I Had A Delightful Dream To Restore This Relic…

It’s been a crazy fun year and I’m grateful for and proud of the project I’ve been working on!
One Year later, after a great summer season, my house looks fresh, bright and welcoming!
This poor house was so overgrown!
The new landscape is much cleaner and easier to maintain!
The Aspen Tree is still here but,
the front looks otherwise pretty different.
The side yard between my neighbor and I…
looks better with a cedar fence and gate, Breeze material and filled in grass.
It’s hard to see the cedar garden boxes on the right. And impossible to see the gate behind the volunteer tree the contractor is walking through.
Ah, there’s the gate! And a nice clean walkway under the cedar arbor.
And the front door must have been original! Weeds were growing through the concrete step under the door and into the house.
More welcoming! And interesting to look at, from the street.
The back door was also in poor shape.
The new slider is more open, let’s light into the house and is so much prettier.
This is the back porch, but this pic was taken around 2011, before the garage came down. It had plywood paneling on the bottom and screen on the top.
No more plywood! I replaced only the necessary supports with Cedar posts and opened it all up. And a new shed shares the original garage space with a courtyard seating area.
I liked the garage, which had cool original wood siding, but it was so old! The back yard was neglected and overgrown. (pic taken around 2008)
Ahhhh…. Cleaner and low maintenance! Perfect for me!
Straight view of the original back patio.
Today, an Oasis in the City!
Amazing how different it looks now!
I want to hang out here!
The far side of the back patio had 2 different types of fencing between the neighbor and I. Redwood, which turned into chainlink. My neighbor also looked right into my patio from their back door. Awkward for everyone!
I added taller Cedar fencing from the alley to the front sidewalk and everyone is happier! Plus, I hung some outdoor curtains all the way around the patio, giving both of us privacy that can be adjusted.
The back patio concrete was poured with an angle on the left side, starting at the house and ending at the tree.
I extended the concrete to square up the patio which added extra square footage.
One of the best parts of this 893 square foot house is the patio and outdoor living space. I knew this space should be the heart of the house when I first saw it in 2005. I didn’t however, think I would live here 14 years later and make it into what I imagined it could be!
This space is so comfortable and serene. The breeze flows through the patio, keeping it cool. Ceiling fans move the air and the curtains float. Mmmm.
This is what my life looked like in August 2018, 1 year ago.
This is what it looks like today! Rocco is comfortable here too!
The old garage comcrete pad with weeds growing out of the cracks.
Same spot, but now it supports my shed! Clean gravel walkway, courtyard and cedar arbor overhead.
I love how organized garden boxes can make your yard. After some clean up and a new irrigation system…
First year gardens. It’s hard the 1st year trying things out and making adjustments as needed. I’ve read that gardening teaches patience and my the case, it’s true! Every year after, becomes a game of what will come back again and eventually you have a mature garden.
Walking through the side gate, this is what you’d see ahead. This is my main entrance. Lovely!
Now this looks like a place I need to explore more!
Same view, to the left, Ugh!
I even got some extra shade from the shed, making the patio more protected. And honestly, the shed is such a focal point, it makes the whole yard seem like a stage set.
I haven’t done as much in the inside, but I’ve done some things and I have plans for more.
I added A/C, fresh paint, lots of cleaning and a new front door.
The arch on the left goes into the kitchen. I replaced the kitchen windows that you see on the left, with a slider door into the courtyard.
It really opened up the kitchen, brought light into the house and now, I walk right onto the courtyard from the kitchen. This was a huge change that made this house feel more updated.
This fun corner of the living room gives the occupant a nice view of the front yard.
I made a cozy seating area with a thick shag rug to give it texture.
A closer view of the arched wall between the kitchen and living area, where I added a new slider door.
I’m planning to take this wall down between the living room and kitchen. This space is the main living space in the house and during the winter, where I spend most of my time.
I’ll lose the upper cabinets and keep the base cabinets. I want to open up the room so it feels bigger, brighter and warmer having the living and cooking space connected.
I’ll remove the weird soffit above the cabinets to open the room up, refinish the existing base cabinets, add rustic support beams, new tile backsplash, new countertops and I’m having a shelf cabinet built…
to match the cabinet you see here, below the windows. As you can see, I need more storage space and I’ll put the new cabinet to the right of the windows. It’s tall and fits the space between the windows and the back door.
Me, happy to be at this point of my project and enjoying my simple life.
I love my newly remodeled space! This project has been so fun because I get to do what works for my lifestyle today. It’s customized for me. And I’m so happy living here.
Happy Anniversary, house!

The Simple Farmhouse Cabin that Exposed my Hidden Courage

Late Fall of 2000, I bought my first house in Gunnison, CO. Palisades rock formation in the far right background.
More of a farmhouse cabin, really. It had Yellow painted log siding, cinder block and brick exterior base walls, screened in porch, mud room, 3 bed 1 bath.
Dreary looking when I first got my hands on it. But it had some good potential and I was aching to fix it up!
The house sat on 2 lots, giving me some out buildings, stables and corral, a detached garage, a large garden area and tons of extra space.
Corral and stables beyond the yard.
The detached garage had a couple small windows, which I later enlarged and turned the garage into a studio. I rented out all the rooms in the house and moved myself into the studio.
Next door is a historic old school house.
The interior had Oak floors. My 2 cats Dutch (Tabby) and Camille (calico), were given to me by Susie as a house warming gift.
Pine tongue and groove paneling throughout, a wood burning fireplace.
Original built in cabinets. The ceiling was some kind of paneling without the standard aluminum grid.
Living area near the front door.
Largest bedroom
The kitchen and bathroom were outdated, so my then-boyfriend, Kurt helped me do a very basic remodel on a very limited budget.
Apparently, I had enough wine corks to do a back splash behind the original farmhouse sink.
I tiled the counter top, painted over the residual adhesive on the bottom half of the back splash, added some shelves, painted the original cabinets and added Black hardware to make this old kitchen feel brighter and cleaner.
Super rustic and super inexpensive to do!
I painted the foundation rustic Red, added a rooster weather vane, took down old metal fencing around the house, cut down weeds and took the screen off the porch to open it up.
1 year after moving in, I got a new puppy, Foxy Girl. My roommate got one of Foxy’s sister’s at the same time and named her Mariposa. This is THAT day and we are both so happy!
Spring time in Gunnison is potentially more exciting than in other places. When you live in an area that gets as cold as 30 below zero and snows crazy amounts that sticks around until June, a reprieve is so very welcome! The city turns on a water ditch that flow through the town, but until it’s turned on late May or June, we hand water.
Green begins to show up. This deck was already there and gets used through out the whole year.
Mature trees and gardens appear.
A simple sitting area against the house, protected from wind and out of view from the street.
Colorado summers are the best!
I set up some seating spots in the yard for entertaining friends when they stop by.
Beautiful old Aspen tree with flowers in the garden below.
With the city ditch turned on, Poppies bloom in a cluster. I also added some trees for privacy and shade. The rock to the right of the pic is a piece of petrified wood.
Foxy Girl enjoying the beautiful summer day on the grass
After taking the screen off the upper part of the porch, its seems breezy and welcoming. A perfect place to park your bicycle.
A Progressive Bicycle Party, ending at my house. All my girlfriends gathered to celebrate another summer in Colorado!

