DIY Attic Air Duct Protector/Bridge

When you buy a house you’ve gotta take the good with the bad. We already love this house but it needs some TLC. One thing I had to fix before it got worse was our air duct. It was in bad shape already, but even worse, every time somebody had to get to the attic above the kitchen they had to crawl over the already damaged air duct. This is the shape it was in when we got it:

20130223_214243

The duct is bent and collapsing in on itself and there are tears/holes in the tape patching it up because the only way to get across currently is to do this:

20130223_214751

Not ideal. Especially with the electrician and plumber coming in a few days, who both need access to the other side of our attic- they could end up damaging the duct even further. Time to use some of those engineering skills!! I decided to design and build a bridge that would protect the duct when people needed to get to the other side. I could not help getting fancy and planning it in my 3d program:

attic-vent-cover

Since I haven’t been able to get my garage fully stocked with power tools… yet… I got some help cutting boards from Home Depot. We chose the pink boards (get Katelyn’s hint in our previous post now?) because they were the cheapest and because cosmetics weren’t exactly at the top of our priority list with this project.

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When you get the boards home no need to cut, you can just start assembly! I started by building the legs that I would secure to studs in the attic on either side of the duct.

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I used L brackets in the corners for added stability. They were pricier than the wood itself, but definitely worth it to make our bridge structurally sound. Here you can see the legs for both sides of the duct, with the L brackets on the inner corners.

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Up in the attic, I started by securing a long support board to the studs in the attic floor along the front side of the duct. Then I used more L Brackets to secure one set of legs to the support board.

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Then I carefully crawled over and did the same thing to the other side. Once the legs were in place, I nailed 7 boards across the top of both legs to make the top of our bridge.

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I had to add some additional support because it wobbled some when I tested it out. I used some extra scrap wood and cut 45 degree angles on both ends and screwed it into the legs and base support (see picture below). I pre-drilled pilot holes to make those 2.5″ screws go in easier and prevent the heads from stripping.

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Nearing completion:

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I added similar supports to the legs at the back of the duct as well.

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All done! Now anyone who needs to can get around our attic without damaging our air duct anymore.

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Not sure if you can see it in the picture above but I also used a power sander to make sure the edges were smooth and splinter free. Also please note the face mask which you NEED if you’re going to be in the attic for more than 1 minute. Trust me.

Here is the budget breakdown:

  • 7x 2″x4″x92″ studs at $1.87 – total of $13.09
  • 8x Framing Anchor (L brackets) at $2.57 – total of $20.56
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ nails ~ $0.20
  • Lots of 2-1/2″ wood screws ~ $0.40
  • Sandpaper ~ $0.50

Tools/Misc

  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Facemask
  • Oscillating sander (optional)
2

We’ve Got Wood!

At first I titled this post “Floored by Floors,” but then the 13-year-old-boy part of me took over. Heh heh heh.

So last week we found out some awesome news- we were going to close on our house a week faster than we originally thought! Hooray!! But we realized a quicker closing means we have less time to put off scheduling our floors, plumbing, electrician, etc (all the stuff we wanted to have done before move-in day).

When it comes to our floors, currently we have carpet (which is in decent shape but… it’s carpet…) and some boring white tile that’s cracked in several places. Originally we toyed with the idea of DIY-ing our floor install. Busting up tile didn’t seem too bad (note-upon further research we found out it is TERRIBLE). Removing carpet was going to be as easy as 1-2-rrrrip. And laminate wood floors seemed simple enough to snap into place. But when my reasonable fiance reminded me that we had no idea what we were doing and it might be worth it to pay a professional instead of winging it ourselves, I obliged. Well first I said a few things like “but… but… I’m cheap…” But then I realized that having floors done correctly the first time would save us more money in the long run than doing it ourselves and messing it up.

