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The Guest House Porch

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We spend a lot of time outside and porches are important to us. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the guest house has a little porch to welcome guests. The original building had a sort of porch but we took out the original slab and reconfigured the space. We now have an eight foot by twelve foot porch that is blocked by the north wind and rain we get in the winter but open to the prevailing southern summer breezes. It has a great view of the garden and down the road will have a nice front view. I have plans.

The porch ceiling isn’t finished yet ( or the top section of the house caulk and paint) but we are still moving forward.

Our future plans for the porch are to put in a shiplap ceiling painted haint blue, cover the front posts and beams with cedar, and possibly do something with the concrete slab.

I am excited to say that the house got a coat of Behr True Taupewood, it is a gray with brown undertones. The trim is almost done and is painted Behr Dove. It is going to look beautiful with the door, swing, and cedar trim.

Speaking of swing, my goodness this four foot cypress beauty is a show stopper. A friend makes swings and other items in his shop. I love that it was custom made for us, It is stained a cedar stain and has three coats of Spar Urethane so that it can hold up to the weather.

We also have an Adirondack style rocking chair that was literally salvaged from the trash and rebuilt by Mr. Math. It got a good coat of black spray paint and has a place on the porch.

On top of the finishing up we need to do, I also want to make a barn quilt for the blank wall by the door. The view from the swing is just a blank wall and this house is all about quilts.

I found this pattern https://newlywoodwards.com/how-to-make-a-diy-barn-quilt/
I like how simple it is.

The Behr App has a project tab where you can save colors and look at how they go together.

All of the paint is in my shop right now so the 36 x 36 inch plywood is all that is needed.

We are making great progress now and it feels like we are getting somewhere finally. I am so thankful for all the work my husband has put in to get here.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

A Quick Turnaround on the Garage Apartment

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We are lucky enough to own a home with a garage apartment in Huntsville, Texas. The house is in a good location near Sam Houston State University and Huntsville’s cute downtown Our home is on a pretty corner lot. The one bedroom garage apartment door faces the backyard and has a sidewalk and deck off the doorway that provides privacy and a feeling of living more in the country than the city. My daughter in law says it feels like a treehouse and I agree!

The first of August we got notice that our awesome tenants in the garage apartment would be moving out due to graduating and getting a job in downtown Houston. We were bummed and a little nervous because ideally we like to switch tenants over the summer before August 1 for college students. Our tenants went above and beyond to move out by August 15th and to find us another tenant that we totally approve of and are thrilled to welcome. They move in September 1st.

Since our last tenants were there almost 3 years we knew we had some sprucing up and maintenance before the next move in. The guest house we have been working on recently is on a short hold while we get things taken care of at the garage apartment. Bummer.

I am a worry wart so I made a list about 5:30 one morning when I couldn’t sleep.

We had some leveling to do because a center beam in the garage settled, a little rot around the stairs that needs to be addressed, and some stabilization of the steps by connecting the steps to the garage wall. It is an ongoing struggle with exterior upkeep. Huntsville is pretty hot and humid along with being amazingly rainy, the back yard is in the shade almost all the time, the trees drop leaves everywhere, and well, the building is 71 years old. The original garage floor was dirt which wasn’t uncommon in 1950. At some point concrete without any reinforcement was poured and it made the garage doors so low that only a sports car would fit in there.

Leveling the center joist involves two bottle jacks, wood, and metal shims. You literally jack the post on the right up until you can add shims into the permanent post on the left. We had it professionally done five years ago and this is just maintenance. The exterior walls need to be leveled the next time but we weren’t ready to disconnect all the support beams and lift them this time. It would have taken us several days we don’t have.
Mr. Math wants everyone to know he added strapping to the post to attach it to the joist and keep the metal shims in place. I just didn’t get that picture.

We also touched up paint on the exterior. I am so grossed out every time we switch tenants with the front door that I was positive it wouldn’t be white again. I decided on red- Behr dark crimson to be specific.

This is a picture of the apartment from five years ago when I was mad the painters didn’t paint the trim. I didn’t take a close up picture of the door so imagine a grimy smudged door.

The change is dramatic. I like dramatic.

