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February 8, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Prep Work & Purchases

It was 75 degrees today. So, naturally, I am sitting in my backyard typing this blog post in the soft light of a warm, February evening. The only sign that spring hasn’t sprung is the fact that it will be dark by 6 pm. And when it is spring, that slab will (hopefully) look a little more like our planned addition!


We’ve made some headway since I last checked in. Our plans have been revised and resubmitted to the City, along with a very last minute geotechnical report (it pays to be in the business!). This phase of the project has included lots of planning, lots of scheduling, lots of discussing, and lots of paying. Even though we haven’t broken ground and our house looks virtually the same, we’ve spent quite a few pretty pennies to get this thing off the ground. Permit fees, utility fees, school fees, design fees, fees, fees, fees!

But that’s all about to change. We will still be paying lots of pretty pennies, but things are about to start looking different. Like our money is going into our addition instead of the black hole of building department bureaucracy. But I digress. Before I get into what is planned for the next few weeks, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane…

When we moved in, the west wing had doors and windows, leaked like crazy, and served as additional storage (because, clearly, we needed more storage space?). After far too long of living with that, we finally tore it down and have since used it as a sun-drenched patio.

Now to the present. Justin and my dad demo’d the only remaining portion of the never-beloved west wing. The little blue stove and other miscellaneous crap that has been stored here have found new homes, mostly with other people.


With the patio cover gone, there is so much light in the bathroom! It gets me daydreaming about all the natural light we’ll have when the house is done. I know, daydreaming about natural light… this is my current state of mind 🙂 You can’t blame me; it’s been sunny and warm outside and I’m currently suffering from mid-winter vitamin D deficiency.


On Wednesday (drumroll, please!), the slab will be jackhammered out and the concrete taken to a land far, far away. The following week (weather pending) the crawlspace and footings for the addition will be excavated and things will really start to take shape! Flo is a little unsure about all this, but she’ll love it in the end.


One last thing to report: we recently purchased our doors, windows, and skylights. With the exception of the two windows at the front of the house, all of our current windows are single-paned, likely original to the house, and will be replaced. Plus, lots of new windows for the addition. The windows are nothing too fancy, but I can’t tell you how excited I am about remote-controlled skylights. When those bad boys go in, I’m just going to stand there with the remote for about 20 minutes like a kid in a candy shop!

January 23, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Big Things Happening

Hi there! Nice to converse with you all again 🙂

Justin and I bought our house over three years ago and immediately started turning it into our own little slice of heaven. But wait, three years? How did that happen?! That means six birthdays, four Christmases, three wedding anniversaries, one FloPo, and countless home improvement projects. And now, we are in the midst of planning a massive addition and remodel to our house. Woohoo! Big things happening over here! And, for the record, I’ll claim that house planning has taken up all of my time and not allowed me to do any blogging for almost a year… Oops…


From the beginning, we had plans to add on to and remodel our 1,100 square foot house. It was only a matter of time, money, and an agreed-upon design: the latter of which proved to be more difficult than anticipated. After about two years of pinching our pennies and tossing around ideas, we sat down to design our dream home (within the constraints of our budget, the existing house, and the city’s many, many, many rules, of course!). Probably to the detriment of our project, we started planning and sketching before we had done any research on the city’s rules and regulations. Double oops…


Our original plan was to build a two-story addition over the existing concrete patio in the backyard (where there was once a lean-to with doors and windows that leaked like a sieve; remember that?). Two of the existing bedrooms would be combined into a master suite, the new first floor addition would be home to the kitchen and a living room open to the backyard, and the new second floor would have two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a laundry room. Sounds pretty peachy, right?


Wrong. Well, maybe it sounds peachy, but reality turned out to be a rude awakening. The city we live in has very, very strict rules on what projects are considered “remodels” and what projects would be considered “new construction.” By building up and out, we would land squarely in the category of new construction. Meaning buried utilities (even though the power pole in our front yard would still be there), interior fire sprinklers, higher fees, a community design and planning hearing… just to name a few of the costly differences. In short, if the project was deemed new construction it would push our timeline out another year or two while we could pinch more pennies. And that didn’t sound peachy.


Obligatory Flo pic

And to be honest, this wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion: I was never crazy about having a two-story house. While trying to plan our house in this configuration, we kept running into the same roadblocks: the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom were significantly larger than the downstairs, we couldn’t get the master suite to really function properly, the laundry room was upstairs… You get the picture. So we attempted to design our house as a single story and were instantly more successful! Where we had been stuck with the two-story conundrums for months, we were able to come up with a basic single-story floor plan in about a day.


