Sunday, September 2, 2012

Deck Redux

When we purchased the house, the backyard came with a deck. While not the prettiest, it served its purpose well and was used semi-regularly when friends came over.

With the remodel, the deck saw its fair share of abuse, and about a month ago, we decided to rebuild it. Rebuilding involved so much more math and construction I had not anticipated and I am so so happy it is over.

Old deck, and old deck demo:

After demo, we went to Home Depot and bought all the lumber they had:

And Chris tried to figure out how to fit 16' boards into an 8' trailer while lots of people watched.

After a slow and careful ride home, Chris and our awesome neighbor hauled the insanely long boards of lumber into the backyard. We used some of the old joists from the original, but doubled the overall size by building out another 8 feet. We also beefed up the support, with a few beams and some extra concrete deck blocks.

For the actual decking itself, we used yellow pine because our goal was to paint the deck something foxy! Each board was painted with primer first, then screwed into place on top of the joists. This took a lot more time than expected because 16' boards are almost always warped, leaving uneven gaps between each deck piece. To fix this problem, we ratchet-strapped each board into place to keep consistent spacing between boards.

Once all the boards were screwed in, Chris painted the top deck with a coat of white deck paint.

Then came the fun.

I really REALLY wanted to paint a chevron pattern on our new deck. This involved a lot of spacing, math and numbers that I was not ready for, but Chris was able to copy the pattern off a pillow from our living room.

And again, I will keep you readerzzzzzz waiting for more. Will post on the actual outcome of the deck chevron pattern tomorrow. Tonight, we are off to a laborless Labor Day partaaaay!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


So our bathroom remodel is still not complete. Not to worry though, there is plenty to blog about at our house, and tonight, it's all about the backyard.

When Chris and I were looking at houses, the last thing on our mind was the state of any outdoor space. As long as the lot had something that resembled a 'backyard' we were happy. Things like grass, trees, even a fence really, just didn't seem important. 

Fast forward 18months to the present and reality has it. Here is a before picture of our jungle-esque backyard:

Being that the grass was becoming a bit of a fire hazard (?) and a family of raccoons had made our unruly backyard their new home, we figured, no better time that the present to take on this new project. by ourselves. in the dead heat of summer.

Some more before pics:

Deck Before:

We are still not done, but have made some significant progress in the last few weeks. I will hopefully post on our progress tomorrow. But tonight, I am sleepy. The fall semester has started and I teach an 8am class on T/TH mornings. 

But before I leave, here is an inspiration photo:

jaaaaykaaaay guys.

For Realz Inspiration:

Friday, August 17, 2012

We're back!

Hello there, Sangeeta here!

After a much needed home improvement hiatus, we are back at it, finishing up some horribly neglected house projects!

Almost a year ago now, we tore apart our house, added a small addition and rebuilt EVERYTHING back together. *Hopefully* we can backtrack and chronicle much of that process on this blog, but right now, let's talk bathroom.

Our ONE bathroom is something we (Chris) decided to tackle ourselves. After the contractors moved it from its original location in the kitchen, I figured the hard part was over.


Finally, 11 months after the bathroom remodel from hell began, we are starting to see the light.



Total sink-envy.

And our mess of a bathroom. The color is actually more coral than this picture represents.

The beadboard and stencil are up. Now for trim work and painting...and a chandelier.

Fingers crossed this bathroom is done by Sunday!

Happy Weekend!

Pictures via: Pintrest, Elle Decor.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jumping Into Homeownership

Despite the cheesiness of "love at first sight" or "you'll know when you find the right one", I (Chris) can say that I knew the house on Avenue H was right when we first saw it. It was a 1938 bungalow (2 bed, 1 bath, 1000 SF) on a decent sized lot. Some of the plusses:
- Good curb appeal and new paint, despite lacking any sort of landscaping/grass in the front/back
- New roof
- New electrical
- Refinished floors

Essentially, we could tell that the house had a lot of potential. During the pre-purchase inspection however, we found out a couple of not-so-great things:
- The chimney wall had suffered a fire several years ago, necessitating a rebuild of that wall (and the reason for the new roof)
- The "refinished" hardwood floors were not in as great of shape as they looked. Instead of being done professionally, they had been over-sanded and stain-sealed. They also lacked a subfloor, and several spots were noticeably weak, creaky and drafty.
- All original plumbing
- Despite being mostly level, the house was sitting on the original cedar post foundation from 1938.

One of the largest problems however was that the layout was really awkward (and likely the reason it was still on the market). There hadn't been any major renovations, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, which shared a common area of the house along with an oversized laundry room that was somewhat out of place in a 1000 SF house. Sangeeta and I took turns with a pad of graph paper, some mechanical pencils and a bottle of wine trying to sketch out the layout pre-purchase. This is a rough approximation:

As you can see, there's an entryway, living room, and then a small cutout to enter the kitchen. The kitchen layout was awkward due to three points of access (living room, hall and laundry room), wasted space in the middle of the room (that was too small for a table, but too big to not be used) and a lot of the potential space was being taken up by the laundry and bathroom areas. The water heater and bedroom closet were also taking up a lot of valuable space right in the middle of the house.

We had been working with a contractor who was gracious enough to come to several of our potential purchases and assure us what we wanted to do could actually be done. We had dreams of ripping out walls and opening up areas to make the kitchen and bathroom that we wanted. The good news was that it was definitely possible, but like most projects, it's just a simple matter of money and time. The less of the first you have, the more of the second you need.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

H is For House!

We are dumb people. Last year when our realtor told us we’d be able to close on our house in early May, we were excited but also terrified. For some reason all of the stars aligned to have the closing on May 6th, the literal day before our wedding. While we were genuinely excited about the prospect of getting to spend our first night together in our new home, we also did a lot of second guessing – are we rushing into this, is the price right, what if it turns out to be a shit-hole, etc. In the end, we decided to jump off the deep end and sign the papers less than 24 hours before our wedding day.

Despite the trials and tribulations along the way, we’re happy to say it was the second best decision we ever made. Over the last year, we fell in love with the house, made an offer, got incredibly frustrated, walked away, tried to forget, kind-of-but-not-really forgot, revisited, re-offered, re-negotiated, shook hands, signed papers, indebted ourselves until the year 2042, got it inspected, moved in, decorated, moved out, destroyed the house, rebuilt the house, moved back in, and halfway decorated it back. Looking back, it seems incredibly fast, but it still feels like it’s been a process of years, not a matter of months. Some pictures of the house as we first saw it:

The house from the curb. Note the lack of green ground covering.

The entry-room, which was likely the original porch that got enclosed at some point.

The backyard looking in.

Laundry room looking out at back door.

In the kitchen, with it's one window.