What’s With the Name?
Each of us has a home. Whether we rent, own, or live with other family
members, we get up and go to bed in the same place (most of the time).
Most of us are working to make our home and community better, either
through remodeling, community involvement, or simply painting a room in
the house a more cheerful color.
of us envisions the perfect home and community for our family and our
neighbors. And we work to get there - one project or cause at a time.
Anyone who’s owned a home for more than a few years knows that the list
of house and community projects never ends. But that doesn’t stop us
from tackling them, because every project moves us One Project Closer
to the perfect home, or community, or life. So that’s what the site is
about: tips, advice, experiences, products, reviews, giveaways,
finances, how-tos, tools, and more that help us build better homes,
communities, and lives. Whether we get to the perfect end, well, that’s
not really that important, is it?
So Who’s Writing Here?
In short: Fred, Kim, Ethan, and Jocie. We’re four best friends living
in the same community in the suburbs of Baltimore County, Maryland.
We’re married (Fred to Kim, Ethan to Jocie), and have three homes
between us. Fred & Kim live in a four bedroom traditional colonial
in the back of a cul-de-sac. Ethan & Jocie live in an end unit
townhome that backs to the woods on another court. Fred and Kim own
another townhome in a nearby community that they rent out.
Our community has about 450 homes on 130 acres, and is governed by an
active (but not too intrusive) Homeowners’ Association. We’ve a nearby
community pool, and are blessed to have a number of other friends
living close by.
Recently a friend was having a professional home energy audit performed, and I asked to tag along. I was curious to learn what tools and techniques a professional uses to analyze the efficiency of a home. I also wanted to learn what actions an auditor would recommend. The audit was performed by James from Energy Services Group, a local business specializing in residential energy conservation since 1981.
If you live in central Maryland, Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) is probably your energy provider. The state of Maryland requires BGE (and other providers) to develop energy efficiency programs with the goal to reduce electric consumption by 15% by the year 2015. Examine your monthly bill next time and look for the EmPower Md. Charge... read more at One Project Closer Posted 1 day 15 hours ago.
Early this year Jocie and I attended a Rust-Oleum media event. They shared information about several products, and the one that really piqued my interest was the Rust-Oleum Deck Restore. They described it as a thick coating that fills gouges and cracks and buries splinters. It also hides imperfections, and the textured surface is slip resistant. In short, Rust-Oleum Deck Restore sounded like the perfect product for my old, weathered deck.
When Jocie and I purchased our home, the deck was already a bit neglected. It was bad enough that you’d easily get splinters, and subsequently we never spent too much time on the deck. If you know anything about decks, they require periodic cleaning and sealing to combat mother nature... read more at One Project Closer Posted 5 days 15 hours ago.
It’s been a little quiet around OPC recently. That’s partly because we’re in-between Pro-Follows and partly because we’re working on improving the site. We recently had a site evaluation, and now we’re working to implement many of the suggestions so expect to see some changes in the coming days. If you have a site design suggestion, we’d love to hear it. The best way to do that is email me with the details.
Just this morning I restocked the Rewards Center, and there are lots of good items especially with Father’s Day rapidly approaching. If you’re new to OPC or The Better Half, we reward readers with points for visiting the site and leaving quality comments... read more at One Project Closer Posted 1 week 12 hours ago.
The 13″ Ridgid thickness planer is a new addition to the OPC workshop, and it fills a huge void in our tool arsenal. This planer enables me to process rough-cut boards and true-up lumber before starting a woodworking project. It can handle stock up to 13″ wide and 6-1/8″ thick, and the resulting finish requires very little sanding afterward. Best of all, it’s about $100 – $200 cheaper than comparable models!
Ridgid provided the R4331 Thickness planer for review, and I’ve already put it to good use for some small projects. So far I really like this planer, and I wish I had it when I was building my Pottery Barn knock-off dining table. If you’re looking for a planer, this is a great choice... read more at One Project Closer Posted 1 week 6 days ago.
