LOVE SHACK PROJECT- BACKYARD UPDATE
April 25, 2013

I wanted to post some pictures to show the growth of the backyard in the months since I planted everything. Everything is growing like crazy!
Enjoy!

THANK YOU!
ūüôā

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- BABY GOT BACK PATIO
September 15, 2012

The last section of my Love Shack¬†Project make-over is the back patio!¬†¬†Like the¬†garden side, the patio is also long and narrow, but the patio side has a smooth cement floor and is about a foot wider ( 4′ x 20′).¬† That extra foot gives me enough room to actually have some tables and chairs out there!

My first task was to re-hang the large wooden door so that it opens out, instead of in;  thus freeing up that previously unusable space.  Next, I used the left over exterior paint to paint the unfinished section under the covered roof, the wooden door,  and the electrical housing.  Once that was finished, I put up a few hooks so I could neatly hang the ladder, tools, and hose.

To break up the length of the patio and add texture and intimacy, I decided to build an arbour!  This was very simple.  I  bought 5 ladder trellises from  Home Depot,  and placed 4 of them ( 2 on each side) against the walls of my patio alley.  Then I connected them across the top with few lengths of redwood.  Lastly, I took the remaining 5th trellis and laid it across the top, between them, as the roof.

Next, I added¬† 2 sets of tables and chairs, both of which I got free from¬†Craig’s List.¬† They were all mis-matched colors, so I simply¬†spray painted¬†everything white to¬†match.¬† I also spray painted my metal utility shelves, planter boxes and baskets; ¬†and just about anything else that was going to be on the patio!¬† Spray painting makes matching easy, however, its messy!¬† Make sure you have a large drop cloth, plastic gloves and booties on your feet! ( I spray painted my feet and ruined a pair of sandals¬†and¬†a pedicure the first time!)

Lastly, I added some plants and climbing vines to start climbing up the arbour;  and for the finishing touch,  wove white twinkle lights throughout all the trellises on both the patio side and the garden side.

The first time I turned on the lights was amazing!  I had created my own private, magical, oasis;  perfect for entertaining very small parties!  I am thrilled with the result!

Thank you!

Here are two before pix:

And this is my pretty patio now!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- FULL FRONTAL UPDATE
August 30, 2012

This is a progress update to the front of my tiny cottage!   I found some left-over exterior paint, and after checking with a representative from the DWP regarding any safety issues; decided to paint the unsightly metal meters on the side of the house.   After a coat of metal primer and 3 coats of exterior paint, the boxes are nicely camouflaged and I am very happy!!

THANK YOU!

Here’s a before and after picture!¬† You can also see how nice my plants are looking!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT– IN THE KITCHEN
August 28, 2012

The Kitchen¬†has been¬†particularly¬†frustrating to me, because it really needs to be completely¬†re-done with new¬†cabinets and counters.¬†¬† I’ve¬†tried to do what I can¬†until I’m able to do that!¬†¬† Its¬†long and¬†narrow with one overhead¬†cabinet and¬†a long counter¬†with nothing underneath!

I’ve framed some of my linoleum block reduction prints¬†and hung them on the other side of the wall¬† I built; ¬†¬†and added curtains underneath the counter and¬† in the doorway to the pantry.

Here are some pictures!

THANK YOU!

xoxo

This is what it looked like when I moved in.

And this is what I”ve done so far!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT–MY BACKYARD!
July 22, 2012

For the past two weeks, I have been working on the back yard!¬†¬†¬† Trying to transform a¬†tiny¬† 3′ by 20′ strip of dirt into¬†an¬†oasis of peace and tranquility.¬† ¬†This¬†turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated!

The¬†¬†dirt I brought in when I first started these renovations¬†had a lot of clay in it,¬†and over the last couple months had hardened into one¬†solid rock!¬† This all had to be broken¬†up and mixed with¬†lots of organic materials!¬† Translation,¬† lots more manual labor and hauling manure!¬†¬† I ended up¬†doubling the depth of the dirt,¬† and as a result,¬† needed to add¬†¬†two more rows of¬† bricks to¬†separate the house walls from the dirt, which I got from Awesome Al’s construction site!¬† This time, Al was there with all of his sons, and they loaded¬†¬†the bricks¬†into my car for me!¬† What a nice family!

After I¬† got the bricks and¬†dirt taken care of, my next task was¬†to install a fence.¬† I wanted¬† more privacy, but didn’t¬†want to completely obliterate the sun by making a huge shadow;¬† so I decided to go with¬†couple rolls of reed fencing.¬† They are inexpensive and easy to install!

I didn’t¬†want to drill into the cinderblock wall to secure my fence, ¬†so I let the¬† helpful¬† folks at Home depot direct me to a concrete adhesive, which¬†I applied in small spots with¬†a caulking gun, all along the top and bottom of the wall.¬† Then I cut small ¬†lengths of rebar¬†wire and inserted then into the adhesive¬†so that when it dried,¬†I would have a whole bunch of tie wires to attach my fence to.¬† ( It was kinda like making cookies!)

