Happy Spring

Sure, why not…  It took long enough to get here.  After an extremely rainy spring it has been nice to have weather decent enough to work outside in.

So to kick off the season we started with gravel delivery from Green and White.  They delivered 12 yards of gravel for much less than I expected.  Their driver was talented, too.  Check out the video of him spreading the load. (Turn down the volume if you watch the YouTube video, Elsea was a little excited by the big truck!)

If you have gravel delivered, don’t skip the compacting process though.  For $33 I rented a compactor that leveled this spread into an almost concrete-like surface.

We needed some gravel on the advice that it’s a good product to use to set in fence posts.  Baah, use a bag of concrete.  We couldn’t get the gravel packed in there tight enough.

We had redwood delivered from a guy based less than 40 minutes from here (name and contact info to be posted after the final delivery).  Harvested locally and processed locally… it feels good.  It’s so fresh, that you get a pioneer feeling as one cuts and assembles it.

Right now we’re more than half way done with the 200 feet of fence that we’re installing.  We started off by renting a post hole auger.  Get the kind with two wheels and it’s pretty easy to drill a lot of holes quickly.  23 in just a little over an hour, to be exact.

Thanks to Diane for catching us with this drive-by photo shoot.  If you look really close you can see my fingers holding the level in place.  Yep, my job is to hold the level and the board… over and over, and over.  I get the quiet side of the deal, though!

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Ahh, task lighting

One thing that anyone who’s cooked in our kitchen knows, we were missing some task lighting. When we redid the kitchen electrical at the very beginning, we put in a switch and ran a line to the new ceiling area. After flipping the gas range and refrigerator, we determined our counter layout. At Ikea we found a matching fixture to the two recently replaced ones and everything else just fell into place. I’m looking forward to the next dinner party, prep will be so much more enjoyable.

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Blackberry Removal

So I wrote to my parents:

But here’s the crazy part of the last 48 hours… This guy came in to buy a part from Jeremy on Friday and gave Jeremy his card for typing up the invoice.  Seeing that he did blackberry removal, Jeremy asked him to come over and do a bid on our place, to which the guy said that he’d go out right now and give him a call back.  He never called, but turned into the lot behind us around 6:00 that evening.  Turns out that he came over here to do the bid, saw what the folks building the house behind us were trying to do (pull out a bunch of medium sized stumps) and said “hey, I can make short work of that”.  He said since he got this job next to us that he would clear out all our blackberries and level the back quarter, and promised to have it done in time for the softball party we were hosting at 4:00.

See pictures of the process in the link to the right.  Thanks to John Smith of Santiam Cutters Inc. 541.401.0541 for the good work.

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Corrigated Stainless Steel – not so original

It’s funny how it seemed so unique and off-the-wall when I first got started and now I see it everywhere!   It’s not like I was really trying to do something totally different either.  I just liked the look of metal with the hardy plank and the balance between the horizontal and vertical.  In the interest of sharing with you what I’ve seen, here are two photos from a row of condos in Kansas and a house here in Corvallis.  Have you seen a place that has combined the two materials?  Submit your pictures and I’ll post them.

Single story house in CorvallisKansasKansas 2

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The Balcony

Dennis, owner of Gecko Construction did a great job on the siding, and on the patio.  How one guy can get those big beams in place by himself gives me a whole new appreciation for the craftsmen that do this for a living.

What can we say, the summer will see us outside much more this year because of this.

So far the birds are really cool to watch and the stars are perfect for gazing (without having to worry about bugs in the lawn crawling onto the blanket).  It seems like a lot more people look at the place as they drive by too, I guess it’s interesting gazing for them as well.

It’s been rather rainy this spring, so we had corrugated plastic put underneath the balcony.   There’s an umbrella for the top of the balcony.  Check it out; we’re set for  Oregon weather without having to simply watch it from inside!

Another “shout out” I’d like to make is to Benham Electrical Service.  Before we could put the balcony up the main electrical feed into the house had to be moved over about 15 feet.  If he fits into your timeline his price is worth it.

Best thing, okay maybe just another one of the best things:  the sunsets are amazing!

Now all that’s left is to figure out what color to paint the trim.

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They say prep work is the most important step.  I must say that having the right tools to prep with make it a ton easier too.  On Saturday we did the back 1/4 of the house (it was like practice for the next day).  The back 1/4 part we HAD to get done so that the electrical can be moved tomorrow, and then the balcony deck will begin being built shortly after that.

