Reno – move wall, retrofit cabinets, install countertops and tile

Hilary hired me to re-do part of her kitchen. To save space she wanted to remove a skinny, tall pantry and replace it with cabinets and countertop space. To do so, a wall had to move a little bit. New countertops and tile backsplash would finish it off.

Here are some ‘before’ pictures:

The old countertops were tile, which was overlaid over the original tops, which were “flatlay” (laminate), screwed to the cabinets from above.

First I moved the wall (kitchen entrance) – it was not a supporting wall so that made things easier. There was some floor patching and baseboard changes as well.

Next I cut the existing pantry in half and removed the bottom half for later.

Once I knew where the new wall was, I templated the countertops so that they could be ordered for cutting, and arranged for a plumber. I extended the old pantry cabinets and shortened them to kitchen cabinet height.

Once I had cabinets installed, I picked up the countertop and installed that as well. The customer was without a kitchen sink overnight.

Once the countertop was in, the plumber came and hooked up the new sink and tap. Then it was time to start tiling.

I always ask the customer to choose and purchase the tile and the grout. It usually takes me about 2 days to install and grout a kitchen backsplash. These were ceramic subway tiles with a raised wavy surface.

Here are some “after” pictures. The customer is going to do all the painting (yay!). – a bit on the wall, and she is also planning to paint the cabinets.

Overall, everything went pretty well and my customer is happy. It took me about 7 days (not all full days). The kitchen has a lot more useable space now and looks very nice.

Plant Shelves

Josephine hired me to build some custom shelves for her plants.

She showed me a picture to give me an idea of the style she wanted; then I built them from scratch to her specifications.

The first one is plywood and 1″ sticks:

The other two are built in a different style, with just slightly different sized shelves. They are made from 1″ stick frames and 3/8″ slats.

Here they are in their new home. I think the plants must be very happy now. 🙂

Custom vanity cabinet

A couple of years ago I made a vanity for Kate and Derik; they are renovating another bathroom in their house now, so asked for another cabinet. This one was smaller but in some ways more complex. The doors and drawer are flush mount to the front frame, and the corner posts are made out of real wood! Here are a few photos of the process.

The drawer is soft-close and not very deep to accommodate water lines. The doors are also soft-close. The doors were made out of one-piece routered 3/4 MDF. It took a fair bit of time to spray paint them. It is very difficult to make perfect, as the pearl-finish cabinet paint shows every single sanding mark when sprayed. However, I was pretty happy with the final product.

The final step was delivery. They had bought some handles which I put on when I arrived. The bathroom was not quite ready for the cabinet so it may be awhile before I see a picture of it in its new home!

Faux shiplap and shelves

Joan and Tom hired me to change a drywall step that was kind of awkward. I flattened out the step and put a long, flat shelf in. (The wall needed patching in a couple of places.) Then I made “faux” shiplap out of 1/4″ MDF. Tom painted everything and then I tacked it up on 2 walls. There are also some shelves: they are hollow inside so they can slide into the wall alcove without support brackets.

Another walk-in closet

I designed another walk in closet, this time for Joan and Tom. (They had wire shelves before, and took them out for me before I started)

I built and painted the cabinets and shelves in my shop in about 2 days, and spent a few hours installing.

Shelves are painted plywood with stainless steel rail.

I also tacked together a shoe rack which stays in the right corner.

Add Upper Laundry Cabinets with struts

I had added a cabinet some time ago for Sandee–it’s the one on the left. The doors were ordered with thermofoil and almost matched… she wanted some more put above for extra storage.

To save time and money, I asked if I could just make the doors myself and paint them this time – although it wouldn’t be a perfect match, once again. She was fine with that.

So I built the boxes, cut the edges of the doors on the tablesaw, and painted them with a roller like usual.

I also added gas struts to these, which was a little tricky to figure out, but it’s great because there is some lift/close assist for the heavy horizontal doors.