Interesting Tandems on ebay….

 

 

A Griffen Tandem: This is actually a pretty interesting tandem that I’d definitely want to have if I was a collector.  However, the one thing potential buyers need to take note of is the incredibly short stoker compartment; I think it’s about 25″ vs. your standard Santana at 27.75″ or a Co-Motion at 28.5″.   It would be a non-starter for us, as our Calfee uses a 30″ stoker compartment.  All that said, the Griffen with its Metal Matrix Composite frame is definitely a great conversation piece.  Pricing is probably at the high-end given it’s age, but the condition and build are still pretty much top shelf. Regardless, someone will snatch this up, either a current Griffen owner or just someone with a few bucks in their pocket that likes unusual tandems and bikes.  There just weren’t too many of these made.  I preferred the white/silver/black paint scheme.

GriffinTandem_Ebay

 

 

Vintage Colnago Tandem: Here’s proof in the power of brand name loyalty.  As nice as Colnago’s are, their tandems by today’s standards were nothing special.  But, as the seller notes, there weren’t that many of them so the few that do exist are often times coveted by the Colnago aficionados and collectors… somewhat along the same lines as the very rare Serotta tandems. Again, the Serotta tandems were nothing special by today’s standards given the constraints they had with tubing selection, but nicely executed and, well, stable mates of the coveted single bikes bearing the same brand name.  $10,000… who knows. Colnago owners sometimes drive Ferrari’s… yes, there’s a connection.

ColnogoTandemJack Taylor Racing Tandem: This one’s pretty neat and would truly be a great addition for a collector if only because of the frame design, Campy racing group and of course the Jack Taylor pedigree.  However, I’m pretty sure this one’s been out on ebay for a very long time, perhaps even longer than the next tandem that I’ll be highlighting.  Once again, beauty and value is in the eye of the beholder and as interesting and collectible as this tandem may be, I’m not sure the Buy it Now price is all that attractive.

JackTaylorTandemSantana Track Tandem: This poor thing has been on ebay for what seems like an eternity. Another offering from Cycle Smithy in Chicago (same as the Jack Taylor) that has a pretty hefty price tag for a track tandem made by a builder who really doesn’t specialize in building track-specific frames. I’m sure it will ride well enough, but given that track tandem racing is pretty much limited to paralympic events or exhibition races such as the Tandemonium series at Trexlertown, PA, there’s a very narrow market for this type of tandem.  And, just because it’s rare doesn’t really mean it’s necessarily great or valuable.

SantanaTrackTandemSantana Sovereign: Again, I think this one’s been on ebay for quite some time and for good reason: despite what you may have read in Santana’s marketing literature, their tandems depreciate just as fast as any other tandem or bicycle.  This is actually an original Sovereign, which is to say it’s an all-steel, fillet-brazed frame from what I’ll guess is the early 90’s.  At the time, Santana had two high-end steel tandem offerings that used the same lovely fillet-brazed frames, but were differentiated by their component groups. The Sovereign was the touring model with a triple ring drive whereas the Team was the racing model with a DuraAce component group and double ring drive. Again, lovely-looking tandems but by today’s standards they’re incredibly heavy and not all that stiff. Tubesets have come a long way.  Clearly a nice tandem for avery tall rider, but that’s a pretty narrow market.

SantanaSovereignThere are quite a few other interesting tandems out there on ebay; however, I’m running out of gas so I don’t think I’ll highlight them tonight.  However, they include a nice Ibis (Uncle Fester?), an ’83 Jack Taylor frame, a ’79 Eisentraut frame, a seriously overpriced Cannondale MT800, A couple of pretty interesting Schwinn Paramount tandems, a Bob Jackson, a couple Burley’s, a few Santanas and a Trek.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in For Sale, Technology & Equip., Whimsical Or Entertaining | Leave a comment

Salsa’s Powderkeg 29er Tandem…

This past Saturday our long-time friend and bona fide bicycle geek David H. sent me a message via Facebook with a photo of the new off-road tandem offering that Salsa Cycles debuted at Frostbike 2o15 in Minneapolis, MN: the Powderkeg.

salsa_kegRegular readers may recall that another long time tandem / bike geek friend from Oregon, Henry A., had clued me in to the creation of a Salsa 29er tandem prototype back in October 2010 that I covered in a blog entry, replete with links to Salsa’s blog where they shared photos and details regarding the project.  The prototype (below) and production model (above) show that a lot of development went into the project, with frame layout & fork changes being the most obvious differences.

