When we were weighing pros and cons of moving to Tennessee, the weather was kind of floating on both lists. Ronny really wanted four square seasons while I’ve always been pretty sure I would be just fine with perpetual summer. Ronny wilts in extreme heat (he’s from India..it’s quite hysterically ironic) and I find cold to be actually painful. A lot of people told us that the southern humidity would be a huge con as we were moving from CA Bay Area – widely known as some of the best weather you can find. But, I’m happy to report that we are now three seasons in and we love the weather here. Ronny hasn’t died of heat stroke yet and I did not freeze to death last winter. What is taking some getting used to isn’t the temperature or the humidity like we thought, but rather the unpredictability. Weather in Tennessee is incredibly undependable. You can check the forecast if you want but it is pretty much meaningless here. Storms roll in and start torrential downpours while my app still claims sunshine all week. The promise of a week of thunderstorms ahead can just simply never arrive. Back in March we were stunned to sit on the porch in shorts after dinner feeling like we were in the tropics and then the next day it snowed. And I’ve never experienced so much rain in the summer anywhere I’ve lived and as July is nearing an end, I am thrilled to still see green out every window. And I just learned that we actually get more rainfall here than Seattle?!
What has been tricky for us and this volatile weather is painting. Several outdoor exterior projects have been undertaken and each have had some “oh crap here comes the rain” moments. The first project, which I will be sharing more of soon, is that we have begun to limewash the exterior brick. Unlike paint, it takes a while to fully set. We were going to put this project off till next year but after realizing how terrible the drainage was with this house (as in full waterfalls in front of windows) we realized we had to replace all the gutters ASAP. Since we didn’t want to try to paint around a new black gutter…we decided to limewash just those areas where the gutters would be placed. Yes, we now have white stripes on portions of our house. I’m telling you…the place is really looking good. So we have had to time our limewashing work with when we think the rain will come. Not so easy. The second project where we have had to race the storm clouds was the back porch. This project is a temp redo. Originally a glassed in sunroom, we dismantled the precarious glass walls and ceilings and removed the linoleum to make a back porch for the summer.
The future plan is to extend this as part of the living room. There is AC already running to this area and as it was enclosed, it was counted as part of the square footage of the home. We would like to both reclaim that space as well as enjoy this area 12 months out of the year. So we plan on enclosing this section next year and adding an open air BBQ porch (similar to what we have now) to the side.
Temporary projects are tricky cause it’s hard to do a good job while not doing too good of a job, knowing it will get replaced/torn down at some point! We power washed the brick, removed the linoleum to leave the wooden floorboards, and put a quick coat of paint over the boards (covering the red). Moments after I sprayed a coat of paint, it of course started pouring rain and took off about half the paint which I never actually repainted. The wood down there is so old and now the paint job just seems to match it! The porch was exposed without a rail for over a month and the kids were loving jumping off of it. But as Saylor became a speed crawler, time was of the essence. My younger brother Stephan was visiting for a few weeks and him and Ronny tackled building a quick rail. The existing wood on the deck is quite rotted and it was frustrating to build a nice rail on top of an awful foundation. But ripping everything down right now when we aren’t ready for the proper buildout did not make sense.
Ronny used pine wood from Home Depot. The vertical posts were 4×4’s and the rails were 2×6’s. The only other material used were some big ass screws. (The pics below were taken before he added another post to the center seams and moved the other posts to make it symmetrical).
To hang the lights we just used 2×2 pine poles and these iron Shepherd hooks. Ronny cut grooves in the 2×6 board to cinch the pole up flush to the rail.
We bought cheap wood for the rail and most of it wasn’t pressure treated. Ronny and Stephan got the rail up quickly and since our minds were just on temporary safety, we didn’t stain and seal before building…which we should have done. Then we got sidetracked by other things for several weeks and are completely ignorant still as to what high humidity and rainfall in the south rapidly do to wood. The next time I paid attention to the rails, mold was already setting in all over the place. Gah…doing something right in the beginning really saves time in the long run. Fast forward hours of sanding down to remove the beginning mold, and we knew we needed to stain and seal immediately before anymore rain came. We had…48 hours at this point before the storm would roll in (which of course means nothing). We put the kids to bed, and started staining. We painted on Varathane Dark Walnut with brushes and then rubbed it in and removed excess with rags.
Around 2am, we were wrapped up and crashed. Next day Ronny put on a coat of poly and we prayed we would have a solid 24 hrs for it to really set. The rain was supposed to come around 9am the next day. At 5am on that Saturday morning I was jolted awake by the loudest thunder crash I’ve ever heard. After surviving a minor heart attack, we watched a huge summer storm roll in. Thankfully, the poly was set and water was balling up on it perfectly.
Again, not so easy staining onto a raised porch at midnight…but would have been a piece of cake prior to building. Was still worth the sleepless night as this has been our favorite part of the house this summer. We don’t have patio furniture yet but I found a cheap kid’s picnic table and we actually all eat dinner on that when the rain isn’t pouring!