The little kitchen that could

by Stef on September 30, 2014

in Wyoming Home

First of all, I promise this is the last post of late night, blown out kitchen photos with junk everywhere.  If you survive one more post, I’ll stop reusing the same pics with dogs in them and actually show you that our house has been CLEANED and is lovely and bright and we can put things away and didn’t entertain guests in slob-like conditions for a week.  Promise.

Like any good DIY project, our plan to just “add a dishwasher! NBD!” snowballed into a fairly major project that (of course) set a few other projects in motion.  I can be ridiculously long winded on the easiest of projects, so I’ll try to take you through the steps as clearly as my brain can manage. First up, we wanted to install the dishwasher to the right of the stove, which meant removing this bank of cabinets.

remove cabinets

The tile floor doesn’t run under the cabinets so we knew we’d have to loosen the countertop and lift the cabinet up, rather than slide it out.  By the way, I should make it clear that I had no part in any of this.  I ran the shop last week to give Alan time at home with his Dad.  I found it super stressful to be gone all day, unable to hover and supervise (obsess) and never really knew what to expect when I got home each day.  On the plus side, I got to…. not help.  In order to raise the countertop and lift the cabinets up, the small row of tiles above the sink had to come out.

clean sink

I’m not really attached to the tiles, but now that they’re gone we just have damaged drywall showing.  Bad tile is less bad than no tiles, alas, they had to go.

Once the cabinet was out, the guys test fit the dishwasher and realized the cabinet we intended to use, easily accessible from the end of the cabinet row, was 15″ not 12″.

15 cabinet

I hope you know I’m not serious about these MS Paint photos…  My computers are still at my parents.  We’re making do here.

At that point, they stopped work for lunch and came into the shop to chat things over.  Their plan was to find another cabinet base at the store and try to stain it to match.  I love them both and love the work they were doing, but… no.  No way.  We could have probably fudged a decent cabinet base, but I knew the door would never match.  Instead of close enough I suggested we aim for intentionally different and maybe build some shelves that could hold small baskets or cookbooks.  During this discussion I realized we already had a 12″ cabinet to the right of the sink next to the fridge.  Though it was clearly more work, I suggested they swap in that cabinet, and leave the hole by the sink. Yeah, we’d still end up with a hole, but better to have it on the end of a row and slightly hidden than have one just randomly in the middle of a row of cabinets.

With one problem solved, we moved along to the next.  Since the 15″ cabinet wasn’t relocated, once the 36″ cabinet was added on, we had an extra long row of cabinets.  How extra long? Exactly 3″ too long.  Our longest butcher block slab was 8′… and this section became 8′ 3″.

new counter

I’m very in tune with my personality in that I know I’m neurotic and don’t even try to hide it.  I know the guys were just trying to make me happy and I know they wanted to do things the right way, but repeatedly being told nope, it won’t work so we’re doing this had me on the verge of a freakout.  I’m crazy, but not rude, so I was thankful and gracious in person.  Oh god, at least I hope I was.  I’m definitely genuinely thrilled with the work they did in the end.  Still, I think we’re all lucky that I was away at work so I wasn’t huffing around, sighing dramatically, being a baby.  I say this because — weeks ago when we decided that the butcher block wouldn’t work for the sink corner, I came to a point of peace about things where I realized that we could just use the extra pieces to make a 12′ long built-in desk in the living room.  The materials were a sunk cost at this point and we need a huge desk, so it was a happy accident, I suppose. To make the desk happen, I was determined to only use one 8′ and one 4′ slab for the counters, by any means necessary.  Those extra 3″ were determined to ruin things.

Because I imagined the countertops as a temporary solution, I rationalized that we could cut a 4′ slab down to 38″ for the piece next to the stove, then install the extra 10″ against the wall, and use the 8′ slab to make up the difference… resulting 7″ of extra space for a bookcase on the end of the row.  See my sweet rendering below if that doesn’t make sense.  Yes, this is a mildly sketchy solution to things and I was obviously trying to be stingy and preserve materials for a secondary project.  My sketchy ways go entirely against the way that Alan’s dad does things, which is: do it right, do it right the first time, do it right the first time even if it’s more expensive/difficult.  He wanted to use one two 8″ slabs and neither of the guys bought into my roundabout plan for piecing things together so we could save the extra slabs to make a desk.

