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Re-Zoned

January 05, 2015   //  Posted in: DIY   //  By: Emily   //  6 responses
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If you’re like “single me,” you probably haven’t paid very much attention to your home’s heating zones – you just layered on a sweater, and figured it reason enough to buy some awesome sherpa-lined booties. And then the tables turn. You marry someone who insists on being comfortable in a basic tee in his own home any month of the year, hates all sweaters, and you find yourself giving in to a home that feels like a summer day. In January. Bare feet.

Your thermostat might also be riddled with fingerprints, because, well, jam hands.

New location for the thermostat in the hallway.

There are underlying issues with the way this home’s heating zones were set up, not just my husband’s distaste for wool. The intention of two heating zones, one would assume, would be to control the temperature in two very separate spaces of the home. But in our case, the two thermostats were positioned just 11 feet from one another, in our open concept-type living and dining room space. Curious, right?

We consulted with a few people on the matter, determining that one thermostat was installed to regulate the living room temperature, which could more easily fluctuate with the use of the fireplace (that we don’t currently use). The other, located in the dining room, was used to control the heat to the rest of the entire house. That zone that supposedly controls the entire house had been installed in a corner of in the room that–while not directly above a heat source–was not in a location influenced by air currents, in a nook without a lot of air movement where it seemed that warm air might concentrate. Basically speaking, the dining room heats itself up, and then kicks the furnace back off (pretty quickly too, it’s just ~10’x12′ and influenced by heat coming from the kitchen and from the moderate living room thermostat temperature). It never stayed “heating” for long enough for the three bedrooms and hallway also under its reign to benefit. And thus, the bedrooms always seemed cold, usually 6-10-degrees cooler than our main living spaces, and even cooler if we were measuring nearby the windows which are old, and though not completely inefficient, not entirely draft-free.

The solution here wasn’t to keep the temperature higher (having an 78-degree living room just to get the bedrooms up to a comfortable 70 degrees is… stupid), but relocating one of the thermostats (the one from the dining room that controls the whole house) to a new location where the air from the bedrooms will be a primary influence of the on-status of the furnace. You guys. High-five.

We moved it from the dining room, down to the very end of the hall outside both of our girls’ bedroom doors, and the difference is incredible. The bedrooms are warm, and thanks to the living room thermostat still providing a read of the temperature in the dining and living room open space, we haven’t felt any difference in the rest of the house. I like to think it’ll be efficient too, not having to spike the thermostat to get the bedrooms warm before bedtime, but to let the house simmer at a consistent temperature.

It’s easy to relocate your thermostat if you’re in a similar situation (ranch house, two zones, no need to be digging through first floor ceilings to reach a second story zone). You’ll probably need to buy a length of thermostat wire assuming that you’re going to be moving the unit more than a few feet, and also assuming that you don’t have a lot of slack, but the rest of the tools–the cordless drill, drill bits, string–you probably already have around the house. We spliced the new wire right to the short old wire, because it’s low-voltage and a simple solution in this case.

Be wise and move your thermostat temporarily for a few days at first by removing it from the wall and unwiring it from its current location. From below (take a trip to the basement) you’ll want to run the new thermostat wire from the zone control valve to the floor boards beneath the new location – just make sure that the new location isn’t directly above a heat source, which will skew your read.

Remove the piece of floor trim below where your new thermostat is going to be installed. Use a 5/8″ drill bit and–at the point where the base of the drywall and the floorboards intersect so it will be hidden when you replace the trim–bore a hole downwards into the basement. Have a friend standing below to help pinpoint where you drilled, or else tie something small, like a bead, to a string, and lower it through the hole so you can find it when you go looking. Upwards through this hole, thread the new thermostat wire. Leave the floor trim uninstalled for now, but connect the thermostat and hang it on the wall at your preferred height (mine is at ~4’10”). Kick on the heat, see if the rooms are improved with the thermostat in the new location, and see if any previously comfortable rooms became noticeably too warm or cool. Find balance both day and night.

Relocating ours made a difference immediately; instead of the thermostat heating only our dining room and shutting off before the room produced enough heat to circulate into the bedroom hallway, it measures the temperature of the air at the end of the hallway, which is more influenced by the bedroom temperatures. Being able to control the temperature around our kids bedrooms is the best part about it; comfort is key.

To make the relocation permanent, remove the thermostat from its temporary placement, and unwire it. Drill through your drywall using the 5/8″ bit. Directly below that hole, at baseboard level right where you already have the wire emerging from the basement, do the same. The wire will need to come up from the basement, enter the wall between the studs, and then travel straight upwards behind the drywall to the new thermostat location.