We also switched from the exterior wall paint on the deck outside apartment to porch paint. I am actually shocked we got five years out of the porch being sprayed with exterior wall paint. We are going with Behr Slate Gray on the wood decked porch. It will provide a nice contrast to the blue paint. Mr. Math spent half a day power washing, nailing in popped nails, and scraping 6 by 6 the deck and stairs to get us ready.

During the hard freeze we got in Texas last winter a pipe burst in the bathroom and thanks to the Texas power grid issue, we went way more than 24 hours in the very low teens with no electricity. All the pipes are exposed in the garage below. Of course we fixed the burst pipe but knew we had damage to fix on the inside this summer. The water from the burst pipe seeped into a crack in the grout then froze under the tiles. The concrete backer board under the tile absorbed enough water that it swelled and burst in places causing four tiles to need to be replaced. We expected hardwood floor damage but weren’t aware of the bathroom issues. Four of the avocado green tiles in the bathroom had to come out. Surprise, surprise, we couldn’t find new green tiles. So, this quick reno involves four new beige tiles. I don’t love it but the bathroom is part of our long term plan and will be totally renovated down the road to allow for stackable washer and dryer and for the bathtub ceiling area to be raised.

The original to 1950 pine flooring is one of my favorite things about the garage apartment along with a super cute phone niche and the original trim and doors complete with crystal door knobs. The floor took a hit during the freeze with water covering the entire floor. There are also some pretty deep scratches from a tenant who lived there when we purchased the property’s two huge dogs that have to be addressed. This time around we will be patch staining and re-polyurethaning the floors. I really wanted to sand and strip but it will involve sanding, stripping, using wood filler, and probably replacing a couple of boards. The exterior walls of the house needs to be leveled before we tackle that. Since we have a two week turnaround, the poly needs to have time to harden before moving in furniture, it will have to wait.

We also cleaned the walls, windows, appliances, did interior touch up paint, cleaned inside the cabinets and will be having all the plumbing redone next week to the kitchen and bathroom. Hopefully the Pex piping will not be as prone to freezing.

We are almost there. The list is nearly complete.

Beside the plumber coming Thursday we need to add new solar lights along the gate sidewalk, exterior cleaning and new silicone to the tub, replacing 2 mini blinds, and a smoke detector, we will be done.

Owning and maintaining our own rental is hard work. It isn’t for someone who doesn’t mind getting theirs hands dirty and backs sore but it is a great investment opportunity.

We love hearing from you,

Karen

Hanging up the Quilt

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Recently I shared the inspiration for the color scheme of the guest house was a fun quilt my great grandmother made. I just love those little houses. I always knew it would be hung on the north wall above the beds. I just didn’t have a plan for hanging it.

Thank goodness I have a problem solving hubby.

We laid out the quilt and decided to display 9 squares in a 3 x 3 pattern.

Mr. Math designed a quilt hanger using two sections of 1 x 6 painted boards and four bolts to basically hold the quilt in place by squeezing the folded quilt in place.

Slipping the folded quilt in was tricky but the idea worked!

Mr. Math cut off the bolts then we hung the quilt with some small brackets that held up the wood part without touching the quilt.

It looked good the first try but a little too low. I could just see it getting pulled down.

The second try was much better.

I am so glad to have a place for the quilt. The frames next to the quilt hold two framed prints of quilts that we bought in the early 90’s and a piece of tatting my grandmother made. Still working on getting something cohesive for the pillows on the beds when using them as daybeds.

It is so nice to have another project done.

Thanks for following along with us on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Paint Changes Things

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I bought this piece of Ethan Allen cabinetry at a resale shop years ago. It would have been part of an entertainment center. It hung out in storage then had legs added and moved into my principal office as a printer cabinet after it was painted a vivid turquoise. It served me well until I moved to another position where I couldn’t bring my furniture.

It was moved with us and ironically ended up stored in almost the same spot where it now is in the guest house for years.

When we got all the furniture out I thought it would work with the color scheme but the two 1950’s chair cushions were too much for the space.

Of course the solution was to change the color. The only color I could see it as was red. I also wanted some of the turquoise to come through because even though it is bright, I like it. Believe it or not there is a bit of a paint shortage in our area. Apparently it is the time of the year that students paint their parking space and red was hard to find. It took three stores. I would have loved that… back in the day’

I brushed a few areas with paint thinner, painted the cabinet classic red, then sanded over places to let it look a little distressed.

It is amazing how it changed the look. Of the piece.

