Remodel

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Remodel

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Remodel[Photo Gallery] Mary Lou and I bought our first home in December 2003. We looked at 30 homes in three days with our realtor Cindy (who is great by the way). We looked right passed several homes that we thought would be "projects". We ended up buying a little more house (read more expensive) than we planned so we could have a larger yard for the imminent arrival of Sadie and Cleo (our two black lab mixes). We loved the culdesac and the mature trees.

Well, as it turned out, the house actually needed a lot of work. Many of the things we liked at first glance, turned out to be problems in and of themselves (shoddy workmanship, etc). After living in the house for a year, we have started to form an idea of the architectural and design styles we both like, and thus it began: our ongoing project house. The postings to follow will describe the projects we have undertaken or are currently working on. The [Photo Gallery] link on each posting will take you to a photo album of each project.

Resources:

Let there be light!

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New can lightingWe've been spending time on and off over the last several years trying to transform our front room into something nice. It's an awkward little space with traffic flow problems, lack of natural light, odd architectural relationships, etc. Over the last several weeks we've really been trying hard to nail down some decisions, and we've done pretty well. We've chosen some furniture: the chair and ottamans are visible in the picture, the new couch has been ordered, and wall color is final (the patch closest to the leather chair - 50% tint of Miller Devine Filbert). Color selection has been particularly painful due to the lack of natural light, the very red floors, and our limited choices for couch fabric and area rug colors. After several iterations, it's been finalized and we're just waiting for things to arrive.

Planting Party!

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100_5773The front yard landscape project continues on helped along by great friends who willing gave up an entire SUNNY Portland Saturday to work in our front yard last weekend. We were finally ready for plants so I took a trip to a recommended nursery, Farmington Gardens, and had a wonderful time picking out plants. We ended up with over 30 plants that need to planted and as quickly as possible. When the Mauery's offered their help we gladly to them up on the offer. We got to work at 10 am and other then a lunch break pretty much worked through until 5 that evening, but we got all the plants in. The kids were great and played together or watched tv most of the day so we could work. It was amazing how much we got done. Even more amazing was the transformation to the house, plants just add so much.

500 lbs closer....

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Okay last post for the day (I think). So Saturday before our big scare Darren and our neighbor David got the old water feature set back up in its new home. Darren estimates that the basalt beast is about 500 lbs., and the landscape plan mapped a 5 foot diameter hole, so it was a big job -- says the girl who really only had to keep the 2 year old out of the way. Darren spent a lot of spare time last week figuring out what he needed and gathering supplies to get the monster in place so that Saturday he could just work.
100_5693 First off he had to dig the hole. It was 20 inches deep in the center square and the square is about 2 feet wide. The outer circle is only 6 inches deep but is about 5 feet across. Unfortunately it rained the night before so our lovely clay soil was also not very forgiving. The nice thing was that it was a cloudy day. Because of the recent rain it was also a bit humid so after about and hour of digging Darren decided to ditch his shirt. It took him about 2 1/2 hours to dig the hole -- and haul all the wheelbarrows of dirt (about 8) to the back yard. Then he lined the hole with landscape fabric and pond liner (at which point I decided that it might make a pretty nice personal hot tub!).
100_5698 After a quick break and a clean shirt Darren got David and they went to work devising how they were going to get the behemoth into the hole. They ended up rolling it onto the wood supports across the hole and then David acted as a counter weight as Darren lowered it into place on the concrete blocks (they had to do this very carefully because they couldn't afford to break the 1 inch pipe on the bottom of the fountain that would connect to the water pump - nor would they ever get it out of the hole once it was in). Once it was in place Darren held the rock while David shimmed it so that it was stable -- since we are pretty sure Devon will try and climb it at some point. :) Then they put in the pump, added some fill rock, some water, plugged in the pump, and tested it out.
100_5709 Darren hooked it to a switch so it's easy to turn on/off -- even a 2 year old can do it. Devon loves it and loves playing with it. We (by which I mean Darren) still needs to add a bit more fill rock and then we'll add a few bigger stones to break up the splash a little bit and add some more interest (luckily we have quite a few large rocks laying around in our yard). Then we'll add some larger river rock so that we don't have a pool of standing water (that way I don't have to keep Devon out of it) and the feature will be done. Then a few more plants and some mulch and I think we'll have the front yard pretty well cleaned up.
It looks beautiful and I am very thankful to Darren who worked so hard. His entire body was sore that evening. And it turned out that we both stupidly forgot sunblock for him - his whole back is bright red just adding to his over-all pain. I think he'll be taking a bit of Ibuprofen for the next couple of days. Thanks Darren.

