Saturday, June 25, 2011

Decked Out

Since framing and building a new awning on the deck, George painted part of the backyard cement with leftover paint from the steps and now it looks like a patio.

Today at Urban Ore we bought a piece of lattice fence for 8 bucks and George finished the vision he had for the deck by installing a lattice sort of wall to enclose the area little.

George also built a little shelf which I call my 'herb-deck' where I put some mint plants our friend Claire from the DIY salon gave us.

We are also growing an Early Girl Tomato plant, basil, and Italian Oregano.

We are also planting more flowers in the front & back. Geranium, Fuchsia, and Snapdragon. Love all the color. The Santa Rosa Plum tree is bearing fruit.

The zucchini have started blossoming too. Every week the backyard just gets better. Next we are building big veggie planter raised beds.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All Hands on Deck

George is nearly finished with his deck project. He removed what was there, created a new frame and put a clear panel on the top. It's better water-proofing and now we can set up a little area to grow herbs.
Since we moved the bougainvillea I've never seem it so bright and happy! The blooms are so full. Love.

Slowly but surely it's coming along. We, ahem George, will build a big planter box to cover the cracked cement so we can transplant the zucchini that is getting pretty big and needs more room, and we will try adding a few other veggies. My lettuce did great for a couple of rounds and then it bolted and the crop was over. We found a perfect little spot for lunch, happy hour, or just a little break that offers privacy behind the lemon tree.

The nasturtium is still going strong and George added a lattice on the side which it has gladly started covering.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When a Fixer starts to feel like a House

Well, we are officially at 1.5 years into our old home renovation. It's time to take stock of what we've done and see if we stuck to our principles of making a creative, utilitarian life in our old Vic.

The parlor and living area has evolved. We still keep the parlor a fairly flexible space that can function as an exercise room or dining room for a big party. We finally were glad to find a good place for that awesome mirror my sister gave us as well as the old Barbary Coast chest which conceals weights, a media device and other items and seems to fit well with the wood floor and rugs.

The middle room, traditionally the dining room, is most comfortable to us as a living room/tv area. The $300 gas fireplace from HD has done a great job keeping us warm during the cold weeks. We still use our futon as a couch but hope to replace that someday. The white bookshelf is a wild, frankensteinian creation. Originally it was a black bookcase I kept from my college years that has been painted and now wears the crown that was transported from the first kitchen redo. Again, the beautiful Vic chair is from my sister and seems perfect next to the window.

Turning 180 degrees we face the kitchen and bathroom entry way. We furnished the kitchen with beautiful white cabinets that we got for free from an artist over this past xmas. Removing the old cabinets over the sink allowed more natural light to enter the area and creates a more open feeling when doing sink stuff. We replaced the old light with an LCD track system that lets us focus light on various kitchen stations. Throwing a rug we had over the old linoleum hides its ugliness and seems to add a bit of "elegance to the kitchen. That word "elegance" would not be a word I would have thought to think to apply to this kitchen before now.

Watching my wife over this period I noticed how much time she spends at the kitchen sink. Whether it's washing veggies, doing dishes etc., she seems to always be around there. I realized that I too spend time there so we "splurged" a bit here, meaning we spent a lot of time thinking about what we have to do to make this station visually appeal as well as more useful. Click on the pic to see highlights of what we did.

The neat thing about this kitchen (I think) is that we were able to add more cabinetry and do a little re-arranging without disrupting the original structural footprint, electrical or plumbing. We pretty much made everything work within the existing elements.

Nothing new to the master bedroom effort other than removing part of the ugly built in closet and replacing it with this awesome 9ft tall IKEA wardrobe closet that I got for free, in great condition, from a Cal grad. It also happens to be the same color as the bed frame. Really scored on that. Ultimately the bedroom remains the least energy efficient room since there is no insulation top, bottom or sides. We'll probably need to hire a pro to make a roofing frame to make the entire ceiling 9 ft tall and allow for insulation and lighting. But for now, we are looking for a nice piece of art to hang over the bed. Don't you think?

So where do we go from here? Well, we have another 1.5 years to work on this before determining what we will do with this house. We are focusing a bit more on the exterior and yards now and of course there are tons of big things that still need to be done like replacing all the windows and repaving the front area and adding some kind of fencing.

How are we doing so far? We operate in a bit of bubble and would love to know what objective, knowledgeable people think.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leveling Up

We took a recent trip up to Placerville to visit a couple of retired teacher-friends of ours. Allain, a math teacher, has been fixing up their homes for years now and it's amazing to see how fast, efficient and knowledgeable he is about building and construction.

During this trip I helped cut deadwood on the 20 acre property, drive a tractor and do a few other things. When I came back home, I was inspired to finish a # of projects and even built my first light in the office out of left over parts. Suddenly I was seeing things a bit differently and wasn't taking nearly as long to remove/build things in the house. We still always put safety first but I'm feeling things are becoming more "instinctual" then overly thought-out.

A recent trip to HD found me spend 2 hours looking for a particular item (which they did not have) and I left the store feeling I could just create it myself at home.

I like this new-found attitude and it's allowing me to do more with less.

I have a slew of outdoor projects to jump into but the darn rain is holding me back. Very unusual to have so much rain now but once I have a few clear days, I'll create a new deck arbor and other things and will post pictures soon.