November 30, 2010

Black Friday Shopping

You may think we're a little nuts, but Pete and I LOVE heading out on Black Friday! We don't wake up super early to hit up the door buster sales or even have a marathon list of people to buy for. Our only goal is to get out there and see as much as we can while enjoying a free day together. Often we'll pick out a major destination that we want to explore and then build a game plan around that location.

For example: In 2008 went up to the Crate and Barrel Outlet (awesome) in Cranbury, Nj. From there we went on to the Fortunoff Outlet (not awesome) on Long Island. After that we checked out the Roosevelt Field Mall. Afterwards we decided to head on into Manhattan and experience the Herald Square Macy's where the two of us spent hours checking all nine floors of the building. Ended the night with some delicious Magnolia Cupcakes before heading home on the NJ Turnpike South.

Mixing things up this year, we decided to head west and spend some time learning new places in the familiar area of the Philadelphia region. A quick search in Google for Architectural Salvage Philly gave us three really promising sounding businesses to check out. So we based our day around visiting them first...

The plan:

Brunch at
Sabrina's Cafe , highly highly recommend. Delicious.


912 Canal Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
( A+)

3016 East Thompson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Architectural Antiques Exchange
715 North Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
( C+)

... it took a few hours by the time we explored all three locations but the day was still young! So we loaded up on an amazing hoagie from
Campo's and yummy drinks from Starbucks while heading out to the King Of Prussia Mall. Since we both work about 5 min from the KOP mall, we know that area like the back of our hands. Which was awesome because we were able to scoot right around all the massive traffic in the area and got a primo parking spot!

After KOP we hit up the Limerick Outlets, I mean Philadelphia Premium Outlets, quickly. Woah it was packed! I can imagine it was super scary that morning. The Nieman Marcus Last Call used to have some really neat home items, but not this trip unfortunately. At this point we had enough time to get one more location in, The Lancaster Outlets which is home to our favorite outlet store, The Pottery Barn Outlet.

By the end of the day the only thing we purchased was a new GPS system for our car from Best Buy. However, we had TONS of new house related ideas filed away in our brains just waiting for the time to come for us to use them. I can't wait to hit my new favorite salvage places again!

Anyone else have a black friday tradition like ours? All day shop-a-thon, or do you spend the day warm and snug in your house far away from the crazy crowds?

Pictures and detailed reviews of the architectural salvage locations coming soon!

November 29, 2010

A Fall Miss

Today I am thankful that we're ok.

Last weekend Pete fell from the second story of the garage onto the cement floor and landed on his feet. Right in front of where I was standing, narrowly missing me by about 6 inches.

One second Pete was upstairs, then BAM he wasn't and there he was-standing in front of me looking a little bewildered at what had just happened. Turns out that the plywood he was standing on slipped off the framing and magic carpeted itself off down to the ground. The ground where I was headed to right at that very second to work. My poor giant head almost got squished by plywood and Pete.

It could have been really bad, but it wasn't due to sheer dumb luck and good timing. Pete has some bruises on his arm and sore leg muscles when he walks down stairs, I am so beyond thankful that those are the only issues resulting from the fall.

Oh, and my bff the air nailer is now broken due to the fall. Pete dropped while falling and it hit the cement floor with quite the clatter. Fingers crossed it can get fixed or we can find a killer deal on a new one.

Learning curve: Never work directly under someone on a construction site.

November 24, 2010

Houston, we have a roof!


I'm a wee bit excited about it, in case you couldn't tell...

We started the days work with Pete getting up on the roof and working on the lookouts, while I cut the wood to size on the ground and passed it up to him.

Originally we thought that the back wall needed to get up in order for us to get the final two roof panels up. With talking to some old timers of the construction trade they gave us to schematics to make what is called a "chicken ladder" which should solve our problem of getting the panels up without a wall. Why is it called a Chicken Ladder? Cause you're too chicken to get on the roof and do the job without one.

