Stopgap Fencing, Which Realistically will Probably be Pretty Permanent

Anyone who’s had the distinct pleasure of using the only functional bathroom in my house can probably confirm that I’m not a huge patron of the stopgap measure. At some point, the space will more than likely get gutted down to the studs and put back together again, but for now it’s…well, it’s wretched. The vinyl tile floor is horrendously ugly and missing or coming up in places, the old paint-covered wallpaper is separating all over the place from the cracked plaster walls underneath, and the shower surround is the same 1950s gold-speckled white formica used on the old kitchen countertops downstairs. My work on it, thus far, has been keeping it clean, hanging a shower curtain, and a couple of hooks for towels. Often I think about dedicating a few days to trying to at least do something about the floor and maybe slap a coat of paint on the walls and re-caulk the tub, but then I think…nah. I’ll get to this space when I’m ready to really get to it, and for now I can just keep apologizing to guests when they inevitably ask where to relieve themselves and I’m left to wonder whether the backyard would be a more luxurious recommendation.


Sometimes, though, you really just have to do something, which is what happened with the old wrought iron fence lining the front and a portion of the side of my property, right next to the sidewalk. I often refer to this fence as “original” but honestly I have no idea. The same or similar style of fencing isn’t all that uncommon in and around Kingston, but it seems to be typically used around public spaces like civic buildings or graveyards rather than private residences, so sometimes I wonder if this fence could have been relocated here from elsewhere.

Who knows. Standing a bit over 3 feet high, it’s a very simple fence that’s relatively light on ornament, with each vertical picket terminating in a rather threatening-looking spike. It has a very creepy cemetery kind of vibe that I just think is terrific, obviously.


Trouble is, the fence just sort of…stops about 20 feet in from the corner, which is part of what makes me wonder if it was moved from somewhere else. Back before I replaced all the chain-link with a nice new wood fence, this stopping point is where the 6′ chain-link fencing began, which was awkward and totally ugly and not nice at all.

There’s about 32 feet between where the wrought iron fence ends and the wood fence begins that I needed to fill in with…something. This is the kind of thing that will keep me from sleeping for months or years. I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled at salvage places and on Craigslist basically since buying the house hoping to stumble upon lengths of the same fencing to match, but no dice.


In this circa 1950 photo of the house (which you can read a whole post about here), the solution the owners had come up with then was to patch in this area with a different type of fencing—to me it looks like wood, and maybe is supposed to be a balustrade, like for a porch? I think this is actually a pretty nice answer to this vexing conundrum so I was planning to do something similar, but then I figured I might as well obsess over it forever instead?

I found someone locally who does custom metal fabrication projects and we talked about having the original fence replicated (with powder-coated steel instead of wrought iron), but the only way it would have maybe been within financial reach would have been if he could have sourced the basic components from his suppliers (horizontal rails with pre-punched holes at the correct dimensions and spacing, that kind of thing…) and then just done the work of welding it all together, but he did some searching and couldn’t find what we needed, so that plan was kind of dead in the water.


I have no idea how it took me so long to notice, but back in the spring I was looking more closely at the original fence and took a closer look at the little seal on the gate. Of course it had a brand name on it! I’m dumb.

Want to know something cool? Too bad, you don’t have a choice. Stewart Iron Works Company? It’s still in business! According to the company, it was founded around 1860 (Wikipedia says 1886), and at its peak was the biggest iron fence manufacturer in the world—providing fencing for everything from cemeteries to the Panama Canal to the White House! They did a bunch of other impressive stuff too, like jail cells (notably at Alcatraz and Sing Sing), military vehicles during WWI, furniture…amazing, right? Nowadays the company is based in Kentucky, and evidently a lot of their business stems from historic restoration projects, which is pretty awesome. It doesn’t look like my particular fence is something they stock (although all the components seem to be available in the catalog), but I did have a very nice conversation over the phone with one of their employees who said it should be easy enough for them to reproduce. Which would be AWESOME, correct? Correct.