Woke up Sunday morning with the drive to just get the job done!  Started at 9:00 and had the rest of the house masked and ready to spray by 11:00.  Coat #1 and coat #2 done before 1:00 so that Jeremy could make it to softball practice.  Not bad for a weekend (and so glad this paint has a lifetime guarentee.  Like so many of these tasks, it’s great to only have to think about doing it once.)

Thanks to Kate for loaning us their paint sprayer, to Corvallis Rental for the extension ladder and Home Depot for mixing all (and them some more of) those samples!

Next up is to paint the trim, but no hurry, and this was definitely the last big part of the job.  Everything else feels like it will be easy!

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Saturdays are for windows, Sundays are for doors

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A window is a perfect Saturday project.

Replacing a window is a good Saturday project. This one would have gone quicker if the window had been the same size, but don’t let that stop you from having the window that works best for the space. The one variable that I won’t mess with is the top height. I don’t understand headers that well…

For this project, I wanted a window that could hold our new small air conditioner, so I started with those measurements when I went to Discount Windows and Doors in Junction City. They won’t necessarily have exactly the size you’re looking for (but they can order it for you if you want to be picky). Personally, I’m willing to adjust the framing. This window cost me only $89.

before windowwindow after

Replacing this window is step one in a flurry of activity that’s about to happen on this place. The main goal was to get it in place as siding will be replaced in the next few months. Exterior wise, the only thing required is to seal the outside to resist moisture until everything is ripped off, and the house is wrapped and new siding is installed. Inside is a similar story; shortly all the paneling will be removed and we’ll be down to the studs. Insulation will be added and a fresh layer of drywall will be applied.

It’s amazing the difference that replacing just this one opening in the house makes. “Sound” is very telling, and two panes of glass are much better at keeping sound at bay. The other element that was surprising, is how the view out the window changed by changing the dimensions. The focus of the view is now the white picket fence of the nursery, and a flower garden will be lining it by the end of the summer. Previously the feeling was more of looking at the sky.

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Can we get rid of this chimney?

The thing about a remodel, is that one thing leads to another. Rarely does a project just require one step.

2' x 2' chimney going through one of the upstairs bedrooms.  You wouldn't think that 4 square feet would really take that much out of the space, but it's right in the way!

2' x 2' chimney going through one of the upstairs bedrooms. You wouldn't think that 4 square feet would really take that much out of the space, but it's right in the way!

The official "after" photo.

The official "after" photo.

To get rid of the chimney, first we had to change the heat stove.  There was an old, 20 plus year old clunker sitting in one of the main rooms.  They told me “no matter what you get, it’s going to be at least 20% more efficient.”  What was most significant was being able to vent it directly out the wall, instead of venting up the chimney.

Take a look at "Just moved in" page and you'll see the old heat stove.

Take a look at "Just moved in" page and you'll see the old heat stove.

So next it was time to remove the chimney, but once the chimney’s out there will be a hole in the ceiling, so we probably need to plan to re-shingle the roof too.
Thanks to our friend Jack for hanging out with us for several weeks; removing the chimney, stripping the roof and putting on the beautiful new architectural shingles.

Notice the missing chimney?  I think the roof looks a bit better, too.

Notice the missing chimney? I think the roof looks a bit better, too.

So after replacing the heater, removing the chimney, redoing the roof, it was time to finish the interior of the bedroom. Eventually I’d like to vault the ceiling, but for now, just having a soothing bedroom space will do just fine.

That's better

That's better.

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There’s water…

There’s water under the house:
Fixed the bathroom drain that was more like a sieve than a pipe.

There’s still water under the house:
Rerouted the gutter water on the north side of the house by making a dry river bed to the ditch, put 3 foot extensions on the west side gutter pipes, and extended splash trays for the south side.

There’s still water under the house:
Well, I think I’ll have to just continue with the sump pump until it dries up a bit. Next I’ll be digging out the old gutter drainage around the back side of the house. I could kind of see how someone might think that running pipe along the foundation base to drain roof water was a good idea, but it would have been helpful if they would have designed a place for it to drain TO.

WANTED: A person with tractor and experience grading reasonably flat lawns in the Willamette valley. Knowledge of french drains and general drainage a bonus.

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