Project House

Feel free to post anything unrelated to wet shaving or men's grooming (I.e. cars, watches, pens, leather goods. You know, the finer things of life).
Post Reply
User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Project House

Post by TRBeck » Thu May 16, 2019 11:24 am

A house (and yard) full of projects: this is my, er, lot in life, it seems, for the time being.

We moved to the Denver area last July, and it is, to understate things, a seller's market. We bought less house for far more money than what we had in Texas, and the house has some age and mileage on it. The previous owners didn't take care of it - they were busy growing, er, a garden in their basement. But it was "fixed" and flipped several years ago, so some things are in good shape. The kitchen is large and workable, and the hardwoods are mostly in fine condition. But then there are the projects:

1. Original siding from 1962.
2. Barren yard (not a tree nor a blade of grass in site; there was some bindweed - a noxious and notoriously hard-to-kill invader)
3. Poorly updated plumbing
4. Pedestal sinks in the tiny bathrooms, which leave little room for storage or even a tube of toothpaste next to the faucet
5. One-car carport with a warped support beam; no garage
6. Leftover tables and electrical circuits from the small-scale grow operation in the basement

I have already put a vanity in the master bathroom and will be adding a recessed medicine cabinet in the other bath (even a 24-in. vanity would eat up the available space). I have also done some updating of the plumbing myself and outsourced a couple of other improvements, but there is still more to be done. The good news there is in this older house, the plumbing is relatively accessible and all in one area of the home.

We've also offloaded the tables and had the electrical circuits disconnected so we could add wiring for an air conditioning unit (probably unnecessary here, but my family and especially my wife are used to the feel of conditioned air after so long in Texas).

I'm in the midst of fixing the yard. I have sprayed for weeds (vinegar at 30% acetic acid is wonderful), dug up mountains of bindweed runners, removed 30 feet of sidewalk from the back yard (apparently it once led to a greenhouse or burn pit or both, depending on which neighbor you ask), tilled the soil, and added a mixture of topsoil, steer manure, and compost. I also transplanted a small blue spruce to a corner of the back yard. I'll be seeding the back and front yards this weekend and putting in flower beds and, I hope, raised garden beds. We are going to use a mixture of native plants and flowers in the back to cut down on the amount of lawn, but I want to leave some grass for games of catch, cornhole, frisbee, etc., in the back. The front will get roses and a few native bushes. We are also going to try our hand with fruit trees out back since we have a blank canvas: apple, pear, and cherry. Maples for shade in the front of the house, particularly in front of our large west-facing window.

The carport will probably be the last project. Siding is up next. Both of these will obviously recover a large outlay of money and time, the former being at more of a premium than the latter after buying in an expensive area. The good things:

1. I love living near the mountains.
2. I love the amount of open space and the number of parks and bike trails.
3. I love the climate here.
4. I love the proximity of this house to my wife's work. If I am able to upgrade my employment as I hope, we will live within a couple of miles of everything we need to get to.
5. I love being in a city again with access to museums and galleries and the glittering lights of the skyline at night.
6. I love projects. Especially dirt work. Hauling compost and manure and dirt around is just fun. Besides, I get to learn stuff about plumbing and electrical work. I will even get to try my hand at some light carpentry building these garden beds.
7. I love this older neighborhood, a lovely mix of original owners, some longtime residents who bought in the 1980s, and younger families just moving in. Many people walk the neighborhood, and our kids have friends up and down the block. We know more neighbors here than we did after 6 years in our previous home. It has a decidedly different feel than the sidewalk-free neighborhood we left in Texas.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

Rufus
Posts: 2082
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: Project House

Post by Rufus » Thu May 16, 2019 1:45 pm

Good on you for undertaking, and completing, so many tasks. We’re in the midst of major renovations at our house: new and larger kitchen, renovated the sunken family room by raising the floor and updating the fireplace, smartened up the dining room and updated the ground floor laundry room. As my wife likes to tell me, she married handsome as opposed to handy, so I’ve contracted out all the work including the painting. Next year we’ll have to tackle the yard, which needs a face lifted, but I don’t want to think about it at the moment. The house renovations should be completed in the next 3 weeks after which I’ll turn my mind to the garden. BTW, where in Texas did you live? I lived in the Houston-area(Missouri City and The Woodlands) for 10 years. We enjoyed it very much, but after awhile the high heat and humidity got to us.
Bryan