Sometimes you need five monitors to plan a house!

Now that we had our basic floor plan, we spent the next few months refining the details and coordinating with the city to make sure we stayed under the “new construction” thresholds. We submitted architectural plans in July and, after a few back-and-forth issues with the city, we got our architectural approval in September on the day we left for an anniversary backpacking trip in Yosemite.


On another tangent, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning that Justin has done so much work over the past year… No architect hired for this project! Just my wonderfully talented and patient husband. And patience was of the utmost importance as I continually asked him to try different configurations and slightly altered details for the floor plan, kitchen layout, window placement… Over and over and over!


I think I exhaust them…

We submitted our building permit plans to the city a few days before Christmas and received our first round of comments back from the City this week (!!!). Call me paranoid or superstitious or crazy, but I didn’t want to post this until we had heard something from the City. I’ve been having nightmares that the City would send the plans back to us and say, “Just kidding! Your project is new construction. Please start over.” My dreams have been reminiscent of drawing the “Go to Jail” card in Monopoly. Okay, now that I type this and verbalize the thought, I think maybe I am crazy…


Yes, I think I am crazy.

Anyway, the point of this super long post is that we’re in the process of getting our building permit to make our house super fantastically amazingly wonderful. Yes, it deserves that many superlatives. We’re planning to do a lot of the work ourselves with the help of many friends and family members who have already volunteered their time and expertise. I’ll try to update the blog periodically with our progress, but we all know how those promises tend to turn out.

Here are the stats of our house as it is now, and our house as it will be (hopefully when it’s finished in about a year!):

  Square Footage Bedrooms Bathrooms
Existing 1,104 3 1.5
Proposed 2,092 3 2.5

Some of you may think we’re crazy for doing this and not increasing the number of bedrooms. But I would be the first one to tell you that we’re gaining a library (that may be converted to a bedroom in the distant future), a coat closet, a walk-in pantry, a laundry room, a kick-ass kitchen, living space that opens into the backyard, and a master suite. Without further ado, here are the existing and proposed floor plans:


I hope you are all as excited about the next phase of home improvement as we are! Any tips and tricks on construction, maintaining sanity during a remodel, and living without a functioning kitchen are more than welcome 🙂

February 17, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

November Adventures with Flo

Apparently my blogging resurgence has turned this blog into more of a lifestyle blog than a DIY blog… hopefully no one minds! In keeping with that new found theme, I’m starting a new series of posts. About our dog 🙂

In case you haven’t heard, Justin and I are head-over-heels in love and obsessed with the newest addition to the Porter clan: meet Florence!

I love this photo so much that Chels had it printed onto a phone case for me!

I love this photo so much that Chels had it printed onto a phone case for me!

Also known as Flo and FloPo. Born October 3 and brought home to Burrows the day before Thanksgiving. This post doesn’t need a whole lot of words, so enjoy the photos. And just imagine that puppy smell!

Sleeping peacefully with the litter mates

Sleeping peacefully with the litter mates

First car ride!

First car ride!

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Celebrating Chelsey's birthday! Flo loves the champs...

Celebrating Chelsey’s birthday! Flo loves the champs…

Curled up on Justin's ankles. She does not fit there anymore!

Curled up on Justin’s ankles. She does not fit there anymore!

Watching 3-D movies

Watching 3-D movies

And yes, these are a small handful of photos from the few days she lived with us in November. My phone and camera have been completely overrun with photos of this little pup. I have no idea how that happened… but let’s just say there is a cuteness overload happening here!

February 11, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

California in January

It rained last weekend. Glorious, wonderful, plump droplets of water fell from the sky! For anyone who doesn’t live in California, you may be tired of all the wintry weather you’re encountering. But us drought-stricken Californians? LOVED it.

But that’s not what this post is about. You see, I was so excited about last weekend’s rain for a few reasons (all of them selfish, I might add). Here are my top five:

1. It did not rain a drop in January, and it is quite difficult to justify staying inside in your pajamas all day watching the rain when it is sunny and seventy degrees outside.

2. Whatever rain we can get might help get lake levels up so we can spend the 4th of July on the houseboat (if LA doesn’t steal it all first…).

