Ridgway House: February 2017

Last fall flashed by before I could get any progress photos of the lot. Our mid-February spring weather stretch has melted all the snow off and I had an unexpected chance to catch up.

Sprocket models in the middle of our views to the east… hello, dear Cimarrons, I love you so. The sun comes up from behind those lovelies and they light up with alpenglow almost every night. There will be a coffee porch facing them.

Here’s a shot of the property looking southeast from the alley:

Looking northeast from the alley: the house will be in the center of the photo up by the street. Note that the dirt pile is gone along with all of the assorted logs and wood that were scattered on the property.

Here’s a (very skewed) panorama looking north from the property line.

And then, finally, a couple of views from the street. I’m going to try to be better about taking photos like this as things come together!

#DamselNOTinDistress, Part 2


Yesterday, I shared my lazy Sunday in bed. Why was I so exhausted? Well, after two weekends of solid work (plus a week of parent-teacher conference craziness combined with more #damselNOTindistresswork), I finished hanging the drywall, applying the mud, texturing, and painting!

This blurry shot is me celebrating being done mudding the drywall:

And then it was time to mask off the windows and center beam to get ready for paint and texture:

The texturing went quickly and was relatively painless:

And then, finally, there was paint:

I can’t believe how great this place looks!

The flooring arrives today! Once that goes in, I think I’ll finally feel like I’m not living in a construction zone!

#DamselNOTinDistress, Part 1

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed the hashtag #damselNOTindistress floating around. Before we decided to part ways, F and I signed a six-month “work for rent” lease on a place that needed a little bit of TLC: pulling up old carpet, sheetrocking over wood paneling, and a few other miscellaneous projects.

Since I solely inherited this fairly large project shortly after a pretty life changing experience, I have to admit that it inspired in me a little bit of the “I am woman, hear me roar” feeling. Plus, since this project is taking up most of my free time (well, at least when I’m not hiking or doing something much more awesome), it’s one of the only things besides Sprocket’s sweet face I have to Instagram these days. And so, #damselNOTindistress was born.

I’ve even had to buy some tools. I get excellent service at Home Depot.

Homeowner’s Tool Kit

Everyone needs to have some tools of their own. My grad school roommate’s father had bought her a simple tool kit from Sears plus a hammer and she became the de facto quick fix person in our house. Then I moved in with F who had All The Tools so my biggest concern was knowing where to find the right tool for the job and where to put it back.

Photo Per Erik Strandberg

At no point along the lines did I ever have to purchase my own tools. I don’t own a house now, although I’m looking forward to that in the not-so distant future, but I do live in one and I’m fairly self sufficient (YouTube how-to videos are the best!) and need to be able to do some things without borrowing tools.

I won’t be able to buy everything tomorrow but I do want to start budgeting to spend a little money on tools each month. So I turn to you all, dear readers, what tools do you use all the time?

The List, so far:

  1. Screwdriver (already have)
  2. Tape measure (already have)
  3. Utility knife and blades (already have)
  4. Cordless drill (I’m embarking on a pretty major drywall project so this is a requirement!)
  5. Hammer
  6. Pry-bar
  7. Dikes (Turns out that’s a portmanteau word for “diagonal cutters,” cool, huh?)


Home Renovation: Bedrooms

When we were in our big home remodel period, we decided that the existing carpet in the bedrooms was “fine.” Actually it was sort of a weird yellowy gray and it got a little abused in all the working and even more abused by Sprocket.

Guest Bedroom

We decided it was time to make a change. Ezra is out to visit us this week but he was kind enough to spend all day yesterday installing the laminate flooring (to match the kitchen and living rooms) in the bedrooms. He also installed the floor trim we’ve been tripping over for a year!

Master Bedroom

It looks so nice! Bright, fresh, and clean! Why didn’t we do this earlier?!

Home Depot Credit Card

When we bought our house we violated one of the many rules that you’ll find on the “buying your first home” advice pages all over the internet: don’t spend every last dime on your down payment because your house is going to need stuff. (Actually, we violated several of these like “Use a real estate agent.”)

Our house needed a lot of stuff. An estimated $8,000 worth of stuff. There were somethings we splurged on (like faucets) and others we went cheaper on (laminate flooring) and in the end I’m happy with what we chose to do. At the time, we were planning on staying in our house for a good long while and wanted to buy the nice stuff.

When we bought our house, we wanted to put down every dime we could but we were buying a a house that had huge single pane windows (one broken), no heat, exposed subfloor, and no working toilet. And it was December and about 20 degrees outside as a high.

Home Depot consumer credit card to the rescue. They gave Forrest an $8,000 credit limit, no problem even with a few credit dings. We bought most of our supplies during a promotion where any purchase over $299 was interest free for 12 months. This was laughable. Since it’s a long drive to the store, we’d make mega purchases so if we made it out of Home Depot for less than $1,000 we were shocked. We were also told that if we had purchases over the $299 threshold after the promotional period could almost ALWAYS be converted to promotional purchases simply by asking at the service desk. (Not to mention that Home Depot runs the promotion at least every two months…)

Since we had the interest free option, we were also able to tackle more projects (like my windows!) at the cabin this summer and spread it out over time. We calculated our minimum payments to get out of this thing with no interest paid as interest accrues during your promotional period at 17.99% that they will more than happily hit you with when the period ends.

Today, after a year and a half of using Home Depot for their lovely interest free help, we’re paid off. The ability to borrow $5,984.31 interest free in the period from December 2010 and today was key to our renovation!!

Note: The credit card was also awesome because we tended to buy every little thing we thought we might need (and still missed things, of course) because HD is 80 miles away…and then we just returned ’em. So we charged even more than the $6K but just made a return of the “extras” every trip.

Shed Siding & Stain


We decided to use the leftover siding to cover a couple of walls of the shed. We didn’t have enough for the side facing the hill or the back but the parts that are visible from the house and the street look a lot better!

Siding complete! ... Until the cabin.

I also got started on the stain. It’s a little darker than we wanted but it looks really good:


When Ezra was here last week one of the projects he took on was building me some bookshelves. One of the things I love about old houses is the built in storage nooks. We used the area behind the guest bedroom door and instead of it being wasted space, it’s now home to my book collection!

The collection is much pared down from what it used to be but as I unpacked the books last night I remembered that I have a kick ass collection of awesome books. (The books have been packed away since we found out we were leaving Missoula almost a year ago.) And somehow, just having them and seeing them makes me happy. The shelves still need to be painted, along with all the other trim in the house, but they’re there and they’re being quite useful.