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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Little Corner Accent Fence

Way back when, oh say maybe about 1999, I got in my mind to make a little accent fence for a corner of the front yard here at 173.  I had just finished putting a new fence around the back yard and had leftover material and, being the kind of guy I am, it drove me nuts that my yard just ran into the neighbors yard.  Mind you - I'm not agorophobic, antisocial or asocial, but I am a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the Good Fences Make Better Neighbors club. Really, we have great neighbors here at 173, but there's just enough OCD in me that it always bugged me that nobody was clear on what was mine, and what was theirs.  (Oh...my...god - what happened in my childhood???)  Anyway, leftover materials...OCD...time on my hands...I decided to build that fence (just so they'd know!).  The posts were pressure-treated 4x4s, the stretchers (I don't even know if that's what they're called - you know - the horizontal boards between fence posts), and the pickets were just leftover ferring.  I sifted through some of the old photo albums but couldn't find a true before picture, but here's a very early shot of the fence, even the apple tree was little more than a twig at the time!  Oh, and notice the color!  That'll come into play in a few paragraphs.


Because it was just a little accent fence, I planted the posts using post spikes:


I gotta say, those things were great!  They made putting the posts in sooo simple!  And - they lasted a long time!  The only problem was, one of the posts became the neighborhood - how shall we say - canine watering post.  In and of itself - who cares, but about a year or so ago that spike had literally disintegrated, to the point that the one side of the fence was just free swingin'!  If you expand this picture you might be able to tell:  


Well, I guess not, but again - notice the color.

So, as is typical here at 173 in the spring, I find a bunch of small projects to hop on.  A few days ago I was at Lowes and saw those spikes and thought - it's time.  So I got the spikes, disassembled the fence, drove in the new spikes, and reassembled said fence:


Not too bad, but there's a couple things here.  For whatever reason, I didn't even notice that the spikes were gray and not brown like the old ones, and I hated it!  And what you may not be able to tell is that a lot of the pickets were loose (all those years ago I used drywall screws - the things we learn), and some had rotted out.  First order of business - do something about those gray posts.  As luck would have it - I didn't have brown paint, but I did have black:


Then I started putting those horizontal boards on, and had an inspiration - why not go with something different:


Quite a departure.  So here's the part about the color.  If you look at that first picture you'll notice how ORANGE the fence was!  That's not photo artifact - the color for all the fences at 173 was Behr cedar deck stain.  IT WAS ORANGE!  I figured it would darken nicely over time, and it did, but for a couple years you could see all the fences from a couple blocks away!  I think they could see them from the space station!  So when I redid the fence, I really didn't want to have bright orange again, and I had an epiphany!  I first stained the new boards with Minwax Dark Walnut stain, and immediately gave them a couple coats of the cedar stain!  Here she is:


Pretty close to the aged color - at least it's not neon orange!  Not 100% convinced that I like the style of the new fence...we'll see.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Side Door: Part 2

A second post on the side door seems like a bit of overkill, but then again - in our society of 24 hour news cycles, and endless coverage of Bruce Jenner, I guess a second post really isn't that bad.  Truth is - there'll probably end up being a third post at some point!  The first post was really all about replacing and painting the door.  This post is just a quick one for a more cosmetic achievement (isn't it funny how even the smallest of completed projects become "achievements" here in blog-land?).  When last we met, the view from outside the side door (I keep repeating side door because I've written several posts on other doors in the house - must be achievements!).  I digress, when last we met, the outside looked like this:


Yeah, you can see a little of the yellow there,but other than that it's just white-on-white...oh yay.  A couple years ago I began a project to really change the look of 173.  After putting up shutters, it occurred to me that some of the trim needed to be painted to add a little "pop".  So I started with the framing around the dining room oriel (oriel - crossword puzzle word, hope I'm using it correctly):


There really is no master plan per se for painting the trim, and what should or shouldn't be painted.  I just kinda get that inspiration from time-to-time.  This time it was - yes, you guessed it - the side door.  


I dunno - I think it adds a nice little something to the door.  Seeing that these pictures are free (remember back when you had to pay to get your pictures developed?) 

Photo courtesy Doyouremember.com
Holy cats!  I just noticed that the Fotomat and 173 have a similar color theme happenin'!  Anyway, here's a slightly different angle:


A wider angle to come soon...just have a couple other things to do first!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Side Door

Work continues inside on a somewhat large project, and as usual, there are a couple projects in some form of completion (or incompletion if you're of the glass-half-empty bent).  This post is about one of those projects that was partially complete for awhile, but in my defense - it's only been a couple months.  The side door to 173 was ooooold.  I'm thinking it may even have been original to the house.  And as you know, if you've been reading this blog at all, we try to keep things as original as possible around here.  In this case, that door had taken a beatin' for decades and it was simply time.  The door frame had some rot, there wasn't much left to the threshold, the screen door didn't close completely and blew open with the wind (until I had the brilliant idea of putting a hook and eye lock on it), and the door itself had a large crack in it. All-in-all, there really wasn't much to keep the outside out, which was always more than a reality in the winter.

There goes the old door.
So this was the year.  I had looked at it for a few years, and as is my wont, I pondered and planned.  The problem was the door frame's positioning and proximity to the rim joist and the foundation.  I mean I really put some thought into it for some time, but quite frankly - it scared the hell out of me.  I pictured me removing the door, the frame, threshold and all...and finding myself removing big chunks of foundation.  REALLY not a pleasant thought.  So this was the year, and the decision was made to recognize my limitations, humble myself, and hire it out, which has happened a couple time in the last few years (this couldn't possibly be age-related could it?).  Here's what we got:


The other exterior doors at 173 had windows with a grill, so in keeping with that...and because we like the look, we went with this door from Lowe's.  It's not the highest end door, but it met all the requirements, and didn't cost an arm and a leg.


Next was the storm door.  Obviously we didn't want cheap, but we also weren't going to spend some of the prices we saw on other doors, so this one won out.  The ONE requirement for the storm door was that it have one of those screens that roll down when you lower the window.  The back porch storm had that so...



Truth is, I put those pics in here because this blog is first and foremost a way of tracking what's happening at 173.  So there's the boring part out of the way.  

The guy that installed the doors and threshold came in the first week of February,in the middle of a serious cold snap here in the northeast.  Kudos to the dude though - he did the whole thing in a day!  Dang! he didn't even where gloves!  Anyway, I had to wait til spring to do the caulking and painting, and today was that day!  

Not a great picture, but you get the idea.  Of course it had to be yellow!  Maybe soon I'll do a post on the yellow doors at 173!  Have a great day!





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