How we get into the garage and staining the backside

Apparently we caused a little confusion with our ipe garage post. I didn’t actually show you how we get our cars into the garage. My bad. The post was picture heavy and I really wanted something to chat with you about this week. Projects are slow because w-editing. That’s short for “editing wedding images” for those non-wedding photographers out there… of which there may be many more thanks to our recent feature on Apartment Therapy. Hi, new readers!

I digress. We can, in fact, get our cars into the garage thanks to the alley access on the backside of the building.

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Part way through the ipe wrap we got garage doors, which was a happier day than I ever imagined.

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Then we grappled with how to finish the alley side of the garage. We L O V E the look of the ipe and we usually choose aesthetics over… well, over everything else (specifically time and money.) But the ipe wrap had turned into a very tedious project, and we questioned whether the alley side really needed that treatment. We were also really happy with how the stain on the fence posts turned them into a deep brown the mimicked the tone of the ipe.

Stain (and common sense?) won. While Aaron worked (tirelessly) on the ipe, I spent a few hours on a few weekend days to coat the exposed wood with Behr Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-in-one Wood Stain and Sealer tinted to chocolate.

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We are really happy with the results. It gave the wood a rich feel that ties in nicely with the ipe AND it was a project I could tackle. It’s always nice when I can get in on the renovation and take something off of Aaron’s plate.

Here are a few angles: pre-doors, pre-stain and finished.

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These two pictures (above and below) are a good example of how the light (cloudy above, sunny below) affect the appearance of the cor-ten fence.

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A few people asked for pictures of the interior of the garage. I’m giving you an IOU for that, but I promise it’s not very exciting or photogenic. More to come!

The light at the end of the carport

You know how I keep saying that we’re STILL working on the carport turned garage? I’m a veritable broken record these days. Well, I’m happy to report that some unseasonably cool July weather and the three day holiday weekend gave us the last push we needed to get this thing done!

Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. We employed a contractor to do some heavy projects around the firehouse before we moved in, including laying a bunch of concrete (hello super huge patio) and building a carport. Our intent was to turn this into a garage. Last spring things were looking a little bare…

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We installed five tons (literally) of steel last summer, which gave us most of a fence but still zero privacy. Nothing says “home sweet home” like chaining up your barbecue grill…

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After we installed the section of ipe fence, Aaron turned his attention to framing the walls of the garage. This included building two doors (one on the east side of the building and one between the garage and firehouse.)

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The only major regret we have so far with this entire renovation is that we told the contractor we wanted ” a standard sized garage.” We should have gone for an extra deep garage to allow for some storage. In lieu of that, we planned to install a shed to house a few things we don’t want to keep storing inside, like our lawn mower. Thanks to the addition of the garage doors, we changed the plan slightly and decided to add more storage to the garage itself. Aaron framed a bump out that fits the bill perfectly.

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It’s a bit more apparent from this aerial view.

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In all the framing only took around 2 weeks thanks to some mild spring weather. What took FOR EV ER was adding the ipe. We used the same method as we did to build the ipe fence, but there was a just a lot more: more square footage, more biscuits to cut, more measurements (around both boors) and a lot of odd cuts thanks to the sloped roof and uneven base.

The rainy spring weather that quickly morphed into muggy summer didn’t help either. Little by little, Aaron chipped away at what had become a monstrous, tedious project. Just shy of 3 months after the start of the project, he added the last one.

That still left us a few tasks before we could official call this thing “done.”

For one, the boards on the east side (which went up first and get a lot of sun) were looking a little light. Un-oiled ipe will turn a silver color and this side was well on it’s way.

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We knew this would happen, but we had read that power washing would bring the wood’s deep color back. So we gave the whole garage a bath (which is a good practice anyways) before oiling it.

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Then we coated the exterior in ipe oil. We split this task, each taking a turn with the roller to cover large sections then following up with a small brush to get in between the boards. It sounds really tedious, but it’s much faster and easier than staining or painting. It is, however, very messy.

Here’s how it looks going on. You can instantly tell a difference. It’s very rewarding… and very messy. Just plan to be coated in oil.

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Here’s how the wood on the east side looked.

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Here’s a look at another section:

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Power washing brought back a lot of the color on the east side. If we did it over again, I would have taken the time to oil that side before it sat in the sun.

The only thing left was add two sections of roof to the carport garage, which we special ordered from Home Depot after some exhaustive research to try and match what was already installed.

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Whew! We’re so glad to be done. Come back tomorrow for some radical before/after shots.

Staining the fence posts

After installing the ipe section of fence, our fence posts were starting to look a little bare. Originally we planned to paint the posts a rusty color to blend in with the steel, but the warmth of the ipe totally changed our minds. Instead, we had a gallon of Behr Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-in-one Wood Stain and Sealer tinted to chocolate, which looked like it would provide the closest match to the ipe. Then it was as simple as wiping down the posts with a wet rag to rid them of spider webs and grass clippings then brushing on the stain. I used a large taping knife shoved against the steel/ipe to keep a crisp line on the edge. Voila!

