Filed under: pets

bailey vs. felix

I’m not sure what normal behavior is between a dog and a cat, but I’m fairly sure this isn’t it.

[Apologies for the annoying vertical iPhone videos, you might want to watch full screen. And yes, next time I’ll rotate.]



2011 year in review

Well, another year has come and gone and like 2010, we wanted to recap the progress that was made. Compared to 2010, last year was not quite as epic in the remodel department. Even though we didn’t get as much done as we originally planned (c’mon, when does that ever happen?), we’re feeling pretty good about what we did accomplish. 2011 was also all about striking a balance between renovation projects and having a life outside our house. It’s not always an easy goal to reach, but after 5 years in our house it’s an important one. 


We spent the first couple months of 2011 finishing up projects from the year before. In January, Kyle took a welding class, bought some equipment, built this and then built this:

Not bad for his first real project, huh? Yes, my husband is some kind of amazing bad ass who is always surprising me with what he can do.


In February, we started focusing on the interior sliding doors. Originally the doors were going to be welded steel frames with a painted MDO core, but after mocking up the bathroom door we weren’t happy with how it looked or how much time it took to fabricate. So we opted for paint-grade door slabs instead. For colors, we picked out shades of blue, yellow and teal and ultimately landed on “lakeside cabin” and “thunderbird” for the doors.


This month we finished the basement stairs. We used VG fir for the treads and risers and Kyle designed and fabricated the handrail out of tube steel and fir.


In April we completed the sliding doors! Our bedroom had not had a door for 2.5 years and our bathroom had been doorless for over a year. Privacy can be a real luxury when remodeling.

Although we decided to stick with only two colors for the doors, we found an easy way to incorporate some mustard yellow at our big kitchen window. (We later went a little yellow-crazy with accessories and furniture!)


This month we finally got some art on the walls! This series of wood block photos was taken by our friend Todd and hung in simple IKEA aluminum frames.

We painted and installed carpet in the loft earlier in the year, but we finally turned it into a sleeping nook this month. The bed is an Aerobed that we already owned. The duvet is from West Elm and the night stand is a painted step stool from IKEA. The space certainly came in handy last summer when so many friends and family came to visit.


In March, we laid out our plans for the big outdoor project. The first step was to demolish the concrete driveway apron and sidewalk in our backyard to make way for a new deck.

Kyle used a concrete saw to cut up the old sidewalk that wrapped around the back of our house. We transferred the slabs to our front side yard (using this crazy boulder dolly!) and will eventually use them as pavers for the front yard.

The second half of June was all about deck building! The plan was to finish it before summer started (which is often considered to be July 5th around here).

Well, we got close. =)


In July, we played outside. With temperatures in the low 80’s it was just too hot for manual labor.


In early August, we had a party for Kyle’s 33rd birthday. The deck was technically finished and with killer party lights, no one noticed the mounds of dirt or missing planter boxes. 

It was a great party, but the next morning we were all feeling it.

During the second half of August Kyle fulfilled his dream of renting some heavy machinery for the house. Before we could think about landscaping (or finish out the basement) we needed to add foundation drains to the front half of the house. (Keyword: DIGGING.)

We also added a new member to our family this month! When a friend was trying to find a home for this stray kitten, we just couldn’t say no. So we adopted little Chloe. And then we found she was actually a he and quickly renamed him Felix. It was iffy at first, but Bailey and Felix soon became BFFs.


The drainage project dragged into September (and October), thanks to a few setbacks with machinery and hardpan soil. But we trudged through. Begrudgingly. 

We did manage to get away for a long weekend to Eastern Washington to celebrate my 31st birthday. Wine tasting, spa treatments and a little R&R was just what we needed.

With the rainy season looming, we also set aside an afternoon to put the Penofin finish on the new deck. So shiny, so pretty.


In October we finally buttoned up the drainage and crossed our fingers that our basement would stay dry all winter (so far, so good!). We ran out of time to install (or even think about) landscaping, so that’s on the agenda again for this year.

Kyle also built this ipe “bridge” to connect the stoop to our existing concrete steps.

During this month we also refinanced our mortgage, which meant prepping for another appraisal. To play it safe, we added an IKEA wardrobe and bed to the flex room to assure the appraiser that our home was now a 2-bedroom, 1-bath.

At the end of the month Kyle squeezed in one more project – a steel planter box for the north side of the deck. We still need to fabricate two additional boxes that will go on the south side, but that’s a project for next year. Which is now this year. AHH!


As the gray permacloud rolled in, we turned our attention this month to something more uplifting – furniture!

We scored six vintage Eames fiberglass shells and added reproduction dowel bases that we found right here in Seattle! Shell chairs had been on our wish list for years and we were excited to finally pull the trigger.

The new chairs inspired a bit of furniture rearranging and we soon discovered that our BoConcept coffee table actually works a lot better in the Flex/TV room. To fill the void, we designed this table that can transform from end table to coffee table in about 10 seconds flat.

In a moment of furniture weakness, we also decided to finally ordered that LCW that we’d been pining over since our days in architecture school. (Thank goodness Herman Miller has a generous architect discount!)

At the end of the month we celebrated Bailey’s 6th birthday!


December turned out to be a very busy month. First we spent about 4 days down in Phoenix at the Hanley Wood Reinvention conference where we saw lots of modern homes (with so much glazing!), Taliesin West and the Will Bruder library. We also spent a lot of time in the Biltmore Hotel (where the conference was held), listening to various speakers and talking with other residential architects from all over the country.

When we got back from Phoenix, the holiday season was in full swing and we were jumping from one event to the next, while trying to cram in some shopping and baking in between.

For Christmas, we flew back to Oklahoma to spend some time with our families. We had a great time, but I’ve decided that six plane rides in one month is too much! (Also, could someone please hook a girl up with a direct flight from Seattle to Tulsa?)

So that was 2011! And what’s in store for 2012? Lots! (By the way, I love it when relatives and friends ask if we’re happy to be done with the house. Done? Ha! Never…) We’ll do another post about our project list for this year, but let’s just say that the basement o’ shame is first in line.

happy birthday mr. bails

Today our favorite golden turns 6! He’s getting a little white around the eyes, but is still very much a puppy.

You guys have no idea how much we love this dog.

[For lots more Bailey photos (including many from his puppy days), check out this post that we did for his 5th birthday.]

P.S. – A very happy birthday to my mom too! And thank you for giving in to our childhood begging – Ginger, our Golden-Pomeranian(?!) mix was my first dog and best friend for so many years.


It’s 11.11.11 and a Friday, so let’s celebrate with some cute animals! As the owner of a new iPhone (and therefore a decent camera), I’ve been snapping more impromptu photos of the boys lately.

Like this one…

…and this one! Kitty finally figured out the loft ladder and he’s very intrigued. While he has no problem going up, on the way down he gets apprehensive (or lazy) after about 3 steps and then slides down the steel side rail and onto the fauxdenza.

And here they are again, just chillaxin’…watching some Entourage with Kyle…

For Halloween I thought it would be cute to get a photo of the two of them wearing the festive bandanas that my mom sent Bailey. Turns out, cats don’t like to wear bandanas. And they really don’t like to pose for pictures wearing bandanas.

Last but not least, a video! Kyle takes Bailey with him to work about once a week and when he does, they stop by the pet store and he buys Bailey some type of bone or treat. Today, he came home with one of those long, skinny rawhides. Bailey lost interest in it once I started making dinner, but Felix didn’t:


Seriously, no other breed of dog would put up with this. I love it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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.]

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.