Category Archives: Our Projects

Driveway, Phase 1-2

October 3, 2014

So, I am always yammering on about how the next big project will be our master bath, and OH, how I wish it could be, but this house has a way of bumping the jobs we WANT to do with jobs we NEED to do. The driveway had become a situation we could no longer ignore.

We had the original concrete driveway that was poured when the house was built in 1977, and I will list the problems that old slab had going for it.

-The expansion joints were originally filled with wood, that over time rots out, allowing water and critters to enter the scene.

-Two giant sections of that old concrete were cut out and repoured when the foundation was underpinned sometime in the late 90′s. Now, those pieces have settled, pulling away from the house, and again, allowing water to enter under the slab.

-The drain connecting to our gutter downspout, that was installed when the driveway was laid, well, it was the wrong kind…the one with HOLES so that water has been flowing under the slab for decades.

-Aaaaand lots of large trucks driving on it during previous renovations created baby new cracks, to keep the old craggy cracks company. I consider this to be an alternate renovator’s slang for crack baby. You heard it here.

ALL of this equals a nightmare hot mess of cracked concrete. Behold.

Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal drivewayModfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway

The work was scheduled to start on Tuesday, and we discovered on the prior Saturday that a yellow jacket colony decided to set up a ground hive down in one of the cracks. I mean, REALLY?! Ugh.

Hive out, and it was showtime!

Modfrugal driveway

We only replaced the top portion of the driveway and the turnaround. The rest of the driveway is pretty good for its age, so luckily for our budget, the rest can wait. The truck is where the new work stops and joins the old part of the driveway still in decent shape.

Modfrugal driveway

 

Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway

 

Modfrugal driveway

As luck would have it, when the concrete truck drove up the driveway – it broke one of our perfectly decent slabs.

Modfrugal driveway

 

They very kindly offered to fix it on the spot after the top was poured, BUT, it causes me angst because my inner OCD has a hard time with this…this….Frankendrive. ARGH! Don’t look.

It also created some hairline cracks (more crack babies) in a couple of the other slabs, so I’m sure we’ll have to replace the rest in a just few years…sigh.

Modfrugal driveway

We need to re-pour our garage slab too, but it just wasn’t in the budget, (knowing this job would likely go over budget..and it did) aaaand we have some joint sistering to do in there before we tackle the floor, so it just had to wait. It would have been SOOOO much easier and cheaper per sf to do it all at once, but that’s life without a money tree.

Modfrugal driveway

The next phase was a DIY – the CC poured 4 foot curb sections around the far edge so we don’t lose anyone down the hill. We are mildly considerate like that.

Having the curbs poured at the same time was going to add a lot of labor cost, but not concrete cost, so we thought we could handle that on our own. To this point, our driveway has freaked people out since it’s a pretty steep drop-off from the far edge. Example: Our substitute mail carrier won’t come up our driveway at all, and just leaves packages and everything at the bottom of the driveway.

That’s why we had the hideous row of cinder blocks along the edge, plus it kept balls from rolling down into the Nether. The spaces between the curbs allow for water runoff and leaf clearing.

Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway

He drilled steel rebar into the new driveway to anchor the new curbs to the slab.

Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway

 

Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway Modfrugal driveway

After the curbs, phase 3 is the permeable paver installation- another DIY. We are going to lay down this stuff between the base of the 2 trees behind it. There used to be a concrete pad there as overflow parking for the driveway, but it was hard on the roots of the big ash tree. Hopefully this solution will be friendlier to the tree while giving us the extra parking we need.

Modfrugal driveway

It is a roll out grid that is filled with either gravel or soil and grass/groundcover that allows water to pass through the cells, yet is strong enough to be driven on. Our plan is to seed grass since it is also at the base of the tire swing. Hopefully it will be a significant benefit for both the trees, and stormwater runoff.

Phase 4 will be to put a slatted fence behind the curbs to make those parking and turning around up there feel more secure, and a few years down the road, I guess we will add more sections of driveable grass to accommodate MORE DRIVERS in the household. GULP.

Stay tuned for the paver installation, We have 6 tons of gravel to create the base being delivered Tuesday, so it will be a lot of shoveling and trips up the driveway with the lawn tractor.

WHY you ask?  Because the brainiacs here didn’t think to have it delivered/dumped in place BEFORE the new slab was poured. No trucks on the new slab for 6 months minimum. I’m usually a good renovation planner in terms of sequence, and this was an embarrassing miss. I guess it’s a good work out though….

Pantry Done!

January 6, 2014

modfrugal pantry reno

This has been one of our more embarrassing renovations time-wise. It’s taken over 5 years to get this done, but it’s FINALLY off the list. To see all posts related to the pantry, click here.