At first I had thought I recalled where Salsa experimented with a few full-suspension tandems made for employees back in 2006; however, digging back through the archives at TheTandemLink.com corrected my memory, as what I recalled incorrectly were two Santa Cruz full-suspension tandems.

However, of special note is that both of the Santa Cruz prototype tandems showed up in a one-off, very entertaining video about the first and perhaps only Tandem Freeride Invitational held back in 2009.  You can read about the event and find a link to the video in this May 2010 blog entry; hilarious stuff. Or, you can skip my blog entry and go right to the video using THIS LINK.

Anyway, getting back to the Salsa Powderkeg, you can find all of the information on the new offering at their Website: http://salsacycles.com/culture/the_story_of_powderkeg

Actually, the really good stuff is at the new Powderkeg information page:

Of course, the most important stuff:

Pricing

Powderkeg Complete Bike – U.S. MSRP $3999

Powderkeg Frameset – U.S. MSRP $1999

Availability

Summer 2015

More to follow, I’m sure.   However, it’s interesting to see another brand giving tandems a go. I’m not sure how they’ll impact market share, other than providing some inspiration to current Salsa owners or brand name shoppers to give tandems a try because Salsa is a name they recognize. Not too thrilled about it being yet another designed in the US but produced in Taiwan tandem.

It’s no secret to regular readers that I’m not fond of imported tandem frames or tandems given there are plenty of great tandems being made here. If it’s made by Kenisis (most likely) it will be a good frame. But, because it’s made off-shore I have no more interest in it than I do in the Cannondales which are now also off-shore imports.

In terms of what you can buy that’s made in the US, as a couple examples there’s the Co-Motion Periscope Scout for $500 less which is far more adaptable and made in Bend, Oregon using the same care and talent as their $8k tandems. Or, if you really need an off-road tandem, the Fandango frame with a Tio build from Alex Nutt at MTB Tandems — including an excellent suspension fork — is $400 less than the Powderkeg.  And, for the same money, you can get a Co-Motion Mocha.  The Co-Motions and the Fandango are all made one at a time in Eugene, WA, and Rancho Cordova, CA, not batch-produced in Taiwan.  Kind of a no-brainer if you ask me.

But, marketing being what it is, Salsa has a brand that people recognize and now that pretty much everything with two wheels that’s not hand-made is coming across the Pacific Ocean on a container ship from Taiwan or other Southeast Asian factories, no body really seems to be too concerned about US content.

Just my .02.

Posted in Events, Industry News, News items from the web, Off-Road Tandems, Technology & Equip. | Leave a comment

A Wet Winter = Cycling Drought…

My apologies, I REALLY wish I was writing more about tandems and tandem cycling from a first person perspective.

Our struggle to find weekend days where the weather is conducive to the lovely Miss Debbie have been a lot harder to find than Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow.  Since January we’ve had more than our fair share of cold, damp weekends which has kept us off the tandem and found me up to my neck catching up on home improvement projects, some of which I’ve already mentioned in previous blog entries this winter.

20150225_170136For some added context, as I write this we’re having a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain outside.  It was actually quite lovely a bit earlier in the day, but the temperatures moved back up above 32°F after a nice blanket of snow had fallen and that snow is now being reduced to slush as the temperatures begin to fall back below 32°F… headed for about 29°F overnight.  What that means is, our roads could be a mess tomorrow until around noon time when the temps head back into the 40’s.

20150225_170051So, looking ahead to the weekend, we can only hope that warm temperatures on Thursday and Friday do away with the snow and snow melt run-off so that we can sneak in a short ride on Saturday when the temps are expected to hit the mid-40’s with partly sunny skies before the rain comes back in Saturday night.

Now, if you’ve suffered through my more recent blog entries which looked more like the handyman’s blog than the tandem geek’s blog you probably know that the next project on our hit list was replacing the carpet in our walk-in closet & dressing room with the same rustic Oak solid hardwood flooring that I installed in the adjacent master bath.

