Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playhouse/side yard

This is how the south side of our house looked when we first moved in. It stayed this way for about a year and a half or so. The pavers looked alright but they were put in wrong so they were really bumpy and uneven. I considered leaving them but eventually I decided to pull them out.

This is how it looked after I sold all the pavers for about $350. Sweet.
It's a good thing we pulled out the pavers. That is when I found one of our downspout drain pipes had a hole in it. (On the left next to the house.) That was a separate adventure trying to fix that. I can't get into it now. I didn't take pictures of that process either so I guess you can call me if you have a similar problem.
Dirt smoothed out. Pipe still busted.

We started building a playhouse for the kids. We found the plans (free) on ana-white.com. You should go there. Seriously. It's awesome.

All the sides framed.
I used lauan for the walls.
And then trimmed all the sides.

And then painted it all out.

And painted the insides white (primer).
And assembled it in place. Since the playhouse is on the ground, I screwed pressure-treated 2x4's to the bottom of each side of the playhouse to protect it. I bought bark chips from a local nursery too. This is before we framed up the roof.
This is after we framed up the roof.

And then I put down some stepping stones which were just hanging around. I was going to get rid of them but then decided to use them. I am so glad I did because I think they are cute.

It sat like this for weeks...months even. I was trying to decide what to do. First I wanted to find materials as cheap as I could so I got to work on that. I ended up getting one piece of plywood from a friend (free!) (Thanks, Shiara), and free shingles and felt paper from a guy on Craigslist. So we roofed one side.

I found I kind of liked looking out my kitchen window and being able to SEE the kids playing in the playhouse. Plus, I was concerned that once I put another sheet of plywood on that it would make it really dark inside. So I figured out a clear roof solution and this is how she looks today! ALL DONE! WHEW! (Oh! And we added the shutters...and the new fence!) We were lucky that our neighbor decided to replace his fence. We paid for half of our side.I moved the red table in and got the chalkboard free. I found a guy on craigslist from a church who was switching from chalkboards to whiteboards! So I threw that up and the kids can draw with chalk all they want and I NEVER have to worry about cleaning up chalk dust!

I took apart an old bench from our deck and put together this sandbox. There is no sand yet (obviously) and I still have to secure the corner "seats." But the kids are getting excited about that. P.S. Is it illegal to steal sand from the beach?

This is just the view as you look back towards the deck.

I am so excited this project is done! The kids love it and I am glad the roof is on just in time for the rainy winter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deck re-do

This is how our deck looked when we came to look at the house. Not our stuff. Note the hot tub. Also note the benches screwed down to the deck. Also note the delapidated fence in the background.

The poor deck was horrible but sturdy. My kids got slivers on it and it had HUGE cracks in it. But our budget did not allow for replacing it. What could we do? We decided to sell the hot tub and we took the benches off.
Even after we power washed it, we could still see where the hot tub was. We power washed it at the highest setting which chewed up the surface of the wood. We were aware of this and it was actually part of our plan since we were going to sand it anyway.

This is just another view of the deck after power washing.

That's me. I am sanding. That thing was serious!

This is Jeremy. He makes it look less serious.

This is after sanding, but before we blew all the dust off. You might also note the spot on the house where the bench had been. Those lazy painters didn't bother to take the bench out to paint the house. Also notice that the part of the deck where the hot tub stood is smaller than the original part of the deck. Really annoying. But I can't do anything about it right now. Oh! And the pavers! I take those out later too.

Here it is with a good hose-down. Looks nice. And you can only see the hot tub scar if you look really close!After it dried for a couple days, we stained it with a semi-transparent stain which turned out to look like paint. It looks good but shows all my kids dirty footprints. So if I could do it over I would probably choose something lighter. Maybe just a clear coat?

Freshly stained! But still with the pavers and bad fence.

We have since replaced the fence and taken out the pavers.

Overall the refinishing of this deck cost less than $150 bucks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kid's/Guest Bath redo

This is what our bathroom looked like before. Jeremy was never really a fan of the blue. The curtain shrunk in the wash and the shower rod was never really secured to the wall. My kids pulled the towel bar down a few times and so the wall had seen one to many repairs.

I found this shower curtain at Goodwill (new) and had some leftover paint from the playhouse that happened to coordinate. It is darker than before but it gives the bathroom sort of a more sophisticated feel. I like it.

There is a lot of white in the room which helps balance the gray. I will be painting the vanity soon too and in the long-term, will be replacing the counter and floor.
The wainscoting was fun to do and really elevates the room. I chose hooks rather than a rod. It allows more of the wainscoting to show and the kids can reach their towels easily now.

We like it. We put the light fixture in about a year after we moved in. It was just the "hollywood" bare bulb type fixture.

We like it. It's fun to have a change.

The Reject Piece

The other day I had a rare couple of hours without any kids. I decided to spend some time at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I saw something I liked but wanted to think about. I kept it in mind as I walked around the store. I walked by it a couple of times and something was just drawing me to it. So finally I decided I would regret it if I didn't pick it up. And it was only ten bucks. And apparently, as the back of one of the drawers said, it was a reject. I can't walk away from any sort of reject. Be it person or thing. So it came home with me.

From what I can tell it was a built-in piece. One side was not painted at all and there was obiously trim on the bottom at one time. There used to be a back on the shelves but it had been torn off. Either on it's own or it stayed in the place that the piece was removed from. I guess I will never know. Several of the drawers didn't open well and many knobs were missing. I guessed that the drawers were just put back in the wrong slots and I intended to replace the knobs anyway. It was wood and hand-built. I got it home and got to work.

Upon sanding it, I found it had been many colors over the years. There was yellow, green, pink, white, and right before the last coat of white, a black and red motif. I love the history. What a story. Where was this thing for so long?

This is after a coat or two of primer. I used oil-based just for durability sake.
Here it is after 2 coats of the finish color. It is an off-white. I happened to have a can of door and trim paint from our house so that is what I used. I bought the knobs on ebay and I added the trim on the bottom.
Here she is in place in my bedroom. I desperately need a headboard, which I intend to build immediately after I get a nailgun.
Here she is loaded up. I am still working with where I want things, but I already love it. It feels like a grown-up piece and not a makeshift thing like we have a lot of still. I love how the drawers are shallow but deep. They hold a lot of the little crap that seems to end up in my bedroom.