Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Hello everyone! I hope everybody had a good holiday season. Chris and myself certainly did. And I must say, the playhouses did pretty good considering we took our first chance at selling them and just put them out there. On the left hand side, you can see one of the models we built custom this season. It was a barn for a little guy with a farm-themed bedroom. We also built a unit with the colours of a log cabin for another customer, and she chose to finish it up herself. Everyone seemed very happy with the units and we were just happy to be able to build them. Our next focus is to build a gas station for another bedroom theme. We also hope to be able to unveil some new designs for the upcoming year and make them visible on the blog site.

We are also getting to work on a new website this year. Since neither of us knows a lot about making websites, I cannot guarantee when it will be available to the public. So for the time being, we'll just keep updating this site with anything new that comes along.

One personal project that I worked on during the holidays was a lockable cabinet for a Nintendo Wii game system that Santa so graciously brought us this year. And since my sons are a bit too young to be trusted with the Wii when my wife or myself are not around, I built a cabinet to keep them out and to keep the system organized. I had originally built myself a stereo cabinet into the wall when I renovated my family room. The cavity in the wall had initially been used as a firewood storage box. A good idea for it's day but we had found that we never used it for that purpose. Since it originally had doors on it, we had a tendancy to shove junk into it that we didn't want to deal with. When I renovated, I wanted an in-wall stereo unit so I built a new cabinet to fit the hole.

On the left side of the cabinet at the bottom, you can see where there is a door with a small cabinet lock. When I initially built the stereo cabinet, I left this area unfinished knowing that eventually, we would be putting a game system of some sort in there. So, for the time being, I stored old record LP's in the opening to give it a finished look. When I found out about the Wii, I got to work getting the dimensions of the unit online and built a seperate box that 'slid' into the empty cavity. Now there is a place for the machine, the accessories and the games.

However, just after I took these photos, I pulled the cabinet out and did some upgrading to it so you can't see all the wires in the background anymore (and I dusted all the components). I also removed one shelf to make more room for the existing appliances.

Another thing that I hadn't planned for was that the Wii will flash it's disk drive with a pulsing blue light when it has a message or has recieved some sort of upgrade. Since the door on the Wii cabinet is solid, I would never see this feature unless I happenned to open the door. So I installed a small clear plastic lens (or the 'jewel' as I refer to it) that is level with the Wii's disk drive into the door. If the drive lights up, it also lights up the 'jewel' on the door so I know that it is flashing. The 'jewel' catches the light from behind and reflects it through the door to me. I will post new photos of the revamped design as soon as I can.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Playhouses Abound!

Well, another winter and holiday season has come upon us! Chris and I have been very busy with our own personal projects as you have seen in our earlier blog posts. My fireplace and family room renovation went really well and Chris' basement renovations went even better.

With the holidays coming up, we decided that we should probably get our playhouses advertised online before we missed the season. We had actually started building these units last November, but due to personal obligations of various sorts, we had put the playhouse units on hold indefinitely. Anything we had already finished was stored away in my garage as well as any unfinished units we also had. During the summer, we had a big neighborhood yard sale and I set up the completed models. Many people showed interest, but no one tried to snap anything up. That was okay because I tried setting the price a little high just to see what would happen.

So we decided to advertise what we had at the beginning of December and we were in for a big surprise. The inquiries about the ready-made units was more than we had ever imagined. Our ad had generated at least 500 hits and we not only sold the units that we had already built, we recieved orders for about 4 more. We set them at an introductory price of $100.00 each (painted). That seemed more than reasonable to us and apparently everyone else as well. Since we had been out of the playhouse building racket for almost a year, it was tricky to get back into it again. But Chris and I have made a deal that we will keep going now and to not let other obligations stand in the way (within reason of course). It's been really good and invigorating to be building and designing again.

The last year hasn't gone without some productivity however. We were still designing and planning other wood projects that were not neccesarily related to playhouses. We hope to unveil some of those things as soon as we get something built. Probably after the Christmas rush.

If we don't blog again until after the holidays, everyone stay safe and have a good season. We will definitely see you all again in the New Year.

Rob and Chris

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Finally three months later we are finally done, and putting the finishing touches on our new space. We are very happy with how it all turned out, and now we spend most of our spare time down here. We have dubbed our new home theatre "the armory". And the kids love their new playroom. You will note that there are no pictures of the playroom posted yet, due to the extreme mess my kids have made. Thats ok, its what the room is for.
It was alot of work, and I just about gave up a couple times. I was lucky to have the constant support and encouragement of my wonderful wife. Together we got through it. I keep telling people that I will never take on such a large project again, but I am already getting the itch to start something else. I guess when you are so busy for so long, you don"t know what to do with yourself when you are done. It looks like the playhouses are about to really take off, so those will be the next projects on the go. It will be good to get back to where it all started. Seeing how much my kids enjoy their playhouse every day really makes me want to give other kids the same opportunity.

Almost there, after several delays. All the work was beginning to pay off.

Without a doubt the worst job in the world, drywall. Every thing about it is horrible. But the end result is so rewarding. My wife stepped in and lent a hand and saved me from going crazy. Thanks hun!!!

Finally the first stage of construction, framing. Luckily my father was able to lend a hand, and we knocked it out in a day.

Here is the beginning of my massive basement project. We had big plans and even more work ahead. Unfortunately two basement floods slowed our progress, however we finally got things fixed by our inept builder and we were able to forge ahead.