To recap in brief, we gutted and rebuilt our kitchen when we closed on the house 5 years ago, but left the other side of the kitchen like this, thinking we’d get to it within a year. That didn’t happen.

modfrugal pantry reno

Over Spring break 2013, we finally got it going and were making great time to finish within a couple of weeks, BUT…we ran into a snag with the countertop, the overhead lighting had to be changed around, and there needed to be yet another trip to Atlanta for some finishing strips, and eventually, a slab of butcher block. So we got to this point, it functioned, and we came to a screeching halt.

modfrugal pantryUntil we could figure out what we wanted to do, we used the Corian counter top that was in the original kitchen. We had saved it, and had been using it in the basement workshop the past few years. The photo above doesn’t look bad, I have to say, but this one below better shows the color situation.

modfrugal pantry renovationCompared to the crisp white Abstrakt cabinets, the Corian was yellowish. We could have sanded down the Corian, but if we were going with something other than the quartz from the main kitchen, wood seemed the most appealing and least expensive choice. We discussed our options, Summer came and went, and life rolled along with nothing happening in the kitchen for the next 5-6 months.

Over Fall break, the CC tackled the beast of the lighting situation himself, which was not an easy task. We still had 3 of the original square recessed lights left in the kitchen and 3 new cans from the main kitchen renovation. I never felt we had enough light over the island/table for prep, and it looked bad to boot. I had always planned to move the sputnik over the island as it is too big to hang in a walkway, but there it was, bumping the heads of our over six foot high friends as they walked in from the back deck. On top of that, we had never finished painting the ceiling in the kitchen because we were going to be tearing it up again any day…5 years later. Of course it wasn’t just a simple swap of fixtures, the depths were different between the 2 styles of recessed lights, so it took awhile and a lot of sheetrock dust.

modfrugal pantry renovation

I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference changing the lighting has made in this kitchen. Lighting is like paint – often underestimated, transforming a space to such a degree you can’t understand why you didn’t do it earlier. We had to repaint the whole kitchen ceiling afterwards, but that’s the price you pay for waiting so long!

But it was worth the wait. We have it on a dimmer, and every time I’m chopping at the table, I am grateful for how much better I can see.

Modfrugal Kitchen Sptutnik

So, now the kitchen is almost done!

Pantry cabinets and counters are in, lights changed. All that’s left is a bit of caulking and some more trim around the desk area. I’ll re-shoot the whole kitchen once that is done….and when all that glassware on the brass etagère gets dusted…gulp.

 

modfrugal pantry reno

modfrugal pantry renovation kitchenWe left the fridge sides exposed so we could use it as a bulletin board for our conversion charts, important phone numbers, etc… This counter is now toast, tea and lunch making central. It has really helped the flow in the main “U” to have these stations moved over.

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Since we moved the wine rack over, the tiny area to the right of the fridge is now a mini-bar kind of set up.

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So here’s the progression…..previous homeowner to today.

IMG_0569.JPGmodfrugal kitchen reno

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modfrugal pantry reno

Thanks for your patience! Off to boil some water for a piping hot beverage because Nashvillians can’t hack 12 degrees for a high. Brrrrr…

Butterfly Chair Makeover

September 9, 2013

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

I have been picking up BFK/Hardoy, aka butterfly chairs for years, and they are showing some wear, plus the last pair I acquired were peeling and rough. While I would still like to get them sandblasted and powder coated, that will cost hundreds of dollars, and I wanted a down and dirty rehab before our last movie night that wouldn’t cost much more than time.

Sanding with 100, then 200 grit sandpaper and spray painting them a flat black did the trick, but my biggest concern was the feet. I finally re-stained our decking, and I didn’t want the metal chairs to leave rust stains on the fresh new finish as they had previously.

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

This is what I had all over the deck before I gave it a top coat….

 

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Annoying, right? The CC thinks I have unrealistic expectations of the deck, when I point out these things, he laughs and says – “It’s a deck, not the hardwood floors!”

No, it’s not, but it doesn’t mean I want our barely 4 year old deck to look trashy already..K?

Modfrugal Deck Rehab

So I did my thing. I had to pressure wash it a second time since our summer was so wet, all the gunk I had washed off this Spring was back, and it took quite a bit of the stain with it.

For those wondering why we stained the deck rather than let it age naturally – we salvaged wood from our previous deck when this one was built, so we had sections of different age etc.. The boards would never look uniform as a whole area, so we stained it for both a cohesive aesthetic, and a way to reflect sunlight in the hot Tennessee summers.

Back to the chairs!

So, my dilemma was that I needed some kind of foot, or moisture barrier for these chairs. I have seen feet where you have to drill into the base of the chair – um, NO, and I don’t actually want to SEE any feet, because I’m picky like that.

So we thought we were pretty darn clever, and decided the best solution was to put black silicone on the bottom of the chairs.

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Awesome!!! After sitting in them for a day, we peeked underneath and this is how it had settled in! Problem solved. Now we can start working on something else, like FINISHING THE PANTRY.

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

WRONG. After a few more days and a little dragging around, this is what the feet looked like….

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Back to the start. Then I had another bright idea -  for real, this one might work, maybe.

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

So we scraped the remaining shreds of silicone off and had a dipping party – twice. Two coats for good luck.

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Rehab

I’m in love. How has it taken me this long to discover the joy that is Plasti-Dip? I want to dip ALL THE THINGS. They have a spray version and I am seriously considering using it on…something, anything, I don’t know, but I’ll find something.

