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2014-09-14 07.31.25 1.jpg

house blog

projects around the house


Filtering by Tag: outdoor

a fence, finally.

jenn pan

when we last left you in SEPTEMBER, we had just pulled up the bougainvillea plants adjacent to the chainlink fence in preparation for a replacement redwood fence. it took some time to get scheduled, but we finally got a date of october 28 for the installation. we were so excited. above and below are a reminder of what the chainlink looked like before anything went down.

hello, neighbors! 

the other thing we had to do before the fence was installed was pick and purchase the stain we wanted on the redwood. the fence installation company charges for stain at-cost, so we also had the option of buying our own. we bought a redwood two-by-four, cut it down to four equal pieces and tested penofin's ultra premium red label transparent wood stain in western red cedar, redwood, sable and sierra. sierra felt too orange, and sable too dark and somewhat splotchy. the red cedar and redwood were very close, but redwood won out because it was a bit less yellow. we bought three gallons of the paint from local paint store jill's and were SO ready to have an awesome new fence!

the installation for this project was supposed to be three days: dig holes and install footers and posts on the first day, and put up the horizontal wood board and stain the next two. nothing to it, right?


an hour after we left our house, we got a call from the installers that a city inspector had come by and because we didn't have a permit, they had to stop the work. according to all of our prior research, anything less than six feet tall didn't require a permit. apparently, that particular code had recently changed to anything less than 18 INCHES now requires a permit. so, this is what we came home to:

the only work they had done before the inspector showed up was the digging of three holes and their posts, as well as the removal of the random partial chainlink. and this was how the side of the house continued to look until after the new year. why? let's talk about it.

skip the copious amounts of text to the next photo if you don't want to do any heavy reading...


we went and got the permit from the city. everyone was super nice and helpful, but the process was kind of crazy. because the fence is something on the exterior of the house and visible from the street, it could require a design review. this is a minimum of $3,000. and it involves sending a public notice to everyone who lives within a certain radius of the house to make sure no one has any objections. if the change one is making is minor enough, or deemed to not require such a crazy process by the city, then the permit can be "design review exempt". however, the signature alone for something to be design review exempt is $300. lesson learned: when we decide to do anything to the exterior of the house (including changing out windows) apply for it all at once to potentially minimize the cost! 

the other crazy bit is that we had to show in the plan that the fence would be, in its entirety, on our property. it is possible to have a fence straight down the property line, but that would require a common wall agreement with the other property owner, and that paperwork starts at $2,000. anyway, we made the proper adjustments to all the plans, got buy offs from design review, engineering, walked over to the department of water and power building to get buyoffs from both electrical and water (since holes were going to be dug), back to the permit office for final building review and THEN finally paid for the permit. which came out to over $600. we paid over $900 that day because we decided to also just get the permits for the doors at the same time, to be safe.


so at this point, you would think we could move forward, right? well, there was a bit more confusion. we couldn't just have the fence guys come back and finish everything - for fence installations, the city also requires a footing inspection before any additional work can be done. we would need the installers to come back, and finish digging all of the holes, as well as remove the posts they had already put in and redig those holes as well. to be extra safe, we called the inspectors office to see what the stipulations are for passing that inspection, and they said a survey would be required to show that all of the footing was entirely on our property. we inquired a few companies and a single property line survey would cost at least $1,500.


by chance, while walking sanford, i discovered our property markers on the side of the house (we're a corner house). and lo and behold, also found one on the property line in question! what a huge weight off our chest! however, this was right before the holidays and between our travel plans and the installers schedule, we wouldn't be able to get back on the schedule for awhile.


this was the day the installers were supposed to come back and pull up the posts and dig the remaining holes. however, we got a ton of rain, and they had to postpone. moving along..


this one wasn't even scheduled! we just came home and found our side yard looking like this:

who called CSI?

they came and dug the holes!! total ninjas. we were pretty stoked. time to call the city to do the footing inspection.


footing inspection PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we can finish the fence! this took more scheduling..


posts, round two. still looks like a crime scene, but we're making progress.

view from our front porch.


the put in the wood posts and filled the last inch of the holes. and this is why i love our installers, they even put in a form so that it went exactly to the property line. they even had time to start putting up the redwood boards on our side!

taking shape.



