Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A trip Down Memory Lane pt 2

In a nod to our friends at Casa Decrepit I'm going to do a garden report on our old garden and the pond and hardscaping.

Our Glorious Landscaping
As you step out of the side door of the house you are greeted with this nice cobblestone path.
We didn't do this the new owners did and it looks and works great.
In no particular order....heh, pictures of our old deck. This was our first deck and
we tried to do a nice job. Remember, we thought that this was going to be our
forever house.
A shot of the balcony and the outdoor speakers. Still working and sounding good I'm told

Here's a shot of the deck from the corner looking out on the upper koi pond.

These next two pics are supposed to be of the deck but the stupid sun got in the way.
Yep, I'm no pro photog.
Little bit of the lower pond in this shot.
The pit of despair as we used to call it. We dug a massive trench all the way across
the backyard to deal with the underground water. This is the sump pit. The two garbage
cans we used are slowly being crushed by the pure clay soil. Can pure clay be called soil?
Here we see how the Zmax hangers are holding up. Before install I sprayed them with
two coats of cold galvanizing compound. I see white on them which isn't great. Its a good
guess that all of the hangers look this way. After seven years I'm not sure if this is good or
Here is a shot of something else I was worried about. To hold back the
dirt around the edges of the deck I hammered in rebar then slid sections of
copper pipe over the exposed rebar and put a PT 2by12 against them and then
back filled. They look to be holding up pretty well.
I also walked all over the deck and hopped all over it and could not find a
loose board. This was good because I felt like we were pioneers in the, use clips
to hold the ipe down and use construction adhesive where the planks land on the
joists. The deck still looks like furniture when its wet. Its in need of another coat
of Penofin though.

 Here is a funky diagonal shot of the upper pond from the corner veggie filter.

 The waterfall which still has a couple of the plants we left the new owners.

This is a shot of the lower pond and the plant tower. These reed things have
totally taken over, bummer.

In the upper pond we had a skeleton, of course. Mr. Skelly has lost both
of his arms! Stainless steel hardware, ha!

A better overall shot of the lower pond. This pond is ~3' deep and is where
the big fish live.
Overall the ponds have held up fine with the only things needing replacement
being the pumps and UV light.
Here is a shot of a dwarf avocado we planted a zillion years ago. We
never got any fruit and now its full!! Plus they trimmed it in a kinda cool
bonsai effect.

Here is the shot of the actual veggie garden part of the yard. Still have
ripening tomatoes because of that giant brick wall keeping the plants warm.
A shot of the avocadoes. They are smooth skinned and dark green. I have
two ripening on the counter and am really going to enjoy eating them.

The Meyer lemon full of lemons. I may pick them and make lemonade as
a surprise for the current owners.

This is some kind of lavender. I just love how it looks like a twisted old tree
near the shore.

Giant well groomed rosemary plant that we planted. I think they should
go the bonsai route on this one.

Just three circuits water the entire yard!

Um....pretty plant.?

One thing the new owners have done is make nice paths trough the yard and
maintain them.

This is a new Mexican lime tree.

This is lemon verbena and its fricken huge.

Ha, smoking section right next to the composter.

Here we have the most ginormous Thai lime tree ever. It smells soooo dang
good...wish the limes were good for anything else besides their zest.

 Ahhh, the blood orange. I think we maybe got 4 oranges off the thing and they
were amazing. I'm super jealous of this.

This is an artichoke plant they we planted a million years ago. It just
keeps coming back and making artichokes? Tasty 'chokes and pretty purple

This is a new addition to the yard a cherry tree. Hope its dormant.

Vining roses with LOTS of thorns. We planted this as a sorta natural bob wire,
heh, ghetto living.

More path.

This is something new, they are saving some of the ground water that gets
pumped out of the pit of despair. 

 That's it for the memory tripping.
Up Next:
Knife Catching?? Could it be?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane pt 1

Hello All,
The folks who bought our first house from us, a pair of good friends of ours, left on a long vacation and I volunteered to watch their house for them.
This is the first house we ever had and this is where we cut our teeth on all things DIY home fixer upper. Now, sit back and relax and enjoy this little trip down memory lane.

