As I mentioned in the previous post about this, Brooke caulked the corners and the gaps that were created along the top and bottom of the walls. We went with a second coat of primer, and a third in the spots that seemed like it really needed it. And after all that……..
AND MOAR PAINT!!!
Once the paint went on, we made significant headway, with me painting large swaths during the day and Brooke “cutting in” along the edges at the points where I’m just not all that patient.
Then, when Brooke was at work, I took care of the carpet. And it took me the whole day. And I had a bed frame to work around… Honestly, the carpet removal didn’t take all that long: I had it all off the wood by the time Brooke was home for lunch. It’s the tedious removal of all the staples that takes forever, but I still had that taken care of by the time Brooke got home after work.
At that point, we were so close that we just finished it all off. I’d vacuumed the floor a few times, but Brooke came back through and wiped it all down, vacuumed again, and put the finishing touches on the floor. We brought the new rug in from downstairs, Brooke put in the new Roman shades, she put in the new light fixtures, and….voila!
After we’ve got everything done, I’ll post additional pictures of it. Meg’s room and our room still need some things on the walls, and we’ve got new furniture picked out….just waiting on Ikea to open up to the point where I can actually go get it in KC… So yeah, we’ll have one last post with how everything gets reset.
Hopefully sooner rather than later, but for now, we’re all back where we belong and things are looking good!
Apparently a lot has been going on these past few weeks…. A lot of work stuff got in the way of posting more on this subject…. Onward!
As we left off in the last post, Brooke ended up spending a lot of time on the southern wall. There were countless evenings of plastering, then sanding, plastering, then sanding, etc. She did her best to make the wall as smooth as possible, but it was hard to secure the new plaster to the lath on the wall. I don’t think she was completely satisfied with it, but it ultimately looked waaaaay better than it did before.
The other walls around the room still needed some TLC as well, but nowhere near what the south wall did. Brooke spent awhile up on the ladder and down along the floorboards to try and clean up the leftovers from the wallpaper, but ultimately, it needed a bit more. After we started priming, Brooke decided that caulking the corners and the edges would be the best solution, so after I put the first coat of primer on, she came back through with caulk, and then I covered up the caulk with the second coat of primer.
I feel like the first round of primer went better in our room than it did in Meg’s room. Yes, it definitely needed another round of primer (as you can see on the south wall in the background, but I still think it took fewer coats to actually be done.
While we waited for the walls to dry after putting more (and more and more…) plaster on, Brooke kept working on the bed frames. As mentioned in the previous post, Brooke refined her process and cut down on the time spent on each part of the frame. In general, she’d work on one at a time, then prime it, and then start stripping the paint off the next frame while the previous one dried.
The primer actually looked alright in its own right. She used spray paint for this, and it took quite a few cans per head/footboard. During the course of the stripping, Brooke noticed that the frames had been a few colors in the past, whether some shade of white or some shade of black. We also considered just painting them some loose approximation of the metal underneath it all, but ultimately, we went with a kind of hammered metal black color.
It turned out really good! It also took multiple cans, but it was really just for full coverage, not because it needed multiple coats. The drying of each board also didn’t take all that long, thankfully, though they did have to be stood up in the garage to let them dry more effectively.
I was letting a set dry outside and a bird pooped on it. This happened on the last of the four, of course…so how the previous three didn’t have that problem is beyond me…
Last, but not least, the welding! It ended up taking a week and a half to get the rails back, and it only cost $40, but it was well worth it. In the picture above, you can see the L-shape of the rail, and then a second, smaller L-shaped portion added as a stabilizer for when the rail is placed upside down. These rails didn’t need as much stripping as the other parts of the frame needed, but Brooke still primed them for paint.
So yeah, that’s how the next few weeks went. Plastering, sanding, stripping, priming, painting…..and so on and so forth……
As I mentioned in the previous post, it took multiple coats to get through this, likely 2/3 of a gallon of paint. I used the roller twice on it, then Brooke came back through with the same off-white color we used in the other bedroom, so it matched. Then she had to come through again with the “Evergreen fog” paint to cover any extra white she’d gotten on the color of the walls. Just a lot of back and forth, really…
I took care of the carpet this morning, cutting it roughly into quarters, then pulled up from the edges. The carpet actually came off relatively easily, but it took awhile to “find my groove,” since it’s been awhile since I did this.
