The Footing for the Front Stoop

A few days ago, John started working at the front of the house. The front stoop and walkway is the next project.

The temporary framing that was supporting the barrel front porch was actually right where the footing for the new front stoop needed to be dug so John moved the posts another 3 feet. He also added two 2x4x16 diagonals to prevent the posts from kicking out.

He marked the new footing location with purple spray paint before digging.

He also broke up part of the concrete walkway; the broken (recycled) concrete will be used later to fill the trench footings (less bags of concrete will be purchased).

John hung a plumb line from the double 2×10/porch straight down to ground.

While John dug the footing, he used heavy duty recycling buckets to hold the dirt. When each bucket weighed about 75lbs, he dumped them into larger buckets that were in the back of his pick up truck. The larger bucket(s) weighed about 600lbs each with dirt and stone.

He pulled each bucket off his truck, rolled it on the ground and stored them for later use (backfill and grading the backyard).

From the outside of the double 2×10, John used a 1 1/4″ sheetrock screw in-between two 2x10s. For a plumb line, he attached an adjustable wrench to the end of string one inch from the ground.

Hanging the plumb line(s) gave John the exact location on the ground so that he knew where to spray the paint and begin digging.

He did the same on the right side.

Before swinging the pick axe, John scraped along the paint line a couple of inches. He used a shale bar and spade shovel too. The spade shovel scrapes the sides of the footing trench clean.

When digging holes, you can use a PHD. We have too much shale so a PHD will not work.

The footings have to be 3 feet deep.

Measure depth as you go!


1stdibs Daily Pick: Something Affordable

Photo Credit: Painted Porch Country Antiques/

Whiteware Ice Bucket from England-1890

The bowl is a mystery as to how it was used with the ice bucket.

Price: $250

Changing the Guard

If you’re planning a trip to London this summer, plan on seeing Changing the Guard–one of Buckingham Palace’s most time-honored traditions.

Each time I’ve been to the ceremony, I arrive early to secure a spot close to the main gate in front of Buckingham Palace.

Since summer is the most crowded time of year with tourists, I prefer seeing the ceremony in the autumn or winter/spring. London does get hot days during the summer months.

There are several areas to stand but I think the main gate is an optimal viewing spot to see all of the pop and pageantry.

Equine crowd control duties…

The crowds can get intense and takes some of the fun out of the ceremony. It’s for this reason that I like the dead of winter best. When I took these photos, it was late June, and after an hour I left. It was too hot and too crowded.

Up close and personal…

Behind the gate, the Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms in the palace’s forecourt at 10:30. Official start time is 11:00 and lasts 45 minutes. If you want a good spot, arrive at 9:30. To see the whole ceremony, you’ll be standing around two hours.

The crowd started inching forward and the horse effectively pushed them back.

The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats.

Changing the Guard schedules can change so be sure to double check the night before. It can also be cancelled in wet weather. It’s free and a must-see at least once in your lifetime.

To confirm Changing the Guard schedule, visit The Household Division.

Nearest Tube Stations:

Victoria, ST James’s Park & Green Park

Don’t forget to bring a water bottle.



The Little Jobs Take A Lot of Time

Today, John cut two right angles for the roof on the box bay window. It looks like a small job but it’s jobs like this one that take so long; a big job can actually go faster.

It doesn’t help that we went from spring to high summer temperatures overnight. It’s 94 degrees today. Yesterday, it was 92.

After John finished the trim on the two windows above, he finished what needed to be done on the box bay roof.

We can’t wait to finish the siding; the Tyvek will be forever hidden.

Of course, a bunch of tools for a little job. One day, this will be our finished patio.

This compressor is a real workhorse. John bought it over ten years ago.