Instead of running up and down the stairs to the basement, I opted to move my miter saw into the exercise room next to the closet with my shop vac hooked up to the dust collector chute. I didn’t get as much exercise as I did with the master bath floor project, but both projects were equally hard on my quads and back muscles; all told, about 130 sq ft of flooring went down with about 1,000 flooring nails used.

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Here are some before and after shots; I think it turned out pretty well. Not as gap-free as I would have liked but the flooring itself had a lot of non-conforming width and warped boards that required some compromises.  Most of the ugly gaps are very hard to find, but I know where they are so they’ll continue to bother me for a while.

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DSCN1189   10922658_858524074185676_4831831510944582509_nI’ve had a couple of folks who follow my blog and who we’ve otherwise had long-distance correspondence-based friendship with for many years who were having a hard time tying together how the various rooms and stairways that I’ve either been working on or mentioned are laid-out in our home.  So, given that I had a few extra minutes on my hands tonight I shot a short video walk-through of our master suite, bath, closet and exercise room that ties it all together.

As noted in the closet comment slide on the video:  Yes, the master suite is pretty massive; it accounts for perhaps a third of the heated living space, the rest of which is otherwise rather modest. A large master suite was part of the original plan, but when I added a 3rd bay to the garage I also re-designed the bathroom, closet & “dead space” to make the most out of the additional square footage created over the garage. A back stairway was added so we could get to our bathroom without tracking grime through the house after working in the garage, yard, etc., and also make it a lot easier to move around the house. The master suite and equally large garage are pretty much what has kept us in this home for 23 years; homes with similar features are, well… just too darn big.

Anyway, we were able to break away for a few meals over the weekend to include lunch on Sunday where I honored National Margarita Day with a tall, refreshing glass of frozen delight!  I would have much preferred enjoying that maggie after a 50 mile tandem ride vs. a day and a half of being on my hands and knees or doubled-over installing flooring.

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Edit: Weather update. The temps never got down into the below freezing range over night and much of the snow and slush that was on the roads began to melt away even before the sun came up.  I was able to drive to work without any trouble at the usual 5:45am time and folks who waited until 10am to head to work had nearly dry roads.

As a recap of our little brush with snow, I set up one of our GoPro Cameras at 4:30PM yesterday and let it go for 25.5 hours shooting a still frame every 60 seconds. By 6:00PM today it had collected 1537 images. So, here’s our “could have been much worse” winter weather event condensed to 1 minute and 15 seconds. It would have been a lot better if we’d gotten more snow.

 

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A Valentine’s Day Weekend Without A Tandem Ride…

How sad is this: we finally have a Valentine’s Day that falls on a weekend and we weren’t able to get in a tandem ride to celebrate.  We went into the weekend thinking we’d be able to get in a road ride on Saturday with temps predicted to be in the mid-50’s by the afternoon and much to my shock and surprise, Miss Debbie even hinted that she’d be willing to hit the trails on Sunday so long as the temps got into the 40’s.  Yeah, well… best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, don’t you know.

redeyedburger3501On the bright side, the weekend was still pretty awesome.  It was a work-from-home Friday which had me up bright and early for a 3 hour conference call.  I love conference calls from home since I can participate in my sweats before shaving.  Once the call was over I had just enough time to drop off dry-cleaning, pick up some new water lines for two new faucets I’d be installing, get my truck washed and then make my way over to The Mule for lunch with my sweetie.   Yup, ever other Friday we still meet for a quick-lunch at The Red Eyed Mule where we split a Jakes Big Daddy: so long as you specify medium rare, it’s one of the best darn burgers you’ll ever taste. Friday was no exception. Not sure if it’s the fried egg, the dollop of sloppy Jake , the Texas Toast, the meat or the way they grill up the fixin’s, but it always hits the spot.

