Viewing room – this will make sense when it’s done

In this post, we ask you to trust us. It may not make a ton of sense now, but it will when it’s done. It will be awesome.

First you should know that the floors in the studio are not level – mostly (entirely) because the space was intended to be a garage. The floors slope toward the drains, which is ideal for washing fire trucks but not for housing furniture that needs to be on a level plane. This prompted a design for the space that included raised platforms so clients can sit comfortably when they visit. Then Aaron had the inspiration to take it one… Ok, maybe it’s really 12 steps further and actually build a viewing room. This down-sized space will create an intimate meeting place and serve as a rad architectural piece in the room.

Let’s get into the nitty, gritty. First Aaron notched 6×6 posts to support the weight and level the frame.






He nailed them in, leveling off each corner.




Then added top braces.


Once everything was up he added lag bolts to make sure this thing was well on it’s way to becoming a tank.



Then he added joists, using joist hangers – similar to what he did when he filled the pole closet holes. This is basically like creating a free standing deck.




Next came the framing. Oh, I didn’t mention that. This is basically going to be like a cube with two open sides. So he framed both ends, leaving space for a TV to be hung and sit flush with the finished wall.




Next he laid a plywood floor.



Then he added joists to the ceiling, roughed in electrical and installed can lights.





Confused yet? I promise it will make sense once it has some drywall on it.



The grand plan

I was inspired my Young House Love‘s mega to do list and thought we’d share our own list, along with the progress we’ve made (spoiler alert: most rooms are at 0%) in each room. Grab your favorite beverage because this is a long one!

5% done


  • DryLok walls
  • Replace the sump pump
  • Create a cover for the sump pump hole
  • Run electric and build a platform for the chest freezer
  • Add shop lighting
  • Assemble shelving and organize our personal stuff and business materials
  • Add a light to the stairwell
  • Build a door for the stairwell
  • Build a wine cellar
  • Build a workshop
  • Paint the stairwell

65% done


Entry cube
0% done


  • Replace the fire hose lights
  • Finish the drywall
  • Paint
  • Hang art

Dining room
0% done


  • Secure the fire pole at the bottom with more bolts
  • Patch all the holes, including the large one that was possibly a coal door
  • Finish the duct work
  • Run more electrical outlets
  • Put the dining room lighting on a different switch than the studio lighting
  • Build a new door for the basement stairwell
  • Paint
  • Run new floors throughout the first floor, maybe lifting the floor to add a radiant heat system
  • Build a light fixture that’s been floating around in our heads for years
  • Build a large dining table
  • Hang art

Downstairs living room
0% done


  • Finish the duct work into the bathroom
  • Patch the holes
  • Paint
  • Run new floors throughout the first floor, maybe lifting the floor to add a radiant heat system
  • Add a cool, modern fireplace
  • Buy new seating (couch and chairs, some of which may be vintage)
  • Add a window or door to the yard
  • Hang art
  • Find a spot for a bar

2% done


  • Replace two of the bricked over windows
  • Add a new lighting fixture
  • Buy appliances
  • Open up the kitchen to the rest of the first floor
  • Build a new backdoor
  • Vent the range hood outside
  • Run new floors throughout the first floor, maybe lifting the floor to add a radiant heat system
  • Basically completely gut the kitchen. We’re still figuring out what this looks like. It will probably have an island, definitely more cabinet/counter space, definitely an electric wall oven and built-in microwave

Half bath
10% done


  • Replace the bricked over window
  • Cover the Swiss cheese ceiling
  • Add a new light fixture
  • Paint
  • Restore the slop sink
  • Restore the toilet paper holder
  • Restore the door
  • Add art and accessories, like a mirror and storage

0% done

  • Decide whether to keep the original door, if so, refinish it
  • Patch the walls and paint
  • Paint the railings and refinish the banister
  • Add new lighting

Upstairs living room
0% done


  • Tear down the plaster on the west side to expose the brick
  • Make the roof hatch usable
  • Fix the plaster on the ceiling
  • Remove old fire alarms
  • Run more electric and add outlets
  • Hide the electric panel
  • Replace the closet doors
  • Insulate the furnace sound deadening material
  • Refinish or remove the hall door
  • Run new flooring throughout the second floor (some sort of old factory-weathered wood is our dream option)
  • Add windows on the west wall (maybe)
  • Investigate the ceiling ducts to determine if we can add a skylight
  • Replace the lighting
  • Paint
  • Build a “mega couch” for ultimate TV and movie viewing
  • Hang/hide a projector and screen
  • Hang art

