Monday, September 23, 2013

Doin' The Deck...It's Done!

This post has been a long time coming.  If only because we spent so much time, sandpaper, paint, sweat and tears on our deck.  Not actual tears.  Just the kind that you shed when you look back at the cost of the fixes and lipstick you were putting on a pig.  In our case, it was a rotting pig.

Well, that rotting pig is gone and there's a pretty fancy one in it's place.

Before: Circa 2006
After: 8 Years Later

Yeah, I can't believe I live here.

I shouldn't be that shocked - it's not that we didn't have a plan.  It's just how incredible the plan came to life.  The execution is flawless!

Especially when you consider where we started.  Which was here.

Well, not really.  Before here, back in 2003, there was no railing at the end of the deck and the high railing on the right wasn't there (we're a key lot, so we have 6 neighbors in our backyard, 4 of them to the right).  We added both in 2006 when Jake was born, along with a gate attached to that far railing that fell apart.  We did all this knowing the deck itself was rotting.

Then we painted it last summer for the VERY LAST TIME, knowing it was done, the rot was too much.  Then we decided to renovate the house.

Adios Rotting Pig

The slider dictated the location and size of the deck.  Fixing the old one wasn't worth it because it had rot so completely underneath...oh and look.  No footings.


We spoke to our neighbor about replacing our shared fence.  Which he agreed was a good idea since it was literally being held together by the overgrown vine that was taking over the garden.  We decided to bite the bullet and replace our entire fence because all three sides were like that - falling down.


The old fence didn't have proper footings, so we made sure to put them in.


I did a ton of research and ended up using MicroPro Sienna, which you can find at Lowe's here in Toronto.  It's a treated wood, with a color that looks more like cedar without any staining required.  Eventually it will turn a warm tan color and then finally grey.  All of which we are happier with than the regular pressure treated "green" wood, and the cost and upkeep of cedar.

The guys went to town tearing out that jungle.

The Wall

When our neighbor's deck was complete (yes, he jumped in on a deal with our guys to replace his rotting deck, too), the wall went up.  Before you gasp, this is what we're blocking.

Neighbor's Shed

Our neighbor was totally ok with the height.  And happy that we put that wall up in general.  See, our old shed used to butt up against his shed.  But once ours came down, it exposed some bad aluminum siding on the back of his shed.  It wasn't in his interest to make it prettier since he can't see that side anyway.  So instead, we built the wall to block the siding and tied in with the height of the cedar planks on the exterior of his house.  Win-Win.

Then they got busy on our fence.  

We went with horizonal slats that are positioned about 1/2 inch apart, just to let some sunlight through.  Then, for a little detail, and because the fence is the highest where our neighbor's barbecue sits on his deck, we added thin cuts for extra privacy.  Now there isn't any awkward eye contact that has to be made without needing to peer over the fence.

And then this happened.

Road Trip

We left for our month long summer vacation to Wisconsin.  I left the deck mid-construction!  But my better half went back home for work and told me it was in good hands.  Really good hands.

Because then I came home to this.

Ok, ok, I staged that.  It didn't look like that after we drove 10 hours home from my brother's house.  But really, that's how it looks now.  Those CB outlet pillows and all!

We decided on a sectional for maximum seating.  And this one from CB2 was perfect because of the 2 level built in ledge at the back for plates or drinks or books.  The frame is made out of eucalyptus wood (sustainable & eco-friendly) and should weather the winter without problem.  It's a modular sectional, so we'll most likely stack them on our porch and tarp it to ease the snow to wood contact.

I love the view from our kitchen now.  Such a difference.


Oh that pergola!  The original reason for being was to provide a bit of shade from the afternoon sun.  We had a retractable awning since we moved in.  But having lived with it, we knew how it became a complete sun block.  So the kitchen was either blasted with sun or in a dark shadow.  This was an attempt at providing at least a bit of shade without losing sunlight completely.  So far it works well.


We had the pergola match the height of the exterior brick on top of the transom.  So you can see the top of the pergola from inside.

So where's our storage now that we removed the old lean-to shed on the left and decked to the fence?


This is the beauty of being able to have a professional 3rd party think things through for you.  This is a table with serving top (it will be a stainless steel counter - still in production) on one side...


And a storage area on the other side.  It's hard to call it a shed anymore because it's less than 5 feet tall and not very wide.  But it holds everything our tiny little postage stamp of a yard requires.  The biggest item being a push mower - ha!

So there you have it.  The "4th room" on our main floor, which we love.

All Black

I should mention, we decided to paint the exterior of the 2nd floor windows black.  The white up there and black down there wasn't working.  And we also moved the eavestrough to the side of the house where it empties onto a concrete walkway that was poured to carry water away from the house and out to the street (did that back in the basement reno days).

Yes, there is still garbage in our torn up backyard.  And no, it doesn't always look like this.

