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Punch List: Part the Fourth - Painting

The last couple days have been kind of tough for hitting the punch list.  We're at the point where a few things need painting but the nights have been pretty cold and we've been dodging raindrops.  But we have made some progress.

Now, I don't know the official "construction" name of this, but I have installed a board at the bottom of the porch walls.  Here you see it unfinished:


I put these pressure treated boards along the bottom all the way around.The plan was to paint them a gray that matches the "flagstone" color of the siding.  Then I primed them the other day:

I really like the look of the white at the bottom, but then it rained.  Every speck of dirt that splashed up was visible from half a block away (ok, not really, but in my mind it was bad!).  So I think we'll go with the original plan for gray - but it'll wait for next spring.  The fact is, those boards are too thick and stick out from the edge of the corner pieces and it just looks s…

Punch List: Part the Third - Hatch Door

After removing the shingles from the south end of the front porch, I figured I should cut an access panel into the wall so we could use the area under the porch for storage, you know, things like ladders, lumber and whatever else we have that we just don't know where else to stow it.  So I started out by drilling a hole in those beautiful boards.  In the picture below you can see a hole just to the right of the access panel.  When I was looking at the porch, I couldn't for the life of me figure out where the porch floor was in relation to the ground.  You'd think it would have been easy to figure out but believe me - nothing is easy with old houses. So that hole gave me a sense of where the bottom of the porch floor was and where the studs were.  From there it was just a matter of drilling another hole (still not exactly on the mark), drawing some lines and then cutting with the saber saw.   After opening the whole, imagine my surprise when I found lattice behind there!  …

Punch List: Part the Second - Front Steps

As I mentioned before, the main portion of the current project is complete and now it's just punch list items.  Today was the front steps.  Originally, in that little triangle below the steps we had old wood lattice we had painted brown along with the rest of the stoop maybe a dozen years ago.  By the time this project started, that lattice was pretty worn out, and to do the siding on the stoop, that old lattice had to come out.  This morning, this was the view:
I'm not exactly sure how I installed the lattice originally, but there weren't any spots for affixing the new stuff.  So I had to put in some wood blocks: Once that was complete, I just took my palm sander and gave it a good sanding.  Then I used Kilz primer to get it all ready for painting. Then it was just a matter of sizing, cutting an installing the new lattice. I found that my Sonic Tool (my new favorite tool by the way) was perfect for making quick work of cutting the lattice.  I opted for vinyl lattice and t…

Punch List: Part the First - Sidewalk

I mentioned yesterday that the main portion of our most recent project is complete and now all that remains is punch list items.  Seems that list is a mile long, but I finished one item this morning - the sidewalk on the side of the porch.  Here's what it looked like this morning:
Three and-a-half hours, $34 and five bags of concrete later, one of the punch list items is checked off: This side of the porch really turned out well.  Before the project there was a pretty substantial gap between the bottom of the porch and the old sidewalk.  I planned that all out to close that gap and it actually turned out the way I saw it in my mind (imagine that!).  I used about fifteen feet of that sidewalk divider and some scrap wood; and pitched the sidewalk away from the house.  Next summer I'll have to do some more concrete work, but for now this side is done!

The Big Reveal! (Uh, okay...The Almost Done Big Reveal!)

I can't take it anymore!  We've been working on this most recent project forever now.  Actually it's only been a few weeks, but between ordering material, waiting for it to arrive, the great delivery debacle, weather and jobs...it just seems like this project has been endless!  Well, it's finally done!  Okay, not really done done, but for the most part - done!  There are still some punch list things to do, but the main portion is complete.  So first, let's take a little trip down memory lane!  At the beginning of the summer the front of the house looked like this:
When we remodeled the inside of the front porch, it really revealed how shabby the outside was beginning to look.  So I got the idea to paint the railings on the front stoop... Then the front door, and it started to look pretty good... But then one day I decided the house would look so much better with shutters!  What I didn't mention in that post was that black shutters weren't the original choic…

