Category Archives: Outdoor Space

Progress Report: Year 2 in Review

We started out year two in what we call our forever home by having four large pine trees and four large Sweet Gum trees cut down.  The pine trees were buckling the driveway and the sweet gum trees, in addition to their annoying gumballs all over the yard, were in decline and needed to go.  That project took two days and the cost came in at $2300.

Sweet Gum Trees

Pine Trees (1)

We also checked off a couple of boxes from our home inspection.  There were two vent boots on the roof that were cracked, so we had those replaced at a cost of $200.  Also, our electrical panel was an electrical hazard, so we had a new one installed.  At the same time, they added an outlet to our foyer and were able to get the stairwell light to work using the switch at the top of the stairs.  The electrical work came in at $1848.

Cracked Vent Boots(Cracked Vent Boots – No after pictures)

Electrical Panel

As our anniversary gift, we had sun tunnels installed in the den to allow more natural light into the room.  That upgrade came in at $1470.

Sun Tunnels

We had a few minor plumbing and HVAC repairs that came up – the repair costs came in around $550.  This included repairing a leaky drain in the guest bathroom tub, replacing a leaky faucet in the main floor bathroom, and replacing the contactor in the upstairs HVAC.

Faucet

Smaller projects around the house included adding curtains to the master bedroom and Bradley’s office.  I added chairs and tables to our front porch to make it feel more inviting.  Bradley changed out the fluorescent light in the kitchen for a new polished nickel track light.

Master Bedroom2

Office 0715b

Porch Chairs1

Kitchen Light1

We also moved the full-size bed into the spare front bedroom and put a queen-size bed in the guest bedroom.

Third BR 0715a

Guest BR 0715a

We continue to make progress pulling out unwanted overgrowth in the yard.  I was able to add more Daphnes behind the Drift Roses to the right side of the front porch shrubbery bed.  In front of the garage, I added two Miss Scarlett Illiciums on either side of the Gardenias.  My mom planted daffodil and tulip bulbs along the driveway as well.  Before we know it, we will have flowers popping up throughout the year.

Illicium

Looking forward into 2016, our big to-do list item is a master bathroom remodel.  We discovered a leak coming through the kitchen ceiling back in October.  It turned out to be our master shower pan leaking.  We have had several contractors out to get quotes on a small remodel, and we will begin moving forward shortly.  That renovation will probably exclude any other major projects around the house this year, barring any unexpected repairs.

I hope to finish pulling out the azaleas that are floating in the middle of the front yard without anything to anchor them.  And since I didn’t get to it last year, I hope to paint the shutters navy – December’s Eve by Sherwin Williams to be exact.

Front Porch Chairs

Porch Chairs1 Our house has a nice covered front porch.  We did not have a porch at our first home, so I had no furniture or decor to use when we moved last year.  I started looking for inspiration pictures last year.  Our house is very symmetrical, so I am sticking with that overall theme on the porch as well.  After deciding to paint the front door red, I came across this photo on Hometalk that gave me the feel I was looking for.Front Porch Inspiration Until seeing this picture, I had not considered wicker.  It always seemed like standard 80’s sunroom decor to me.  But seeing this fun red take on wicker chairs made me rethink my previous judgment.

I began scouring Craigslist for four chairs.  Wicker chairs in a set of four are not terribly common, but I eventually came across a dining set with chairs that looked just right for my vision.  I liked the high fan-shaped backs, the loose weave of the wicker so that the red color isn’t overwhelming, and the fact that the chairs have arms.

Porch Chair BeforeI used Rustoleum automotive spray primer and Paprika spray paint in a satin finish.  I considered going back over the chairs with the front door paint using a brush, but the Paprika color was so close to the door color that I felt it unnecessary.  The door color is Burning Bush by Olympic, which I had color-matched at Sherwin Williams.  Now I just need to get around to painting the shutters navy.Porch Chairs3Porch Chairs2

For comparison, here is what the house looked like right before we closed last February and the current picture again:

Exterior 0214

Porch Chairs1

*I try to always link the pictures in my posts to the original source.  If you would like to link to any source, simply click on the picture in my posts.  If you would like to pin a linked picture, please pin from the original source *

Deck Gate

After five months of our temporary ‘deck gate’ – really just a portion of Buddy’s playpen – I decided to find a more permanent solution.  I searched a general price range for having a gate built, and it seems like it would be in the $300-$500 range.  That isn’t in the budget right now, and I am a light-weight handyman so it isn’t something I’m going to try myself.

Instead, I measured the opening at the stairs leading to the driveway and checked walk-through gates on Amazon.  Most gates were not wide enough without buying additional pieces.  I found this one that is just wide enough and at less than $40, it seemed like a great option.  It came with templates for screw placement on both sides, so it was just a matter of lining it up, drilling and having the pieces turned the correct way.  I don’t think I got it lined up and adjusted perfectly, but it’s good enough because we don’t use these stairs very often at all.  It’s not my ideal solution, but it is leaps and bounds better than the before:

On a side note, I also got the deck washed and stained a couple of weekends ago.  We chose Sherwin Williams Deckscapes Semi-transparent stain in Cedar Toner.  Not a huge change in color, but it definitely warmed the wood up a lot.