Thursday, August 20, 2015

Finishing Our Garage: Episode 5 (Flow Wall)

I am back again with another episode on Finishing Our Garage.  So now that we have our walls painted, lights switched out, and replaced the switch wall plate with a pop of color, it's time to get organized.  A lot of our neighbors have recently put in a lot of work on their garage spaces.  They all look very nice and offer a different flair.  

For us, we did not know what we wanted to use to get things on the wall because there are so many freaking options.  We had to decide what worked best for the tools and equipment we had AND what would be the most cost efficient way to get it done.  Our final decision was the best decision for us.  We decided to go with with Flow Wall for our organizational solution.  They are absolutely a gem of a company, and they have sales and specials that makes it very affordable.  

We ordered some panels (the brain of this operation), then ordered hooks, shelves and bins.  When one of our orders got delivered, a couple of shelves were damaged.  I contacted them and you would not believe that not only did I speak to a 'real' person, they had our replacement shelves delivered to us ASAP.  Great customer service will win me over every single time!  To learn more about the company and what they offer, visit their site.  If you have questions about how to get what you need for your space, feel free to reach out to them.  They will help you plan the entire project.  The cool thing is you do not have to order everything at one time.  You can piece your space together as you see fit, or if you want to break it up so it fits the budget, you can do that as well.  I should also mention that you can use Flow Wall for any space you need organizing: closets, laundry rooms, or garages!  

The pieces come complete with instructions and if you are like me and need a little extra help, you could always call them directly and get help over the phone.  Whooo Hooo  

Pictures are my favorite part, so let's get to it.  Here are a few pictures and I will be sure to share more once it has been totally completed.  We will be ordering more panels to complete the entire garage as well as extra bins, shelves and bike hooks during the next panel sale.  75% of the garage is complete with Flow Wall.  There are 'sections' allocated to 'house tools', 'yard tools', etc to keep it simple.  Sometimes the project manager/Lean Six Sigma comes out of me and I go a little overboard with organizing.  So far, I haven't drove my poor husband crazy so all is well!  LOL      

Giveaway: Flow Wall is hosting a Labor Day Giveaway which offers you the chance to win a Silver Hook and Panel Starter Set valued at $199.99.  Visit their site to enter for your chance to win!  

Above: Panels arrive
Above: Installing the hooks
Above: Installing more hooks (very easy)
Above: Final wall


Making Our Water Soft(er): Yay or Nay

It's almost Friday so I thought I would share our experience as we play with the option of installing a water softener system. 
Kinetico brochure
Growing up, we never spoke of a water softener system.  I knew that when I traveled to different regions, the water had a different taste from home, but never thought anything more beyond that. After many showers in our new home, I realized I was a little more ashy and 'dry' than normal.  I am one of those people who MUST apply moisturizer or lotion after any water activity.  I like to feel soft and smelling good is always a plus!!!  

Kinetico Sales Rep 
So we decided to get our water tested for water hardness as we played with the option of adding a water softener system to the home.  Our interest was to price out some systems, while learning more about the different options.  There are a few big names out there, as well as some smaller companies.  We decided to have a representative from Kinetico come out and give us his 'spill'.  I must say that he was not a pushy salesman and he did not ring our phone off the hook afterwards.  Based on the reviews, it is very common of this company to not be so pushy with potential customers.  I can appreciate that because sometimes you just need to 'think' for a while right?

So, he came out and performed a series of tests on our water to determine how hard the water was as well as the impurity levels.  While there were no impurity issues, our water was considered "hard" on the hardness scale.  He showed us the different systems...and then he showed us the price. 

The price tag was a little over $2K and maintenance did not seem to be an issue.  I will say that based off my research (and they will confirm), their system is not for the DIY-er.  With that, I wanted to make sure I read there warranty because if something was to go wrong, I would want them out ASAP.  I wanted to make sure they offered locations throughout the US because if we moved and took the system, I need the maintenance crew to be available.  Overall, the warranty was pretty good and I liked them.  However, we want to speak to more people and hear from real-life customers who used their services. 

We are still "thinking" as we have larger priorities at the time.  I will keep you posted on what we decide. 

Have you installed or thought about installing a water softener system?  Which company did you decide to use and why?  What do you love about having one?  Any regrets?

Above: Preparing the water sample
Above: Hardness level identified

Above: Performing a carbon comparison on the fridge water


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finishing Our Garage: Episode 4 (the lights)

I must apologize for the slight hiatus!  We have been super busy with those darn laundry room shelves.  Oh my...when you think something will be easy but turns out to be pure evil...
I will share those details with you soon, but let me update you all on our garage space!

We have finished the lighting in the garage, which turned out to be a little more work than planned, but we my husband made it happen!

As you may have seen in previous posts, we started out with 'regular' garage lighting, nothing fancy, just two lights controlled by a regular switch.  If not, you can check out our garage before picture here or here.

Being that we wanted the space to feel more like an extension of our home, this project called for the following:
  • Changing the 'regular' lights to recessed can lights
  • Re-patching and painting the (entire) ceiling (not planned)
  • Replacing bulbs with LEDs 
In episode 3, I showed you how we replaced the switch and switch plate for the lighting control.  

To start, my husband had to cut bigger holes in the ceiling so the recessed can lights would fit (I will list the supplies we used below).  We used one of the templates that came with the can to cut out drywall.  We started by cutting off small pieces at a time until the right dimensions were cut.  I am sure there is a more technical way to do this, but we took the safe route.  We did not want to cut too much drywall, resulting in more patch work at the end.  .

Once the drywall was cut, the cans were successfully installed.  We patched and painted the ceiling, allowing adequate drying time between coats.  The problem we ran into was seeing the paint roller marks on the ceiling...which wasn't the end of the world, but we wanted to make it as uniform as possible.  We tried to just repaint those two areas, but in the end we had to roll the entire ceiling again to achieve uniformity.  Things turned out great and we love the new lighting effect and polished look.

Alternative: if you are not into recessed can lighting and want to do something a little more 'funky', there are tons of lighting options for you.  How about track lighting or lights with an added shade?  Have fun with the space, but make sure it's still functional for you.  Be sure to share your space with me.  I love seeing all the new ideas!

Supplies/Tools Used:
And finally, here are a few pictures:


Husband hard at work changing the old lights

After install and before patch work

Final product!

Next, I will share how we organized our garage space and what we decided to use to help us achieve our look while being friendly to our pockets!