Not sure the folks at Ethan Allen would approve but we like it. We have installed a television so the cabinet is going to hold dvds etc.

The paint thinner made the wrinkles you see in the corner.

Still plugging along on the exterior but soon there will be paint.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Installing a Vintage Kitchen Cabinet

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Five years ago I bought a complete 1930’s upper kitchen cabinet set on Craigslist. It was solid, but filthy. The cabinet sat in storage at our house from the day we brought it home but I always knew where it would go when we finally got the guest house started.

It had all the original Bakelite hardware still on it but was in too bad of shape to save.

We literally figured out how big the front window could be, the location of the window, and the door based on this cabinet set. There was math involved and a little fussing at each other over getting everything just right.

When we started the building the cabinets were moved to the outdoor kitchen so I could work on it.

I took all the cabinet doors, hardware, and all the nails from when it was removed from the wall off then sanded everything down. It took several days.

Apparently at some point the cabinets were in a shop or garage and some knucklehead stored oil in there. It too a bit of sanding and strong primer to get the oil stains covered.

The cabinet doors had to be stripped and all the holes filled. The outdoor kitchen is only partially under cover and we have had the rainiest summer I can remember. Most days it was under a tarp.

The cabinets were painted with Behr cabinet paint in bright white. I picked chrome hardware to play on the vintage feel. Hardware is expensive people. For four knobs, two handles, hinges, and fasteners it was over $50.00 but it is so pretty!

That hardware! The Fiesta plate is a gift from my friend The Social Planner. Her father in law made it for them years ago.

The cabinets sat so long outside that when the were installed they needed another cleaning and a coat of paint. The biggest challenge was to get cabinets that were taken out of an old house, then put in a storage unit, then moved, then again in storage, then outside then moved again installed so that they were level and square on the wall.

The first try didn’t go so well.

Look at the cabinets compared to the wall and the horizontal planks. I literally laughed out loud.

The wall isn’t square, the floor isn’t level, but with some adjustments and more fussing, it looks better. Adding vintage kitchen ware on top helped too.

A folding table is standing in for the kitchenette until we get it built. That vintage sink under the window will be so beautiful.

We have a beautiful butcher block counter, vintage sink, refrigerator, microwave, and storage going in after the exterior gets painted. I am making myself wait but it is hard.

Aren’t you glad you don’t have to work off my drawings?

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Why We Hired a Pro for the Tub

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If you know us, you know that we do as much work as we can on our projects unless we don’t have the strength or skills to do the work. We definitely did not not have the skill or experience to refinish our tub and sink so we hired it out. This post is not knocking someone who refinished their own tub or sink. If you were able to successfully do it I applaud you. I just know our limits. Together Mr. Math and I can do basic construction, plumbing, electrical, tile, and paint but haven’t had experience with bathtub refinishing.

We have hung on to the old farm sink since March of 2015. I paid a whole $2.00 for the sink and moved it with us here to Providence Acres. I loved it at first sight and would have been so disappointed if I messed it up trying to DIY refinish it.

It looked rough when we got it but the dark stain was just a moldy hard water spot.

The sink looked much better once I used CLR and toilet bowl cleaner to clear it up but it still wasn’t good enough to use as a kitchen sink.

Once it was cleaned there were rust stains and chips I hadn’t seen before.

The 5 1/2 foot long claw foot tub that we bought on Facebook marketplace for $200.00 was painted lime green on the base when we picked it up. I thought the porcelain looked to be in good shape but once the professional got started on it, I could see the pits and dings all over it.

A pro has access to the chemicals I don’t have and knows how to use them safely. Jesus came with exhaust fans, respirator mask, and a truck load of chemicals. I think his vehicle should have a hazmat warning sticker on it.

Muriatic acid, epoxy bonding agents, super thick oil based primer, and two part epoxy all smelled bad and took gloves and a mask along with a special fine mist sprayer, sander and porcelain bondo meant I would have never been able to have done this job as well as someone who does this for a living.

Jesus showed up at 11:00 with a helper and worked non stop until after 5:00 and then returned the following week to buff out some rough spots after the enamel had cured. We are just thrilled with how both turned out. So clean and shiny!

The finished project is beautiful.

I can’t wait to get the bathroom tiled, septic in and everything installed. We are getting closer.

Thank you for following along on our journey.

We love to hear from you.

Karen