After the gate was built, the next steps are to hang it, install hardware and then stain/seal it. Here is the finished gate after all of these steps. We are very excited with how it turned out! Please check out the previous post to see how the gate was made.
After our fence and driveway project (which was completed 4 years ago), we had planned to build a nice gate. In that previous post, the following line appears:
Chris has plans to build a nice gate, but that project probably won’t get done for a little while.
So here we are “a little while” later and after some gentle nudging from Shirley, I (Chris) am finally going to make the gate. I had been planning for the gate for quite awhile, including figuring out the design and buying tools, so when it came time to actually build the gate, it didn’t take too much time at all. Overall, it took about 1 week or so (maybe ~20 hours of actual work) to build the gate.
Here are the finished two gates that will span the narrow driveway, sitting on our back deck.
As a bibliophile, Shirley is very nostalgic for the library card catalog and had been looking on ebay and etsy for card catalogs. Chris tried to talk some sense into her pointing out that card catalogs are not very useful pieces of furniture. “What can you put in a card catalog?”
Then she came across some examples of DIY card catalogs (and similar projects for apothecary cabinets), which were made from dressers. She was inspired to “try and build one”, which is code for seeing if Chris could do it.
Of course he can. . .
Here’s the finished product, built using an IKEA Rast dresser.
We wanted to make a growth chart to keep track of the heights of the kids over time. Shirley’s internet/pinterest browsing eventually came up with a brilliant, but well used idea: a growth chart that looks like a ruler.
We bought a 6 foot tall cedar fence board for $5, and then sanded, and stained using the vinegar/iron treatment described in our farmhouse table post. We thought about how to create the gradation lines and the numbers. At first we thought about using stencils but figured it would be easier to just use a framing square to draw the various lines to the right length with a black Sharpie marker.
We love our latest IKEA built-in hack in the great room! (See the built-in IKEA Besta/Pax hack in the living room we finished a year before.) In the great room, we’d had a dark IKEA shelving unit on the TV wall. We decided to replace that shelving unit with a full wall of built-in shelves with lower cabinets, using IKEA Besta shelves, with a few creative touches thrown in. “We” (loosely used; here, meaning 95% Chris, 5% Shirley) probably spent a few hours a day for the better part of a week on this project.
Here’s the result:
Shirley has been madly “pinning” DIY home projects on Pinterest, and she became obsessed with the idea of making something like this pallet silhouette art project. Chris was kind enough to humor her and help her implement this idea. Behold the finished product:
We recently had solar panels installed on our home by Real Goods Solar in March of this year. This post describes some of the process and analysis that went into the decision, the installation and tracking the results.
We are a pretty green family and try to minimize our impact on the environment. Chris has been very interested in energy use and the environment for a long time (including majoring in this subject in college and grad school and is currently working in the field).
Solar electricity produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions during operation (there is some energy and pollution generated when the panels are made, but that is typically offset in a year or two). It also produces electricity during times when demand is highest which helps to alleviate stress on the electric grid. Peak electricity use in California occurs in summer afternoons, when air conditioning use is highest. Since we don’t have air conditioning, the excess electricity that we generate during these hours helps to reduce demand during peak hours (which offsets electricity use from inefficient and polluting peaking power plants) and reduces strain on the transmission and distribution system.
One of the big areas of our yard that needed some improvement was the driveway side of our house. The side of the house (you could maybe call it a driveway, though it’s not really wide enough to drive a car on, at least if you want to open the doors) was never really finished but was more of a overgrown weed patch that needed to be cut back every once in awhile. Plus if you look at the pictures of our neighbor’s fence, you’ll understand why we wanted to tackle this project. We hesitate to put too many “before” pictures . . .
This project was too big to tackle ourselves, so we had our contractor Mohsen come and pour a new concrete side driveway, build a new fence and lay a paver front driveway for our car.
The view on the side of the house looking towards the street.
For the longest time the area in the very back of the yard was left untouched (about 1 yr). Chris covered it with plastic and weed barrier to keep the weeds and blackberries from taking over the area again. We decided that we would put some grass there as a place for the kids to play. This describes the 3 week project of putting grass in the back are (about 400 sq ft).
Here is our IKEA built-in shelf/closet project in our living room!! Read on to see how we got here…
Also see our latest IKEA built-in project. . .
The latest project is one that we’ve seen on HGTV and online (like here and here): to take premade bookshelves and cabinets and add molding and baseboards to make it look built-in. We especially wanted to try this on the first floor because Shirley has a lot of books and there’s not a single closet on this floor. We started with the living room, in part because we wanted some place to put the vacuum cleaner. Continue reading “DIY: Built-ins using IKEA Besta shelves and Pax wardrobes”