I made the ladder out of 2-2x4x16, a few 2x4's and a bunch of little 1x's for the rungs. It took about two hours to get the wood cut to size and screwed into position before it was ready for work.

The idea behind the chicken ladder is that it hooks onto the roof. To get the ladder on the roof required Pete climbing up the purlins with me pushing the ladder from below until it got to the peak, then we could hook it on and place it over an already down roof portion. Once the ladder was in position we could grab the last panel and start our normal process of getting them up on the roof. Instead of walking on the roof purlins like before though, Pete used the chicken ladder to safely screw down the panel.

As expected the last two panels did give us the most trouble. We came the closest to losing one over the back side as Pete pulled it up, those panels are slippery little suckers! I've also never thanked my freakishly long arms more while on the job than I did while putting up the last panel. Because of the slope of the land at the very back of the garage there is about an extra foot or so of height that we have to deal with. To counter that we had to put the ladder on cinder blocks, which made it suspect to instability and was still a little bit lower than I felt comfortable with, as I had to hold the panel up with essentially just my finger tips. When Pete got the first screw in on that panel I was seriously super happy!

How are we getting the ladder off that roof you ask? See the rope? This weekend we're going to pull it over the side and hold our breaths while hoping that it doesn't break. Fingers crossed.

November 22, 2010

Front garage wall is up!

Three sides are up, one to go!

As for the garage doors, we'll be nailing plywood over the openings over the winter. During that time I plan on painting and prepping the doors to get them ready for a spring installation. We have to tweak them a little bit to make them perfect, a usually side effect of buying them used and saving boatloads of money.

November 18, 2010

Weather Thanks

Today I'm thankful that this fall has provided us with mostly mild weather. Mainly because I overall hate being cold, but also because it gives us the chance to keep working on the garage as long as the weather holds out. November is always iffy weather wise here in NJ, so it was a crap shoot how much past the first of this month that we'd be able to stand working outside for long periods of time. Especially since the house isn't heated in the least bit, so you get no breaks from the weather or chances to heat up. So I'll take the 50's and sunny!

November 17, 2010

In this edition of:

Old crappy houses I happend across and loved.

For those that have just started reading the blog, I'll fill you in on a little factoid. My husband Pete and I are seriously obsessed with crappy old houses. Nothing gets our blood pumping more than taking a peak at a run down and saw better days a centuary ago gem of a old house. We'll almost immeadiately start dissecting it, discussing the work that would have to go in and all the ideas for the house to make it what it should be. It's a sickness.

We love peeping on shitastic grand old homes in historic areas. Even though we have two lame ducks of our own, there is a strange need to talk about the what ifs and the what could bes for these strange and beautiful houses. Nevermind the fact that the two of us have never even done a restoration of house of such a grand caliber or even done a true historic renovation at all. We still can't stop talking about how fun it would be to someday touch and shine up a home like the ones we saw while in Savannah and Charleston.

The first house i feel for was around the perimeter of Forsyth Park in Savannah. Facing the gorgeous open space of the park, I couldn't help but to fall fast for the brick exterior and front porch that looks over such a historic green space. Couple that with the bumped out window on the second floor? Give me a book and I can bet you I would never leave that little window nook.
If you look closely at the picture, you'll see my little fist ( the one that is not clutching on for dear life to my much needed coffee) clenched in excitment as I look over to Pete with my " I love it, we should move to Georgia and buy it" face.

Next up is the grand mansion that we happened across on a walk around the permiter of the town. It was such a stately home in bad shape that I really wanted to move right in. Bonus, as this one was actually for sale. Not bonus, no way in hell we could buy it. The back gardens were overgrown and snarly looking, but if you looked past the vines you could see the old fountains and lawn. The house was just HUGE, I'm sorry we didn't grab a better picture of it. Since it was empty and for sale I didn't think they would mind if I ran up the steps and took a quick picture.

