Monday, August 17, 2015

Earning the Urns

While we were at a huge antique show in Northern Kentucky back in about 2005 we became smitten with a pair of cast iron urns. Thinking they were a bargain, we hauled the 200 pound pair to the car and drove them back home. Later, we learned that they were more than three times the "going" price (rotten sellers and uninformed buyers) for similar urns.

We nonetheless wanted to fill them to overflowing with plants and set them out front on each side of the porch stairs.

Since we lived in a less than stellar neighborhood (all the best houses are in rough neighborhoods it seems) we developed a hidden way to secure them to the ground so no one would run off with a 100 pound urn in the middle of the night. There they sat for about a year -- until we moved.

We unhitched the urns from their concrete bases and moved them to the new (old) house's 3-car garage. Which is just where they sat until we moved again and put them into the newer (old) houses garage.

Well, since we had the house painted a couple weeks ago, and I have been working on restoring the lattice panels of under the porch, it was a perfect time to add yet another job to the "honey do" list.

Last week I installed the 2 brick-and-cement bases for the urns while they were being cleaned, scraped, sanded and painted from flat, lifeless ivory, to high gloss deepest black-green. This weekend the final coats of paint went on and the cement bases were cured and ready to hold the urns in place. A few "heave-ho's" and they were squared up and secured in place. Even the plants were readied earlier so within a few minutes the urns were overflowing with ivy and "elephant ears."

They look great and we hope they stay around for years and years and years to come.

Fresh cement curing under a few grocery bags to keep it wet.
The bases were sized so the cement is not visible.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Has it really been a whole year ???

I have a lot of catching up to do ... It's been a few days beyond a year since I last updated. Surely I haven't been doing nothing. a quick list:

  • Rotted back porch post bases have been removed and restored.
  • A new fir T&G back porch floor has been installed to replace the rotted pine one. I need to sand and recoat with one final coat of spar varnish and it will be done for the next couple of years.)
  • The old wrought iron fence we've been dragging around for 12 years finally has a permanent home in the front yard.
  • Perennial gardens are dug and partially planted after regrading the soil (removing about 8 inches of bulked up earth.)
  • Lattice panels under the porch have been dug out (see above) and removed to be restored and reinstalled.
  • Aluminum soffit and fascia (probably dating to 1970's) has been removed, re-exposing the original rafter tails and adding more charm and style to the house.
  • The whole exterior (save a few window surrounds) has been scraped and repainted.
  • The original terra cotta tile floor on the front porch has been cleaned and now I am removing paint drips (see above.)
  • The Japanese garden in the back yard is 90% in place. I am still collecting rocks for the dry creek and a few final plants need to be purchased when the coffers refill.
  • The front door, which was stripped and left unfinished when we purchased the house, received a dozen coats of shellack in the past few weeks to begin repairing the funky "stripped wood" color. Final coats of spar varnish will complete it once the color is corrected with the shellack.
  • a few trees have been removed from the side of the house. These were improperly "topped" years back and would never recover. Soon well look for some new evergreen shrubs to plant in their place.

... and following are a few photos of the processes so far.

Crummy aluminum soffit in place

Soffit removed. Band molding replaced (with new) and all repainted.

Installing the iron and stone fence.

New fir tongue and groove flooring, partially finished prior to install, with new column bases in place.

The Challenge: Regrade this mess (about 8 inches of lattice frame is buried.
After regrading the soil and adding a few pants.

Old fashioned scrubbing the terra cotta porch floor tiles.

Home After