Adventures in Home Ownership!!

September 22, 2014 - 2:35 pm

So this post is a departure from the knitting I wrote about last week. I enjoyed daily blogging, but knitting isn’t really how I spend my time these days. Sadly, neither is sewing. I’m itching to get my studio going and dive in to all I want to do with Hack Your Clothes, but for the past 8 months I’ve been focussed on the house David and I bought back in Feb.

I’m almost done with all the originally planned improvements. So close. The last one on the initial list is the bathroom I’m tiling. I’m more than half way there:

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The floor is slate pebble tiles. The walls are big porcelain tiles edged with travertine mosaic. The decor will end up having a strong Asian flavor, leaning towards a Japanese garden sort of thing. There’s an antique hand carved and painted lacquer screen to hide the water heater, washer and dryer, and the heater. There’s a vessel sink which is glass with a pattern of koi in a pond. Paper lanterns for the light fixtures, and rice paper shutters for privacy screens on the window.

The contractors come back to finish out the plumbing and electrical stuff as soon as I get the tile on the wall; the floor is already done. But I ran out of mortar yesterday, so this morning I worked on a garden project.

A couple months ago I realized that when mud season starts we’re going to need some paths to be able to move around the house. The house is on quite a slope. We are at war with the blackberry, which was 25’ up into the trees and had grown up to the second story windows from the down slope I’m showing below. To keep it from re-emerging I’m going to be weeding on a hill all winter. I need at least someplace to stand. 🙂

So I started looking on the net, and got bitten by the “make it out of pallets!” bug. In the long run I want to hardscape with custom artisan concrete work. I am hatching plans for terraces and mosaics and very interesting retaining walls based on fabric formed concrete, but that’s a couple years from getting started and perhaps a decade from being realized. So I need temporary paths. Enter the pile of pallets.

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That’s the view towards the driveway when I roll up my studio door. There are paint cans and various other junk from the old owner that we are disposing of; we’re sort of down to the dregs of things that require special handling. After five dump truck loads of trash and eight of blackberry, ivy, and other overgrowth. But I digress.

The big stacks of wood are disassembled pallets. I picked them up off Craigslist, and in free moments of destructive energy I’ve been deconstructing them. There are 2×4’s:

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and 1×4’s:

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And a bucket of nails:

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The are going to be stairs here:

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Note that the railing was part of a daybed frame that was under the blackberry, and all the bricks and blocks were among the debris. This is a sort of “before” picture; I had tossed a few boards on the slope a couple weeks ago, and discovered stairs would be necessary.

I started laying them out today:

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Above shows some of the 2×4’s that will be step risers and the 1×4’s laid out in a test pattern, looking towards the back of the house. Here’s looking from the back to the front:

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Here’s another view of the future stair risers:

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And a look at the area under our porch that’s become tool storage as well as our dog run:

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That bamboo lattice is completely transparent to poodles, but the Belgian respects it. Up soon on the task list is improving the run fencing:

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She goes straight under the mesh along our property boundary, and walks through the lattice like it isn’t even there, so she only gets to go out and do her business with a leash. I’m going to get 6’ deer fence and drape the lower two feet on the ground to discourage tunneling.

The path will get set first, though. I need to level along the house and sink the boards in a bit, then mulch and plant between them. The steps need to be built. And there are a couple other yard tasks in the works in the next couple weeks. 

Anyway. I’ve been not posting because I figured this home improvement stuff is neither fiber nor food, but I’ve changed my mind. I’d like to have a record of the work I’m doing on the house and I like writing. So I’ll be doing more of it, as the whim strikes. 🙂



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