because we are the second house on a corner, our property line is shared by five different houses — including three on the east, whose yards back on to ours (their width to our length). a couple of these yards offer a less than stellar “view,” but for some reason we didn’t redo the fence on this side when “fence” was on the to-do list a few years ago.
it’s mostly a shame. i don’t really want to look at falling down sheds, discarded tires, and weeds, especially when i’ve made every effort to remove those very things from our own yard!
there is, however, one benefit to having neighbours with a scrap heap instead of a majestic elm — old wood.
a few months ago, pierre turned a dry, muddy plank of wood into a beautiful, rustic shelf for our basement. our neighbours built a whole fence out of similar-looking wood, and a vegetable box, too. they recently sold their house and moved to ottawa, and we’re still waiting for the new owners to move in. (i hope their first order of business is a fence! or, to clean up the yard a bit, at least.) but, in the meantime, i got my hands on another plank of the same vintage to turn into a shelf for our laundry supplies.
pierre remembered a “before” shot for me this time. this wood had been outside all winter and, after i got permission to take it, i was just waiting for the ice to melt so i could wrest it free. it was in pretty bad shape, but with so much potential! same as the other plank, really.
pierre moved through the levels of sandpaper grit: 60, 220, 400, and finished it off with a wet sand at 600.
then, a coat of mineral oil, and we had a brand new-very old shelf!
this shelf has replaced two that were in the laundry area when we moved in — one of those wire, plastic jobs and a sawed-off ikea cabinet shelf. here’s where we’ve been doing laundry for the last three years…
but now, the walls have been painted (or, repainted — someone did paint them yellowish before), the old brass taps have been shined, the vinyl window frame has been painted a glossy black, the shelves and work sink are gone (to be replaced with a clean one), and the new shelf is up!
still to do: replace the fluorescent light with a pendant or two and figure out the floor. my first choice was tile — maybe a nice hex — but it’s looking like that will be too onerous. we’d have to disconnect the washer/dryer, move them somewhere (and the washer isn’t light), learn how to tile, tile, grout, then move everything back… painting around the appliances and maybe throwing a sheepskin rug down is kind of what i’m thinking right now.