Archive for the ‘exterior’ Category


Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I mentioned ages ago, waaaaaaaaaaay back, that the floorboards of our deck are rotting away…

deck | before shot




















Is that a hole on the right there? Why, yes, it is…

deck | the hole




















Other spots are getting pretty squishy…

deck | rot




















So this morning, Joe and David are deconstructing the deck…

deck | sawing




















deck | pulling up the boards



















deck | see-through!




















deck | bye bye old boards




















You may be asking yourself, hey, isn’t this…

deck | bottomless




















… just one more distraction from all that work that needs to happen downstairs?

The answer is actually no. Windows for whole front of the house — upstairs and down — are coming soon, which means the siding will have to come off and the walls get insulated. The deck is in the way. So new deck gets us new windows!

In the meantime, the staging awaits…

deck | staging




















walkway this way?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

As we near an almost-but-not-quite foreseeable end to backyard projects, it’s time to turn some attention to the front of the house. It’s been an eyesore since we moved in.

First, we had to move that massive pile of stone left by the previous owner…

rocky menace


Then we had enough logs to build a second home…

logs out front




















And always, weeds up to our armpits…

front, avec weeds




















Basically, it’s looked like a disaster for three years now. The neighbors have been very polite about it. I finally weeded in preparation for this hillside’s big change and topped it off with a little soil. I’ll likely add more…

hillside finally weeded




















We just started talking to our hardscape guy about possibly adding a few steps up the slope from the street before winter. It sucks having to shimmy alongside the cars in the driveway to get to the entry. Especially if you’re the postman.

Irving Haynes, the architect of chez ici, originally envisioned the house as having a walkway. You can see it in this rendering from 1971 (click to biggify)…

architectural rendering of our house, circa ’70 | Haynes and Associates









See? Steps coming down the hill in a straight shot to the steps at the front door. There must have been budget issues and that idea got nixed. Bummer. We won’t be pouring any more concrete, so that design is out. Will keep you up to date as we discuss ideas.

In any case, these are the steps leading up to our front door…

front steps 1




















About that black mat…

front steps 2




















It was left in that very spot by the last owner. We kept it there to cover the crack, which ruins the otherwise intact concrete. I don’t want to rip out the original concrete if we can avoid it. So I was just thinking…

front steps 3




















What if there was a way to remove only the bit of concrete from the chalkline to just in front of the lower step?

We couldn’t match the vintage concrete, obviously. But we could replace it with something else. Like a permanent sort of welcome mat. Just thinking out loud here but it could be made of:

Mexican beach stone, like the border around our house. Could lay flat

island stone, perfect pebble in medan charcoal |











Or could be placed on end  (stacked)..

ann sacks pebble tile, bali in black and gray |






Reminds me of that gorgeous, handcrafted pebble walkway at Denver Botanic…

pebble walkway in the asian garden | shot at denver botanic garden












We could do it ourselves or buy pre-made tiles. Would carry a material we’re already using around to the front for a small detail area. I like that.

But I’m open to other possibilities…

  • A rectangle of colored concrete (small enough that we could mix it ourselves).
  • Tile or paint a “welcome” message on the concrete… like, um, HOME or YOU ARE HERE or BE NICE or some such message. Could also possibly inlay with off-ends from the granite we’re using on the patios and steps.
  • Tile, paint or inlay our house number in the concrete patch.
  • Press cast aluminum numbers (or even letters) in a modern font into the concrete patch.
  • Re-create one of Irving B. Haynes’ blocky or triangular artworks in tile. A little tribute to the architect right at our doorstep.


What would you do?