Archive for the ‘before’ Category

Slat Screen Finished

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010



The slat screen is about 90% done. I took some pics while the sun was setting and the color seems to appear a little more yellow than it normally does especially compared with the pre-sealing color.

A few small finishing touches, a little sanding, a little more oil and we will be set to move on and start painting the rest of the exterior. We used Penofin Brazilian rosewood oil (an idea gleaned from this redwood deck) to seal and protect the wood from graying and the elements. The redwood does get a lot of protection from the overhang, but we really want to make sure this installation lasts. It’s been working wonders on the late afternoon heat in the living room.

We finally decided to use Amazon Paint in Whipped White (WHIP) in a satin finish. Well I think…we still have to check it out in person.

Slat Screen

Monday, April 5th, 2010


From Sketchup fantasy to Brick House reality.

Over three days with help from Carpenter Craig and my Mother we banged this bitch out. We ran into a few hiccups along the way and learned a some new skills (like how important a countersinking bit is and when to compromise) and in the end I’m super happy with the result. We still need to do the finishing – like sanding, staining, sealing – which should happen over the next week, but the brunt of the construction is over!

First thing first. We had to wrap the ugly structural poles with wood. When we first moved into the Brick House these poles were wrapped with wood, but it hadn’t been taken care of and was totally split and rotting. It was of the first things we tore down over two years ago…

The entire horizontal slat structure is made of finished redwood – the slat parts are 1 x 3″ / 8′ and the supports are 2 x 2″ / 8′ (that we cut down a bit to fit vertically). The big structural columns are built boxes made with 1 x 6″ planks that we had to rip down to a little under 5″ wide.

The big columns wrapped in new wood.

Day One:


We screwed up a bit. The left side was supposed to be flush, but we were having difficulty dividing the spacing into thirds and tried to center the middle support. BAD IDEA. It was way short on the right side and much arguing resulted on how to fix this design error. We had 16 feet to cover and I wanted the least amount of splicing. The math wasn’t adding up on how to achieve this…

The compromise was to install the middle support off-center to rest between the two front windows and then move the slats over to the left to be flush with the end of the patio.

Day Two:

We fixed the problem. Not the “ideal” Sketchup look we wanted, but it was the best compromise for our weirdly placed structural supports.

We got a little over half of the front slats installed and the side support attached to the crazy hard cement exterior wall.

Day Three.

Construction finished! Once we got a little assembly line setup to install the slats they all went up pretty quickly. We chopped each piece to fit and used spacing blocks and drilling templates to keep them all uniform. That’s some custom shiz.

Here is a close-up of the interior structural beam. We had to cover up the nasty (uneven) steel plate supporting the posts with a little bit of molding. The wood post couldn’t sit evenly on the ground and has a bit of breathing room at the base, so the compromise was to wrap it with some molding at each end.

Now we need some chairs or plants or something to jazz up our new shady porch. Our living room is so much cooler without the late afternoon sun beating straight into it, we get a bit of privacy and the house has some actual architectural interest from the curb. Win, win, win.

Here is a reference for how it looked…



Horizontal Slat Patio? CHECK.

2010 : The Year of the Exterior is progressing along nicely. Next up? Paint. PAINT THE HOUSE.


Monday, March 29th, 2010


150 cement pavers on the ground, be-yotches.

What did it look like before? Like this:

And After:

You can check out the whole process HERE. It ended up costing about $200 to do this whole fire pit/gravel/patio paver area.

For those of you considering this kind of paver installation: just don’t be like us. Level the area, put sand down first and tamp it flat, add crushed rock and then lay out your pavers after all that – then and only then fill everything in with gravel. Don’t do gravel first like we did, unless you’re a masochist. Or vying for the title of DIY amateur hour champion.

After all the headaches and backaches, I think it turned out alright. Time to move onto PATIO Phase Two : Other hardscape stuff. I’ve got some big ideas and I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t do that all backasswards as well.

Still got a long way to go though…