In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering...

This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.

It helps if you're handy, too.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Let there be...paint!

Yesterday, when the texturing was finally dry enough, I cut in around the trim with a brush and the pale yellow paint we'd mixed up from leftovers. (J. says "good luck matching that later!"  And he's right, of course.  I'm doing a Miss Scarlett, and worrying about that tomorrow.  Or years from now...) 

I used a roller on the walls after that and it went MUCH faster.  Still really tired yesterday, though...finally got back to "bread labor" in the afternoon!

I used painters' tape around the windows and small door, but didn't worry about it on the French doors; there I had sheet plastic to protect the wood.  (Still have to do a couple of coats of spar varnish on the wood.)

You can see the floor is speckled like a Jackson Pollack painting!  That's why we left it for last; we'll sand and sweep/vacuum, then add a couple of coats of deck paint.  Can't wait!

NEW links we like...

Hi all--be sure to check the expanded list of links in the sidebar at left if you like small places.  It seems like synchronicity that I've found so many new ones to add to the links list--some, people have shared with me because they knew what we were doing, but some seemed to just show up, gifts of the Universe!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did...most are intended to be actual living spaces but almost all would be wonderful studios or workshops.  Have fun!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Texturing the walls


Joseph did the high stuff for me; I'm not that wild about ladders.  Of course, neither is he...

We wanted to cover some of the roughness and seams; originally I had planned to add the drywall compound to the paint, but since the last time I did that I had the powder form and this time pre-mix, we decided maybe we'd take the extra step and texture the walls first! 

J. teased me about living with a 5-year-old, but I did find the best way to get the stuff into corners was with my hands!

No way in the world it's going to cover some of those seams, but hey, it's a shed!

It took longer to dry than I expected, so we had a day off, yesterday--at least off from shed work.  We did errands, I worked on the book, and we read...and then in the evening, kicked back and watched movies.

Life's little puzzles...

So.  Mark used construction adhesive meant for Styrofoam to attach the insulation to the underside of the shed.  It says right on it that this is the product for the job.

So why are two panels now lying on the ground UNDER the shed after a week or so?  Will they all let go?  As you can see in the second photo, they made good contact, originally. 

It wasn't a pleasant job, putting them up under there in the first place, I know.  Guess we contact the lumberyard and ask if they have any brilliant ideas...or the adhesive manufacturer.  Not thrilled here...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Painters' Progress

Yes, we're a little goofy, why do you ask? It's covered now, but we'll know it's there...

It's so lovely to have reached the stage where we can do it ourselves!  It's brutal, painting overhead, and we're both wiped out, but that part's almost done and as you can see we're working on the walls, too.  (MUCH faster using a roller on a smooth surface, let me tell you!)

We'll put a shelf right at the bottom of the rafters, here, with shaker pegs to hang things from...handy!

J.'s going to build screens for this window, too...though since I usually have the French doors open...

We had leftover ivory paint from our rehab project, as I said--it's satin, which looks rather nice and should be easy to clean.  Today, I'm having J. mix just a bit of leftover yellow in to warm the color for the walls; I'm going to texture them with some drywall mud added to the paint to provide some interest and hide some of the unevenness of walls done with plywood underlayment.

I've done that before in our old bathroom, and it looked great!  Rather like rough plaster...though then it was drywall powder and this time we have a paste-like compound.  Hope it works as well!

Apparently our 2 x 4 studs weren't all that 2 x 4, and the underlayment may not have been exactly the same thickness, either--some was leftover recycled, and some was new. Anyway some of the seams have about 1/8" between the surfaces.  I filled with wood putty, and the texturing will help, too. Not a biggie, I'll just hang a sketch over goofy places!

Now, then...what color to paint the floor?!  (Yes, for now we've decided on paint, right on the plywood.  Faster, and cheaper...)  Right now, it looks like Jackson Pollock went nuts painting a snowstorm in Alaska...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Missing Naomi...

