Friday, June 11, 2010

Would a greenhouse lead to a green thumb?

....Maybe if they looked anything like these ones!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

White Open Spaces... (sing it)

We live in a very modest sized home. Don't get me wrong we love it and it's perfect for us now, but once in awhile, I daydream of the day when we have a little more room. I'm a sucker for the beach house/cottage spaces... talk about laid back. I'd be wearing flip flops for the rest of my life if I lived in this place. I love the paneling on the ceiling. That will have to be a definite project in the future for our place, as well as the transom windows above the doors.

I've been keeping an eye out for some free wood, especially old and worn kind of like this table. I'd like to build a dining table someday. I think it'd be a great project with the end result getting years of everyday use. I can see it now, after every dinner... "kids, your dad built this table with his own two hands." reply with, "I know dad, sheesh!"images via Country Home Ideas

Ahhhh, the good life!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cozy inspiration

These great cozy scenes, via Home & Cottage magazine.
Great inspiration for this upcoming spring/summer season, don'tcha think?

I hope you are having a wonderful start to your week!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deluxe Treehouses!

Maybe when you build a tree house for your child someday,
you can make sure it's a place where you want to stay too!

This one was designed and built by Pete Nelson
through his Seattle-based TreeHouse Workshop, Inc.

"Inside the Temple of the Blue Moon on a
primordial patch of forest in Fall City, Wash.

Also a Pete Nelson creation."

"Perched high in the forest of Okinawa is a unique
creation by
master Japanese treehouse builder Kobayashi Takashi."

"The Free Spirit Spheres in British Columbia, Canada are
designed to be treehouses for adults. Handmade
from local wood, they are envisioned for meditation,
photography, canopy research or wildlife watching."

Finca Bellavista treehouse

"A pair of expats in Costa Rica, Matt and Erica Hogan, are developing a 30-lot eco-village in paradise. Finca Bellavista, as the small community is called, will have a microhydro plant on a gurgling stream, solar panels, a recycling center and a common garden. Transportation is by foot or ziplines, and visitors and residents will bunk in the trees."

If you want to find out more about these tree houses and check out some other ones, click here!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beefing up Porch Columns!

I apologize for the long stint of time with no new postings, it's been such a busy past few weeks. In short it was family visiting us in Tacoma, then we visited family in Portland, then different family visited us in Tacoma, then catching up with friends. But now we're back and this past weekend we had some time to do a little house project. A project that had to be pushed to the top of the list.

Operation "curb appeal", which wasn't supposed to start until summer, had to officially start this past weekend. I noticed that the wisteria we planted was growing very quickly and attaching itself to the column, which was the plan so it would go across the top of the porch, BUT as I said, we had plans to beef up of the porch columns first to further add to the craftsman style of the house. So we decided we would at least get that column done, and then let the wisteria do it's thing.

The columns that are up now are just 5"x5" and looked kind of scrawny to me, just very basic and no character.

I wanted a tapering effect
on the columns so I built a
surrounding base of 2"x2"s
at the top and a base
of 2"x4"s at the bottom.

I went to Loews and had a 4'x8'x1" piece of plywood cut into 3 sections of 13.25" x 75". I wanted each piece to be wide enough for the base of the columns and 13.25" was perfect. Unfortunately, we couldn't get 4 sections out of the 4x8, so we'll have to go back later to finish the backside of the column.

I held each piece up to the actual column for proper measuring for the tapered sides, because I didn't want to take any chances on my math.

It was time consuming and a little difficult working around the wisteria which had already surrounded the column... lovely wife Cassie gave each section two coats of sealer on all sides to help keep the wood weather resistant for many years to come. (See that chain linked fence? Our next big project is to replace that with a more charming wooden fence.)

And Voila!

It's not completely done, I still want to add more trim to it and extend the base of it down to the ground but it'll do for now. Oh, and remember, the column is only finished on 3 sides! We'll probably finish it up next weekend, if not sooner. The wisteria can be on it's climbing way!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Walkabout Weekend Winner 3


Here's a beautiful Victorian style B and B, soon to be going up for sale. I discovered this amazing house several months ago and can't help but stare at it each time I walk by. I was able to go in it a few weeks ago for an estate sale. The architecture is true to the period and must always stay that way because it has been registered as a historic house. I took some photos on the inside, but it happened to be with my mother-in-law's camera. I'll get those photos from her this weekend hopefully and then update this post with them.