If money were no object this would be a total no-brainer, but…girl’s gotta eat. My house still needs a LOT of work. Funds are low. As much as I love this fence, there are about 100 things I can think of off the top of my head that I’d prioritize higher than having a perfect replica of my old fence made, and I can currently afford maybe 1.5 of them? So PLEASE, Stewart Iron Works: stay in business another decade or two and I promise to circle back and pursue this for real. Maybe then you can just send me the pattern and I’ll 3D print it.

ANYWAY I had to do SOMETHING because amazingly enough, a 39″ high antique wrought iron fence connecting to a 6′ rusty dusty chain-link fence connecting to a new 6′ wood picket fence all within about 50 feet is not adorable? Even the dirt patch AND falling down addition on the side of the house weren’t enough to make it a good look, if you can believe it.


I searched far and wide (kind of), hoping to find something within a couple inches in height of the original fence, with a similar pattern. Since the ultimate goal is to get an actual Stewart Iron Works fence, it had to also be within the budgetary parameters of free to pretty cheap.

I looked at SO MANY OPTIONS of newer aluminum fencing products, and you know what’s funny? I ultimately just came back to the same exact solution I came to a year ago on the opposite side of the yard! I originally found this “No Dig Fencing” stuff at Lowe’s totally just because I spotted it and figured it was good enough and relatively affordable, but now I’m pretty convinced it actually is the closest thing out there for cheaps to my old fence. Fancy that.

If I wasn’t trying to match something else, I was actually surprised by how many affordable and really nice-looking options for metal fencing Lowe’s has, by the way. I guess it’s all special-order in the stores or online-only (at least at my store it is), but there are all these options seem much, much sturdier than the stuff I used (since they have real posts and bolts to connect everything and all that) and the panels are 6 foot lengths rather than 4 feet, which just looks better for longer spans. I only bring it up because I can see a lot of those options actually looking really good on a historic restoration project and budget-wise it’s totally friendly.


How is this post getting this long?? Back to my fence. This stuff installs so quickly that I didn’t even take any process pictures—it was all done in about an hour, including cutting down a panel for this little return piece as well as the last one at the end so it all fit. The pieces are all hollow aluminum so it cuts VERY easily—I used my Sawzall but a regular manual hacksaw would be easy, too. The little return panel is attached to the wood post with a couple of conduit straps that I spray-painted black, which sounds horrendous but you really don’t notice them.

Anyway, the entire fence is just 4 foot panels, which interlock with vertical posts. The posts stay in the ground with a stake that you hammer in with a rubber mallet. All in all it’s not the most sturdy thing in the world, but I think it’ll be OK

This fencing tends to look a little nutty, I figured out, if you don’t really get everything hammered into place well. I sort of made this mistake on the other side of the yard and it shows, so here I hammered the stakes deeper into the ground and then went back and hammered the posts as far down as I could get them after all the panels were in place. This keeps everything level and the interlocking aspect of how it all fits together isn’t as evident. This also means that the bottom of the fence is sitting right on the ground (and a little underground after I plant and mulch this area), which may affect the longevity of it depending on how good the powder-coating is to prevent it from rusting, but again…I’m not expecting it to last forever.


Anyway! I feel like it’s kind of really hokey but it also looks totally OK?? Like, we’re all sitting here staring at it right now, but in real life you don’t really do that—especially once this area has some plants growing, I really feel like it’ll all “read” as the same fencing and be completely fine, ya know? So maybe it’s not exactly fooling anyone but it’s also the kind of thing that you’d have to be paying more attention than most people really do to notice. Yeah? Not bad for about $300 and an hour or so of work.


To finish off this VERY professional and labor-intensive installation, I connected the new fence to the old fence with…black plastic zip-ties. I can’t really believe I’m admitting this publicly, but I feel like this post is kind of about letting things slide so WHATEVER. It happened and it works and if they break it’s not like it’s exactly difficult or expensive to just throw on some new ones.


Here’s the house back at the end of April…


And here’s where things stood as of a couple of weeks ago! It’s, like, both better and worse at the same time? That’s possible, right? But someday that “after” image will just be another “progress” shot and we can all forget or feel nostalgic for how crazy things look right in this moment.