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Thu May 16, 2019 2:22 pm

We were in Central Texas, just north of Austin (Georgetown). Heat and humidity is right. Before that, Dallas for over a decade. I can only imagine living in the Houston area. Exponentially hotter. The absence of humidity in particular is a welcome change. Cold and heat are both more bearable without it. 45 degrees with the sun shining is T-shirt weather here. The same temperature when the air was moist in TX was chilly and unpleasant.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
Kyle76
Posts: 1342
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:11 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Project House

Post by Kyle76 » Thu May 16, 2019 6:49 pm

Good luck! Be very careful around electricity. Enjoy the journey. Denver has always seemed like a very cool place to live.
Jim

User avatar
drmoss_ca
Admin
Posts: 9388
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:39 pm

Re: Project House

Post by drmoss_ca » Fri May 17, 2019 3:57 am

I remember planting a tiny blue spruce in the garden after we built this place. It's nearly as tall as the house now!
C.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8252
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: Project House

Post by fallingwickets » Fri May 17, 2019 5:04 am

Tim, weed related: did you spray with only the vinegar or vinegar + a 'tim' concoction? :D Also, did it really work??? :D :D :D Tons of weeds here but a) i refuse to use chemicals, and b) i like a lot of the 'weeds' e.g dandelions in the garden are grand, but in the stone beds, not so much!

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Fri May 17, 2019 7:44 am

Clive, it's just vinegar, but as I said, it's 30% acetic acid, not the 5% stuff from the grocery store. I bought it at an Ace hardware in our neighborhood - it's become my favorite store. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and although the prices are a bit higher than Home Depot, I can actually get what I need without asking 8 different people. But I digress.

The vinegar worked and worked well. It killed everything. Did the job faster than Roundup would've, too. That said, it's not a preventative measure. I could have planted the day after spraying. I like dandelions and clover, too, and I'll let them grow in our grass. Not in the flower beds or stone beds, though, as you said.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Fri May 17, 2019 8:05 am

Kyle76 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:49 pm
Good luck! Be very careful around electricity. Enjoy the journey. Denver has always seemed like a very cool place to live.
I leave most electrical work to others, but I can do little things - installing light fixtures and such.

Denver is great. Unbelievable parks, 30 minutes to the foothills and mountain biking, an hour to the mountains proper. And Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Ft. Collins are all less than two hours away.
drmoss_ca wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 3:57 am
I remember planting a tiny blue spruce in the garden after we built this place. It's nearly as tall as the house now!
C.
I'm excited at this prospect. We've always had houses with mature trees; I relish the chance to watch the spruce and our fruit trees grow.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8252
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: Project House

Post by fallingwickets » Sat May 18, 2019 11:29 am

thanks Tim. When i think vinegar, i think supermarket and so I didnt even give the hardware store a thought. I ordered a bottle from amzn... should be here next week. Thanks again for the recommendation.

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

Rufus
Posts: 2082
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: Project House

Post by Rufus » Sat May 18, 2019 1:49 pm

I see that Round Up has a product on the market now that is based on acetic acid. Don’t know the concentration.
Bryan

User avatar
jww
Woolly Bully
Posts: 10900
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:49 am
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: Project House

Post by jww » Sat May 18, 2019 2:32 pm

When ever I see or hear about home reno projects I remember how good I am at writing cheques to contractors. I have never done anything decent beyond painting, and even then my ceiling / wall edges were at best atrocious. :(

Good luck with all the work -- I am sure it will be phenomenal when done.
Wendell

Resident Wool Fat Evangelist & anglophile. Have you hugged a sheep today?