(How cool is that turret?)
It was built in 1892 and renovated in 1959, has 5 bedrooms (all of which have their own theme), 3.25 bath. The master bath is located on the second floor, dead center in front of the house. The door you see on the second floor above the main entry is a door to the master bathroom. Weird feature don't ya think? I'm guessing it wasn't originally a bathroom there.

It has a total of 4,041 sq.ft, that includes livable spaces on the 3rd floor and the basement! Has 2 fireplaces. As you walk in they are located in the room to the left and the right. It took a while to see the whole house, there were nooks and crannies every where. It has a great garage with work shop and a basketball/tennis court in the back.

It last sold in 1986 for $160,000. At present, it's estimated to be just under $600,000.

(right side of house)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tiny change, big difference.

Knobs and handles can really give life to something that once was just there. The tiniest change can make a big difference like when I decided to add some cool handles to our guest room closet door. It's a hollow door so there was prepping to be done.

I took off the little "knubbins", (I don't know what else to call them).
Maybe boring finger holes?

Then I:
Filled the hole with wood putty (left image above)
let dry over night
sanded it smooth
put a coat of paint over it
drill holes for handles, insert a plastic anchor (right image above)
insert screws

Voila! The closet door handles now help make a cohesive theme to the room. The handles were less than $2 each by the way at Loews!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walkabout Weekend Winner 2


I love several styles of architecture but one calls out to me more than the rest.....the

American Crafstman! A style that encourages originality, simplicity of form, local natural materials, and the visibility of handicraft. I always pass this one (slowly I might add) every time I go walkabout. I've been wanting to wait until the restoration work was done on it to feature it but I love it so much I couldn't wait.

It's a 1915 Craftsman. Renovated in 1970. It's undergoing an exterior renovation at the moment on the right side of the house. It's a 4 Bedroom 1.5 bath, 2,877 Sq. Ft. and according to, it's valued around 424k.

From here, you can obviously see all the scaffolding for the restoration.
I love the swoop on all the fascias and the their fence is beautiful. It was an overcast day so these pics do not do this house justice. And as far as I can tell, I only ever see
one man
working on it.

I love what they did with the porch ceiling; a nice glossy stain and simple craftsman Mission style lighting the length of the porch. I'd like to do this to our porch someday.
It was last sold in 1980 for $80,000!

This is a view of the left side of the house. Looks like a small drive way but the fence actually opens up for access to the garage in the back. They have a nice mudroom and it looks like they have several solar panels on the roof (my kind of people).

And here is a shot of the house from the back. As you can see, those beautiful
dormers extend to the back too! I bet there is plenty of space on that second floor. I love how they connected the fascias on those dormers too. Just beautiful craftsmanship!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Putting the "old" into the new

This amazing feat of architecture and craftsmanship belongs to our good friends Schuan and Holly Carpenter. They both have a strong passion for playing music, so it was a natural progression and easy decision to build a standalone music studio in the backyard. Having similar appreciation and love for old world charm they decided to not make the structure look new, but rather as if it had been there for ages. Schuan drew up his plans and created a cohesive mix match of tudor/gothic style with cottage charm. I think you'll agree when I say, "WOW!"

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With work parties and helping hands from their friends, they
completed the structure in about a year.

To get that authentic old world feel, they installed salvaged leaded glass windows from Earthwise, stuccoed the exterior, stained all exposed wood a dark espresso, installed worn looking hardwood floors and kept to antique style lighting fixtures.

He also designed and built a Gothic style bookshelf from old barn wood.

Holly gives private violin lessons out of the studio, teaching the Suzuki method. The Carpenters enjoy having friends and family over often for potlucks and musical entertainment.
The studio can easily seat 30 people!

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Neither Schuan nor Holly have architectural or construction backgrounds. Through the help of friends and books, they learned what they needed to know along the way.
What's next on their project list? Installing hardwoods in their home, and putting finishing touches in their studio. I'll post interior shots in part two of this feature, so check back here often.

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Click here to see the before pics!