Monday, May 13, 2013

Taking Down The Tree

First of all, I want to say that I really have mixed feelings about this particular project.  It's been very hard for me to participate in the destruction of such a large living thing...  But I was able to talk myself into being positive about it because of three things:

1)  The tree was not healthy.  It has some kind of disease-- not Dutch Elm, I don't think, because the bark is fine.  But the leaves were really weird looking last year-- it looked like bugs were burrowed into them.  I'm still trying to identify what caused that.  A bunch of the big branches had been dead for years, and it was scary to have those reaching near our house and power-lines during storms.

2)  K needs to build her garage.  Where this tree stands is the best place to put the garage.  It's right behind the house, just off of the alley, and it makes the most sense for moving vehicles and her work trailers in and out.  The sooner she builds this garage, the better!  There are so many projects for the house that she can be working on in the garage -- shelves, kitchen cabinets, trim, etc.

3)  We have so many other trees!  Last year, our yard was just a JUNGLE!  It was all leaves and barely any sunlight hitting the ground.  Once this tree is gone, we will still have a bunch of medium-sized trees along the alley, a line of tall trees along the railroad track, a large ash in the side-yard, another huge elm just outside of our fence, the craggy crab-apple tree in the front, and at least 2 trees along the street (these probably belong to the city).   We are basically ringed by trees, which still offer great protection from the wind, and probably still give more shade than I want.  I'd like to have a garden this year.

K and our neighbor have plans to do a great trade this year -- he used to be a tree-trimmer, so he helped us cut down this tree!  And in return, she'll build him a nice-sized shed in his yard.  A couple days' work for each of them and everyone wins!  Bartering is still alive and well, when it comes to home-owning neighbors.

Three hours of work on the tree on Saturday, and about 1/5th of the branches were cut down.  This is what resulted:

My adorable lumberjack

And then a FULL day of work on Sunday.  We were out there all day!  K was out there way past dark.

Now it's down to just the trunk!  Amazing!:

We also have a gigantic brush pile, now, with all the branches.  We'll rent a chipper and turn this all into a huge pile of mulch for the garden and yard.  And more firewood than we'll need for a while!  Next year, these logs should be ready to burn.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cape Cod Style?

Our little house is a pretty traditional Cape Cod style, which was popular in the 1950s.

cape cod, cape cod house, 1950s house
Picture from

K is thinking of putting a couple of dormer windows out the front of the house, to make it a little more interesting.  And that would still fit with keeping the style authentic to the time period.  It would also change how the roof is vented, so we wouldn't need those square vents on top anymore.  The ones that are on there now are rusting, and I wish we didn't need them because they interrupt that long, continuous roof.

Picture from

But in doing dormers, I thought it looked a little too traditional, considering that we are going for mid-century modern on the inside.  We can do whatever we want to this little place, let's make it fun! 

I pulled out my newspaper and magazine clippings and showed K a few houses that really caught my eye.  The difference between most of these houses and our house, is that they are ranches with long, low roofs, where ours is a 1.5 story with a totally different roof line.  But K understood what I meant-- let's incorporate some of these lines where we can, and she hopped back on Google Sketch-Up and started altering her plans.

How can we mesh a look like this with our house?  We're working on it..

We plan to do cement-board when we replace our siding, and so we started looking at our color options for that.  There isn't a huge color selection, so it was pretty easy to come up with our "palette." 

Cement board palette + door paint

I can't wait to paint the front door something bright!!  I'm leaning towards a turquoise or teal, right now.  I had been thinking about an intense green, but once I saw these siding colors, I think that something with blue in it will be better.