July 6, 2011


These are the walls we patiently scraped, mended with spackle and painted.

The bathroom we gutted, and bathed with open walls and studs
(and a copper tube spigot, and a pair of pliers).

The crystal chandelier which graced our meals and blessings.

The corner of my bedroom where my son was born in a wild roar.

The garden my daughter rifled through for strawberries and snowpeas,
barely containing her delight.

This was our home, imprinted with our laughter, cries, and sharp words,
but always curated with love.

Now, the corners and bookshelves grasp at empty air, abandoned beds feel cool to the touch.

The walls that once glowed buttercream have dimmed.

I wait for the pull of nostalgia every time we leave. Perhaps the heart of our home has stowed away with us.

In June of 2011, we moved our family of four onto a small sailboat, sv Wildest Dream. You can join us on our journey in our tiny waterfront home here.

Finding relatively cheap white cedar in 2″x8″ sizes is nearly impossible. Our fence panels and posts are all made of white cedar, which is much less expensive than western red cedar. And unfortunately, the only 2×8 cedar I could find was western red cedar. I debated other materials, but decided to stick with cedar so everything would weather at the same rate.

So before I go and cut my expensive cedar for the arbor, I decided to buy a 2×8 pine board to use as a visual test. Just for comparison, the western red cedar cost almost 20 times more than the pine. The picture below has the pine board up as a temporary arbor.

temporary arbor

Serena commented that it kind of looks like a Chinatown gate. Not exactly the homey look we were going for. But I assured her, that with the cross pieces, it will look better. So she approved, and off to work on the real cedar.

Continue reading “Finishing the Arbor” »

After putting in the first post,worked on second one, which went much quicker.

Gratuitous baby shot. Was aiming at the men, I swear! Tig’s strange headgear getup was after I reprimanded him for not wearing sunscreen.

The header pieces are still in the basement. They need to be cut in accordance to the design., then stained before attaching to the posts. So put in a 2 X 4 to hold it together for now. Here’s Tig trying to “level” the posts by hanging off one.

We’ve posted before about hiring a landscape designer to put together a master plan for us. I was talking to a work colleague one day and she said, “the landscape design is the framework upon which you drape your own idiosyncracies”.

That summed it up perfectly for us, because we did not follow the plan to the letter. For example, we put up a fence instead of planting new hedges in front, and opted to narrow the front walkway instead of replacing it with nicer pavers. Over time, we may diverge even more from the plan as we try out new things and experiment.

After reading books and browsing other people’s websites, I found it hard to keep up with the constant stream of ideas. I stumbled on Muddy Clog’s (Now Hip Chick Dig’s) post about her food forest design - it was brilliant and I borrowed the idea. She did her plan in Adobe PhotoShop. I’m not any good with Adobe products and opted to use PowerPoint instead (graphic designers cringe when I say this).

Master Plan II

Continue reading “Master Landscape Plan is Evolving” »

After picking up the custom cedar fence pieces, Tig primed and stained them in the basement; the last coat went on after the little one went to sleep. On a Saturday morning, the 5th fence panel went in.

The existing posts on each side of the walkway had to be replaced with taller posts for the arbor (if we had more foresight, we would have designed everything from the get-go).

Continue reading “Long Arbor Post, Part 1″ »

After putting in the fence in our front yard, I’ve been coveting an arbor to frame the entrance, and Tig has been looking for a structure for the hardy kiwi he bought this spring. We found this simple arbor design from Better Homes and Garden.

BHG arbor

The BHG website even comes with plans on how to make it.

Continue reading “Arbor Plans” »

A true diehard houseblogger would not have let a pregnancy and baby interfere with posting, but ours was a little high maintenance. So without further ado, the kitchen shelves in the works.

The shelves being made by Tig in the shop above.

Continue reading “Overdue Post on Kitchen Shelves” »

continued from “Master Bedroom Redo”

After scouring the internet and reading the Fine Homebuilding article several times, I came up with a list of things I could do to soundproof our bedroom/bathroom wall. Here’s what I did:

I removed all the metal hanger straps that supported any pipe and replaced them with plastic hanger straps.
metal hanger strap plastic hanger strap
metal vs. plastic hanger straps

The plumbing drain stack was originally strapped tightly to the studs in the wall from the basement all the way through to the attic. Unfortunately, changes in water temperature and the weight of the water, caused the PVC pipe to expand, move and rub against wood studs, resulting in creaking sounds. The plastic straps are more flexible than the metal straps, so hopefully it would give more with the PVC plumbing.

I also suspended the pipes between the studs of the wet wall. Fortunately we have 2 walls (or a wet wall) which the pipes run between, so every other strap was attached to alternating wall studs. This way, the PVC would not directly touch the wood. A little complicated I know, but hopefully this arrangement will pay off.

Continue reading “Soundproofing the Bathroom Plumbing” »

Yesterday we took a tour of an urban farm owned and run by GardenGirltv.  I stumbled upon Patty Moreno’s website a couple weeks ago, and was immediately inspired by her desire to help urban people to live more sustainably. Trained as a film producer, her short, educational video clips touch on a wide variety of topics ranging from growing fruit trees and potatoes to acquaponics.
Patty grows fruits and vegetables, raises Bantam chickens (for eggs), rabbits and fish on a larger than average urban plot.  Tig and I got a tour of her raised beds, two fish ponds, and chicken coop. Unfortunately, we didn’t take any pictures, as we spent most of our time there asking lots of questions and getting ideas from her. Check out her website for pictures and videos (they’re much better than we could take anyways).

A few months ago, we moved out of our bedroom and into the guest bedroom. Why? Unfortunately, the noise from the bathroom plumbing stack (which is the wall where our bed is located) came back.

bed against bathroom wall

I thought I had fixed the problem. But it turned out to be only temporary.

Continue reading “Master Bedroom Redo…Again” »

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