Summer time in Colorado, an Astonishing Miracle

It’s thrilling to see how much the foliage has filled in over the month of June.
The pots are beginning to explode with color and texture, making my walkway a garden path!
And of course, weeds are also coming in quickly! I think I have a couple volunteer sunflowers at the base of the windmill. I’ll keep you posted as they grow!
So cool to see my neighbors also taking the opportunity to upgrade their siding and landscape. The ripple effect is real! Both of these houses just had their siding upgraded!
Doesn’t that look great! And this is what I see when I look out my window now. I love it!
My buddy, Rocco.
First steps out of the house in the morning, sniffing things to see what happened overnight.
Then he settles into his favorite morning spot in the sun! We both look forward to the start of the day, sipping Chai and soaking up the beautiful morning!
It feels good to have my space organized and cleaned up enough to have some friends over.
Just out of storage, I’m using my dining table on my patio for the summer and love how it opens up the patio and gives me space to entertain.
Some of my girlfriends enjoying an Al Fresco happy hour on the patio. Beth suggested my place looks like a Napa Valley back yard! YOU KNOW I love that!
This month, I’ve been cleaning out my storage and looking for places to put all my stuff! As I bring more stuff over and try to find permanent homes for everything, I can’t help but wonder, If I haven’t used this stuff in almost a year, do I really need it?
As luck would have it, Susie just bought a house in Lake Havasu and is setting up her new house at the same time! So as much as I feel attached to my stuff, I’m grateful to contribute to their lake house and know I’ll get to enjoy and appreciate all these things there, instead of in Colorado.
What to keep, what to donate , what to share…
Walking into someone’s storage feels a little bit intrusive, but I’m happy to report this is the last of my storage and by the end of the month, I’ll have all my stuff in one place again. It’s been quite a project moving from 2300 sf to 893 sf. Overwhelming, but I feel great knocking this out and reducing my footprint even further.
I’ve had this mirror for several years and rediscovered it in storage. Although it’s heavy and dark, I have an idea to update it…
I like this lighter version better, so I’m going to paint and distress my heavy Black mirror and give it a fresher look.
This is my Water Fitness class of ladies! At the end of our workout, we volley a beach ball for 10 minutes. It’s fun and challenging, but mostly funny! These ladies are awesome. They’re supportive, positive and all doing their best to stay in shape.

These pics reveal simple inspiration with surprising results

I wanted a super small rolling kitchen island and was having a hard time finding the size. I eventually stumbled upon this pine table with casters and a drawer that was perfect, except for the finish, for $15!
After painting, doing a faux antique finish and adding new hardware, it’s perfect!
These Japanese office chairs were in great condition, but ugly. I bought them for $60 and…
I refinished the oak frames, recovered the seat and backs with updated fabric and they turned out great!
While doing a kitchen remodel, I needed new cabinets and got sticker shock after shopping new cabinets. These Alder cabinets were at Habitat for Humanity. I picked up 16 cabinets for $800.
I had to store them under my patio while I was refinishing them.
And cover them in my back yard while I was working on the process.
But, this is a Black refinished cabinet door.
And the spectacular antique White refinished cabinet door.
Here you can see all 3 finishes together.
These are done and waiting to be installed.
Installed, they look like high end custom cabinets. I saved thousands of dollars by refinishing them myself.
From the other end of the kitchen. These cabinets turned out to be the focal point upstairs.
And here are the Black lower cabinets, across from the White.
I bought this house in 2007. This is the pic the realtor used for marketing.
Updated over 11 years, this pic shows the new landscaping from the street.
The front part of the yard slid into the city sidewalk.
After building a retaining wall at the sidewalk and leveling out the dirt, I added Russian Sage and some mulch to the area, cleaning it up and making it more welcoming.
Here you can see the upper level of the yard and the new gardens.
I took out dead grass and laid flagstone in the front yard, making a fun entry courtyard with a couple flanking gardens.
The back yard had sod, but there was no fence and the boarded up storage shed on the left of the pic was uncovered to reveal a nice covered patio.
After cleanup, grass removal, adding garden boxes and decorating the patios.
This is the kitchen were I live now. These are the cabinets and counter tops I inherited when I bought the house in 2005. It’s hard to see the bathroom cabinet above the kitchen sink. What?
I updated the kitchen in 2012. It still looks like this, but I’ve since upgraded the appliances to Stainless Steel.
The back porch was somewhat enclosed with painted plywood and screen on the top of the walls. You can see the original garage in the back.
Today, after remodeling the whole exterior, this space is a huge feature of the house.
This is what the back porch looked like from the cottage in the back.
Today, more open and cleaned up!
Bought in 2005, with 2 dead Juniper trees in the front.
Today, no dead Juniper trees.
The side yard, parallel to the driveway.
Now, a walkway adjacent to the driveway.
The back yard looking North, 2005.
Today, looking North.
The old concrete slab that once had a garage on it…
Has now become a fabulous sitting area outside my kitchen.
The walkway between the back patio and the garage…
Is now a wonderland of Cedar arbor, garden shed and shady places to sit.
The back yard when the garage was still standing. And red lava rock that took me years to finally get rid of completely.
Is now a work space behind the new garden shed.
This cottage is built of cinderblock and had little privacy from the alley.
I added a fence, flagstone courtyard and redid the exterior, making it private and serene.
The original front door and covered porch entry.
The updated front door and entry. So Nice!
The house from the alley before the renovation.
The house has been resided, new roof and landscaping, making this cottage charming and welcoming.
This small kitchen in one of the cottages had old mismatched cabinets and cheap counter tops.
New tile, cabinets and appliances make this space fresh and clean.
When I bought this house, there were no lower cabinets, only uppers. I found these lower White coordinating cabinets and had them in the house for several years…
Until I redid the kitchen and changed all the cabinets when I tiled.
The outside of this house was in good shape, but needed some TLC.
Exterior painting, landscaping and clean up make it is seem more special.
These 2 enormous Pine trees eventually died and I paid a tree company to remove them- $1600! Then, I had a huge open area to consider.
I had a cedar deck and arbor built to maximize the space, just outside the back door of the kitchen.
Original kitchen, with farmhouse kitchen sink and overhead stove shelf. I now wish I’d kept that sink to reuse in another project.
New tile, cabinets, flooring, appliances make a new fresh galley kitchen.
My projects are a result of wanting something and then finding ways to make them happen. This is my creative outlet and I’m grateful to be determined enough to go get it or figure out how to achieve it, in the end. You can too!

