Barbie World + the mount

Do It Yourself... Except Really, Make Sure You Have a Lot of Extra Help.

Our first major home improvement project is 99% complete, and I have to say -- I've never been more enthusiastic about our little abode!

First thing first though -- I am a bad, bad blogger.

I always forget to take photos -- before and after shots, work-in-progress shots... basically everything in my life goes undocumented. Except the mundane activities of my dogs.

Proof: Our of the freaking 1,301 photos on my iPhone (what the what?), I have exactly one snapshot of most of my house. And I took it because of Bailey.

Look how cute she is in the top right window!!! Just keeping an eye on the neighborhood while we're gone.
So anyway, yes. There is our house. With a little slice of our neighbor's too, because we literally live 12 inches apart.

I'm going to have to let my words paint the picture, with a little help from the zoomed and cropped iPhone photos that give a glimpse into our former porch's sad, faded, cracked floorboards.

Don't even pretend you can't see those babies buckling and splintering. Ugh. (But please do pretend you can't see the chipping paint on the trim, because we haven't fixed everything yet -- that there is on next weekend's to-do list).
And I'm not exaggerating -- they were on their last legs (screws). One of the end boards even fell off a few weeks ago. That's when you know it's time.

"Scary Christmas" is more like it. Looks how terrible they are!
It's safe to say that I truly hated and detested these porch floorboards. I like well-kept, pretty houses. I particularly like living in one. I didn't want it to look as though we belonged to that special group of Mt. Washington residents, the beer-swilling porch dwellers.
We drink wine on our porch, gosh darnit. Or nice beer, at the very least. And at appropriate hours of the day. Mostly.
Back to my story -- after two trips to Home Depot (sorry, Abby!), we had ourselves 50 Brazilian Walnut Oak composite boards. And we came up with a plan of action.
On Saturday, Kyle and Pete measured and marked and sawed and drilled and hauled. I helped carry away the old boards, and tossed them with gusto! Gusto I say!
Sue and I peeled and scraped the stickers from the new boards off, and then generally stood around "supervising." I think the guys appreciated it. Probably.

Check out Kyle's face! Appreciative, no?
Pete also taught me how to mix up cement and use a trowel to pack it and smooth it and let it dry. I really liked that part -- it required less physical exertion, and more of an artistic touch.
Also, our steps were definitely probably a serious safety hazard.
They had what I liked to believe was a crumbling, rustic Italian sort of charm...

Venice via
...which was actually just cracked and crappy concrete.
So the patchy but now safety-code-compliant steps are my contribution to the new facade. And you will see them when they're less patchy. AKA when we're resurface all of them. So maybe you'll see them by next summer.
Back to the main point. Do you want to see our new porch floor, gleaming in all its composite glory?

Can't you just hear angels singing?

Gleamy, dreamy, smooth perfection.

Adorable little ridged edges -- which we might paint/stain dark brown. Or maybe not.
Okay, first of all, we have to scrub off the lumberyard dust that is currently making them a tad less gleam-y than I'd like. Secondly, we clearly have a few extra boards still sitting around. We might use those for the few wooden steps leading up to the porch, but really, we can only do so much in one weekend. Patience, Iago. Thirdly -- do you know all about the wonders of composite wood? This required no staining or painting or sealing, period. It won't ever give anyone a splinter. It is smooth as the day is long, and -- best part -- it comes with a 20 year warranty. I'm in love!
We added a few other nice touches too...

Spit shined.

Classy flower basket (PS - I haven't killed the pansies yet! One whole month!)

His pride and joy, the very nearly lush backyard. And the beloved tiki torches.
... but we're far from finished. Later this week, I might actually share my massively long to-do list for our house this summer, both because it will keep me accountable and because I want to accurately illustrate my new-found passion for DIY.
Except that Do It Yourself sounds kind of lonely (and massively difficult). What about DIWF? Do It With Friends/Family? DIWF has such a nice ring to it. Pete and Sue had a great time, and can't wait to come back for another visit to Pittsburgh. Right? Right?! (Seriously, thank you both so much!!!)
So, readers, if you'd like a delicious shrimp scampi, a few bottles of prosecco, some tasty salmon burgers, and a good long workout in beautiful Mt. Washington, come on over any weekend during the next few months. We'll do our best to keep you well-fed and entertained while we all toil under the hot summer sun together.
Except for these two useless animals (obligatory dog photo):


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Do It Yourself... Except Really, Make Sure You Have a Lot of Extra Help. + the mount