Do It. Do it. Do it. Do it. (There's more amazing advice in the actual Guide!)
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When we first moved to Dallas, we rented a two-bedroom bungalow in old east Dallas. We loved the neighborhood, but, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the home office situation was sorely lacking.
I told Bob I’d be satisfied with two more rooms and a decent closet or two, and when we bought our 1921 bungalow in June 2015, it seemed to check all the boxes. The third bedroom had doors leading to the interior hallway and to the sunroom, a side porch that had been enclosed during the renovation/flip circa 2000.
The setup was awesome! I positioned my desk so I could look out through the bank of French doors at the front yard. I was thrilled to have the sunroom as an extension of my office–until winter set in. The charming French doors were drafty. Yes, I know we were in Dallas, but I still needed a space heater.
By spring, I was ready to tackle the sunroom as this house’s first major renovation project.
The original plan was to tear up the cracked, broken ceramic tile (it wasn’t historic–it was from the flip) and replace the doors. If only it had been that simple…
The concrete under the tile was crumbling and unstable. The contractor broke the news: it was necessary to jackhammer out all the original concrete and pour a new slab. ($$)
As long as we were getting new concrete, we opted for stamped, colored concrete. It looks amazing!
When the contractor removed the old French doors, he discovered that the brick column was unstable and needed to be rebuilt. ($$)
With each setback, the timeline and the budget increased, and the summer slipped away.
On the worst day, the contractor realized the newly-poured concrete was too large. His worker spent the day slicing through the concrete with a circular saw. It was so grating that as soon as Bob got home, I threw my laptop in my bag and grabbed my keys.
“Where are you going?”
“Anywhere but here!”
“Hang on–I’m coming with you!”
We spent the rest of the afternoon on our laptops at a bar down the street.
Finally, the sunroom was done, the new deck stained. The twelve-foot-wide sliding doors opened to a side patio with loose pea gravel.
It was hard to walk on, and when you sat in a patio chair, you sank a few inches into the gravel. We weren’t done. The project expanded to include the patio.
Bob found a load of brick for sale on Craig’s List. 1912 pavers from over in Fort Worth. The color was perfect. All we had to do was clear out the gravel.
Now let me be clear–it was hundreds of pounds of gravel. I can’t even count how many wheelbarrows full.
The rear of our yard has heavy tree cover, and the grass doesn’t grow well. I said to Bob, “Hey, what if we move the gravel to the back and put a fire pit back there?”
He replied, “That’s a terrible idea.”
Oh. Gee, I’d thought it was a great solution.
Then about a week later, he said, “I’ve been thinking. What if we move the gravel back near the fence and make a fire pit area?”
He was totally serious. I replied, “That sounds like a great idea, sweetie. Let’s do that.”
We hustled to clear out the gravel, and soon the landscapers got to work. The results were just what we’d been hoping for, and we have a great fire pit area to boot.