Our Wolf Den

Honey, I Have an Idea!


Side Door Face Lift

side door update

Our driveway runs in between our house and our neighbors which has earned in the nickname of the alley. After using it as a place to store extra supplies when a project is in mid swing we have decided that it is time to clean it up a little. There are a ton of small projects to tackle but the first one I set my teeth into was the side entry door.

The side door was anything but a pretty sight. It was old and discolored the door itself seemed to be steel that had never been painted.

The design over the glass was yellowed with gross caulk oozing out from under it.

It was embarrassing and needed to be dealt with. Unfortunately it had been easy to ignore these past few years.

I made the decision to paint the door dark gray. In fact it is the same dark gray we used on the front deck called Dark Granite (780F-6) by Behr. The waterproofing deck paint did a pretty good job the steel door.

When painting a steel door it is important to make the coats as light as possible, this will prevent drips and drops. The second coat I was able to do a little bit heavy but not much.

I also painted two coats on the inside of the door.

After these were dry I painted the design over the glass with some leftover Dutch Boy White Lullaby kitchen paint I had. Two coats of the white and I was able to scrape off the extra paint that was on the glass. I will admit that I had to go back a touch a few areas up. It seems my paint scrapper was built wrong for this area. In fact I did break a blade.

I didn’t have the patience to peel all the paint of the glass in one sitting so I took a break to paint a third coat of gray paint on the door. Unfortunately it rained right after I was done and a fourth coat was needed on the outside.

The wood work around the door also needed a fresh coat of paint. For some reason when we had the siding redone the “lovely” company we worked with did not cover all the exposed wood with aluminum that we paid for.  At that point we just wanted them gone and it wasn’t worth fighting with them to fix this. A few coats of waterproof paint in a bright white and it was as good as new.

What do you think, big difference?

before and after side door

It makes me much happier. We still need to find a storm door to replace the one original one that fell apart. Personally I’m likening the look of a glass one.

Other Outdoor Projects:

  front deck paint Privacy Panels on the Pergola perfect pergola lights back deck painted garage fron deck door knocker outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding


Stripes on the Front Deck

front deck paint

The conversation started out like many before, “Honey, you know that blog couple that I read, well I had an idea…” terror briefly flashed through Wolfy’s eyes. Then I pulled out my Kindle to show him this.

“I want to stripe our front deck in shades of gray.”


And the topic was dropped. I knew Wolfy wasn’t feeling it, and I debated over the next couple of days. Was he apprehensive because he truly didn’t like the idea, or was the apprehension because he couldn’t see the vision I had?

The next time I went to Home Depot I took a side trip from my mission to pick up 2 x 8s and found myself in the paint department. I was pleasantly surprised to find that waterproof deck paint was sold in sample sized containers and it was tintable. There was no need to make a gut reaction, bite the bullet and buy two gallons of paint (like I had mistakenly done previously with the red) now I could get a sample, in any color I wished, and try it out before committing.

I decided on Behr Anonymous (780F-5) for the lighter gray and Behr Dark Granite (780F-6) for the darker.

Once home I dropped the wood off to the Wolfman and left him alone to do some test painting. I will admit I was worried. Worried that the red would show through, worried that Anonymous was too light, or maybe too blue. But once two coats were on, man what a difference. I was in love.

“Whatca doing?” Wolfy asked curiously as I drug him over to show him “The Vision”. He liked it and was in fact excited by the look now that he could see what I was talking about.

So I pulled the trigger and bought a gallon of each color. The light color went on first. I applied it heavily in-between the deck boards to make sure the wood color would not been seen. After two coats of the light color I moved on to the dark color. Thankfully it was hot hot hot outside so the coats were drying very quickly. The deck boards, the stairs, and the facing boards were all covered with two coats of the dark paint.

The Dark Granite color matches the shingles almost perfectly and due to the house being slightly higher than the street, all you see is the dark color when driving by. The lighter stripes become a sweet surprise when you walk up to the deck.

I wanted to shout out to Young House Love for answering a comment and helping me out, I know I didn’t follow all you directions (I just went right over the stain since the test pots went so well) but your reassurance that the gray would look good helped me take the leap when the hubby was doubtful.

And now I have a question for you all. I still need something in my garden bed, but what? As much as I like dark mulch I was really hoping for a gravel or stone so I can use a leaf blower to remove the leaves in the spring time, any thoughts on color, or should I just man up and get the mulch? Remember the idea is to sell this house in a few years, so if you were looking to buy it what would you want there?

