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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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    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:



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