Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Walkway Completed!

Wow.  After watching four men take three very full days to complete this job, I feel completely justified in my decision to not DIY this one.  This was so not a DIY job.  Let me just remind you what we started with.

I knew I wanted a brick walkway, and I wanted it to look like it might actually be original to the house.  I collected a bunch of inspiration images on my Exteriors pinboard and shared them with three different masons.  Only one responded with the same level of enthusiasm and attention to detail that I have, so--despite being the highest bid by a smidge--I knew he was my man.  In fact, he had a source for used NYC building brick!  I was thrilled.

He showed up the next day with brick samples and I quickly realized that the used brick, despite how much I had romanticized it in my mind, probably wasn't what I wanted afterall.  The current available used brick lot was very uniform in color (not ideal) and very worn; we're talking baseball sized dents and giant chips in most of the bricks.  Then my mason mentioned that I could expect to have a handful of bricks "explode" (his word, not mine) each year if I went with the used ones, so that pretty much sealed the deal.  The supplier suggested a few alternatives that still offered the look I was going for, and I happily settled on the Glen Gery danish blend.

And demolition commenced!

The new stoop is bluestone, which is a bit of a regional thing.  I'd never really seen it used before in the Midwest or NC, but it's everywhere out here.  I wanted a slab vs a brick stoop, and I like the color of the bluestone against my cedar shake house, so it was an easy choice.

And here's an "in progress" shot of the brick edging being wet set in mortar.

Despite having an entire cube of bricks sitting right on top of it for several days, I'm happy to report that my cesspool did not collapse.  So that's good.  Gah!  I won't lie.  I did have a little trouble sleeping because of this.  Cesspools.  So uncivilized, Long Island.

Of course now that my stoop is all spiffed up, my original 1962 front door, trim, and threshold all look like hell.  The wood isn't rotted or anything, but the paint is bubbling and peeling off in sheets, so I really just need to strip it all and get a fresh coat of paint on there.  *sigh*  Why does it always feel like "one step forward, two steps back" with home improvement?  BECAUSE IT'S TRUE.

Nonetheless, the whole family is giddy over the new walkway.  Instead of coming in through the garage, my kids keep asking to come in through the front door instead, just so they can use the new walk.  I think it improves our curb appeal 10,000-fold.  I bought a new heuchera for the front bed to celebrate--Swirling Fantasy.  I think he needs some friends.  One can never have too many heuchera.

So--that was this year's one big project.  I may not recover for awhile, but it was worth every penny, don't you think?

Hey--and here's another "angel choir singing" shot.  I swear I did not Photoshop this at all.

Hooray!  A long overdue improvement!

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