Archive for the ‘exterior’ Category

Fire Pit : Redux

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

The old cinder block fire pit did not work. Whoops! (That’s why I never posted a true DIY). Good thing it was dirt cheap to build.

When we visited T.K. and Jill’s house in Joshua Tree, T.K. gave us a little introduction tutorial class in welding. Now we are putting that new skill to use to rebuild our crappy fire pit. We will build it better, stronger, more metal-y than before.

We bought four 40″ x 20″ sheets of 12 gauge hot rolled steel from Riverside Industrial Metal Supply.

Our new fancy magnets were very useful for holding together the two pieces of steel in order to get them tack welded at a 90 degree angle. Best tool ever.

The first half got spotted in place and it started to look like something…

The metal fire pit will be sunk into the ground with eight cold rolled steel rod supports to hold it square and add strength.

It’s a big metal square!

We added foot long cold rolled steel rods to the corners and in the middle of each panel. They aren’t pretty but they are getting installed underground – so they don’t really need to be.

Installing the larger metal pit where the old cinder block fire pit died it’s horrible death was kind of a pain. Everything got ripped out and a larger, deeper hole had to be dug out. A sledge hammer and plank of wood helped sink it level into the soft soil. In the end we left about 14″ of steel above ground.

BAM! DONE. Indestructible fire pit. I want it to rust up a bit to match the sketch up version:

I think for our first welding project that it turned out really great! It was about $100 for all the material and took us three or so days to put it together with a bit of a learning curve. The Boy ended up doing most of it after falling deeply in love with welding and telling me my welds suck. Good thing, because we have a lot more metal to slap on this house and I’m going to put him to work.

Ready to go for fire! Much, much better.

Side Yard

Monday, June 7th, 2010

With my new found welding powers I am psyched to start welding up a fire pit, edging, shade structure and a planter for the side yard. Ambitious yes. Impossible? Maybe. I’m going to start with the fire pit and go from there.

Unfortunately the summer heat that has finally hit Hemet and with it I’ve started to wonder how we can add a small cheap pool to The Brick House. A tiny pool, just big enough to get wet and cool down in but not ambitious enough to need to meet codes and require professional installation. My sister suggested this puffy thing, but while we were in Joshua Tree last week I saw a really amazing DIY galvanized livestock tank pool. A similar version can be seen here at Waldorf Modern.

I was never really happy with what we had going on in the landscaping of the side yard, so I redesigned around the idea of installing a little DIY livestock tank pool.

I visited my local livestock supply and found that they had a 10′ and an 8′ version of the round tank.

The 8′ version is $374 and the 10′ is $560. Ouch, pricey. Delivery is only $10 though! Our house is literally right around the corner from this place and yeah, it can be a little rural around these parts. When I called the other 15 or so livestock supplies in a 50 mile radius I found that this local place was the only one that stocked a 10′ version, and surprisingly, had the best price.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone pics.

I also went to the local pool supply place to check out pumps/filters. I found this small one for about $50, but it seems like a pretty temporary solution and the filters would need to be changed every two weeks. At $10 a pop, that seems like some pricey maintenance. This Hayward unit is $269 and the filter needs to be changed yearly. This more expensive unit seems like a bit of overkill for the size of the pool. I want something in the middle, something to filter 750 gallons easily and that can be installed on a pretty permanent bases. I was also thinking of doing this whole pool with salt water instead of worrying about chemicals and such.

Needless to say the pool store workers though I was a fucking idiot. I felt like one. I’m not sure how to solve the filtration / salt water / pump situation.

If this pool idea somehow works out then we would adjust the rest of the landscape. I want to throw down pea gravel in a big L shape over a base of decomposed granite. I also want to add a Palo Verde tree with a hot rolled steel ring around the base to echo the pool shape and a big cactus in the back. Then we would use railroad ties as a stepping pathway to the pool. I found this great image of a railroad tie driveway that inspired the idea but have totally lost it. Damn you internet!

This is what it would look like when you are floating comfortably in the pool. We could get a couple of loungers to relax and sun bath nude on. No tan lines! Horrified neighbors!

We would still have a sun shade over the pool to keep it all cool and shady and the masonry wall for privacy.

I think a small pool would be really great and usable thing to have out here in the desert. It’s hot like 75% of the year and we’ve been just so desperate to take a cool dip for the last few years. So for $500 – $700 we could probably build this thing. Is it worth it? Or do we go the ugly doughboy route?

Here are some tank pool images I found over the week. I totally didn’t keep track of where I found them at because I’m a terrible blogger. I haven’t been able to track down a whole lot if info around on how to build one of these things…

That green one looks horrifying. But its got a slide!

Stupid idea or brilliant? I can’t tell yet. There is a whole lot of potential for failure.

More painting…

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Look at those weeds grow. One day, some far away day you will all be landscaped…

In other house painting news, The Boy got the eaves and trim painted on the front porch.  The front of the house is so close to being finished. So very close.

You know what would have been a better idea? Painting before we installed the front slat screen. Damn you impatience and a lack of planning!

In other house window news, we just got a custom solar shade made for our big front window from Shades Shutters

Our old awful mini blinds that were in the house when we moved in over two years ago finally physically fell apart and we were forced to get a roller shade custom made. Since the window is over 70″ wide it is just too wide to go with our standby Ikea Enje roller shades. We went with an inside mount roller with Siena 5% White/White (85-0202) fabric. In the end it came to $117 with free shipping. Ouch. Good thing most of the other windows are done.

Except for this one. Last one!

I can’t decide if I want to order another custom shade or just go with the standby  Enje. They are a little different (Enje is a little more sheer and has a metal rod) but since they are right next to each other and both look out onto the front porch I think it might want them to match. It will be another $62.50 for that bad boy compared to $24.99 at Ikea.

Well, maybe it might be worth just ponying up the extra cash so that they match…it’s only one window…

I can’t wait to get these stupid mini blinds out of my house forever.