How To Persevere Until You Get What You Want.

Beginning in March, I’ve been looking for a new set of outdoor accent pillows and throws to brighten up the otherwise Brown patios. I didn’t find anything inspiring, so I bought fabric at Colorado Fabric and made my own. I love the fresh colors and fun print!
Looks great with the Navy cushions!
I replaced the old bamboo chairs I’ve had since my Gunnison days. I love the style of these chairs, but the Beige cushions are bland. I decided to also re-cover them with a Navy Blue fabric to tie in with the other outdoor sets. It’s tricky when you combine different groups together in a space. I try for some continuity and is this case it’s woven bamboo, Navy cushions and these accent pillows.
During the Bomb Cyclone this spring, I watched this fence wave back and forth with strong wind and realized I needed to replace some of the posts. The space looks so different when the fence is gone! That’s my neighbors back yard. We live in close quarters in the city!
Digging holes for new posts.
They dug these beauties out of the ground. The landscapers had a great idea to break up and reuse the old concrete in the fresh post hole, combined with new cement. Recycling and reinforcing it at the same time! I love that!
The concrete dried overnight and the fence was reassembled with new pickets. For now, I have Grey patina on half of the run and fresh cedar on the other half. In time, they will patina to be a better match. I get called out A LOT for reusing old wood, but I like an aged and rustic style and it makes sense to me!
The old broken panel we replaced with the new cedar pickets.
I can see how some foliage will really liven this space up! The one plant stands out and I plan to have 3 in this area. The pillows look great too!
The front of a house should be welcoming and balanced. By adding a couple perennial gardens, I hope to create some interest and privacy. I marked a border line with spray paint and the landscaper scraped away the grass and used the dirt from 3 garden boxes in the back yard for a burm style garden in the front yard.
I added a Forsythia shrub to the windmill and will add more flowers, bulbs and large rocks to make the burm interesting and full of color and texture.
View from the street.
I opted for Breeze all the way around the back yard. I thought of having a border garden, but I like how low maintenance and clean Breeze is. I’ll stick with having ornamental grasses growing through the Breeze, a few window boxes and outdoor art. I can, and likely will add more in time.
The Breeze is the same color I used last fall, but it does lighten with time, as the sun bleaches everything eventually! Everything that looks Pink is new.
This fire pit area turned out better than I imagined. It’s spacious, clean and inviting for an evening around the fire pit.
View from the fire pit toward the back patio.
I ended up with some extra landscaping materials and I left it out front, on the curb with a “FREE” sign attached. As of half hour ago, it is all gone! I LOVE recycling. I’m super glad to find someone who wants exactly what I’m throwing away!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. -H.D. Thoreau

Taking a break and sitting in the sun on the back patio! This is Nice!
Rocco has his own sofa, of course.
So exciting! I got a delivery on Saturday morning. My new outdoor furniture!
Although I know I’m putting this thing together, I look a bit tentative in this pic.
Rocco is also checking things out, very closely.
OK! I can do this!
Here’s my station, under the umbrella, on my new patio!
It only took 4.5 hours, but I got it done and think it’s perfect! There are sure to be more moves, but the pieces are modular so I can move them around, how they best fit for different uses.
Plus, I love looking at this from the kitchen!
Yesterday, while assembling the group, I learned how valuable the umbrella is in this space. I almost feel like a Cedar arbor overheard would be nice. But for now, I’ll try it this way.
This is the view from the new sitting area. Not to bad!
This space is also more private and protected with the shed, fence and house surrounding it. It feels intimate and It’s the first space you see when you walk into the back yard.
The shed provides shade in the afternoon, but the umbrella keeps the space usable all day.
This is the accent pillow fabric I bought for all the outdoor furniture. It adds some fun color to an otherwise pretty neutral palette. The pattern is sophisticated, bright and casual.
In order to move this behemoth, I had to take most of the dirt out and roll it. It’s big and heavy empty! It’ll go in the back yard once the landscapers finish the Breeze.
I used up all the materials that were being stored in the middle of the yard. Now you can see straight through to the back of the yard when you walk into the back. This is your view.
My landscaper will be back for the last visit (I hope) to finish up the irrigation and some details. The border around the back patio and around the whole back yard will be gone, with a few steppers along the patio and walkways. I’ll lose 2 of these 4×8 Cedar planters, leaving me more space to move around. I so appreciate a clean, low maintenance yard!
There are 2 shrubs that I planted several years ago, growing along the back patio. They’ve been abused over the years and especially during this project but are showing signs they will be back.
I love the deep Burgundy leaves they produce. I’ve trimmed them back and look forward to seeing how they evolve this year.
This project has been healing and energizing for me. This being the first house I bought when I moved to Denver, I can’t help but think about my life then, now, and all the years in between. I’m grateful everyday, that I can wake up, hear the birds chirp and smell the earth begin to wake up and grow again. This is my therapy and I’m so glad to be able to share it with you!
Happy Easter!

Spring is welcome to visit me anyday!

