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Home Improvement – Driveway and Fence

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. We had Skilled Fencing come out and install a new fence. This project was too big to tackle ourselves, so we hired a 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.

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Backyard improvements (Sod)

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 to get an expert designer so that we would put some grass there as a place for the kids to play. We also had Tree surgeon Newcastle come out and plant a few trees. This describes the 3 week project of putting grass in the back are (about 400 sq ft).

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DIY: Built-ins using IKEA Besta shelves and Pax wardrobes

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. . .

IKEA built-in shelves

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”

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Building a planter box and planting fruits and veggies

Since we moved to the new house, the yard hasn’t been in the best of shape and we haven’t been able to grow any food, like we did at our old place.  So Chris decided to build a planter box in the back yard.  After a couple of trips to Home Depot for redwood 2x6s, it was a quick job, cutting and screwing together the planter box.

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DIY – Building a Farmhouse Table and Bench

When Shirley mentioned she liked farmhouse tables, the wheels in Chris’s head started turning and he decided he would try to build one.

Research phase:

There are a number of examples online of people building some great tables online (e.g. here and here). Also there were also some great ideas of making new wood look like old, aged barnwood, which involved dissolving steel wool in vinegar and wiping the wood with a mixture of the solution and tea to “weather” the wood. This causes a reaction between the dissolved iron and the tannic acid in the wood (and the tea) to create a greyish color that mimics weathered wood.

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IKEA Kitchen Install


 

The next bit of work to do after the flooring installation was to assemble and install the kitchen cabinets. We had purchased them from IKEA.  The previous kitchen we removed already had a range hood vent exhaust through the wall so Chris designed the kichen around that range hood location.  IKEA kitchens are very modular so we could find the right cabinets and pieces to fit perfectly into the space.  We went with the Tidaholm style doors (which look most like shaker style cabinets, which we like).  Our plan is to paint them at some point in the future.  We also got the Farmhouse (Domjso double bowl) sink.

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New House: Installing Bamboo Flooring

flooring

We just bought a new place! There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the place, but the main things to do before we can move in are painting, new flooring on the first floor and a new kitchen.

We hired some painters to do the painting. Chris wanted to do the flooring so we bought 53 boxes of strand bamboo flooring (super durable)  from Lumber Liquidators (at 50 lbs each, Chris had to carry each box into the house) and rented a floor nailer from the tool/party rental place.

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