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australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd


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State of the Brittahytta
I'm still recovering from my latest illness, but I decided to take stock of last year's home improvements and organize my thoughts for this year. I thought I didn't get much done on my house last year, but now it looks like I did after all! In rough chronological order...

Brittahytta home & garden improvements in 2008:

  • new front side gate & extra garbage-hiding gate - thanks Dad!
  • straightened rest of side fence with extra post set 3 ft deep in cement - thanks Dad!
  • downspout guards (I don't have gutters, only downspouts, now screen funnels keep them clear of debris)
  • new brick stepping stones & vegetable garden where back patio concrete pathway used to be - tomatoes REALLY liked it there!
  • fresh bark for entire front yard - thankfully early enough the weed control worked well!
  • JFK white rose planted in front of chimney - doing very well
  • new corner cabinet for shot glass collection for patio bar area (~$300)
  • new walnut-finish bar ($70)
  • patio trash can made from scrap redwood paneling to match new bar (~$5)
  • new LED light string for my star lantern patio lights
  • 11-bottle wine chiller cabinet fits on top of patio fridge (was FREE from credit card points!)
  • kitchen ivy theme retired & sold on eBay, aqua taking over
  • installed remote dimmer switch for dining table chandelier
  • created wall art from copper sun and original mint green Brittahytta house boards for aqua kitchen/dining area
  • custom-fit blockout skyklight shades purchased online & installed for all 5 skylights - seems to help with the heat in summer at least a little
  • retractable screen door to let breeze in front doorway (cost = 1 cent for damaged item, free replacement parts kit from manufacturer+ $2 magnet cabinet closures)
  • new cat-safe coffeetable ($50 garage sale)
  • white painted facia board trim around all windows - thanks Dad!
  • sliding patio door replaced with deadbolted french doors (~$1300 installed including stucco repair & old door haulaway) - now I can safely & easily enter my house from the garage, plus extra flow space for parties when both doors are open!
  • touch up paint after new doors
  • blooming perennials planted in front - some doing better than others
  • angel's trumpet tree planted in front
  • new cat-safe dining table with 4 matching chairs ($75 garage sale)
  • new windowbox planter with drip irrigation - thanks Dad!
  • new movie screen grape trellis - thanks Dad!
  • replaced shed fence with new cedar fence panel - thanks Dad!
  • sanded & painted rusty side of shed before the new fence was installed
  • moved sprinklers for new pathway - thanks Dad!
  • new brick pathway across front yard - finished in time for Halloween!

    Brittahytta home & garden improvements for 2009:

  • plant blueberries - bought plants already at Costco
  • paint living room - "wheatland beige" paint purchased 3 years ago! currently underway
  • paint kitchen - same paint as living room, might as well paint rest of kitchen while waiting to decide what to do for remodeling
  • paint hallway - same paint as living room, but after I finally fix the darn linen closet doors that have never shut properly since I moved in
  • finish stain treatment on painted beams in living room

  • install new kitchen light - purchased in anticipation of delayed kitchen remodel, so why not install anyway so I can enjoy it?
  • install old kitchen light in garage laundry area

  • new front brick pathway - cracking out existing concrete pathway, installing proper drainage from 3 downspouts under pathway, new brick pathway dryset in sand to match back & new front path

  • buy new fridge! - can't stand it anymore and no need to wait for a new kitchen since will just keep same dimensions

  • possible new patio flooring - found removable deck tiles I really like, but I'm worried about my screen structure getting wobbly, so will fix that first or at least investigate

  • fireplace mantel? Costco has some now & I hear Home Depot does now too...

  • possibly new projector for Cinema Brittahytta, and depending on projector, fence-mount or rolling cabinet "projection booth"

  • vegetable garden again of course - those tomatoes were tasty!

  • plant pumpkins under quince tree & move garden bench & wishing well out past pumpkin patch? worth a try!

  • other 2009 projects TBD...already an assortment of mundane maintenance of course... :)

    farther future because timing will be tricky, plus not all kitchen decisions made yet anyway:

  • rip out living room carpet, hallway tile AND kitchen tile to replace with wood flooring (laminate or bamboo? not sure yet) - this requires removing the kitchen cabinets & appliances first - aye, there's the rub!

  • hopefully proceed on kitchen remodel after new flooring - new cabinets that reach the ceiling, new sink, new counters, backsplash, pantry cabinet area, new dishwasher

    Speaking of the kitchen, one part I am struggling on is the sink. I hate stainless steel, and I want warm colors in my kitchen, not a white enamel sink that will stand out as too bright against all my warm tans & beiges. I cannot find any enamel sink darker than "biscuit" which is still too light. I found a gorgeous natural stone travertine farmhouse sink with a carved apron, but I am worried a bit about the cleaning care. I have seen some custom-painted fireclay sinks, but none in designs I like enough. Why can't someone just paint a fireclay sink to look like stone? Or why can't they let ME paint one myself, then fire it for me? heh...If anyone comes across any sinks you think I might like, please let me know!

    Once I find a sink I think I might be close, but the timing is tricky, since I have to have half my house unusable for quite awhile, since the flooring can't be done until the existing kitchen is dismantled, and as you know I have party schedules to work around... ;) Unless I have decisions finalized by Mardi Gras to be able to start work, which is only a month away, I won't be able to start until after next Mardi Gras. At least the summer parties I can work around having no kitchen since the parties are out back or on the patio, I have a fridge out there already, I do have a sink in the garage and can move appliances like the microwave to the patio too.

    ...and speaking of Mardi Gras, I have to get an invitation out, since the party is now only one month away!

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    depot deal


    You should feel extra good about that one cent screen door... I'm a kitchen designer at Home Depot and when something is one cent it's so the store can mark it down and not take as big of a hit...not for selling!

    Also about your future sink have you considered copper? It's a living finish and HD has a double bowl undermount in stock for about 250$
    -not a shameless plug really, just a nice sink.lol

    Cassie tannaleaf@yahoo.com

    Thanks Cassie! The screen door was a big frustration for awhile until I figured out some magnet closures that actually keep it closed, but for 1 penny I made out pretty darn good in the end.

    Actually I have been thinking a copper sink would be very pretty & fit in my color scheme well, but I'm concerned about the cleaning care on that too. Do you know how those are in reality? I just have my mom's opinion from her copper teakettle, not a sink. ;) I do plan to hit Home Depot this weekend to see if any of the fireplace mantels might fit my brick fireplace, so maybe I'll check out more sink possibilities too. I think I would rather have a single bowl large enough to soak cookie sheets & large pans, plus I hate the backwash from my disposal coming up the other drain of my current double-bowl stainless sink. :P hehe...

    Re: depot deal


    Copper is more work in the beginning stages but has a lasting beauty that manufacturers cannot duplicate in acrylic. Keep in mind the sink will probably not stay the color you bought it unless you make it's upkeep your life's work. It will take on a darker more oil rubbed bronze patina with verde gris mixed in.To preserve the sink apply a light coat of good plumbers wax so water will bead up. Reapply whenever water will no longer bead.

    Also there are granite composite sinks, and leather look sinks which might be less work for a similar look.


    Thank you very much! I haven't seen leather look sinks yet. I will keep searching!

    Backyard Movie Projector

    Hi Britta,

    I remember seeing an article in Popular Science about building a homemade backyard HD movie projector and I thought you might be interested in reading about it, but it might be more effort than it's worth:




    Hee hee. You do need a new fridge. I heard it in your pre-Halloween food videos and thought of how annoying that must be...


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