After lunch, my plan was to drop by the shooting range for a quick 25 round tune-up, then get the faucets installed and hopefully have that done in time to get a short off-road bike ride in at the Allatoona Creek Park near the house.  I only was able to get one of the three boxes checked. The range was actually quite busy for a Friday afternoon and I didn’t have time to wait for a lane to open up so it was on to the plumbing project and that ended up consuming the afternoon, doing in the bike ride.

faucetsLike most home projects, the way you should estimate the time to complete is to double your estimate and then one more unit of measure. So, my expectation that I’d be able to knock out the faucets in about an hour and a half or so ended up being closer to three and a half hours when all was said and done.  Between wrestling with multiple connections in tight places and a second trip to Home Depot for new P-traps to replace those nasty, 23-year-old original ones, it took the better part of the afternoon to replace the faucets, feed lines and P-traps on both of the master bath sinks.  However, it was well worth the time and effort as the original ones were well beyond the point where they needed to be replaced. Don’t think I’ll ever have to repair those again.. knock on wood.

I really needed that bike ride to make my week complete and to test my endurance.  Over the past year or two I allowed my weight to sneak-up about 5% and was bound and determined to take it back off before March 1st.  I’ve just about reached that goal, but find that the reduced calories, fat and carbs have made me tire much easier and a 10-mile trail ride would certainly be enough to let me know if my cycling endurance had suffered from the diet.  Oh well, the 5% weight loss still feels good and we’ll be riding on Saturday and Sunday, right???

20150214_014246After a nice dinner out for Fajita Friday at Loco Willy’s and the latest installment of our James Bond film festival back at home, I had a short nap before I was woken up by a flying squirrel who had stumbled into one of my traps in the attic. Yup, with the colder weather we suddenly had the pitter patter of little paws running around over our heads at 4:30am in the morning, signaling the arrival of some form of rodent in our attic.  I’d expected it to be a grey squirrel and was surprised to see that it was actually a Southern Grey Flying Squirrel in my live catch trap.  After taking care of the little visitor I finally made it back to sleep around 3:30am.

Saturday started off below freezing so I knew the morning would be best spent working on inside projects. Before putting hardwoods down in our walk-in closet I needed to re-organize some of the closet contents which included moving all of our western boots off the floor and on to some shelving that I’d need to add.  I also needed to re-do our cycling gear storage to make things easier to see / reach while also opening up some room in that small part of our closet.  Debbie joined me for the trip to Home Depot for shelving and we also picked up a new leather ottoman at Kirkland’s that would replace a 28-year old white wicker chair in the closet.  Like Friday, my “hope” was to have the project wrapped for the day by 2:30 so we could enjoy a tandem bike ride during the warmest part of the day.  It seemed achievable.

While replacing and upgrading the ClosetMaid shelving units I was also multi-tasking on another project that involved stripping a hideous burnt orange tanning job from an ostrich belt that was supposed to be cognac by immersing the belt in a bleach bath a section at a time.  It turned out to be a lot more work than I expected, i.e., double it and add one!

I had the shelving units replaced by 2:30pm but by then Miss Debbie had lost her enthusiasm for heading out in the mid-50 degree weather given that there was about a 20 mph wind blowing. Can’t say that I blame her; she’s easily chilled and after all, it was Valentine’s Day so coaxing her out into the weather probably wasn’t in my best interest.  So, I continued with my closet project while stripping and bleaching my ostrich & leather belt right up and until it was time to head off for our Valentine’s night dinner.  After a lovely steak with grilled asparagus and loaded baked potato we stopped by a local club to listen to a new band to us, but one that had been playing gigs around Atlanta for nearly 20 years.  They were really good; we’ll have to try to catch them on a more exciting night: the bars and clubs were empty given the Valentine’s Day holiday.

Sunday started off frigid which did not bode well for a tandem ride.  Therefore, I spent the better part of the day cleaning out seldom worn clothing from the closet and other storage places that I’d haul off to Goodwill later in the day while running a few errands. I ended up purging the house of what must have been about 35 articles of clothing, from sweat pants to dress slacks and polo shirts to button downs that hadn’t been worn since I don’t know when… never mind a pair of sleeping bags that hadn’t been used since 1989!