The ongoing coronapocalypse is making trash pick-up difficult, so we’ll try to dispose of the carpet as best we can, but for now, it’s rolled up in those quarters on our back porch. Not ideal, but it is what it is. There’s furniture in our garage awaiting some painting, so it’ll be a bit before we can move the carpet out there. Overall, I think we were able to keep most of the dust from our wallpaper scraping on the carpet so it wouldn’t get all over the floor underneath.
Pulling up the tack board around the edges of the room took forever. I’m pretty sure that was Dad’s job the last time we did this, so I don’t think I’d done much of it before. This was another time it took me a bit to “find my groove” and finally feel like I was making progress. Pretty sure it took me an hour and a half to get just that part done. Brooke came up and joined me for pulling up the staples that was holding down the pad under the carpet, and while that was tedious, it went pretty well.
For now, we went ahead and kept the carpet in the kid’s closet. It will get removed, but we’ve got some time for reasons I’ll get to momentarily…
After a round of vacuuming, then wood cleaner, then more vacuuming, we were done!
So, this project began on Saturday, March 28, and we finished it up on Saturday, April 11th. Technically, we still aren’t done, as we’re waiting on Meg’s bed frames to get fixed up. The frames are from my Dad’s father and brother, so they’re very old, but also only kinda fit modern beds. One of them is a full-size bed frame, but the other is about 5″ too short in the length, so it won’t fit a frame properly. We’re going to try and get a welder here in town to try and adapt it so we can have two full beds in the room.
We’re also getting a wardrobe for this room, so the closet will be mostly Calvin’s, though maybe we’ll hang a few things of Meg’s in there, too. We’re also going to move a dresser into Meg’s room, so there’s more furniture to go in, but again, it’ll take awhile for the beds to be done, and it’ll take awhile for a wardrobe to arrive.
Soooooooo, in the meantime, we’re moving on to our bedroom. We’re letting Meg sleep on a sleeping bag in her new room for a few nights, and then we’re going to break down and transfer our bed and furniture into Meg’s room while she moves back in with Calvin. Then, it’ll probably be another two weeks until our room is done, but then we’ll be mostly “project complete” for 2020. That will give us a few weeks to get the furniture situation figured out so Meg can be in her own room long-term!
Like the last time, we left the carpet on while we removed the wallpaper. Most of the walls only had a single layer of wallpaper, but the one behind the door had a few layers….and layers of wallpaper on top of joint compound.
Brooke was not pleased.
Overall, there were relatively large portions of the walls that didn’t need a ton of work, but the portions by the closet (and on the wall with the staircase to the attic on the other side) already had a lot of joint compound on them from the last time wallpaper was applied. Brooke thinks the latest round of wallpaper was probably put on back in the 80s. Under the wallpaper, she found a handwritten note that was difficult to read, but someone wrote their name and what looked like “198-“….so it’s hard to know for sure, but at least it seems like someone tried to fix the room, thankfully, by not just wallpapering over the existing wallpaper.
After Brooke was satisfied with the cleaning of the walls, I spent a lot of the week putting up some primer. I had to go with a few coats of it to cover up the wealth of joint compound just spread all over the place, and even had some of it delivered from our local hardware store.
The paint Brooke and Meg went with was a color that will go well in our bedroom as well as her bedroom. She originally wanted something more purple-ish, but….we don’t want purple walls in our room, so we won out. This color is called “Evergreen fog.” Granted, I’m partially color blind, but I can’t really tell where the “green” is…
I’ll save the rest for another post. The painting took a few days to finish up, and we still have carpet to pull up!
The back yard has been something of a work-in-progress for awhile. The hostas were never Brooke’s favorite, grass wouldn’t grow well close to the house, and it wasn’t really usable space (as in, we didn’t sit there, didn’t throw a ball there, etc.).
Separately, I’ve never been completely satisfied with having my grills up by the garage. They’re fine there, but there are times when we’re entertaining guests and we have to move the car out of the way in order to sit closer to them.