Something as simple as a great power wash would seriously transform this place. I hope whomever buys the house treats it the way it should be treated! I'm sure they will though, Savannah seemed to be on the ball with preserving its homes.

Finally, my favorite of the bunch. This house was in Charleston and was right across from the park in the Battery area. I can't even imagine how much this house is worth even in this condition. It is a shame, but this house is crumbling down and really needs a preservationist to get their mits on it. The brick driveway I posted yesterday, the one in bad condition, is the driveway of this house. The amazing columns are likely worth more than my annual income to repair and made me weak in the knees when I looked up at them. Pete basically had to drag me away from this house.

When ever I see a house like this, grand and historic in such a wealthy area, I try to guess the story behind it. How did this house, which is clearly worth a ton of money and in such a prime location, end up like this? When its neighbors have manicured lawns and fresh paint. was it Divorce? Death? Caught in a legal battle? Old owners who have fallen on hard times but own the house outright and have nowhere else to live?

November 16, 2010

Vacation Inspiration

We took a few things away from last month's trip to Savannah and Charleston when it came to house and garden design. These are the things we're storing those ideas away until the time comes to implement them in our own home.

1. Glossy black paint. We can't wait to crack open a can of super high gloss black to paint to really make our exterior accents stand out at the Wee house. All over both cities Pete and I would constantly notice and point out to the other anything architectural that was coated in black paint and caught our eye. I got especially excited over the blue, black and white combo below, because those are the serious contenders for whenever the Wee house gets painted.

2. Tea Olive Trees. I am fully obsessed with this sweet smelling flowering tree. At some point one of them will be planted by our patio off the dining room ( neither of which that we have right now...) so I can spend my late summer evenings in pure scent heaven. Since we're way north of the sub tropical location of Charleston, I plan on getting the hardiest version for our NJ garden and wintering it if need be.

3. Brick driveways. Even though brick is a costly material to use for a driveway and will likely cripple me during our eventual DIY installation project- I'm completely sold on it! My favorite look is the two smaller lanes of brick, heading up to a fully bricked parking pad.

4. Garden design. During our tour of some great older homes of Charleston, we went gaga for some of the private gardens. No pictures we're allowed on the tour and they were sticklers for it, so I have nothing to share from the ones we saw then. Picture romantic, private and inspiring natural rooms that make you feel like never leaving because your bones have relaxed into mush from the surroundings. I'm pretty surprised that I'm not still there. This is an example of a great garden that we snapped from the street.

5. Big mo-fo gilded mirrors. I love them. Not sure Pete is on board with the giant mirrors the same way I am.

Stay tuned for the "Crappy Houses that Pete and Eva fell in love with while on vacation" blog entry...

November 11, 2010

Outta Room

We are almost all wrapped up with the roof! Only two more panels to go on the very end of the backside. Unfortunately those have to wait to go up until the wall is built, since we need to be able to lean an extension ladder on the wall in order to get the panels up. Follow that? Because I barely can.

The entire time Pete's been putting up panels he's been using the roof purlins as a ladder and screwing down the panel by leaning over from the side of them. He can't step on the metal roof cause it will act as a slide and dump him off the roof in a comical but super dangerous fashion. With the last panels, there is no more roof to stand on. So he's got to use a giant ladder, which needs to lean up against the back wall of the garage.

Pete, putting in the last panel where he can sit on the roof. You can see how he's almost out of room. And the view from inside.

November 10, 2010

Current Craigslist Faves

I would classify myself as a hardcore Craigslist addict. I love passing the time of slow afternoons by just browsing around the CL to see what is being offered up that day, and to mock the crap that people try to sell for massive amounts of money. Since our house is pretty stocked with all the furniture we need right now I rarely ever end up buying anything.

Here is what I'm obsessing over currently:


Vintage drafting table, I love the idea of using them for a kids craft area tucked in a corner of a sunny room. That huge area is so great for creating crafts and art, all while keeping it off the dining room table. Put a sheet over the table and you have an instant fort!