This post is in partnership with my pals at Lowe’s! Thank you for supporting my sponsors!


About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 9.15.15
    Rasmus said:

    stopgap: Temporary; short-term. Eg. “they put a stopgap solution in place, but need something more permanent”.

    • 9.16.15
      Pippa said:

      What is the point of this comment? Daniel used the term correctly.

    • 9.17.15
      Rasmus said:

      Yup. But I’d never heard it. Never come across it, so I was baffled by the post. I searched the page for a definition, but there wasn’t one. So I looked it up and thought I’d post the definition for others in the same situation. A word that’s both an adjective and a noun can be tricky to grasp, when you first stumble upon it.

      To illustrate:
      Blåbærsyltetøj Fencing Which Realistically will Probably be Pretty Permanent.
      Anyone who’s had the distinct pleasure of using the only functional bathroom in my house can probably confirm that I’m not a huge patron of the blÃ¥bærsyltetøj measure. At some point, the space will more than likely get gutted down to the studs and put back together again, but for now it’s”¦well, it’s wretched.

  2. 9.15.15
    Lori said:

    I actually laughed when I got to the last picture. Scanning left to right is pretty funny. Looks good….looks good…OUCH!

    But I have no doubt that it’ll all look badass in a year or so!

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      I know, it looks so crazy right now! I have my work cut out for me before the weather turns, that’s for sure!

  3. 9.15.15
    threadbndr said:

    It looks a bazillion percent better than the chain link! And will be fine until you get around to replacing it down the road.

    As far as the bathrooms – I feel your pain. At THE Bungalow, we had what I called “Russian monastery chic” (ie plain white plaster walls) for YEARS. The pain will pass. At some point it will be time for that room (those rooms – we haven’t forgotten the downstairs bath with all it’s gruesome history LOL)

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      I know, I can’t wait!! Patience, patience, patience. The bathroom functions FINE—it’s farrrrr from ideal but at least it’s functionally alright. Downstairs bathroom first, then I can tear apart that one! :)

  4. 9.15.15
    Kari said:

    It looks great! Not a perfect replica, but honestly, not even a little bit noticeable (especially after landscaping). It’s the kind of thing I would see driving by and assume is one of those sweet stories from the house’s long history. And you know what? It is! It’s just on the more recent side.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Kari! :)

  5. 9.15.15
    Kate. said:

    Re: zip ties – I love them and use them to join all kinds of things that they shouldn’t…this is how I ended up with my pannier baskets falling off of my bike mid-ride. In your case, I’m afraid the sun will degrade that plastic way, way fast.

    • 9.15.15
      Ryan said:

      There are UV resistant zip ties. I’m sure they’ll still degrade in the sun, but i used some to attach 5′ wood fence panels to an existing 3′ chain link fence at a rental and they were still holding 4 or 5 years later when the fence was torn down.

      I of course also have my pannier baskets held on with zip ties right now but that’s because the metal hose clamps that I used 5 years ago all broke this summer. I doubled up on the zip ties at each attachment point so hopefully i’ll notice if one fails and still have 3 more.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, guys! Kate, you’re probably right—like I said, no big deal if they break and need to be replaced (I’ll probably do something with wire if/when the time comes), but it works for now and it’s what I had around! They aren’t essential for the fence to stay standing or anything like that, so I’ll just keep an eye on them!

  6. 9.15.15
    Noelle said:

    I actually love it! Especially when you see how much better it looks than the chainliink. I love the look of a yard fronted by wrought iron (it’s so creepy Victorian) and have been wanting to do that with our old house. We also have a side wood fence (with a wrought iron topper) and seeing yours, I think this could work for us too!