How to relocate a thermostat, stat.

The trick to navigating the wire running up from the basement up through that hole, is to source a piece of strong string, and tie something small to the end – a tiny hex nut worked for us, glinting metal is easier to see if you’re shining light at it. Put the end of the string with the object down through the top hole in the wall, holding onto the end. As the thread makes its way downward through the wall, kneel and look through the hole for the metal object. Be ready to snag it with anything you can find–pinkie finger, needle nose pliers, an unfurled paperclip–and pull it out from behind the drywall.

How to relocate a thermostat, stat.

The string should still be visible going in at the top of the wall, so that when you tie the thermostat wire to the string, you can wrap the wire and string together, and pull the string out again and draw the wire up the same path.

thermostat_relocating_3

Couldn’t be easier, unless you choose a wimpy string and have to do it 2 or 3 times. Choose something heavier than embroidery thread, people.

Once the thermostat is hooked back up, reinstall it on the wall over the hole you made. Put the trim back along the floorboards, and consider the move a success.

New location for the thermostat in the hallway.

 

Hope you guys had a great holiday season. Happy New Year!

That Time I Visited The HGTV Dream Home

December 29, 2014   //  Posted in: Supporting Sponsors   //  By: Emily   //  5 responses
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That time? You guys, whoa. Thanks to Delta Faucet for inviting me to come along with you for this ride.

In the world of sweepstakes, the HGTV Dream Home giveaway is a big one–the biggest on cable television. In the world of my life, touring the HGTV Dream Home was a significant notch on the timeline, marking somewhere in between getting married and retiring.

The sweepstakes kicked off this morning, and it ends on February 17th. You can enter twice daily – once on HGTV.com and once on frontdoor.com.

Visiting the HGTV Dream House in Martha's Vineyard.

Martha’s Vineyard is obviously a lot different in the summertime when it’s lined with hydrangeas and buzzing with tourists and its summer residents, but the charm wasn’t lost when we were given a full tour of the island on a cloudy December day. Coastal towns are always beautiful. The Cape itself is gorgeous (we stayed at the charming Woods Hole Inn, on the mainland right next to the ferry). Martha’s Vineyard is especially un-commercialized, so it’s really like a great escape this day in age. The architecture has long been a favorite, and I had never been to the island, so it was a fun and inspiring few days.

With the company of a few representing Delta Faucet and Ferguson Showrooms, fellow bloggers Kathleen from Grosgrain Fabulous, Julia from Cuckoo4Design and I ate lunch at Black Dog Tavern, bought our friends and family gifts at local souvenir shops, and spent time in the 19th HGTV Dream Home in Edgarstown.

The tour ended at the Dream Home itself; new construction comes at a premium in Martha’s Vineyard, where towns, beaches, and estates line the coast and leave very little free land available for the taking. The Dream Home is not waterfront, but in a new quiet development where similar, beautiful homes will be going up on either side.

There are a lot of sponsors that participate in the construct and design of the HGTV Dream Home, and Delta Faucet was responsible for all of the faucets, shower heads, bathtubs, towel bars and other accessories, even the toilets. If you’ve ever toured show homes recreationally as a home enthusiast, imagine this as the ultimate, with brands’ top-of-the-line products, no architectural detail opportunities overlooked, a really fluid coastal theme from room to room. Winning it wouldn’t just be winning a prize listed at over $2,000,000, it’s instantly acquiring a perfectly furnished vacation home.

HGTV Dream Home 2015 Great Room.

Visiting The Home was an exclusive opportunity, I learned. Not many press or “outsiders” are invited in, and they do their best to keep the house clean. Even the furniture itself has never been sat upon – it’s all mint for the future owner.

Overall, it provides a lot of great inspiration for anyone building or remodeling a coastal-themed home, but it strays from the traditional in a few ways. One of my favorite features in the kitchen was a big skylight directly above the sink in the island, which felt like it really opened up the space, even on an overcast afternoon.

HGTV Dream House Kitchen.

The kitchen is fitted with Delta’s Cassidy faucet with Touch2O® Technology, as well as a chrome Pot Filler faucet over the stove.

HGTV Dream House Kitchen.

I wish that I could remember definitely, but I think the countertop you see in the above photo is Mahogany (it’s pretty much the only thing I left out of my notes, I guess). The floors throughout, visible in the below photo, are Lumber Liquidators 3-1/4″Walnut Hickory, and yes, I inspected them closely after my own experience with LL products because I had to know how their seams fell.