I still maintain that my method would have worked and, with enough sanding, wouldn’t have been thaaaaat obvious.  I believe there’s a balance between the fights you fight and the fights you give in on… and this was the place to give in.  Getting huffy and being like No! Fuck all that work you already did! Do it my way because of reasons! would have stressed everyone out, put Alan in the middle of things, and achieved very little.

Bottom line – I lost the fight, as I probably should have.

corner plans

My plan, because I’m cheap

We noticed some slight warping on the slabs which is entirely our fault from the way they were stored these past few months.  Among the house-wide chaos, the slabs were regularly propped up against the walls, then moved to test the baseboards, then moved to relocate furniture, etc.  We also saw dramatic swings in temperature thanks to a few freak 30° nights without heat before we got the boiler working properly.  The guys installed the countertops with a perpendicular corner per my wishes (just prefer it that way) and we have a slight bow in the center of the counter.  Like, less than 1/16th of an inch.  I think it’ll largely sand out once I seal the wood this week.

new counter

::sad trombone:: I will now repost the exact same picture from above which shows our “new” bank of cabinets with butcher block installed.  Since we didn’t have a sealer on hand, my in-laws rigged up this classy table cloth solution to keep the raw wood clean until I can get it sanded and sealed.  Even though we just switched cabinets around, this long bank makes a monumental change in the way I work in the kitchen.  It’s AMAZING.  Like, SO GREAT.   I can’t give the guys back the time they spent on my kitchen but I can feed them well because food is how I show love.  This weekend it was rainy and gross so I made Big Breakfast (that’s a family term, officially referred to as such) of eggs, home fries, biscuits, sausage gravy, and bacon.  Then when that was done I made an apple pie.  Then when that was done I made some homemade chicken broth then use the broth to make chicken corn chowder, then while that was happening I used crab leftovers from dinner the other night to make seafood broth for gumbo.  Table-clothed countertops be damned, we ate well and I loved every second of it.

I think you’re now up to date as things stand today in the kitchen.  I know it’s totally annoying that I didn’t show a full countertop picture but that’s because I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THEM MYSELF.  Everything was covered and arranged as seen above when I got home and I got distracted with family fun time.  I ordered a sealer online and expect it to arrive today.  If it wasn’t already clear, yes, we chose to install the countertops without pre-sealing them.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading about different options for butcher block care but I’ll save that for an update once the product arrives and I have a sealed countertop to show for it.

 

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Kitchen game plan

by Stef on September 26, 2014

in Wyoming Home

I’m keeping the shop open this week so Alan can spend time with family and help his dad with projects around the house.  They’re taking on some pretty huge projects right now so it’s probably best that I’m not hovering, asking to help, and trying to take photos of the entire process.  They’ve started work on the kitchen, so I thought I’d run through what we’re planning to address this time around.

I know YHL gets a lot of credit/snark (depending on who you are) for their “live with it awhile” and Phase 1/Phase 2 approach, but I guess this round of updates is our “Phase 1″ of sorts.  I’m looking at it as make easy, budget friendly changes that make the kitchen livable.  Were you here in person, I’m sure we’d all agree that the current kitchen doesn’t have a ton going for it.  On the plus side, our new appliances have been amazing thus far and the room is huge.  I don’t hate the tile floors, though I think most would.  The sink is good and we have a garbage disposal. On the negative side, we’re seriously lacking in cabinet space and the cabinets we do have are a bit dated.  We also have a sassy little row of tiles above the sink that just abruptly end, we’re short on counter space, and the existing counters are royal blue laminate.  The laminate around the sink is bubbling and clearly water damaged.

photo(1)

First up, let’s talk dishwashers.  This is an old, pre-chaos view of the kitchen.  The original layout didn’t come with a dishwasher so our plan was to tack one onto the end of the L-shape, closest to the camera.

dishwasher

Here’s a view from the other side and showing our super sweet dishwasher and microwave setup that we’ve been living with for, oh, almost a month now?  I took this picture after work as the guys were installing our wood stove, so it’ll just have to suffice for now.