IT'S DONE! all the boards are up on both sides, and stained beautifully! we're seriously in love with this fence.

we didn't want it to be too imposing, so once it passes our porch, it goes from being a 6' fence to a 42" fence.

which ends in a cute new gate with black hardware.

isn't it adorbs?

now we have a great enclosed area off the side of the house. we're hoping to turn this into both an outdoor entertaining space (just off the kitchen) as well as a nice area that sanford can run around in (thus the gate).

we're infatuated with the final product. we are so appreciative of flavio and his team from five star fence for the attention to detail and stellar job they did, and for working with us through the whole, crazy process.

but we still need to pass final inspection. 

DAY ???

the arrival of the doors.

jenn pan

bright and early this morning, our new front entry door, back entry door and interior shaker door were delivered! this post is really more of a sneak peak than anything..

james sizing up the delivery truck.

james sizing up the delivery truck.

now we have to wait until our contractor has time in his schedule to come by and actually install them - he's busy at the moment, so it won't be for another month or two!! i am very upset about this, as this project has already been almost six months in the making, but that's another story entirely.


how gorgeous are these doors? laying horizontally is the interior door for a new interior wall we are going to put in. we will eventually be replacing every interior door in the house with one of these. the upright one with the sidelite is the back entry. behind it, that you can't see, is the front entry. which is a bigger door without a sidelite, and an additional dentil shelf. none of the doors are stained yet, so we still have to figure out what the stain will be. i'm thinking something dark, but not-too-dark, and warm, but not-too-warm. that's descriptive enough, right?

crystal knob for the interior door (doesn't it just make you swoon?!?!)

crystal knob for the interior door (doesn't it just make you swoon?!?!)

entry handle set for the front door (can you spot the craftsman-y details through the packaging?)

entry handle set for the front door (can you spot the craftsman-y details through the packaging?)


the doors are from simpson, the palomar ii (for front and back) and a five panel shaker. we found it a lovely coincedence that the name exterior door we fell in love with is the same name as the hotel we we stayed in when we got married (the palomar hotel, washington, dc).

the pretty hardware is from emtek. the old town crystal knob we ordered is as pictured above, but the arts and crafts full length entry set we got is in flat black, so the hammered look is more subtle. i just can't wait until all this work is done..!

in preparation of a fence.

jenn pan

the fence separating our home and our new neighbors is chainlink. this is leftover from the previous homeowners, and used to feature barbed wire at the top. luckily, that part was taken down several months ago.


we got an estimate done to replace the chainlink with a redwood fence, and are moving forward with it. the fence posts will be set right into the concrete. however, there are three bougainvillea plants right where the fence would be going, so we we needed to dig them up.

limited space for digging due to the concrete.

limited space for digging due to the concrete.

the smallest and easiest to handle of the three bougainvilleas.

the smallest and easiest to handle of the three bougainvilleas.

we are happy to move these guys too, because they haven't been thriving in their little concrete box. it wasn't all that easy to get them up either. the biggest of the three (not pictured) and roots that went down pretty far, and trying to dig them up without damaging the roots was really hard. we probably weren't successful either, but we've got them in pots and our fingers crossed they'll survive.

the bougainvillea repotted. as you can see, there is little privacy with a chainlink fence.

the bougainvillea repotted. as you can see, there is little privacy with a chainlink fence.

all clear! hopefully we'll get the contractor scheduled soon and the chain link will be gone and replaced with a pretty redwood fence. we've got big(ish) plans for this space! more of that to come in time..

view from the street of this unutilized space between the two houses.

view from the street of this unutilized space between the two houses.