So onto the floor search we embarked!! Five stores and 21 samples later, my car looked like this

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

That’s a lot of wood. Heh heh. Ok ok enough wood jokes, but seriously… that’s a LOT of wood. We lugged all our samples over to the new house too see how it looked inside. I would 100% recommend doing this because some of them looked COMPLETELY different in our house than they did in the store. We also brought swatches of fabric that we’ll have in the new place and something black (a little cat pepper shaker I have… I know, I’m already the crazy cat lady) because we have a lot of black furniture. This helped give us a preview of how it would all look together.

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

When we laid out all our samples in the living room it was hard to choose because they all looked nice! But when we placed them in our kitchen it was a whole different story. Up against our cabinets, some of them made it feel like being in a sea of orange wood. And even though we are considering repainting/refinishing our cabinets at some point, we don’t know exactly when that will be and we don’t want to hate our cabinet/floor combo in the meantime.

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

So which was our favorite? Well we eliminated the dark one because combined with the black granite and all our black furniture we thought the dark tones might be a little overwhelming. And we eliminated the lighter ones because of the whole sea-of-orange thing. The one that’s third from the right was by far our favorite in the kitchen, in the living room, and with our fabric samples- ding ding ding we have a winner!

It’s made by Mannington and is part of the Restoration Collection called Chateau, and the “colorway name” (whatever that is) is Autumn. Laminate naming apparently requires at least 3-4 tiers of categories. You can see it here! We liked that it had gray undertones but still felt warm.

I couldn’t wait to get it home and hold it up to our all our stuff!! The things you get excited about when you’re getting a house haha. Here it is on our white rug with our fabric swatches and the aforementioned cat-lady pepper shaker.

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

Wood Floor Samples- evanandkatelyn.com

Eeeeeehehe seeing it with our things makes me happyyyyyyy. Now we just have to get a quote. This is the part I’m worried about. Floor installation is expensive, and we already have a hefty amount of necessary repairs on our plate with the roof, electrical, and plumbing work that HAS to be done. Oh old houses.

3

WE’RE OFFICIALLY HOME OWNERS!!!

AHHHHH!!!!!! OmgomgomgEEEEEEeesffksjl holy balls this is CRAZY!!!!! WE OWN A HOUSE!!!!

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

Weird to think that these two kids are now in charge of the upkeep, finances, and general responsibilities involved with home ownership! Honestly we’ll probably be doing pretty much the same stuff as the pics below, just with bigger hammers and more chocolate.

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

We definitely did revert to childlike excitement when we finished signing everything at the title company. Keys!!! Garage door opener!!!! Giant pile of papers we just signed!! Ahhhhh!!!

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

And thanks to a surprise visit from my college roomie (love you Sidra!), we were able to get a couple stereotypical shots in front of our new home. You might notice it looks very dark and cave-like inside. This might be because we didn’t have electricity yet. But at least we DID have a couple folding chairs and half our liquor collection. #Priorities?

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

Officially Home Owners!- evanandkatelyn.com

We’ve been busy busy this weekend moving things in, meeting with repair people, and making friends with everyone who works in the Home Depot around the corner. We even started our first DIY project! Hint: it involves lots of pink. Haha can’t wait to share!

0

DIY West Elm “S” Shelf

One of the first DIY projects we did in our apartment was super simple and we were able to save lots of money- win! It started when we spied the “S” shelf at West Elm…

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

We thought it would be the perfect thing to go above our TV without adding too much visual weight (that side of the room was already super heavy with our big media center). I remember it being around $120-$140 (don’t quote me on that), which seemed sorta crazy for something so simple. I don’t know if they still sell it, but lucky for you it was super easy to make and we’ll go through the steps here.

First off, we made a trip to our beloved IKEA and picked up some Lack wall shelves in black (four of the 11-3/4″ ones for $6.99 each, and one of the 43-1/4″ ones for $14.99). Unfortunately we did not remember to take any pictures before assembling it, so instead I drew up these instructions for doing so:

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

It was as simple as that! Before we put it on the wall I did manage to snap a picture of the assembled “S” shelf… but it was before we moved the “L” bracket to the correct location. In the picture below you’ll see the “L” bracket on the far left. Which was fine, but it would have stuck out underneath the shelf. So instead we decided to add it to the bottom of the “U” part of the shelf (see comic above) so that when you flip it and put it on the wall, it’s above eye level (even for tall people) and doesn’t show.