Thus, we had the brilliant idea of putting a patio in that would help solve some problems. We figured it’d be a relatively cheap operation and something we could handle ourselves. We had Lowe’s and Spingwater deliver stuff so there wasn’t a lot of transporting back and forth on our part, aside from a few incidentals we needed to help fill in.
But first, we had to get started…
First, we had to spread things out a bit. We tried to level it as much as we could, but the dirt was pretty clumpy and I wasn’t about to bring Dr. Gault’s tiller over… Still, Brooke spread out the remaining mulch from that spot and worked the dirt around to get a pad started.
Brooke figured out her brick edging system with the storage shed we put up a few months ago, so she put her experience to work with the edging here. She really did a good job with it, leveling each one, digging out the pathway, and stacking where necessary to get them perfect. It took her quite awhile, but got it done! I don’t think her back felt great, though….
In some of the space between where the patio was going to go and the retaining wall, we moved over some of the big rocks we had left over from the porch remodellast year. Mostly, we did this as “filler” so we wouldn’t have to put so much mulch and topsoil down, but while we were at it, we placed some flatter ones around as stepping stones.
Next step, after placing those rocks and adding in some topsoil, was to start laying down the layers under which our pavers would rest. Again, this is the same process Brooke went through in April, albeit on a larger scale. Brooke used the calculator function on Lowe’s website to know how many backs and bricks we’d need and, forthe most part, we think we had enough…but honestly, we could have probably used a few more bags to get the layer a bit thicker.
The sand is where we really noticed it, though. The instructions suggested 1″ thick sand and we simply didn’t have anywhere near that. We hemmed and hawed about what to do, I made some phone calls to local stores, Brooke made a trip out to a few to ask around…but in the end, no one in this town had sand for sale. This was possibly due to the flooding of the Missouri River nearby where sandbags were made, but who can say… We even stopped in Moberly on the way back from lunch with Brooke’s parents and their Lowe’s didn’t have anything for us.
So yeah, I ended up getting a few buckets of gravel from Springwater to try and move the edge of the pavers out a bit. Definitely not ideal, but serviceable. After we got that far, we put down the pavers and the plastic edging that should hold them in place.
The pavers are…sadly…not level… But they’re pretty close and the grills roll over the pads effectively, so we’ll see how it goes. We can always pull them up and add some sand underneath as they settle, so we may just go that route when we get some motivation.
For the last addition, we picked up a post from the local hardware store and some concrete to put in a set of hangers for some plants. Brooke applied a nice stain to it. It’s pretty.
The mulch was the last bit to add. Springwater brought 200 cu ft (because we ordered 100 cu ft last year and I conveniently made a note saying we’d need more than that….and we totally did…). That amount was barely enough to cover the back space of the yard and didn’t make it around to the front.
Brooke also picked up a nice wooden plant holder to put a citronella plant in. I’ll report back if it actually does any good…
The plants look good on the hangers, too! Brooke picked up a few more hooks so we can hang a bluetooth speaker and other things if we find a need.
She also added another step just down from the retaining wall that will transition to the walkway I’m in the process of extending. I’ve got one more pad to install, but we’ll see when I get around to it. Maybe this week. Who knows.
Last but not least, I re-edged the front porch to hopefully make those bricks more stable, and then bought another 10 bags of mulch for the front (and I could probably stand to pick up a few mores when i get around to it).
That’s it! The exterior of the house could still use a good spray-down of the siding, but otherwise, I think we’re going to “coast” for a bit while we work the garden (per usual) and get grass seeded where needed.
Now, I just need to pick up some pork chops and brats and break in the new patio!
I’ll be honest: I don’t exactly remember what sparked this. It definitely wasn’t me. Perhaps it was Marie Kondo…
Brooke wanted to re-arrange the living room a bit, and as she thought more about how that would look, she also started looking at furniture. When we moved to Marshall, we picked up a really nice wooden futon that was just fine for our needs, but wasn’t particularly comfortable. We could have just picked up a new mattress for it, but it also kinda felt like it wasn’t “Real Furniture for Adults.” At the same time, having Sam has meant certain…compromises…with regards to furniture. The cat has claws and has taken them to our couches over the years. We got a pleather couch for Iowa that he made short work of. We had a microfiber couch in St. Louis that lasted a bit, but he still ripped up…
Thankfully, Sam’s a bit older now and doesn’t seem to be scratching at furniture as much. There’s no guarantee he won’t do the same thing to this furniture that he did to other pieces, but Brooke inherited a couch that we’ve had in the music room and, for the most part, it has survived shockingly well. Brooke also ordered a carpeted cat scratching tower, so hopefully Sam will eventually use it. To date, he has hopped off of it every time I’ve put him there. Figures.