  7. 9.15.15
    Devyn said:

    I think it looks GREAT!
    You did what every homeowner who doesn’t have an endless budget does, you compromised. But what makes this great is that you spent the time to do the research to find the best solution, rather than just left the ugly chain link in place,or replaced it with something that is nothing like either the original iron fence or the new wood fence. I completely relate to having sleepless nights thinking about how to resolve these types of issues, as they are important (to you at least) and that is what helps make the end results so much better than the average schmo.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Devyn! That’s very nice of you to say! :)

  8. 9.15.15
    Bonnie said:

    I think the wood fence is the bigger visual jump. I assume you are going to paint that black. Then once you landscape all that…the landscaping is what people will be checking out. If the plastic ties don’t last you could switch to some wire and then paint it.

    Looking good. Congrats.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Yes, the wood fence is going black! I had to let the pressure-treated lumber dry out a bit before that, though—I agree that it looks jarring! I also definitely want to get something vine-y growing on it so that it’ll sort of meld into the landscape—I think that’ll be the biggest thing aside from changing the color. Definitely still LOTS to do before I’ll be satisfied with this particular view of the house!! :)

  9. 9.15.15
    LRC said:

    This was a great solution. I love each and every post you write and all you are doing with your and other houses. I’m glad you are back to posting a little more frequently!

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I’m trying with the posting!! It’s been a tough…year, honestly, but I’m trying to re-focus and be better at stuff, including this blog. :)

  10. 9.15.15
    Nancy said:

    great solution

  11. 9.15.15
    Sterling said:

    Zip-ties FTW. This is a good solution, no need to spend a bunch of money on something temporary.

  12. 9.15.15
    Suzanne said:

    All looking pretty legit, even the conduit straps, until you come to the zip ties they really surprised me, but I can’t think of a better solution too. Maybe the rest of your readers will have better suggestions to tie the old and the new together. Cheers!

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      I think wire is probably a better solution, but hey! It works for now! It’s just something for a little added stability and stuff, and I had them around. Now I’m kind of curious how long they’ll last, haha.

  13. 9.15.15
    Suzen said:

    WOW! It really looks extremely nice, Daniel! I likey!

  14. 9.15.15
    Jeanna said:

    Are you kidding, it looks so much better than the old chain link fence! I don’t think the zip ties will last forever, but I don’t think it’s bad at all for a temporary solution. I love that you care about all the details and can’t wait to see how the old girl shapes up. And thanks for posting more lately, I love hearing what you are up to!

  15. 9.15.15
    Joann said:

    The fence solution is pretty nice. I also think that new roof looks really, really fine as seen from these recent pictures in the context of the rest of the house and neighborhood. You must have a good sense of satisfaction derived from solid progress on your homestead as you move things along. Now enjoy the fall season!

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Joann!

  16. 9.15.15
    Lauren said:

    The fence upgrade is fantastic but what I love the most is being able to see the new proportions of the house without the mudroom in the last pic. Really smart move — it totally changes the gravity of the whole structure.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Me too!! The mudroom was such a buzzkill. There’s still quite a bit I want to do in terms of structural changes to this side of the house in the next couple of years, but I agree that it already looks better without the mudroom! At least demo is cheap, haha.

    • 9.15.15
      Suzy from CA said:

      Removal of your mudroom is proof that sometimes demolition (removal) is actually ‘additive’ to the overall aesthetic; sometimes letting go improves things (a good life lesson?). I sense that it doesn’t feel to you like as much progress as the finished fences (wood & new ‘wrought iron’ match) but to me it feels like it will have a MUCH larger overall impact on your satisfaction with the house long-term; and how you develop, live with, and use the back yard both short term and long term.
      Take care of yourself, Daniel. You’ve made several oblique references to lingering health issues and that it’s been such a difficult summer. Your blogisphere friends care about you beyond what you tell us about your house(s). This one (who’s old enough to be your grandmother!) worries about you and wants you take care of Daniel first, dogs second, extended family third, house(s) fourth, and blog last.

    • 9.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Suzy! I’m trying, in that order! :)

  17. 9.15.15
    Ashli said:

    Honestly, it looks so much better. The curb appeal is greatly improved and people driving by won’t notice the difference between it and the cast iorn fencing. The reproduction can come later, this works for now and saves you from the ugy chain link. The house is coming along nicely. It’ll be particularly beautiful in the spring when all the paint is up and plants are happy.

