Fence Design

We keep noticing beautifully designed fences, arbors and outdoor space screens around our town. We see plenty of badly designed ones too, but thought you’d be more interested in the goodies!

Keep your eyes peeled for additions to this series as we discover more while we collect supplies for our next project.

We’d love to hear your opinions too. Don’t be shy ;)

Posted April 16, 2014

Sometimes simple is the most elegant – The black stain against the lime of the maple tree makes both colors more vibrant (and what about the fall colors!). It also illustrates a couple of design considerations: first how the plantings/foliage look with the color and design and secondly – stain, don’t paint! Whenever you can!

Fence stained black

Posted February 25, 2013

You know those fabulous slabs of tree you’ve squirreled away in your basement? I know some of you have them (and I am jealous). Here’s an idea to inspire your creative side – check this out! The wine garden fence designed by Marenakos Rock Center for the Seattle Flower and Garden Show 2013.

Marenakos Wood and Stone Fence

A Wood and Stone Fence

A powerful statement at 10-15 feet tall! Just to the right of this was the entry gate:

Marenakos Entry Gate


I love the design concept of getting lighter (visually), and more wild as the fence/arbor/entry goes up and the contrast between warm, polished wood against hewn, cold stone. Lighting was used to great effect, which my flash washed out (dang!), but you can still get a sense of it. The plants add softness and depth by being both in front of and behind the fence, tapping into our impulsive nature to spy inside. Isn’t it great?!

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Craftsman Trim Installation

A while ago, we stripped/prepped some wood for our Craftsman trim. I was afraid it was going to take a while to get it installed, but we had a spurt of energy and got it done! We matched the trim style of the rest of the main floor, read more about that here.

Finished Office Trim:


Finished Craftsman style trim, matching the original trim style of our 1911 bungalow. Salvaged Fir doors from RE-Store.


Finished trim on the office door, opening was added during the remodel. Salvaged divided light hinged door from Second Use Building Materials.

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How to Make Recycled Paper Flowers

Recycled paper flowers

Recycled paper flowers

If you still have snow on the ground and it’s 20 dang degrees, here’s a project that may lift your thoughts to spring. It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings: “Bird Singing Flowers While Awaiting Spring” by Richard Kirsten Daiensai.

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Up-cycled Bookends from Salvaged Brackets

Bookends cleaned

We were cruising the aisles of Second Use the other day and came across some really cool, heavy industrial brackets – cast iron we think? More truth about us: we can never resist interesting metal stuff – so for $5 it was added to our stash. We stopped by Daly’s Paint and quizzed them about primer and paint – the goal was to get a heavy coat on the bracket as if it had been dipped in a super thick, semi-glossy, paint which would then contrast with the rough and industrial nature of the iron. Alas, no great way to make our paint thicker – but we did have some older water based paint that had thickened on its own due to poor storage technique (what can we say) and the color was nice, so – Bob’s your uncle. Continue reading

Not Your Typical Organ Donation

One of our church friends called the other day, saying she just couldn’t bear to toss the last bits of the church organ they were replacing, and might we be interested in taking a look? How could we resist – (husbands roll eyes here, but they never read our posts so we’re safe ;)) We do confess though, (get it, church pun fun), we’re a little stumped as to what to do next…

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Stripping and Re-using Old Painted Trim

We are in one of the final phases of our decade-long remodel – putting up door trim. We wanted to use some old (and decrepit) painted trim that we had removed during the demo, but it looked like crap. But when we looked a little closer, it just looked like crap on the surface, so we decided to get the heat gun out and remove the several layers of paint that were gunking it up.


Old trim, before stripping.

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Hearth Removal: Concrete, Jackhammer, Persistence

The hearth re-do.

Our intention was (6 months ago) to remove the existing mortar bed of the hearth so we could lay a new tile hearth flush with the floor. I’m embarrassed to admit that we haven’t made any progress with this project since last spring. For a reminder of where we left off, read this post.

A quick re-cap: we removed the wood stove and its tile pad, revealing “faux” tiles made from concrete which sat on a mortar bed.


The first layer of concrete was easy to remove with a chisel and hammer, but there was a very stubborn layer of concrete underneath. We went to work on removing it. Continue reading