Anyway, it is doing just the job I wanted. It is sturdy enough to handle some light dragging and both deck and chair stay protected. The BEST part is that you really have to look hard to see it, and for resale value etc.. Plasti-dip is completely removable. YES, you read that right. How is it holding up? Why, let me show you….

 

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

Yup. Aaaaand is it noticeable when you look at the chairs?

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

You tell me? I’m giddy, GIDDY I tell you.

This will come in handy for all hairpin legged furniture. Protecting hardwood floors, anything – you get the idea.

I should also mention that I ordered new covers from D & J Patio – white “space weave” designed for outdoors. About $20 less than the ones at Circa 50 BUT, they only come in one size. They fit the largest frames the best and we might take in the seam a smidge on our lower set frame covers. I just couldn’t face spending $60+ shipping per chair when I needed 6 new covers.

Another tidbit to know is that they are SLOOOOOOOOW to ship, so establish their stock availability before you order for a particular event. (ours came a full MONTH after ordering). With all that in mind, I am pleased with the quality of the covers and think they are going to work out just fine.

 

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

Modfrugal Butterfly Chair Rehab

Movie Nights

September 1, 2013

Long time readers know we are big fans of outdoor movie nights, and this weekend we hosted a party for Thing One’s group.

We upgraded our movie screen and it has been performing really well, but we had to add a little tweak this time to get it as taut as it needs to be. I think that washing and drying the movie screen will bring it back, but we didn’t have time for that Friday afternoon, so picnic tablecloth weights to the rescue!

modfrugal outdoor movie night

modfrugal outdoor movie night

modfrugal outdoor movie night

The ants smoothed everything out nicely.

We like to keep the food pretty casual – it’s a kid party after all, so we went for all finger food and provided trays for easy on-lap eating.

 

modfrugal outdoor movie night

modfrugal outdoor movie night

modfrugal outdoor movie night

modfrugal outdoor movie night

This was our third time scheduling this party!!  The first two attempts were rained out thanks to our new monsoon-like climate.

While it was dry, it was pretty hot and humid, so, no campfire and s’mores offered for this one, but the way those boys inhaled brownies and cupcakes, I don’t think they even noticed.

modfrugal outdoor movie night

 

Switcheroos

May 6, 2013

While we haven’t been making any more progress in the pantry, I decided to rearrange furniture and art everywhere. At least that is something that can be done and finished, until I do it again.

For those who participated in the Moon vs. Mushroom lamp vote on Instagram/FB..the Moon won in the end, simply because I liked the Mushroom in the dining room. I need to reshoot all these rooms in their entirety, but it has been so dark out for so long, I got tired of waiting. When the light returns…better photos will emerge.

Modfrugal dining room

 

modfrugal living room

modfrugal living room

 

modfrugal living room

 

modfrugal living room

 

And a major art rearrange in this corner…not loving it, but am rolling with it for now.

modfrugal living room

modfrugal living room

The entry feels more open without the deco buffet….

modfrugal entry

 

modfrugal entry

 

I have some fun things I hope I can share with you soon, but I can’t yet…in the meantime we are scrambling to make these things happen…cryptic, I know, but it hopefully explains our lack of progress on other fronts.

I have thrown up a few of these updated pics on the house tour since I realized they were pretty old, but when I re-shoot in good flat light, I’ll swap them out since these really are terrible. Please let the wet darkness end……

Pantry Update: Roadblock

April 8, 2013

Wellllll, I was hoping to have a finished space to show you by now, but we are a bit hung up. Things were going SO well, ahead of schedule, we were killing it! Now? Notsomuch.

Ah, such fools we are. I would think we’d have become bitter and jaded after the number of snags and bumps we have hit over the years of renovating together, but we get this blinding surge of optimism and excitement that a new project inevitably brings….such that makes the memory of all previous disappointments somehow fade away into the land of the forgotten. Deep down, we KNOW there will be a problem, but it doesn’t deter our giddy renovation fueled endorphin rush.

The latest version of said rush was in full swing last weekend when I posted our progress on Instagram…

pantry progress

Cabinets up, with some cardboard thrown on for countertops to hold a few light tools. SO CLOSE. We need the matching quartz counter, some filler strips and a backsplash. Easy, right?

WRONG. Both the quartz (Silestone Blanco Maple) and the backsplash, Porcelanosa Stick Wenge have been discontinued. We thought we had enough tiles left for the backsplash, but we don’t.

This is what you get for procrastinating 4 years to finish your kitchen. We are now searching ebay and stone dealers for offcuts and leftovers. When we demoed the original kitchen, we saved the white Corian countertop to use down in the workshop. For the moment, that will be our counter, so thankfully, we are able to use this space while we search,  but our completion date is now in limbo.

kitchen temporary counter

The Corian and the cabinets are very different tones of white, so it can’t stay, but we need to formulate a plan B in case we can’t find our matches. Dark stained butcher block is emerging as a logical second material, but we’ll see. Learn from us people, and don’t procrastinate if you plan to match materials, because even the safest, most popular style can disappear on you while you blink.

We’ve had house guests for the past week, continuing through this week, so we are grateful just to have it functioning and the messy chaos gone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more!

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