Paint and Cap Rails

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Corey Barnes has been hard at work for the last couple weeks painting the exterior of the house. He saved the rear deck area for last, and it was pretty complex with all the columns and the railings. This gave me time to build the final 16 foot tall column wrap, which really helps complete the space. Once painted, I was able to cut and install my cap rails, which really help break up all the white, and ties the railing in with the deck. I had to include a picture of the front porch as it is still one of my favorites spots of the house, it has a lot of the key design elements all in one place: the cedar ceiling, the wrapped column, the window trim and the window muntins, the lights, the door with dentil rail, the raised deck... etc. Enjoy the pics.

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One more tree bites the dust

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Well I finally won and our Alder at the front of the house was taken down on June 26th. Darren loved it but it had a split trunk that was leaning toward our neighbors house and it didn't look all that healthy to me. When the arborist was taking it down he did notice areas that would have cause us problems later on -- one being a large branch over our house that he felt was sure to have fallen off. Also as we looked at the 18 inch rounds we noticed they were all cracked right at the center -- like the tree was slowly spliting right down the center of the trunk. Needless to say I am glad to see it gone--as is our neighbor since it dropped a good portion of it's leaves and seed pods on his roof. Our landscaping plan does spec. another tree for that same general area--a Japanese Stewartia--but it shouldn't get quite as big (and it will flower).

We have Paint....

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Yeah we finally have paint on our house! It looks SO different and we love it. Our painter, Corey Barnes, has been working on it for a week now and he still has a few more days to finish up but it looks great. The front is mostly done (except gutters) and he should be spraying the back deck railing in the next day or so. We are so excited. And Corey is as meticulous as Darren so we are extremely happy with the level of work done. It looks amazing. Check out the pictures Exterior Paint and let us know what you think. Oh and here is a comparison (I just couldn't resist) the 1st one is of the house right after we put our offering in on it the second is from July 3rd.
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Interior Window Casings

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The First One[Photo Gallery]To finish off the traditional trim-work in the house, we wanted to dress up the windows with more than the builder standard drywall wrap. Our design includes a horned stool, apron, side casings, and header that stands just a little proud of the sides.

PARR Lumber delivered all my Radiata Pine (Windsor 1) casing stock and MDF trim in 16 foot lengths, so rather than let it sit on the garage floor to be kicked around and dinged, we cut it up into rough lengths and packaged all the pieces for each window together. Now I can just unwrap one window's worth of material at a time and get to work.

The casings are pocket screwed together and then shimmed and nailed in place. The trim boards follow to finish off the unit. The largest window is 8'x6' - but the jam-extension box seemed much larger as I was maneuvering it through my house! The stool was 101.5 inches long! Over that long of a span my 1974 ranch's less than planar walls became all to evident. Some cosmetic wall surgery and creative scribing was required to get a nice snug fit of all the trim pieces.

I have a total of 7 interior casings to complete, and completed the 3 public-space windows this weekend. 4 to go...

De-construction....

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100_5180So we had some sunny weather last week and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be outside. Luckily there was work to be done. I have been wanting to pull down our lower back deck for over a year now and Darren kept telling me to wait because we weren't ready to start doing hard-scaping. Well recently the railing started falling off of their own accord and since the deck was several feet off the ground on one side it became a hazard (Devon loved to stand on it and throw the dogs balls.) So on Wednesday afternoon I went out with Darren's reciprocating saw and started to take down the railings (much to Sadie's dismay - she loved that deck). I spent about an hour and a half getting all the railings off. That left an extremely unsafe structure but I knew I could finish it off the next day. Sadie took the extra time to get in as much lounging as possible 100_5181

Columns and Railings: Part 1

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100_5161 Aaron and his crew from Homes New and Old completed the rear deck framing about a year ago, and I finished the decking a few months after that. I hired Aaron back to install the cedar ceiling, the only things left were the column wraps and the railing. With spring fast approaching, we were eager to get the deck in usable shape so we didn't miss out on another summer of outdoor entertaining. I called my Dad and he was willing to join me for a solid four day weekend of work, while Mary Lou and Devon flew off to Nevada to visit her family. Before Dad arrived, I spent several hours preparing detailed drawings and step-by-step instructions for preparing the material and assembling the wraps and railing. The railing system consists of both wrapped and unwrapped posts, the wraps cover all the pressure-treated (PT) 6x6 posts, and the 4x4 posts serve as intermediate posts ensure a rigid railing. The design for the columns borrow several elements from the early 1900's Craftsman homes of Portland [Column Gallery] The railing itself is a more traditional style, mostly following the construction described by Scott Schuttner in Building a Deck. A few pictures are featured in the text below, but there are many more that capture some of the details in the [Columns and Railing Gallery]. [More...]

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