Sunday, December 06, 2009

What's Next

the front path

There's still plenty of bits and pieces to finish up, to say nothing of the floor, but K and I decided that it'd be nice to have a proper front walk with the rainy season coming on. When I bought the house, there was a poorly done path with bricks. It was lined on one side with wood that had long since rotted away, and they hadn't put down a proper bed of gravel, so it had grown very uneven and rather treacherous when wet. Some years back I removed the bricks (some of which are now part of a retaining wall by the disused spa) and regraded it, and we've lived with a nice pine needle-covered path since then.

There's also the matter of the porch area in front of the new front door. Drainage has always been problematic on this side of the house, and you may recall that bad grading led to rot and termites in the old front porch (and on in to the kitchen floor joists and subfloor). The new porch will be graded for proper drainage, of course, but also have spot for a rain barrel.

So last week I started grading the path and building forms for the porch. I plan to have a concrete curb on one side of the path, and pave the path with permeable pavers. I got the forms for the porch built, and started on the forms for the path. Then, like most good home improvement projects, the project got bigger. Since the porch is going to come up to the level of the existing bottom step at the end of the path, and the pavers were going to come all the way to the top step, it'd be a great time to tear our the steps and rebuild them because they're a bit sloped, and it'd be an odd transition of materials. Even with the added work, I was expecting to pour concrete by the end of this week.

But it's probably not going to happen, as the forecast is for lots of rain this week. The first storm to come through is a cold one, so there's even a chance of snow in the higher hills of the Bay Area. So today after church I cleaned off the roof, recovered the path with pine needles so it won't turn to mud, and to watch football and wait for the rain.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


getting the fish ready for the oven

The kitchen and dining room got their first big test for Thanksgiving. We had K's brother and his family and K's mom over for Thanksgiving. It would have been a struggle to do in the old kitchen because it had so little counterspace. Cooking a meal requires some scheduling so everything is ready at the same time, but the logistics of trying to schedule with no storage space for dishes in progress makes it extra hard.

We were helped in no small part by our sister-in-law bringing lots of side dishes to accompany the plank-baked trout, pumpkin gnocchi, and rolls we made, and K's mom bringing more than enough dessert.

seating for 8 or more

The old dining room would have presented similar challenges. We'd have had to set up an extra table in the living room to have seat 8 people. With the addition and remodel, Uncle Al's table not only fits easily in the dining room, it fit easily with 2 of the leaves in it. If we'd needed it, it would have fit with all 3 leaves.

In short, the kitchen was a joy to work in, and overall the new space passed with flying colors.