The appliances in the kitchen are incredibly awesome too; we had just purchased our new range when I headed out to see the Dream Home… no comparison. And that range hood? Amazing.

HGTV Dream House Kitchen.

The Great Room in the Dream Home is where the design of the home breaks most dramatically from the traditional Cape. With lofted ceilings and dormer windows all around, the very open-concept living space is also lit with natural daylight.

Jack Thomasson and Linda Woodrum have worked together on all 19 Dream Homes. Jack, the Home’s planner, is responsible for everything from location scout to managing the build, whereas Linda is responsible for all of the interior design. They were both there at the Dream Home the day we toured, and it was a real pleasure to be able to meet them both and see them showing off the project and detail-work they’ve spent so much time on this year. They’re involved beginning to end, and their enthusiasm doesn’t stop when the build is complete, they’re really excited to meet the person who wins it. Jack and Linda couldn’t divulge anything about the location of the 20th Dream Home, currently in progress, but if they’re going as big I would expect to celebrate the milestone, I’ll be excited to see where they end up.

HGTV Dream House Kitchen and Great Room.

Almost every time I questioned the source of something – from furniture, to fixtures, and decor – the answer was Ethan Allen, so if there’s something you like in these photos, that’s where I would direct you to look first.

The Master Bath featured a set of minimalist Compel faucets and an extremely shiny shower head, the In2ition® Two-In-One Shower Arm Mounted Shower (I posted a close-up on Instagram that day). In another bathroom, there’s even a new product that isn’t on the market yet.

HGTV Dream House Master Bathroom.

The designers integrated lots of subtleties into the home’s decor too, like beer from Bad Martha which I regretfully didn’t get to sample, art from local artisans, and some special finds from local vintage stops in town. There was something to admire at every turn, which made it a really fun place to explore.

HGTV Dream House Bathroom.

The bathrooms all include a Delta FlushIQ toilet (flushes with the wave of your hand – no levers!); we’ll be getting one too in the next few months, my compensation for this post and a much desired upgrade in our home.

HGTV Dream House Bathroom.

My photos don’t do anything to capture the true beauty of this home, partially because it was an overcast day and mostly because I’m not a professional photographer. I’m not even showing you any of the bedrooms in this cool home, so be sure to check out the tours put together by HGTV, and don’t forget to enter to win!

Editor’s Update, later that same day: I forgot three of my favorite photos! 

I would love an outdoor shower someday, and the set up at the Dream House was incredible, also featuring Delta products. A functional space made super classy.

Outdoor shower at the HGTV Dream House.

Dog house, OBVIOUSLY. Yes, a huge, awesome coastal dog house.

A coastal dog house designed for the HGTV Dream House.

Lastly – yes, the GMC Acadia that is given away with the house was there, posing in the front yard! And then we rode back to mainland on the ferry with it. A real star!

Starry Night

December 23, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, DIY Network Projects, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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Outdoor star light DIY project.

It’s been a couple of months since I highlighted the projects that I’ve created for DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade. When you have time–today at work or tonight with a glass of wine–let yourself dive into that site and explore some of the cool projects the crew has dreamt up this season.

If you’re wondering which were mine, here’s a short recap:

Somewhere in between crafting our hearts out and creating our dream list of holiday cookie recipes, I built our first big, illuminated star as a project for DIY Network, and it’s been my favorite project of the whole season. It was easy enough to make, so you should definitely try it someday. Would adding 10 more to the yard be… a bit much? Or fabulous.

It was a big year for handmade ornaments too. Hattie’s first Christmas ornament (backdated to last year) ended up being my favorite new addition, and these snowflake gift tag ornaments were easy enough to make that I know you could still whip some up for last minute wrapping.

The Christmas holiday is pretty much the only one I enjoy decorating for, therefore it’s a good opportunity to get creative and make new pieces that can be reused year-after-year. The paint stirrer trees that I made definitely fit into this category – look good, easy to make, classic and subtly holiday-esque. I decided around the same time that I should learn the art needle felting and made a new tree skirt, which as much as I expected to be a tree needle magnet, cleans surprisingly easily and continues to look awesome in our home.

As for other crafters you should check out, the letterpress ornaments made by Laurie March are fun, sparkly and easy. Ellen’s tin tree star and Christmas tree garland two more you’ll want to check out.

Merry holiday week, friends!