Lee’s future office

Lee’s future office has undergone quite the transformation lately. For the past five years it has been the catch-all room for tools and building supplies. A hardware supply room it is no longer.

We last worked on this room in February 2011 when the batt insulation was installed. I am actually shocked it was that long ago. Anyway, in June we started working on it again. We added OSB sheathing to the inside surface for shear, and connected the metal straps from the second floor.

OSB sheer wall

Two inch XPS foam was installed over that to provide a true thermal break. The usual caulking, gluing, and taping of the seams and fasteners was done. We really are trying to make this house airtight.

OSB for shear and 2 inch airtight foam for thermal break

Lee framed the inner walls.

Inner wall frame

He had to shim the ceiling joists down to create a flat plane for the drywall. His office floor was shimmed a few years ago, but the ceiling still had a bow in it from settling. Some things in old houses you can’t fix all the way.

Shimmed ceiling joist to create a flat plane

The wiring and CAT5 was installed.

Wiring was installed

I went through and insulated the interior walls with rockwool and used spray foam to seal the edges of the inner and outer wall assemblies. Since everything else was getting sealed, we broke out some low-expansion foam and made a first pass at sealing the windows to their rough openings. We had been looking at daylight through a couple of small trim gaps since the windows were installed in 2011.

Rockwool insulation

With our goal of a super duper insulated house, we didn’t forget the rim joists. Two layers of 2 inch foam was added into each bay and sealed with spray foam. Rockwool batts were then cut to fit for the third and final layer. In the attic space, Lee installed a dam made of OSB scraps so the future blown-in insulation won’t fall out onto the porch ceiling.

Insulating the rim joist

The entryway closet was drywalled. It’s right next to Lee’s office. To save a few inches of closet depth, Lee did not build an inner framed wall for the closet. Instead the drywall was connected directly to the foam layer using special adhesive. You can’t see it in this picture, but we added OSB strips on each side of the closet to provide a larger solid mounting surface for shelves and a coat rod.

Entry way closet drywalled

Lee got a drywall lift from Harbor Freight to make our life easier. We were completely chilled out about the drywall process in this room compared to the ceilings we did upstairs in January 2012. It’s amazing how much your stress levels go down when you know what you are doing and you aren’t wrestling 90 pound drywall sheets above your head. Lee still uses his favorite cordless driver for installing the ceiling drywall, but uses a drywall screw gun for the wall panels.

Drywall lift

Without the shims, the ceiling would have been out of plane by over an inch in three feet. In this next picture, you can see shadows where the drywall was attached to the 2×4 shims.

Drywall and shims

We are also insulating the interior walls around Lee’s office to provide some sound dampening. Since he works from home and we now have a mobile noise generator, we want the office area to be as quiet as possible. In fact, we are considering insulating a majority of the interior walls in our house since it’s supposed to give the house a more solid and muted feel.

Inner walls insulated

We were originally going to fly in the drywall master guy who worked on our upstairs room. Lee bolted on that plan (partly because he hates not doing everything himself) because it would involve emptying out three rooms completely and we already don’t have any space. Rather then put all our stuff in the front yard, Lee decided to tackle the mudding and taping himself. If he can’t get the final finish right, then we will find someone local who can do one room at a time as we need it.

Taping the drywall seams

Here is the office as of a couple days ago. We have almost finished the second coat.

Office at the current moment

If all goes well, we are hoping that in two weeks this room will be painted–with actual paint. OMG! That is pretty exciting stuff for me. The bad news for Lee is that he does not get to use it as an office right away. With Sidney becoming more mobile we need a safe place for her. We don’t actually have any “baby proof” rooms in our house at the moment. After the office, we will work on the upstairs next. Sidney’s future room needs a finish coat, and our bedroom requires bathroom plumbing and drywall hanging. When all of that is finished, Sidney will have her own room and Lee can finally move into his office.

We are going to put off flooring it until next year as Lee wants to fix some moisture issues with the downstairs bathroom. We like the wider plank floors, and they are especially susceptible to cupping from moisture problems. Lee and I are happy as it seems like we are crossing a huge hurdle. Our house may actually start looking like a proper place with painted walls and working lights and outlets.

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8 Responses to Lee’s future office

  1. ShimFarm says:

    Well, a mega-OMG coming right at you! You’ve done an enviable job. It’s nice to get a project back into the works again, isn’t it? And doesn’t it suck, having to move sh!t around from room to room, just to be able to finish up? I’m telling you, I’m growing more and more attached to my plywood floors. Considering you have a crawling baby around, I’m sure it lights a fire under your butt to get the job done.

    I hope you had a nice summer, and that your “mobile noise generator” (LOL) is growing by leaps and bounds!

    • lee says:

      Yeah, the endless shuffling of “stuff” around is a huge pain. I hear you on the floors. Even if I officially move into the office, we’ll just be moving out again eventually to cover those plywood floors. The bedroom which is our next work area has half the floor covered in tools at this point. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement over moving furniture around.

      Summer has been good, but not quite as productive as we’d hoped. (That’s a popular refrain with us.) Sidney’s increasing mobility has been the inspiration for quite a few late nights of working by shoplights and headlamp.

  2. Ali says:

    Looking good! I am jealous of all that insulation.

    • robin says:

      Thanks Ali. I swear the house seems warmer but Lee would say it’s just in my head as we have to many other air gap problems.

  3. Woody says:

    Looking good y’all!

  4. Kam says:

    About spreading the mud for taping and seaming, my Dad would always spout the poker cutting axiom, “thin to win!”. After sanding a few thick mud jobs, I finally took that saying to heart.

    • robin says:

      The skim coat is basically finished. Lee is doing a few touch ups at the moment and then we have the sanding job ahead. Each coat he did it seemed like Lee was figuring out something about the pressure, water ratio, wrist angle, etc. I like the “thin to win” saying. ­čÖé

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