Susie was in town last week to help me get my yard cleaned up for spring! It’s a tradition we look forward to, celebrating all the tiny miracles that happen, this time of year. We took my brother, Michael to lunch for his birthday.
I got my outdoor curtains up and the patio furniture rearranged. Luckily, I have plenty of rugs to use on the concrete pad. I’m thinking abut tiling the whole patio to clean it up and add some fun style to the space.
The curtains add a lot of charm and privacy to the space. I can open or close them to create more intimate sitting areas.
Here, I’m using a curtain to create a backdrop for the floating chair. And we finally moved all the garden tools from the outside of the shed. Now I can use this door to access the shed.
Susie dug all the volunteer grass out of the planter and we raked up old tree branches and leaves on the Breeze, leaving the yard cleaner, but aching for some foliage.
This vintage paned glass door was recycled from the cottage on the back of the lot. I love it as a decorative focal point and practical door to the shed. All the windows were also recycled from another house which I had the original windows replaced.
This tree and shrub were salvaged during the remodel. The shrub isn’t looking so good, but I hope they both survive the project. Shade and foliage is what this house is missing right now.
This is what you see when you come in the side gate, which has become my actual entry to the house. At this point, every pic I post has a lingering project that I need to address. In this pic, it’s the Blue tarp covering mulch, potting soil and bulbs from last fall. I just need to do it!
The side yard is clean with Breeze. Although this isn’t a part of the yard people see, I love how clean and low maintenance it is! These curtains give me and my neighbor privacy while I’m on the back patio, which is more and more often!
The pile of flagstone behind the door will be used in the front and back yards for steppers near the sliding patio door and as you walk off the patio slab of the back porch.
The garden boxes are overgrown with only a couple plants worth saving. Susie dug out clumps of grass and found a healthy Chive and a Strawberry plant! More proof that miracles happen everyday in the garden!
Susie and I moved this rustic garden bench to this area to accommodate all the pots that will come in handy in a month, or so.  This valuable space is now the gardening area.  A place to work and store my outdoor projects!  The 4×4 planter will be removed.
I‘m meeting with my landscaper to discuss removing a couple of these planters. I’ll have 2 large and 1 small planter to use.  That’ll give me more room for my fire pit, on this end, and the garden work space at the other end. Sprinklers will get turned on for the season at the end of April.
I’ve been shopping for outdoor patio furniture for this space. Now that I use it for my entrance everyday, I need to make it welcoming and comfortable. So far, I hung a window planter with metal shudders, added a couple chaise lounge chairs and I moved an outdoor bakers/garden rack near the shed door. The pots will get moved after I dig some of the dirt out of them to make them lighter. 2 part project! I still need more foliage and soft cushioned furniture!
More window planters on this side. I also have some metal art I’ll add to this side of the shed.
This cluttered corner will be a focal point of the yard. Motivation to do what I need to do! Nice extension cord leading to the heat tape on the shed roof!
I added a couple hanging baskets on the front arbor and have a couple smaller projects planned for the front yard. I’ll make the garden with the Aspen tree a bit bigger and taller- like a burm, with some perennial flowers. Also add a second burm style garden on the other piece of grass near the driveway with the windmill, shrub or tree and perennial flowers too!
My fabulous sister, Susie! Loving the early vegetation at O’Toole’s garden shop! I find my way here throughout the winter, when it’s cold and snowy outside and spring is only a distant memory. See how happy she is?
Spring is such an inspiring time for everyone! The anticipation of each pastey white face as we visit the garden shop to see what treasures are just in!
Even the yard cat in the video below is inspired, although cats don’t really show emotion, I can see she’s happy to have the fresh adventure!

See This Stucco Cottage Gain Confidence As Blissful Retreat!

This small stucco cottage lacks interest and novelty.
I added flagstone to the dirt yard to clean it up and make it more usable.
An original coal shed is now in the center of the yard and not so pretty to look at.
The front door of the coal shed, positioned in the center of the yard.
Back door of the cottage looked out into an evergreen covered space.
These 2 pine trees, surrounded by piles of rocks, were old and eventually died.
The flat roof was the culprit to a water leak in the ceiling of the living room.
I also tore out the carpet in the house and replaced it with tile throughout.
This is the bathroom where a washer and dryer were located.
I added tile to the floor and shower, but the space is still boring!
Small kitchen with apartment sized appliances.
When I bought this house, there were no lower cabinets here, only uppers. I found some reclaimed cabinets to create a better kitchen workspace in 2007.
The back door was very old, but I like having a back door overlooking the garden.
At some point, this part of the house was added onto the original house. The slope of the ceiling is interesting and mostly affects the bathroom, and the laundry room. Window A/C units are used throughout. Nice extension cord!
After I had the huge evergreen trees removed, I needed to do something with this space in the yard.
So, I decided to have a deck with arbor built instead. It was alot of work to dig out roots and clear the space for a new deck. Huge pile of rocks in the distance will have to be moved out of here.
The little wood boxes are for footers which will hold up the arbor over the deck. And of course, the huge pile of rocks that I had to remove along the back fence.
Coming along.
This is now a usable space outside the kitchen door.
Providing some shade and a sitting area.
I added garden boxes with perennials around the borders of the flagstone courtyard.
And a sitting area in the courtyard.
This shed is cool, but needed some TLC to make it blend better with the rest of the yard.
And I made this cute little garden near the front door and under the kitchen window.
Now when you walk into the yard, you see this welcoming space.
A grill and sitting area make this space fun and private.
I also added an arbor inside the gate to the alley. It can be seen from the alley and designates the gate from the rest of the fence.
Colorado offers year round sun, allowing us to spend time outside even during the winter.
Lilac shrubs are in the distance and soften the yard with fragrant flowers in the spring.
The interior is brighter and fresh after updating the kitchen, tiled floors, paint and adding solid wood doors inside the house.
New cabinets and tile change the kitchen into a cheery space.
Still a small stove, but I had a guest actually cook Thanksgiving dinner in this kitchen!
Spa like bathroom with bamboo shelving units, tiled floor and shower. I moved the washer and dryer into the laundry closet.
Cute little vintage dining table near the front door, in the main living area.
A sectional sofa adds comfort and plenty of seating to this small cottage.
Bedroom with adjoining room.
The adjoining room is really small, but I have a twin daybed and TV in here for extra room and privacy. Rocco taking a quick nap on the sheepskin.
I installed central A/C and got rid of the window units. Fresh paint, new furniture and fun furnishings make this place an urban retreat. This refurbished cottage is now avaible to rent on VRBO, listing #793349.

