Monday, November 23, 2009

Making an Entrance

So I finally finished my entryway. Here's what it looked like before:

It was the only 'room' in the whole house that hadn't been painted before I bought it. Combine that with the rickety shelves, the sagging wooden closet rod, the large cracks in the plaster caused by jacking it up this past summer:

and the holes made by the electrician who wired in an outside light for me:

and it definitely needed some TLC. What followed was a couple weeks of patching, mudding, taping, mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding, repeat. Here's a 'work in progress' shot:

And finally, the end result:

A fresh coat of paint on walls & ceiling, new shelves and closet rod, the new light, and some DIY key hooks.
Oh, and those stylin' rubber boots aren't there just to look pretty - they're a necessity when it comes time to clean garbage out of the ravine next to my house! :)

Now THIS I want to come home to.

**Update: for those of you who join me in a love of thrift, here's the cost breakdown:
repairing the walls $47.04
paint $23.32
decor $34.48 (includes light fixture, closet rod, shelves, key hooks, etc)
Total: $104.84

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lighting Up

Yippee! I successfully swapped out my first light fixture (the first of MANY to come!)

Here's what was there before:

Calling it a 'fixture' is a bit of a stretch, I know. And apologies for the lame before shot - I had to crop it out of a larger pic since I didn't anticipate getting this excited about a light fixture (who knew?!)

Anyway, check out what's lighting up my world now:

Nice and simple, a little bit 'old school', and all for the low low price of just $4, courtesy of my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Do you have a ReStore in your neighbourhood? In my neck of the woods their deals can't be beat!

So there's a little sneak peek at my entryway transformation. The full 'reveal' is coming soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

OK, here goes. This post has been a while in the making, mostly because I'm not a big fan of admitting 'failure'... and that's sure what this project felt like. But it's DIY reality, and it had a happy ending, so here it is! :)

I have a back porch. It has a roof. If you've seen any of the pics of my backyard (like the snowfall one below), they're taken from directly under this roof. Anyway, when the main roof and the front and back porches were re-shingled shortly before I bought the house, someone decided it'd be a good idea to only do the job half way. They redid the shingles, but didn't install any flashing in the space where the roof meets the wall.

Or a closer view:

I don't know if these pics are doing the gap justice. It was big, and causing problems. I really shouldn't be surprised, because I'm finding that so many things have been done in a similar manner (half-assed). But hey, I'm always up for a challenge, so I figured I could make it right.

I did lots of research, and gathered the requisite tools and supplies to install step flashing to keep water from entering the gap. I scheduled the assistance of a ladder-holding friend (thanks, Mish!). I found myself a bright, sunny day. I even got up there on each side of the peak and ran the circular saw along the roof line, to get enough of the shingles out of the way to get the job done (this was step one, and my first ever experience using a circular saw. My advice? Try it on solid ground first. But, hey, I got it done)

And then I hit a wall. Well, figuratively, at least. Basically, what I discovered that day was two-fold:
1. No matter how much I might wish otherwise, I do not have the arm strength of a man. Not even an average or somewhat wimpy man. That arm strength was a requirement of this job that I didn't anticipate.
2. I'm just not cool with working on that kind of angle, at that kind of height. The pics don't really tell you how high up I was, or how steep the roof angle, so just trust me: it was bad. Not bad for someone accustomed to such jobs, but bad for someone like me who's not a huge fan of heights to begin with. Add to that the wobbliness inherent in using a ladder at that height and...

End result: I eventually had to concede defeat, and call in a handyman. Thankfully Mish (the ladder-holding friend) knew of one who could get the job done. So here's what it looks like now:

In the future, the plan is to make it look a little prettier with a piece of wood clad in aluminum (white so it blends with the siding) but for now, the water has stopped pouring in the gap, so I'm happy. And hopefully this'll never happen again:

Yep, that's rain water that leaked into my light fixture through the roof/wall gap. Pretty, isn't it? Not so much. There was also a lot of water in the section of my basement that's directly underneath, and I hope it's gone for good, too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Snowfall

First snow of the year today. (A lot earlier than I'd like to see it, but pretty!)

And yes, I'm still counting 'firsts' like this in the house, but I'm allowed - it's only been six months since I bought it!
(SIX months!! How'd that happen?) :)