Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Progress on the Potting Shed and Courtyard Steps

Renovation always reminds me of molasses running down the blade of a knife.
Dr. Will is facing surgery later this year, and he feels an urgent need to wrap up the garden projects. However, construction is booming in our area, and sub contractors are busy with new houses: framing, wiring, painting, landscaping. Some things are just beyond our control; but a Zen attitude goes a long way to reduce stress when the process moves slowly.
The great wheel of life is unstoppable. When you aren't looking, the molasses turns into fast-running water, and your project rushes ahead, much to your delight.
In addition to the Renovation Diary updates on the blog, I keep a handwritten journal, where I ponder molasses. I also jot down paint colors, ideas, choices, worries, and a timeline of events. It's a tool and a stress reliever. I can't remember a time when I wasn't scribbling in a grocery store notebook.
Timeline for Potting Shed and Courtyard Steps:

7-29-13:     Discuss potting shed with GC. Search begins for a design plus blueprints.
8-12-13:     Ordered plans for shed ($19.95)
8-20-13:     GC getting bids for shed
9-16-13:     Waiting for bids.
10-1-13:      Blog Update on steps and shed
10-20-13:    Blog Update on Potting Shed
10-21-13:   Meet with framer to discuss shed. Shed staked.
10-23-13:   Meet with landscape architect; shed placement revised
11-1-13:     Gravel delivered for shed. Demo begins for steps.
11-5-13:     Footing for potting shed and courtyard steps.

As you can see from the last two entries, the much-anticipated construction has begun on the potting shed and courtyard steps. Here's a peek at the in-progress construction.

 Part I: The Potting Shed

The trees were still in leaf when I met with my GC, his assistant, and a local framer.
With the blueprints in hand, the men staked a possible building site.

Please excuse my terrible Photoshopping. But this is the general idea. The shed will be angled, so the door can be seen from Will's garden. 

Strings and flags mark the spot, awaiting the landscape architect's approval.

A few days later, I met with the GC and the LA, who suggested the shed be moved ten feet to the right, to fit in with future plans for this area.

A week-and-a-half later, the gravel arrived. My GC's assistant, Medana, sent me a photo because I was, and still am, down with a bad cold. But seeing the gravel made me feel better. When the gravel arrives, it means the project is picking up speed. 

Just a few days later, the footing was begun. As a side note, look how the trees have
changed color. Fall is finally here in middle Tennessee.

If you stand in Will's garden, you will have a view of the angled shed. The LA said that you always want the eye to keep moving in a garden: from the potager to the shed and so on. If he hadn't pointed that out, I would have totally made the door face the driveway.

The shed won't be a total copy of the inspiration picture.
For example, the shed was only 8 feet wide, so we added 3 feet. This affected the pitch of the roof.
The shed will still have the fanciful "witch hat" roof, but it won't be quite as tall. We're adding a Dutch door, too.
A closer look at the footing.
The builder suggested that I decide where to put the windows after the shed has been framed.
At this time, I will sit down with my GC and we'll pick out all of the materials, so he'll be good to go.

Part II: The Courtyard Steps
One day Bandwidth and I arrived early at the house for an appointment. As we walked
around, we talked about the black-top courtyard. My thoughts turned to garden parties--wouldn't it be lovely to walk down steps (votive candles would be everywhere)?

My GC liked this idea a lot. It would be good timing to build the shed and steps, since
the equipment would be there anyway.
Here's the courtyard from a distance.


 A closer look at the brick wall before the bricks were painted, in 2011.
After painting.
 The steps will be a smaller version of the front porch steps.
The steps will be limewashed, and the border will be painted, so it will be somewhat less expensive to use mismatched bricks.
Demo day on November 1st. 
The center part of the wall went down.

The footing is being prepped. I love how wide these steps will be.

A look back at the two "in progress" projects.

Part III: Dr. Will's Garden Steps
 We are still waiting for the bluestone steps to be installed at Dr. Will's potager garden.
The projected date was September 1st, but it's been moved back to mid-November, as the
LA is still waiting on the bluestone. 