Thoughtful renovation makes this private cottage charming!

I bought this place in 2007. The carriage house is made of cinderblock. At some point, a half fence was put in, I guess to hide the trash cans.
Oh, and there is some siding also. Old windows are a little bit sad in this pic.
There was one big yard for both houses. It felt like being in a fish bowl, anyone driving through the alley could, and did, look right at the backyard of the big house and into the yard of the carriage house. Nice to have a parking space off the alley for the carriage house.
It had good bones, but needed some style and updating.
Original coutertops complete with chrome legs holding the cabinets up and mirrored light switch covers! And don’t miss the vinyl parquet flooring.
The cabiets are solid wood and built in.
It seems like all the houses had a mircowave cubbie above the oven. It must be vintage!
The galley kitchen is big enough for a full sized refrigerator and stove/oven.
Small bathroom with formica “butcher block” vanity top.
A transition seam where the vinyl parquet meets the carpeting. It runs through the room, creating a strange dining area which straddles the seam.
This house has no venting and relys on window A/C and baseboard heat.
One of the first things I did when I bought this property was add a fence between both houses. The Orange paint shows where the new flagstone courtyard will be.
This poor little house had no privacy, but I’m getting ready to change that!
I took down the half fence, laid flagstone and you can see the fence posts going in.
The area around the house is not big, but with this fun courtyard and a small grassy area to sit in, I think it’ll be charming.
I like that the entry has a covered porch, with a iron pole holding it up! However, I’ll make it better than this is now.
Oh my goodness! The new fence really adds to this house. Now there is a fun yard that someone can actually enjoy with privacy!
I added a couple garden boxes with perennial plants to soften the sitting area.
What a difference the fence makes. It’s rustic and private.
Next is the new siding and Cedar scallopped accents. No more cinderblock visible!
With the new siding, cedar and roof, some perennial gardens will make this space inviting.
This is an entry I want to see when I arrive at this house!
My gardens mature and the house slowly feels vintage again with some upgrades.
I kept the original cabinets, but lost the Chrome legs holding the upper cabinets up. The coutertops and bathroom got new tile, new vinyl flooring, new appliances and fresh paint.
I used this house for a guest house for a couple years for my visiting family, but eventually decided to try short term rental. It’s the first house I converted to STR and it’s been a favorite for my guests since 2015.
Now, the dining area is welcoming and sits on top of new flooring running throughout the whole house.
I painted all the trim White and changed the interior doors to be more modern.
The house is only about 500 square feet, but is well laid out to feel open.
I made this headboard from cedar fence pickets and some stain. I love rustic and it works well in Colorado for visiting guests.
The yard is now inviting and fresh with sod, cedar and perennial gardens.
This house is for rent on VRBO, listing #749810.

To Tell The Story Of The Most Valuable Garden Shed

The back side of the original garage, taken down in 2012.
I bought this house in 2005. I lived in the carriage house for a year and a half while I worked on the property. This is a pic of the original back yard behind the garage.
Although I had tenants in this house at the time, I tried to clean up the yard and make it usable.  Better than it was.
The original back porch was semi-enclosed with painted plywood and screen on the top. I also inherited some fabulous lava rock.  See the wire fence between the houses?
My first attempt to clean up the yard with plastic edging, grass seed and mulch.
Fast forward 11 years to 2016, after I took down the garage and added garden boxes in the yard and removed the painted plywood and screen from the back porch.  I’ve had 
long term tenants in this house since I bought it 14 years ago.
I took the garage down in 2012 because it wasn’t structurally sound. I left the concrete pad.
September 2018 I had a shed built to accommodate my garden supplies and storage.
I used half of the original concrete pad for the shed.
I considered using metal “patches” on the side of the shed, but ended up only using mtetal on the roof. I’ll use the same material for the roof on my back porch.
The white paned door came from the carriage house in the back. I love the shed and how rustic it is. And I definately need the storage as I don’t have a garage and my basement will be remodeled at some point in the near future.
This large barn door is great for accessing the shed. I had a concrete ramp built under this door so I can wheel my wheelbarrow in and out of the shed, as necessary. Another ” Smart girl idea”!
Because I have short term rentals, I needed storage for supplies in addition to my garden supplies. I had three pine shelving units I picked up at Goodwill a few years ago and secured them onto the back wall for organization.
As you can see, I needed and used this space up very quickly. Now if I can keep everything this organized going forard!

My First Effort Was The Bravest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

This was the first property I bought when I moved to Denver in 2004. I lived in this carriage house for a year and half while I worked on it.  It is about 500 square feet, 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom.
Original windows were charming, but super inefficient. I love it anyway and spent my days off cleaning and fixing it up.
There were some huge flagstone pieces in the yard, wire fence between the two houses and many volunteer Elm trees surrouding the house.
At some point, a sunroom was added onto the house giving it much needed light, but the original windows didn’t work well for heat retention. You can see the door on the right side of the pic which was between the sunroom and the original house, now used on my new garden shed.
A cool built in cabinet in the tiny dining area.
The original kitchen with a farmhouse sink. I wish I had kept that sink now. Also 2 architectural arches in the house and a small opening phone nook in the wall between the ktchen and living room.
This door leads from the kitchen and opens to the driveway outside. The cabinets and counter top on the right were later removed.
The original kitchen.

This poor kitchen was so outdated when I bought the place and moved in. See the short refrigerator on the far right.  Right after I moved in,  my  sister came to stay and help and we had a new refrigerator delivered.