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

Just follow the IKEA instructions for attaching those brackets to the wall and you’ll be golden. Note- we left the screws as is, but if you wanted them to blend more you could color them with a black sharpie. You could also use any of the other Lack shelf colors if you wanted to mix things up.

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY West Elm "S" Shelf- evanandkatelyn.com

This project was super easy, fast, and wayyyyy cheaper than the West Elm version.

Here’s the budget breakdown:

  • Four 11-3/4″ IKEA Lack shelves (with brackets and screws)… $6.99 a piece
  • One 43-1/4″ IKEA Lack shelf (with brackets and screws)… $14.99
  • Power drill (or you could use a screwdriver)… already owned
  • TOTAL… $42.95

I’d say compared to $120-$140, that’s a heck of a deal! And requires pretty much no DIY skills to put together yourself. Woohoo!

 

 

3

Happy (early) Valentines Day Love! <3

Just wanted to do a little something to show you how much I love you. Which is a lot. A whole big giant lot!!!!

Valentines Art- evanandkatelyn.com
I thought you might like some art inspired by the day we spent together in Laguna and took a bunch of engagement-looking photos a year before we were actually engaged hehe. Just for fun, posting some here. They go hand in hand with the art! Sort of like how I go hand in hand with you (see I can be corny too!). Love you so much baby, you are my favorite <3

Valentines Art- evanandkatelyn.com

Valentines Art- evanandkatelyn.com

Valentines Art- evanandkatelyn.com

Hehehe. Had to throw that last one in there <3

0

Apartment Tour

Before we say goodbye to our apartment and hello to our new house, I thought it’d be nice to make a post about how the place we currently call home has progressed over the past year.

Evan lived at this apartment complex a couple years before we were dating, and it was definitely a guy’s place. To his credit, it was by far the cleanest guy’s place I’ve ever stepped foot in and he had some pretty badass stuff:  a collection of nerf guns, a legit light saber, and a table-top arcade controller thingy (technical term) that took over the entire coffee table. But give the guy some credit, at least he had a coffee table!

We never took proper pictures of the apartment itself back then, but you can get an idea from these shots. On a side note, the apartment pictured below is actually his old larger unit. Before we were dating, I suggested he moved into a smaller one to save money. Miss frugal. Little did I know that in a year I’d be trying to squeeze all my crap into this much smaller space. His newer unit looked pretty much the same as the one in these pics though before I moved in, so you can get an idea.

On another side note, our friends are awesome ^_^

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

See, definitely a guy’s place. But his lack of curtains was not enough to scare me off! I moved in in April of 2012, and all of a sudden it looked like a hurricane of clothes, coffee mugs, and throw pillows had hit the place. Just take a glimpse at the craziness below.

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Yeah, it’s scary. After a few weeks we turned it into something a little more manageable, but we still had piles of art taking up about 1/3 of the living room. Evan paints and I do digital art, so we had way more stuff to put on the walls than this apartment could handle.

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

In the meantime Mochi was making herself at home amidst the crazy. Cats can be comfy anywhere.

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

After weeks of Goodwill trips, meticulous organizing, and becoming pros at assembling IKEA furniture, we were able to turn that craziness into this!

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Apartment Tour- evanandkatelyn.com

Well there you have it, a glimpse at the place we currently call home! Excited to see how the new house compares since we’ll have even more freedom to make it our own.

6

Makin’ Loooooove… part 2 {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

(Continued from part 1) There are a ton of great toys you can use for this next step… I mean… power tools… I used my jig saw. It’s a great wood/everything cutting power tool when you’re living in an apartment and don’t have a garage to store big toys. Soon to be fixed ^_^ (I’m sure there will be a post with a handyman garage setup).