3. Rainbows. Enough said.

4. Green hillsides are so much prettier than “golden” hillsides (golden sounds a lot better than brown, but we all know what I’m trying to say here).

5. California is thirsty. She told me so herself.

Enough of a rant about droughts  and rainy days. This post is actually about the lovely weather we had in January (surprise!). A few weeks ago, we spent a day at the beach in Seascape. In January. In shorts and t-shirts. Some people got sunburned.

Shorts, t-shirts, sunnies, and the sand a few steps away

Shorts, t-shirts, sunnies, and the sand a few steps away

The real reason behind the day trip was to celebrate my grandparents birthdays and anniversary. They are such wonderful people and have taught me so much, I won’t even try to put it into words. Let’s just say cheers to many more!

Love them :)

Love them 🙂

As much as we desperately need more water (and the forecast is looking mighty dry), I can’t help but be grateful to live in California and enjoy winter days like this. Not to mention the beachy, wintery sunsets.

Typical Kim and Matt picture... Matt trying to be serious, Kim trying to make Matt laugh, and a rather awkward resultant expression

Typical Kim and Matt picture… Matt trying to be serious, Kim trying to make Matt laugh, and a rather awkward resultant expression








May your memories of January be as warm as mine 🙂

February 3, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

Welcome to the Lounge

I have so much to show and tell you, faithful followers of a less-than-faithful blogger… Regardless of my serious lack of blogging and posting, I want to show you where the Lounge stands as of today. Don’t get mad at me for skipping all of the in-between steps, but you have to understand: with my recent track record, if you waited for me to show you every project before the Lounge reveal, you would be waiting for years. Instead, I’ll show you a photo tour of our favorite place to hang out. There are a few projects that I think deserve spotlight follow up posts, but I don’t want to tell you which ones for fear of disappointing you if they never come to fruition…

Keep in mind that when we bought the house, this space looked like this:


One year later, it looked like this:


Before & After (Progress) #1


Before & After (Progress) #2


Before & After (Progress) #3

Now, without further ado, it looks like this:

dart corner tv wall window


Yes, I promise you, each of those sets of photos are taken from the same vantage point (roughly). Remember how I said life got in the way of my blogging? Well, this is one of those “life” things. When it comes to choosing between doing a project and writing about a project, I tend to choose doing! Enjoy these photos, and come lounge anytime! If there is something you want to know more about, please ask ☺

And now, for a little more eye candy for this fine Tuesday evening…

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Welcome to the Lounge! More on this door installation here. We’ve done 95% of the work to get this room where it is (we hired out parts of the door installation and the tape and texture of the walls and ceiling); needless to say, it has been a labor of love! We started with the new tile floors, moved on to painting and installing all of the trim, and finally installing cabinets, homemade concrete countertop, and the tile backsplash. Even the light fixture over the pool table is a DIY! Most of the furnishings in the space are hand-me-downs (pool table, small bench, brown chairs), garage sale finds (rolling cart under the dart board, metal-topped table), or salvaged (hellooo rolling furniture cart). We did finally break down and buy the couch and gray chairs new, and they were worth every penny!

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We also turned an older refrigerator into a work of art with a few coats of chalkboard paint.

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How cool is that table?! I can’t get over this garage sale find… excuse me while I drool…

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We also created this cork surround for our dart board, and I love how it turned out! After drinking more wine than I care to admit and may hours gluing and nailing corks, it’s pretty cool.

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We had the pool table re-felted when it was moved from Roseville. We thought we chose a shade of gray for the felt, but apparently it’s more of a blue and matches the paint color of the walls almost identically (and I promise you, this was an accident but I love it!).

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A few close-ups of Justin’s latest lighting adventure.

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So that’s where we are. These photos were taken last weekend. And while we have a few small projects left to work on, we are very happy with how everything turned out. For everyone who helped, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Happy Lounging, xoxo

June 22, 2014 / JustinKays Porter

Facelift for the Hub (aka the White Trim Battle)

With all the updates we’ve been doing in the backyard recently, we had a massive eyesore lurking around: the Hub. Although highly practical and much more visually appealing with the demo work we’ve done, the addition of new doors, and the lawn of my dreams, the Hub was still visually jarring. It had basically been painted white: so bright that it was nearly impossible to look directly at it in the daylight for fear of burnt retinas. We had always planned on painting the exterior, and now that the doors were in the time seemed right.

Pre-painting. Lots of color choices!

Pre-painting. Lots of color choices!

