Friday, October 15, 2010

    A little privacy

    Sorry about the absence of blogging for the last two months. Life got really busy with some un-fun stuff. On top of that, our projects have been pretty low-key lately (replant this thing, mow that, etc.), with one exception: a wall on our patio.

    We have a gorgeous outdoor space that we access just off our dining area. Because we're working on landscaping, decor, and finishes slowly, this space was totally exposed to the street on its east end. Part of the design of the house was always to have a wall on this end of the patio as a privacy shield to the street, so when we poured the concrete for the patio almost a year ago (!), Davido added some bolts to the pony wall in anticipation of this eventuality.

    After pricing things out and thinking of the best way to maximize our limited budgets and claim the most privacy for the house, we settled on this patio wall as the first step. (Future steps will include a fence with the neighbors, a gate for this wall, and some window coverings for the dining area. All in good time, though.)

    Tai did a couple of designs before we settled on one that would fit the horizontal cedar on the house. He grabbed the hardware to attach upright posts to the concrete wall and framed everything out in mid-August:

    All that plywood cladding was reused from our construction scrap stash -- win-win for the dump and our wallets.

    The wall sat dormant for a few weeks at this intermediate stage. It worked immediately, though, as we were able to enjoy our patio without sharing it with every passing pedestrian and driver.

    Then, Tai used some scrap tar paper for some mild water-resistance at the top of the wall, and started putting up the cedar boards Labor Day weekend. He used a few leftover cedar boards from siding the house and garage, and then filled in the rest with a trip to Sutherlands. He pre-sealed the boards with two coats to match what we did on the boards for the house.

    He did a great job spacing the ends of the boards uniformly on both sides of the wall so that there aren't any awkward joining spots. This is where it really pays to have married someone who spent his entire childhood working on house projects -- he is precise and meticulous about doing it right. He takes only a little more time, but he makes it look a hundred times better.

    My sole contribution to this project (besides replenishing the water pitcher) was to stain the cedar at the end of it all to get it the same deep beautiful color as the wood on the house. This took me all of about 20 minutes, but I still managed to dribble stain on the concrete, which you can see if you look closely at the bottom left of the wall. Oops.

    I think that spacing out the house/yard projects makes it easier for us to enjoy them along the way. We were really hoping to fence in the backyard (especially because various neighborhood animals -- please, please let it be animals -- keep using our yard to relieve themselves), but that will probably have to wait. In the meantime, it's still been great to make incremental progress where we can. Oh, and our house is still awesome.