It worked perfectly!   I was able to easily unroll the fence and secure it to the wall.  I then  also used the same  tie wires to secure trellises to the fence!   I put up 3 fan-shaped trellises and one large ladder  trellis right in front  of the  back door.  I shortened the ladder trellis and used the  cut pieces to extend the middle section.

After that, I  was able to finally start planting all the plants that had been patiently waiting to go in  the ground!    I also bought a few flowers and climbing vines  for my trellises.    I planted all the succulents that my wonderful friend Uzi had given me as a house-warming present.  ( they have grown a LOT over the past few months!)

Next,  I used  the remaining bricks to make a  walking path down the middle.  As a last touch, I repurposed a discarded wooden end table into a tiny bench by sawing it in half,  making a few alterations and painting it!

While it’s not¬†completely¬†finished yet,¬† it’s starting to look¬†really really ¬†cute!

THANK YOU!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- GETTING IN MY PANTRY
July 9, 2012

My  little cottage is feeling so cute and cozy now!   I LOVE IT!   This week  I turned my attention to the Pantry.  The pantry is a super tiny entryway between the kitchen and the back door.  It already had shelves built-in on one side, but the other side was an ugly mess of exposed pipes,  rough unpainted surfaces,  a circuit breaker box, holes, and the water heater.  Pretty much anything  I did would be a vast improvement!

The first thing I did was give it several coats of paint;  painting over all the  metal pipes,  rough surfaces,  and boxes so they blended in to the wall more.   Then I took the wooden shelf that I had originally built for the bathroom, and fit it into the  corner where the circuit breaker box was.   It fit perfectly into the space with shelves above and below,  and I  still had safe  access for the box.

Next, I built-in a ring of shelves around the top of the ceiling, circling the whole space, similar to what I had already done in the bathroom and bedroom.   After that,  I constructed  a small wall to hide the water heater, with a door on front, so you could still get to it if needed.

It’s not the most glamorous room in my cottage, but so much better than it was before!¬† Now it’s organised, functional, and¬† no longer the hideous eyesore it once was.

THANK YOU!

BEFORE!

AFTER!!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT — A LIVING ROOM
June 29, 2012

Now that I’ve finally gotten my art up on the walls,¬† I’m able to start working on the¬†rest of the living room!¬†¬† The challenge is that it’s¬†very small!¬† ( 9′ x 15′)

I started by building¬†in a wall of shelves along the far wall,¬†¬†echoing the shelving in the bedroom.¬†¬† I did this by taking¬†some of the shelves I’d¬†gotten¬†during ” Adventures in Shelving” and¬†deconstructing one into extra shelves to add into the others,¬†and¬† connected them in the middle under the window.¬† That¬†gives me¬†double capacity for the same amount of space!

I¬† also¬†created a small desk in the center of¬†wall unit, under the window, by adding in a large piece of plywood and legs!¬†¬† The whole thing is only connected to the¬†wall at the window sill,¬†¬†so¬†it’s stable but¬†doesn’t disturb the plaster walls!

Next,¬†I hung a bedroom door!¬†¬† I built the door¬†frame into the giant¬†picture frames,¬†to again; ¬†avoid having to disturb¬†the cottage walls.¬†¬† I found¬†the door used¬†on Craig’s List, along with several awesome and¬†super tiny chairs!

YAY!  I have a living room  now!!

THANK YOU!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT– HEAR ME ROAR!
June 15, 2012

This last project¬†has me re-evaluating what I thought I was capable of, ¬†and realizing that most¬†of my percieved¬†limitations and barriers¬†have been¬†self-imposed!¬†¬†¬†This feels like some kind of awakening! ¬†I’m feeling so greatly empowered, ¬†strong and capable;¬† and yet at the same time,¬† bittersweet at the realization that I’ve been my own biggest limiter!¬† ¬†I don’t¬†necessarily need to¬† know¬† how¬† to¬† do everything, or how¬† it’s all gong to come together, before I¬†can start. ¬†¬†I JUST HAVE TO START!¬†¬† WOW!¬† ¬†I feel like a self-help guru this week!

This week I was tackling my tiny living room!  The living room  is a narrow rectangle, and  not separated from the kitchen;    so I decided to build a wall!   Thereby dividing the rooms, and  creating more wall space to hang my very large paintings.

I went back to¬† home depot,¬†where the fine folks there helped me plan out how to build¬†a 5 foot room divider wall.¬† Since¬†I¬†was doing it all myself, I picked out¬† the lightest¬†sheet¬†rock¬†available, ¬†( 1/4”¬†since that¬†was as much as I could lift!¬†) and¬† used 2×3’s¬†to¬† make the frame.¬† I also wanted¬†to avoid¬† disturbing¬†the plaster walls,¬† so¬†my entire wall would¬†be almost free-standing,¬†only anchored by a few screws into the exposed support beam along the ceiling.

