Zero insulation up here right now. Just 2x6 joists, ship lap, and a bunch of wires and dust.

Peek into my attic

I’ve been using Service Magic to get leads on contractors for minor renovation projects. It’s  a good source for local contractors who know how to speak in complete sentences and understand the importance of following a budget and a timeline. My most recent request was for insulation and radiant barrier in my attic.

The thing I love about contacting people to do work like this is that I get to learn a lot about the service I’m requesting. Like, there are 3 standard types of blown-in insulation used in Texas: Rock Wool, Fiberglass and Cellulose.

Cellulose insulation is made of recycled newspaper bits. Although it’s the “greenest” option for blown-in insulation, it’s the choice most likely to be affected by water damage or rodents making nests in your attic.

Fiberglass blown-in insulation is different from the rolled fiberglass stuff I remember from our attic as a kid. Yeah, it’ll still stick in your finger if you touch it, and it’s still itchy, but it looks more like a pink winter wonderland now. This is the option I’ve selected for my attic.

Rock wool (or stone wool) is a type of insulation made from actual rocks and minerals. And since the guy I hired to insulate my attic didn’t offer rock wool, I didn’t take the time to learn any more about it than that. But here’s a picture anyway.

Blown-in insulation also comes in different “R” values, which just means the thicker it’s installed, the more resistant it will be to letting heat through and into your home. Wikipedia has more to say about that R values.

On top of the blown-in fiberglass insulation, I’m also getting a radiant barrier installed to help keep the radiant heat out of my attic to begin with. Radiant barrier will be installed next week. Insulation will come  sometime in June after I install my attic stairway and raised platform flooring for storage. I have no closets, you know….

Here’s what my attic looks like right now.

The Eastside Hovel plaque from the Netherlands

AirBnB Brings the Best Guests

I decided I would start take advantage of owning a home and posted my front bedroom for rent on for the 10 days of SXSW. I had the room rented for all 10 days within 24 hours of posting it, even without photos!

The people who stayed here during the event were kind, courteous, intelligent folks. And I thought that I’d just remove the listing and cancel my account after SXSW was over, but then a gentleman contacted me from the Netherlands to inquire about staying at the Hovel for nine days. Well, I talked to him on the phone and he was so nice, I just couldn’t say no.

After I accepted his reservation, I had a flood of other folks contacting me to see if the Hovel was available. A couple from Australia, a gentleman from South Africa, and another lovely couple from San Francisco all stayed at the Hovel. By the time their visits were over, they were all so sweet and had left thank you cards for me and other gifts to say goodbye. My new friend from the Netherlands, though, did something a little different. He had a gift for me as soon as he arrived — a plaque that says, “The Eastside Hovel, Established 2010″.

Now if you’re one of my three regular readers, you’ll know this plaque is something special. I’d talked about it in a post from last year, mostly a passing fancy at the time, but definitely something that was on my ‘eventually’ list. Well, eventually no more. Here it is. Thanks, friend!

I think I’ll mount it on a block of wood and hang it next to the front door.

MindPeace - For Children's Mental Health

MindPeace – Web Design layout in Photoshop

The MindPeace website is in the development phase. The client has signed off on the IA and home page design (shown above). My role was to translate the design consultation and IA/site map into a wireframe and then a usable home page design that could be broken up into templates & implemented in an open-source CMS. Wireframe constructed in Balsamiq. Site designed in Photoshop.

One of the best ways to learn to use a tool is to teach it to someone else. I’ve been using and teaching Photoshop as a CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer since 2001.

This is the granite I've selected for my kitchen counters.

Stop! You’re getting away with my kitchen!

I’ve come to a decision after months of hemming and hawing over what to do with my kitchen countertops. I have one word for you: Granite slab.

Sorry soapstone. Sorry poured concrete. Sorry granite tile and all the other options I’d been considering. Granite slab is going to work best for me right now. I hope you’re all not too disappointed. Because it’s going to be freaking awesome.

I decided to use Fox Granite as my installer for a few reasons.

  • Greg Fox (owner) seemed extremely knowledgeable, professional, and easy to work with.
  • The price was fair for the work to be done.
  • His website was actually usable and not some piece of crap with spinning GIFs left over from 1997. I could also browse his portfolio on my iPhone, and the photos were large enough to be useful.
  • Based on his portfolio, his work looked to be good quality.
  • He uses a Mac.

His installer is coming back on Tuesday to take measurements for a template. I’m actually looking forward to this. Once the granite counter and new zero radius undermount sink are installed, I’ll finish up the painting in the kitchen and install my track lighting. Oh yes, and window treatments. And windows. And and and….


GUI Visions – Website Design for Custom CMS

Custom site design for a website design/development company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Website comps were constructed to be scalable and to fit with their custom PHP CMS. This site is still in development as of 3.18.2011. New website will be published at

Jessica Vesper, owner of Gui Visions Web Agency, has been a fantastic employer of mine since 2005, and a great friend even longer. She’s been in the business of web design/development since 1997 and really knows how to manage a project from start to finish. I can’t speak highly enough of her interpersonal skills or her outgoing personality and sunny disposition. If you haven’t had the chance to work with Jessica yet, you’re really missing out.

A project-turned-obsession, the Eastside Hovel was established in 2010. It's the hole into which I throw all of my money.