Friday, July 28, 2017

Project House Update: The List 5.0

I'm late posting my annual list this year. And, as of right now, there isn't much new on this list since last year. In a couple of weeks, you'll understand why. Some of the biggest projects and updates we've ever accomplished should be wrapping up soon and I am so excited! Right now, we are in completely over our heads, but it will be worth it! And we will have so many things projects to remove from this list next year!

If you'd like to go back and see what we've accomplished in previous years, click one of the older versions of this list below, otherwise, let's see what's changed!

June 2013: Version 1.0
June 2014: Version 2.0
June 2015: Version 3.0
June 2016: Version 4.0

* means something Dan wants to do and I am trying to talk him out of.
# means something I want and Dan is ignoring and hoping I'll forget/change my mind.
bold means something new or completed since the last version of the list.


Done: Paintedinstalled new light fixture, set up corner table, hung some art, modified closetrepainted and upgraded doorbell, new light
To Do: New flooring, new baseboards, coat rack or console table.

Dining Room:

Done: Painted, hung curtainsinstalled recessed lighting and repaintednew chairshung some art and new shelving
To Do: Find a big statement art piece, new flooring, new baseboards, new light fixture, redo dresser into china cabinet

Formal Living Room:

Done: Hung curtain rod and curtains, hung ceiling fanpaintedupgraded light fixturestiled fireplacebought lampnew floorsarranged furniture and hung art 
To Do: Make mantle for fireplace, new molding, build built-in bookcases, get fireplace working 

Kitchen/Breakfast Nook:

Done: Painted, new ceiling fan in breakfast nook, removed awkward ceiling fan in kitchen, installed new microwave, purchased refrigerator
To Do: New floors, new cabinets, new range instead of built-in oven and cook top, new counter tops, additional lighting under cabinets, pendant lighting over the sink, new bar stools, finish painting chairs for breakfast nook, new windowsills in nook*, new sink.

Great Room:

Done: Paintedpurchased entertainment center, hung art, hung TV, routed cables through the wall, new coffee tableadded more seatingnew ceiling fan*hung star mirror.
To Do: New floors, new molding, maybe repaint a more subtle color#, widen doorway to entryway, add sofa table. 

Master Bedroom:

Done: Painted, installed new ceiling fan, purchased dressers, new blinds bladeshung curtainspurchased bed frame 
To Do: New floors, redo fireplace, install crown molding, new door (instead of stupid sliding pocket door)#, find side table for Dan, more lighting. 

Master Bathroom/Closet:

Done: Replaced sliding glass doorremoved and patched toilet paper holderupgraded toilet room, added storage
To Do: Paint, new floors, new vanities, remove overhead dry wall pocket*, new mirrors, add wall sconces, french doors into closet, new shower*, new shelving and organization in closet, chandelier, twinkly lights around top, furniture (including a standing mirror and an island/ottoman), find a cat bed they will sleep in instead of next to 

Guest Room/Guest Bath/Guest Closet:

Done: Painted bookcase and end table, bought bedding, painted room, installed new ceiling fanwindow treatments, magazine shelves, new end table
To Do: New floors, modify/new bed frame, new cabinets and counter top, new toilet, new shower doors, paint bathroom and closet. 


Done: Paint, new lighting, hung art (1 and 2)
To do: New floors, add baseboards 

Hall Bathroom:

Done: Hung some art, removed drywall and purchased tubremoved carpet and wall to create one space
To do: Penny floors!, paint, new toilet, update tub, new lighting, new cabinets and countertop* 


Done: Hung art, new dressernew windownew windowsillnew desknew ceiling fan, new window treatment
To Do: Stain shelving, remove desk and install cabinets, built-in cat box, paint, new floors, new lighting. 

Workout Room:

Done: New windows and window sills, wiring for ceiling fan, paint, ceiling fan, new lighting, installed blinds
To Do: new floors, base boards, paint closet sliding door frame 

Laundry Room:

Done: Purchased washer and dryer, electrical work on lighting, updated coat closet
To Do: Paint, new floors, move sink into garage, build platform for washer/dryer, purchase deep freezer, straighten out crooked pantry, install some shelving, find bench and storage for shoes, new lighting.


Done: Built Turtle's habitatremoved pokey bush, updated Turtle's house
To Do: Remove gravel, plant some trees, fire pit, build housing to hide pool pipes, convert exterior shower into a shed, replace outdoor lights 


Done: Removed fountain, planted some trees, removed a ton of dead cactus, new porch lights
To Do: redo driveway, paint garage door, new driveway lights, paint pergola 

Other things we've done: new roof, updated pool solar heating, adobe bricks sealed, built Dan's external shop (Part 12, and 3), added fill dirt
Other things in progress: -

Monday, July 24, 2017

Project House Update: Hitting Pay Dirt

This is a story that has been in the works for months. And only like half of that is because of my laziness in telling the story. I'll start at the beginning.

