Author: Carolyn (Page 1 of 5)

Excuse My French… Drain

We’ve had a water problem for awhile, and we’ve known about it since we bought the house.  We talked about it a bit in this project goal post HERE. Now, I know water problems scare people away, as it almost did us. BUT, we knew we could probably get a handle on these.

The driveway to our home leads up to our garages, which are technically in the basement since we’re on such a hill in our neighborhood.  To the left of the garages, next to the stairway, is a wall that basically holds in the dirt/landscaping on the first floor level of our home.  The builders of this home in the 90s had a a major flaw in this design that took awhile for it to come to light.

The water that came off the roof from rain went down the gutters and drained into the landscaping and basically just held into this area and had no where to go.  Over the years, it weakened the foundation and walls in this area.  It was apparently discovered a few years before we bought it, the last time they tried to sell the house on the inspection.  They had to bring in a structural engineer and team to add in more support and rebar to the area to make it structurally sound again.  There were holes drilled into the wall to allow for drainage of water down the wall… and then into the driveway… don’t get me started on that now, I’ll talk more about that later. Basically they just diverted the problem.

So.  Once that was completed, apparently the buyers changed their mind, didn’t buy the house, the sellers decided they didn’t want to sell, and then took it off of the market.  A year or two later, they put it back up, and it sat for awhile until we found it.  During our inspection, the inspector found out that the inner wall in the garage was damp, and the drainage holes in the outer wall weren’t doing enough to get rid of the water.

One of our terms on buying the house were dependent on the owners fixing and paying for this issue.  We brought in a waterproofing company in who came in and dug a trench in the garage to collect the water coming down the wall, and installed a sump pump that pumped out the water and sent it back up to the front of the house.

It definitely fixed the wet wall and drainage issue, but, it was really just pumping the water back up into the landscaping, rather than sending it somewhere else more helpful.  You can see our temporary solution above, the black pipe was was an extra piece we had in our stock to extend it out a little and send it into the yard.  Well, this temporary fix stayed there for about 2.5 years, and since we decided that we’re doing mulch this year, this was the year to finally fix it.

We decided to install a catch basin for both the rain gutter drainage and the sump pump pump-out that would drain into a pipe line and into a french drain underneath the walkway and out farther into the yard.

To gather all of the water in one spot before transporting it somewhere else, we had to buy and install a catch basin, which looks like this:

We bought THIS ONE from Lowe’s.  We’d place it directly under the gutter drain and also reroute the sump pump line to drain directly into it also.   David started digging out the holes a laid everything out.  I freely admit that I was the photographer and planner for this project and not a helper.  I truly hate digging, plus, this belly doesn’t help. Thankfully, he had a little helper who was willing to DIG IN 😉

Here is what the general layout looked like:

The catch basin is directly under the gutter spout.  The black corrugated piping would act as a transport line to take the water further away from the house, and then the punched black corrugated piping with the large white jacket around it is where the water gets dispersed.  This is the actual french drain portion, THIS ONE is the one we bought.

It’s not a cheap item, but it allows you to just lay down the piping into the ground without having to add in sand and gravel for proper drainage since the packing peanuts do this job.  We installed one of these in our Maryland house and were pretty happy with it, so we were sure about doing it again.

David had to dig a hole underneath of our walkway, and did it relatively quickly.  I thought this was going to be the hardest part.

We also unfortunately had some landscaping sprinkler lines that we had to work around and dig underneath.  Fun fact: we have sprinklers, but the whole system is turned off because we suspect a leak somewhere and it’s just not a priority for us to find it and make it work to only water weeds right now. :-/

You can see in this photo below another one of the sprinkler lines that David had to dig around.  And he may or may not have created another leaking point because he didn’t realize there would be a line here.  Sigh haha.

So it’s all patched up and installed.  David did such a great job with this, I take absolutely zero credit.  He got it all finished up before that massive week of rain that we got not too long ago too, so it was perfect!

This is pretty much the only sign of it that you can see now:

He patched the grass back up perfectly!

So, overall, this definitely helps our drainage issues, BUT it doesn’t solve them all.  Our problem now, is that since this part of the yard sits so high up, it drains downhill.  And downhill is into our driveway, which collects puddles, especially around our garage doors.

One day, we’ll figure out a good place to install a trench drain across the driveway and maybe hire professionals to do it, because it looks like a big job.  It’s all a downhill area back into our open space, so we’d probably look at installing a channel drain down the driveway and back out into the side yard into our open space to get rid of the water. You can kind of see the main drain pathways down our driveway from up in the office.  And then it just pools around the trash cans. :-/

Maybe something like this:

I got sucked down a YouTube black hole of watching channel drain and trench drain installation videos and how some of them you can DIY, but it looked like a ton of work. We’ll see how we feel in the next few years.

