It was a weird night at the Locust Point Rowhouse last night, at least it seemed that way this morning at 5 am. As the day went on the more I realised that it really wasn’t much different then any other day around here. What I mean by that is what can happen, will happen. Maybe that’s just Murphy’s law. If I had a third cliché saying to throw in here I would.
Exhausted from a long Monday and a few glasses of wine for my Mom’s birthday down the street at the Wine Market (shameless plug) I nearly passed out the second I hit the couch. It was the first time I had actually eaten at the Wine Market as previous to that I had only been in to buy booze. I also seem to recall several Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays I tried to go, but it was already booked up. The food was very good and if you’re reading this locally, Monday night was relatively calm (yet crowded in comparison to the traffic most places see on a Monday) and enjoyable. 20% off entrees and $18 bottles of wine… but I digress.
In an attempt to catch up on some sleep, I went to bed early. The second I got into bed there was a power surge of some sort and everything went out. I went outside and my entire side of Fort Avenue as far as I could see was pitch black. It was pretty eerie considering how accustomed you are to the amount of light there always is at night in the city, especially on a main street. I’m not really sure when the power came back on, but whatever happened last night managed to trip the breaker to the master bedroom leaving me clueless to the fact that the power was even back on. It was a fitting supplement to a weekend filled with other house issues including, but not limited to a gas leak and a day without hot water.
Not much has gotten done work wise around here as it has been a busy few weekends since my last post, but I did get a priceless gift from Beth and her Grandmother.
Hard to believe I outsourced my laundry until now. With Beth’s Grandmother moving out of her rowhouse in Dundalk she quickly thought that if it fit in the basement there, then maybe I could get it in mine. Two separate trips and two weekends later, both units were in the basement. It wasn’t entirely terrible getting them downstairs. I did have to break out the saws-all and crowbars to remove an extra 2×6 in the stair opening to buy myself the extra inch I needed to squeeze the 26 1/2″ wide washer and dryer down the stairs. I’m not sure on the reasoning for having 3 2×6′s framing out the opening other then as a filler to compensate for the stair width and where the floor ended. Needless to say, it wasn’t load bearing or anything.
The dryer is gas and I had originally roughed in for an electric dryer but when someone is giving you a pair for free, you adapt…and man does that dryer dry things fast. A few bucks later and I had a gas connection added. A connection which required the plumber to come back and replace a scratched compression fitting that was slowly leaking gas into the house…but that’s all going back to the whole “if it can happen, it will happen” deal. All told, I am incredibly thankful for the gift and am happy that Beth’s Grandmother is moved into her new apartment up in the county.
As you can see, the basement isn’t the most enjoyable place to hang out, but to me wasting valuable floor space to have laundry on one of your main living floors isn’t worth it. Inevitably I spend more time in the living room and kitchen which are just above the basement then I ever do upstairs. I remember the couple weeks my Dad and I tried to find a place to fit laundry upstairs without ruining the floor plan. In the end the best decision for me was to put it in the basement. I have a couple white cabinets leftover from a commercial job that I hope to make some sort of defined laundry area with, but at this point it is not a necessity.
I do have plans for the useless door in the right side of the picture though. It doesn’t lock, its narrower then every door in the entire house, the glass is broken, and it leads to a hatch which only serves to take up valuable square footage on the patio. I hope to infill the bottom half and install a window on the top half. Unless I mysteriously come upon 15k to excavate the basement, I seriously doubt a means of egress for a bedroom will be necessary in a space which is at best 5′ 11″ tall.
See…I knew you were wondering when the patio was coming into all of this…
I guess the beauty of the majority of the present and future projects here a the Locust Point Rowhouse is that none of them really NEED to get done immediately. This leaves plenty of time to plan, re-plan, realise you can’t afford them, start and stop, etc. I tend to get pretty fixated on an idea I like in the very beginning. It happens all the time. In the past it has led to impulse buys. In the present, I try and avoid making those same mistakes.
The artificial pet turf is a perfect example. The stuff seems like a great idea. I did a lot of reading and even contacted a few companies. I talked to a local company who wanted $10-12 a s.f. installed. Wow. I talked to a company in Florida that had remnants for $3ish a s.f. I was pretty close to moving forward with it and making it a DIY project. I tried to brush away comments my Mom and Dad made regarding “how bad it was going to smell” and “how will it be sitting back there amongst Huey’s piles.” I kept telling myself “I already pick the poo up when we go to the park, how will this be different?” and “no, the say its mould and mildew proof and hoses off easily.”
All of those questions were answered during the rain storm Sunday. As I mentioned before, I have one of those small pieces of fake turf that sits on a catch basin known as the “Potty Patch” (as seen on TV obviously) that Huey uses now when I am too lazy at night to take him across the street. I thought about how long it had been since I hosed the thing down and thus made a trip outside to dump it thinking the heavy rain would wash it away nicely. It smelled AWFUL. Like trigger my already weak gag reflex into hitting its puke threshold in a split second awful.
This timely revelation has opened the door to some new ideas, so back to the drawing board we go. The turf was going to account for more then half of the measly budget I had dedicated to making the patio space usable. A Google search of “small urban patio” yielded a few new ideas. One site in particular (http://heavypetal.ca/tag/garden-tour/) had a number of posts on peoples finished patio projects. The one I was drawn to in particular featured the horizontal style fence I like so much and some re-purposed metal framed furniture that looks unbelievably similar to the love seats I already re-sprayed black.
I am going to do a new plan in Sketchup, but I think my latest idea is to do the following:
1. Demo the existing “deck” and replace it with just steps going from the kitchen door to the patio surface. This will free up some valuable square footage and remove an eye sore I was forced to work around.
2. Demo Bilco door (hopefully sell it). replace useless exterior basement door with a window of some sort.
3. Add fence on either side of the patio.
4. Cushions for the furniture I already have.
5. Price out some pavers. (dream about having basalt ones like in the pictures above). Maybe just end up power-washing the existing concrete.
6. Free grill from Chuckbama.
7. Work some greenery in. Would love to have some built in planters, but we’ll see.
The patio featured above was listed as 13′ x 15′ so with my limited area of 12′ x 13 1/2′ I will use this as inspiration for my next design. More to come on this.
In Huey news, the cone came off a couple weeks ago…
They eyes are healed (2 surgeries later). As you can see he has settled back into his routine of be a spaz around others and a couch potato when he is alone with me. Hes pretty spoiled. A bath and trip to chase his “cousin” in the county is in order for Saturday morning.