I don’t have a before shot of the latest house project I roped my dad into, but (like everything he touches) it’s about 1000% nicer than it was.
The house has an insulated but unfinished basement. Getting it finished is still a ways off, but the windows down there were truly scary–the insulation had just been cut out around them. The exposed fiberglass was kinda falling down, trapping dust and spider carcasses, and it just looked janky and dirty, despite being new.
So my dad figured out a way to put trim around the two windows down there and finish them off nicely:
They’re even caulked and everything! Plus he washed the windows. Twice.
Next up is getting a big rug and some IKEA cutting tables down here to make the space usable for projects. With those nice windows, I’ll be happy to spend time down here. Thanks, Dad!
Sometimes when you start a project like a cosmetic remodel of your bathroom, you feel guilty. Because your house is less than five years old and the builders grade finishes are perfectly acceptable. Because you made your dad work for free doing hard labor on his hands and knees. Because maybe you’re just a spoiled princess who fixates on little things like bathroom aesthetics instead of just being grateful for two bathrooms.
Well, put a pea under my mattress and thank my dad over and over, because the guest bathroom remodel is done and it makes me so happy, I forgot about the guilt.
THEN he put in a marble and glass backsplash, which really just makes the whole room sing. (Seriously. And check out the line of tiny tiles on the bottom left he had to cut, to compensate for the dip in the sink and make the top tile line stay even!)
I don’t even hate my staining job on the vanity any more, although it pales in comparison to the tile work.
Most importantly, the princess’s cat also approves of the whole remodel.
It looks so good. This bathroom is at the top of the stairs, so every time I go upstairs I get to see it and smile. Thanks again, Dad!
I’ve been mentioning “bathroom remodel” here a little bit in passing but spared you the month’s worth of back and forth after I realized my plans to upgrade the master bathroom just weren’t going to work (short version: most things would have been a compromise for budget, so I’m just going to wait).
Lest you think I’m a badass who can rip out floors, my role is similar to Toby’s here: inspect and be very interested, but hide under the bed during the actual work (not literally, but I didn’t plan to take time off to help Dad, which I now regret).
And the only reason I can make any of this fit my “budget” is because I am forcing my dad to do hard labor for free. So thanks, Dad. Toby thinks all your work is top-notch and I do too.
You know what makes life better? More storage and organization. My dad took the existing shelf in my laundry “room” (closet) and moved it up, allowing for a hanging rod on the right, a more accessible shelf on the left, and lots of room above for things like lightbulbs, tp, and storage bins.
(Plus, he did it in a day and for $30 in materials. I bet if I added up all the money Dad has saved me with his free labor and expertise over the years, it’d be tens of thousands of dollars. It’s such a nice thing to have a handy dad.)
Toby also thinks it’s a nice thing to have a handy “Grandpa” and some new shelves.
As you may recall, last summer my dad built me an awesome deck and pergola on the back of the house, and I enjoyed the hell out of it all summer long:
However, I’m in a new “twin home” development where I’m pretty close to the neighbors (on all sides). A fence isn’t in the cards this year, but I think putting outdoor curtains on the pergola might do the trick. Like so:
I can pretend I’m in a cabana in the afternoon! I can wear a caftan, put on some Turkish music, and rock the casbah at night! I could even close them and take a nap out there. I think it’s going to be great.
And it turns out that Pinterest has some really great ideas about using canvas drop cloths for curtains (cheap, sturdy, and already hemmed) and electrical pipe for curtain rods (cheap and weather resistant). My dad has already engineered everything for me, so I’m just waiting on steady weather to re-stain things and get going.
Is it summer yet?
I turned down a weekend trip to Escalante with friends because I felt like I really needed to get stuff done around the house. So I made my not-in-Escalante time count: My garage is now organized, clean, and insulated (I also washed the car, cleaned the house, cat-sitted for the friends in the desert, and made dinner both nights). Whew!
And now, I can go to work and finally sit down.
My parent’s home has an amazing back patio. Growing up there, I remember the variations over 30 years–brick, cement, umbrella, lattice, no lattice, shade cloth, and now fancy aluminum pergola–but there was always an outdoor table and lounging space and I always spent at least part of the summer days out there, reading, getting tan, what have you.
When I moved out ten years ago, I missed that so much. My first apartment had no outdoor space, but I tried to make a little space in my second apartment in 2007. However, like everything else there, it was a little cramped:
When I started looking for houses, a patio or potential patio was high on my list…until it got bumped by such things as modern wiring and attached garages. When I bought this house in 2011, I thought the tiny deck was better than nothing and got pots planted even before the landscaping was put in:
But it wasn’t quite right. There wasn’t enough space to really lounge, and it just felt temporary, even though I’d taken out a 30-year mortgage.
Well, two summers later, something clicked and I went from “maybe a pergola?” to “THIS is what I’ve missed; THIS is what I’ve always wanted” in about two months. Behold, the new patio:
That’s a 10×10 rough cut fir pergola and a 10×10 redwood deck, both designed, engineered, and built single-handedly by my dad. (Look at that trim around the edge of the deck so you don’t see the end grain! The steps! The cross bracing on the pergola!)
I didn’t know how much I wanted somewhere to hang out outside until this was all finished and furnished last week. I’m out there in the weekend mornings and afternoons and every evening until it’s dark. It’s another room, it’s my treehouse-fort, it’s what the house–and I–was missing.