drainage report: all buttoned up

We closed on our house in August of 2006, a month before our first year wedding anniversary. Fortunately, we had about four weeks of overlap between getting the keys and the end of our lease on our rental house. During that time, we spent almost every night and weekend at our new home, furiously cleaning, painting and making it habitable. On the day of our anniversary we sat on the grass in the backyard, eating burritos and the top of our wedding cake. Maybe it wasn’t the most romantic of anniversaries, but looking back, it kinda was.

5 years later, we celebrated our 6-year anniversary – working side by side in the front yard, continuing to make this little house our home. Maybe it was the anniversary or maybe it was the fear that this really would be the last nice weekend, but we got a whole bunch of stuff done. Behold:

The first step of our porch stoop has always been too tall, so we decided to use some of the leftover ipe from the deck to build a landing of sorts that connects to the 1910 concrete steps. After excavating out around the area, Kyle installed a pressure-treated ledger board against the face of the concrete stoop footing and then poured a new footing next to the concrete steps.

He then built a frame out of pressure-treated 2x’s and 4x’s that hangs on the ledger and bears on the outboard concrete footing. Initially, we planned for the ipe to run parallel to the steps, but realized that the stoop (and therefore the house) is not exactly parallel to the concrete steps, which would have created a weird trapezoidal condition. Ok, whatever…it was 1910. I’ll cut them some slack. So anyhow, we decided to run the boards perpendicular to remedy the problem.

The animals oversaw the operation. GC Bailey and site superintendent Felix.

After the deck boards were attached Kyle skirted the landing in 1×8 ipe boards. Eventually we’ll have plants(!) that will help soften the edges, but we like the way it turned out. It reads more as a bridge that connects one yard to the other.

No, we didn’t have a Penofin accident – it’s just water. The rain is here.

Speaking of, if we do get another dry weekend we’ll go ahead and put a coat of Penofin on the ipe. In the photo above, the dark boards are from the step that was installed (and finished) two years ago. We’re curious to see how the color will change with a new layer of finish on both. [We also plan to add an abrasive admixture to the stain to prevent people from busting their butts on the wet wood. Not that I know what that feels like.]

Ooh, looks like someone’s been to the doggie spa. [If not regularly groomed, Bailey’s paws get so hairy that he unknowingly carries leaves, dirt and other debris into the house. Drives.me.crazy.]

Naturally, Bailey took this evening’s photoshoot as an opportunity to work on his own portfolio. Too bad Kitty totally photobombed him!

While Kyle was busy with the bridge, I sucked it up leveled out the rest of the dirt.

We decided that it would be smart to wait till next year to install the large-scale pavers (aka our old sidewalk and driveway). This would give the dirt time to settle and compact – because the last thing we want is to have to redo 600 lb. pavers. So in the sideyard they sit.

But alas, the joy of a freshly raked dirt yard was short-lived. Stupid tree and your stupid leaves. What is this, fall?

We also swept the driveway, sidewalk and pavers. No more construction site. Finally.

In addition to finishing up the drainage system, we also cleaned out the gutters, repainted the side of the house (that was victim to the bobcat “incident”), painted the dining room window trim, weeded the planting strip and spread the remaining pea gravel in the backyard. And now, we are ready for winter.

At the end of the day, we also squeezed in a celebratory dinner at Tavolata. Here’s to 6 years – I think we make a pretty good team.


17 Responses to “drainage report: all buttoned up”

  1. You guys are so good at tackling big projects in a short amount of time. Good for you! Our yard looks about the same- no grass. I hope we get enough sun in Portland for the grass to grow!

  2. Dawn Moore says:

    You are soooooo genius at defining and sharing your journey. I keep trying to analyze your writing technique, but all I can do is genuflect.
    Of course, I love the close up of Bailey’s mani-pedi, too 😉

  3. Jo in New Zealand says:

    Happy Anniversary! I love that you share your journey with us, complete strangers (or maybe just friends who haven’t met yet..) Thank you both x

    • Kyle Z says:

      Thanks to you in NZ, one of our current fav bands is originally from NZ, they’re called ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’ if you haven’t heard them ,check em out.

  4. Heidi says:

    Bwah ha ha! Bailey got photobombed!

    I’m not sure why I keep reading your blog when you usually make me feel incredibly slothful. How the hell do you get all those things done. You amaze me.

    I know why I keep reading – you guys are awesome and inspiring.

  5. Nick Klaus says:

    Congrats on 6 years! The transformation looks so complete, can’t wait until spring rolls around to see the next steps.

  6. Heather says:

    Happy anniversary! I’m a little jealous of your clean slate in the front yard and I can’t wait to see what you plant.

  7. scotdog98 says:

    Happy Anniversary! Love the cat pic, OMGosh that cracked me up!

  8. Shannon says:

    This looks really great! Way to go! We did an overhaul of our first house too (unfortunately only one half of this marriage has an eye for design) what a project. Applause to all of your work and dedication.

  9. LauraC says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    Is it bad that I want to kiss those Bailey paws?! So cute! Good thing we have a cuddly dog of our own, ha!

  10. Sarah Martin says:

    So…Felix photobombing Bailey’s picture with that little kitty yawn made me laugh out loud.

  11. Halley says:

    Ha! I’ve never seen such a cute photo bomb.

    Happy anniversary, it sounds like you made the most of it.

  12. Katherine says:

    KITTY PHOTOBOMB!! So cute!

    I just found your blog through Design*Sponge (love, love, love your kitchen, by the way) and I’m excited to add this to my reader. Looking forward to reading a little more about your fixer-upper adventures!


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