  18. 9.15.15
    Ashley said:

    Yay!!! No more chain link! It looks so much better (and yes, worse :), but progress is progress, right?!

  19. 9.15.15

    Genius…an a gazillion times better than that chain link….obvi.
    Love the use of the zip tie…I’ve staked tomatoes with them all sorts of things….
    and looking back at the pictures of your bathroom makes me feel better about the grout in mine…just a bit ….

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      I guess that’s one good thing about my bathroom? No grout at all! hahaha

  20. 9.15.15
    Mara said:


    That bathroom is not even all that bad! You’ve got that beautiful sink and the stained glass window to cover a lot of sins. I trust that whatever small improvement you make will only highlight how adorable that space looks! I’m so glad you’re working with a small footprint there, lets do the bathroom next, mkay? Mara needs some inspiration!

    Btw, the fence looks rad. Plus the house looks so balanced now with that addition gone!

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      I definitely want to renovate a bathroom soon, but it’s going to be the downstairs one! I have to make that one work before I can tear apart the only other one, ya know? Hope that’s OK! :)

    • 9.16.15
      Mara said:

      Of course, pre demolished spaces take precedence!

  21. 9.15.15
    Kelly said:

    “It’s, like, both better and worse at the same time?”

    THIS. I am working on a house I bought a year ago and this is the story of my life!
    Love reading about your projects; you are so amazing and inspiring.

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      aw, shucks. Stay strong, you! The first year is tough…it gets better!

  22. 9.15.15
    Rachel said:

    Oh that final photo!!! The back of the house is looking pretty crazy face, but I’m sure will be awesome sooner or later :) Thanks for sharing these in between projects- the temporary fence is already looking good, and with landscaping will blend right in. Good work keeping it moving at your house when you have so much else going on- I always love your updates!

  23. 9.15.15

    such a good choice – and yes budgets make good decision makers.
    re the zip ties, interesting. i would have used black coated wire (heavy gauge) wrapped around a few times. . but then i never have liked zip ties.

    the side view looks SO MUCH BETTER – the back of the house looks like its BREATHING finally!

    such great potential and fun to see the progress!

    just curious about the wee cottage… did you finish it and sell it already?

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      Sigh, the poor cottage. I wish that were the case! I have to get a couple major things checked off the list there soon, but I’m basically planning on that being a more late fall/winter/early spring project. The Olivebridge renovation is in month #5 (it was supposed to be 8 weeks) so between that and stuff I kinda needed to get done on my own place, there basically hasn’t been any time to do much more than maintenance. I’m coming back to it, I promise!

    • 9.15.15

      month FIVE… wow. imagine there are some great horror, uh interesting stories about THAT!
      good to save a project for the winter ;o

    • 9.15.15
      Daniel said:

      like you wouldn’t believe, oh man. there are no words. like, i’ll have to come up with some when I’m free to start blogging about it again, but…no words.

  24. 9.15.15
    gretaclark said:

    It is definitely better! More streamlined.

  25. 9.15.15
    SLG said:

    Wow. I wasn’t sure what to think when you posted about the mudroom, but you were totally right — it needed to go. The back of the house looks SO much better already!

  26. 9.15.15
    SusanT said:

    One thousand percent better! Kudos for stopgaps that truly get the job done : )

  27. 9.15.15
    Harper said:

    Um. I seriously love it. The “after” picture with the side view…it’s crazy how much has changed! Can’t wait to see what it will look like when all is said and done. Also, LOVING how much you have been posting lately. It’s such a treat!

  28. 9.16.15
    Jen said:

    It’s so weird. Before seeing the difference between the last two pictures in this post, I’d somehow failed to comprehended what a horror that mudroom was. I mean, I’d heard you say it over and over and you’ve certainly showed pictures of it before, but I was always like, eh, it looks ok to me. OMG IT DID NOT LOOK OK AT ALL. (Sorry for yelling.) The fence looks fine, btw (although I don’t blame you if you don’t trust my judgment in light of the mudroom situation).