Before the large addition this kitchen obviously had an eat-in dining space.  With the addition, the dining space moved into what I assume was previously an open living room area, so now the kitchen is just ridiculously large.  There’s plenty of room to extend the countertop here and the proportions actually work better with the huge space.  Alan’s Dad heard our plan and immediately pointed out issues which is pretty much exactly why we have him helping.  Bottom line, the location on the end of the cabinets is literally as far away from the sink as you can get, and dishwashers are designed to drain into the sink lines.  It’s a no-go.

From there, we considered installing the dishwasher in one of two locations next to the sink.  To the right of the sink is our fridge (you can see the open space in the picture above).  Though it would have been easy to add a dishwasher here, the only other location for the fridge is next to the stairs leading up to our Master, as shown here:

masterstairs

It a decent concept, I suppose, to take advantage of the other side of the kitchen and add additional usable work/storage space.  Alas, moving the fridge to this side of the room would mean we’d pretty much HAVE to build out a wall to enclose the stairs, something Alan is adamantly against.  We would also have to run a new water line.  We could slap some lipstick on that pig and add lower cabinets or a buffet, maybe for a coffee area, to give more kitchen-like context to the fridge, but I think we all know what it really is – a fridge, randomly placed on the far side of the kitchen, lookin’ all huge and being in the way.  It’s far from ideal.

sink

Which leaves us with this final location.  That double cabinet is 36″ wide and sits between the stove and sink.  Aesthetically, I’d prefer to have one cabinet in between the stove and dishwasher but then if the dishwasher door were open, there would be no way to stand at the sink.  Out of options at this point, our only choice is to remove the 36″ cabinet, install the dishwasher next to the stove, and swap in a 12″ cabinet from a different spot in the kitchen.  That’s the plan that the guys are proceeding with.

Let’s move onto counters.  Which are blue.  So.

I’ve pretty much obsessed over counter top solutions since we looked at the house.  We have issues with both materials (actually, budget) and layout.  I don’t mind laminate, I just dislike the blue.  I also hate the ~4″mini backsplash that is integrated into any pre-fab laminate counter tops.  I neither dislike nor love granite/quartz/solid surface, but the cost is just so unnecessary for a temporary kitchen.  I narrowed our options down to Ikea butcherblock, custom laminate, or granite/quartz-like scraps from the shop that’s literally across the street from our neighborhood.  All of this leads into our next major issue, the sink area, which you can see here:

sink corner

It’s easier to understand the issues with the sink layout when you look at this diagram:

countertop layout

To use pre-fab countertops, which are available in 25″ depth, we’d have to make multiple cuts. Enjoy my crude rendering.

countertop layout_cuts

This many seams around a sink is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen and is probably exactly why the current laminate counter tops, which are seamed as such, are water logged and bubbling everywhere.  If we attempted the same layout with butcher block, it would look…. like shit.  Just terrible.  Bottom line, pre-fab options won’t work.  I stopped by the granite yard and had them price out some options from leftover slabs on their lot.  The pricing on the slabs was actually great.  The pricing on the fabrication was… reasonable but out of budget? I guess?  $1800 for granite, which I’m not even emotionally attached to having in the first place, in a kitchen setup that’s not permanent, is pretty much my definition of crazy.  Not happening.

Before becoming decisive about all these issues, my mom and I took a huge trip to Menards where we stumbled on butcher block in the closeout section.  At the time, we’d reached a point of acceptance where our answer was “look, all the options kind of suck, but these are great counter tops at a great price, so let’s just get them while we can and see what happens.”  As such, Alan and I have been tripping over two 8′ lengths and two 4′ lengths of butcher block since like July.  Our current plan is to install them on the L-shape and just live with the blue sink area for now.  I’m considering some DIY options to make the sink corner more livable, but it’s all up in the air until we see how the guys progress with work this week.  I suppose I should mention that I realize you can get larger butcher block slabs in custom sizes.  At roughly 7″ x 4.5″, that’s a pricey piece of butcher block that we’d still need to custom cut for the sink corner.  It’s an option that I haven’t dismissed, but also don’t really it consider mandatory to live with the kitchen for a few years.

In the meantime, stay tuned, because big changes, they are a comin’.   If you’ve stuck with me this far, what would you do about the sink corner?  Is there “least bad” solution that I’m not seeing?

