Two Tasks for Today

Our foundation shrubs arrived via free delivery from the nursery.

We’re going to try to split our human resources today to accomplish two different projects.

We tried a few different layouts.

Charlie is going to start planting up the shrubs in the front yard.

In the end we went with the original plan.

His goal for today is half the planting totally finished.

From the driveway viewpoint the plants are being set well away from the foundation.

Unfortunately it’s not just digging; there are tree roots running through the front yard that have to be mattocked out.

The 2 new windows beyond the porch need shutters to be newly sized and mounted.

I plan to finish up the details on the house shutters.  No doubt Sug will help both of us.

Are you enjoying fall weather?


The Edge of the Driveway

The Japanese plum yew at the corner of the driveway in front of the house is unusual.

The Japanese yew is at the right of the photo.

Charlie was hoping we were going to cut it down or dig it up.

Golden Thread False Cypress

Instead I purchased 3 Golden Thread false cypress plants to enhance the area.

The false cypress is a bright light in the shade of the front yard.

The yew is about 4-feet tall and the false cypress grows to a height of about 3 feet and spreads to about 3.5 feet.

We will spread the plants apart.

We need to be careful to give the plants enough room to grow.

Is it difficult for you to space small plants foreseeing their ultimate size?

Burying, Grading, and Positioning

While Charlie was grading the front yard he unburied a couple of items:

Charlie located the ground wire and posts.

First, our electrical ground wire and posts.

The concrete footer from the old front “porch” had been buried.

Second, the concrete footer from the old front stoop.

The concrete was cleared just so we could plant easily.

He dug up most of the footer then turned his attention to the ground wire.

I suggested he use some old hose to wrap the wire just in case someone decided to dig in the front bed. He totally disagreed with me. He wanted to cover the wire with chards of concrete block.  I thought that would be a mess.

The ground wire is wrapped in garden hose.

Charlie’s disclaimer was that he could easily cut through a garden hose with a shovel. I suggested he give it a try before he dismissed the idea out-of-hand.

Even the bend in the wire was covered.

He discovered that a garden hose is a very difficult item to cut through.  So he slit the hose lengthwise using both a utility knife and my heavy-duty scissors and then wrapped each piece of wire.

Charlie made a sketch of the position of the ground line for future reference.

Bringing wheelbarrows full of dirt from the back yard, he filled in the area and graded the entire front of the house so water would flow away from the foundation and around the house from left to right.

When we remove these shrubs from their pots they will almost disappear.

The plants were also delivered so we quickly placed them in the position of the original plan.  By the weekend I’m sure we will have moved them a dozen times to finalize their placement.

Do you seed or plant in the fall? Or wait until spring?

Resizing a Shutter

All the windows on the front and roadside facades of the house are the same size except the casement window over the kitchen sink.

The bottom window looks out from the kitchen and is smaller than the others.

I would like this window to be adorned with a shutter like the others.

We need ten pairs of 14 total.

Happily we have extra shutters from the original house that we can modify.

The shutters are painted but one pair needs to be cut down.

The question, of course, is how to best do this. I got some great information from Yvonne Pratt at Stone Gable.

The plan is:

  1. Measure the window — shutters cover the window not the window frame.

    Shutters were drawn in on the architect’s original sketch.
  2. Measure the shutters — determine how much needs to be removed.
  3. Cut shutters — carefully mark the top and bottom of the shutters and cut off an equal amount maintain the center rail.
  4. Replace the top and bottom rails — slide the rails in and secure with pocket screws.

    I’m planning to use the Kreg jig to drill the pocket screw holes that will hold the rails to the shutter stiles.
  5. Replace hinges — chisel 4 hinge mortises and attach hinges with screws.

    We have original hinges.
  6. Replace tie-back hardware — screw hardware into bottom rail.

    The tie-back hardware is clearly visible here.

Then we’ll have to figure out how to hang them.

Do you plan out your projects?

Plans for the Bed

We have a Grange sleigh bed.

Our Grange king size sleigh bed

I’ve been storing our king-sized sleigh bed frame behind a loveseat in the conservatory.

There’s the bed in the window behind the loveseat.

I have wanted to give it a finish like the one Andi used to transform this armoire.

I’m planning to cut on the white line.

I’m planning first to cut the footboard down from being a sleigh bed to just a short endboard like this one. I’m not sure the best saw to accomplish this severance — circular, jig, reciprocating.

The bed will look much better with a bedframe.

I hope this project can get finished before Christmas and while the weather is still agreeable.

Have you ever painted your bed?

Repeating Colors

Now that all the shutters have been painted I have an idea for using the shutter color is one place at the back of the house.

The back of the house looks less colorful than the front.

I think the bottom of the bump out might look good painted dark, the shutter color.

I can paint the bump out paneling storm blue.

My original inspiration for the bump out was painted. What’s the worst thing that can happen: I paint it white again.

The house painting was completed in 2015.
Now I might paint the bottom of the bump out.

I mocked up an old photo to give a feeling of how it would look.

Do you use paint to transform spaces?

More Shutter Details

It’s not a surprise that we painted and mounted shutters again this weekend.

Sug climbed onto the roof of the porch and I handed up the shutters.

Sug cleaned and primed and I painted 4 sets of shutters.  We were only able to hang 2 more sets because the final two pairs need to be specially fit.

The shutter over the porch is quite weathered.

The first set goes over the side porch outside of the laundry room.  This is the most weathered set of all the shutters but we used them because the hinges match the ones on the window frame.  We didn’t feel like tasking ourselves with moving hinges because the shutters would have to be notched.

Shutters on the east face of the house.

Then we hung another set on the east side of the house. This was the window I talked about here.

Before in 2015
The shutters on the east side of the house are finished (2017). The conservatory window will not be so adorned.

We decided to hang not only one shutter on this window but to hang the pair even though the right hand panel will not open all the way.

The bottom shutter on the right sticks out about 45 degrees from the house.
A screw eye was located closer to the center of the window to accommodate a shutter that could not open all the way due to an adjacent wall.

The tie-back would not work on the right-hand side because the shutter would not open flat. Instead of cutting the tie-back shorter we simply added another screw eye at a spot that would secure the tie-back.


We’re just loving the look of the house with freshly painted shutters and especially happy we’re almost finished mounting shutters.  When we’re finished ten pairs will be hanging on the house.

Are you afraid of heights?