We knew we wanted to go with a darker color to protect our eyes, and we settled on a dream color somewhere between green and grey. With test pots in hand, we painted test swatches on both sides of the Hub visible from the backyard and spent a week looking at them in different lighting and debating the pros and cons of the different shades. In the end, we decided on a color called Gettysburg Grey (the third color among the options in the photos). You’ll notice a swath of white paint with each option: we had decided on white trim, but I’ll get to the battle on white trim in a bit!

New doors protected before the great paint spraying adventure!

New doors protected before the great paint spraying adventure!

Before painting, my dad helped us out by power washing the Hub’s exterior (facelift step #1). That way, the paint would actually stick! Then we taped off the windows and doors, rented a paint sprayer, and got down and dirty with our Gettysburg Grey.

Getting ready...

Getting ready…

Ready, set, spray!

Ready, set, spray!

So much better :)

So much better 🙂

The paint spraying actually went really fast (facelift step #2). We only had to rent the paint sprayer for 4 hours and Justin and my dad were able to get the whole thing done and cleaned up with time to spare. Justin did most of the spraying and had a nice film of paint all over himself by the end!

Yaaaa exterior painting! He looks so good :)

Yaaaa exterior painting! He looks so good 🙂

Paint sprayer returned, we went back for a few rounds of holiday checks with a standard paint roller (facelift step #3). The next step was to add the trim boards around the door into the shop and the garage door (facelift step #4). Then came the great white trim debate… Even though we had already decided on white trim, Justin was having big time second thoughts. After we just got rid of all that white, he was worried that the white trim would be too bright and too stark in comparison to the mellow Gettysburg gray and the deep blue we had chosen for the doors. I should note that I had my eye on a dark eggplant color for the door, but that was vetoed as “too purple”. So I stood my ground on the white trim! I convinced him to let me paint the trim white, and if he hated it we could just consider it very well primed and figure out Plan B.

The less than perfect white trim after the first painting go-around.

The less than perfect white trim after the first painting go-around.

At the point in the painting progress in the photo above, Justin hated it. But I was convinced I could make him love it. After all, I hadn’t done any cutting in and the edges around the trim were really messy. Plus, the gutters needed at least two more coats, and the white ring within the blue shop door really had to go. So I persevered. And I kept painting… painting, painting, and more painting!

And then it was beautiful...

And then it was beautiful…

And now that it looks like this, I’ve at least convinced him that it’s not terrible. Actually, I just asked him: he likes it! That response has been a long time coming 🙂 It looks sooooo much better now that it’s all cleaned up. And we’ve put up twinkle lights along the newly painted white gutter (you can see the bulbs in the photo above), and they just shine like you wouldn’t believe! I’ll have to get a photo of that up at some point.





We love the newly painted Hub. It makes the backyard feel like a new place, and it’s so beautiful! We’ll see if I’ll be able to win the white trim battle again some day in the future when it comes time to paint the house…

So glorious!

So glorious!

And, last but not least, here are the before and afters (I tried to line up the text on the photos with similar features so you can see how far things have come). Enjoy! And good luck with any painting projects you have under way 🙂


From the back patio, near the swings

From the back patio, near the swings

Moving toward the Hub

Moving toward the Hub

The front of the Hub

The front of the Hub

The Lounge Patio

The Lounge Patio

June 9, 2014 / JustinKays Porter

Deals, Doors, and More Sunlight

After we built a wall in the Hub, it was time to poke some holes in the Lounge side to make way for some glorious doors. The goal was to put a door on the north side and the east side, so on warm summer evenings the doors could both be opened and the loungers could enjoy a nice cross breeze. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

As part of the ongoing Lounge project, Justin and I had been on the lookout for doors. I know, that’s kind of an odd thing to say. But if you know us, you know that we frequently haunt garage sales, thrift stores, Craigslist, and even street corners when we are “on the lookout.”

We scored our first door at a garage sale last summer. We saw the door for sale and had to run home to check the measurements to see if it would work, then figure out how to get it home. The door we picked up was still wrapped in its original packaging, and we were able to look up the details online. What we picked up for 150 dollars retails for over 1,600! We knew we would need to spend some additional money to get the door in, but we were willing to take that risk. By some miracle, we were able to fit these 9’ French doors into the Prius (!) and get them home in one piece.

Brought door #1 home and spent a few hours daydreaming about how gloriously the doors would replace that window...