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Finally, some progress!

by Stef on September 24, 2014

in Wyoming Home

fan

I’ve already accepted that we’re pretty much the slowest moving people ever when it comes to DIY and general home improvement. This weekend however… we were on fire!  I don’t want to brag (false) but we pretty much killed it and made huge progress on the house.

To Do

General house

  • Remove boxes/trash.  I’ve been consolidating boxes but they’re still everywhere.  I just made one last ditch effort to give them away for free on Facebook..  If there are no takers, they’re headed to our dump on Saturday. DONE! Couldn’t give them away, so to the dump they went.
  • Finish unloading storage barn.  It’s holding a lot of furniture that’s needed to get stuff off the floor.  Pretty much everything we own is on the floor.  DONE! Bonus, we’re no longer wasting $50/month on this!
  • Drop off donations.  I’ve been a madman about getting rid of things we don’t need so the boxes of donations are piling up.  DONE! So (so so soooo) many boxes of stuff out of our lives forever.  Bonus, everything we donated was new or near new and in perfect condition/working order for the next person.  I didn’t just pawn off our shitty junk on the thrift shop.  This has been hugely eye opening and I’m becoming hyper aware of the money we spend on things we don’t need.  Above all, I donated a lot of tchotchkes.  Inexplicably, I collected countless white ceramics at our old place.  I still like them I guess, but every time I unwrapped another, I imagined a cha ching! in my head.  It’s so clear to me now that I was buying “stuff” to keep myself busy.  It’s not happening this time around.  For real.  
  • Consolidate supplies for wood stove installation.  We bought a stove which I’ll talk about more once we get it installed.  Alan’s Dad is on deck for this project. DONE!  Also, we have wood! 
  • Finish transporting stuff from my parent’s house, specifically dishes and my desk/computers.   Not done, but I’m the only one who personally suffers here, so nbd
  • Bonus points: remove ridiculous toilet, vanity, and sink from back porch.  Ugh, thankfully we have a fence to obscure this horrible sight.  DONE! Better yet, while they guys were removing trash from the house they tore the broken lattice off the back deck and stfu it looks SO GOOD!

trash

Trash – out

storage unit

Storage unit – in.  Then half of that back out again to the thrift shop.  

Guest room

  • Assemble bed and locate extra bedding somewhere (I know we have some… buried in a box, I’m sure)  DONE!  yeah yeah!
  • Replace door knob  Not done….
  • Hang curtains.  We don’t yet have curtains for the guest room but we also haven’t bothered to hang curtains for the other rooms, so I’ll temporarily borrow living room curtains.  DONE!  Although, I cannot tell a lie, we did this last night after they were already here. 

Downstairs bath

  • Install faucet.  We replaced the sinks in both bathrooms (which I guess I should show, yes) but haven’t yet installed faucets so we’re currently brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink.  While that’s adorable and everything, I don’t really want to make a houseguest do the same.   Not done, but it’s the #1 item on deck today
  • While we’re at it, we should probably just make that downstairs bath usable all together.  It’s overrun with lights for the entire house, paint supplies, and more.  So: remove construction mess and work supplies, find guest towels, install light, hang mirror, replace door knob.   Done, done, done, done and DONE!

living room2

stove

 

 

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Weekend to do

by Stef on September 19, 2014

in Wyoming Home

office junk

My in-laws are coming to visit next week.  We’ve been planning the trip for awhile so it seemed like this casual, far off date, and now we’re all oh shit, they’re coming SOON.  We’re excited to see them and show off the house, but we’re really excited to have his Dad, an amazingly handy guy, around to tackle a few projects.  Before all that happens, we need to do something about the state of semi-squalor and temporariness that we’ve been living in.  With four days to go, we’re in serious deadline mode.

house junk

Lets just consider these the ultimate “keeping it real” photos.  Everything is displaced at the moment and it’s driving me crazy. 