Oh, my.  I had to have exposed rafters and beadboard ceilings.  Forcing paint into all those little crevices...

When we did the painting at the former drug house next door, Miss Naomi and her wonderful husband John helped; we had a ball.  Lots of work, lots of laughter, and pizza after.  They live in SF now, siiiigh.  We had Naomi's dad do one room over there, too, when he moved back here from Tennessee; Dubois was a professional painter for years--he's in SF now, too!  Boy, do I miss them. 

(Yes, of course for a lot of reasons!  But painting uneven surfaces overhead tends to make the missing more immediate...)

Nomes almost never gets a DROP of paint on herself--I looked like I'd dumped the bucket over my head.  Working overhead is rough in the best of times, but rafters and beadboard...eeeep.

And I had reason to think of The Wisdom of Mark, who suggested clear varnish.  YEAH.  If I'd missed a spot then, it wouldn't show!  Still lots of places to cut in with a paintbrush...

Brutal, but it's going to be SO nice.  I really did want to do it myself...and I'll be glad.  SOON.  Reaaaaaaaaaallll soon..........

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On our own...

Last night we sat on the little deck and celebrated! It was cool and delightful after the rain, the sky faded from orange to peach to black, the snowy tree crickets and katydids serenaded us, and it felt wonderful.

The weather's been perfect since the rain last night, so I thought I'd get what I could done before it got hot.  It never did, so I just kept working till I hit the wall around 4 this afternoon!  (The desk will go right by this window.)

Joseph caught me painting, this morning; if I'd known he was going to get the camera, I'd probably have brushed my hair before starting to work!

Looks pretty, doesn't it...

Friday, July 23, 2010

And this is what a shed with the Good Housekkeping Seal of Approval looks like!

Joe, the incredibly nice young code inspector, squeezed us into a busy day today, after the electricians forgot to call the codes department yesterday. (They normally need a 24 hour notice, which they would have had...but oh well, glad I called to follow up this morning! I really hated to have this hang on over ANOTHER weekend...)

The woman in the codes department asked me what else we needed an OK on, when I told her we needed to go ahead and make some progress--and I thought really, I have no idea, given all the changes and differing opinions!

We wanted to finish backfilling the trench, but didn't know if they needed to see THAT. We're going to paint, but I was concerned they might want to see the wiring inside the wall, even.

Nope, as it happens...

SO. He checked out what he needed to, we had a nice visit, he absolutely gets what the shed is all about, and while we were at it I asked him about the privacy screen I want to put up at the corner of the lot--it's fine, too.

So we're good to go!

J. got the deck light up, we did some landscaping over the trench, and we're ready to move inside and get that done...whew. I feel like I can breathe, now...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wahoo, electricians are HERE!

So we should be all hooked up and good to go, today, then get the final inspection from the building codes guy, and FREE.

Fingers crossed, positive thoughts, all that good stuff...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So. Every step seems to take a week, once codes are involved.

Actually, it was the code inspector that told me that, last week! :-D

The building permit has been rained on so much in the past month it's about ready to become paper pulp...

Sooooo ready. Ick, exposed wires and itchy insulation.

So. Here's our rough Chronology...never mind our schedule!

(Skipping all the dates that had to do with checking with the City codes and P &Z contact and thinking we were good to go. Not. Suffice it to say we started roughly about June 5, sketching, planning, talking to Mark, and laying out the ground, AND getting our ducks in a row. We thought.)

June 23--Dealt with the Surprising and Confusing Stop Work order and building permit; good to go. Again.

June 29--Electrician #1 arrives for consultation

July 1--Preliminary electrical preparation

July somewhere in here--DigRite comes again to re-mark the lines, since it's been so long the first one washed off (who knew it could take that long?)

July 13--Electrician #2 here for consultation

July 14 or 15--Electrical permit obtained by electrician (not us this time)

July 14--Joseph digs preparatory hole to make sure we miss the phone line when the trench is dug.