With all of that “stuff” out of the house, I turned my attention to sorting through all of our cycling gear — all 65 jerseys, 12 pair of shorts, four pair of tights, etc. — and figuring out how to get it all consolidated on one storage unit.  It took a lot more time than I’d expected, but that was partially due to my ostrich belt project running in parallel and a lunch break where I got Miss Debbie out of the house for a much-needed distraction: she just doesn’t do well in the winter and has had the blahs something awful of late.  We had some wonderful hot wings, dropped off three 50 gal bags of clothing at Goodwill, picked up some storage bins and new hangars and while we were out and I confirmed a tandem ride would not be in the cards today.  Once we were back at the house I decided to extend my break and get in a short solo ride, then finished re-organizing the closet and began to apply the first of several coats of cognac polish and brown edge dressing to the now bleached naked ostrich belt.

beltThe belt refinishing project exceeded my wildest expectations; the burnt orange ostrich belt went from being of little use since it was 50 shades darker than my cognac ostrich boots  to being a near perfect match.

The closet also tuned out great; can’t wait to replace the wall-to-wall carpet with hardwoods here in a couple of weeks!  Everything is now visible and with few exceptions off-the-floor, which will help to make the flooring project a bit easier. But, most of all, there’s just a lot less clutter.

The photo below shows the new two-shelf arrangement over the cycling jerseys and shorts. An extra set of shelf support brackets — 12″ in length — is what I used as the “rods” for hanging the jerseys and tights/shorts perpendicular to the overhead shelves. It’s definitely much more tidy and things are a lot easier to find; double goodness.

DSCN1175The photo below is just a little more detailed / closer so you can see how the 12′ support brackets now incorporate a nylon “stop” to keep the hangers from sliding past the ends while also making the ends of the brackets less of a poking hazard.  Storage bins contain socks, gloves, bandanas and cold weather gear.  It’s about as organized as I can make it and, well, that’s good enough!  Yes, the labels on each box and the small / large / small / large ordering of the boxes definitely give away my OCD tendencies.

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Boots, boots, boots.  Heck, there are even two pair of dress boots missing from the photo as I keep them at work and change into them from my motorcycle boots after my daily commute. Did I mention that I really like boots? In fact, that’s pretty much all I wear with jeans, slacks and suits.  Debbie’s about half-way committed, but that’s OK too!

DSCN1176And just to complete the 360* view, noting that we can finally see the back wall behind the top shelf now that the sleeping bags and a few other pieces of luggage are gone / elsewhere. There’s also nothing hiding under the lower row of clothing on the floor, which is a good thing!  Did I mention that I don’t like clutter?

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Next up, about 150 square feet of hardwood’s need to go down.  Oh the joy. I’m sure that will disrupt another weekend’s cycling activity but better to get these projects knocked out when the weather is less than ideal vs. those warmer days just around the corner that will beckon us to go out and play without reservation!

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A Non-Cyclist / Journalist’s Tandem Ride Around Redlands, California

Imagine my surprise when one of my Google search engines spit out an article from my adopted  Southern California home town of Redlands.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 6.54.39 PMI found this to be a very honest and fair article by Toni Momberger of the Redlands Daily Facts where she — a non-cyclist and journalist — recounts her 12-mile tandem ride around the south (hilly) side of Redlands one afternoon with local cyclist and cycling promoter Scott Welsh.

I know that I take way too much for granted about how non-cyclists perceive the world of a cyclist and Toni’s observations are validation of just how alien the world seasoned cyclists live in is to people who have never swung a leg over a bicycle and ridden with normal traffic on public roads.  Now, unless Redlands has really changed a lot, I don’t ever recall that there was a lot of traffic on the roads even during the afternoon “rush hour”.  Again, I would typically head up these same roads around 6:00pm a night for an after work stress-relief ride or sometimes make the short ride down to Gerrards on West Cypress to pick up some groceries… not that I really did all that much cooking in my little house. Again, for those readers who have been riding on public roads most of their lives, this will probably be an insightful read.  For anyone else, it’s still quite entertaining.

A little more on my former home town of Redlands….

Redlands put itself on the map before the turn of the last century as a winter haven for wealthy snowbirds from New England and a precursor to Palm Springs with its many mansions and large estates.  It was also the epicenter of the largest navel orange producing region in the world.

n1459095890_30246598_1360043The legacy of that early development was a unique community filled with amazing homes, wide boulevards with landscaped center medians and several community leaders who endowed the city with amazing gifts like the A.K. Smiley Library, Redlands Bowl and Lincoln Shrine… all of which were about 1.5 blocks from my little brick home on Eureka St.  I had access to some of the most wonderful cycling right from my doorstep, locally and regionally.  Late afternoon / early evening rides in the summer were usually rewarded with a jump in the pool that no one would have expected to be behind my little 100-year-old brick cottage. I miss that house and Redlands… a lot.

