Tag Archives: projects

How to make a Fire Pit, with Mid-Century flair

My recent hiatus doesn’t mean I don’t have much to report (if you can follow my double-negatives)…it simply means I have a very limited time to update our home renovation happenings. We have finally moved into our house, exactly 1 year to-the-date after purchasing the house. That was back in March and we are SLOWLY making progress on our home while trying to stay above “financial” water so we can get our kitchen going. (A huge applause to my wife that must endure our primitive living, especially in the kitchen.) We have just begun work on the exterior and should have some pictures of our newly stucco’ed and hopefully painted house soon. Here’s what it looks like today…

Powerwashed and ready for new stucco and paint…very soon!

Over these past months, I’ve been making a significant dent in a large pile of pallets laying around at work. I’ve managed to deconstruct some of these pallets for small projects around the house as well as my most favorite recent pastimes…bonfires! Until recently, our bonfires were centered around an aluminum garbage can which would glow red after a few minutes of steady burning. While it served us well, it was time to retire our depression-era pit for a more swanky upgrade..circa 1960 perhaps???

Throughout the year, our non-profit’s pile of used appliances is set aside after they have been removed from our clients home to make way for the new appliances we install for them. This pile sits until we have enough weight to make a worthwhile trip to the recycle yard. Somehow, my subconscious mind recalled that washing machine tubs make for good fire pits. The combination of the existing holes, thick steel and the much deeper capacity than your standard store-bought fire pit makes this a win-win!

It just so happens that a pair of 1960s-70s bar stools also made their way into our pile of metal to recycle. Again, my subconscious mind recalled that these may be a great stand for my newly acquired pit and I proceeded to cut the stool bases off for my future upcycling project.

Once I mounted the washing machine tub atop the 1960s-70s bar stool base, the most amazing thing happened. I was immediately transported to the early 1960s as I stared at this retro modern creation.

Ok, enough with the words…here’s some pictures!!! What do you think?

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Windows Completed

First project completed!!! Although they weren’t part of the original plan, the driveway-side windows are all installed and now a thing of the past. Enjoy the picture time-line.

  Originally, the plan was to cover the window in the kitchen and bring in more light by installing a French door at the back entry. After discovering the great prices of Pella-brand argon double-pane windows ($120.00 for a 3×5 window) from Lowes, we immediately made room in our budget for these windows. My savings scheming also helped.

I first started by removing all of the existing windows I planned to replace. I did have mixed feelings because the original double hung windows were in such remarkable shape and I knew with a little bit of cleaning, sanding, wax and paint, these windows would last another 50 + years.

After I removed the windows carefully (I saved everything and will find a use for them somewhere down the road), I then cut out the exterior stucco to make room for the new and larger windows. The two windows in the living room went from 3×4 to 3×5. The window in the breakfast nook went from 40″x48″ to a whopping 5’x7′.

Next step was to frame up a new opening for the windows, including a new header for each window.


After, self adhering flashing was laid onto the exterior side of the frame to prevent water leakage. Then a bead of silicone was applied just before the windows were screwed to the frame.


After the windows were screwed to the frame I ran another strip of the self-adhering flashing over the vinyl frame just to provide a final water-tight seal. The final touch of the exterior work was to apply plywood and brick mold trim around the new windows for stucco….once it happens somewhere way, way down the road.

 

Finally, the final (it really feels good to use the word final, even though its all so far from finality) touches to the window were on the inside. I trimmed up the interior frames for sheetrock (which goes up soon).

Huge sigh. Now to divert my attention to the other million things to do before the wedding….which is now exactly one month away.

-jerry

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Fiberglass & Frolicking

After the past Easter weekend with the family and some staged frolicking with my wife, it was back to business on the house this week. Monday was completely shot due to elimination hockey where my beloved San Jose Sharks came out victorious and  moved on to the next round in the playoffs…WOO-HOO!!!

So it was back to work Tuesday night where I needed to get insulation on the walls if I plan to keep to the schedule. After a few hours of post-work work, insulation is all up. 80% of the strips needed to be cut because none of the studs were equally placed…errrrr! A couple more days of some final clean-up and hopefully sheetrock goes up next week.

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More free stuff coming our way… You’re welcome earth!

Sunday was a day off and Saturday’s work wasn’t really picture-worthy. However, I did manage to get some more free stuff from a friend who happened to be tearing down his patio and had 6×8 redwood lumber (4 8-foot & 2 16-foot pieces) that he was going to have to pay to remove. I swooped them up for a future patio project, did my part to save the earth, and now sharing the pics with you today….scooooore!!!!

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My lucky day!!!

Just a short post ago, things were dire and I was close to the edge. But just as soon as I was down, now I’m on top of the world ma! Things are looking up thanks to two great finds yesterday, just sitting on the side of the road with a “free” sign on them. The first find is a really cool 50s or 60s stationary rocking chair. You think its just a chair, but then you sit down and realize it rocks too!!! I am super excited to restore this once the house stuff is completed. Tons of potential! Check it out…

This second find is just as equally as impressive. A bucket full of vintage white porcelain pull knobs. There’s got to be over 200 here. The stems and screws are brass and even have a patina to them….awesome!!! Now I have a renewed energy and back to hitting it hard tonight…booya!!!

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We must be crazy!!!

Yesterday marked the two month mark til our wedding. You couldn’t tell it by looking at the current state of our house. My goal is to be able to actually live in the house by the time the wedding day gets here. Thankfully we have a place to stay with family while we are fixing the house. Things are looking dire, but I remain optimistic. Did I mention that I need a new roof, sheetrock, insulation, electrical, and more plumbing connections for gas? Thank goodness weddings are so affordable…haha, I laugh alone.

-jerry

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Kitchen & Living Room demolition

As promised,here’s how things are progressing via some photos of these past few weeks…

Then we took advantage of the wall being torn down and are in the process of installing windows…

Left side of house - before (view from driveway)

Front (side view with new windows...installation still in-progress)

Front - new windows (with my sexy Dana, not available at Lowes)

Inaugural opening...of our first new window

ok, back to work…
-jerry

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