Thursday, May 31, 2007

Exterior Paint Advice Sought

The house in the photograph appeared in Parade magazine about a month ago. I really like the color with the white trim, but I'm afraid to put it on my house. I'm worried that it will look pink, and I'm worried that something too bold will be difficult to sell.

Please comment with any advice.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Big Bushes Begone!

I talked to a couple of people about ripping out the way-overgrown bushes, and the best I could come up with was a guy with a backhoe who assured me of two things: (a) "$600 ain't a lot of money" and (b) "you can bet this is going to leave some big holes." Six hundred bucks may not be a lot to the backhoe guy, but it is to me, so I decided to see what I could get done myself.

I figured I could cut the azaleas down to the ground, and I read online about an organic way to disolve stumps into dirt. Normally I associate "organic" with "not that effective" and "time consuming," but its free, and I'm on a budget.

Anyhow, I got out my lame and girly chainsaw and went to work. After an hour, I was having a blast, and two of the bushes were gone. There are five or six more scattered around, and I'm looking forward to tearing them up too.

The only downer was a sparrow who looked really despondent. For an hour, she flew from branch to porch, then back. Every now and then she'd land close to the spot where one of the bushes had been, look at it closely, and chirp a few times. I searched the pile of cut branches, and I didn't see anything like a nest, but I don't know. I think I really ruined her day. Sorry.
Now I've just got to keep the porch a little neater.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Back to Business

Well... After a gangbuster start on the renovation last December, I ran out of steam, money, and time. The trouble was that once things became functional, I lost some motivation to get them perfect. Summer's here, and with renewed finances, I'm ready to start getting back to fixing up my crackhouse.

Here's the list of things I hope to get accomplished by August 21 (the start of the fall term here at ECU).

-Building a Better Doghouse - My dog Sally needs a doghouse, so I've decided to build a replica of the crackhouse for her. I've bought the lumber, and it is in a pile on the front porch. I guess someone from the city noticed because I got a warning from the city's historical commission. They want to be sure that I submit any plans to them prior to the start of construction. I'm seriously tempted to draw up some doghouse plans to submit. What do you think... should I start a side project blog:

-Tearing out the existing "landscaping" and putting in some simple, low-country plants. I am thinking of saw palmettos and even a proper palm tree in front left corner of the yard. There are a couple of varieties that do well here.

-Having the house painted - I painted my last house, and I will never do that again. I nearly died twice... once from nearly falling off a ladder and another time from nearly taking my own life rather than having to face the task for another day of house painting. I've been tracking a mult-zillion dollar house renovation in my parent's neighborhood near Charlottesville, Va. The guy doing it painted the brick house Lancaster Whitewash with bright white trim, and its the best looking color combination I've ever seen on a house. You'd think two whites would be boring, but the Lancaster Whitewash was really warm. I'm going to try the same color combo on mine.

-Oyster shell driveway and front walkway - You can get as many oyster shells as you can carry from any of the local seafood restaurants around here. Cliff's has a huge pile out back. I'm not sure that the shells themselves are for use as a driveway liner or if they have to be crushed first. I'm going to have to look into it, but if anyone knows anything about using oyster shells for a drive or walkway, let me know.

- New fence - The back yard is still horrible. Its actually more horrible now than when I moved in. The fence is the most discraceful part of it. There's a commune of really hairy (men and women) hippyfolk who rent a huge house behind me, and even their yard looks better than mine. I'm probably going to just go to Lowes and buy 8-foot panels like everyone else, but I am going to look into how much it'll cost to have a cinderblock wall built and stuccoed. It'd be nice to have a wall surrounding the back yard.

-Paint the front porch floor and ceiling - I'm thinking of painting the porch floor white, even though it'll always look dirty. I don't like that its the only green thing on the house. The ceiling on the porch is going to be haint blue.