Anyway, Brooke did some shopping and decided to visit one of the furniture places here in town. After looking around a bit at prices, talking with the sales folks at the furniture store, etc. she settled on a Lay-Z-Boy couch covered in blue velvet upholstery. So far as we can tell, it should hold up to cat claws relatively well (because the fibers are so tightly woven…he shouldn’t be able to get his claws in there…shouldn’t)The velvet is a “low pile” variety so it feels really nice, but doesn’t seem to catch much cat hair…yet.
Originally, the plan was to just get a couch, but for awhile, Brooke was looking at sectionals for additional seating. After thinking over it, she decided just getting another chair would probably be fine, so we got one of those, too, under Lay-Z-Boy’s England brand. She went with a gray fabric for that one that turned out really nice. I’m not sure how often we’ll actually sit in that chair (as it’s probably more likely to be used when we have company over), but Sam, so far, has liked falling asleep on it. And it definitely doesn’t catch cat hair all that badly…yet.
Anyway, it’s taking some “getting used to,” as the new couch sits up quite a bit higher, making it harder to use the coffee table as a foot rest. I’m sure we’ll make the necessary adjustments eventually, but at least for now, I can say they’re all quite comfortable!
Early last week, they started forecasting snow for this weekend, but depending on which site you looked at or which day you checked, the estimate varied from 2 to 10 inches. Thankfully, most forecasts thought the bad weather would hit on Friday rather than Thursday, making it more likely it would head into the weekend, therefore not disrupting work or school.
It turned out that a Winter Storm Warning went into effect at noon on Friday. With everything heading in, Calvin’s school (and mine…) were called at noon and Meg’s at 1:00. Brooke new the bad weather was coming and “battened down the hatches” at work, so she was ready to come home a little early, too. I went ahead and hit up the Y before picking up Calvin so I wouldn’t feel the need to run on Saturday.
The snow started right around noon on Friday…and kept going…and going…and going… We had maybe 4 inches late-afternoon on Friday before settling in for the night. By morning, we had 8 inches on the ground.
And it kept going from there.
About mid-morning, Meg and Calvin were invited over to a friend’s house to sled and make snowmen. With the depth of the snow, I wasn’t sure how sledding would go, but they packed it down well enough to get a few good runs in. Otherwise, the temperature was in the low-30s, so they still had fun just messing around.
Brooke and I drove out to their house twice, so we got to head around town a bit. Odell was fine, but our street was…bad. Thankfully, the Forester handled it like a champ, though it did struggle in our alley a bit. The slush in the intersections was difficult to get started in if you were moving slowly, and we ran into a few drivers that caused us to come to a complete stop. The second time around, we drove in from the northern end of the alley, and that was the better call. We also ended up helping to push a few cars, getting them moving again.
After coming home, we did lunch and rested a bit before going back out later.
Eventually, we clocked at least 12 inches in the alley, though it continued to snow more as it went along. I don’t know the official tally, but when I looked out the window a bit ago, my driveway was covered….again… I wouldn’t be surprised if we had over 13 inches.
Anyway, the kids went outside again later in the afternoon, so I watched them from the window while playing on the Switch. Much warmer that way… 🙂
The last time Brooke and I saw this much snow, we lived in Iowa. The crazy thing is, we apparently recorded 10.7 inches that day in early February, so this was more by a substantial amount. Granted, the snow drifts up in Iowa were considerably taller than anything we had here, but still.
Hopefully we’ll get more sledding in tomorrow! Who knows if they’ll have school on Monday – probably depends on how many rural roads get cleared tomorrow. Regardless, we had fun today! The kids loved the ridiculous amount of snow!