July 15--Mark rents trencher and digs the trench--misses phone line! GO MARK.

July 16--City inspector OKs trench; good to go. Again. But that was Friday, so we wait, over the weekend.

July 17--Wire and conduit in trench, rough covered

July 17, late--More rain, more mud.

July 18--Lay stepping stones so I can reach the shed. Sandals weigh about a pound each...

July 20--Electrician scheduled to come today or tomorrow to hook everything up

July 21-22, yes, these days aren't here yet, I know, but that's when he's supposed to come, now. Tomorrow evening or Wednesday.

July Soon, then, I hope, final inspection... ;-P

Mind you, all in here we get a number of conflicting opinions/takes on what has to be done, both official and non-official. How deep the trench has to be (3", 18", 24"), whether or not a conduit is necessary (yes, after all, even at 18"), where the disconnects go.

My head is spinning--no wonder I just want that final inspection done so I can kick back! (Not to mention being free to go out of town or whatever instead of waiting on something or other...Mark's been good about letting us know, but he can't control some stuff!)

And of course all in here there's been progress--insulation, walls, windows, doors, doorknobs, step, trim, etc.

My advice to anyone contemplating building anything, anywhere? GO DIRECTLY to your City offices, Planning and Zoning Department, do not pass go. Even if you thought you'd checked it six ways from Sunday. Just do it. Make it easy on yourself.


And yes, we've had conflicting info from various people involved in the City or licensed by the City or experienced in this sort of thing; that's partly because they're having to update their codes to comply with State changes, but believe me, it's been really, really confusing.

Just want done. <:-}

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dreaming and planning

Just noodling a for the small drafting desk, 2 chairs, and a stand for coffee, plus shelves for storage. So far, after living with it for weeks, looks like this should work...

Meanwhile, a progressive page, the top two sketches done weeks ago before we found the back window, and the bottom one today, thinking about how interesting it would be to use that odd board that mark offered me as backing for the security/deck light. We have to put something there, between the two trim boards, why not something cool like this?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Almost done with one phase...

Joseph worked on some of the fixtures today--Sunday--and we discussed what we wanted to do with the walls and baseboards, etc.

We're waiting to find out when the electrician can schedule us, then one more inspection...

And then we'll do some of the fun inside stuff--paint, trim, floor--and J. will build screens for the two windows that open, and finish the deck, and get more mulch for the muddy path, and find a doorknob for the storage compartment, and figure out shelves...

And breathe!

...of course I do that now, in the early mornings when the light comes in these big French doors...

Friday, July 16, 2010

One MORE step...

The ditch passed inspection.

But more confusion ensues...

The licensed electrician said we didn't need conduit, at that depth.

In inspector says we do. He's going to check the codes, but we told Mark to just GET THE CONDUIT. This way, they can hook it up and do the disconnects at each end and we just need one more inspection.

Rather more complicated than I had originally imagined...

Meanwhile, wonder what the heck this pipe is?? DigRite didn't mark it, because it's apparently not attached to anything we now use.

Urban archaeology...

ah ha...

I think I've figured out what this needs to stop the leak. They really are interior doors, I think Mark said. Since we have the roof overhang, they couldn't open out, they need to open in. Makes for a gap under the edge of the door, and the weatherstripping you see here on the left really doesn't seal anything. It doesn't touch the board at the bottom, at all, and the rain comes right in under the door.

We'd thought to put more weatherstripping like that on the outside, or perhaps that long, curved stuff underneath, on the bottom edge. But I think what this really needs is a stop on the outside for the doors to butt up against, and then a seal on that. That's what the small door has, molded into its aluminum sill.

SO. Just have to figure out how not to make such a big one I trip over it going out. *G*

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trench is in!

It took longer than I expected, because of all our trees and a surprising number of big rocks underground! (They'll be fun to use for landscaping or stepping stones, though...)

