Marsha Canham's Blog

June 27, 2013

What do you do when you run out of renovations?

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 5:36 pm

Yeah, like that would ever happen *snort*.

So, it’s been a while…again…but as promised, I’m back with some updates and new pics. Firstly…Cabinet Guy. He’s been back a few times putting the finishing touches on things. I keep putting yellow post it notes on sticky cabinet doors or missing trim or lights that don’t work the way they should, and Cabinet Guy dutifully shows up and goes through the notes one at a time. I suspect he has begun to grind his teeth each time he sees one or gets a cheery (not) email from me. 

He was here the last time on Payton’s birthday, fussing with the hearth of the refaced fireplace in the kitchen while she and I had a rousing game of Hand and Foot. Every now and then I’d hear a giggle and he’d explain that he was getting flashbacks of when he and Jefferson were younger and we’d spend weeks up at the cottage, with the adults playing cards and the kids staying out of the way. At one point I suggested to Payton that we play for her birthday money and Jay yelled: “No! Don’t do it! If she wins, she WILL take it. It happened to me!”


So I assume he has one more visit to go just to clean up the two or three post-its still stuck to the walls. I’m sure he’ll be happy to see the end of this TEN MONTH reno job, just as much as I will be happy to finally get the ducts cleaned and see the last of the carpentry dust vanish. Must remember to send him a broom and plastic scoop for Christmas. I could always tell where he’d been working from the little pile of filings and sawdust he left behind.

All in all, however (and I’ve already posted the pics) I’m immensely pleased with all the work that’s been done. The kitchen seems more splendid each time I sit and study it. The family room is perfect. The upstairs bathroom, with the claw foot tub, makes me smile every time I walk past the door. He’s added TONS of storage in almost every room he’s worked in…and considering he’s worked in 7 out of 8 rooms, that gives all my trinkets, books, collectables, and STUFF a happy shelf or cupboard to occupy. I even have empty spaces!!!! *gasp*

With all the major work inside almost done…and I say major because there is still the dungeon to tackle…Landscape Guy was called in to start work on the outside. My last house sat on 3/4 of an acre and about half that was covered in splendid gardens. This house sits on maybe 1/4 acre and 99% of it was overgrown weeds, 20 yr old gnarly shrubs, grass that wasn’t grass anymore but a combination of clover, grass, weed, and more friggin pansies and out of control groundcover than I’ve ever seen before. Just last week I discovered that the lower tier of the front yard isn’t grass at all but a spread-out bed of tarragon. The enormous garden in the far corner is filled with everything from rhubarb to peonies, to ferns, to chives, to bluebells, to lillies, to yellow things, to white things, to big purple spikey ball things. There is a shrub in there too and some vines, along with a patch of *augh* asparagus. Blech. I was going to leave that patch until next spring and just concentrate on cleaning the upper tiers, but…with Austin working for me this summer, he just may learn a lot about gardening *evil grin*

Back to Landscaping Guy, however, he’s been working here for five weeks now. The first two days he had gone around the house with a machete, axe, pick, and shovels and whacked down the overgrown jungle that surrounded the place. He dug out trees and shrubs and made numerous trips to the dump with his van filled to the roof with all the crap he pulled out, trimmed, pruned, and hacked. He’s built fences and gates, he’s hauled gravel to shore up the six inch gap beneath the family room addition where the squirrels were making merry. He’s edged and turned over and planted gardens around three sides of the house and the garage. He’s hauled and spread a small mountain of mulch. He’s fixed plumbing issues with the outside taps (apparently the previous owner was unaware that one should drain the pipes in winter and most of them were cracked wide open) He dug out drainage tunnels and excavated a dozen or more railroad ties that were once, eons ago, steps leading down from the upper tier to the middle tier. Hell, he found a flagstone patio on the middle tier that was totally overgrown, and a rubber liner where there was once a pond.