So, as mentioned in the previous post, we had a bit of rain coming through and had to protect the porch as best as we could. We hung some tarps from the roof line because it wasn’t supposed to be all that windy and it was more likely that any moisture that did get onto the floor would evaporate faster than it would if we just laid tarps out on top. For the most part this held true, though the mailman had to walk up onto the porch and tracked wet foot prints, so it wasn’t a perfect solution. Still, it was better than the alternative.
Eventually, after a few days, the sun returned and we were able to get to work on painting. We put two coats of primer on and two top coats on the floor, as well as one coat of primer and one coat of a more “cream” color on the columns and previously-white portions of the porch.
Unfortunately, toward the end of the primer coat on the columns, we noticed something going on down in the foundation…
Brooke noticed it first. Some of the rocks and mortar from the supports had fallen out overnight. This happened after we’d been on the porch with our initial priming work, so we’d been on there quite a bit, but never felt any shifting. However, clearly something happened.
Even the floorboards had separated a bit, so now pine between the boards was exposed and, obviously, wasn’t primed against moisture. The floor had dropped ~4 inches, so it had also separated some from underneath the siding.
Needless to say, this wasn’t good. We called the construction folks and had them come out the next morning. They looked it over and decided the supports had to be replaced. As we couldn’t prove that this was necessarily their fault (and, honestly, we can’t know that for sure…it could just have been a coincidence, but seriously, we were not wanting to spend more than we already had!), we were going to have to shell out more to have them lift the porch and replace the supports with fresh cinder blocks. And this was going to take more time, which meant that we couldn’t paint anything because it could move again!
So, they came that same afternoon to remove the supports and replace them with temporary wooden ones while they poured concrete bases for the new blocks to go on. This part was done the afternoon we first contacted them.
Then, another guy was supposed to come do the masonry work…but he was engaged in another job elsewhere, so it took four days for him to finally come and take care of it!
By the time it was done (on a Saturday morning…the weekend we took the kids to Columbia to be out of our hair while we finished this…), the blocks looked good and everything was solid. It just took substantially longer than I wanted to get done!
Granted, you can’t make plans around construction, because “things happen.” Still…I don’t have to like it…
Once the blocks were in place, we could finish the painting of the floorboards and trim, and also do all the landscaping we had planned. Brooke picked up boxwood bushes, blue rug juniper, and sky pencil holly to go in the front from our local landscaping place, and we also had 100 cu. ft. of mulch dropped off. (Side note: apparently 100 cu. ft. of mulch isn’t enough, so get 150 next time!) We struggled to find landscaping pavers we really liked, as multiple places in town didn’t have anything in “grey” and we didn’t really want to drive down to Sedalia, but thankfully we lucked into some for $1 each at Wal-mart, so that worked just fine!
We put those in and did our best to secure them, though we didn’t use a shovel to dig a ditch for them like we probably should. I’m hoping that they’ll settle out over the winter months and be fine for next year, otherwise I’ll knock them over while mowing…
The landscaping was mostly done by Saturday, but we had to wait until Sunday morning for the construction folks to remove the supports and drop the floor for us to finish painting and put the lattices back up. Brooke also spent a substantial amount of time with a small paintbrush filling in the gaps in the floorboards to limit the water that could cause damage. While she finished that up, I grilled some awesome steaks out back… 🙂
The next day after church, we put the railings back on, as well as the lattices. The lattices went on alright, though they don’t fit quite as well as they did with the new supports.
That part wasn’t so shocking, but the railings proved more difficult than we’d expected. Apparently the columns weren’t put back in exactly the right places, so we ended up having to saw them down a bit to make them fit appropriately. I also had to run out and grab a few more brackets that would fit the railings better (because the ones we bought fit some railings, but not all railings…ug…). Still, they’re a bit wobbly as they’ve always been, but they’re far more secure than they were before!
Finished product! Those pencil holly should grow up to ~6 ft high, so we’ll have to trim them, but they’ll drive people toward the center of the stairs. The plan is to remove that center railing once we get some time. It’s falling apart and a coat of paint isn’t going to fix it. We also switched around the furniture relative to where they used to be because we realized during the course of work on the lattices that the western side of the porch is actually longer than the eastern side, so it makes more sense to have the couch and chairs/table switched.
