Point-in-time: August 2018

At this time of the year we get to wake up to these amazing views out the front windows. All it takes is some rain + humidity + sun + mother nature. We can stare at these scenes all-day, but they only last a few short hours at best. It is always great way to start your day.

Here are a few others from last season, around the same time of year. It is fun learning the seasonal changes of the house and garden.

Garden – Pool Area

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Last summer we managed to get a empty side-lot transformed into our little oasis. In four months we went from a grassy side-lot to a hidden swimming hole with a garden that blends with the established plantings. It was a fun process, and thanks to the design work by Julie DeLeon of Groundwork Design we can now enjoy our compound and watch the low maintenance garden grow.

Here are the plans for the side-lot, viewed alongside the house and the existing garden, that is essentially directly in front and behind the house.

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We had some changes that needed to be made to the designs to accommodated: budget; permits; city-planners; pool design; changes in terrain due to pool dig; and other countless design issues that occurred along the way. So things look a little different, as our plans evolved and looked more like the this plan [pictured below] …. again with some modifications. We have kept the existing garden as is, adding some plants into the existing beds, but it is largely un-touched. The area we impacted was the side-lot.

The Frost House - Pool Garden Plan

POOL: We started the design with the pool selection and placement. We wanted to have long narrow pool that mimicked the shape of the house. Julie cleverly placed it in the back corner for a few reasons: 1] least amount of disruption to the large existing trees; 2] maximize our hours of sun on the pool finding the least shaded parts; 3] flattest area of the side lot (it is a basin and is lower by 4-6ft from the front side to the rear property line.

FENCING: We had to have a fence around the pool, and we wanted to also have it reach around the house to contain the dog. This was going to make a HUGE impact to the look of the house.

The design that we REALLY wanted came further into our front property, but the city would not allow it at 6ft to go past the front of the house. The ruling was made so it didn’t prohibit drivers from seeing cars backing / approaching the street from the driveway. We tried to convince them, that the placement left lots of visibility. We were able to get them to compromise, and we had to go with it. Otherwise it would have required us to apply for an exception – and that was going to be more time and $$$.

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So we ended up with this [see below] as a compromise. Because the change in location meant it hit an area where the land started to lower + dip – we ended up having to backfill under the fence to reach up to 4ft in some sections. We do miss that they fence was going to have a break and short turn. The short fence bridging the two long expanses, was going to be vertical bars, designed to be open to a feature a tree trunk and allow Banksy to have a view to the street. No clear view for the pup.

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As for the style .. we were inspired by our neighbors pool / yard fence that is made from aluminum & actual wire-mesh safety glass [pictured below].

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We also loved this image [pictured below] that our Landscape Designer – Julie shared with us. With that we were off to the races to find a solution for a fence, we have another post to give the details on the design … it can be found here.

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PLANTS: Julie choose plantings that matched those that were already in the garden, along with period appropriate options, in 1964 we didn’t have access to the vast selection of varieties that we do today.

FURNITURE: We have kept outdoor furniture around the house in the existing garden period appropriate with vintage pieces – all knoll of course. However, for the pool area we selected more affordable options that were still minimal in style, came with a warranty, and something we didn’t need to panic about as we witness them taking some serious use and abuse. We went with Design-within-Reach EOS furniture line in white designed by Mathew Hilton in 2011. They are proving to be durable and survived our winter. The only drawback the chaise loungers absorb the rain and hold onto the water – in a major way. The leaf blower is good for dealing with that issue, when turned on it pushes the water out fast, and they are relatively quick to dry. The umbrella’s are a classic, and we first saw them in Palm Springs at The Parker, you can buy them here.

Earlier this Spring we finalized some details, we need to add irrigation, and yet some details – like landscape lighting, have still not been resolved. The plants have a lot of growing to do for the hedges to form and the trees to mature. You can find us this summer in the side-lot admiring the view. It is so nice to be able to enjoy the pool and garden with friends and family this year without all the construction and mess. It’s cocktail time!

