Sunday, March 30, 2014


 Our carpeting is turning into a wrinkled mess here at the manor. Seems that our "Lady of the Rehab" gave us the cheapest possible shag goods from Home Depot and the poorest quality installation. So what to do? We could have it cleaned and re-stretched but we'd still have a crap carpet. 
Our solution was to visit "Completely Floored," our locally owned flooring store and pick out a very nice wood-like replacement for this stuff in our great room. The bedrooms will have to await another windfall of dollars. We were able to swing this project (though just barely) because Jack sold a Saab 96 transmission he has had in storage. So in a few weeks, we'll have a nice wood floor (actually it is a laminate product that looks just like real blond oak with a no sheen finish. We are keeping the cost down a bit with doing the baseboards (we have none now) ourselves...60 feet of 'em to paint white. Look for updates in April. By the way, the day of the installation is Good Friday...seems appropriate! 


You're looking at the official cat "hidey hole" here at the manor. This is the very reason we didn't put doors on this project! Izzie loves to hang out here where she can get the morning sun. Tough life!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The sun came out this week so we decided to launch our patio project!  Privacy and functionality were the objectives. Not killing ourselves off while doing it wasn't a priority as it turned out!
 Day 1: We started with 6- 10' posts. We dug and dug, cut out a 4" maple tree root, bailed out the water from the overnight shower, dug out the mud and hauled in gravel. Here in the land of expanding clay soil, concreting in posts just guarantees that they will pop out of the ground, concrete and all at some later date. So tamping in gravel works much better. Lots of tamping, leveling and more tamping.
 Day 2,3 & 4:  We installed the 2"x4" stringers between the posts top and bottom, securing them with our own custom made metal hanger brackets. We had planned on a solid fence at the north end with a built in BBQ table for our table top Weber. The upper shelf was an added bonus. We used some 2"x8"x8' planed cedar planks that cost us $17.50 each for the top of the table and the shelf. We cut lots and lots of firring strips from 1"x8" fence boards so we could mount the lattice (the 40 year old Sears table saw helped us again!). We screwed them to the posts and stringers the lighter color wood). 
Day 5: Rain and a Saab engine job predicted for tomorrow so we wanted to finish this up today! The lattice...custom cut to fit (heavy duty stuff from Canada). Jack drilled and screwed the panels into the firring strips.
And finally it was time for the trellis on the top. We angled the 2'x4' supports topped by 2"x2" boards. Wouldn't you know we were short 2 sticks of 2x2's. So another trip to the lumber yard next week to finish it off.   
Considering all the lumber required and a couple of design changes along the way, we did very well on the estimating and planning. We also used about 300 screws. Now we have an outdoor room and some privacy from neighbors. Total cost for this project was about $450. Total satisfaction...priceless! 
"Iron Lung" time tonite as my head carpenter put it! Oye!