Shed work from a few days ago — shingling the roof (you just nail the shingles down; somehow I thought it was more complicated), adding the doors and windows.

Completed shed structure, still to have doorknobs, light fixtures, window latches, painting, etc. It’s close enough to done that I can actually work in it now (though maybe still a bit chilly today); the guys will be back next week to finish it off.

I briefly thought about leaving it unpainted and letting the wood weather, but instead, we’re going to paint the body a dark shade of blue, to coordinate with the house and garage, hopefully unifying it all nicely. (It’s also letting me test out the color I’m planning to repaint the house to, when it’s time to repaint, Benjamin Moore’s _Old Navy_.)

Writing Shed

Writing shed. Eep. It will be tiny and free of distractions. So far:

– measured out space and stuck poles in the ground with string around it to get a sense of it
– found free shed plans on internet and sent to contractors
– went to Re-Use Depot and found some old windows and French doors (cheaper, adds character, recycling is good)
– trench dug in yard for conduit for electric and possible heat to be added later if I end up wanting to actual trek across a snowy yard to use this in winter
– four holes dug and cement filled for footings
– framing built for flooring, groundcloth laid down to block weeds, covered in gravel — contractors pointed out that I could hide things in the base if I wanted. When I said that it wasn’t enough room to bury the bodies, they said, “We have a Sawzall.”
– trench filled in (nobody fell in, yay!)

More soon!



Door without numbers.
Door with numbers.
Numbers pretty.
Door happy.
Thanks to my in-laws for the lovely Christmas gift. It took me a while to have time to get it made, but very happy with the result. And now it should be much easier for people to find our door at night (it was something of a problem, the last eight years, because the number was only on the stair post, and was hard to see at night).
Artwork by John Curran, of Curran Art Glass. A pleasure to work with him, as always.

Paint and Wood

Little project. Eventually, if budget allows, we’d like to do a big corner built-in china cabinet in this area. But we had a chest that we’ve used for about two decades now, and a few weekends ago, someone in a local group was selling this bar cabinet for $50.  At parties, we’d been running very short of serving space, so…

It’s not my favorite kind of wood, sort of glossy, but a coat of paint later, I quite like it. (I am not a wood purist — sometimes I like to strip paint off to reveal really nice wood, but mediocre wood, I am quite happy to cover up with paint.) I may add a stencil pattern to the top eventually, stars or flowers, but I’m going to live with it for a while first.

(Muralo Paint, 0620 Star-Studded)

Home improvement

Two little household improvements — added a lower story to the Little Free Library, added a suet feeder to the back deck bird feeders. The idea was that the lower level of the library would be for kids’ books, but perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also collected some spillover from the upper level, which tended to get jammed full. People in our neighborhood are big readers.

I think it’s okay — I’m assuming kids using the library will mostly be with caregivers as they walk by anyway, and I’ll try to keep an eye on it so nothing too inappropriate makes its way into the lower level. I’m generally reasonably pro-kids making their own decisions about what books they’re ready to read, but The Story of O is a bit beyond the grammar school set.


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Screen door — installed! The children have declared it “fancy!”

Next year, I’m hoping to be able to budget to get the house number done in art glass in that transom above the door (people sometimes have trouble noticing the numbers on the stair post where they currently are), and then, the front entryway will be complete, restored to its Victorian glory. 

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I am getting a screen door today! I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for a screen door. Years, I think. And finally budget and schedule and the stars have aligned, and the screen door will go in very shortly, and I will have a cross-breeze from the front of the house to the back! A cross-breeze is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Attic renovation photos,…

Attic renovation photos, in stages. When we bought this old house, the attic was finished but not in a way that worked for us. For one thing, it was under-insulated; for another, we were switching the whole house to forced air, which required ducts being run through the attic, and for a third, it had a skylight -- and I realize this is idiosyncratic of me, but there's something about modern skylights in an 1885 house that really bother me (even though we do have lots of other modern amenities, of course). Oh, and the carpet had gotten really grotty while the house was empty for years.

So pictured below, first stage of renovation -- we ripped out the carpet, had the drywall torn down, put in insulation and ducts, and build framing around the ducts so that we got benches at the end of each wing (it's L-shaped) of the attic. Don't mind the bathtub -- it was just being stored there temporarily while work was done in the bathroom. A lot of the old pine planks were taken up here too, stolen to move downstairs, where we were re-laying the first floor with refinished wide-plank pine from the house's origin. It had been covered over with other surfaces since 1911, according to the newspapers we found between the layers.

Attic renovation, stage two. We painted it all white, stained the wood floor dark, threw all the kids' toys up here, and lived with it like that for a few years. But the space never seemed quite as cheerful and happy as it wanted to be. Part of that was not having enough natural light and cross-breeze, and finally this past winter, we added two more windows flanking the old fireplace. Much improved. Still, it could use a bit more cheering up.

Attic renovation, stage three. Last December, after the semester ended, I painted the lower walls green, the end benches a complementary blue, and the triangles a sunny yellow. It feels much more playroom-y to me now, more like a cheerful elementary school. They'll outgrow these colors eventually, and in 5-7 years, I'll be thinking about how best to convert this into a cool teen study space / hangout, but for now, this is a much happier space to hang out in than it used to be.

Attic renovation, final stage -- for now, anyway. I wanted to add a bit of whimsy to the room, and my freehand painting skills are minimal at best, so I went with stencils. Some floaty Victorian balloons, and a castle in the clouds, using the same blue paint from the end benches, plus a bit of silver brushed into the clouds.

All done! (Although I may still paint that dollhouse at some point...)

I have painted the bench…

I have painted the bench part a nice blue and bowed to Anand's love of yellow, and I think I'm reasonably pleased with the result. (I'd better be -- my arm hurts, so it's not getting repainted anytime soon!) It's kid-friendly, which is obviously good for a playroom, but still just muted enough that I don't mind hanging out in the space. Esp. with the new windows, it's quite sunny and cheerful up there now -- maybe slightly less open in feel than before, with the all off-white, but more cozy and fun.

Kevin gets home tonight; we'll see what he thinks, and if he agrees that the green (sampled in third photo) would be good on the rest of the lower wall. If so, that'll hopefully get painted too in the next few days.

Paint colors: Sherwin Williams Peacock Plume and Butterfield Yellow.