Looking through the living room toward the bathroom. And the storage cabinets built into the wall on the left. Also notice the opening on the right where a window was at some point. It had shelves built in in between the added on sunroom and living room.
Chain link fence between the alley parking space and yard. Lovely scalloped covered entry and stucco chimney stack against the house. Original wood siding.
After I moved in, I cleaned it up and once spring came, the garden started to fill in with wonderful perennial flowers.
I added more flagstone to make a wider walkway, added some short fencing to make a border to the garden. Still rustic, but more welcoming anyway.
A rickety white picket fence gate between the houses and hanging planters.
Shabby chic? Maybe, but I was so happy to have this little place to work on.
I added gravel to make my parking space cleaner.
You can see how adding flowers and potted plants made it cozy. I hung roman shades inside for privacy and to make it more efficient.
Outside the bedroom window, a little garden.
My little sitting area. You can see the washing machine through the window in the sunroom.
All these tress were suckers and were growing under the foundation. I loved the shade, but had to have them removed later.
I painted, installed parquet floors and fixed it up while living there.
Looking from the living room into the sunroom. The floor in the sunroom was very uneven.
See the vinyl flooring in the kitchen? I replaced the appliances, sanded and painted the original cabinets.
Cool arches in the house. I think it was built in the early 1930’s.
I had the cabinet doors off to paint them. The original farmhouse sink and dish drainer. Metal tiles on the backsplash.
The bedroom is large enough for a king sized bed.
Looking from the kitchen through the dining area toward the bedroom. Phone nook on the left.
Tiny dining area.
Nice sized cedar lined closet.

In 2016, I did a full remodel and converted this long term rental into a short term rental.

See how uneven the floor is.  Original exterior siding on the left wall where the sunroom was added on.
I took this wall out, had the floor leveled and moved one of the sunroom windows to the wall on the left side above where the washer and dryer will go.
The interior walls in the sunroom were finished with very cheap cardboard “wood”.
These projects are always worse before they get better.
My contractor, assessing the situation!
The original exterior wall between the sunroom and living room.
The finished product!  So bright and cheery!
Now it’s a pleasure to do laundry.
Still tiny, but more charming. I took the cabinet doors off and painted the inside a fresh Green.
Galley kitchen flows nicely.
Walking through the kitchen from the entry door, by the driveway, into the house.
Breakfast nook.
King sized bed.
Comfortable living area.
Electric fireplace with the now famous phone nook on the left.
Small, but cute bathroom.
Tiled bathroom with iron details.
Outdoor courtyard with gardens, flagstone walkway and sitting areas.
I kept the original wood siding, but scraped and painted it, added the shutters and  exposed the brick on the chimney stack.
I exposed much of the original chimney and sealed it for a rustic old world look. Added a wood door and replaced the scalloped entry cover with a cedar arbor with iron brackets. I also added Cornflower Blue shutters for extra charm.
I found vinyl flooring that matched the original pine flooring in the bedroom and replaced the parquet flooring.

This little house has come a long way in the time I’ve owned it. It has a special place in my heart as it was the first of my houses I lived in when moving back to Denver in 2004. Although it looks so cute now, I loved it when I lived here so long ago. Now it’s available to rent through VRBO.com, listing # 795289.

Here you see Roofing, Gutters and service Cables…

Now that the painting is done, I’m waiting for my Gutter guy to install the new gutters. Winters in Englewood are pretty mild, but as you can see we do get snow. See how the melting is running down the patio roof, pooling on the ground below? Lovely!
Mud where the snow melts on my walkway from the driveway to front door. I had a tree service come and trim my trees in the back yard and grind out a few old stumps, using a big grinder on wheels. They did a great job of navigating the machinery through the yard, but left some tracks in the mud.
The patio roof is prepped for the metal roofing. However, when the accumulated snow melts on the roof, it drips onto the patio. Ugh! I used a piece of drip edge to divert it away from my slider door.
More than 1 leak. I got word that the metal roofing has arrived and have my contractor scheduled tomorrow to install it. Yes!
Gutters will take care of this problem.
There’s an ice rink behind the shed.
I also had the internet and satellite service companies come and reattach the cables to the house after the siding went up. Unfortunately, an old service box was reattached after the siding and paint went on. I took it down and will touch up the spot with paint.
I moved all the utility boxes to a new spot on the house and had all of the boxes painted to match the house. I may have a cover built over them to better hide them, but I like this spot better than the back porch. I may put a planter in front of them too, to minimize.
All the wires are right there, under the door. I’ll bury them under the Breeze material to protect and hide them. I also will rework the flagstone steppers in front of the door to make a landing- hopefully keep inside cleaner and give the entry some visual appeal.
All these little things are small, but make a huge difference in the overall look and flow of the property. Inspection complete for today!

Painting is done! Now cleaning and decorating will make you smile …

The paint is finally on the siding and it looks fresh and bright!

Now that most of the big stuff is done, I can start working on the decorating, my favorite part! I’ll place the planters, hang flower baskets and move some benches into the front around the house. I also ordered a cool tiled house number set that should be here soon.

The top flagstone step arrived and the landscapers are placing it.
So Much Better!
Now that the paint is up, the gutters are next.
The Patio Slider looks great!

I think this new slider patio door is the most dramatic change to the interior, so far. The light coming into the kitchen is wonderful and I love look looking out into the yard. Next, I’ll be placing all the planter pots that are being stored in this area and reworking it to be open, functional and pretty.

The back porch is so much cleaner looking.

Today I’m going to Home Depot to buy materials for outdoor curtain rods. And then start setting it up to use! I know it’s only February, but spring will be here before we know it!

My buddy, Rocco! He doesn’t really care so much about the project. He just wants to be with me, wherever that is. Mr. 100% loyal! Otherwise, he loves to eat and sit in the warm sunshine.
Me in my yard a month after I retired in 2016. Working in my yard is a very happy place!

Most of the major stuff is done and I’m now looking forward to working on the small details. I love this part and have been thinking about how to create special spaces in the new clean, updated yard. It’s so easy to lose myself moving things around and trying different ideas until I get it just right. Spring is not far away and, I’m sure I speak for most people, it’s a time to come back outside, breathe fresh air and notice all the tiny little bits Green as nature unfolds again. Once it warms up, I’ll be focusing on the yard, gardens and greenery surrounding the house.

This is actually ready to spotlight now!

The siding crew got all the siding done and are waiting for the new patio door to arrive before they finish this area.
Finally, the slider came in and David is installing it today!
This is the inside wall where the new door is going.
The plastic will help keep everything cleaner.

The refrigerator temporarily in the middle of the kitchen. This was expected to take 1 day to complete, but it took 3 days in reality. The door was installed in 1 day, but the plaster, sanding and details took longer. Luckily, this house has a loop layout. I can walk through the bedrooms to get to the kitchen from the living room while this door goes in. I feel like I’m camping, sort of.