THIS WAS HARD!

Just getting the sheet rock¬†home was a challenge!¬† Each piece is like a giant ¬†heavy ¬†4 foot by 8 foot ¬†cracker,¬† ready to snap at any moment!¬† I drove home very slowly with it all strapped into my¬† truck, tailgate open,¬† red flag hanging¬†off the back, ¬†and hazards on.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Then I almost blew away trying to get it¬† all into the house–¬† it¬† was like a sail!

Once inside–¬†¬†I¬† hard to figure out¬† how¬† to¬† build the frame ( did¬†I¬†mention,¬† I’ve never done anything¬†like¬†this before!)¬†¬† Then once the¬† frame was built, ¬†size and cut up the sheet rock and attach it! ¬† Once the sheet rock¬†was all mounted, I had to tape and¬†spackle¬†the ends and seams.¬†¬† After that was dry, ¬†I¬†used a scrubbing¬†sponge from the¬† kitchen to smooth over¬† the¬† spackle (its less messy¬† than sand paper).¬†¬† Then¬†finally,¬†it¬†all had to¬† be¬† painted !

THIS WAS REALLY  REALLY HARD!

BUT I DID IT!!

I BUILT  A  WALL!!

I CAN DO ANYTHING!!!

(  I may be roaring, however my back is whimpering,   and has requested that I keep the  heavy lifting to a minimum )

THANK YOU!!!

here are some pictures of my wall!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT– WELCOME TO THE THRONE ROOM!
June 8, 2012

This past week and a¬†half¬†I have been¬† completely immersed¬†in my most challenging project yet; the bathroom!¬†¬† There were a couple of times¬†on this one, where I really hit a wall and didn’t know how¬†I was gonna finish this!

My tiny cottage has an equally tiny bathroom, with no storage,¬†no cabinet, no linen closet, ¬†not even a towel rack!!¬† Being a bit of a product-junkie, I have a LOT of stuff that needs to be put away–¬† and now, ¬†after my successful bedroom transformation,¬† I really wanted¬† to¬†make ¬†something¬† that matched that, and didn’t feel claustrophobic or cluttered.

So, ¬†I perused¬† Craig’s List again, and found a group of small white shelves that I could use as my “raw materials”.¬†¬†¬†I¬† have found this to be an easier way to build things–¬† kind of like altering clothes¬†to fit you!¬† ¬†The shelves¬†were cheaper than buying wood¬†and¬† starting from¬† scratch,¬† and¬† are¬†easier to cut-and-piece¬†and alter into what¬†you want.¬† And I did a LOT of altering on¬† this one!!

I started by¬†building the over the toilet space-saver/shelf¬† first, and¬†built¬†it almost¬†up to the ceiling!¬†¬† I added doors and lots of small shelves inside to house all my¬† cosmetics!¬† I also¬†traded out the wooden¬†shelf¬†I¬†built¬†for a smaller, less bulky pre-made¬†shelf,¬†¬†which I ¬†adjusted to house a hamper on the bottom!¬†¬† ( Don’t worry, the wooden¬†shelf¬† is not going to waste, and¬†has moved to the¬†pantry.)¬† ¬†I also¬†added a¬† ring¬†of shelves¬† around the ceiling¬†for¬† extra storage.

Next, I built an under the sink cabinet, with a shelf inside.  The whole cabinet actually pulls out, in case you need to get to the plumbing!  Like in the  bedroom, I tried to make most everything free-standing with  only a  few anchors for safety so as not  to mess up the  plaster walls.

I’m very¬†proud of myself for pushing through all¬†my doubts and frustrations on this one, and really¬†pleased with my results!!¬† I can’t believe¬†I¬†built this all!!¬† WOW!

THANK YOU!

Here is what I¬†started with–¬† pretty¬† much nothing!

LOVE SHACK PROJECT- WINDOW BOXES!
June 1, 2012

I have been¬† immersed in a soon-to-be-revealed,¬† very¬† challenging construction project in the bathroom all week,¬† so, to tide you over until the big reveal– here’s¬† a couple of pictures of the beautiful window boxes and Geraniums¬†I got from Remarkable Rita.

It was really easy to put them up because I totally cheated– and used Rebar¬† wire to install them instead of nuts and bolts.¬† Who needs¬† nuts and bolts when you have the wonderful pliable bendyness¬†of Rebar wire!¬†¬† The kind folks at Home Depot introduced me to¬†my new friend, Rebar wire; ¬†and for anyone who doesn’t know,¬† it’s the metal¬†equivalent of fishing wire!¬† Two items¬†one should¬†¬†keep on hand to fix almost anything!

Enjoy!  And look how happy all the plants in the front  are starting to look!

Thank you!

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