Summer project—2014…

If you have read my blog long, you know that Steve and I usually work on some sort of big ‘house’ project during the summer. Since we just had our house remodeled last year, we don’t have a project to do at our house. We helped Chris with his bathroom remodel in the spring and early summer. Now what?

We decided to work on the McCarley Woods. Howard and Marian McCarley donated a wonderful property to Austin College a few years ago. It is primarily used by faculty and students in the biology department.

The cabin on the property is solid but needs a bit of spiffing up. Steve and I decided that this would be a great project but first we needed a place to put the tools that are occupying one of the bedrooms. Se we decided to build a shed!


Steve designed an 8′ x 8′, pier and beam structure. Last weekend he put in the foundation and built the framework for the front and back wall. Tuesday morning (after Pilates) I showed up to do my part which is to be both foreman and gopher.

I helped him raise the end walls and secure them in place. Then the framing for the side walls went up. After that, we added the 2′ tall extension that he had prepared to the top of the front wall. The roof will slope from front to back.


Christopher joined us after lunch and I, for one, was very happy. The siding is Hardie paneling and it is heavy! Drilling holes and driving screws through it was hard on their hands… I have a feeling I could not have done it at all.


Once the back and two sides were paneled, Steve and I hoisted and slid 4′ x 8′ sheets of chip board up to Chris, who nailed them to the rafters. Next we sent up metal roofing sheets. All of that sounds a lot easier than it was :-).

WoodsShed-09 copy

It was a long day and we called it quits at 6:00. Wednesday it rained. Luckily I had found time to put a coat of water seal on the plywood floor while the guys were doing other things so it didn’t peel apart.

This morning Steve went out early (because I went to Pilates again) and started getting Hardie panels cut and installed on the front wall.



I helped him get the remaining, small wall panels up. Next we worked on enclosing the roof rafters to keep the critters out. And we wanted to trim out the corners of the shed before we broke for lunch. At some point it started to drizzle, and then rain.


We were wet and muddy when we called it quits at 12:30. Steve is going to build the doors later and maybe we can hang them Saturday. We’ll paint the shed in a couple of weeks, when I am back after teaching in Indiana next week.


It is solid and functional. Once painted it might even be cute!

Day 8…

it didn't hit 100 today. Yay! Steve and Chris got the siding and soffits up on the north side of the garage:

BrockettBefore-GarageNorth-04 copy

I washed the mold off of the back wall. A job I was not looking forward to but that wasn't that bad. I also washed and scrubbed the garage doors, but I did not take a photo. Really, you can't tell they are cleaner.

BrockettBefore-BackDeck-05 copy

Steve, and later Chris, took the gutters and soffits off of the back of the house. The French doors will be replaced tomorrow or later in the week.

This bit of old siding is staying put, not being replaced by the Hardie panels. If you look at the left side of the photo above you'll see electrical boxes. We really don't want to touch them. The siding is in good shape. It's staying put.

The roofers were here today, replacing the flat, leaky roof over the side porch. You can't see it but believe me, it's way better. And Chris and Steve got the soffit more than half done over this door:

BrockettAfter-SidePorch-02 copy

Tomorrow I start painting. I had hoped to start today but there you go. I have lots to paint. Maybe the temps will stay below 100. We can all hope…


Day 4…

I worked inside today, painting. The new bedroom window was smaller than the old one which meant that that room needed painting. And Chris and Lorna were ready for a new color. I can paint fast and accurately so I was on to paint. The room used to be a darker turquoise blue…

BrockettBefore-Bedroom-01 copy

I remembered to take photos after I had painted the ceilings and had begun the white primer coat on the walls…

BrockettBefore-Bedroom-02 copy

The ceiling is now pale sky blue, the walls will be white. One wall, with a very large bookshelf against it, is remaining turquoise.

BrockettAfter-Bedroom-01 copy

I couldn't paint up next to the window because Steve is still working on the sheetrock. It won't take much to go back and paint that area.

BrockettAfter-Bedroom-02 copy

You see that light fixture? I broke the globe that goes to it. I was being careful but not careful enough. It exploded when it hit the floor. What a mess. Chris and Lorna are going to find a new one at IKEA on Saturday.

