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Troubleshooting for Katie


After Martin and I did the troubleshooting post for Juliette I received an e-mail from Katie, who lives in a small mining town in the US. She asked for our opinion on the exterior of her house. I knew Martin would jump at this, having strong feelings about architecture in general and exteriors in particular so I passed the photo on to him.

Here's what Katie wrote:

This house has gone through a major facelift from when we first got it. It's not the most beautiful space, I'll admit. For some reason, people in the community just fell in love with attaching indoor porches to their homes in the 70s. It has a screen door (you can see it leaning against the wall for repairs), then the main house has a standard exterior door. The whole neighborhood is like this.

The problem I'm curious about your opinion is the wood paneling. It isn't fake paneling. It's real, tongue and groove, 4 cm thick stuff. Should it be painted, replaced with something else in a different color...? I guess the paneling just feels too "interior" in my mind to be across the whole front of the house, so I blame it for the weird feel the front has. I'd take any suggestions on the space, really. 

First of all I have to say I disagree with Katie. I love the house! I love the porch! I DO think it's beautiful!What I love most about it is the symmerty, the square structure with the centered porch and centered door. There's always room for improvement though and here are a couple of suggestions for Katie and Martin ( Yes, she has a Martin too!).

For the interior of the porch we suggest painting the paneling to give it more of a room feel than the sauna (sorry, but you know how I feel about bare wood) look. I think a couple of coats of white in there will give a totally new feel to the space both when looking from the outside in and once your inside. We would also go for white trim but since all white's not everybody's cup of tea a nice pale shade of grey would look awesome too.


For the exterior of the porch we would paint the paneling in the same color as the house itself. It's a really nice green and painting the rest the same would make the porch stick out less and be more integrated with the main house.

For the outside trim we would again go for white. There's no denying that painting trim white will give the walls or in this case the paneling that added freshness, at least in our book.


Martin got a little carried away (as he does with these types of things) and threw in a few more things that will give give the house more curb appeal.

How about making the front steps more substantial by running them along the front and sides of the porch? If there's no frost in the ground where Katie is it's quite an easy build. With frost there's a bit harder labor involving digging for plinths but it would be so worth it. Imagine some nice pots and lanterns on there...

Another suggestion is that because there's not much of a yard at the front of the house to put gravel down there so there's no need to mow a thin strip of lawn. If laid correctly the gravel will be virtually maintenance and weed free. Pick the color of gravel carefully. Martin and I stay away from anything with pink in it because it tends to look fleshy and clashes with a lot of paint colors. White-gray-black gravel goes with everything and looks fresh.


What we're not crazy about is the metal fence and gate in front of that cute house and if it were up to us we'd switch to wooden fencing. Here's one version which is open and airy but maybe not a great idea if there are doggies involved.


The other version is more closed in to contain any four leggers.

So these are our two cents. Anyone else have any other suggestions for Katie and Martin?

Little Things That Make me Happy


I went to IKEA last Thursday after work. Haven't been for at least a year.

Got the usual wine glassescandles, paper napkins and batteries. Nothing exciting. I also got a metal drawer unit. Kind of exciting because it means there will be some organizing of clutter in the boat room. That was actually the purpose of the trip.

One good spur of the moment purchase was a new pillow.I've had back pain in the morning for quite a while and considered buying a new mattress but who would have known that an $18 pillow would be the remedy?!

Another purchase that makes me really happy are the glass jars above. At $3 a piece they are cheering me up every time I do a load of laundry. I added the white dot sticker to keep the whites detergent from the coloreds.

On a completely different note, this is such a lovely home. Very different from ours but I haven't swooned so much in a very long time. I guess the awesome photography is also partly to blame.

Kitty Bean Bag #1


After my post about the cat cabin I got a question regarding what kind of cushion if any there was inside. There is indeed a cushion. We tried to figure out what kind of cushion we could put in there since it's outside and could potentially get wet.


We decided to make sort of a bean bag. I got this huge bag from the craft store with enough "beans" for a human bag. We figured because the beans are polystyrene they wouldn't get moist the way other fillers might


To make the bag for the beans I used a thick plastic bag. I filled it and tested along the way to determine how much I needed to fill it with so it would be nice and cushy  and not stiff and solid feeling. You need far less than you think actually. I noticed that filling it about half way was right. I used wide packing tape to close the opening at he back.


Here's the view inside. The cushion is almost 2 1/2" (7.5 cm) thick so it should insulate pretty well



I made a simple cover from scrap fleece fabric in the shape of a bag with the ends simply tucked under. I figured fleece would be good because it's a synthetic and fleece sort of repels water.

So far so good, because the opening to the cabin is sort of a tunnel we haven't had any leakage even though it has rained pretty hard. Also the roof lifts off so the cushion can easily be removed and dried off or changed if needed

As you can see above, Bonus approves.