I follow a lot of blogs. My favorites are the DIY/home improvement/design ones. And in following blogs, I will enter just about every contest one of these bloggers' posts. If it's a Rafflecopter contest, I am in.

And being decent at math, I should have realized that, eventually, odds would dictate that I would finally win something. Back in Oct, Sarah of Ugly Duckling House posted a story about leveling her backyard along with an entry for a free power tool rental through Home Depot, her sponsor for her post. I entered and didn't hear anything, like normal, so I didn't think twice about it.

Cut to several months later in December when I received an email from Sarah saying I had won. She had chosen someone else randomly first, but they never responded so I was second. I had won a $500 credit to use for some sort of power rental at Home Depot! Yay! And she needed a response by the following Monday of what I'd be using the rental for. Boo!

Dan and I immediately started going through our project list to figure out which ones would benefit from power tools and which ones we were ready to tackle. The front runner was the drainage around the shop. When it was originally built, the contractor didn't bring in nearly enough fill dirt and it had been an 18 month fight to keep erosion at bay. Dan had always talked about assembling some friends, buying tons of dirt, and moving it with shovels and wheel-barrows. My thought was that we could save a bunch of time and friendships with using the rental towards a small Bobcat. He didn't believe there was enough space to maneuver a Bobcat around the shop to get the dirt where it needed to be. He wasn't convinced easily, but we drove to Home Depot, measured one of the little Bobcats and he was finally on board.

I worked with the company who was sponsoring the rental and scheduled for the Bobcat to be dropped off for a Friday and Saturday in February. This gave us some time to get our ducks in a row, mainly ordering dirt, and for the weather to warm a bit.

Turns out, as that date approached, my in-laws wanted to swing through town and stay with us to visit some friends and they were quickly roped into sticking around through the weekend to help out. Free labor is awesome.

Here are some 'Before' pics. It's hard to grasp the angle of these slopes in pictures, but most of them weren't walkable. You could see the paint line at the bottom of the walls where the dirt had eroded, leaving the unpainted concrete underneath. In some spots, this unpainted line was several inches thick.

Once things got going, they went fast. Dan ordered 21 tons of dirt. It sounds like a lot, but 21 tons only translated to 21 cubic feet. It was still a lot of dirt, but in the end, we wouldn't have minded more. But when it's piled up on a (too small) tarp in your driveway, it's a lot. There's a tarp hidden somewhere under there, I swear.

I made Dan and his dad come up with a plan first so we could all be on the same page. We needed agreement on priorities and which areas needed the most dirt and which things needed to not get run over. I worked from home since all the rental stuff was in my name and I let those two men have at it. We were lucky because the man who dropped off the rental told us that we were free to keep it until Monday morning for no charge since no one else was planned to use it before then.

Dan and his dad got into a rhythm very quickly. Dan drove the Bobcat and would pick up a load of dirt, drop it approximately where he wanted it, and his dad would spread it around with a shovel while Dan went to refill. In the span of four to five hours, they managed to move and dump almost all of the dirt.

With one day down and the in-laws gone, we had made all the progress we had planned to make. However, we had the Bobcat for two more days so we went going to let it go to waste. In spite of the rain that began, Dan and I set out to landscape all this dirt that we had moved. Over the course of five years, we had formed a large pile of river rock that had been removed from random places around our property. This pile was huge and we've tried to move it by hand before and it's so incredibly taxing. I'll get two buckets into it and give up. But we had a Bobcat, which changed the game.

In order to keep all this new dirt in place, we covered it with a layer of river rock. Dan would bring over a load of rock and I would fit them, interlocking, over the dirt. I was pretty helpful at first but lost steam quickly. In hindsight, I was battling the beginnings of a cold which I am claiming zapped my energy.

Dan did a great job, though. When he too was out of energy, he at least had the foresight to move extra loads of rock to spots around the shop that we could place in the future. I mean, it's kind of a tripping hazard right now, but that's just more motivation to work on that sooner rather than later, right? He even made friends with a rattlesnake that had built a home inside the rock pile.

Here are the 'After' pictures. We've had several big storms over the past few weeks and it's held up well. There will be some additional work that needs to be done, but we'll do that at the tale end of monsoon season. The best part is I can now walk the exterior of the entire structure without sliding down an incline!

Dan even had the skills with the Bobcat to not run over my little plants.

I'm really glad things worked out this way! Big thanks to Sarah and Home Depot for hooking me up with this prize! Sometimes Dan and I over-complicate things, but being able to use this little Bobcat saved us so much time and sanity. I would highly recommend it!