This fantastic vintage campaign desk. I love everything about it, from the expansive top, to the sharp brass accents and the curvy legs. If I could convince Pete that we should replace our current office desk before moving, I would be all over this desk like a drunk frat boy on a keg tap. The price is high at $275...and is exactly what is keeping the desk from just showing up in our office.


Matching twin sized Jenny Lind beds. How stinking cute would these be painted a bright pink and set up in a little girls room? Or painted white and tucked into a coastal styled guest bedroom down the shore? We have neither type of room, so I'll be passing on these beds for now.

Anything else people search the CL for on the regular? Especially when they full well know that they aren't going to buy anything?

November 8, 2010

Not so great weekend

It was not a banner weekend full of renovating over here at the fourth door.

I have a wicked cold and could barely move out of bed on Sunday.

Saturday I lost my camera.


November 5, 2010

Trucking along

Late in October Pete framed out the upper front wall of the garage. Unfortunately he is going to have to re-do some of it because we've since decided to change the layout of the front three windows. Instead of having the windows so spaced out they are going to get pulled a lot closer together and centered in the middle of the wall. It sucks having to re-do work because of design change, especially at this point of time, but both of us agree that we aren't really loving the spread out look of the three windows.

What is on board this weekend for the barn:

-Getting our 14 boards of sub-flooring down in the upper space! Even though my arms are not looking forward to this work, I'm really excited about getting the floor down so I can finally get up there. The closest I've gotten is sitting on top of the ladder once.

-Frame out, house wrap, install the windows and side up the front upper wall. That is going to be a total bitch to work with the fiber cement siding up that high. We still haven't figured out how exactly its going to work, but I guess it can be done somehow.

I'll consider it a productive weekend if both of the above to-do's get done. With the highs in the low 50's and the diminishing sunlight hours we definitely can not put in the same hours that we did in the summer. And I fricken hate being cold.

I feel like the fourth door is turning into an "all barn garage all the time" blog, and I apologize for that to some extent. There has to be a few people out there who wonder if ANYTHING else is going on our lives. And yes, there are lots of other things. But at the same time, this garage currently our reality. Building something like this on the weekends as just a crew of two takes a really long time and tends to be all consuming.

We are always thinking about, talking about and working on the garage in almost all our free time while trying to balance a tiny bit of a social life and important family time. Once we get the garage wrapped up for the winter, some time in the next four weeks or so, we'll begin to be able to even think about doing other things. There are plenty of big plans for the winter months, so there will be no shortage of diverse projects coming up!

November 3, 2010

Roof Cheat Sheet

While marking out the garage panels I was constantly checking back to the reference sheet of paper that held the numbers that I was supposed to be marking. Total pain in the butt to have to move one more thing down the line with you, and I've never been good at memorizing long strings of random numbers- this was the best solution that I could come up with. Sharpie on the back of my hand. It helped a ton! Mainly because I knew my hand wouldn't blow away if a breeze shot up, the way the paper would. Only thing missing from this photo are my odd Megan Fox type thumbs...

November 1, 2010

(K)need Protection?

Like the total Mensa candidate that I am, I kept forgetting my knee pads when we'd go over to the Wee house. Kneeling in our sandy gravel driveway for marking the screw lines on the roof panels had my knees barking after just barely touching the ground. Enter invention, mothered by necessity. Carpet padding and blue painters tape was a win for protecting my knees enough for me to get the job done!

In other news, it is getting a little bit frosty up in South Jersey. In fact, this weekend it was 51 when we arrived at the site on Saturday, which is exactly half the temperature/heat index of the day it was when we bought all the lumber for the garage! We're not quite as along as we'd hoped to be by this point, which is dissapointing. Mainly because it means for some cold weekends coming up as we try to get this thing weather proofed before winter hits. I don't think we'll have a winter like last year, which hit us hard early and steady all throughout the season.