Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Smile or P*@ker Holes

On a Sunday afternoon not too long ago I called Scott over to the living room window which overlooks the backyard. There was a woodpecker on one of the flowering plum trees, just pecking away. I’ve heard woodpeckers in the neighborhood, but honestly I had never seen one up close. And here this one was less than twenty feet away.

Picture courtesy of the Audubon Society, this little guy is called a Hairy Woodpecker. Often mistaken for a Downy Woodpecker, the Hairy Woodpecker is larger and more likely to go after a tree trunk like our little buddy did. Scott took some pictures this morning of the trunk of the flowering plum. It’s actually quite impressive what that little bird did. 

What was he after? Is the tree infested? Will all the holes irreversibly damage the tree? Scott could only hope!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wrapping Up 2017 or What’s Next?

Scott spent the last part of November and first part of December painting, yes again. He had been putting off painting the living room and dining room since we moved in. The rooms themselves aren’t that big, it was the ceilings. Actually ceiling, singular, a single run of ceiling from the hallway to the living room, through the entryway and into the dining room. Scott made the ceiling his monster. He had a reprieve this past summer because there was so much to do outside. But the weather changed and the rains came and Scott found himself inside, looking at the ceiling again.

Painting the ceiling went much smoother than anticipated. Consulting with the fine folks at Dick’s Color Center, Scott was armed with enough paint, blue painters tape and confidence to tackle the project. The big hurdles were painting next to the original wallpaper and the black and mottled copper hood over the fireplace. Several coats of Kilz over some old water stains (the roof was replaced about a year before we moved in) and Scott was off to the races. The result was much better than we could have imagined, brightening up the spaces immediately, even before the walls were painted. We don’t have any before and after pictures of the ceiling, mainly because it’s hard to see any difference in photographs but trust me, the ceilings look fresh and clean!

The ceiling project didn’t go off without hitches, albeit minor. We quickly found that the blue painters tape was a bit too “sticky” for the vintage wallpaper and pulled off some of the paper that was loose close to the ceiling in the hall and entryway.


Fortunately, because I own a custom framing shop, I have access to a number of refinishing tools and was able to, if not exactly recreate the pattern of the wallpaper, disguise the offending missing wallpaper so that if you didn’t know, you’d never pick out the damage!

And so it was on to the walls. The dining room went off without a hitch and looks great. The living room presented a challenge, only because of the cornice over the tall, wide windows and sliding door. The cornice is mahogany, one piece spanning the entire width of the living room - 16 feet, then turning the corner and progressing another 6 feet ending right next to our coveted fireplace hood. The trick was taking the cornice down so Scott could properly paint behind it without damaging the cornice or the hood - it’s too long for two people to handle. Enter neighbor Karl, who was available twenty minutes after we called. With three of us we were able to take down the cornice in no time and managed to store it behind the sofa safe from damage while Scott painted the room.

When Scott finished the painting project we reinstalled the cornice with Karl’s assistance, just in time to decorate for our Holiday Cocktail party!

2017 was a year filled with excitement, sorrow, lots of work and money spent, and satisfaction. We love our Retro Ranch and are happy to reflect on the progress we’ve made. In 2018 there are more projects to be started and some of them will be completed! In the near term we are looking at a few key projects:

- New drop down stairs for interior and garage attic access
- Lighting in the soffits for the front of the house and over the garage
- Attic insulation, R4 to R30
- New water supply lines and waste lines under the house and reconnect (replace) the outdoor spigots 
- Floor insulation in the crawlspace

Just so you don’t think we won’t be busy this year, there’s a lot more in the plan. This list will just keep us busy until we can get outside again! Wishing you all the best for the new year.