Last Fall, we gave away our entire flock of (nine) chickens and our two sweet ducks.  Keeping them was getting to be a financial burden and with the kids’ increased activities (and thus the time commitment for those activities) we felt like we were not giving them the attention they needed.  Can I just say that I’ve missed them terribly?  I miss seeing them roaming the yard, chasing crickets, and just their humorous little antics in general.  So, when a good friend asked me to babysit some naughty girls in her flock, I just couldn’t say no!  Olive and Rosie get along well together but apparently haven’t been playing well with others lately.  (For those of you who aren’t into chickens, lets just say that the “pecking order” is a real thing and can become quite ominous!)

The ladies adjusted very well yesterday to their temporary confinement.  The chicken yard has become quite overgrown so I’m hoping they will take care of some of the greenery while they’re hanging out.  The only snafu was that they had not figured out the coop and where the nesting boxes were yesterday, so we had eggs laid very carefully on the ground.  Maybe they’ll get a clue today since they spent the night locked up in the coop!

On a superficial design note (because it doesn’t really matter), don’t you think that keeping backyard chickens is just so very English Tudor?

our English Tudor remodel: this ‘n’ that


Home projects (and really any project, even commercial ones!) rarely proceed as scheduled.   We aren’t in a hurry, so its no skin off our backs.  But I really thought we’d be done before we headed back East to visit family a few weeks ago. It didn’t happen.  We had to wait on the metal roofing for the overhang on the kitchen/dining area exterior wall.  Which was backordered.  And now we are waiting for the backordered railing system from Trex.  That’s the way the cookie crumbles I suppose.

The overhang installation was finished yesterday and I think that it was done well.  We truly are fortunate to have a great contractor and his subs.  The jury is still out on the color I selected from a teeny tiny color swatch a few months ago.  I think its more clay colored than I was anticipating, but that could also be due to lighting.  I’m trying to sneak a peek at it during different times of the day before I form a solid opinion.  Its supposed to be “copper” but of course is a fabricated copper and not the real deal.  The idea was to create a bit of an accent that coordinated with the rest of the house, bringing out some of the tones in the roof shingles especially.  Maybe it will look better once the railing is up too.

The rest of the lighting has also been installed and I’m pleased with how the style fits with what we are trying to achieve here.  They’re also dawn to dusk LEDs and weren’t too terribly expensive as they are by Home Decorator’s Collection from Home Depot.  The seeded glass is nice because it allows more light to radiate through than a shaded light and yet the seeding helps to camouflage spider webs and bugs that will inevitably find their way into the fixture.  They are definitely more obvious with clear glass!

our English Tudor remodel: getting all decked out


I believe our contractor was hoping to have the deck completed by now, but once they started working on “refreshing” the framing after pulling off all of those warped Redwood boards they found quite a mess.  That seems to be a common theme with this remodel!  Older houses are always full of surprises and unexpected challenges.

So, last week was spent reinforcing the deck and doing whatever it is that contractors do to make it square and level.  Many of the joists were “floating” and not even attached to the side of the house.  And, extra joists were added to support the Trexx decking which requires support every 12 inches I’m told.  We are super excited about the Trexx!  We could’ve gone with Redwood again, but as we have experienced firsthand, that is not always a great choice.  Especially for busy families.  Previous owners had installed the deck and it was obvious when we purchased the house a few years ago that the deck had not been maintained.  I get it.  You have to reseal a Redwood deck fairly often and with a busy family life that sort of thing can be put on the back burner and easily forgotten.  And, out here with our extreme high desert temps (colder winters and boiling hot and dry summers), wood just doesn’t fare well.  In the end, I think the Trexx will be the better choice despite the extra initial cost.  If you consider the cost of building and maintaining a wooden deck versus a Trexx, I think its a wash and really about an even cost in the long run.  Our Sprouts, of course, don’t really care about all of that.  They’re just excited that they will be able to  walk barefoot on the new deck and not get splinters!

our English Tudor remodel: the backside


With the exception of new photos, there isn’t much to share regarding the progress being made with the stucco.  Its been a long road for the crew, but they are almost done!  Yesterday, the owner of the stucco company dropped by to check on the progress being made and she good naturedly informed me that our project had been quite a nightmare.  We had a good laugh over that one and I had to agree.  In comparison to new construction, remodeling an older house is always an adventure.  Walls are never square and, in addition, are often warped as ours were.  Well, at least this “nightmare” is almost over for everyone involved.   All in all, we are pleased with the improved aesthetic as it seems to fit better into our high desert region while still honoring the original architectural intent.  The final phase of the remodel begins tomorrow as the deck gets some much needed additional support and a Trexx facelift!


our English Tudor remodel: it keeps getting better!


The crew finished the stucco on the front facade yesterday and I have to say that we are more than pleased!  Once the major work is done, we’ll be going back and painting the fence and figuring out how to clean up the brick.  There really isn’t more to say than that, so I’ll leave you with the latest photos.  They’ll finish the sides of the house today and hopefully a good portion of the mammoth backside as well.



our English Tudor remodel: stucco part II


We were delighted the evening before the Fourth to see a pallet full of the stucco color component delivered to our little construction area.  And, yesterday was the day!  The crew braved our current heat wave and started applying the more exciting stucco layer….color!

You might be surprised that not a lot of time or even effort went into selecting these exterior hues.  The first consideration was definitely not “what color do we want our house to be?”  Continue reading

while waiting


While we are waiting for the gray stucco to “cure”, I decided it might be a good idea to finish a little project I started back in April!  Life just happened, as it does, and my painting project stalled.  How did it get to be July anyways?

We’ve had this little vintage “telephone cabinet” for over a decade.  Back in the day, a rotary phone would be placed on top and the phone book, etc. placed on the open shelf.  The drawers were for miscellaneous doo-dads I suppose.  This piece has been a sheet music cabinet for us, an awkward bedside table, and most recently has sat in our entryway.  As most folks know, its just nice to have a surface in the entryway so there is a place for packages, a guest’s purse, etc.  Or flowers are always nice too. Continue reading