Posts Tagged photos

Yard Work

So long time no post from me and all that. Yeah yeah yeah, I know.

The bathroom is still tantalizingly incomplete. I bought window and door casings from Second Use and cut them to size, but now they’re sitting in my basement unsanded, unprimed, unpainted, and uninstalled. And of course I still haven’t done anything about the tub/shower valve escutcheon, although I did fix the broken screw in the shower arm drop-ear, so it’s solid again.

The main point of this update is the most recent bit of yard work Jen and I did last weekend. It’s been unseasonally good weather the last week or so (it stopped today, naturally), so first Jen got out and raked up all the leaves, sticks, and dead morning glory from the side yard.

As it turns out, there’s actually a brick patio underneath all of it, not just a bit.

Typically for this house and yard, whichever previous owner installed it installed it wrong — there’s no base of gravel and compacted sand, no! They just laid down bricks over black plastic directly onto the dirt, so of course it’s all wavy and uneven. Sigh.

But: since I’m pretty sure the bricks are pavers and not wall bricks, we’ll be able to save them and use them for our own patio to be overlaid over the existing concrete patio directly behind the house. Someday. Yay!

As you can see by the photos, there’s also a pond — we knew it was there but didn’t realize it was about 30 inches deep. Apparently there was supposed to be an upper pond with a stream and a waterfall leading to the lower pond. I’m sure a shrubbery was involved somehow. In any case, it’s going to be siphoned out and removed and eventually appear on a Craigslist advertisement.

So: last weekend we acquired a lawn mower from a friend’s shed where it had been sitting idle for at least three years. A $50 trip to a local lawnmower repair guy later, I was able to mow the entire front lawn for the first time in five months. As you can see, the entry looks a lot nicer when it doesn’t look like a jungle:

The mower doesn’t have drive wheels like the mowers I used to use as a teenager, but at least our yard is almost entirely flat.

I would have continued mowing and done the back yard, but since there were huge piles of yard waste covering parts of it I figured I’d take care of those first. The largest pile under the trees was mostly leaves and sticks and not so much morning glory. I filled up the 40-gallon yard waste bin plus nine big Home Depot bags:

You can see more or less where the pile was — everything in the area from the leftmost tree to the fence to the concrete driveway was a foot and a half or more deep in crap:

Meanwhile, Jen completed (or nearly so) work on the front garden beds, which are going to look very nice when they’re planted with flowers in the spring:

Sadly, the end of the great yard cleaning is still pretty far off. Not only do the piles of dead morning glory in the first picture remain, but in the raised area at the southeast corner is this:

We’re kinda scared to poke about in this treacherous pile of junk, construction debris, tree branches, weeds, and rocks to even determine how bad it is. And there’s another similar pile on the other side of the garden shed. When the clerk at Home Depot saw me buying twenty yard waste bags, he commented, “Those are pretty big, you know.” To which I could only reply, “Oh, believe me, I’ll be back for more…”

Finally, since it was such a nice day and both Jen and I were working outside, we brought Thekla out to play, which led to lots of hysterical crying. Turns out she’s terrified of grass.

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Welcome to Casa de Lovely

We’re Bryan and Jen Lovely, and we’re buying our first house, a gablefront cottage in West Seattle. It’s a fixer-upper to say the least, and by god we’re going to blog about it.

It’s a, well, quirky house. It was built in 1930, and people have been poking it with a stick ever since. An addition was put on some time (we think) in the ’40s. The basement was partially refinished at some point. There are five (5) outside doors, including a non-weatherstripped dutch door and a door directly into the second bedroom (which was probably rented to a tenant at some point). There used to be a gazebo in the (really large for West Seattle) yard. There’s all sorts of crap thrown helter-skelter in the side yard, now completely hidden underneath the rampant morning glory.

It looks like every previous owner has done their own “upgrades” to the house, but unfortunately it also looks like almost every one of those was done wrong: the electrical box has basically every kind of wiring that’s existed since 1930 coming out of it (except for safe, modern 3-wire romex); the drywall in the addition has visible tape seams; the basement walls are furred with 2x4s with no bottom or top plate; electrical boxes are askew, at weird heights, and/or open; the bathroom shower pipes weren’t attached to anything and the tub was repaired with duct tape; the vinyl siding isn’t correctly overlapped everywhere; et cetera, et cetera.

On the other hand, it has a nice layout upstairs, the kitchen upgrade was decently done, the original hardwood floors are in pretty good shape, it’s got gas heat and cooking, it’s got lots of storage/work space in its two detached garages, and it’s got a huge yard. And there’s nothing structurally wrong with it.

We had the inspection yesterday (photos are here). The inspector’s opinion was basically “what you see is what you get,” and our real estate agent sort of gave me an are-you-sure look when I said we’d sign off on the contingency. Now comes the appraisal, and then the closing date should be sometime September 1-10. After which we walk in with crowbars and have at it.

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