Here's the sketch:

8-8-13:     Discuss bluestone steps for Dr. Will's potager garden.
8-28-13:   Sketches received for steps. Projected installation: 9-4-13
10-23-13:  Copper lights have been made. Waiting for delivery of bluestone.
11-5-13:   Still waiting on bluestone. Installation moved back to 11-16-13.

That's it, folks. I hope you've enjoyed the update.
Have a great day, and I'll see you tomorrow at Foodie Friday.

Potting Shed Image Source: Old English Potting Shed

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  1. The gardens are going to be simply enchanting. You and Will have such wonderful ideas, I can't wait to see the end result.
    Hope your cold gets better, have you had your adrenals checked, I would be willing to say they are low. They can really lower your immune system if they are. Just a thought...... Below is a wonderful recipe to soothe a sore throat or cold. Plus, it's yummy on a cold winter day.

    Hot Buttered Lemon Tea

    4-1/2 cups water
    1 cup sugar
    2 lemons, thinly sliced
    2/4 cup lemon juice
    2 Tablespoons butter

    Place water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the lemon slices and juice; stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thoroughly heated. Pour into 6 mugs, and top each serving with 1 teaspoon butter. Serve hot!!

  2. Thanks for the recipe, Mary. It sounds so soothing. I'll ask Will about the adrenals. Thanks again!

  3. I certainly hope I did not offend you by mentioning your adrenals. I know you are a nurse and Will is a doctor and I meant no disrespect. I went through some issues a while back and could not get answers, my Cherokee Indian grandmother suggested I get my adrenals checked, so I did, they were terribly low and I firmly believe that was the problem because once that was taken care of it seemed to alleviate all my issues. Blessings!!!

    1. Oh, heaven's no! I wasn't offended--I was grateful for your comment and the idea. I seem to get every virus that comes down the road. I need to find out which test to get. Cortisol levels?

  4. It is so incredibly exciting, Seriously - when you have your first outdoor party next year when it is all done, I sooooo wanna be invited!

    As for Dr. Will's future surgery, and your nasty cold /comfort hugs, and good health to you both.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment and good wishes for Will. He's having more tests tomorrow. xx

  5. God luck for a speedy recover for Dr Will and I hope you get to the bottom of your nasty cold. I think the tick bites have a lot to due with that.
    Your potting shed is drop death terrific. Your are going to love it.
    Feel better.

    1. That's exactly what my mom said about the ticks! Great minds.... Thanks for your good wishes for Will. xx

  6. I can just the votive candles and you walking down those gorgeous stairs, accompanied by Dr. Will, for a special party. And I'm in love with Dutch doors. They are so very attractive and you don't seem them that often anymore. As Mary L said above, you have the BEST ideas.

    Best wishes to Dr. Will on his surgery and I hope you are feeling better soon too. Take care of each other, try not to overdo it, and know all of us are thinking of you both and sending big healing hugs.

  7. It does should like your immune system has been compromised. Take care of yourself!
    Wishing the Dr. a quick and full recovery.
    You and your family are making a beautiful home even more so. I am pretty sure I could not take on a project like that, and always enjoy your posts about making your dream home come true.
    Enjoy your evening.

  8. Wow I love your inspiration for the garden/potting shed. Your property is beautiful and the unique style of this shed is going to look fabulous. The stair project is going to look quite grand!

  9. It looks as if everything is progressing beautifully for your potting shed. God speed for a complete recovery for Dr. Will and a speedy recovery for you too


  10. Oh, so much is going on & it all looks so exciting for you guys! GREAT ideas & I love your explanations of the 'whys' for various decisions. It is all going to be so lovely!
    I'm very sorry to hear that the Doc needs surgery...drats! Doctors are the worst patients, too. I hope it goes well for him & that his recovery is short & uneventful.


    Hope YOU feel better soon! I was down almost 3 full weeks with my stupid cold. I felt like cr*p, too.

  11. Yay for progress on your potting shed! I know it seems so much more real with a footing in place. Love the Dutch door idea! Lots of fun planning for you except for the upcoming surgery for your hubby. I wish I knew how to master a zen-like philosophy :) Happy Potting & Planning to you!

  12. I absolutely love all the changes you've been making. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  13. Great progress! Love the inspiration photo. Excited for you about the garden goodies. Hope all goes well with the surgery for Dr. Will.