Next question. I have two tons of flagstone that I bought last year to make a patio. The plan is to make it in the back yard off the rustic looking pergola. But (you may be able to see it in the picture) I have some laying in front of the steps.

Option 1) Use this flagstone to make a small patio/landing pad in front of the stairs

Option 2) Lay gray pavers to make a small patio/landing pad in front of the stairs


Other Outside Projects

  Privacy Panels on the Pergola perfect pergola lights back deck

painted garage fron deck door knocker

outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding

I linked up here


Waking up from Hibernation

Privacy Panels on the Pergola

We work in spurts here at the Wolf Den. Last week I woke up from the winter slump (woo-hoo nice weather) and hung the string lights of the pergola. That egged me on to finish building the pergola. Yeah… it has been so long you forgot that the pergola wasn’t done (except the blaring need for paint/stain/protective bubble wrap, just kidding on that last one).

The momentum had started. Why only do the privacy panels? Why not take down our pretty vinyl fence and put a wooden fence up too? So Friday night after work we hit up Menard’s (we spend enough money there I feel like I should be greeted with a fancy coffee and my own personal fork truck driver to haul my purchases around) and loaded up the truck with wood for the privacy panels and the fence.

Sorry for the bad cell phone picture!

We were up bright and early Saturday morning to make the most of our day off.

The first step was to remove the old fence panels. It was a bitter sweet moment. I loved these panels but unfortunately the dogs could bust the bottom pickets out and make a run for it.

This step took way longer than expected. For some reason a majority of the bolts were stripped out! How did this happen? I know I didn’t do that when I installed them (hopefully?)! Wolfy showed me a trick that saved my sanity. Get a drill bit the same size as your screw (the part that goes into the wood not the head) and pretend you are installing the screw. If you are using a metal bit this should pop the head off and push the end either into the wood or in this case down the vinyl sleeve. I was thoroughly impressed. Plus the pyro in me liked it watch the paint bubble up on the screw and it start smoking before it freed itself.

Once all the screws and brackets were off it was time to add extra support. The only vinyl covers that had 4x4s inside them were the gate posts. We wanted to screw the panels directly into the posts so it needed to be beefed up. Wolfy poured cement mix into the covers and then slid a 4×4 into each. I went around with water and gave it a drink so the cement could start to set up.

Then we turned our attention to the wooden fence panels. We installed them the “wrong way” on purpose, the nice smooth side that should be facing your neighbors in toward the inside on our fence. This was twofold to make it harder on the pups to try to pull a Houdini. One: the braces are on the back so they cannot use it for a ledge to get over the fence. Two: installed this way when the girls jump on the fence (because they are bad girls and they will and have) they are hitting the wood the same directions that the nails went in. Repetitive jumping will not cause a picket to get loose. Now, it may break but the nails shouldn’t come out.

The hardest part was the gate kit. While the directions said it was only going to take 20 minutes to assemble we were still cussing at it an hour and a half later.  However, once we got it installed it was worth it. It actually works!!!!! I don’t think you share my excitement. Our gates never worked before you see. The fancy vinyl gates sagged immediately after installation and the latches ripped out of the material. So to have a functional gate that doesn’t involve three artfully applied bungee cords is pretty spectacular to me.

Using the paint sprayer I was able to get two gallons of exterior deck paint in a Cape Cod Gray onto the fence. It was enough to cover the inside but not the outside.   More paint is on the list.

This project has inspired us to fence in the rest of the yard (currently only half is fenced in). I will be updating you on that once it is complete. The puppies are excited about the idea of having a larger space to place “tackle the sister”.

The next project we jumped into was the privacy panels on the deck. When we finished the deck last year we set the 6x6s to act as the base of the panels but we never finished the process. With more energy and a year of using the deck we knew our original plan was still the way to go.

The panels themselves are 2x8s that were cut to 4 ½ feet each.

They were installed on the center on of the 6×6 with a 2×4 behind them for support.

Another 6×6 was added to the top with a 2×4 brace behind it.

We also added a few more boards here and there to make sure Shawnee and Makanda were safe from the temptation to leave their property.

So that’s it. As I sit here Monday night nursing my sore body I’m still planning on taking on the rest of the fence project in a few weeks. I think Memorial Day weekend may be the weekend the Wolves dig holes. It is looking to be a two year tradition. And trying to figure out what I want to do color wise with the back deck.


Other Outside Projects

perfect pergola lights back deck painted garage fron deck

door knocker outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding

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There’s a Light, Over on the Wolf Den’s Pergola

perfect pergola lights


(By the way you get so many bonus points if you that first part triggered a response of “Over at the Frankinstien’s Place” and even more if you were looking for your lighter/flashlight.)