The mud needs to dry overnight before sanding, so we left the taped plastic up.
We had good weather while they worked on the door. Better for the guys and better for me while the wall is opened up!
It took most of the day, but I can see how open and bright this door will make my kitchen.
The new door creates so much more light. You see it right as you walk in the front door!
Wow, I love this new slider door! It’s much brighter and makes my small kitchen feel bigger.
This is now a view. I want to clean it up and make it nice to look at.
The back porch is looking so much better too! No utilities on the back wall and all the battens are now up. I’m getting used to the Green primer on the exterior walls, but the actual color will be off White, once painted.

The concrete pad expansion is done, tongue and groove panels are installed on the underside of the roof and the patio is now full size. I ‘m considering a fresh layer of concrete poured over the whole pad to cover any nicks or flaws in the concrete. But right now, I’m trying to finish the big stuff.

Although the exterior paint isn’t done, I’m anxious to get my patio organized so I can use it!
The patio roof has been prepped for the metal roofing, which has been ordered. However, we got snow and the roof leaked onto the patio below.
Right outside my back door. What a mess!
Ricky, my electrician is installing the exterior lights.
New exterior lights.
I found these tiled house numbers locally, but I think I need something more modern. I ordered a different one online and think it’ll be better.
The lights at night. I’ll change the bulbs to dimmer bulbs so I can adjust the amount of light they put out.

I expect the siding crew to be back next week to finish the siding around the new patio slider. I already have a painter lined up to paint the siding, and my gutter guy will be here to attach the gutters next. The last big thing is the metal roof on the back patio. Hopefully in 2 weeks this part of the project will be done.

The time is right for some fresh attractive siding!

Chatfield State Park! Ohmmmm…

As excited as I am for the project, it is stressful to have all this going on while living in the house! The crews are respectful and positive, but the air compressor and the constant banging leaves Rocco and I a bit overwhelmed. So we get away for a while, walk and take in the beauty of Colorado!

Meanwhile, David built a temporary support wall so he can replace the white 2×4’s with Cedar beams.
New cedar beams open the whole space up!
Extending the tongue and groove roof to cover the newly poured patio extension.
View of the new cedar beams from the yard.
We’ve been lucky so far, with limited weather during this project. But it is winter in Colorado and realistic to expect some snow. Fresh snow makes it look so clean.
After they added insulation and plywood sheeting, finally I can see some siding.

They use a drip edge between the seams of the horizontal siding panels to prevent rain or snow to get behind the panels. It’ll get painted with the siding to blend in.

And I love the Cedar accents.
All the gables will feature Cedar siding.
The front door entry, Nice!
Standing under the arbor gives a sense of space. Even though its open above, you still feel like you’re somewhere special.
I expect the new patio door to arrive this week. This wall is waiting to be opened up so I don’t have a hole in the side of my house while we wait for the door to arrive.

One of the challenges with any project is to recognize areas that are an eyesore and find a way to make them fun features instead. Take this spot. Currently, I have a gate from the driveway to the back yard, utility boxed (electric panel, sprinkler system, cable box, etc) mounted on the outside wall and my new outdoor seating area just to the right of this pic. With the new arbor overhead and the forthcoming sliding patio door, I can see that this will likely be the door I use the most, especially when unloading groceries into the kitchen. Once the slider in is, I’ll move the gate, add a flagstone step under the new slider and have a welcoming back door entry to the house. This spot will become a focal point and mush used area.

This area will become the back entry.
We are lining the underside of the patio roof with tongue and groove Cedar paneling to match the existing patio roof.
Wow, so much cleaner than the original back door and utilities mounted on the wall!
View of the back porch from the yard.

With the new patio roof extension, I hoped to keep the old roofing shingles and add more to finish the new roof. However, considering the cost to replace or add, I decided to change it to variegated metal roofing instead. It’ll match the roofing on the shed and give the back yard a farmhouse vibe. $$ Cha-ching!

I confess! You need to know it’s all about prep!

Eco Home Exteriors is doing the siding. A huge crew of guys working like ants on an anthill! I can say this company is professional! Not only are the guys respectful and always in a good mood, they arrive at 7:30 am to start and leave when it’s too dark to see anything.

They tear off the vinyl siding, exposing the original wood siding underneath. I decided to have them add a layer of insulation and sheets of plywood to better insulate and stabilize the whole house. Then, the new siding will go on top.

When the siding is removed, it looks like the house is wrapped in foil.

A roll off dumpster is parked in the driveway. The only way to go with all the materials being removed. And nails are everywhere. The crew uses a magnetic wand that “potentially” picks up nails on the ground. I have a habit of always scanning for nails, with my eyes, on the ground. Call me crazy!

I’m on the fence with the “L” bracket on the arbor. I used “T” brackets on most of the posts, but the corners are tricky and won’t accommodate a “T” bracket. They are simply decorative, What do you think?
Back porch, stripped down to foil. See the new patio slider door? I also had the florescent fixtures removed and 2 ceiling fans with lights installed.
North side of the back patio.

The patio slab was pored with the outside corner being angled in, toward the middle of the patio. I’m having it squared off, making it even with the house, to make it larger and easier to place outdoor furniture, etc.

And I love this tree on the edge of the patio. Once the slab gets squared off, the tree will provide a nice natural border to the patio on this end.
Although they’re still working in this walkway on the South side of the house, I can already see it’ll become a feature of the house.
I’m replacing these 2 windows with another sliding patio door between the kitchen and the outdoor patio, now where the planter pots are currently being stored. The gable above the arbor will be sided with horizontal Cedar.
Once the posts holding the patio roof up are replaced and the slab is squared up, this patio will be a much used space in the yard. I’ll have a covered sitting area overlooking the garden boxes. The gable on the left side above the patio roof will feature horizontal cedar planks.
I’ll start the gardens in the spring. But for now, it’s a junk yard.
This pic shows the plywood on the front and side of the house.
Insulation and plywood on the front. Old siding still on the North side of the house.

I plan to use James Hardie Board and Batten siding on the bottom of the house and horizontal Cedar planks on the gables and wrapped around the front entry. The Board and Batten will get painted White and I’ll leave the cedar unfinished. In time, the natural patina of unfinished Cedar will turn Grey, giving the house a rustic look. I hope to be done with this phase by the end of next week.

My first consideration is clean up!

