Mudroom: Before, During & After

John primed the mudroom walls yesterday. Here is a series of photos showcasing the transformation.

I took this photo in October 2015 after the plumber installed the initial pipes and John ripped out the old window. This was when the house didn’t have  running water or heat.

The plumber, Evan, had started installing the PEX tubing and John had begun installing the electrical wire.

We saved thousands of dollars by having John run all the electrical in the entire house. Without John doing all of the wiring, all the insulation, all the drywall, and all the painting, there is no possible way we could have afforded to pay sub contractors to do all that work.

You either have to have deep pockets or have a huge loan to hire people to do all the work this house needed. DIY was our only option.

An electrician had given us a $15,000 quote to do the job that John did.

Yesterday morning, before John started priming the walls, I stepped outside and took this photo of the mudroom from the patio.

I’m now thinking about the new door installation; this is one job that John needs to hire someone to do. Of course, it’s difficult to find someone that will come over just to do this one job.

Now I’m standing in the Bonus Room facing the mudroom door to the patio. The garage is on the left. John is buying the interior garage door today so that he can finish the last remaining wall on the left. The door has to be installed before he can finish the drywall.

He rolled the ceiling quickly.

Inspecting his work…

The north wall is next…

Certain areas require a 9″ roller. John makes painting look easy but as we all know, it’s the prep work that is extremely time consuming, and when the painting begins, you have to be tidy and organized.

Now for the big roller…

Twenty years ago, a painting contractor taught John how to paint the proper way, not the homeowner way, but the painting-contractor-way. The time John spent learning how to paint has paid off for us in a big way. If we had to hire a painting contractor to prime & paint the entire house inside, the cost would easily be between $12,000 & $15,000 in this area.

And remember when we got the drywall quote of $12,000? John had to do the drywall installation himself, which wasn’t easy. If any of you are thinking of gutting an entire house and rebuilding it, make sure you have the budget to hire a drywall contractor.

Working with both rollers simultaneously…

When rolling walls, always look for a spec of dust, or in this case, a bug, and take it off so that the wall is flawless.

Keep a rag handy in your pocket for wiping off each end of the paint roller. Otherwise, paint tracks will be rolled on the wall.

Always have work lights to shine on the paint for inspection.

The mudroom is the smallest room in the house but I think it’s going to be the most fun to design.

A solid image…

And that’s the primer! The paint will be next!

One more thing to cross off the list (almost).

Shopping at Terrain

Finally, I was able to squeeze a visit to Terrain in my busy schedule. I’m always in a plane or in a car so during free time I try to escape to a garden or anything related to a garden such as Terrain.

Terrain has four stores; the closest one to Brick House 319 is located in Glen Mills, which is about a 24-mile drive. It’s very close to Longwood Gardens where I attended classes for two years and it’s also very close to Chadds Ford, where the Brandywine River Museum of Art is located. (The current exhibition is Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect until September 17, 2017.)

So if you’re planning a trip to the area, I suggest visiting all three places: Terrain, Brandywine River Museum of Art & Longwood Gardens. I can also suggest where to stay the night, so please email me and I will recommend a few places.

When I pulled my car into the Terrain parking lot, I was lucky enough to find a parking space right under the (above) wall garden–it’s rustically pretty and not too difficult for anyone to create a smaller version.

At the entrance, I paused to admire the inviting plant stand. There were two wedding photographers taking photos of the plants too. I soon discovered a wedding was taking place on the property.

These weathered planters caught my eye and I like how the repurposed tree stumps are used as plant stands.

I really want one of these garden obelisks for growing clematis next summer.

This pop of yellow will really stand out in any garden. The Large Galvanized Watering  Can holds 2.3 gallons. If you really want to be color coordinated, check out the yellow hose in the background.

The sunflowers just bloomed!

The Buxus boxwood in the weathered planter looks similar to one of the many planters I saw at Meadowbrook a couple weeks ago.

I stepped inside the spacious store and saw this garden sink that I would love to have on the patio. I’m not sure if it’s for sale or if it’s part of the store’s decor.

For anyone handy, you can make these simple and rustic planters for your sunflowers. I’ve added this project to John’s endless list. If I wasn’t deathly afraid of circular saws and table saws I would have him show me how to make them.

A large succulent garden, which of course, is virtually maintenance free.

Tables on sale…

Indoor plant stands…

I stepped back outside and saw this small side table on sale for under $40.

I’ve been wanting a 3-tier plant stand for a long time; this is a good time to visit Terrain because so many things are on sale.

The fire pit has me thinking about roasting marshmallows once it gets cold outside.

The indoor/outdoor Iron Pyramid Log Holder  is made in the Ozark Mountains at Stone County Ironworks.

I can see this pair of loungers by a pool…

And for White Flower Farm fans, terrain sells their blooming potted plants too!

This outdoor log holder looks like it will hold a lot of birch logs…

During your visit, plan to have lunch at Terrain Garden Café. It gets busy so lunch or dinner reservations is recommended.

It’s another creative wall garden with potted ferns! Again, think small scale and just have three or four on a side of a building.

I wondered off where the plants are sold in the back of the property and saw this small, rustic garden shed which would be great for firewood too.

These modern-style cement-looking planters are made in Vietnam and lightweight.

One table and two café chairs are on sale…

Ok, I really would like to have these oversized slatted teak chairs!!!

Classic outdoor metal chairs…

Alfresco dining at the café…

More obelisks…

A charming plant-filled garden wagon…

Terrain’s other stores are located in Westport, CT, Walnut Creek, CA and Palo Alto, CA.

Another Terrain store will be opening next year in Devon, PA, only about a mile from Brick House 319.



Going Down to the Basement

I wrote about hanging drywall in the basement stairwell  a couple of weeks ago (you can see photos here).

Before John screwed in the drywall under the stairs, he wrote the blog address on the riser. Maybe in 50 or 100 years, someone will come across it and say something like, “What’s a blog?” or “I wonder why someone wrote this?”

I asked John, “Did you use a ruler to write that so perfectly?” He said, “No.”

He covered it up.

The 17′ I-beam in the above and below photos supports the second floor in the original part of the house. The beam is the length of the bonus room and garage.

The spackling and sanding is finished. Now it’s time to prime.

The stairs to the  left go up to the living room and kitchen.

And to the right of the stairwell is the bonus room.

John is using The Drywall Hawk with Wood Handle to hold the joint compound (click here). Here’s another brand, for less money. And this one is under $25. You can also use a mud pan (we have a couple), click here.

Walboard putty/tape knives used:

6″ (click here)

8″ (click here)

12″ (click here)

Walboard Utility Knife used for cutting drywall (click here)

Last Piece of Trim Installed

We finally got the last piece of trim installed above the two double hung windows today. It’s a 1x8x16 facia board. Now John can install a gutter on it.

Once up on the ladders, it was a 5-minute job to install the board but John needed a second person to help him with it. A friend stopped by today and they got it done.

Remember when I blogged about the zinnia seeds sent to me in March from Johnny’s Selected Seeds?  I took these two photos today of the White Giant Dahlia Zinnias blooming in my garden.

(Martha Stewart blogged about Johnny’s Seeds earlier this month. Click here to read it.)

The white really pops among all the green in the garden. Now that I have a greenhouse, I’ll start the seeds early next year so that I have a longer blooming season. I planted these seeds right in the ground in early May and they started blooming last week. They’ll bloom until early October.