Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Workshop Refresh

 Well, we never would've dreamt we'd be spending so much time at home in 2020 and 2021 working on home projects!  We've spent a lot of time in our modestly sized 12'x12' workshop.  Over the past year we've completed quite a number of projects and having this space has been helpful.  However, it was dark, cramped, and had some critter problems.  The old original sagging carriage doors definitely had issues and did little to protect the space.  Unlocking them and opening up the shop door was a 5-10 minute process.  Not exactly ideal.

We set out to reimagine this space knowing that we wanted a creative space that could support any number of hobbies.  I recently bought a small MIG welder in hopes of building some garden type features.  In addition, it would be nice to do some creative wood working projects as well as continue to support our home remodeling efforts.  I started the remodel process by drawing the space to scale and making cut-outs for all of our equipment.  I spent a good four weeks moving things around and tweaking the plan.  12'x12' isn't a lot of space when you are looking to house saws, tools, and workbenches.  I scoured the web for shop layout plans and youtube videos.  I found plenty of inspiration, but it still required a lot of modification to suit our specific needs.  

We finalized the plan in the last couple of months by making a couple of critical decisions.  First, we decided to remove the old carriage doors and have a garage door installed.  When working with large wood stock, it is sometimes necessary to have the door open to get the larger pieces through the table saw or planer.  Therefore, it was critical that the door be easy to use and open.  We plan to reuse some of the old wainscot stock from the removed carriage doors on the interior wall as a way to preserve some of the material and history.  And secondly, we decided to put all the wood working tools on mobile bases so they can be stored against the walls and pulled into the center when needed.  This allowed the space to be multi-use and not entirely dedicated to wood working.  

We are extremely pleased with the design, and have have completed much of the work.  We went with a vertical wainscot paneling on three of the walls and then plan to use the recycled vintage carriage door wainscot material on the garage door interior wall.  This material will be hung horizontally to provide contrast, and will be planed down so that it is a simple raw wood with a clear finish.  We have since worked on a couple of projects in the space, and are pleased with the workflow.  The brightness and openness of the design makes it much easier to work in the space and to see what you are working on!  Soon, we will be installing an L shaped set of workbenches on the right side and back wall and plan to build some overhead cabinetry for tools and additional storage.  We look forward to many future projects working in this bright and comfortable space.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Winter Planting


We've been focused on the landscape plantings to capitalize on the cooler temperatures and what little rain we've been receiving this winter.  Having grown up in the midwest, I'm still adjusting to the climate in southern California and the idea that some plants grow all year long.

We visited the Theodore Payne Center just north of Burbank today.  Much of the gardens are closed, but the plant nursery is open.  Today we found the following plants on our list:

  • Juncus Patens, both Elk Blue and Occidental Blue
  • Bouteloua Graciis
  • Heuchera 'Opal'
  • Gambelia Speciosa, Firecracker
  • Ceanothus Joyce Coulter
Our experience at Theodore Payne was good.  You can find their inventory online which is updated regularly.  This was extremely helpful and allowed us to plan our visit based on what was available.  Once at the nursery we found the signage and layout to be very good.  We were able to identify everything on our list in around 20 minutes.  Each pot is labelled, and therefore it made it much easier for us.  We will definitely continue to use them as a resource as we build out our native plant landscape.  We found that there were plants and Theodore Payne not at Tree of Life and vise versa.  Definitely check out both as you build out your native landscape plan.

We are down to two plants left on our list that we have yet to find.  We're hoping we'll luck out later in the spring as the nurseries begin putting out new inventory.  We're excited to see everything start to root-in and grow during the winter and spring months.

A pretty good start to 2021.