I had my landscaper scrape away all the weeds and debris in the walkways.
They lined the walkways with weed barrier fabric.
I used a decomposed granite material called Breeze. I love this product! It comes in several colors, I used natural. Once it’s spread out over the weed barrier, you water it down and it forms a crust. It’s clean and super low maintenance.

So much cleaner with the breeze down!
Moving from 2000 sf to 893 sf is tricky! And with no garage, everything lands on the back porch.
With the new garden shed, I have a place for all my stuff!
All my stuff landed and then gets sorted out between storage and my new smaller bungalow.
The tiny kitchen was remodeled in 2012. I plan to replace the back door with a patio slider.

Starting is actually scary and wonderfully intimidating…

I’ve done 20+ remodels and each time I get excited and nervous as I plan and schedule. What is my goal? What style do I want? How much money can I spend?… the list of considerations is long!

Built in 1934, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 893 finished square feet upstairs, 310 unfinished square feet basement.  There is an original carriage house on the back part of the lot.

This house has always been in need of some TLC, and I picked away at the upgrades while I had tenants living here. In 2012, I remodeled some of the interior and took down the garage. I removed the dead juniper trees, planted an Aspen tree and threw down some grass seed in the front yard.

The garage (on the left) was in poor shape and I had it taken down in 2012, leaving just a concrete slab.

It wasn’t until recently I really thought about what I could do with this house. Once I decided to move in and work on this gem, I began the process of deciding how to proceed. Considering my lifestyle, the neighborhood and budget, I settled on a modern Farmhouse style home.

Dead Juniper trees in the front yard.
Original garage.

You see me convert this awesome bungalow into a charming home this year!

I bought this house in 2005 with long term tenants living here ever since. When the tenants moved out, I got the opportunity to move into this house August 2018 and started the process of renovation, beginning with the exterior. My plan is to create a perfect retirement house!

Its time to update this vintage bungalow.
View from the street. The Aspen tree was planted in 2012.

This is what you see as you park in the driveway and walk to the front door.
Old front door.
North side looking toward the walkway. Chain link fence between me and the neighbors.
South side driveway and garden boxes.
Overgrown garden boxes, volunteer trees and weeds.
Covered back porch with iron scroll and white painted 2×4 posts.
Original concrete slab once had a garage sitting on top.
Overgrown garden boxes and weeds.
Sprinkler system was installed in 2017.
North view of back yard.
North side of house walkway.
I like the tongue and groove cedar paneling on the ceiling, the florescent light fixtures
not so much.
Back porch looking South.
South view of the back porch.
The original back door with utilities mounted in full view!

Now, to make the exterior interesting!

The first thing I had to do was to take out the concrete porch and walkway from the city sidewalk to the front of the house.
Where the concrete walkway used to be.
My awesome neighbor split the cost of a new cedar fence with me. We both are happy to see the chain link fence gone!
The new fence looks clean and tidy.
I also had the walkway made wider, 4′.
Garden boxes are removed and a stubborn tree stump dug out.
This whole landing, where the concrete porch was, sat higher than the rest of the yard.
This is just ugly and beat up. I can’t wait to turn this space into a feature instead of an eyesore outside my kitchen window!

The old slab where the garage once stood is badly cracked. I used about half the slab (on the right) as a base for a garden shed with an added concrete ramp for my wheel barrow! The rest of the concrete will come out and be replaced with Breeze, my wonder material!

These guys work hard! Landscaping and construction is physical work and I appreciate the help getting these projects knocked out!

The jackhammer was super loud, so I took this pic through the window (and screen). These are the guy’s at Spartan Landscaping breaking up the concrete. Perfect way to start my morning…

Then weed barrier and Breeze.
The yard is a rubik’s cube right now until I get everything done and can start the fun part of decorating and setting up!

Temporarily using this space for all my big planter pots and fire pit until the siding is up on the house. Then, I’ll place the pots around the front and side yard of the house under the arbor.

I took an opportunity to get away from all the construction to go look for flagstone. I bought this 1/2 pallet of flagstone steppers.
And a 5′ x 18″ x 6″ step for the front door. The step was $275, but worth it to make the front door look more welcoming. It turns out, I’ll need a 2nd step for the front.
Once the concrete was removed, we discovered there was no foundation under the entry. That’s not what you want to find!
The excavation shows things previously unknown. I like to say ” Everything takes longer and costs more than expected” And this project reinforces my theory.

David poured concrete with wood footers to support the front entry. Once it cured, he added wood supports between the entry and the concrete footer, then wrapped it with moisture barrier. In the 2 days the entry had no support, my wood floors inside were falling through the bottom of the porch inside. Geez!

Reinforced entry with moisture barrier. You can see the original wood siding at the side and bottom of the entry.

They got the breeze laid down and I didn’t like how the area where the concrete was taken out was higher than the rest of the space. Kinda like a bubble outside the front door. So the landscaper had to scrape the Breeze off of the weed barrier and take out a lot more dirt to make it level in front of the door. Then they put the barrier and Breeze back down. I used pieces of flagstone to make a walkway around the front and sides of the house. All the upside down recycling bins are covering big holes where the arbor posts will go.

After they removed more dirt, the whole front and side are level. The 2nd flagstone step is on order.

Because we removed so much dirt from in front of the door, I had to buy another Flagstone step, which I had to order and wait for delivery. This shows the landing where the 2nd step will sit, just outside the front door to the house on top of the first flagstone step.

Placing 6×6 cedar posts for the arbor.

David had a great trick to pour dry concrete mix and water into a tarp. 2 guys would stand on both sides of the tarp and “mix” the powder and water by swishing it around in the tarp then pour it into the holes. Pretty smart!

Once the posts were in, they built supports to keep them straight until the concrete cured- overnight.
It already looks so much cleaner!
When the siding is removed you can see the back of the lathe and plaster interior walls. Very cool to see the way houses were built in the 1930’s.

Headers for the arbor will be attached directly to the support studs of the house. When they removed the old siding we discovered very old and limited insulation in the walls. Another unexpected expense!

Once the headers where up, David began installing the rafters on the arbor.
All the hardware and brackets had to be sprayed Black as they were galvanized originally.
Finally, the space is fresh! It feels like a place to hang out. No more concrete pad, just breeze and cedar. Love it!
The arbor and landscaping are done in the front! Can’t wait for new siding!