Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cashing in on a Christmas Present

I really wanted some sconces in our dining room to add some elegance. As a Christmas present, David said I could pick some out and he would install them for me.

We ordered antiques ones we both liked on eBay but unfortunately the package was stolen off of our porch. I wonder what the thief did with those sconces, probably pitched them :/

We were disappointed because we really liked those sconces and it's not like we could just order the same ones again. We went to several antique stores but never seemed to find any electric ones. Finally we decided on another pair of brass antiques sconces from eBay. We didn't like these ones as much, but they were the best we could find in our price range. David says they are Tudor style from the 1920s.



2nd sconces from eBay.

One sconce was broken so David super-glued it back together.

Broken sconce.

David had to rewire the sconces since the wiring was disintegrating. Luckily he has had a lot of practice from all of our other antique lights.

Old wiring.

We planned to place the sconces on the sides of the mirror above our fire place. David cut holes in the wall and ran electrical wire from an electrical box at the bottom of the wall. He inserted circular electrical boxes in the holes so that the lights are up to code. It took him a long time to fish for the wire because he didn't want to add too many holes in the wall. After the wire was set up he hooked up the electricity. It always scares me a bit when David is working with electricity, but he's got his handy tester that lets him confirm that the power is shut off.


The electrical boxes installed. 

Wiring takes a lot of problem solving skills especially in an old house that was built before electricity was invented. You have to figure out where the connection will go and make sure it is safe all while dealing with some wires from the 30s, some from the 70s and some from present day. It took David about 8 hours to install and hook up the sconces. It's pretty cool to be able to turn the switch and have the light turn on and know David made that happen.


We have light!

Sconces installed.

We added some new sleeves to the candle part since the old pieces were falling apart as well as some candle bulbs. The brass has rusted and has actually turned green and pink in parts. We are not crazy about the color and have contemplated spray painting them, but for now we have left them as is.


Brass is starting to change color.

The sconces help give the dining room a more formal and old feel. What a wonderful Christmas present!

Lights on.


The sconces tie in nicely with the mirror.


Monday, May 9, 2016

New Fence

Ah the fence, the dreaded fence. Like most projects, David had been wanting to change the fence for a long time. And so one day last summer he took the leap and ripped out the plastic white picket fence that was there when he bought the house. First he dug some holes and filled them with cement to create a foundation for the posts.

White picket fence.

He had planned to use July 4th weekend to gather bricks from his dad's house and build some posts that the fence could attach to. This turned out to be terrible timing because David ended up in the hospital and so the project was put on hold for a few months. I know a lot of neighbors were wondering what our plans were since we were left without a fence and mysterious cement foundations. Unfortunately our open yard was an invitation for neighborhood kids to come into our yard and pick our flowers, but in the grand scheme of things this didn't matter.

After David finally recovered and built up enough strength he was able to complete the project. We retrieved about 120 some bricks that his dad had leftover from various projects (something David would not have been able to do during his ordeal.) David wanted to build two brick posts to frame the entrance and then attach the metal railings to the posts to create a fence around our yard. Originally, we wanted an old school iron fence. Turns out these are still expensive even at places like Second Chance, so David decided he would just re-purpose the railing we used to have on our porch and use that as a fence.

Railings that used to be on the porch.

Open yard


This was David's first masonry job and it turned out pretty well! He layered the bricks to create posts and topped them with cement slabs.


Making a plan.

Laying the bricks.


First post almost done.


Here is a time lapse of the posts being built.




Both posts done.

David also dug down and installed two wood posts to hold up the other ends of the fence. He painted the white plastic posts black from the old fence and placed these over the wood posts to blend it in. David cut the railing down to size and attached them to the plastic post on one end and the brick post on the other. The railing had a foot on it so David was happy to get a chance to use his grinder to remove this (check out the slow-mo video at the end of the time lapse).

Fence attached to the old white posts before the foot was cut off.

The only piece I helped out with was sanding down that railings. When we removed the railing from our porch a few years ago, we had them sitting outside in the elements, so they had rusted a bit. Once the railings were sanded, David gave them a fresh coat of paint. And voila! David finished the fence about two and half months after he started.

Painting the fence.

I really love the brick and metal look together. I think it definitely steps up our yard a notch! Also it matches the brick posts that frame our porch. Now we just have to decide whether to put lions or something fancy on top of the posts!

Fence completed.


We have a fence.
Eventually we would like to add a gate to deter random people from coming in the yard, but that piece is still in the works. I know David was very relived to finish this project (or at least phase one) because it meant he was back to his normal self.

The Handyman Hubby posing with his masterpiece.