Chapter 99: Buttoning Up the Outside

August 29, 2020 • Written by Christina Berry

You know those people who blog regularly? I’m not one of them. I’m really bad about keeping this blog current. It’s been, wow, almost two years since the last update.

Y’all, so much has happened since then. I’ll just jump right in.

If you’ve been following along, you know that back in 2018, we put in the windows and finally enclosed the “cat jungle gym” known as the second building. The neighborhood cats were mad, but we were pleased.

But as 2019 rolled along, we got tired of looking at the half-finished mass in the backyard. It was time to put up the actual siding. But, as happens with every Pleasant Valley Ranch project, it took FOREVER!

There were lots of steps.

First, we had to get all mechanical and trim elements taken care of. So that meant hanging the brackets that would hold up the AC compressor and hot water heater, as well as finishing and trimming out all the light fixtures, water spigots, and plugs that would go into the walls. We also had to put the trim around the doors and bathroom windows.

Next, came the hardiplank shiplap, which went up one piece at a time, one screw at a time (many at the top of the ladder).

Errek is seriously the hardest working man on Earth. But hey, check it out, I helped!

Then came time for more trim. The “pouch out” of the building had a different style than the rest of it, a “Tudor” style which required lots of heavy trim pieces. Errek didn’t want a bunch of visible screws in these trim pieces, so we used a heavy-duty caulk adhesive and a complex series of pulleys and straps to hold the trim pieces into place while it dried.

Finally, when we had a long weekend (Labor Day, 2019) we tackled painting…and taping…and hanging protective plastic. First, came an annoyingly long day of taping and hanging plastic.

Then, finally came time for the paint. We wanted to spray two coats, so it took two days. Still, this was probably the easiest part of the whole painting process.

And then we had more trim to add to the “pouch out” in order to make a bunch of purple boxes for our Tudor style look.

Tada! So pretty!

Next, it was time to finished out the porch under the stairs and the bottom of the pouch out. We used the left over bead board that was on the front porch ceiling of the main house.

Then, it was time to paint them up pretty. Easier said than done. Can’t even fit my big head in the gap between the porch and the stairs.

But yeah, pretty!

Lastly, we put in the finished door on the new building. For a while, we’d stuck a temp door in there along with an AC to try to keep the space cool. Haha!

Temporary door situation: somewhat functional, totally ugly.

It was time to build our new door.

“What? Build a door?” you ask.

Yep. See, we asked a local door/window maker for a quote and they wanted $2500 for a wooden door. We figured, “Meh, we’ll make our own. So we did.” And, of course, by “we” I mean “Errek”, but I helped.

We started with a solid wood door which had been set beside the dumpster at one of Errek’s work sites. It was going to be trashed, so he asked to take it home instead. And that’s how we got started with our custom door.

This base door was still pretty ugly, though, so we added wood to it to make it pretty. The style we were going for was the NOLA-style carriage door look, like this:

We used what was left of the beadboard from the main house. It was beadboard on one side, and v-ridge on the other side. We went with the v-ridge look so it wasn’t too busy. Planed them down to make them slightly thinner.

Then glued the wood to the front and back of the door, making it a REALLY thick door.

Painted it the same gun-metal gray as the front door.

And then Errek went a little bonkers with metal. He custom welded a strip of metal to go along the outside edge so that no one could ever pry it open. He also built a lot of metal into the jam of the door, making it (no hyperbole here, I promise) the heaviest door in the entire world!

We used some old Ipe wood left over from a railing project to build the jam.

And finally we used a dolly and some air-shim leveling bags to hang the door.

Added a big ole bolt and knob set.

Et voila. Introducing our French Quarter carriage door under the beadboard porch. Note the goose-neck light, that’s new too. Pretty!

And with that, the outside of the second building was weather tight and mostly done. So, let’s move to all the projects that were going on inside.