Rufus
Posts: 2082
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: Project House

Post by Rufus » Sat May 18, 2019 8:48 pm

jww wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 2:32 pm
When ever I see or hear about home reno projects I remember how good I am at writing cheques to contractors. I have never done anything decent beyond painting, and even then my ceiling / wall edges were at best atrocious. :(

Good luck with all the work -- I am sure it will be phenomenal when done.
My exact sentiments. Cheque writing to contractors is becoming second nature for me.
Bryan

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Sun May 19, 2019 7:40 pm

I have written my share of checks to contractors, but that's not an option at present, and the more I do, the more confidence I gain. I built a platform to which I could anchor a shed when we first moved in. Didn't need to look pretty, just be functional, and it is. That went well enough that I thought I'd try the vanity, which was a small project. A couple of mishaps, but they were manageable, and they're just memories now, while the vanity will be used for decades.

That said, when it comes time to replace this siding, I'll be finding a professional crew, not least of all because asbestos and/or lead paint may be involved for all I know.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

Rufus
Posts: 2082
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: Project House

Post by Rufus » Mon May 20, 2019 5:11 am

I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that DIY is not in me. I’ve tried to build, install and repair many things around the house, but I’ve always had to revert to a pro. The only task I did credibly well was painting, but my sciatica and lower back issues precludes me from doing even that now. Two of my 3 children, however, can do just about anything with their hands and eyes. They are so good with their hands and eyes that they’ve taken up professions dependent on these skills: my daughter is a very accomplished theatre set and costume designer and my son is a commercial artist and photographer. I’m quietly jealous of their skills, but very proud of their accomplishments. But I do write cheques to contractors very well.
Bryan

User avatar
fallingwickets
Clive the Thumb
Posts: 8252
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:59 am

Re: Project House

Post by fallingwickets » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:42 am

A quick post to say that the vinegar works! Whatever i sprayed died (hopefully a fast painless death!!)

I bought this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VV ... UTF8&psc=1

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

Rufus
Posts: 2082
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: Greater Toronto Area

Re: Project House

Post by Rufus » Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:25 am

fallingwickets wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:42 am
A quick post to say that the vinegar works! Whatever i sprayed died (hopefully a fast painless death!!)

I bought this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VV ... UTF8&psc=1

clive
Roundup now has a weed and grass control spray based on acetic acid. It expresses the acetic acid contact in terms of density 62.5g/l. The product is Roundup Advanced Grass and Weed Control. At this stage I can’t say how effective it is.
Bryan

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:03 pm

See, Clive, I've always known I was a trend-setter. :D

Unfortunately, we do have a couple of noxious weeds here that neither vinegar nor Roundup will touch. They spread via underground runners and simply will not die. 20-year weeds, according to most folks. Anyway, I'm fighting those with a pitchfork, pulling roots as deeply as I can, and lots of cussing.

Vinegar did the deed for the rest, though, and the grass is finally coming up, and the garden beds I built should get filled with dirt tomorrow.

We've found time for hiking, too, though, as the weather has turned. Net gain moving to CO, even if the house is a bit of a bear.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

brothers
Posts: 20006
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:18 am
Location: Oklahoma City USA

Re: Project House

Post by brothers » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:11 pm

TRBeck wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 7:44 am
Clive, it's just vinegar, but as I said, it's 30% acetic acid, not the 5% stuff from the grocery store. I bought it at an Ace hardware in our neighborhood - it's become my favorite store. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and although the prices are a bit higher than Home Depot, I can actually get what I need without asking 8 different people. But I digress.

The vinegar worked and worked well. It killed everything. Did the job faster than Roundup would've, too. That said, it's not a preventative measure. I could have planted the day after spraying. I like dandelions and clover, too, and I'll let them grow in our grass. Not in the flower beds or stone beds, though, as you said.
Tim, I've got a nuisance voluntary mulberry tree up against the outside of a fence. If I spray the leaves thoroughly will the 30% acetic acid kill the tree so I can get rid of it?
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

User avatar
TRBeck
Soapgeek
Posts: 5072
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Project House

Post by TRBeck » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:24 pm

No idea, Gary. I got the advice on the acetic acid at a local hardware store (Ace). I will say that it did not knock out the deepest roots on these noxious weeds, so perhaps it can't kill something the size of a tree. I would try contacting the ag extension office there, though. The CO ag extension has been really helpful for me here with suggestions on what to plant and where.
Regards,
Tim

Why should we not meet, not always as dyspeptics, to tell our bad dreams, but sometimes as eupeptics, to congratulate each other on the ever-glorious morning? - Henry David Thoreau

Post Reply