Brought door #1 home and spent a few hours daydreaming about how gloriously the doors would replace that window…

And, even though I’m incredibly behind in the blogosphere, we held on to this door for the better part of a year before actually installing it! There they sat, in the corner of the sad-looking Hub for a while.

Sad and lonely, waiting to become doors

Sad and lonely, waiting to become doors

We ended up paying someone to install the door for us. We were a little worried about waterproofing and because we picked up the door at a garage sale, we felt better letting someone else build the frame and find and install all the hardware. I’m sure we could have figured it out, but it would have taken a lot more than one day. So not much to report on the installation front. We swapped out the window in the before picture, and used the existing header for the new door.

That's a pretty big hole in the wall. And yes, we have swings :)

That’s a pretty big hole in the wall. And yes, we have swings 🙂


Door #2 has an equally thrilling story. After much debating, we had decided to go with a large sliding door out to the patio on the north side of the Lounge. We went so far down this path that we went to Home Depot and Lowe’s and got price quotes for the type of door we wanted. Then we went home and cried because we were far to cheap to spend 2,500 dollars on a door. In a moment of shear brilliance and luck, Justin sent me this link to a post on Craigslist.

Habitat for Humanity Re-store: amazing!!

Habitat for Humanity Re-store: amazing!!

It was essentially the door we were about to buy before the crying fit! I called our local Re-Store, found it was still at the store, and asked the fine gentleman to hold it for me. Then I went to the store, deemed it worthy, and later Justin and my dad went to pick it up with the truck. 400 dollars later, this beautiful four-panel sliding door was ours for the taking. And it too sat in the sad-looking Hub for a while.

Ready and waiting, leaning on the new wall for support

Ready and waiting, leaning on the new wall for support

Because we elected to pay someone to install door #1 (French), we opted to have them simultaneously install door #2 (sliding). We did the more extensive prep work to have this door put in, including removing the previous single door and installing this ginormous header.



And, ta-da! The space went from a dark, dreary shop to a fabulous, light-filled, door-studded Lounge!


Now for the before and afters:



Yay, doors!

Yay, doors!

Time for a confession: We had the doors in before we had the drywall guy come in to tape and texture. Remember how there were conspicuously no photos of either of these walls? 🙂 We sequenced that so our drywall guy would patch the areas around the doors to make them look uniform and glorious.

June 3, 2014 / JustinKays Porter

Dividing the Hub

As I mentioned previously in the master list post that probably bored you to tears, we built a wall. I know that sounds really hardcore (and it was), but before we get too far along I should also mention that the wall we built is not structural. It doesn’t bear any loads. The shop building already had a massive beam running through the center of right, conveniently right where we wanted/decided to build our wall.


Here’s the before picture. This is the shop before we bought it. See the big beam? The perfect starting point for a wall!

Just a quick recap for the newbies or those experiencing senior moments: the property we bought not only has a home, but also a detached shop near the back of the lot (recently renamed the hub). As one of our many projects, we decided to divide the hub into the shop and the lounge. Step one of dividing the hub in half? Building a wall!



I’ll keep the rest of the post short and sweet, mostly because I was very uninvolved with wall building.  I do know that Nancy and Dirk came to visit shortly after Christmas, and Dirk and Justin spent the weekend framing the new wall. Nancy and I spent the weekend crafting and not paying much attention to the wall building, but more on that later!




Throughout the wall building adventure, Justin was very aware of the future hopes and dreams of this wall. Yes, the wall has its own hopes and dreams. The practical side of the wall has hopes of having lots of outlets, a gas line for the heater, and tools galore, and dreams of watching all kinds of furniture built, projects constructed, possibly even a car rebuilt someday. The fun side of the wall has hopes of hosting a TV and a large photo display of sorts and has dreams of watching pool tournaments, parties, and lots of lovely lounging people. Enough of that metaphor? I told you I didn’t have much to say about wall building… So here are some photos!


The view from the shop. Justin put that pipe in to pull all the wires from the wall to the someday TV… look Ma, no hanging wires!

The view from the shop. Justin put that pipe in to pull all the wires from the wall to the someday TV… look Ma, no hanging wires!

After the framing was complete and all the electrical was complete, dry wall was hung. From what I can see, this was a fairly quick and rewarding process? But I think there were lots and lots and lots of drywall screws that went into that wall, so that must have taken some time.



