Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fence post

I apologize for not posting about this project sooner, but I thought we'd be done a couple of weeks ago.

One of the things we've always planned to do in the yard was to fence it in. Here is the yard before fence (with set posts). By the way, the white monstrosity replaced a singe stall stucco garage that matched the house beside it. Sad.

Here is the same expanse with an almost finished fence.

We chose to build the fence from scratch, rather than using pre-made panels. For one, it offered more ability to design it how we wanted, and for another, we could custom fit areas and (I think) build a higher quality product.
This is the fence from the outside. Our design was based off a picture in a fence book we bought at the "orange" store. That, combined with the multitude of how-to books from our local library (that reminds me, they're overdue) gave us most of our inspiration and methods. The first weekend, we had help from my dad, my grandpa and my sister (who came on her day off!). This sped the process up greatly. Without their skills, tools, suggestions and labor, we would still be setting posts. The fence is five feet high, and made from surplus playground cedar. This allowed us to have a cedar fence at a much lower price. It came pre-stained, too. the only downside was that some of the boards had pre-drilled holes, but many of these could either be cut off or used.
All in all, we are very proud of the fence, and have received a lot of compliments from neighbors. A boy on his bike even stopped and said "Wow, that looks beautiful!" We've met some neighbors too, and have given and gotten fence-building advice.

I thought I had true after pictures, but I don't, even though the fence is finished. I will post those soon, along with a picture of my newly expanded garden.

Mostly, it's satisfying to actually finish a job on time and be happy with the finished product. Arlo loves it too. Although, after one Peter Rabbit-esque incident involving a panicked rabbit and a dog fulfilling his innermost desires, the rabbits have left the yard, much to his dismay.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A new development

So, the beadboard was giving us a lot of trouble, and after giving up and taking a nap, we decided to go to Home Despot to get a ladder. Why do you need a ladder to install beadboard you ask?

You don't. However, you do need a ladder to investigate the top half of your house to see if you have clapboard or shingles. Like a lot of bungalows, we have a horizontal trim board on the ridge-line of our house, which separates the siding from the...

shingles! And they are stained! The color is dark green and in good condition (at least the little peak we took). This is very exciting to us, as we both love the look of siding on the bottom half and shingles on the top. The fact that they have never been painted is also very exiting. Shingles take a lot of work to keep up if painted.

Anyway, keep the comments coming. If you have done a project like this, or even any project with your siding (painting, removing, repairing, etc) please share your experiences. If you really think this is a bad idea, let us know that too. Also, if you have cedar shingles, is there anything we should know? Thanks!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yet another ridiculous project we are contemplating

This is the siding currently on our house (actually that's the garage, but you get the idea). It is known as cement-asbestos siding, and was used extensively in the 40s to 70s. It is kind of like an old version of Hardyplank, fake wood grain and all. It isn't bad, but it's not in character with the period of the house and, well, a little too frilly for my taste. As part of Kevin's birthday present, he was allowed to peak under the siding to see if the original clapboard was there and what the condition was like, as the current siding is more of an annoyance to him that it is to me.
It was there, and in pretty good condition. The paint was practically falling off. There were a lot of nail holes, but the wood looked good.

We HAVE to paint the trim this year, as it should have been done about five years ago. Theoretically, it would be a good time to do the siding removal. I say theoretically, because, a project like this comes with some risks. Following is a list of pros and cons to this project. I have included a poll on the side bar, and I encourage all to vote. Also, if you have experience with a project like this, or a strong opinion, please leave a comment.


1. The clapboard would be so pretty. See, here's Tom Silva from This Old House installing some:

2. I could paint the house the colors I want.
3. It would not be blah and white.
4. There is very little risk in handling asbestos siding as it is only about 5% asbestos, and that is embedded in concrete.
5. My parents own a truck and are gone frequently in the summer....what do you say, Dad?
6. The house would be back to its bungle-splendor on the outside.
7. We could buy this nifty tool:

8. We have nothing better to do.
9. It would not be blah and white and frilly.


1. The condition of the original siding is really unknown, but the stuff we found underneath seems like it's in good shape. (People generally installed it for the same reasons they install vinyl siding today: a salesman came to the door and told them it was maintenance-free; not because the siding was falling off the house)
2. It could get expensive if the condition of the siding is in bad shape.
3. The top of the house might be clad in cedar shingles, but for complicated reasons involving a scary wooden ladder that came with the house, we haven't checked yet. That could also get expensive.
4. Asbestos will be annoying to deal with: we would have to wear respirators and be very gentle with it, as it is only dangerous when broken.
5. It could be a lot of work (though see PRO reason #8)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What could be more fun than

Backing the car up into your backyard because you can? I mean when you have big loads, like dirt for the yard, a wicker couch for the porch you grabbed off the curb, my birthday present (a wine barrel turned rain barrel!!!!!) or Kevin's birthday present:
I mean look at that thing. There was no way I could carry it through the garage. That would be at least four additional steps I would have to take. Plus, it's just fun to drive in your yard. Why own a house if you can't abuse the privilege? Who's with me?

P.S. I also dented the trim Kevin just installed when bringing this into the house. I say it adds character, though I think he might be less than thrilled.

More from the Spontaneous, Ridiculous Project

Here is a close-up of the fifties wallpaper. Of course I saved lots of it; it was just too...kitschy to throw away. There's even numbers on the measuring cup!

Here is the wall in all its painted glory. Colors never show up well on the computer, but it is more blue than it looks. Picture a sky right before it rains. The beadboard is going in this weekend. On a side note: see in the left-hand corner of this picture where the door frame is? That's the door to the basement. This is the thought process of our PO:

Wow, this wood paneling is going to look amazing. I should take down this old growth, beautiful trim and replace it with plastic. While I'm at it, I should put in fake wood trim on the door leading to the rest of the house, too. Now what to do with the door to the basement? What to do... I know! I can use a piece of the old door trim to top it! Beautiful!