Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Patio That Jack Built.

So, yes, this was the back of the house when we bought it.
(You do know how this is gonna go, don't you?)

"Honey, even though we can't afford to replace all the windows, maybe we should take this really bad one out and put in some, oh, sliding or french doors and put a little deck or something simple outside our bedroom."

There goes the really bad window.

Oh, and all the sheet rock should probably be redone. You know, as long as we're already in there and all. Not that we would do it otherwise or anything like that. Ahem.

And there are the french doors (so not mid-century, but so much easier for dogs and kids). Ooo, but surely that's not enough, right? We need a teensy something more, don't you think?

And now begins the "teensy something more" patio adventure.

Here's Ramone Gonzales and his amazing crew. What a classy outfit they are.


Corncrete (as some say in Texas) is happening. It was inevitable, didn't you know?


Isn't that just the purtiest thing you ever did see? It really is just fabulous in every way. 

A freestanding fireplace just like the one I had when I was a kid (except ours was 60's ORANGE). 
A lovely swing to daydream on. 
An outdoor movie screen for summer nights with the kids. 
Jack made some gorgeous big stairs coming off the french doors. 
Some fine drought-tolerant landscaping, including that free century plant. 
And a bottle tree just like the one Pam Penick made 
Mine's not quite finished yet, but we're drinking as fast as we can! 
I'm from Beaumont and bottle trees are quite common over there. 
I had forgotten all about them until I saw Pam's. 
And no Austin patio would be complete without year-round Christmas lights.
I must have them. 
Every house I live in has "happy lights" (as my son calls them) up all year. 

Isn't my husband just the best ever?! I never cease to be amazed by what he can build. This patio is just gorgeous. It's got big beefy posts that we stained dark brown. The house is dark green (Valspar's Kodiak. Boo, I like funkier paint names.) and all together it looks like a tree house. A tree house on the ground, but it has that tree house feel. The ubiquitous IKEA furniture pulls it into this century seamlessly. I know some of you detest IKEA, but I'm a convert. I love it. I do and you cannot sway me otherwise.

Speaking of free, so much of this gravel bed was free. Well, truthfully, so much of what I have in my yard in general comes free or from Craigslist. I am a world-class scavenger; hence my love of wabi-sabi. If it's free or uber-cheap I love it all the more. I paid for the birdbath (HEB - cheap) and a couple of lantanas and the cigar plants. Everything else was gifted or scavenged.

Now on to a couple of herb beds in front of that gravel bed. I'll have to wait for fall; everybody and everything is too hot already. 
That's OK, we have this nice, cool patio to sit on all summer.

Ahhhh. House Love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Large trash pick-up day (LTPUD) marvel.

You just never, ever know what you'll find on LTPUD, do you? 
Can you believe someone put her out on the curb? 

Isn't she just the most fantastic thing you've ever seen? 

We were on our way to Mandola's to eat when I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I thought she was someone sitting on the curb tying her shoelace, but something in me ole scavenger brain made me do a double-take. 

I insisted that Jackdaddy turn around (even though he and Finnigan the Curious were starving and grouchy) and it was a better score than I could have imagined! 

I think she's my very favorite thing I've ever found and you know I've found some good stuff.
The plot gets even thicker though!

We used to live across the street from a guy named Mike. 
One day Mike stops by and says that he knows the woman who made this statue and that she is actually a he (the statue, not the woman)!
Apparently, the artist used to date a man and it ended rather badly. 
This is her rendition of him (and her revenge, I assume). 

Isn't that just a HOOT? Typical Austin story, really.
We named her Drusilla. I can't bring myself to think of her as a he so, Drusilla it remains.
All hail Drusilla! Queen of the LTPUD scores!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Excuse me, but there's a mermaid on your garage.

Is that not the ugliest thing you've ever seen? It's all-right, you can say yes. That garage thwarted us something fierce. Poor Jackdaddy had to live with this monster for almost 2 years before he got it up to speed. He actually leveled the *%&$ thing by himself! I swear he did. I hope I can find some pictures of him with wood planks shoved underneath the garage bottom and him with a sledgehammer. It wasn't pretty.
We still have big plans to tear it down and build him a big 'ole 2-car one with a floor that is level. Maybe someday we'll put that master bed and bath on top of it ... a tower for a stargazing, perhaps?
But, for now, it's looking much better.
(I promise to take more pictures after I've cleaned up all the ever-expanding pile of crap that lives on either side of it now.)

For those of you who've was not hard at all!
I borrowed a projector from someone on my neighborhood listserve (Thanks, Terry!) and just projected my image onto the garage. 
I swiped the image off the web (please, don't sue me). 
I outlined her with a big black Sharpie and then painted it in with glossy black paint.
Voila! A mermaid on my garage door. 
We're about to put a damn driveway and fence in front of her and she won't be for public viewing much longer. 
I'm kinda sad about that because so many people comment on how cool she is. 
I'm sure I'll come up with something else y'all can see when you walk by ... Hmmm, what next, what next?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2006 - It's ours!

This is it.
Can you believe we bought this?
See that big stack of crap underneath the porch swing? Fake brick asbestos tile thingees. 

I know, I know, but we were kind of desperate and it had great bones. 
We really wanted to stay in this hidden jewel of a neighborhood that we love so much and prices were skyrocketing. 
We were about to get priced out when this baby popped up. 
I saw the realtor putting the sign up. 
It wasn't even on the MLS yet (Thanks, Gail!) and we bought it on the spot. 
And, I have to say, the house just spoke to us. 
We loved that the ceilings were high, the floors were oak and there were windows everywhere. 
We just had a great feeling about it. 
We had looked at so many houses and this one felt absolutely perfect from the moment we walked in, despite it's being so downtrodden. 
Poor baby.
Have you ever had that happen? Those of you who love houses?
Just walked into a place and knew
Such a lovely feeling. 
To know you're home.
That was the beginning of our adventure - turning this crazy, mid-century cottage into a magical home for us, our two big dogs and our one small son.

As of 2009 it's looking better up there:

We've got a long way to go, but we're loving it. 
We've still got big plans to redo the porch and put in a winding walkway. 
I'm desperate for new windows NOW. 
Soon, probably, maybe.

We are the quintessential weekend warriors; we work paycheck to paycheck and weekend to weekend. 
I dream it and Jack designs and builds it. 

Sometimes we dream of chucking it all and moving to a condo downtown, but then we sit on our "just like a magazine" back porch, watch the garden grow and the kids play and we think it's all worth it.