My original plan for the front was to have stone steps replace the rotted railway ties, but that got changed as being too impractical. Then I was going to extend the present deck onto a lower level, but then I thought…I have three farking decks now, do I really need a fourth????? Nooooooooo. Keep in mind, each time I changed the design, Landscape Guy drew up plans, figured out materials, lined up equipment. After the deck got the big thumbs down, I thought he might get a little feisty when I said: I have a better idea!  But he didn’t. He just waited three or four days to make sure it was what I wanted. LOL

So what I wanted was an interlocking path across the front of the house, replacing icky non-grass and grotty old weedy, gnarly trees. Eventually I’ll have it go around into the back yard and join up with the existing stone patio, but for this year’s project…and budget…laying it across the front would make everything clean and lovely. It would also crown the spiffy new rock garden that spans the full front of the hill. He still has a few more days worth of touch-ups and finishing things like a step down from the deck and facings to cover the sides, but here are some before and after pics to show the progress from jungle to happy landscaping.

This was the garden outside my kitchen window, right at the front entrance.


This is how it looks now:


This was the side of the garage before, which faces the main front door


And here it is now:


Grotty side leading to the back:


And now:


Blah back patio before:


And now, my lovely and peaceful retreat with fern garden:


Front view of the upper tier before:


And after:


Path across the front of the house before:


And now:




Still a bit of work to do and the weeds and friggin pansies come up quicker than I can blast them with Round Up, but everything seems happy and ready to burst into bloom, which makes me happy and ready to…just sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy it!!!!

And…I almost forgot to mention my Harry Potter birdhouse! It already has residents!!!


Hope you’ve enjoyed my trials and tribulations. It never ends, of course. Next job up is the dungeon (the basement). Neither of the grandkids will venture down there willingly and I must confess I’m not too keen on it either. Bit of drywall, a ceiling, some paint….yeah. Much easier to reach the wine cellar then *g*.





  1. OMG! It looks amazing, Marsha. All of it. Your new neighbours must be happy that you’ve moved in…now they get to look at so much beautiful stuff! LOL And you gotta love the Harry Potter house!

    Comment by JILLMETCALFJ — June 27, 2013 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  2. It’s looking fantastic, Marsha.are the ” big purple spikey ball things” alium? I’ve found alium can be quite impressive if grown in a cluster, rather than individually, Glad you’re having summer weather. We’re getting so much rain out here on the southern BC coast you’d think it was June, or somethin’.

    Comment by Judy Gill — June 27, 2013 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

    • Judy, not sure what they are. They only last a week, however, then just look like weeds.

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  3. You are a very talented Lady. I had NO idea. The renovations are just frickin’ amazing!! How many of us would just LOVE to sink down in the clawfoot tub and just sigh…….ME ME!!!!!

    Comment by Bren Mathews Barrett — June 27, 2013 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

    • Bren, I have always wanted a claw foot tub. And as soon as I get my knee replaced and can climb in and out, I’ll be enjoying long hot soaks!

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  4. This so reflects you . . . who you are, what you love. It truly is lovely, LaP. The result is ALMOST worth all the by-otch-ing that we had to endure whilst you were getting there. ROFL It’s beautiful!!

    Comment by SurferGirl — June 27, 2013 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

    • Thank you surfersnort. Now you just have to come north for a visit!

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

      • It’s on my short list!

        Comment by SurferGirl — June 28, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

  5. By the way how’s the knee’s?

    Comment by Bren Mathews Barrett — June 27, 2013 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • Needs a complete replacement. Which is why, dammit, I may not make it to New Orleans for the RT convention. Surgery is scheduled for May 15. Bummer.

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  6. Beautiful landscaping! How pleasant it will be to sit outside in the patio and read.

    Comment by Phoebe Conn — June 27, 2013 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

    • Teased it out yesterday and it works perfectly! Shade, gentle breezes…now if I could just era dice the ants!!!!!

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  7. Wow! Everything looks awesome Marsha! Your landscape guy is amazing. His patience must be extensive from what you have described! I love the bird house. Carolyn

    Comment by Carolyn — June 27, 2013 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  8. oh…..and I love the blogs….its almost….not quite….like having a conversation with you
    Been so long I forgot what the hell you look like
    Next year
    New Orleans
    Be there

    Comment by Bren Mathews Barrett — June 27, 2013 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  9. thank you ………..I love the updates on your projects…+++++++++++++did I tell you I love your bookssssssss……muchoooooo

    Comment by michael — June 27, 2013 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  10. I love your foxgloves. I’m envious of them!

    Comment by Virginia Henley — June 28, 2013 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

    • You should have seen them a week ago when the full head was in bloom. They were gorgeous. Waiting now for my trumpet vine to burst into bloom!

      Comment by marshacanham — June 28, 2013 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: