Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Summer is Finally Here

It's amazing how soon we switch from cold and wet to hot and dry. Finally we're settling into that cloudless sky 80-85 degree weather pattern that California natives know all too well. Anyhow, all this talk has gotten me thinking a lot about fun activities outside. For me, outside space has always been just as important as inside space when living in SoCal (though, you'd never know that based on the present condition of my landscaping).

My grandparents were down visiting this past weekend from Arizona. My grandmother decided to buy me a book as a present (thanks Grandma!). Anyhow, here's what she got:

Not to do a book review, or anything, but it's pretty good. The book is divided into several sections: sample gardens, plants, structures, and planning. I really apprecdiate the fact that in many captions they list the plant species. This is especially useful if you see something you like and want to replicate it. Naturally, the largest feature of a book like this is its ability to spur on the ideas in your own mind. Since my whole yard needs redoing...the toughest question is which area gets redone first. I've decided the courtyard is the most important important to me. It's an area you see right from the living room and and area I'd like to spend a lot more time.

In the true spirit of being hyper-analytic. I've made some preliminary drawings. These are of the courtyard portion of the lot (the red bricked-in area below):

Here's my proposed replan:

One of the struggles is that my lot is mostly flat and I'd like to introduce as much elevation change as possible in the courtyard to give another dimension to it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


And we say we don't care what others think...

I'm always amazed when I hear someone say, "I don't care what others think." Inevitably, when restovating a house, there comes a moment when family and friends want to visit to see "the progress." At this time, even the staunchest espousers of the "I don't care what others think" religion will launch into a frenzy to complete half-finished projects. Suddenly, the wherwithal to complete long-since forgotten projects will magically be found. And thus, despite having only one day to work on the house this past weekend, I got lot done. My motivation: the family (grand parents and all!) are arriving from AZ for my brother's college graduation (University of Redlands -- Go Bulldogs!) and to pay me a visit as well.

Beams -- Gotta Love 'Em

I'm lucky. I've the real deals, not those fake, 70's inspired faux beam (fweems?). Like most sellers, the previous owners did the typical 1-coat "whitewash" of paint before selling. Unfortunately, this also has the effect of anesthetizing any details. I decided to continue the treatment I tried out in the master bedroom with the "almost black" super-dark-brown beam color. It goes well with anything.

It gives the house a sense of seriousness and a little bit more weight. I like it. Here's an angle from outside:

Courtyard Painting

I also completed some more courtyard painting. When I painted the outside of the fireplace I discovered that the tan on 75% of the house was not the same as the grey-tan in the courtyard.



I think it turned out pretty well. It never ceases to amaze me how a fresh, clean coat of paint can make just about anything look 10x better. I particularly notice this when I see houses for sale with peeling exterior paint on the front facade or trim boards. The first impression could be improved so much with just a weekend and $100 worth of paint and materials.

Sunday, May 14, 2006



Painting is a laborious chore...unless you have an airless sprayer. Even then it's no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise. Over the last few weeks I've been struggling with finding a new paint scheme. Exterior paint schemes are tough. On one hand you something that looks great and really sets your house apart. On the hand, you don't want to be that house where the neighbors snicker, "What was he thinking?" In my case, it's an even tougher dichotomy. I want to have that connection with nature but too Earthy and it looks dirty like the 70s. Too modern and cool and it's cold.

But, I think after some serious thinking. I got it right. It's different; it's unique; it's grounded; it takes flight. For simplicity, I'm keeping the body color the same: warm tan. Last time I showed you the super-dark brown for the beams. I was planning on painting the fascia boards and eaves the same brown. However, I began to think it would look dirty and dated. Finally, I got the right inspiration: silver. It was right in front of me all along in the door knobs, outdoor light, and stainless steel house numbers. Anyhow, here's an example (my camera color is off, there's very little "blue" in person:

I also took a new picture of the front of the house:

I did the silver color in a satin finish whereas everything else is flat...just to give it a bit of pop. I was half-tempted to use the Rust-Oleum aluminum paint (very reflective and metallic looking) but knowing my luck someone would be blinded, run into a telephone pole, and sue me. Interestingly enough, when I look at the above picture, I can't help but think how great it will look with a new front door.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Wells Fargo Wagon!

I remember in 6th grade our class play was "The Music Man." While there are many great and memorable songs to get stuck in your head, the one about the Wells Fargo Wagon takes the cake as far as stuck-in-your-head singability goes. And alas, at 5PM a dark-brown UPS truck arrived at my door and I found myself singing that lame song from the play (three months of four-hour-a-day rehearsals ensure its permanent place in my memory).

So my bathroom light finally came. I won't bore you with any more dumb stories, here's a pic:

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