Tag Archives: deck

Spring Update

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve given an update, and we’ve made lots of progress on a few different projects.

Our garden is planted, for the most part, and includes snow peas, a couple jalapeno peppers, eggplants, 2 roma-variety tomatoes and 1 grape tomato, bush zucchini, spaghetti squash, large sized and  pickling sized cucumbers, various herbs, and leeks. We started everything from seed inside about a month ago (except the snow peas, which were planted outside and are now a perfect row of happy little pea plants), so we’ll see how this goes. Doesn’t look like much now!

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We’ve also gotten a number of perennial flowers happily planted in our new flower bed, and everything is really starting to grow with the recent warmer weather.

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We made some mild progress on our balusters, and got them all primed with the paint sprayer a few weeks ago:

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But then the pollen hit and we decided to hold off on doing the final paint coat. No one wants yellow paint on their stairs! So these are still piled in our living room awaiting that fate.

We are almost done with our little side tables for our guest bedroom – they got stained on top, and got a coat of light gray paint (a runner-up color for our kitchen cabinets, when we were still considering painting them gray, so we already had that paint). Another coat of paint and some sealer and they’ll be all done. Here are some photos of this project from the beginning. They are kinda-matching, kinda-not:

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The paint stripper took of multiple layers of gummy, old paint.

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Tops all sanded

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Getting some stain

We’ve also made some progress with the buffet piece we’re refurbishing for our friends…the wooden surfaces we salvaged are all stained now, and the body is waiting for primer and paint. Nik busted out the router this weekend to practice with, since we’ll be attempting to cut out the middle of the solid doors in the front of the piece to put in some radiator grate or glass so they can put their cable box in there and still get a signal through to their remote. I’ll save pictures of this till the end…so it can be a surprise!

The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I dragged all the cut pieces of crown molding out of the garage, gave them a quick sanding and dust-off, and got the paint sprayer out. I’ve never put semi-gloss paint in the sprayer (which is what we use for our trim paint) so I was a little worried about how tacky it might feel – but it worked like a charm! The finish was really nice, and a bit glossy (not as glossy as when painted on with a brush). We had one minor clog in the gun, but running some water through it seemed to fix the issue.

So that took all of 15 minutes to do, once everything was set up. After about an hour of dry time, we decided to just go ahead and mount the pieces since we already had pressure in the air compressor. We started in the dining room and made it most of the way around the living room. There’s a few pieces left to hang but we finally called it quits at dinnertime.

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Everyone knows crown molding is challenging – and we definitely have some wonky corners/edges. I think the challenge is not finding the right angle, but getting the piece perfectly level and lined up in the saw – especially if its a 12′ wobbly piece hanging out the other side of the saw. If it’s not perfectly level, your angle can be a few degrees off. That combined with our walls/ceilings which aren’t remotely straight has left us with some intimidating gaps. We’re just going to have to make really good friends with the caulk gun for this project!

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Before

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After!

Despite my attempt to make organized lists of things to accomplish for the weekend, Nik always manages to go off and start a completely new project – like ripping apart most of our side deck off the garage, and replacing the floor, stair treads, and railing. Granted, this did have to happen at some point since the boards were completely splintering. He used left over wood pieces from the jungle gym – but we need to get a few more boards to finish the stair treads and railing. Before:

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During and after:

Progress-wise, our goal this month is to get the crown molding finished and patched, get somewhere with the stair railings/balusters, get our friends’ buffet piece and our guest bedroom tables finished up, and wrap up refinishing a dining table in the garage that we’ve had for a while that Nik recently unearthed and started working on. And THEN we can start on our bathroom!

 

Our Yard

For this post, I’ll introduce you to our new yard. Nik and I love gardening, and a yard that had some nice trees but also some good sun was important to us. Admittedly, the yard at our new house was not one of the best selling features, but I think it’ll work for us to build a garden that is hopefully pretty and fruitful eventually. With all the work we’ve done cutting back overgrown trees, I also think we’ve gained a fair bit of area which is always good.

I’ll start off with the front yard, which is grassy with two large crepe myrtle bushes on either side of the house. These bushes were way overgrown, so trimming them into an actual tree shape was one of the big tasks out front. Our parents made huge progress on the left bush, here’s the dramatic before and after:

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Then the right bush had some actual trees growing up out of the middle of it, so we invited our friends Lindsey and Dave over with their handy chainsaw and we did a number on this bush as well:

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And here’s the after picture of that bush:

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Next, my dad used his edger to trim back the awful crabgrass encroaching on our sidewalk, curb, and driveway. Here’s a before picture and my dad in action:

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And here’s some after pictures…I think we gained a few inches on every edge!

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In our backyard, the woods were also encroaching and there were tons of big vines hanging down. My parents and Nik’s mom and I worked for hours back there, and these pictures don’t do our work justice because we took down A LOT of brush. You can see the huge brush piles we’ve made, and what a difference it made – we can actually see our woods now and they’re very pretty from the back deck.

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Our playset is still up, and eventually it’ll be taken down. We’re brainstorming some creative projects we can do to use the weathered wood. But Nik had to play in it first, of course.

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Unfortunately, disturbing the trees in the back has unearthed some monsters that need to be dealt with, but also some cute tree frogs:

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Our front shrubs were in need of a trim, which I tackled with a donated hedge trimmer from my parents

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And our grass grows crazy fast – this is only one week after mowing, which I do every weekend:

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We did some upgrades to our deck, some of which I have pictures of. Nik’s dad put our new grill together, and powerwashed the deck – you can literally see the line of dirt that has come off, and it’s looking pretty good now. Nik and his dad also attached a new top railing since the old one was pretty splintery. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that so you’ll have to imagine it.

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Whew. So much work has been done outside, and it’s looking great! We still need to figure out where to put those huge brush piles, but we just signed up for yard waste bins and they’ll do a big haul away once a year so we’re hoping that’ll take care of most of it.

As for the inside, our floors are coming along decently. We ran into a bit of an issue this last week, which I’ll write about when I do my floor post. The opened-up wall is also coming along great – one more dose of drywall mud and some wet sanding and it should be ready for primer and paint. Here’s measuring to make cuts and putting them in:

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And here’s the (mostly) installed drywall:

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And here’s Nik doing the mudding:

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Now we’re down to the wire. We’re moving in on Monday (5 days!!!) and our to do list is not exactly short. I painted the master bedroom last night, so that might be the last of the painting before we move even though there’s still 2 unfinished bedrooms. The floors are the major thing to get done, but we have an uneven area that needs to be dealt with before we can lay the last 6 or so feet of rows. That’ll be the big task this weekend, that and, oh, just packing up our entire apartment. I always judge TV home improvement shows for always rushing their projects, and I’d rather take my time and do it right, but here we are scrambling to get finished so we can move in!

So next post will be the floors (that will hopefully be finished and even by the end of this weekend!). And then I’d like to nap for a week after we move!