    • 9.16.15
      Rachel said:

      OMG me too! I have no idea how I didn’t see the horror either, but I am 100% serious when I say that even with that green siding exposed it looks 100000000% better with the mudroom gone. You are making amazing progress in bringing the house back (forward?) to its best self! I’m a real nerd about anthropomorphizing things in general and worse with houses, but I feel like it probably breathed a big sigh of relief when the mudroom went, haha. (Oh, and I agree with everyone else that the “stopgap” fencing is a great solution! I had to LOL at the zip ties, I didn’t even know what those were before I met my boyfriend but he uses them on pretty much everything and would approve immensely of this application).

    • 9.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, guys! It is sort of nuts how bad looking that room was, right??? I’m glad we all agree, haha!

  29. 9.16.15
    Pippa said:

    “There’s still quite a bit I want to do in terms of structural changes to this side of the house in the next couple of years”
    What? What? What? Enquiring minds must know, even if it’s very brief!
    She look SO much better from the side without that cancerous growth of a mudroom. The effect of the fence versus the effort and cost = fabulous result. The difference in the fence won’t read at all unless it’s pointed out.

    • 9.16.15
      Daniel said:

      oh my goodness, wellll….the bay window on the first floor toward the front of the house is original (or close to it), but the structure attached to it is not and is in very poor structural condition, aside from being pretty ugly what with those three crappy windows and whatnot. The bumped-out section on the second floor is also not original and is supported by that structure on the side, so the big plan is to actually remove both the bump-out on the second floor (replaced with a single window to match the other windows on that level of the house—they’re all the same size on the street-facing sides) and the addition on the first, leaving only the bay window in the dining room (which will need a third window—the original one was ripped out and replaced with a door in probably the 1930s). The goal is to bring back the symmetry and balance that the house would have originally had, as well as get more natural light! There’s a window in the dining room that faces into that addition that will be so nice when it’s exposed again, and removing the addition will also allow me to put windows on that wall of the kitchen down the line. It’s going to be a lot of work in terms of putting everything back together so there isn’t a lot of obvious patching and whatnot, but I think it’ll be really worth it! I think the front of my house is really pretty and nicely proportioned, so having the side to match will be so fancy!

    • 9.23.15
      NestFan said:

      While reading this post, I seemed to remember that you were planning to remove the side addition (maybe because I want to see that bay window restored to having 3 sides, and the other window to that addition freed to let in light), so I was thinking it makes sense to have a temporary, easily removable fence there – it will make the demolition go easier, when it happens, I would think, than with a permanent, iron reproduction one cemented into the ground. Fence looks fine as is now, anyway.

    • 10.1.15
      Daniel said:

      That’s very true! Hoping I can tackle that side of the house next summer…restoring the bay window and losing that side addition I think will be HUGE for how the house looks on the outside and feels on the inside. It’s a deceptively large project, but it’ll be so good when it’s done!

  30. 9.16.15
    Doorot said:

    That is definitely a great improvement, and I’m sure it’ll last quite some time. I love the new prespective without the mudroom. Great job, as always.
    I can’t wait to see what you do with the bathroom though, I can’t remember (and am too lazy to go back and check), did you finally get rid of the corpse tub?

    • 9.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Of course I didn’t! I love that tub! It is, however, still sitting in my living room awaiting sand-blasting and powder-coating. :)

    • 9.16.15
      SLG said:

      This makes me feel much better about the old yucky baseboard that’s still sitting in my living room because I ripped it out of another room :-)

  31. 9.16.15
    Maureen Blair said:

    Hi Daniel,

    Still faithfully following your blog and love everything you do. You have certainly come a long way from jujuing up your little apartment. I am sure the Kingston house and the cottage will look amazing when you’ve finished but unfortunately all the unfun stuff has to be done (plumbing, wiring, structural) before we get to the fun stuff (painting, decorating soft furnishings, art).