To Do

General house

  • Remove boxes/trash.  I’ve been consolidating boxes but they’re still everywhere.  I just made one last ditch effort to give them away for free on Facebook..  If there are no takers, they’re headed to our dump on Saturday.
  • Finish unloading storage barn.  It’s holding a lot of furniture that’s needed to get stuff off the floor.  Pretty much everything we own is on the floor.
  • Drop off donations.  I’ve been a madman about getting rid of things we don’t need so the boxes of donations are piling up.
  • Consolidate supplies for wood stove installation.  We bought a stove which I’ll talk about more once we get it installed.  Alan’s Dad is on deck for this project.
  • Finish transporting stuff from my parent’s house, specifically dishes and my desk/computers.
  • Bonus points: remove ridiculous toilet, vanity, and sink from back porch.  Ugh, thankfully we have a fence to obscure this horrible sight.

Guest room

  • Assemble bed and locate extra bedding somewhere (I know we have some… buried in a box, I’m sure)
  • Replace door knob
  • Hang curtains.  We don’t yet have curtains for the guest room but we also haven’t bothered to hang curtains for the other rooms, so I’ll temporarily borrow living room curtains.

Downstairs bath

  • Install faucet.  We replaced the sinks in both bathrooms (which I guess I should show, yes) but haven’t yet installed faucets so we’re currently brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink.  While that’s adorable and everything, I don’t really want to make a houseguest do the same.
  • While we’re at it, we should probably just make that downstairs bath usable all together.  It’s overrun with lights for the entire house, paint supplies, and more.  So: remove construction mess and work supplies, find guest towels, install light, hang mirror, replace door knob.

radio junk

This is not a bag of trash, it’s the top of our Christmas tree.  Radio thinks it’s a bed. 

Really, this is all a messy cycle where one step depends on the one before.  Before we take boxes to the dump, I’d like all boxes unpacked.  To do that, we need to get the rest of the stuff out of our storage barn.  That stuff includes furniture/storage items that will let us get the random shit off the floor, clear out any final boxes, and bring more dishes from my parents (because guests probably want to eat at least one meal a day on plates of some sort).  Once the guest bed is put together, the guest bedroom mattress can come out of my office, which is also currently holding random shit that needs to be put away in previously mentioned storage furniture.  Once my office is cleared out, my desk and computers can move from my parents — and then I can properly blog, yo!  The wood stove is the biggest project we want to complete while Alan’s dad is here, and in order to do that we need the boxes, which are currently residing on our hearth, out of the house.  So we just pretty much need to do everything and stop whining about it.

 

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Fenced in

by Stef on September 16, 2014

in Wyoming Home

I could drag this out for a few posts, but let’s just get to the good stuff.   I mentioned earlier that I was super on edge about the builder following through on our fence design. After agreeing on the horizontal boards we hashed out a few more specific details before construction began.  First, he mentioned that he already had round posts with pre-treated ends on hand.  Although the inspiration photos all used 4×4 or 6×6 posts, the round ones were cheaper and readily available so I went with it.  I definitely worried about how they would look, but in a happy surprise, they sort of Wyoming-ize our finished fence and I’m totally ok with them!  High fives to our builder for that one.

We knew the horizontal boards were 1x6x16 and we decided on 2″ spacing between each board, with the first board placed roughly 2″ above the ground to accommodate variances in terrain.  With 7 boards plus spacing, we’d end up with a fence 58″ tall, or just under 5 feet.  Though Radio is physically capable of jumping the fence (shhh, don’t tell her) she won’t even test the boundaries of a baby gate in the house, so we hoped 5 feet was enough to dissuade deer from entering, and keep dogs from exiting.  Done and done.

We woke up early one morning to dogs barking and the ground shaking.  I looked out the window to see our builder with a bobcat, already setting posts in the ground.  Let’s detour for a second… Where we’re originally from, to set a fence post you would use an auger or post hole digger to make a hole, probably add some kind of footer or gravel base, set the post, then fill the hole with concrete.  I’ve since learned that here it’s far better to just drive the posts into the ground.  Since our soil is so rocky and sandy, it provides drainage far superior to that offered by concrete.  A concrete base could potentially hold too much water at the base of the post and lead to premature rot.  I’ll admit that I was skeptical of this whole concept.  Before construction began I ran the plan by a few other locals and they all agreed – set the posts and let them be.  No concrete necessary.  Though I knew it was the plan to just “drive” the posts into the ground, I wasn’t sure how it would actually work.  Here’s your answer!

photo 1 (2)

The bobcat was equipped with a post driver that literally slammed the posts into the ground.   I was super sick the day they installed posts, so pardon the photo taken from my closet window.  By the end of the day, all the posts were in, the back gate was hung, and front gate had already been built.  With that, my concerns were pretty much quieted.  Working with two of his regular guys, the team was super quick, detailed, and friendly.

photo 2 (2)

Seeing all posts up so quickly was the biggest tease in the world.  After one too many days of this:

photo 5 (1)

this:

photo 3 (2)

and this:

photo 4 (2)

we couldn’t have possibly been more ready for the fence to be finished so the dogs could stop using our house as their personal playground.

