Friday, May 27, 2011

The Barn is Complete

Now it's time for Barn after pictures.

One of my proudest contributions to the barn is "The Barn" pig sign. I originally bought a wood cookie from Michael's to make a "The Barn" sign out of but felt kind of ridiculous paying more than $9 for a slice of wood. I found this wooden pig plaque at an estate sale which I think is much cooler and I think only cost 25 cents. I carved out "the BARN" and then painted the carved out parts with left over barn paint. Nate is very proud that he strategically placed the screw holes to attach the sign to look like the pig's eye ball and anus.

Also notice the strange weather vane in the background in the neighbor's yard. The red on the weather vane perfectly matches the barn and it really adds to the barnyard feel.

The doors are now swinging freely. Hopefully they will stay that way for a while. We try to keep them closed most of the time since they are just so heavy that the hinges will probably eventually give out again.

Here is the completed cork wall. It is pretty huge. It will take a long time to fill that thing up. The cork tiles are still sticking surprisingly well. I was a little worried since the adhesive we used is normally for floors which have gravity working with them instead of against them in keeping the flooring attached to the floor. I think the tiles worked much better than a roll because the curling of a roll of cork would have been a problem in trying to get it to adhere to the wall.

Nate got some hooks from the music store and hung up his guitar and ukulele. This place is pretty much his man cave where he can not only work, but play music, drink beer from the kegerator and whatever else it is that men do.

We got this awesome mid-century massaging lounge chair off craigslist. It is ridiculously comfortable and sort of gives the barn a psychiatrists office feel.

Nate also got an office chair off craigslist. The built in desk is way higher than a normal desk, so he needed one that goes up and down. We were trying to find a vintage office chair, but most of the older ones only have one height setting. I think this one is a knockoff of the Eames Soft Pad Management Chair.

Please ignore all the wires. We need to do something about that, maybe drill a hole in the built in desk. Oh, we got the desk lamp from the Salvation Army on 40% off day.

I found this old pencil sharpener at a garage sale. It works so much better than my stupid electric pencil sharpener. Now I have to go out to the barn whenever I need to sharpen a pencil.

I really wanted a old wall mounted bottle opener somewhere in our back yard. Since the barn is kind of right in the middle of where people would hang out for a BBQ it seemed like the perfect place. I found this one from Prime Time Vintage Shop on etsy. It is an old advertising piece for Stegmaier Gold Medal Beer from Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Anyway, we are pretty proud of the barn. It may not be gorgeous, but it allows Nate to be able to write at home without being distracted by me or the cats. And it's also a pretty good man cave for him.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Barn Progress

The first thing we did was tear off the planter box that was under the front window. It was completely rotted. So much so that there were actually worms living inside the wood. Then we primed and painted the barn.
We chose Valspar's La Fonda Antique Red for the paint color. I guess it is named after the La Fonda hotel in Santa Fe, NM, but we chose it because it is such a barn red color. It really makes the barn stand out while the beige made it kind of recede into the background.

The second major project we tackled was rehanging the barn doors. We didn't stop to take any pictures of that, but it was a major undertaking. We bought new much larger hinges. The old hinges were only screwed into the trim a lot of which was pretty rotten and causing the whole thing to sag about two inches. Eventually the bottom hinge for the bottom door just came off completely. We replaced some of the rotten trim and got much longer screws so that the door is attached to the wall and not just the trim. People say that hanging a door is one of the few home improvement things you should never DIY. They may be right. It didn't turn out perfect, but it is a vast improvement to the sagging/falling off mess it was before.

The last project was the cork wall. Nate is a writer and part of his process is listing out plot points on index cards, pinning them up and rearranging them. Since the barn was going to be his writing shed he wanted lots of space to pin up his index cards. Large framed cork boards are surprisingly expensive so he decided he wanted to just cork one entire wall of the barn. You can buy peel and stick cork squares, but those are also surprisingly expensive. I found a blog (which I can't find right now) where someone used cork underlayment which is usually used to go underneath wood floors to create a cork board wall in their kitchen. The underlayment is much cheeper and comes in either rolls or tiles and in different thicknesses. I found 1/4" tiles at

We attached it to the wall with floor adhesive.

The walls were exactly 6' high so two 2' by 3' tiles fit perfectly. We did have to cut out a hole for the electrical outlet and cut the last two tiles to fit.

Barn Before

The barn is completely done finally and Nate is using it as his office now. I wanted to post some before pictures before I post the after so you can see all the changes we made. It was really just a shed with electricity before. I'm not sure what the former owners used it for. There were two built in desks so maybe it was a home schooling room before.

You can kind of see in this picture that the barn door is hanging too low on the hinges. We had to lift the door up to close it and the lock was completely non functional. The lower door actually ended up falling off its hinges about a week ago.

The outside was very beige. It was actually the exact same color as the house which I kind of hate. But painting the whole exterior of our house is a much larger task than we want to tackle right now.

Next up are progress pictures, then the final result.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Barn

The Barn, originally uploaded by krakencrafts.

I was hoping at this point to post some before and after pictures of "The Barn", Nate's writing shed in our back yard. We thought we were just about done with it until we discovered that rehanging super heavy barn doors is more complicated than we originally thought.

So for the time being, I wanted to post this teaser picture of the sign I carved for the door.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Front Porch

Though the sprucing up the front porch area wasn't the first project on the house that we tackled it is the first one that I have some decent before and after pictures of.

Here is the before, it was kind of blah and kind of a mess.

The area between the porch and the driveway was completely bare before except for the jasmine plants winding up the porch posts. I had a rosemary and a lavender plant that had been living in pots forever that I transplanted into the front. I also transplanted a huge lavender plant that had seemed really happy in the planter box in the back yard, but I moved to make room for fruit trees. My old plants are pretty happy in the new space but the lavender from the back yard doesn't like it in front. I hope it ends up surviving.

I repotted a couple of cactuses and a hawthornia succulent into matching white Gainey Ceramics planters that I've collected.

All of the door hardware and the doorbell and light on the porch are brass. We aren't ready to replace all of that stuff so we wanted house numbers that kind of matched. It was really hard to find modern looking house numbers that came in a somewhat brasslike finish, but we managed to find these on Amazon. They were pretty tough to get mounted evenly on stucco, but I think even a little crooked they look better than the flowery tile house numbers that were up before.

Lastly, I found these chairs at an estate sale. They look kind of danish modernish, but I think the former owner may have made them himself because there were a whole pile of similar chairs, all in pieces and missing the bolts to fasten them together at the sale.

Overall, I think it is a big improvement to the curb appeal of the house. I can't wait to sit out on the porch, drink a beer, and watch the people walk by.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New House

Nate and I closed on our first house about a month ago. Here are some of the pictures of the house from the online listing when some of the old owners' stuff was still there. We have done quite a few projects around the house already. Hopefully I will post some before and after shots soon.