    I love your new fence. it looks awesome but as I am OCD I really think you need to put some weed killer on the grass between the flagstones to tidy it up. Just saying… please don’t take offence (pardon the pun)!

    • 9.16.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Maureen! I know—I feel bad about all the process posts and photos of mess and demo, but I’m tired of it in my life, too! Can’t wait to start getting stuff looking pretty again.

      I’m not offended at all—you’re absolutely right!! I have to figure out the sidewalk cracks…I’d really like to avoid using a chemical weed killer so I’ve been thinking about trying to dig the weed crap out and get some polymeric sand (or something) in the cracks to help prevent future re-growth. It looks awful and makes me nuts!

    • 9.16.15
      Joann said:

      You’re supposed to first use boiling water on the weeds between the cracks to kill them.

    • 9.16.15
      beki said:

      Joann is right. My brick patio had weeds in every crack and the boiling water trick worked like a charm. I haven’t bothered to fill the cracks and only a few strays ever regrew—easy enough to pull by hand.

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, guys! I tried the boiling water and it worked OK, but results were very temporary. I guess I’m hoping I can figure out a longer-lasting solution? I don’t know what it is about the sidewalk cracks—I hate maintaining them and the weeds love them! I have abut 175 feet of sidewalk so it’d be great to figure out something that doesn’t need so much attention. :)

  32. 9.16.15
    Stanton said:

    Zip ties are a boy’s best friend.

  33. 9.16.15
    Kit said:

    That fence looks 110% totally fine! I also have to agree with the chorus of “omg that mudroom was terrible and I don’t know why I never noticed it was that terrible”, it’s really an astounding change. I am excited for the day when your house has its original visual balance back, and I’m really glad it has you to care for it! My city has a lot of hard done by early Victorian architecture and it makes me sad to see beautiful houses given hideous new additions/aluminum siding/vinyl windows.

  34. 9.16.15
    Cindy said:

    Just looking at the old picture vs. new. Looks like there were two more windows in the old one.
    You are doing an amazing job “peeling the onion” on your house. Sooo, many layers!!
    I sure hope you find gold doubloons somewhere in there. And ding, dong, the wicked chain link dead!!!

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      Yes! I talked a little about those windows in the original post, but they’re fake! It’s actually not all that uncommon at least around here—window trim and “closed” shutters to give the appearance of windows where the architecture would benefit from having that kind of balance and symmetry. It’s a good trick that I totally plan to restore when the vinyl comes down! I didn’t know about this until I saw that picture of my house and now I notice them all the time on other houses and buildings. They make the house look so much better in my opinion!

    • 9.23.15
      NestFan said:

      Yes, the fake windows look good on the exterior. Is there any reason why it wouldn’t have worked well on the interior to have actual windows there – or was it a cost savings measure?

      I like light – especially in kitchens … it really matters.

    • 10.1.15
      Daniel said:

      I think it would have just been a LOT of windows! Between doorways, big windows, and wood stoves, I think the interior of the house is better off without them—there are already so few walls to place furniture or art or whatever on! If they were real windows they would be in the living room/library on the first floor and my bedroom on the second. Both of those rooms have three actual windows each and get lots and lots of light as it is. :)

  35. 9.17.15
    Amy said:

    I just noticed that the back of the house doesn’t have dentition molding like the rest of the house. Any thoughts on that?

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      The back of the house appears to be a later addition onto the original structure, but I don’t know how much later! The foundations and other details are basically the same so I’m not really sure what the thinking was behind doing a different style on the cornice. Hopefully I can figure some of this stuff out with more research, but I haven’t been able to find very much info on the house at all…it’s outside the areas of town that were better documented so it might just remain a mystery!

  36. 9.17.15
    hello said:

    Love the blog but enough with the Lowe’s content. And this one was stealth–only realized i was suckered into reading a commercial after a few hundred words of your fine prose. c’mon man.

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      I’m sorry you feel that way. In case it makes any difference, Lowe’s provided me with a product budget at the beginning of the summer for working on my backyard, and I chose to spend some of it on this fencing. That’s it! It’s a product I’ve used before (and paid out of pocket for the first time, for the record…), and used again because I thought it was a good solution to this problem as well.