Screened Porch – The Aviary

The screened in porch, we call ‘The Aviary’ is our favorite spot in the house, it is a vacation just to sip coffee in or listen to the birds in the garden. We are entering into our third season using the porch and it is always evolving. Originally, it was furnished with Woodard ‘Rose Vine‘ outdoor furniture [as pictured below from the real-estate listing].

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These are a few shots just after we closed.

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Whilst we still have the original furniture in storage, we have replaced it with the design classic ‘sculptura’. We mainly switched it because we have always coveted the design pieces, and when we had the perfect spot to put them – we started collecting vintage pieces. They were all white when purchased from etsy + eBay + charish, and we had a local company powder coat them black for us.

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Year-after-year, the furniture remains in the same spot and is divided into two zones: a dining area that is located close to the kitchen; and a lounging area with views over the garden onto the pool. Planters are used to divide the ‘rooms’ up, and this year we are adding ‘flor’ tiles to make a rug. The rug will be placed under the main seating arrangement, just to mix things up, and to make it cozy under our feet when the sun goes down, the terrazzo can feel too cold for most of the year.

For plants, we have found that ferns seem to be the least maintenance, and will tolerate some hot weather and long spells without remembering to water them. The added bonus with the ferns, they can be found in Lowes in April and they last until January when the temps really drop.

The flooring is the original terrazzo Fritz tile, we found a box with some spare tile in the crawl space under the house. We used the same brand to add terrazzo inside.

Back to the Sculptura Chairs – we have been searching for a pattern, or an example of the cushions for the lounge chairs. I was able to buy a set of original pads for the dining table from F&F Vintage. As for the loungers, we had some made, they were expensive and not well constructed. So the search continues … but here are some photos of the original cushions in case anyone is looking for inspiration:

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Even in the winter the space is lovely. We switch out the screened panels back to plexiglass-glass and hope that the ferns make it thru.

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Glass Fence

We have had several requests asking about details on our ‘Glass’ fence. Let us start by pointing out our fence is a ‘fake-glass’ fence – it is actually made from polycarbonate material. We are not ones for long posts so we will break this down fast.

WHY A FENCE

Simple – we added a pool to the side-lot that came with the home, and state law requires the pool to be fenced. We also wanted to allow our dog Banksy to be able to enjoy the outdoors without us worry if he was playing on the road. The fence were were worried about – as we didn’t want to impact the look of the house – distracting from the original design and look of the garden – we started to lose sleep over the fence design.

DESIGN INSPIRATION

Luckily we didn’t need to look too far. We were inspired by our neighbors fence. Their gorgeous fence is an original pool fence to the house and it made from aluminum and actual safety wire glass. The minute we noticed it – we were 1] jealous 2] knew we had to do something in-the-manner-of to be period appropriate. Our landscape designer Julie DeLeon of Groundwork Design also provide some visual inspiration with black metal and glass fences, and we looked to our previous home for ideas too [see here].

MATERIALS

Here is a list of the materials that were purchased / utilized during construction:

  • Fake Glass: Mulit-wall polycarbonate sheeting we purchased through EPlastics, the material was made in Wisconsin, we had it custom cut and shipped direct
  • Posts: Standard 2″ square steel posts painted black [similar material – see here]
  • Post Caps: Plastic you can easily source these [local hardware or amazon]
  • Concrete: Used to set the posts
  • Frames: Steel hot rolled Angle bar [similar materials – see here]
  • Screws: Frames were screwed to the posts so at anytime if needed they can be removed.
  • Gate Hinge: Again nothing custom – readily purchased at hardware store.
  • Gate Handle: Simple and cost effective – here is something similar to what we used
  • Gate Plate: Custom made from plate steel, welded to steel angle bar painted black.

