Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Wrapping Up Summer Projects, Part 1

There are a number of small projects we tackled this summer which, taken together, practically complete the exterior restoration of the Retro Ranch! 

Early in the year we finished the attic project, read more about it here. Part of that project was electrical work which included lighting in the eaves. We had the electricians install LED lights (matching the trim to the existing front door light) over the garage, by our new address plaque and by the little bedrooms at the front of the house, to lovely effect. I regret that we don’t have a good before picture, but you can get the idea.

Scott spent a weekend this summer finishing the painting on our covered patio. The wall and ceiling needed a second coat of paint and cut in work around the trim. I had been looking for the right artwork to hang on the brick wall over the mantel in the patio area. I found a vintage, signed C. Jere metal sculpture on eBay, which Scott gifted me for my birthday. I love the way it picks up the light and brightens the brick. 

Shortly thereafter, I found the perfect light to replace the jelly jar light on the patio. We have spent numerous evenings on the patio this summer, enjoying the sunset, the breeze and the glow of the patio lights.

Scott repainted the front doors in August, read about that project here. Final touches for the front door were installed last week, a narrow brass trim at the bottom to help secure and prevent further damage to the laminate. And with that addition, the exterior restorations are complete. We are, however, far from finished yet this fall. We’re still working in the yard and will post Part 2, The Landscape Chronicles in the next week.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Even more LBG at the Retro Ranch

As you likely recall previous blogs, there is a plethora of rock in almost every possible location around the Retro Ranch. You may also recall that we removed a lot of the old foliage in the backyard and by the sides of the house so that we could access future landscaping plans. For landscaping reasons that escape us, behind the patio was a “border” of crushed rock that was several inches deep. In addition to the rock there was black plastic sheeting near the base and 20 or 30 - 18” felt squares under some of the rocks. 

During our ongoing rock removal adventures we have been able to attract people to pick up the rocks by using the Facebook group Multnomah Village Classifieds. On a few occasions some lucky contestants have even picked their own rocks. (With all due respect to Tom Sawyer, no apple was required.) One couple really wanted the crushed rock and not only took what we had already piled up on the driveway but scooped up a significant portion of what was behind the patio. 

This was the impetus to complete this area. What I discovered in digging the remaining rock out was that grass had grown over about another foot of rock. Seemed no matter how far back I went (now 4 feet from the edge of the patio) I was encountering rocks! I probably would still be digging rock (and plastic sheeting) if I hadn’t decided I was at a point of diminishing returns and started filling it in with sifted dirt from the excavation and about 20 bags of top soil. 

The grass seed was spread and the watering and anticipation began. After several weeks of watering during Portland’s hot summer, lots of LBGs (little baby grasses) emerged! They have established themselves and been mowed 5 or 6 times and even got their first weed whacking a week or so ago. Having grass up against the patio is a little thing but it is so much nicer than crushed rock, felt squares and plastic sheeting.