Following drywall, we opened our wallets and hired this fine gentleman to tape and texture our brand new wall. We had no intention of tackling this project on our own. It would have taken ten times as long, looked 1/10th as good, and I’m sure there would have been lots of yelling and swearing.

We paid someone to tape and texture… and it was worth every penny!

We paid someone to tape and texture… and it was worth every penny!


And that’s how you build a wall. The hub is now cut in half!

And just for fun: look at everything we had to pull out of the shop. There's a lot of stuff in there!

And just for fun: look at everything we had to pull out of the shop. There’s a lot of stuff in there!

May 22, 2014 / JustinKays Porter

Bocce and Boca in Truckee

What to do with two newbies in Truckee? The usual, of course. Garage sale-ing, fishing, bocce and tasting at the local winery, campfires, walking the dogs, jet-skiing at the lake. Life can be really hard sometimes…

Wine, bocce, doggies, and love is all you need :)

Wine, bocce, doggies, and love is all you need 🙂

Last fall, we took our friends Nick and Jess up to Truckee to visit Nancy and Dirk.  We had a great weekend doing the above mentioned items, and in general eating too much good food, drinking too much good wine, and loving every minute of it!


The girls went garage sale-ing while the boys went fishing. Sadly, I don’t have any photos of either activity, but let’s just say they were both successful endeavors!  Saturday afternoon we spent at the Truckee Winery, enjoying good wine, great games of bocce, and even better company.


I think there is a little hop to that toss…

Now there is some professional bocce form

Now there is some professional bocce form

I did mention there was drinking involved, right?

I did mention there was drinking involved, right?

It is worth mentioning that Nick and Jess have a basset hound (Dodger) and Nancy and Dirk have a beagle (Toomba), and I’m really sad that I didn’t get a picture of them next to each other. Dodger looks like a stretched out version of Toomba… who knew that a basset hound and a beagle would be exactly the same height? There was never a morsel of food left unfound for more than 0.5 seconds. And they were highly entertaining.

I don't think Dodger was too impressed by the wine and bocce.

I don’t think Dodger was too impressed by the wine and bocce.

Another side note about the random connections we all have to Kankakee, Illinois.  Before the side note, all of you unfamiliar with Kankakee should know that it is a small town (population in the year 2000: 27,000) that you have most likely never heard of and should probably know nothing about. No offense intended to the Kankakee-ites. Back to the random connection. Nancy was born and raised in Kankakee. Grandma Webster still lives there, and came to visit us last summer. My Grannie Annie lived there for a very short while during her formative years. If that wasn’t enough, Jess’s stepmom also grew up in Kankakee! And because it’s a small town, of course one of Nancy’s best friends married Jess’s stepmom’s brother. If you didn’t follow all that, don’t worry about. Chances are I got it wrong, and I definitely left out some details. Needless to say, Nancy and Jess had a great time getting to know each other and sharing stories of loved ones.

Kankakee connection!

Kankakee connection!

Sunday, we loaded up the jet-skis and took off for Boca Reservoir. Oh, you thought I meant Lake Tahoe when I said we took the jet-skis to the lake? We couldn’t give these two everything on their first time to Truckee; maybe next time!

The best part about Boca? You can drive right in to the water if you want. No need to worry about parking, and the truck made a great wind break!

The best part about Boca? You can drive right in to the water if you want. No need to worry about parking, and the truck made a great wind break!

If you can’t tell by the photos, the wind was not our friend on Sunday. We still had a great time, alternating between jet-skiing and bundling up in sweatshirts and beach towels.




I think I speak for all of us when I say I can’t wait for summers in the Sierras. I know everyone loves to go snowboarding and skiing (okay, maybe not this year), but the summers are my favorite up there. Warm days, cool nights, mountains, lakes, wildflowers, wine, bocce, campfires… how can you go wrong? Cheers, until next time 🙂

Yes, we have neon mustaches on occasion

Yes, we have neon mustaches on occasion

May 20, 2014 / JustinKays Porter

The Master List

Disclaimer: This is a very word-heavy post. Pardon me while I wax poetic about lists and projects… The last post was and the next post will be heavy on photos to make up for it!

