progress report: week 9

Maybe it was the Monday holiday, but this past week flew by without a lot of physical progress on the house. Unfortunately, our schedule and mother nature didn’t cooperate with each other so we weren’t able to install the 2nd skylight. We did do some more framing (I know, we weren’t really done…) and some planning and research for the electrical side of things. To summarize:

1. This past week, we’ve been giving more thought to what kind of whole house sound system we want. First we visited Magnolia Audio, where we learned that we could spend anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000 equipping our 800 SF house. We did learn about a few cool products, such as Sonos, a wireless music system that allows you to control everything via your iPhone. We then looked into what the chain stores had to offer and came up somewhere between the two. At this point, we’re leaning towards quality over quantity, with a pair of reputable bookshelf speakers in the living room, a new receiver/amplifier, and the Sonos system. We’ll also eventually install a couple outdoor speakers for the backyard. (Down the road, we’ll be converting part of our basement into a media room, so we’re not planning for any surround sound or video components for this project.) While others would absolutely say we need speakers in the bedrooms and bathroom with individual volume controls and devices that massage the incoming current, we’re just not convinced it would be worth it for our lifestyle and how open the layout will be.  (However, we did invest in a full security system with remote monitoring so we won’t be depriving ourselves of techiness.) But what about you audiophiles out there? Anyone have a favorite system that is simple, good-quality, affordable and aesthetically pleasing?

2. As mentioned above, we’re still waiting for enough dry weather for skylight #2.  We framed in as much as we could on the inside…

Kyle also framed in the opening for the roof window in the loft. We just ordered this guy a few days ago so install will be at least a couple of weeks out. Still, it’s exciting to visualize an opening there. Even better, we noticed that you’ll see some blue sky from the kitchen space below.

3. Thanks to good ol’ life safety codes, we also ordered 7 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms last week. It does seem a bit ridiculous, but we’re all about “doing it right”. (FYI – we actually ordered them off Amazon for much less than HD.)

4. Lastly, we’re making some final decisions on the rest of our lighting and have started to install j-boxes. Check back mid-week for a post about that and how we finally found some cool under cabinet lights!

Hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday. We just spent the last hour or so looking at reglets and detailing the various connections that we’ll have between different materials (like where the drywall on the walls meets the wood on the vaulted ceiling). I know, we’re not normal.



12 Responses to “progress report: week 9”

  1. Sarah says:

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Sonos system.

  2. I’m definitely not the person to ask about audio systems, but I thought I’d share how thrilled I’ve been with my Bose. I bought one of their surround sounds not too long ago because I could easily bring it from property to property. It’s performed better than I expected. I’ve used it in 1000 to 2000 square foot places, high ceilings, short ceilings — all with good results. Love wireless systems.


  3. g.a. says:

    We’ve been doing some home renovations, too. Our home is around 1000 sq ft. My wife is a regular reader of your blog and thought I should tell you about our home sound/media system. We wanted a versatile (and affordable) system that we could use in most rooms and operate from just about anywhere. For about $500-$600 I ran cables and set up something we’re very happy with.


    (3 sets of): ceiling speakers, volume controls
    (3 sets of): HDMI wall outputs with “B” audio input so you could listen to say…. an iPod in the kitchen and a movie in the living room
    (3) A/B switches to allow the ‘other’ listening mentioned above.
    (1) HDMI auto-switcher (cheap)
    (1) HDMI splitter (cheap)
    (1) Basic stereo receiver (already had)
    (1) Mac running Ubuntu Linux and a big external drive…. and the software listed below. You should be able to do all of the above with Mac or Windows, too. The key is the computer has to have DVI output or HDMI output.

    SubSonic media server
    SubSonic and XBMC remote control on iPhone (also available for Android)

    WHAT IT CAN DO (some of this is mentioned above):

    1. Play music/sound from main “A” audio source to any/all three rooms
    2. Play music/sound from alternative “B” RCA inputs in each room
    3. Send HDMI signal to all three rooms
    4. Automatically switch to a second HDMI source (like Xbox, etc)
    5. Control all music/video from iPhone
    6. Stream all (!) music and podcasts to iPhone (and other computers) while out anywhere (using 3G, etc). No more syncing or wishing I had more music on the phone.

    I have to say that having speakers in most the rooms (with volume controls and an ‘alternate’ input) seemed like overkill, but now we use all the features constantly.

    It might not be an ‘audiophile’ system, but it works well and was very, very cheap relative to other systems that don’t do as much.

    • zerbey says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for all the info, very thoughtful! I think I’ll have to spend some time going through this in order to wrap my head around it all. Glad to hear that you were able to do something sophisticated on a budget…I may be back with some questions. =) (Kyle says thank you too.)

  4. Katia says:

    Question about those reglets (or is that the company name?): are they something special and fancy, a nice-to-have architectural detail? Or are they commonly used in construction? I can’t see any around my house (30 years old), but I can imagine they could be under layers of paint…

    • zerbey says:

      Hey Katia,

      Reglets are the product and the company we linked to is Fry Reglet. Reglets are more common in newer commercial constructed, and less common in residential applications (especially an older home). They’re seen more on custom homes where you need to transition between two different materials or just want to do a cool reveal or edge detail. Basically, they’re metal strips that come in different shapes depending on the configuration you have. We’ll post some pictures once we get them up!

  5. Cary says:

    You’re normal to me.

  6. Holyoke Home says:

    We have the Sonos system at Holyoke Home and we’ve been REALLY happy with it. You can get Pandora, Rhapsody, – basically anything you want. And you can add additional speakers SO easily.

    I am not being paid to say any of this, I just REALLY like the the system and thought you might want to know. Feel free to e-mail with any questions.

  7. pat says:

    you are probably aware, but kidde also makes smoke alarms that are battery operated and wirelessly interconnected. they are a little more pricey, but saves tons of work. and as far as the codes go, smoke alarms are a minimum…sprinklers couldn’t hurt 😉

    • zerbey says:

      Haha, I know…the new IRC actually requires sprinklers in new homes. We also have a monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detector as part of our security system so we feel pretty good about that, especially since we have a dog.


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