Our current abode was not our first purple house this one was.
Yep, we didn't paint the garage to was one of those things we were going to
get around to......

The tile on the stairs seems to be holding up pretty well.

Even misses madmadscientist's purple flame mosaic at the top of the landing is still
looking good.

There is a fungus among us.

One of the smart things the new owners did was make a real secure gate to the back yard.

And fixed one of the issues with the original construction.
There is only two 4by4 posts supporting the entire bump out. These posts
were set directly into the concrete and were starting to rot at the air-concrete
interface where water would collect. They dug new footers and put in this Simpson
product to make sure it would never rot again. Smart work I think.

If you go up the stairs and through the front door (which you see below you) you
enter into the 'Red Room'. Its red with silver painted trim and we had furniture that
matched it exactly.

This is the pocket door that separates the red room from the copper room.
Isn't it gorgeous? We had it dipped at the stripping tank in Alameda.
All the other trim you see unpainted we stripped by hand in place.....
ugh, so much methylene chloride.

Slide the door back and you have the copper room

Misses MadMadScientist  painted the walls in a rust color and then washed the walls with a copper glaze.
Its one of my favorite rooms. Those niches on the walls? I built them just to hold the
rear surround sound speakers! The last pic was our TV-entertainment center. We
bought the kit from Lowes and then stained it to match the wall trim an tried to make it
look at built in as possible. It still looks great after 7 years.

Through the copper room is the kitchen.

 Shockingly enough we didn't do this paint job. We had a dusty mauve on the walls.
This was the first time we'd ever done a kitchen before. This was just a blank room
with the stub-outs. Course none of em were in the right place so we had to move most
em. This kitchen also dives 3" in 10'! To make the cabinets level we had to build a sloping
platform along the stove wall. What was nice about this was that the counter at this spot was
three inches higher which I found much more comfortable. It took us FOR EVER to hang the
upper cabinets. The walls are not plumb or square so we had to do a lot of fudging. After 7
years the cabinets still look like new an work like new also. The drawers are a joy to pull
out on their full extension ball bearing slides. The doors are still in good shape and open and
close nicely and have not fallen out of square.

One thing that didn't last was the counter top finish.
We used salad bowl finish and in the wet areas it needs to be redone. Here is a
shot of a horrible bit of puttying I did back in the day....guess I just forgot to come
back and sand it smooth. The color matches pretty well though.

The other door from the copper room leads to the home office.

Yep its green. Yep every separate space in this house is painted its own color.

Around a little corner is the master bedroom.

This room features the first time we ever did wainscoting and crown molding.
The baseboard and a chair rail were all new also. I think that I sweared the most
in this room with the crown molding. I even put in the speaker stands on the ceilings.

The master bath

This room is essentially the same as we left it. We called this room the
waffle cone and mint ice cream room. Can you see why?

The master bedroom has outward opening French doors to the backyard.
The spar varnish and stain on these doors is not holding up so well....

But the cute little balcony is.

Having outward swinging doors is supposed to be bad for long term
durability. But, besides a coat of stain and varnish the threshold looks
pretty good.
Essentially sound with no rot.

If you turn left from the landing outside the master bedrooms door you get..
Yellow, and lots of it! Does this yellow look familiar to anyone?
We also built the stairs. They are the steepest legal at the time and they
are not super natural to walk down but we had no choice as we had to fit a
legal landing at the bottom. Even way back when we still did everything with

At the bottom of the landing are two solid wood doors. if you turn left you get.
 My old shop area.

If you turn to the right you get the guest bedroom.

Yes, this bedroom is blue. We hadn't finished this part we had everything roughed
in and ready to finish.

The guest room also has its own bath.

Its small and L shaped so its hard to picture. But its painted the same
green as the master bedroom. This toilet is so awesome. Elongated
bowl, chair height and wow, what a flush. I need to switch all the
toilets at the chez for one of these.

That's it, that's the whole house.
Up Next: The garden tour.