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Since we traced the letters in the previous post cutting them out was pretty easy. Remember, don’t push too hard or the edges will be rough and require more sanding. If you are unfamiliar with using a jig saw I would practice on some spare lumber. Also, since we bought our lumber before hand we planned the height of the letters so they would not require any cutting on the top and bottom. Before you know it you’ll have a masterly crafted letter in your hands:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Letters like the L are pretty easy to cut. No hard to reach corners. But when tight corners do arise don’t loose hope. Again, get some extra lumber and test to see how tight corners you can cut with whatever power tools you are using. With my jig saw I ended up doing a gradual turn and then backtracking to get that straight edge I wanted:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Before you know it you’ll have all your letters cut out! Good thing we remembered to take a picture when we were all done and not just partially so!!… not.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Whatever could we be spelling?! Live?!… umm can’t think of anything else but the other live… and love :)

Next we roll out the template again and gently hammer a nail in (somewhat of an oxymoron). Just nail it partially in to mark where you’ll be drilling later:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

For the lights that we mentioned earlier a 13/16″ spade drill bit worked PERFECTLY! Just barely lets the light socket through. Make sure to measure a properly sized hole if you aren’t using our same lights. Run to your fav hardware store and pick up a your fav type of hole drill and have at it!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Follow the pattern you laid out earlier with your gentle nailing and you’ll do swell! Lay out your letters and admire your handiwork:

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

After you’ve made all the holes for your light bulbs, you’re gonna want to sand things down a bit. Because the plywood we got was pre-sanded, this part was pretty easy. We just did a few gentle swipes along the face of the letters and focused mainly on the edges using 220 grit sand paper.

Next came my favorite part… staining!! This was the first time we stained anything and it was awesome. Now we want to stain ALL THE THINGS! Before you go all stain crazy on your letters though, I’d recommend testing the stain on some scrap wood first. Again, we used Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on some projects over at Young House Love!)

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We tested how the stain looked after sitting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When each section was done, we wiped things down with a clean old T-shirt. The visual difference between the stain times was pretty subtle so we decided to go with 1 minute. Hey, we are impatient!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Now it’s time to go to town on the letters! Make sure to wipe them down to get rid of dust and stuff first. Also, work somewhere well-ventilated. For us that meant our wittle teeny apartment balcony. Gotta work with what you’ve got! Also, remember to lay down a dropcloth or something to catch any drips. I read online that you’re supposed to apply the stain with the grain, so that’s what we did. The internet said so, so it must be true!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We didn’t worry too much about our edges because they won’t show once we add our metal sides. Also, by the time our minute of staining time was up almost all the stain was absorbed by the wood, but we still wiped off the little bit of excess with a clean old T-shirt.

Literally like 5 minutes later, we were done! Of course, you know we also had to pop some light bulbs in and test how they looked with the stained wood. One step closer to marquee-style letters for our wedding!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

PS- Check out part 1: making the template, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

………………………………………………………………
You can also find us at:YouTube (all our DIY videos)
Instagram (sneak peeks @evanandkatelyn)
Patreon (if you wanna support us, but no pressure!)
Pinterest (stuff that inspires us)
Twitter (us, in 140 character doses)
Facebook (be our friend)
Instructables (straight up tutorials)
………………………………………………………………
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting us!

 
DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
11

Makin’ Loooooove… {DIY Marquee Letters}

***UPDATE***

We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!

You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]

***END UPDATE***

Makin’ loooove…letters! As in L.O.V.E, sheesh! Just look below and see what I mean…

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

We saw these marquee letters at a wedding expo and immediately thought they’d be awesome to have at our wedding. But renting them from a wedding decor company would be hella expensive, so my engineer fiance got to work! First we took some super precise measurements by taking a picture of my arm against the letters so we could eyeball the size later. You can tell by my expression that I totally did not feel awkward at all posing in the middle of the display.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Then we got home and got to work! We figured out from the above picture that we wanted them to be about 2 feet tall, and we went from there. We sorted through my library of 1,300+ fonts (I have a font problem… and I’m not ashamed) and picked one that suited us. Then we made a to-scale image in Photoshop. You can download it here if you’d like to use the font we used as a template.