(2014-11-23 13-09-33)           NIKON COOLPIX S5200 (4608x3456)In fact, to this day a limited edition print that my girlfriend of many years and — coincidentally to one of the subjects of the article — reporter for the Redlands Daily Facts purchased for me by local artist Jeff Owens enjoys a prominent place right at our kitchen table.

Redlands place on the map with regard to cycling at an international level dates back to the Redlands Classic founded in 1985 which was and still is sponsored by the city of Redlands.

Man, I miss that little town!

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Finally… A Nice Day for Tandem Cycling!!

20150207_145713What a beautiful day for a bike ride!  In fact, it turned out to be nice enough for two bike rides: one on our iron Clydesdale and another on our carbon Stallion.

It’s hard to believe the last time we were on the tandem bicycle was January 2nd!

I’ve been out a couple of times on my own bike since then for some short rides from the house and did a few sessions on the E-Motion rollers and CycleOps Fluid2. However, those always fall well short of the mark when it comes to the sheer enjoyment that we get spending time together riding two-up, especially on the tandem bikes.

369252As much as we enjoy motorcycling, unless it’s a really long and epic ride of a few hundred miles it just doesn’t hold a candle to the gratification we get from riding our tandems.  You just don’t get a great sense of accomplishment after a 50 mile ride on a motorcycle like you do on the tandem.

I’m so very thankful that I’m lucky enough to have the lovely Miss Debbie as my best friend since she’s always up for both!  Of course, when the thermometer tickles the 60’s and the sun in shinning it’s a lot easier to get her excited about heading off for a ride.  Today was definitely one of those days!  We’re hoping for another one tomorrow and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to coax her into riding the Ventana off-road tandem on our local trail!!!!

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I’d Rather Be Cycling… Really.

Well, it’s definitely mid-winter in Georgia the way I remember mid-winter in Georgia. Cloudy and cool with rain on the weekends, and when we get a sunny weekend the temps in the 30’s – 40’s with lots of wind!  Most of the “nice” days where it’s dry and temps hit the 50’s or 60’s seem to fall during the week when they’re of no use from a cycling standpoint.  So, January & February become the best months for indoor projects to fill the cycling void.  Of course, it’s on those days when you’re up to your elbows in a project that the sun defies the forecast and brings you a warm afternoon that’s ideal for a tandem ride?!  Alas, we take the good with the bad.

Given our mid-winter weather of late, and after putting it off for at least 5 years, I finally started to replace the 23-year old carpets in select rooms with hardwoods. That we’ve stayed in the same house this long is another issue, but be that as it may, we’re still here and so is the carpet… but most of the carpet’s on the way out!

There are a total of six spaces targeted for the hardwoods: (1) the main stairwell, (2) our master bath, (3) our walk-in closet off the master bath, (4) the dining room, (5) the living room, and (6) the adjoining family room. As of today, I’ve knocked out the first two during January.

The main stairwell project:

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Before with carpet (left) and the project materials ready for installation (right)

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Bye-bye carpet (left) as I set-up the saws and trim treads & risers to fit (right)

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From start to finish: a clean slate, the transformation and final result.

20150111_114034The new look with the red oak wood steps, risers and flooring on the landings.  After living with the all-wood steps and landings for a couple days I decided the landings really needed rugs to help with sound control, ensure sure-footing and to add a little color / texture to the stairwell.  We should have done this years ago.

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The master bath project.

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Carpet about to be replaced by 3/4″ hardwoods…  ~132 sq ft of it!

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Lots of nooks & crannies needing 28 separate sections of floor trim!

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 The final result: yet another project that should have been done years ago.

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Seems like a shame to cover it up with carpet, but practicality wins out…

With any luck, next weekend will provide us with some warmer temps and less rain so that we can get back on the tandems.  Yes, the home projects have to get done but there needs to be a little balance.

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