Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Everybody's Working for the Weekend!

Yup, that's right...we {I use the term "we" quite loosely for this one} were busy working this past Memorial Day weekend.  Okay, okay maybe just the first half of Saturday, but still!  A whole heck of a lot got done before we overindulged in lots of food, movies and BBQs for the remainder of the weekend.

In a post or two, I may have mentioned that I despise our backyard, especially the ugly concrete slabs that had become my spray painting backdrops.  Unfortunately our backyard brings absolutely NOTHING to the table, and certainly doesn't make us want to go out and enjoy the great outdoors.

{Least favorite area of our yard.}

 {Close up view...basically where I spray paint everything. :) }

 {Small concrete pad at the top of the steps to our driveway.} 

And because of all the loveliness shown above, we previously called a stamped concrete guy to come and give us an estimate to do some work.  We wanted him to demo our old slabs and install a stamped concrete patio.  {We personally prefer stamped concrete to pavers, but I know many may disagree with us.}  His quote was quite reasonable for the work to be done {let's be clear...the patio we want is very sizable because if you're going to do it, do it once and do it right}, but holy was much higher than we were guess-timating!  Bummer!!!

He let us know that if we wanted to demo the slabs ourselves and clear away the concrete we could save $1,500.  At first, we didn't even consider this.  Jackhammers and flying concrete debris?!?!  It kind of freaked us out.  But after a couple weeks went by, and we investigated our slab {it seemed to be only about 3-4 inches thick}, we decided to look into demo'ing the slabs ourselves.

All it took was a couple minutes of reading some info on Home Depot's Tool Rental site, and I was sold.  We {meaning my big, strong hubby} could totally handle this!  So when Saturday rolled around, we headed straight to HD and rented an electric breaker...$75 for 4 hours.

Once we got home, we were both pretty anxious about how it would go.  Hubby suited up with long pants, work boots, safety glasses and ear protection....and off he went!

The breaker came with three different bits {I'm just calling them bits, because I don't know what they are really called}, and even though he used them all, hubby had a clear favorite he used for most of the project.  The breaker does all the work for you, but you have to constantly pick up this heavy piece of equipment and move it to the next area you want to break...and occasionally it'd get stuck in the rubble and you'd have to yank it out of the concrete.

Here is a little glimpse at the well as some inadvertent eye candy for my female readers. ;)

{Getting the hang of it.}

{Switching out the "bit" to try a new one.}

{Making progress.}

{For those of you who follow me on Instagram [retroranchreno] saw this picture on Saturday.}

{The big slabs are almost done.}

{Trying to clear everything out from under the stairs.  There were two layers under of concrete and one of brick.}

{No more little slab near the steps to the driveway!}

After almost two hours of hard work in crazy heat and humidity, hubby had everything broken up.  He was E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D!  No joke...I have never seen him beat like this, and we have taken on many long and exhausting days since purchasing this home.  I am really so thankful to have a husband who could take on this huge task.  I felt so bad that I couldn't help, so I just stood out in the porch and was his "support" while he tackled this major project.

And thanks to all of his hard work, we managed to return the breaker before our 4 hour deadline and even got money back from our initial deposit!  So, all in all, breaking up our old concrete cost us $66.

Of course, now comes the real fun!  We have to move allllll of the debris to a dump area we have near our house.  I am not looking forward to all of the wheelbarrowing we have in our future, but since it's saving us just over $1,400, I'll suck it up! :)

This all brings us one step closer to having an outdoor space we never thought we'd have!!  Woohooo!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sod Story

Remember when I revealed our beautifully mulched beds?  Don't think I wasn't aware of the weird dirt path that was left in front of the one bed.  I swear...we had a good reason for that!

And that reason is two-fold:  first, we think the bed is just a touch too big {considering the fact that we have so many large beds on our property}, and second, we weren't the biggest fans of how the black mulch looked right up against the asphalt walkway.  We preferred breaking up all that darkness with a nice patch of green grass.  {By the way, we know an asphalt walkway is not the most attractive thing, but it will remain until we hit the lottery and can replace it with some puuuurty stamped concrete steps.}

We could have planted grass seed in that strip, but that'd require us to have the patience to watch the grass grow, and we'd also have to pray the seed didn't make it's way into our newly mulched bed.  We knew the quick and easy solution would be to lay down a couple strips of sod.

At first we were apprehensive about how much it might cost, but it turned out to be very reasonable since we were doing such a small area.  My hubby was able to get 7 rolls for $32.  Not too shabby for immediate results!

Here is a pictorial play-by-play of my handsome hubby taking care of the sod laying.

And here is our insta-lawn after it's first mowing adventure!  Luckily, the strips took well and seem to be thriving in our yard. :) 

Anyone else have experiences with sod?  If we were bagillionaires we'd totally sod our whole backyard so we could finally have a lawn there too. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That Took You How Long???

I really can't believe it took me several months to hang something pretty next to our front door.  What makes it so bad is that a) I always knew what I wanted to put up and b) I already owned the mirror, and had it in my basement since day one.  {It was one of the first things I bought for our old townhouse.}

Heck, it even took me a couple days weeks {no lie} to hang it once I brought it upstairs.  For the longest time, it lived on the couch.  I'm pretty sure Perny didn't appreciate the company.  He's not a fan of things that can't pet and snuggle him. ;)

Finally, after realizing I was sick and tired of having nothing on the walls, I got busy hanging some stuff.  You saw a couple things I was working on here, and shockerrrrrr...they are still not hung.  But at least this blank sliver of wall went from this... 

To this!

And for those of you who don't follow me already {retroranchreno...follow me!} is a shot of the area, a la Instagram.  I just love how the fancy, intricate mirror looks next to the bold, modern pattern on our curtains.

It's SUCH a transformation, right?!?!  I'll give you a minute to catch your breath after all that excitement!
Obviouslyyy, I'm kidding.  I know it's not a knock-your-socks-off transformation, but every little bit of decor makes our place feel more settled, and more like home.  Since I took these pictures, I've even hung two frames in that area, and bought some paint to slap up on the door.  Of course, I haven't gotten around to adding pictures to the frames or actually painting the door, but every little bit counts, right??  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Where'd The Time Go?!?!

I cannot believe that it has been two whole years since I married this stud.

I mean did I get so lucky???  However it happened, I count my blessings every day to have such an amazing husband in my life.  I always heard people talk about meeting their soulmates, but I didn't truly believe in that stuff until Pete walked into my life.  There is not a single person in this world who compliments me better, and I love him more than words can say.

So in honor of all this mushy, gushy love stuff, I wanted to share a bunch of pictures from the day we said "I do"...May 7, 2010.

And here are some touches of our decor {some that I DIY'ed}...

Thanks for taking a stroll down memory lane with me! :)