Welcome back to our latest Pro-Follow series focused on how to refinish hardwood floors. Refinishing a hardwood floor is a great way to bring new life to a floor that is showing too much wear and tear or if the finish is no longer protecting the floor. It’s also a necessary part of extending an existing hardwood floor like we showcase here.
All of our Pro-Follow articles are the result of shadowing expert, professional contractors on actual job sites. There’s no better way to learn about home improvement than straight from the guys working in the field with decades of experience under their tool belt. For this Pro-Follow, I’ve partnered with Danny Riter, owner of Signature Hardwood Floors, Inc. In this article Danny shares the tips and tricks to successfully refinish a hardwood floor... read more at One Project Closer Posted 2 weeks 1 day ago.
If you read my most recent Pro-Follow, you know that I’m working with a new-to-OPC hardwood flooring contractor named Danny Riter. Danny is the owner of Signature Hardwood Floors Inc., and he and his crew are in the process of refinishing an existing hardwood floor and extending it throughout the kitchen. You can read more about laying the new floor and weaving it in with the old here:
Refinishing a Hardwood Floor, Part 1
What’s even more exciting than the new floor is seeing Danny and his crew refinish the existing hardwood floor to make it look like new again. Today’s Pro-Follow will focus on how the guys removed the existing finish and sanded the floor. There’s a lot of work that goes into creating that “blank canvas”... read more at One Project Closer Posted 2 weeks 5 days ago.
I’m excited to kick-off another Pro-Follow and to introduce you to a new pro named Danny Riter. Danny is a hardwood flooring contractor and owner of Signature Hardwood Floors Inc. Danny brings more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and he’s very knowledgable. I hope to bring you more Pro-Follows with Danny in the days to come. For this project, the homeowners have brought Danny in to replace a tile kitchen floor and refinish the existing hardwood floors to match.
If your interested in learning more about installing hardwood flooring, follow that link to see our Project Guide for full details.
Danny’s crew will be refinishing a sizable area including three rooms, a hallway, laundry room and several closets. The old floor is a 3/4″ x 2-1/4″ oak, and it’s in fairly good shape... read more at One Project Closer Posted 3 weeks 15 hours ago.
A couple of days ago, I had the great privilege of touring the John Deere Horicon Works factory in Horicon, WI. It was truly an amazing tour, and I loved getting an inside look at why “nothing runs like a deere.”
The tour started with an overview of their company history, and in 1963 Horicon Works started building riding lawn equipment. Pictured below is a 1963 mower, and it was #60 off the assembly line... read more at One Project Closer Posted 3 weeks 5 days ago.
Some of you may remember the pipe shelf I built in the OPC workshop several months back. In the original article, I mentioned replacing the pine shelf with a piece of reclaimed wood. Well I inherited a few items from my grandfather, and I decided it was time to upgrade the shelf and show them off. I’m really pleased with the look and functionality of the pipe shelf so I wanted to share the update with all of you. Plus, these new pictures are much better.
Because I’m sure somebody will point it out, I’m aware that the flag is not folded properly. I wanted some stars and stripes in the picture so don’t think I’m un-American.
Pipe shelves are great because they are completely customizable to fit whatever shape and storage space you need... read more at One Project Closer Posted 4 weeks 2 days ago.
I’ve just finished a Pottery Barn farmhouse table knock-off, and already Jocie has put in a request for more. As I delve deeper and deeper into woodworking, the lack of certain tools has become very obvious, and it makes completing these projects even more challenging. If you keep up with OPC on Facebook, you know that we’ve had some new additions to the workshop. Lowe’s offered to provide a sander, and I’m excited to put our new Porter Cable 4″ x 8″ Belt / Disc Sander to work!
The Porter Cable 4″ x 8″ Belt / Disc sander is available from Lowe’s for $179.00. You can buy it online or purchase it in store. Be sure to check for a Lowe’s coupon before you do any online shopping.
The PCB420SA features a 3/4 HP, 5 amp motor... read more at One Project Closer Posted 4 weeks 5 days ago.