CONSTRUCTION

We had been working with, and still to this day, work with a local General Contractor, Juan Ramirez and his crew RASE Construction LLC – hold our house together and are not afraid of our crazy project requests. We are not handy people, and rely upon this crew to help us with our projects, they figured out how to construct the fence from all the pieces and put it together. The frames were welded off site and everything else was put together onsite. The poly carbonate panels are 3ft wide by 6ft tall, and are set into frames that are 2 panels across, attached to fence posts set every 6ft. We tried to do 9ft wide with 3 panels, but the wind made them too unstable. The rest of the details – to us it was magic. Sorry we are not of much use here as to the ‘how’, we truly are useless even with a hammer.

LESSONS

There was some trial and error with the fence, just like anything, nothing is really ever perfect and you just need to roll with it. Here are a few things we learned:

  1. Polycarbonate delivery was huge, the crates were custom made and hard to crack open – we needed a crew to help us off load a delivery that would normally go to a construction site with forklifts to offload – we had to do it by hand. It can be done, but be prepared with a crew to help you.
  2. Light. The fence creates the most amazing light shows all times of the day. It really obscures detail until you or the object is up close to the fence. You can see movement of people and cars going by, and night the headlights and tail-lights are like moving abstract art. And you can see the garden plantings and their movement too. So far no discoloration to the panels from the light has been observed.
  3. Weather. It is holding up well so far, it went in August 2017 and at time of writing April 2018 it is looking great. It has endured: heavy snow; high winds; tree branches; hot sun; and torrential downpours. So far we are giving it a thumbs up.
  4. Cleaning. It is low maintenance, with the hammered effect to the poly carbonate, to make it opaque it helps hide the dust and the rain splatter. A quick hose down get rid of any bark or soil.
  5. Channels. The polycarbonate is twin-walled so has channels for water and small bugs to make themselves a home. So far – the bugs haven’t been an issue. The first panels that were installed we used silicone and it created condensation issues. There is a tape to seal them that comes with the manufactures recommendation – don’t skip buying it, it seems to work to keep bugs out and condensation a way to escape [see photo below] It was only utilized on the bottom edge of the panels, the rest of the edges are sealed with silicone.

Oops this turned out longer than we thought it would. Well – we hope this helps, and please share your projects if you are inspired to create your own ‘frosted-fake-glass-fence’. And if you have any question please ask away we will do our best to answer your questions based on our project and experience to date.

 

 

July 2017 – Pool and Garden Progress

We are making some progress on the pool and landscaping project, we still have a long way to go. We have the ‘fake-glass’ fence to be finished installing [rain delays], then we can finalize grading the land. Once we have the grading sorted out it is onto new irrigation systems and then some additional hardscaping, all that has to happen before the landscaping can go in. We are exhausted just thinking about it, we hope to have to finished by the end of Summer, so we are good to roll next Spring with pool parties and maximum pool enjoyment. Here are a few pieces of drone footage of the progress to date [thanks neighbor for the fly-bys.]

Point-in-time: July 2017

Mother nature sure knows how to turn it on. A few days ago, after a summer thunderstorm rolled in through the night, we woke up to sunshine and ‘god-rays’ that stopped us in our tracks. The Frost House truly is in a park-like setting, across the street is a forest preserve that is densely wooded and gives us green for days in the spring and summer months. Come the fall, again mother nature puts on a show and an incredible display of color.

Pool Project & Landscaping

When we bought the house a year ago, we discovered after we put in the contract on the home, that we also got the lot next door on the title. It was perfectly groomed – filled with some lawn and tall established trees. Coincidently, our neighbor had cleared that lot by hand one summer before starting college. The lot – it was begging for us to do something with this extra space, and adding a pool seemed like the perfect addition to be able to enjoy the garden and the massive tree canopy on warm summer days.

We didn’t waste much time getting plans organized, and quotes aligned. It seem like it took forever, but finally we are working on getting the pool project underway. Everything moved very quickly with digging a hole and prep-work, over the course of 2 days and both a few hours of work at a time: a hole was created and prepared; a pool was delivered and set-in place; and water was added. However, it has been slow progress since, but we are getting there.

Here are some videos and photos of the work-in-progress .. we will post some more as we make progress.