Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Changing Up The Framing

We wrapped up the garage last week and can't do anything with the lawn while the grass seed is getting started, so last weekend we were ready to start a new project: the back bedrooms.  We have two bedrooms that were added during an addition in the late 70's or early 80's.
The pee room

And the disco room.

Obviously both rooms needed some attention.  We need to replace the windows and floors but we really want to make these two bedrooms seem like they are part of the original house.  We already started this process by enlarging the back hallway from 32" to 40"

And framing a new master bathroom in part of the disco room.
But we still have more work to do. We removed the closet framing so the bedrooms were just one long room (9'6" x 33')
Looking North

Looking South

And then framed in the new closets a few feet south of their old location
Looking North

Looking South

Since finishing the framing we've been working late every night getting the electrical run and some sheetrock hung.  Despite the fact that we only really have one functional bedroom and one bathroom Luke invited ten members of his family to stay at our house this weekend so we are frantically trying to get the bedrooms usable.  I'll try to get progress pictures up soon but don't hold your breath.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A New Front Door

We have hated our front door since buying the house.  First off, all the homes in our area were built in the 50's and every single one of them has a storm door.
  I hate storm doors but at least it helped hide our hideous front door.
The door has not seen a coat of poly in years and without that protection the wood has started to delaminate.  With some sanding and glue it could be made presentable again but the bigger problem is the door knob.  It has a 5" backset knob but only a standard latch, so the latch is several inches short of reaching the strike plate.  The only way to keep the door shut is to use the deadbolt.  Since I don't want to carry my keys at all times we just don't use the front door.
While in Helena on Thursday we happened to find a cart full of clearance windows and doors.  We picked up a few new windows for the living room but our real find was this door.
It was listed for $450 but was marked down to $320 because of a tiny scratch on the back.  We talked the sales lady down to $250 and hauled it home. We were both excited to get it installed so we decided to use our date night for door installation.  What?  Isn't that what you like to do on a date?
I removed the old storm door and was able to sell it on Craigslist ,then we removed the old door.  Moving this thing was not fun.  It must weigh close to 100 pounds.

Once the door was in place we installed the clearance lockset I bought last year.  This is the first time we've had a working door knob on the front door.  And here it is in all it's finished glory.
And just for comparison

Just an FYI - That's not dead grass in the picture above; it's straw we spread to help our grass seed stay moist.

I know the door is currently a gold ring in a pig's snout, but I promise we will work on the porch, siding and roof this summer/fall.  In the mean time it will be fun to see how the neighbors respond.  Will they like our improvement or will they ask why we aren't fixing the paint/windows/roof instead?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Getting Ready For A Lawn

We're preparing to start a dreaded but necessary project: landscaping.  Luke and I have gotten very good at remodeling just about any part of a house but lawns have always been a struggle for us.  Despite occasionally working as a florist I do not have a green thumb.  Growing anything other than weeds is a challenge for me and having dogs does not make it any easier.  So here is what we are facing:

We saw the house last Memorial Day after a hard winter.  There wasn't much growing and the house had so many issues that we didn't really notice the lawn anyway.
 Since we were still living in Washington we made a trip out over the 4th of July to make the house habitable.  The grass had grown considerably and my grandpa spent a few days trying to get it under control.
When we finally moved to Butte in August the yard had baked for lack of water.  According to the neighbors the previous owners never watered so it probably looked like this every August.
We haven't done much with the back yard other than pour some concrete and move a few fences.  The front yard greened up a little this year, but the grass is still sparse and we have huge bare areas under the junipers.
The back yard was really bare
 We may not have much grass, but our yard has a wealth of broken glass, metal and toys.  We have removed buckets of glass and bolts from the yard but every time it rains more is exposed.  We have decided that our best option is to till both yards.  This will also help with our soil problems.  The surface is very granular, almost like sand, but we have good dirt several inches deeper.  Luke rented the most powerful tiller he could find and set to work.  One of the previous owners parked and RV in the back yard.  It made the tilling very difficult.
Back yard tilled but not raked
Front yard tilled and raked
And because we're gluttons for punishment we spent our 4th of July digging trenches for a sprinkler system.  By hand.  Between the two of us it took about twenty hours to make our front yard look like this.

And added some serious speed bumps to the back yard.

We bought all our sprinkler supplies so hopefully we can get the entire system installed this weekend.