Vacation over, it’s time to work

There is nothing like taking a little vacation and mine was in Cuba! One week away was not nearly enough however I came home with my own little Zen space within and a whole house full of people that missed me. I went with my sisters, you see.

Staining and painting outdoors is different from working inside as you have Mother Nature to appease before you can start such projects.

There is nothing like taking a little vacation and mine was in Cuba! One week away was not nearly enough however I came home with my own little Zen space within and a whole house full of people that missed me. I went with my sisters, you see.

The first thing I noticed is that I was now operating at a completely different vibration than those I left at home and the whirlwind of activity that five and six year olds managed was a little wild to behold. And while I am more nonchalant about all the tasks that need to be finished around the house, I am newly aware of them all the same.

Of course, coming back to snow quickly puts a halt on any exterior plans that I had and I believe that I am not the only one there. Yet I’m very aware that I still need to clean the furnace and dust the house into freshness.

Somewhere out there has to be little gnomes that will come and remove the fresh pen drawing I came home to on my sofa.

The last few days have had decent weather though and I am beginning to warm up. Ideas are popping into my head of getting our backyard measured for a fence, siding and shingling our little shed and putting another coat of something on our back deck.

Those ideas are fresh in your minds too! I know it.

Staining and painting outdoors is another experience entirely from the interior as you now have Mother Nature to appease before you can start any of these projects.

As always, you have to prep your surfaces to remove grime, molds/mildew and previous treatments. Sanding is a good possibility and a great idea if you are working with wood.

New fences and decks built with pressure-treated wood should be left for as long as possible before painting or staining as the chemicals are still evaporating from the wood and a stain or paint will trap them causing flaking, bubbles and possibly sloughing.

You have options between semi-transparent, semi-solid and solid stains and anywhere from flat to semi-gloss, or gloss in the case of alkyd, finishes in paint.

If you are thinking that you want to deepen the colour of your exterior vinyl siding then you better think again.

If you paint a darker colour than the existing one, the sun will heat it up more than the vinyl can stand and not only will it warp but you will be fronting the entire bill yourself to reside your house. No manufacturer’s defects there. You can change to a different shade but no deeper than what you already have.

I finally removed my Christmas decorations from my front step . . . good grief! I know! Now they are sitting empty, waiting for my usual stuffing of a cedar tree and some geraniums.

Having been surrounded by brilliant flowers like hibiscus though, I’m dreaming of as much vibrancy as those pots can handle and will now have to research what will live in such conditions. I’m notorious for killing off my plants.

In planning our fence I recall one home I visited a few weeks back that had an immaculate back yard complete with a large lattice screen that blocked an unattractive view. It had large square posts perhaps three metres tall and had a pergola type set of beams at the top.

It was perched in a well-balanced yet natural looking rock garden/flower bed that sloped gently down to the lawn. I loved it!

I would love to have something like that along with a pergola that started from the top deck and covered a new wooden sitting patio. Oh! And a free standing fireplace!

The thing I look forward to the most this summer is finally having our house complete in a way that we can enjoy more space, our kids and a comfy spot to throw down a blanket and read books in the sun.

I think we can project ourselves into needing vacations and so I look forward to getting that little Zen space here as much as I did on that exotic beach.

E-mail Jenny Olsen, president of Urban Lane Designs, a local home-staging company, at jlk@olsen@hotmail.com

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