Lastly, because we were waiting for paint to dry, Brooke took it upon herself to finally, ultimately, gut the yucca plants.
Seriously, she’s been waiting for years to get rid of them. When the bees were here, the yuccas provided some useful shelter in the winter, but without bees, we don’t need them! They’re gone!
That’s it! It took a lot longer, and a lot more money, than we’d originally hoped, but I suppose that’s to be expected with home improvement projects. We’re happy with the finished product, at least!
The bushes in front of the house have been there since, likely, the 1950s. It’s hard to know for sure, but considering how “full” those things were, it had to be for decades.
They weren’t particularly good looking and housed wasps and ground bees from time to time, so we’d talked about removing them for the past few years. The floorboards on the porch have gotten worse this year and needed replacement, so we were prompted to move up our timetable a bit on removal of the bushes.
We haven’t had much time this Spring so far, so Memorial Day weekend was the best option to try and get some of the work done. Last weekend in Columbia, I picked up a new reciprocating saw and some blades; we picked up some new clippers for Brooke for her birthday; and we borrowed my Dad’s chainsaw.
We went at them with the clippers first and then employed the reciprocating saw to go closer to the stumps of the bushes. There were two bushes in the front on each side that we were trying to remove, as well as one pine tree on each side. The spirea bushes were also overgrown, but we wanted to keep them and our local landscaping company, Springwater, recommended trimming them back substantially and letting them grown out again. Springwater also gave us some other landscaping ideas that we’ll employ as the Summer progresses.
The first two bushes went down relatively quickly and we had the next two trimmed down before lunchtime, so we made good progress before the temperature increased, though the sun got intense as the afternoon went on.
We took some breaks, of course. The kids were in the backyard with the pool up and various water toys, so they were entertained while the grown ups did actual work on their Memorial Day weekend…
I ended up using Dad’s chainsaw on the stumps and was able to flatten them out a bit to make it easier to cover them up. The stumps proved a lot stronger than we’d anticipated and the chainsaw proved useful, but not enough to complete the job. I hacked at the last stump as best I could but may need to let it rot a bit first before I can take an axe or something to it.
The wood under the porch floor seems to be pretty well intact, so we don’t think we’ll have to gut the whole thing and should just be able to replace the floorboards. Obviously, that could change (because we’ve never done anything like that before…), but we’re hopeful that it should be a relatively easy project.
We’re going to wait until after vacation before we kick that one off, though!
After setting up the new shared bedroom for Meg and Calvin, it was time to do something with Meg’s old room. However, after putting a week into that new bedroom, I wasn’t really in the mood to scrape even more wallpaper, so it was decided that the second room would be turned into a play room. In the interest of maintaining our sanity over this Christmas Break, we decided to leave the carpet and wallpaper for now and consolidate all of the toys into that room.
We now have another TV set up for the first time since living here and we have a Fire TV Stick on order to make it a little “smarter.” The only station it gets over bunny ears right now is PBS, but we can live with that. We’ve also got the Lego table set up in front of one of the windows.
Brooke had a crazy idea about the wall that will improve over time. As the kids draw more pictures and do more “art” at school, it’ll get clothespinned to the string she put up for all to see. The easel is also near two new tables we picked up from IKEA to replace the two we previously had, only this time, we put some chalkboard contact paper on it.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how the contact paper will last on the tables, as they’re also intended for Play-doh and other things. The idea was that roads and towns could be drawn on it for Legos, cars, etc. We’ll just have to see how they use them…
The last wall involved a purchase of a 9 cube organizer and some bins so we could put all those toys in a mostly central location. Their Kindle Fires can be charged because of the port behind the shelves, so that’s where they’ll live and not in the bedroom (unless it’s during the day). Hopefully we can foster some better habits that way.
It’s going to be a work-in-progress for awhile, but it’s more organized than before! And now the Music Room downstairs has many fewer toys just lying around because they’re all upstairs! There was also a “culling” of baby toys that the kids otherwise wouldn’t get rid of on their own, so this was a good opportunity for “Winter Cleaning.”