5:53 p.m. — Thursday, April 10, 2008
Last month, we ordered our pocket door frame kit from Johnson Hardware. Finally. This project has been pending for a looooong time. And the first step of this project...?
In case you need a refresher on how this whole space looks, here is the original blueprint:
(Note: The one big difference? We skipped the peninsula kitchen & went with an island.)
It feels like YEARS since we've seen construction mess and bare studs around the house. Oh wait...it has been years. And what wonderful, dust-free years they've been! Ryan was eager to clean up the mess before Sticky Fingers could get into it:
During demo, I discovered this broken line of paint on the floor:
This took my by surprise for a few reasons, the first being: Paint! On the floor! But also because I never really realized how much space our trim takes up. Look at that big gap between the wall and the trim paint line. It also reminds me how scary our floors were before Ryan refinished them. Yeck.
Anyway, the second step:
Installing the frame.
Then, PRIOR to sheetrocking the new opening (which will be 5' wide), Ryan hung our new divided light French doors for a test-run.
Ryan realized he has to lower the track a bit, because the gap beneath the doors is larger than it should be. And although he checked the level when he installed the track, these doors seem to have a mind of their own and both SLOWLY roll to the left...it's kinda funny.
So once he lowers and re-levels the track, we'll be all set to sheetrock, spackle, and paint. (Didn't we leave that life behind?) Good thing we didn't do all that BEFORE hanging the doors!
Here are two close-ups of the frame parts:
Ryan loved this product's ease of installation (it took him no time at all). And we like that even though the framing is steel, it is wood-faced to make installing sheetrock and trim easier, unlike typical non-residential steel framing.
Every time I glance this way, I can't help smiling! I'm so excited to finally be getting my pocket doors. And even though the overall opening of this doorway will be smaller than what we've gotten used to, we are both very happy to have thought to put French doors here to keep the area well-lit, even when they are closed.
Can't wait to see what it looks like finished!
5:50 p.m. — Sunday, April 13, 2008
Our pocket doors are now lowered, leveled, and sheetrocked with one coat of spackle.
It's funny how the smell of wet spackle wafting throughout the house brings back so many memories...
Another two coats, and we're ready for paint!
11:56 a.m. — Monday, April 14, 2008
Slight revisions have been made to our deck plans since I first drew them up in Illustrator two months ago. (Boy, things certainly take us longer than anticipated around here!)
(Click either pic to enlarge. )
Once we started filling out the zoning and building permits, we realized we were missing a couple details they wanted to see. Fortunately, nothing major. The only other things we'll have to include with our application are photos and general dimensions of our existing steps (see top drawing)(the steps were approved as part of our C.O., so hopefully we won't have any problems) and our existing and modified site surveys.
We will also be adding our proposed SHED to the survey. Woohoo! Originally, I was drooling over the beautiful 8x12 sheds with cedar shingles, window boxes and cupolas, but honestly, that's just more shed (and more money! and more maintenance) than we really need.
So, after much deliberation, we've come to agree on this vinyl 8x10 shed:
It's the best looking vinyl shed we've seen, and it will be large enough to house the motorcycle, the lawnmower, and our bicycles, plus the smaller things for which a shed is needed. It comes with shelving, a floor (many don't, surprisingly), four windows (to which we can affordably add our own windowboxes), and some other stuff.
When speaking with the town, I was happy to discover that fencing does not have to go on our zoning permit, so long as it does not surround a pool. This is excellent news. We just have to call and be given the restrictions — height, setbacks, etc. —prior to installation.
So........we are that much closer to beginning our deck and shed projects for this summer. And this Saturday, we are having a workday. We plan on tackling some of the projects previously listed, plus a whole bunch of new ones.
11:41 a.m. — Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Way back when we originally painted the dining room walls, I used Behr Bleached Denim in eggshell, forgetting I wanted to shadow stripe the walls. I should have used flat paint. Today, when I tried shadow striping a small section with the same color in a gloss finish...well, see for yourself:
The left photo shows the paint still wet. The right photo shows the paint dry, hours later.
It was pretty disappointing. The wet wasn't too bad...it was pretty neat watching the stripes darken or lighten depending on where you were standing and how you were looking at them. But after it dried? They were VERY hard to see, no matter where you were standing. I think the only reason they're showing up at all in the 2nd photo is because the camera's flash went off.
So now I'm not sure what to do. Should I repaint the whole wall with flat paint first, like I should have done in the first place, and then try the stripes in gloss again (which seems to be the recommended method)? Should I break out the polyurethane and just try striping with that instead (like our friends did)? Or should I fake it, and use a completely different color - say, one color away on the color sheet from Bleached Denim?
(These look quite a bit different in reality than on this photographed Behr swatch.)
I guess I'll try polyurethaning a couple stripes and see how it goes. All these sample areas will eventually be covered up with wall trim, anyway. Then if that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to repaint the walls flat. Yuck, all that cutting in. (Hmm...can someone say, "crown molding"? hehe) Will one coat of flat paint even COVER this one coat of eggshell?
Sharon, my can't-wait-to-Shadow-Stripe friend, what do you think?
11:59 p.m. — Sunday, April 20, 2008
A super huge thanks to everyone who came yesterday to help us get some projects done!