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

The little circles are guides for where the light bulbs would need to go. Then we just printed it and boom- instant template!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

When it came to supplies, we had to decide if we wanted to use wood, metal, foam core (that’s what most the online tutorials use), or something else. We ended up deciding on wood for the letters and metal for the siding. We found pre-sanded 2-foot-tall birch plywood that said “ready-to-stain” at Home Depot for $14 a pop. Sold! We picked up two of those, a roll of 6″ galvanized steel, some Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on Young House Love!) and a couple packs of outdoor lights.

We were just sort of wingin’ it and picking up what looked like it should work. We’ll do a full supplies list and cost breakdown at the end of things since I’m sure there will be more stuff we need to get along the way.

Next we cut out our letters, taped them together into something traceable, then laid them out on our plywood and traced away!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com

Once our letters were traced, it was time for the fun part- sawing! But this post has gotten pretty long, and Evan’s definitely the power-tool-wielding one in the relationship, so he’ll probably write about the sawing stuff. So for now we’ll end things here and pick back up later with part-2! On a side note, I should try to remember NOT to wear my super flattering XXL comfy pants when we’re taking pics for the blog… oh well!

PS- Check out part 2: cutting out and staining the letters, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

………………………………………………………………
You can also find us at:YouTube (all our DIY videos)
Instagram (sneak peeks @evanandkatelyn)
Patreon (if you wanna support us, but no pressure!)
Pinterest (stuff that inspires us)
Twitter (us, in 140 character doses)
Facebook (be our friend)
Instructables (straight up tutorials)
………………………………………………………………
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting us!

DIY Marquee Letters- evanandkatelyn.com
67

Planning a Home Renovation

It’s a great feeling to be able to use the skills I’ve developed in school and at work for something helpful at home. I was able to use my favorite 3d computer-aided-design (CAD) software to mock up our new house with some measurements I found on some previous inspections… and my imagination.

3D Model of Our Home- evanandkatelyn.com

 

Now I can imagine you asking me why this is at all helpful to anyone that does not have access to SolidWorks to plan out their house. But thankfully there is a free alternative in Google Sketchup! Sketchup was recently bought up and rebranded by Trimble Buildings but thankfully cnet still has the Google version available for download. You can download Trimble’s version here and Google’s version here. There is even a whole library of 3d models that you can load in like couches, TV’s, entertainment centers, etc.

Some people might also be wondering WHY?! Partially just because. But I actually started this little side project because we needed accurate square footage estimates for pulling up tile and buying flooring. With SolidWorks that info is a couple clicks away (Note- that is why I added the dividing line you can see between some rooms, that way when you select a surface for info you get the room you want not the whole floor). Plus you can plan what furniture you might want to buy and or fit into your new house.

Excited to get the keys to our home and get to work! We’ve got tile and carpet to remove and walls to paint!

 

0

We’re Starting a Blog!

Between planning a DIY wedding and buying our first house (lots of DIY to ideas for that too), we are crazy busy these days. So the only logical thing to do was add another item to our plate- starting a blog! Our goal is to keep family and friends posted on all the house and wedding stuff going on around here, and mildly entertain any random strangers who got lost on the interwebs and stumbled upon our little piece of the blogosphere.

So I guess we’ll jump right in! After months of looking at houses, losing one to a cash offer, losing another because the sellers wouldn’t come down on their price, and walking through some pretty nasty someone-was-definitely-murdered-here foreclosures… we found our perfect house!!! Eeeeeep!!! Check it out!

Our First House- evanandkatelyn.com

IT’S SO AWESOME!!! Ok, we might be a little biased. We are SUPER excited about this house. Currently we’re under contract- fingers crossed everything goes smoothly! We don’t want to jinx it though, so until we actually close on it we’re holding off on busting out the celebratory champagne Bailey’s (mmmm… creamy. Soft, creamy beige).

We already have tons of DIY plans for this place, and having a house will make it easier to work on our wedding DIY too. We’ll keep y’all posted on things! Cheers to displaying our lives on the internet!! *glass clink* *sip of Baileys* *ok ok we broke it out early, so sue us!*

1