Water is not an easy problem to solve, but we didn’t think it was a big enough deal to deter us from buying this house.  We knew it was going to be a fixer upper for us, but all the work was manageable.  Hopefully we can continue to do most of it ourselves, but there are some projects like these that may need more tools and expertise than we have.

Now onto the weeding and mulching of this mess!

How about you?  Do you have any drainage issues that could use a french drain?  It’s definitely been a learning experience for us over the years!

Whatchu know about CSAs?

CSAs have been a big part of our “food shopping” for about 5 years now.  If you’re not familiar with the term, CSA, it stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.”  You can read more about it HERE, but basically, it is a program that is run either through farms or a cooperative of farms that gather fresh, local produce and food from small farms and provide it to their CSA members every week.  The CSA member pays up front every season to the farmer or co-op to provide funds for seeds, planting supplies, and other needs to grow your food.  It’s a win-win, but could also possibly be a risk, as you accept the fact that if the farms have a bad weather season for the crops, you may not get as much produce and/or food.

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Nursery 2.0 Plans

I’m so excited to be working on a nursery with some girly touches!  I mean, I absolutely LOVE Connor’s room, but this one lets me add in some touches of floral 🙂

For Connor’s room, we went with an adventure/navy blue theme.  I wanted something that was basic enough that he could grow up with for the next few years and not have to make any major changes.  That’s our goal for baby girl’s room too!  If you want to check out some more details on Connor’s room, you can read about the plan HERE and the execution HERE.  Here’s a reminder…

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2018 Home Goals

So, it’s not a big deal that we’re starting our 2018 goals in mid-April, and are kind of considering the end of the year in August, right?  I mean, after #BabyHam2018 arrives in August, it’ll be kind of crazy, and then next thing you know, it’ll be Thanksgiving and Christmas… essentially no time for major house projects.

So without further ado, here are our goals for things to finish this “year.”  Please, hold us accountable hahaha.

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Our Next Big Project!

We’ve been working on this one in the background lately, hence the radio silence, and decided it’s finally time to share a bit about it!

Enter, nursery 2.0!!

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These shelves are looking pretty spicy.

Did that corny title grab your attention to this blog post?  I thought so.  😀

After we finished taking the wall down between our living room and family room, to make one big room, I had my eyes set upon the kitchen.  We have lived here for a little over 2 years now and we have a pretty good idea of what we really want and need for our future kitchen renovation.

Remember, we wanted to go from this:

To this:

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Built in Cabinet Shopping

Last week we talked about our plans for the new built ins in the family room, and how I’ve been dreamily staring at this picture…

and trying to figure out how to turn it into this picture…

I eventually got here, with the help if the Ikea kitchen planner tool.

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Planning the Family Room Built Ins!

Ahhhhh. Built ins.  I’ve been looking forward to doing a project like this. It’s the perfect way to make your home look more customized and also increase the value. I’ve been dreaming of built ins in our living room since we moved in.  I knew it would be the perfect thing to add to the long, empty wall in the family room once the wall came down.

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South Carolina on my mind

In our post around the holidays, I talked a little bit about how we took a trip down to Charleston, and I stopped by our old house!  I was so curious about how they’re living there now after all of the work we did to it, but unfortunately, I chickened out and didn’t knock on the door or anything.

WELL, my dreams just came true.  Thanks to our old neighbor and friend (hi Jess!) who alerted us that our house was up for sale again!  I also ended up getting a “listing report” email from Zillow, as I’m still the “claimed owner” for that address, as in, I can go in there and make changes to the details of the property.  I have no idea why the new owners haven’t claimed it yet. Oh well, more of a scoop for me 🙂

To give you a little bit of background, my job was moving us down to South Carolina in 2013, and we were looking for a bit of a project house.  We were pretty sure at the time that we weren’t going to stay there long term, so we figured why not buy a project house, get some more renovation experience under our belts, and maybe make some money while we were at it.  The cost of living in SC is a bit lower than DE, so we decided to look really low on our budget.  We wanted to buy a house that we could put a 20% down payment on, to make life a bit easier.

Well, we ended up with this beauty?

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Mirrors, mirrors, on the wall.

You saw our master bedroom in our last blog post a few weeks ago, and how we haven’t really touched it in 2 years since we bought the furniture.

The wall behind the bed has been looking pretty empty, especially since it’s still “white” from the last owners.  I was eyeing up things to hang above the bed for awhile, but could never really decide on anything.  Art maybe?  A mirror?  I decided to look back on my Master Bedroom board on Pinterest and remembered that I liked a lot of looks that had windows or mirrors behind the lamps.

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