The trench is mostly deeper than the 18" required, and is ready to be inspected--and for the wire to go in. Then the hookup and THEN it will be much more comfortable to work over there. (Yesterday the heat index was something like 105 by afternoon. Eeep...)

Mark encountered one rather odd pipe that the DigRite guy didn't mark--must be an old one, not attached to anything. It's not our gas line, and our water pipes are out front. Anyway, it didn't break, for which I'm grateful--even if it's old, I'm glad it's intact.

We had hoped to get it dug in time for the building inspector to come by, but it was JUST after five...oh well! Manana...

So now we have a nice deep trench and piles of dirt; getting it covered back up and using mulch on the patch will fix that area nicely.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

One step closer...

Soooo...Electrician # 2 came yesterday with Mark, looked over the job, saw what we wanted, made recommendations, and got an electrical permit from the city yesterday.


Here's Joseph discussing our needs with him...

And here's my sweetie digging the pilot hole by hand this morning, looking for the buried phone cable while it was still almost bearable out there! (Typical Midwestern Summer weather--that is to say, a sauna...)

Mark will get a trencher for the rest of the line, but we hoped to fine-tune it so the phone cord didn't get cut. (That's also our Internet connection, of course!)


We'll snake the electric wire under it...

Meanwhile, J. ran an extension cord out to the shed so we can run the fan on the waterlogged board--and when it's NOT aimed at the board, it's aimed at me, so I can breathe...

Breathing good...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greenmen and the shed

We have another greenman, from one of the old tin ceilings around town--lots of people don't see the foliate face, but he's right there in the middle, speaking green words with leaves.

The greenman has been around for centuries--you find him in churches and cathedrals all over Europe, as well as in gardens and public buildings there, in Asia, and in America. He gets around--but no one knows the origin.

We'll probably put him right below this window...I'd originally thought to use him as is, but he's pretty light colored and wants to compete with the window, making it look smaller.

I painted the original one I had, and glazed it with a darker brown. Thinking that's what would work best on the shed, too...he needs to be subtle...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rain, again...

So yeah. It appears it would be a LOT better to have the weatherstripping on the outside of the door instead of the inside. Ya think? More pools and goes right under the door and onto the floor.

The spar varnish really protects the wood I got it onto, though, look at how the moisture beaded up! (It's still tacky after 24+ hours, but hopefully it will decide to dry hard and I can do another coat...)

More rain...

...sigh, we hadn't had rain in 6 days, and that nasty board never DID dry. And now it's raining again. I tried blocking it to protect it from new splashing, but we'll see. It's hard to imagine how it could have still been damp--was it soaked in salt water and attracting moisture? A spring in that corner of the shed? What?!?

It's like the Amityville Board. Considering an extension cord and hair-dryer!

And sigh again, the 4-hour spar varnish I put on yesterday morning still is tacky. Glad I got it on, though, at least it will somewhat protect the French doors, even with only one coat. (Yep, I did stir it. Enough? I don't know. Too old? I don't know. Midwestern humidity? Probably...)

I cleaned the wood with mineral spirits before varnishing, but allowed it to get completely dry before applying the spar varnish, so it wasn't that.

We had to have the phone line marked again, this past had been so long that Dig-Rite's original markings had disappeared. Joseph went out and ran a string along them today, in case that happens again. NOT that it should. Surely we'll get the electricity taken care of this week. (Patience, Kate...)

I still got in a bit of time there this morning for yoga and coffee, and the lovely neighborhood kitty came for a visit, again. Guess I need to bring some treats over for her...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bits and pieces, again

Not good. It's been almost 5 days since our last rain, and this board is still damp. Everything else dried promptly--it's also mildewed and a bit rotten looking
at the top as well as the bottom.

I like using recycled stuff, but this isn't good.

This morning I took my coffee and my manuscript out to the shed to work on the final polishing before sending off this chapter. J. came over and brought me fresh coffee and asked if I was doing my "editation"! Yes, exactly!