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What? That’s not the most blinding transformation ever? Ok, let’s take a look at some before/after combos. Everything is looking a little raw before the ipe was oiled.

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After oiling and staining:

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Here’s a good side by side by side (ipe, post, steel) – un-oiled/unstained vs oh so pretty.

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Against the steel, the wood posts looks warmer and much more finished. Before:

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After:

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It’s a bit more subtle against the steel, but it definitely moves your eye pasts the posts instead of causing a visual break.

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We were happy with the look after one coat, so this update only took a few hours to complete. Even better, it was an update I tackled solo while Aaron (you guessed it) worked on wrapping the carport. (It’s the build that never ends… yes it goes on and on, my friends… we started building it, not knowing what it was… and we’ll continue building it forever just because, it’s the build that never ends…)

Good news: He’s on the last few rows of the last side of the carport! Bad news: The weather has turned to steamy summer mode, making long days working outside nearly impossible. In the meantime, I’m getting my stain on (is that a thing) on the backside of the garage.

Oil that wood

Lest you think we’ve turned this site into something X rated, I’ll jump straight to the point. In my excitement to share the ipe portion of fence, I neglected to wait until the wood had been oiled. (That’s why she said?)

Recently, we’ve been explaining ipe as “nature’s composite.” It’s weatherproof and insect resistant. If you leave it in it’s natural state, it will weather to a gorgeous silver color.

But! But if you oil it, it deepens the color of the wood to a rich tone. It brings out the grain of the wood. It also protects the wood from stains, from things like a metric ton of mulberries. (For those who don’t stalk us on the regular, the mulberry tree has been saved thanks to the electric company hacking down our other tree.)

Oiling the ipe also makes this never ending project OH so worth it.

Pre-oil

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Hello, baby! Come to mama!

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Looks Ok.

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What the what?

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That wood seems nice.

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OMG! Can we build everything out of ipe?

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I can’t stop staring at it. As a bonus, unlike the rest of this project, applying the oil was a very quick process. I rolled both sides and Aaron followed up with  brush to get closer to the posts. The other side turned out just as beautiful, but we’re at the point in the year when it’s a poison ivy filled jungle over that wall, so I didn’t snap any pictures on that side.

The beginning of the end of the fence

There are a few things we vowed when we moved into the firehouse.
– The half wall in the bedroom was coming down ASAP.
– We needed a fenced yard by the end of spring.
– The studio would get all of our attention and probably be done in 2 months.

Oh, how naive we were…

If you’ve been following along, you know that only one of those (the studio) has come to fruition… and even that took many more months than we planned. But we’re in the process of finally making good on the fenced yard declaration!

Let’s recap. Nearly a year ago, we spent a long weekend installing (most of) our fence, using cor-ten steel panels. (If you’re new to the blog, it’s a good read, complete with a lightening strike!) We purposefully left a few holes near the back, intending to cover them in horizontal slats of wood to match the treatment we planned for the carport (effectively turning that into a garage.)

Here’s how we left things last summer.

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It is funny how everything about renovations has an ebb and flow  – time, energy, money. By the fall, we were low on all three (and down one tree). The fence project got pushed and we spent all winter surveying Mojo’s outdoor time… in the polar vortex.

Now that the weather is turning, the fence completion/carport wrap is our top priority. We kicked things off by tackling this hole in the fence.

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It’s cool, Mojo. You know not to cross that imaginary line, right?

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Here is a view from the neighboring lot

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We researched a lot of different options for the fence and eventually settled on B grade ipe.

Ipe is a very dense hardwood from South America that is fantastic for outdoor applications. It is mold, fire, weather and pest resistant. It needs little maintenance, but if you do give it some by rolling on some oil it will stay a gorgeous deep brown color. It’s also very pricey, which is why we opted for B grade (or slightly subpar) wood. This means that not every board is perfect. Some have a little bow to them, some have a crack at one end, some have milling marks.

We ordered our batch from Advantage Lumber, along with the clips, wax and oil needed for installation and maintenance. So far we’re finding the imperfections to be minimal and some of them to be charming. We’re very happy we opted to save a few dollars.

I have a tutorial for you, but for this post let’s jump straight to the reward.

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Hello gorgeous!

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It’s exactly what we had in mind. The warm wood (which will get deeper when it is oiled) bring a fantastic natural element to the fence. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at it.

The downside is that we’re finding the installation takes A LOT longer than we expected. (Someday we’ll learn our lesson. Maybe I should block off ALL of 2015 for the kitchen reno…)

To give you an idea, those three sections of fence took an entire day. But it’s cool, we only have this much to go…

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