The second day of work happened roughly a week later and by the end of the day, we came home to the most glorious of sights.

horizontal fence

horizontal fence

horizontal fence

So far, Wyoming isn’t really a fan of our fence.   As the boards were going up I came outside and exclaimed OH MY GOD IT LOOKS SO GOOD!  One of the worker’s replied with, “it…uh… looks just like the pictures” which I’ve decided is a sassy reply of essentially, “it looks like shit, but this is what you wanted, crazy lady.”  Crazy lady, perhaps, but I love it.  L to the O to the V to the E.  The back yard has quickly become our happiest of places.

Radio is all

photo 1 (1)

and

photo 4 (1)

while Cooper is like

photo 1

and

photo 2

Edit:

oh! I forgot to wrap up our budget!

We traded the equivalent of $3000 worth of labor.  I believe the actual number was $2998.50, or within a few pennies.

The final bill for materials was just under $1100, which includes hardware for the front gate, all the posts, roughly 1300 linear feet of boards, the rear 10 foot gate, one railroad tie (under the rear gate), a bag of concrete to set the posts for the front gate, and misc screws/supplies.  Our builder just tallied up his own invoices and had me reimburse him by check.  We didn’t pay a premium on top of his materials cost.

In the end we paid a few bucks under $4100 for the fence and it was fully installed in less than two days. We’re thrilled with the timeline, cost, and finished product.  We do plan to rough sand the boards and stain/seal them before winter, but don’t exactly have a plan in place for it yet.

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Fence Plans

by Stef on September 9, 2014

in Wyoming Home

lawnmower

When I originally started writing this post, we were waiting on our carpet install.  That install has since happened and the furniture shuffle finally just forced us to move, without the ever-so-important fence, which in turn escalated everything.   As much as I’d love for our dogs to be chill Wyoming dogs who roam off leash and don’t chase horses, they’re not. At all.  Second to maybe a functioning heat source for winter, a fenced yard for the dogs is the most important improvement that we’ll make to the house.

Ordinarily, I’d classify a fence as the type of project that we’d be happy to take on.  We both have experience using an auger (post hole digger) thanks to my parents Christmas tree farm, and I’m pretty sure our new (old) tractor has a PTO but we’re still fighting Alan’s recent back issues. He herniated a disc at the tail end of winter and powered through the pain before giving in and seeing the doctor.  He’s far too young to be dealing with a ruptured disc and managed pain so we’re trying to let him take things easy.  Between his standard physical exertion at work and moving our boxes and furniture into the house (I’m helping, obviously), he’s not getting a break at all.  The fence is way beyond our scope right now.

My sister-in-law laughed when I told her this story, but in the ultimate Wyoming move, we bartered for fence labor.  It didn’t seem odd at the time when one of our frequent customers desperately needed a new ATV for work.  We chatted about the house and he heard that we needed a fence, so he offered to put it up in exchange for the remaining payoff on his machine.  It sounds a bit “fuzzy money” but for us it was very straightforward.  Instead of getting the cash from him for the ATV, we paid cash to the business for his machine.  For us, it was the same cost (likely a bit less), we just changed where we wrote the check.

At the time, we didn’t have firm plans for where the fence would go and what size it should be.  For the sake of bartering, we defined it as a “privacy fence”.  Our (very lax) neighborhood covenants require perimeter fencing to be Buck & Rail style, which we already have.  With just under 2 1/2 acres, there’s no way we can afford to privacy fence the entire property, so this restriction is just fine with us. There are no regulations on interior/privacy fencing.  We also defined the fence as roughly the perimeter of our show room, measured at 180 linear feet.