We installed my three raised vegetable beds (waaaaaay more work involved for Opa, David, Ryan, Dad, and Jay than it sounds, considering the existing space), primed the front door (Brian and Pam made us promise not to untape it or finish painting it after they left — they want to finish what they started! how can we say no to that?), purchased soil-amending products and a soaker hose for the new veggie beds (thanks for saying, "Buy this, buy that," Lori — I had no idea what I was doing), and got a bunch of inside cleaning projects done (Oma, Aunt Ilse, and Mom were true German cleaning warriors when it came to dust and dirt).
Photos to come!
2:29 p.m. — Monday, April 21, 2008
Something I have been wanting for a long time — and inspired by our maaaaany trips to Colonial Williamsburg — is raised garden beds for vegetables. We just never knew where to put them and never wanted to build something that permanent if was just going to get moved the next year. I think I've moved my garden location every year that we've been here.
But now that we've ordered our shed (it's arriving Thursday!), and our shed/deck application is with the township Zoning Department, we've sat down and finally come up with plans for the side yard.
That is..."permanent" until we add on the garage some day ;)
So anyway, here are two views of the three veggie beds:
Each bed is 3' x 8' with an 18" walk between and a 2' walk behind.
I wish I would have taken some pictures of this space while all of our wonderful helpers were working away. It was a HUGE job. The concrete foundation from the old side steps had to be removed, and they were screening dirt with a homemade screen sifter that Opa built and brought, to get enough soil for the beds. Now I have to work in the peat moss and manure that Lori helped me buy Saturday, install the soaker hose (not sure how to do that yet), and then I will be ready to plant!
I think I may jump the gun this year and break Opa's "Wait until May 15th" planting deadline, because if these beds don't get planted within the next few weeks, I have a strange feeling it may not happen at all...
And that would be very sad.
I'm hoping to post our plans for the whole side yard, to give a better idea of what's to come. In the meantime, here's a sketch of what I'm hoping to plant in the beds (two squares = 1 foot):
It may be a bit squishy, but certainly no worse than previous years. So many veggies, so little space ;) I've got two of three beds staked already and I think it'll be OK.
Asparagus and perennial herbs (lavender, sage, oregano, fennel, and thyme) will be planted on either side of the shed. Mint and lemon balm will go in big pots somewhere on the walk in front of the beds, as well as two pots of strawberries. I still need to find a location for my poor rhubarb...when we moved it to make way for the fall driveway expansion, we unknowingly put it directly where the shed will be going, so now it has to be moved again!
This may all change a bit once I get going, and I've never grown beets, scallions, Swiss chard, peas, beans, asparagus, or most of those herbs before, so we'll see how it goes!
4:50 p.m. — Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Yes, that would be chicken wire staked and tied around bushes. Not saying it's impenetrable... just gives her less of a head start.
Ryan's not so crazy about my ghetto, temporary solution, but it gets the job done and that's all that really matters right now.
4:02 p.m. — Friday, April 25, 2008
Last night, Lori and Heidi (and Kirstin) mixed peat moss, dehydrated cow manure, and a little humus into our new garden beds. Once we add a little more topsoil, we'll be good to go.
2:00 p.m. — Sunday, April 27, 2008
At the workday, Pam and Brian's job was to prime our front door. We purchased our first tinted primer for the occasion — the medium gray from Home Depot. Later in the week, Pam came back to paint the door. (They were insistent we not finish their job ourselves...how could we say no to that?)
Here you can see the red paint going on the gray primer (and you can see Pam's spunky new summer haircut). As the first coat went on, we could tell how well it covered the door.
Here's what Lily and Heidi (and me) were doing while Pam slaved away:
Supervising is a very important job.
After only two coats, we had a beautiful Behr Terra Cotta front door. It was as if our house was waiting for this color to look complete.
The evening Pam was finishing the 2nd coat, Ryan and I had to leave for Bible Study, and Brian came over to take a look at the finished product after we had left. A few days later, we found this on our camera:
This was too good not to post for the world to see. Seems they had quite the time in our house without us. Though their little baby Jillian doesn't seem to know what to think...
7:41 p.m. — Monday, April 28, 2008
Our Zoning permits were approved today! Next step: submitting the deck plans to the Building Department...once we make a final decision on decking material.
But the Zoning approval is all we need for the shed, which was delivered in two HEAVY boxes last Thursday.
I'm sure shed set-up will be all Ryan will talk about or think about from now until this weekend. The shed will go to the right of the house. Here is how that space looked after the workday:
These two shots were taken from the driveway and the side door, respectively.
Here's a general idea of how the whole area will look:
This sketch is a little old (for instance, the compost bin will not be in front of the shed, and there is no actual shade where the shade garden is drawn...oops), but it gives you a general idea of what's planned for the whole space.
These were the runners-up:
One of the reasons this idea was nixed: I wasn't crazy about the shed opening in front of the fence onto the driveway. Wasn't quite private / secure enough for me.
This plan had the patio too far away from the side door and too close to the driveway / street. This would have also required much more grading, to get the back of the shed level with the front.
Click on any drawing to enlarge and to see how it connects (or would have connected) to the proposed deck.