We are making huge progress on the side yard! The goal is a new wall, a new deck and a new flagstone walkway before Europe. Plus, finish painting the house! Which has turned into quite the beast.
Back in the spring we made a goal to really focus on and tackle big projects on the outside of our house this summer – we dubbed it the Curb Appeal Transformation (even though a good chunk of it isn’t visible from the street ) and while it’s nearly fall, I’m so happy with how on target we actually are. Even if that means we’ve had to bring in reinforcements here and there (in the form of friends, family and even a few tradesmen) when absolutely necessary.
A quick reminder on the jungle that was our side yard just a few weeks back:
Here’s where I left you last in the part 2 post on laying the new foundation for the wall that would box in this new space:
Amazing how many details and how much time a project like a cement block wall can take!
Here the boys are slowly building the wall up and up! Two levels…
…quickly turned into eight.
Safely barricaded behind a door and glass, I’m observing some heavy duty cement block slicing to create the very top layer of the wall. This wall is one of those projects that I left to Kevin and was happy to do so.
Finally a “brown coat” (which isn’t necessarily brown) was applied to give the plaster a surface to adhere to, the final layer will be a tinted plaster. More troweling, measuring and leveling ensued:
Woohoo! Now that’s a wall!
Kevin designed the wall so that it stair stepped down from the back of the property to the front of the house, where it is only 4 feet ish high. We can still have friendly conversations with our great neighbors without them being Wilson-style (Home Improvement, anyone?), but the tall back wall will allow us to enjoy the dining portion of the future deck in privacy (and keep music, etc contained).
Here’s where the new wall meets with the existing wall:
A day’s work is done!
The toughest critic was probably our little building inspector…
She questioned the use of gravel over our built-in irrigation system for the future planter box, but was pleased overall.
Speaking of planter box, Kevin applied a watertight sealing over the area that would soon hold veggies and flowers to ward off potential water damage.
The last part of the actual construction of the wall was the planter box itself. Here’s the footing being poured into place:
And the entire cement block process was repeated to build a mini wall.
Sometimes it’s cheaper and more efficient to bring in a big cement truck to help out, like we did here, but sometimes it’s more cost effective to mix up that cement yourself (stucco, too):
Helps to also have a cement mixer in your toolbox (er, garage), I think we found this guy on Craigslist a long while ago and have used it for many, many projects.
The soon-to-be entrance to the side yard from the front:
And here she is! Plenty of room for a big deck and dining space:
Liv approves, and plays with her best friend while we all check out daddy’s hard work at the end of the day.
Bodie is such a good dog. I can’t believe he was just a little puppy when we moved into this house.
Tags: Construction, DIY, Home
Posted in Construction, Curb Appeal, DIY, Our Yard, Renovating Adventures | 7 Comments »
Last I left you we were on our way to transforming the jungle of a side yard that is the left side of our home (from the street view) into a cozy outdoor dining nook. More progress to share today!
Here’s a glance at the yard just as this project was breaking ground:
And here’s where we left off after the last post:
Next up for Kevin was digging a terribly long trench that stretched from the existing wall in the back all the way to the front of the house. Talk about back breaking work! The trench ended up at about two feet wide and 40 feet long.
It’s hard to see in that above photo, but just below the pink paper is our neighbor’s existing sidewalk, and the trench drops down into that dark dirt just below. Our neighbors have been awesome during this entire process (they’re wonderful neighbors, seriously the best) and we’ve definitely been invading their space.
And here’s the existing block wall that we’re building off of (though the walls won’t actually touch until the very end and they receive an overlapping final coat of a tan shade of concrete – same color that is there now):
Here’s a close up of the footings which will help hold the rebar (an important part of the internal structure of this wall) in place:
The rebar slips up and over the metal prongs protruding from those concrete blocks.
Finally we brought in a cement truck for a few hours to help fill in that trench with a thick layer of cement. Alternately, Kevin could have mixed the concrete himself and filled the long trench with wheelbarrows full, but we find that Craigslist is a great resource to find a concrete truck that has a couple of extra hours available in between big projects at an inexpensive rate. Kev’s done the whole mixing concrete thing himself (we still have a concrete mixer in the back somewhere) and it’s great for little projects!
To get said concrete into the trench, we also hired a Craigslist subcontractor that handles pumping the cement from the truck directly into the trench (rather than pumping concrete into a wheelbarrow and manually into the trench – which can take many, many round trips!).
Very soon the trench was looking more like this! Kevin and his friend David are carefully leveling and measuring as they go. This newly filled trench will provide the base for the concrete block and it needs to be perfectly flat so that we end up with a nice and straight wall.
Getting there! So very close. Next up is stacking the concrete block and mortaring in place.
Here’s to that stud in the white shirt and khaki shorts that keeps knocking this wall out (or up?) one day at a time.
Tags: Construction, DIY, Home
Posted in Construction, Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Our Yard, Renovating Adventures | 2 Comments »
Our home has a pretty big hallway in the center of the house:
Which is part of the reason we used a corridor of the old hallway to create a second bathroom and pantry, and I’m pretty sure we’ll cut into the hallway even further when it’s time to redo the master bedroom and bath.
The space gets a really great bathing of sunlight because of a large skylight, and it’s also where I used painter’s tape earlier this year to create my own wallpaper design and chalkboard fun area for Liv.
These days the little seating area is gone (I’m looking for a less bulky solution) and the chalkboard chair rail area has turned into a full blown art wall.
The above photo actually brings me to the purpose of this hallway lighting post – I would really love to switch out that above light with something fantastic! The hallway is regularly used by us and guests alike, as it leads to a bathroom, Liv’s room and our bedroom. I’m thinking something oversize? or extra bold? Maybe a store bought solution (if I find it at a great price) or maybe a DIY version inspired by images from my hallway Pinterest board. Here are a couple of examples:
Ooooh the beaded options are intriguing, and how great are the various basket/wood shades! Or perhaps a store bought cone or farmhouse light that’s then painted gold on the inside? I also love the idea of messing around with some sort of transparent plastic to create some unusual shape. I’m all about creating some sort of lighting from scratch, here’s a link to the capiz shell light that I made for the guestroom/office.
Our current light isn’t horrible, actually I really like the style and I’ll try to find a good home for it elsewhere in the house.
Here are a few Ikea inspirations:
For a slightly better visual, here they are photoshopped into our hallway:
First up, something made of a transparent white plastic – kind of fun?
Maybe not first in my book but it’s different.
The next is along those same lines:
I love the idea of a black shade in here! Though I wonder if all of that excellent light in the hallway will become blocked or filtered, depending on the type of shade used. A gold lining would be a neat accent:
I would love to bring an organic basket texture into this space. I love the basket light on my Pinterest board even more, but that one’s a little pricey. Could be a neat DIY:
More ideas! I really love these hallways:
Any thoughts or ideas? I’m hoping to make up my mind on this this weekend to cross one more item off of the to-do list. But there are just so many choices .
Tags: Accessories, Decorating, Home, Lighting
Posted in DIY, Home, Our Hallway, Renovating Adventures | 8 Comments »