At the time, I was imaging 6′ cedar panels from Home Depot, similar to what we had at our house in Michigan.  While it’s a great fence option, I felt like it was pricier than we could really afford and didn’t fit the look of our place.Lowe's 6' cedar fence

While our house is definitely a “Wyoming house” it’s also a bit more… modern? weird? I wanted a fence that would match our exterior but also not insult my neighbors, so I started thinking about corrugated steel or steel barn roofing.  I’d say 90% of homes here use this roofing and we’ll eventually replace our roof with the same.  I imagined that we’d install it horizontal, taking advantage of the standard 12 or 14 foot lengths, and place posts every 6 or 7 feet.  Of course, Pinterest was quick to offer reference photos.

via Pinterest, originally on flickr

Both Alan and our builder were quick to point out functional issues.  We get serious wind and blowing snow in Wyoming and they both thought the solid fence would catch like a huge sail.  Alan insisted that we’d be listening to wobbling steel every time the wind blew and our builder worried about long term reliability.  I can admit when my “vision” isn’t necessarily realistic and let the steel fence go.  Still, I thought the horizontal idea was worth pursuing and headed to the Pinterests to confirm my suspicions.  There’s no lack of inspiration photos, but this was my chief reference photo for chatting with our builder.

Via pinterest, originally from FG Fencing portfolio here

Fence style decided, I went back to my recent floor plans to figure out how we could maximize that 180 linear feet to get the most space for the dogs.

photo 1

I took the previous floorplan and added our garage (gray square).  We definitely wanted a gate between the garage and house, preventing access to the back two doors off the deck.  We don’t have a clear front door, so I wanted to deter people from coming onto the back deck when I’m potentially (often) walking around without pants.  We briefly discussed wrapping the fence around the side of the house so we could use the small side deck for grilling and hang out with the dogs, but quickly realized 180 feet wouldn’t cut it.  Though it’s not shown here, there’s a large irrigation ditch at the back of our property so we needed to retain suitable easement from both the property line and ditch.  Our choice became clear – take the fence far enough off the far side of the garage to still allow trailer access, take the other side off the far corner of the house, then just maximize the length out to use up our 180 feet.  That ended up looking something like this.

photo 3

I was doing these floor plans on my iPad while traveling and approximated things, so I feel like the yard looks proportionally huge compared to the house, but I know for a fact that the garage measurements are accurate so maybe it is just that huge

We walked the perimeter with our builder and decided on roughly 37″ off the garage, with a 10′ gate that could let us pull a trailer into the backyard.  With (ridiculous) hardscaping around the “front” door, we have limited access for bringing in large/heavy things so we frequently (like, daily) back a truck up to the ramp off the rear deck.  The large gate will  also allow for us to bring in a lawnmower or ATV with a trailer for firewood.  We decided on a 4′ gate between the house and garage.  Other than that, I sort of left things up to the builder.  I’d love to say I was casual about this, but it was 95% faking my chill attitude because, after a huge failure with our handyman, I was pretty much shitting my pants the entire time.

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Outdoor tour

August 21, 2014

Right, so… I was half way through a fence post when I realized that I haven’t shown pictures of the outside yet.  Let’s run through things really quickly.  Most (all?) these pictures were taken immediately after we got the house, so we’re traveling back in time a bit.  I’m sort of piecing things together from […]

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Our roadtrip home

August 16, 2014

This is why we have big trucks We live in the middle of nowhere so home security isn’t exactly at the top of our list of concerns, but this is also the internet and I didn’t really want to announce HEY WE’RE LEAVING TOWN FOR TWO WEEKS, COME LOOT OUR HOME AND BUSINESS. We’re back […]

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Appliance Savings

August 1, 2014

In the last post, I shared the appliances we picked and a rundown of their cost.  I managed to collect multiple different discounts together to give our final cost and wanted to share the final cost. Samsung Side by Side Refrigerator, Original Price: $1699 Samsung  Gas Range, Original Price: $899.00 Whirlpool  Dishwasher, Original Price: $599.00 Samsung Microwave, […]

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Painting update

July 28, 2014

Last week one of the painters returned my phone call and was ready to start jobs immediately.  After realizing just how much I underestimated the scope of work involved, I jumped at the chance to get a bid for our work.  Quick reminder, this is what we started with: To expedite things and save money, I didn’t […]

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