I am a list person. There are to-do lists, grocery lists, amazon order lists, Home Depot lists, etc. written on all types of paper scattered all over my life (I would say house, but the lists have wandered into my car, my backpack, the bathroom, the shop…). Justin has tried to convert me to one of the multitude of list-making apps available, but it’s just not the same. Checking a box and watching an item disappear from a list on my phone is in no way as satisfying as drawing a nice clean line through a completed item, and having it stay there. It’s like saying, “Take that, task! You’re DONE!” And watching the neatly crossed off tasks and items grow is, at least for me, somewhat of a guilty pleasure. Time for a confession: I add things to lists just so I can cross them off. That’s right, I said it. I will write down a task I’ve already completed just so I can cross it off and feel more accomplished. Hopefully I’m not the only one guilty of this, or you may all start to think I’ve lost my marbles…

Anyway, now that you all can add another dimension to my perceived craziness (and sympathize with Justin over my list-making tendencies), let’s get to the point of this post. We started a huge project in January: converting the shop at the back of our lot to half shop, half lounge. Let’s be honest: Justin does not need 1,000 square-feet of tools. Can you imagine what would happen if we ever moved?? And we really had our hearts set on converting part of the building to an entertainment space.


The wall that started it all

As part of the blog revival effort, to get you all caught up without giving everything away, I thought it would be fun to share a list of what we’ve done, what we’re working on, and what’s left to do (please, no comments on my definition of “fun”). In order not to bore you to tears, I’ve condensed the list into general topics. Future posts may cover more of the dirty details, but for now, we want to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to. The bullet items in italics have been completed.

The Hub (thanks to Kimmi for the GREAT name suggestion… it stuck!)

  • Build a wall, right down the middle of the building: this is what started the project way back in January! Thanks to Nancy and Dirk for coming to visit and kicking us into gear.
  • Tape, texture, and paint the interior walls and ceiling (including the pre-existing walls, that previously had no texture)
  • Give the hub a facelift: add exterior trim around the doors and windows, paint everything on the exterior (walls, trim, gutters, doors, etc.), add new hardware to exterior doors, remove massive antennae, put up some art/other visual interest
  • Install exterior lighting, including both task lighting for projects and ambient lighting for parties
  • Plant, plant, plant!
  • Add a fence near the patio on the north side of the hub, to block off storage space from view (much like this fence that Dan and Justin built last summer)
  • Clean up/paint/refinish patio furniture; maybe add a fire pit? A water feature?
  • Stain concrete patios, sidewalk, and mow strip (this is a big someday item; it helps that we have to wait on this to make sure the new and old concrete stain evenly)
We paid someone to tape and texture… and it was worth every penny!

We paid someone to tape and texture… and it was worth every penny!

Yaaaa exterior painting! Can you tell what color we chose?

Yaaaa exterior painting! Can you tell what color we chose?

The Shop

  • Clean, paint, and install various storage features (cabinets, shelves, desks, a repurposed kitchen island, etc.)
  • Facelift for the floors: strip, clean, and reseal the existing VCT flooring
  • Add/move overhead shop lights for better function
  • Add art: I know, the shop isn’t a place to hang pretty pictures. Not that kind of art. We would really like to have a “Paul wall” with fun and interesting things that we inherited from Paul when we bought the house. Because Paul spent so much time in his shop, we think this is the perfect place.

The Lounge

  • Install new glass doors that open the room to the lawn to the east and to the patio to the north
  • New face for the floors: remove VCT and associated adhesive, add new tile floor
  • Add window and door trim, crown molding, and baseboard (and paint and caulk around said trim)
  • Install lounge-worthy lighting that is NOT fluorescent
  • Create a bar area: install cabinets, make and install concrete countertops, transform old grimy refrigerator into a chalkboard fridge equipped with a keg-erator
  • Move in furniture, including moving a pool table (?)
  • Add a sound system
  • Decorate: We have lots of ideas for this bullet and we want all of the choices to be very “us”. We have dreams of incorporating a gallery wall somewhere, hanging Justin’s hand-shaped surfboard, making furniture out of wine barrels, handmade quilts in baskets, a dartboard backstop made out of corks… we’ll see where we end up!
Preparing for a new door

Preparing for a new door

Cutting tile is a very serious business… just like list making!

Cutting tile is a very serious business… just like list making!

As you can see by the amount of italics, we have been quite busy. And there are a lot of things (line half in italics) that are works in progress. It will probably be that way for awhile… but that’s what you have to look forward to as I work to catch the blog up on our progress. Ever heard of the term “weekend warrior”? Well, Justin and I are weeknight warriors as well. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures and/or terrible quality of photos that you’ll see for some parts of this project!