MODIFIED yoga, too, I really don't want more injury to that knee, so doing most of it as "chair yoga."

This sweet cat lives up the street--she's come for a visit twice lately...

And here's most of the first coat of spar varnish on the French doors. I got the small door frame done, as well as the inside and outside of this one and the outside of the one on the left, as well as most of the frame (except the damp part.) It's lovely, like painting on honey. It will take another coat, at least.

So, obviously feeling better, though I did decide to stop with the varnish till tomorrow; my shoulder was beginning to complain, now! (Ralph Macchio I am not!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

SO READY to make some forward progress.

Still waiting for the trench to get dug and the electrician to come; that was supposed to happen this week, as you may recall. Nada.

Is it the rain? Well, no. It was predicted but we've had three lovely dry days (at least) now.

SO ready for some progress.

Meanwhile I've got the French doors almost ready to varnish...maybe over the weekend. Maybe we can get some paint on, inside, too, but we were sort of waiting for the wiring to be finished.

I messed up my knee this week and J. messed up his back, so maybe it's a sign. SLOW DOWN. Take it easy. Patience, my girl...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Details, details...and weather!

We have an old armoire in our bedroom that originally had these hooks in really didn't work very well for us, so Joseph put in shelves for bedding etc. and removed these twisted wire hooks, which we saved. We knew we'd find a use for them--they're perfect for the shed keys by the door, and will be useful for more hanging things too! (Yes, I know if you hang them horizontally you have two hooks, but it looks nicer this way...)

Yesterday we found an iron greenman; he balances the window nicely! I'd planned to paint a greenman for the shed, and may still, but this one's a handsome fellow...

I was looking for brackets for the shelves, but mostly we found homogenously overdone stuff covered with faux grapes and hummingbirds! What's up with that? I'd prefer simple wooden ones, and we may make them from triangles of leftover wood. Fine by me...

Uh oh. the doorknob and faceplate are rusting already--because I keep the door open even when it's raining out. (shush, I know, "duh"). We need to varnish or seal them...

(We had this knob on the back of a door at home that never got opened...nifty!)

Siiiigh...LOTS of rain lately, and the sill obviously isn't weatherproof. We haven't had a chance to clean up the French doors and get the varnish on them--too bad, because they really soaked up the rain on that bare wood. It's supposed to rain off and on all week, but when it dries up and when THEY do, this is my first order of business. We bought caulk for the outer edge of the sill, too--the one on the small door seems to work fine, and Mark caulked this one where it joins the deck, but the secondary sill isn't caulked or otherwise waterproofed yet. It gets the backsplash from the wee deck that's been such a troublemaker when it rains!

It's coming in under the doors, too...I'm thinking some sort of weatherstripping on the bottom of the doors outside, too, as you see on these pictures that show the inside...

The roof hasn't leaked, though, and we were getting BUCKETS of rain last night--so knock wood!

Joseph got the hooks on the two windows, so we can lock everything up tight now, too--it was funny having the doors lockable and the windows still open.

I'm dying for the electrician to come. It's SO sticky and thick, even just a bit more moving air would be a big help. I'm thinking of a heavy duty extension cord and a fan, until we get that done. I SO want to start painting...

outside light...

This is the one I really like...hey, it's "only" $100...but the faux RevWar Colonial look ones just don't work, on the shed! (The other one we both liked-it was small and square--was less, but WHITE. Um, no.)

I don't know where I saw the $500 one...must have been made of platinum...

This one has a motion sensor, which I find I really like after a few burglaries in the neighborhood. NOT that I plan to keep anything of any worth in there, because I'm not stupid...the rehab house is fully alarmed but we won't do that on the shed. (Maybe!<;-p)

*Ooops. Joseph just looked at it's NOT a motion sensor. OK, back to square one...)

Meanwhile, here's my morning visitor! He was after mulberries right over the deck, and every time he moved he made a shower of raindrops.


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