Wallapalooza 2011

At the beginning of the weekend, the house to-do list looked like this:

(1) Paint master bathroom;
(2) Add a second coat of polycrylic to the dresser/vanity;
(3) Build three (!) retaining walls.

Here we are on Sunday afternoon, and the list looks like this:

(1) Ice all my muscles, possibly for the next three days;
(2) Advil. Lots of Advil.

Yup, we got it all done – with help, ALL DAY yesterday, from T & M, who win all sorts of major friend super bonus points redeemable for food, beer, or manual labor. Or all of the above. (Seriously, you guys are rock stars and we never would have gotten it done without you!) Here’s what we started out with on Saturday morning:

Southeast corner of the house

Northeast corner of the house

Major pile of 6×6’s (and more in the truck, not pictured)

This was one of those projects where you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you just dive right in. We knew we wanted to anchor the wall with both rebar and “dead men” (boards that go backwards from the wall into the hillside), but that was about as detailed as the plan was. As a result of not knowing exactly what we’d need, our day included the following: (1) we went to Lowe’s; (2) we went to Home Depot; (3) I went to Ace Hardware; (4) B went to Ace Hardware; (5) B went to Lowe’s again; (6) B went to Home Depot again. So let’s just say it wasn’t the most efficient process in the history of retaining walls, and over the course of those trips we purchased a drill bit, we rented a hammer drill, we purchased a non-cordless drill, we got another load of wood, we purchased another drill bit… Then this morning B returned the rented hammer drill and the first drill bit, so add another trip each to Lowe’s and Home Depot. I think I got that right, but who knows, really. It’s all a blur.

Hammer drills are for girls only

I told B to “Vanna White the wall” – I think he did alright

Anyway, when all was said and done yesterday we ended up with this:

Southeast corner of the house

Northeast corner of the house

In the interest of full disclosure, that last shot above is quite artfully angled…  here is a slightly different view:

(Click to zoom in if you’d like the full tear-inducing view)

Yup, we still have some work ahead of us. Somehow, probably because one of the lower boards was drilled crooked, we ended up with the whole wall leaning forward a bit. Not good for either its soil-retaining capabilities, or the OCD tendencies of its builders. So, once we’ve recovered the use of our arms, we are going to pull it apart and try again.

Speaking of arm use, all that drilling and lifting made painting today just a little bit tougher than usual – but we still got a first coat up in the master bathroom. It is a veeerryyyy light purpley-gray-beige called “Lacey Pearl.” I’d initially wanted something bright in the bathroom, but given that we went with “Antique Moss” glass subway tile in the shower and a dark-stained vanity, it seemed best to keep the walls light. I’ll get some photos later this week, hopefully with some tiles in place too – they’ve all arrived and are sitting in boxes waiting to be installed. I can’t wait to see how they look on the walls!


  1. Yes! I guess I didn't give any back-story here… blame the sore muscles, haha. We weren't wild about the idea of retaining walls, but the foundation guy who is doing all the grading said that we really need them. As in, if we didn't put them in, we would have a constant stream of sand and water trying to permeate the house from both sides. With the walls, they'll be able to create swales to direct water away from the house – and we definitely plan to plant some stuff in the little “bed” that got created on the northeast side. We need something low-maintenance that likes sandy soil – so I am thinking maybe hydrangeas? Let me know if you have other ideas! xo, K


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