Captain’s bedroom and bathroom
0% done


  • Secure the top of the fire pole with more than just electrical wire
  • Replace/add screens to the windows
  • Fix the duct work
  • Refinish the original door
  • Refinish the window sills
  • Use the water connections (maybe for a coffee bar?)
  • Replace the flooring
  • Rebuild the closets so they go to the ceiling
  • Add a bed, dresser, side tables and other necessities for a guest room
  • Hang art (maybe a large pull down map)
  • Determine what it would take to make the bathroom functional

Awesome bathroom
-10% done


  • Replace fixtures as necessary to make sure everything works
  • Replace the lights over the mirrors
  • Redo/cover the plaster walls
  • Paint
  • Build a storage solution for towels and other necessities (maybe a rendition of pipe shelving)
  • Build an LED drop ceiling
  • Build a new door
  • Add a Mojo washing station in one of the showers

Workout room/extra bedroom
0% done


  • Remove the “stage”
  • Remove the pole closet
  • Rebuild the actual closet so it goes to the ceiling
  • Fix the window sills
  • Finish the trim
  • Build out the exercise area (mirrors and a weight rack)
  • Mount the TV
  • Replace the flooring
  • Paint
  • Build a Murphy bed and extra storage along the south wall

4th “bedroom”
0% done


  • Build the old pole closet and furnace into a proper furnace room with a door leading to the hallway
  • Close off the existing door and turn the space into a closet for the master suite by adding a door between this room and the master bathroom
  • Paint
  • Replace the flooring
  • Add new lighting and electrical as needed
  • Add a window (maybe)

Laundry room
0% done


  • Expand the laundry room by stealing space from the master bedroom or workout room
  • Build storage and a clothes drying rack
  • Paint

Master bedroom
0% done


  • Remove the half wall
  • Remove the double closets
  • Seal the brick
  • Investigate the ceiling ducts to determine if we can add a skylight
  • Adjust duct work
  • Build a new door
  • Update slide dimmers to something more modern
  • Replace the flooring
  • Redo the lighting
  • Build a platform bed
  • Buy/build side tables
  • Add a fireplace (maybe)
  • Buy additional furniture as needed (chairs, dresser, etc) – maybe some vintage pieces
  • Paint
  • Add light blocking window treatments
  • Hang art

Master bathroom
0% done


  • Extend the wall of the shower so we can add a steam feature
  • Replace the jacuzzi tub with a claw-foot tub or an uber modern tub
  • Replace the vanity/storage with something more modern
  • Replace the flooring
  • Add a door into the new master closet
  • Add a window to the west wall (maybe)
  • Paint
  • Add new lighting and maybe an LED drop ceiling

30% done


  • Buy Right Lot
  • Seal the roof
  • Lay a huge patio
  • Replace the asphalt in back with a new parking pad
  • Install a carport
  • Fence the yard (We’re close)
  • Plant grass
  • Replace mulberry tree with something non-fruit bearing
  • Finish the carport into a garage
  • Remove the dead tree in the front of the house
  • Repaint the front garage door and hang new flags
  • Create raised planting beds
  • Section the patio into functional areas (like eating, lounging and a fire pit)
  • Build an overhang for the grill area
  • Build a fire pit
  • Build fire wood storage
  • Build patio furniture
  • Build an overhang for part of the patio
  • Move the trailer to the back
  • Pour a concrete pad for trailer storage
  • Tuck point the building (likely in stages)
  • Replace the bad second story windows
  • Landscape (another tree or two, ivy, tall grass)
  • Fix the front lights
  • Fix the light over the front door
  • Add motion lights to the back and garage
  • Run electric to the garage
  • Run electric on the patio side of the building
  • Fix the water faucet in back
  • Remove the asphalt in the alley
  • Add uplighting
  • Buy the alley

10% done

  • Activate the new security system
  • Incorporate home automation, including smart thermostats
  • Investigate on-demand water, especially for the upstairs bathrooms

So that’s the master plan… or most of it. I’m sure we forgot some steps along the way. Do you keep a master to do list or organize your projects some other way? Aaron is still working away in the studio as we inch that space closer to 100% completion!