    • 9.21.15
      Samma said:

      Lowes commercial all you want/need to. We get your work, ideas, pictures, research, humour, etc for free. I’ve got no issues with giving your sponsors eyes and page clicks.

    • 9.30.15
      Tisha said:

      I’m with Samma. You’ve already mentioned that your budget isn’t what you hoped it would be, a little Lowe’s love can’t be hurting that and it sure isn’t hurting your readers. I feel like we would have gotten this post with or without sponsorship. I just wish my Lowe’s was as nice as yours.

  37. 9.18.15
    Ashli said:

    Oh my gosh! I just noticed the little basement window in the second picture. It’s adorable! Are there more of those around the garden? How freaking cute.

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      Yep! There are a couple on that side of the house :)

  38. 9.18.15
    Adrien said:

    At one point that chain link fence was probably all the rage in modern living!

  39. 9.20.15
    JG said:

    Pretty sure it won’t rust, even if the paint comes off- you said the new fencing is aluminum, right?! :)

  40. 9.20.15
    Cindi M said:

    My sister put up one of those about 10 years ago, so their then toddler wouldn’t topple off the end of the yard and into the marshland. Even with salt air, it hasn’t rusted.

  41. 9.20.15
    Heather said:

    Can you give an update on the little house and the summer cottage? Wished you vlogged!

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      Yes, soon (this week?) I swear!

  42. 9.21.15
    Chris said:

    I just spent an hour drooling over the Stewart website! The fence around our house was harvested for scrap during WWII and i desperately want to put it back

  43. 9.21.15
    carole said:

    You should really check out craigslist in the Cincinnati area. There is so much of this fence around (interestingly the company is in Kentucky, just across the river. In fact it looks like Cincinnati is the word below Stewart on your fence medallion.) I am sure you could find some and find a way to have it shipped to you. Or go to Cincinnati on a little trip and find it at one of the many antique stores. (If you do, check out the East Row in Newport, KY, just across the river from downtown Cincinnati.

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      That’s a good suggestion, Carole! Stewart Ironworks was originally in Cincinnati and later moved to Kentucky, so that probably explains why there’s a lot of it around! :)

  44. 9.21.15
    carole said:

    Oh! And the fence spikes were meant to have ornaments on them (usually arrows or fleur de list or orbs), but they have been lost over the years. You can buy replacements but they cost a pretty penny.

    • 9.21.15
      Daniel said:

      I actually think the spikes on mine were like that originally! It’s a pretty common style around here and seems to be something you can still get from the company according to their catalogue—along with the styles that you’re describing. The end posts however do have nice little ornaments!

  45. 9.22.15

    When friends ask why I don’t just throw a coat of paint in the terrible, horrible, very bad bathroom in the meantime, I think, WHY? Never been a fan of stopgap measures either, and I was just explaining this to someone over the weekend. I’d rather close the door for now!

  46. 9.22.15
    Susan said:

    Regarding the Lowe’s iron fence, I read some reviews on it and some state an issue with rust. Do you experience any rust problem? One reviewer said they spray painted the fence with black rust preventative. Do you have an opinion on this solution? I am currently considering a Lowe’s iron fence.and am thinking I will paint it first. I also love Lowe’s. I especially like the fact that you have identified many great Lowe’s products and excellent services. Thank you! Susan

    • 10.1.15
      Daniel said:

      Hmmm…so this fence is actually aluminum (it just has sort of a faux wrought-iron look), which can corrode but doesn’t rust like steel or iron do. The powder-coating seems to be pretty effective for protecting the metal from corrosion, though. I’ve used this fencing in two areas now—the first section has been in place for about a year and a half and has held up great, although I guess I’d still consider that a little soon to really be able to judge its long-term durability. I hope that helps! I don’t think spray painting the fence would harm anything, but I don’t think it’s at all necessary.

  47. 9.23.15
    Kathy said:

    I don’t think it’s that bad, really. It looks better than the chain link at least :)