Whenever I thought about my perfect back yard deck I saw the pergola we built, but I had a vision of the perfect lighting.  The lights that I wanted unfortunately are impossible to find in my small town.  And while I like to order things online I was afraid to order something like this.  What if it wasn’t perfect?  After all I had settled on several different types of string lights only to take them down and return them.

Then at Target I found them.  The perfect lights I had drooled about on TV shows, magazines, blogs, and well Olive Garden.  Just light bulbs on a string.

We ended up buying 4 strands of lights and that was the perfect amount.

Before we got the siding we wired new plug-ins outside. Wolfy hooked up power for the flood light and then right next to it there is two outlets. The flood light and the outlets are on separate switches so they can be turned on independently.

Hanging the lights was simple. I used  wire clips that we had left over from running electric lines for the fans upstairs. They are padded and keep the wire safe and secure.

A word of warning – be very careful while hanging these lights. The glass globes are super thin. I broke two. Thankfully 4 strings was just a touch too long (not a lot only about a foot) so I was able to remove the broken blubs and use the two “extra” lights from the end. I would love to find spare bulbs, but at $10 for the string, I may just buy another string and swap out as necessary. I would have really loved it these were LED instead.

Anyone else have a Goldilocks moment with something so simple as lighting?


Other Outside Projects

back deck painted garage fron deck door knocker outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding

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Snowstorm Ion

How did you fair in the Winter Storm / Snowstorm Ion?  I thought I’d show you some pictures of our interesting weekend.  This is the most snow we have had in 35 years in central Illinois, and record breaking cold temperatures.

The snow started on Sunday.  Around 8:30 when I got up to let the dogs out there was a good 6 inches on our front deck.  But at this point the temperature was still pretty good and the dogs were able to play and have a good time in the fresh snow.


About 2 hours later I could hardly stand to be outside taking pictures.  The world looked like this.


Monday morning found us snowed in and most of the roads closed.  It was so bad Sunday night that they stopped the snow plows and pulled them off the roads from dusk until dawn. The wind chill was a -35 and the wind was blowing hard.  I was able to go out and get some more photos, but by the end of the day the landscape looked different do to more drifting.

01-06-13 Ion Snowstorm Aftermath (4)

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My faith in humanity was restored during this snowstorm.  I saw lots of people out helping their neighbors.  It seemed like the good deeds were being passed around.  I have to say a big shout out to our neighbor when saw us struggling with digging our car out came over while we were taking a warming break inside and used his snow blower to remove the snow from our drive way.  Thank you Sir!

It was really nice to see our community banding together to help each other out.

01-06-13 Ion Snowstorm Aftermath (17)

I hope everyone is safe and warm by now, I really hope you stayed safe and warm during the weather.  I’m not sure where you are, but for us the Weather Channel says it is going to start snowing again this afternoon and some ice later in the week.  With our main roads and highways still solid ice, not the news I wanted.

01-06-13 Ion Snowstorm Aftermath (18)

Stay safe, stay warm!


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Built Ins for Storage Next to the TV

We love to watch TV together.  When we laid out our living room we centered the TV on a large wall and spent a lot of time looking at.  Getting tired of the extra unusable space next to the TV we decided on building in some shelves.  A simple shelf project lead into creating a shelving unit with the appearance of built ins.  Over all it was a pretty simple project.  The hardest part was finding boards that were straight.

The storage was designed for DVDs.  We lucked out – see the bump out in the wall?  That is the perfect depth for a DVD.  1X6 boards also worked perfectly.  We kept things really simple.  1X6s cut just over 4 feet with L brackets holding it up.  We used a DVD case to determine the height between the shelves.  I held the board level, Wolfy marked the holes, predrilled, and then we were able to screw the shelf to the wall using 3 inch construction screws.



With all the supporting in the back of board we decided to use our Kreg Jig to drill support holes in the ends of the boards.  One side ends up getting screwed into the wall the other side will get screwed to another board.


Once all the boards were installed ( and a long debate) we painted the unit (and the wall behind it) white, added crown molding to finish it off, and caulked it.


I pretty happy with the way it turned out.  Once we loaded it up with DVDs and knickknacks it started to look like us.  We left enough room next to it to fit out 70” TV which was our Christmas present to each other.


So what do you think?  Do you have something similar in your home?  Would you want something similar in your home?  Or did you have it and demo it?