Tomorrow I am painting the finish coat of white in this room and in the attached bath, so they match.

Steve and Chris got two of the three soffits up at the side of the house…

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-05 copy

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-06 copy

The roof will be repaired over the door so the guys want to wait to finish that soffit.

The guys then moved to the back of the house. Here's the before…

BrockettBefore-BackDeck-01 copy

Chris took down the thing over the deck and the gutters at the edge of the roof. He and Steve began taking the siding off of the east side of the garage…

BrockettBefore-BackDeck-04 copy

Tomorrow I am finishing the inside painting. Then it's back outside. It is very hard to believe that the 4th of July is next Wednesday. We'll be working on the house. If we keep at it we are on target to be finished two weeks from today, or earlier. Each day is hard, but we're getting there!


The renovation begins…

Chris and Lorna's house, on the outside, needs attention. The side porch, the garage, and the back of the house are covered with siding that is itself covered with black mold and peeling paint. We could have spent a lot of time dealing with the mold and paint but instead we decided to take off the old and replace it with Hardie panels.

The soffits in these areas also need replacing. But we figured out how to do that last Christmas when we worked on the front of the house. It goes faster when you have a clue as to how to do something.

We have finally hit the 100s in Texas. I am so very thankful that Chris has big trees and we mostly are working in the shade. You have no idea how much that helps. Or maybe you do know. All it takes is working out on a hot hot day to realize how much shade helps.

First, how about the before photo of the area we started with…

BrockettBefore-SidePorch-01 copy

As it turns out, some of the siding is very cheap. What you see around the door and what's on the back of house that you haven't seen yet may be masonite. It's hjard to take off because it breaks apart. The wood siding on the garage is old wood and would be OK except for the mold. On the upside it's easy to take off.

FYI – Making the mold be really gone is not that easy, especially when you live where mold loves being. Just covering it up with the Hardie paneling is not a good idea. When wet weather comes, the mold blooms. We need the mold to be gone.

Now, look above the door. See that roof? It's not got enough slope. That's why there is so very much mold in this area. We are waiting for a roofer to come. Our consensus is that we need a professional to make that part of the roof do its job. We're guessing that the roof needs rebuilding. It looks like a $1500 jpb don't you think? If that takes care of the water issues it will be money well-spent.

At the end of today, the side porch area looked like this:

BrockettAfter-SidePorch-01 copy

The old siding is no longer there. You can see two 4'-8' Hardie panels on the left, on the garage. We can't do much more here until the roofer comes.

Chris and Steve also got this small soffit up. It may not look exciting, but it's better than what was there.


We have 2-3 weeks of hard work ahead. None of us has time for this. But when it's finished, we will look with pride at the end result.

You might be wondering why it is that Steve and I are part of our son's remodeling project. I'll tell you why… it has a lot to do with my father. That man did stuff. Daddy had tools and skills. There was not a home repair that was off limits. When Steve and I could, we helped with his projects. We happily help our kids with their projects.

Steve is a better worker/helper (more upper body strength and tool knowledge) but I do add something to a job. I like to think of myself as foreman but really I'm the one who says 'keep at it'. And I think Steve might say that I can have a good idea. But mostly my job is keeping us moving forward. I may not be loved at all times. I can live with that. 

But there's another thing going on here. When Chris was born in 1981, our money was tight. Steve was in grad school, we had no insurance. Mom and Dad paid for Christopher. When we talked about paying back that loan, my dad looked at me with a smile and said someday Mom would need help and we could pay back the loan then. (I think Chris is free and clear now.)

Chris is in grad school. He and Lorna have 2 kids and no extra money. And they have a house that needs work. Truth be told, the raw materials do not cost that much. It's labor that costs and if you do the work yourself, there you go. Not that expensive. But I looked my son in the eye before we started with what I hope is my father's grin and said someday, I may need some grocery money! I have complete faith that it will be there if I need it. Or if Steve needs it. Steve and I plan to go out together but that hardly ever works…

PS – There are many women who opt out of this sort of work. I wish it was cooler but I actually enjoy this sort of thing. I do the parts I can and let the guys do the heavy stuff. I've got enough of my Dad in me that I must be a part of this kind of job. That's mom and dad, in the 1970s…