Retro Project: The Front Stoop

As I've mentioned before, in the early days of our having 173, there were no digital cameras, the internet was in its infancy, the premier search engine was Buena Vista (or something like that) and we had dial-up AOL.  Seems like a different world ago!  We weren't at all diligent about taking "before" pictures so this post has some old prints that I just took pictures of with my cell phone.  Hopefully they're clear enough to get the general idea though.  Onto business...a Retrospective look at an old project here at 173.
Waaaay back when, when we first bought ol' 173, there was no front stoop and the steps had really tall risers and very narrow treads.  you can't really see them that well, but this picture gives you at least a little idea...
That picture is, I believe, from the early '70s.  This next picture is sometime in the '90s.  If you notice, in the above picture, you can see the hint of a pipe railing.    At this point someone before us ha…

Killin' Time - And A Sneak Peek (Kinda)

Here at 173 we're in the middle of a pretty big project.  I thought about doing the "progression" style posts to show the project as we go, but then I thought it might have a bigger impact to wait 'til it's done.  At the same time I'm sitting in a hotel room, hoping to the high heavens there's no bed bugs, and "itching" (the limits of my humor are endless) to post something!  So here's a little something:
This is a shot of the outside of the house at the beginning of the summer, there's a few things to notice...
ONE:  The Foundation Might be hard to see in this pic, but there was a good bit of mildew, soil and grime.  A few weeks back I took my neighbor's power washer to it...much improved! TWO:  The Shingles I recently posted about the shingles, my (weird) attachment to them and the fact that it was time for a change.  Also, if you notice, everything from the porch down is brown.  Well, that's the change that's happening rig…

Lowes, Hertz (Pun Intended) and a Little Support

A quick word of advice...if you own a home, and you have a pickup truck - keep it!  I had one of these...
Then I had one of these... Now I have one of these... And the other day I had to get some plywood and boards and bring it home in one of these... And I won't get into it here, but Lowes no longer has people who deal with their vehicle rentals, it's done through a kiosk from Hertz.  Suffice to say, four hours, two broke-down trucks, AAA (triple A), and many calls later...I had seven sheets of plywood and seven boards home.  If you have a pickup truck - keep it!  If gas goes to $10 a gallon - keep it.  If you have to work a second job, skip meals three days a week, and someone in your house has to go barefoot - whatever it takes - keep your pickup truck! Okay, rant over.  Half of a day off from work was lost, and a perfect weather day at that, but I still managed to get a little done.  Along one side of the house is an old sidewalk.  It's a little odd because it's re…

New Pages Added to the 173 Blog Site

Geeze, I keep forgetting to mention that pages have been added to the 173 blog site!


The first page is a list of links to various "how-to" videos or websites that I've found useful.  None of these, as yet, are my creation, and I really have no plan to get into that because there are already tons of excellent resources out there!

Speaking of resources, the second page is a list of links to local and internet resources I have or will find useful.

I'll be adding to these pages over time, so be sure to check them out from time-to-time!

Of Wisteria and Wobblies

So, while I was ever-so-reluctantly removing the shingles from the porch the other day I found a couple things, one horrifying (okay - a bit over dramatically stated) and the other...fun and interesting (at least to me!).  Here we go...
Kinda freaky isn't it?  That would be wisteria.  We planted it outside the porch a number of years ago.  It was beautiful, and lush, and invasive!  When we replaced all the windows on the front porch, I seized the opportunity (and excuse) to cut it down.  I mean really - that stuff actually gave me nightmares!  On more than one occasion I dreamed of the seen and unseen destruction the wisteria was wreaking on 173.  I'd been hinting at lopping it off for a few years, then I got my chance.  That was a year or two ago and we still get wisteria growing out of random spots in the yard!  Now I take down some shingles and my wisteria hysteria (see what I did there?) are validated!  Anyway, that was the "horrifying" discovery. MUCH more inter…

Bittersweet Changes

173 is a work in progress...of that, there is no doubt.  I like to think that these changes are for the best...in our own best interest, in the interest of improving our neighborhood, and certainly in the best interest of the house itself.  Some changes are made because they have to be, like when we put new windows and floor in the basement.  As it turns out, good ol' 173 is as solid as a house gets, so the number of gotta-do changes have been limited mostly to general maintenance.  Most of the projects here have been wanna-do.  Updates, aesthetic changes, and just sheer matters of taste and preference.
I'm a bit sentimental (I know, you're wondering where this is going...so am I, kinda).  I'm the kind of sentimentalist that, when my parents re-sided their house, mom called me to break the news.  Thaaat's right - break the news!  They were going to let me just arrive one day and see this huge change, but mom got to worrying that it might be a bit much for me becau…