For Real

That's more like it.  Except, add a blue tarp over that uncovered chair.  When we got the sectional pieces delivered, we changed our minds on the configuration, so we exchanged a couple pieces...only to find out they were out of stock on the corner cover.

Guess who needs to take a sewing lesson or two...before winter comes!!??

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And We Didn't Even Get A Divorce!

Because that's what assembling furniture will do to us. 

My husband and I cannot put together anything from Ikea without coming incredibly close to a divorce.  It's not about the product, it's the process. 

When I open the box, I take it all out and make sure all the parts are there.  Down to the last screw.  Because everybody knows sometimes Ikea leaves you a screw short and then you are screwed.  When he opens the box, he flips through the instructions and gets annoyed.  How can anyone possibly understand this?  Words are said.  Blood boils.  Divorce...almost.

I'm the methodical step by step organizer.  He's the results oriented, conceptual big thinker.

He just wants to get there.  I like to enjoy the ride. 

You get it. 

So when it came to assembling the Craigslist bunk bed, I pre-empted the whole thing.  "We will not get a divorce over this bunk bed."  "If it gets to a point where we're both really pissed, we'll stop and walk away."  "The kids can always sleep on the floor for another night."  Hug.

That really happened.

And so did a successful assembly.

I was so anxious about the impending divorce, I didn't get a shot of the bedroom with two twin mattresses on the floor before the husband brought the hardware up from the livingroom. 

More Before
Just close your eyes and picture those two mattresses side by side on the floor, feet to the window.  There, that's the real before. 

And these are the helpers who witnessed our no divorce promise.  See, still smiling.

Then this happened.  Notice no more kids...they got bored about 2 seconds into the assembly.  Notice darkness outside the took patience and time to follow each step accordingly.  Notice no was at this point he looked at me and said, "So, you got this from here, right?"

It was definitely pushing into dinnertime and definitely only-piddly-screws-left-that-one-man-can-finish-this-thing-up time.  So, no, that wasn't an avoiding divorce comment.

He helped me move it into place, snugly between the back wall and the door.

Too snug
And then I realized the dresser had to move, too.  A small room doesn't need a squeezed entry.

Done! For Now.
Ta da!  Ok, wait, yes, those are suitcases on the floor.  And no, that's not the final dresser.  The laundry basket is not an appropriate hamper.  And we really should get a rug in there. 

But at least the bunk bed is up and the boys love it.  #2 on the top, #1 on the bottom.  It was a compromise.  And it works!

So, no divorce.  I even pushed my luck and did this on the weekend, too.

More Assembly
We got a call that our coffee table came in, so Steve drove over to pick it up.  I had him measure our trunk -in the rain- before he took off.  No surprises. 

He called when he got to the loading dock and laughed at me.  It came in a box (see the first pic) and we had to assemble it.  What!?  The loading guy wished him luck...after commenting how difficult it was to put together.  But it turned out fine.  I really took advantage of that no divorce talk.

So here's the table now.

Before - Lack
After - Pi
It really ties in with the room.

Especially the walnut in the niche around the black TV.

Just don't get too close to see all the fingerprints.  Ahh!  I'm letting go.  We didn't get a divorce :)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Back To Life

So we're home in Toronto.  Home in our new old house.  Back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

It feels great.

Especially when the rain subsides and we can do this at night.

The deck is done.  The furniture is not.  Nor is the garden.  I can deal with the bad garden, but the furniture has got to be in place before I can show it.  It's coming, really soon, I promise.  Totally worth the wait...

This felt great, too.

Not just the fact that they got together for a picture, but what came after that picture.  Back to school.

1st Grader

Henry is a trooper.  He takes whatever you throw at him and he goes with it.  Like the fact that he was starting full days at school and didn't even know who his teacher was.  (It was an open position)  We met her that morning and she was lovely.  He walked into school like he owned the place.

2nd Grader

Jake is the tough guy teddy bear.  He won't look scared or act worried.  But he'll feel it.  And he was feeling it.  Until he found his friends...then he was ok to go in. 

And I had a whole day with George. 
(I must say, #3 is easier to handle when #1 & #2 are around.  Built in playmates are no joke)

Lastly, this felt pretty great, too.

Bunk Bed!

I've had my eye on this Ikea bunk bed for over a year.  My parents bought one for their house when we descend upon them.  It's sturdy, hard to damage and inexpensive.  Nothing says "made for boys" like this sucker.

We renovate our house.  I plan for the bunk bed.  Renovation done.  I do an Ikea run to buy mattresses and the bunk bed...and it's "oversold".  That's what the price tag says.  Oversold.  What!?

I find out that's code for discontinued.  DISCONTINUED????  No.  Just no.

We leave with two mattresses and no bunk bed.  I scour the Ikeas in Toronto.  Gone.  Sad.

Spend a month in the US.

Come back, mattresses still on the floor, scour Kijiji & Craigslist.  10 days later, it's in my house.  Phew.

Ikea, I still love you, but not for this little adventure.
Craigslist, you are great. :)