Backyard Re-do: Chitown Pride Edition — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

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Sometimes buying nothing new for a year gets inconvenient. We’ve desperately wanted to re-do our garage since moving into our Portage Park home 6 years ago, but to date, we have only been able to get a new roof on her. They say that roofs are the most important part, without which, the whole equation collapses. But if our garage is an equation, it is of abstract algebra caliber. Just recently I fixed a minor annoyance, with temporary yet ultimately vanishing results. It’s more like the story of the boy plugging holes in the dam with his fingers.

For starters, we finally found something to do with the old windows that Melissa has been collecting for half a dozen years

For starters, we finally found something to do with the old windows that Melissa has been collecting for half a dozen years

 

If I’ve learned one thing in the art of old home improvements, it’s that if you can’t have what you want, make what you’ve got awesome. So in the spirit of that proclamation, we decided to give the ol’ garage a much needed facelift. More like a quick tuck, but it did the trick for now until we can afford proper siding. I’m looking into finding something more natural and/or reclaimed, vs. going with traditional vinyl siding.

 

It helps to lay out your windows in a pattern BEFORE you start screwing them to the wall...

It helps to lay out your windows in a pattern BEFORE you start screwing them to the wall…

 

Using nothing more than 3 semi-full cans of leftover paint (some of them interior!), old brushes and rollers, and a healthy smattering of Chicago pride, we were able to transform this horrifying facade:

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Into this (much less horrifying) facade:

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Why here is the boys with Joe before he finished his first cup of coffee.

The boys with Joe before he finished his first cup of coffee.

It was quite a bit of fun (for the first 3 hours), and while it doesn’t fix the fact that we desperately need siding for the entire building, it at least gave us a cozy little nook to have some small gatherings with friends, or just a nice family meal all summer long. We’ll continue to use this once-uninhabitable area through the fall, and who knows…maybe even beyond!

Tune in next time to see our new (to us!) raised beds handcrafted by amateur carpenter Joe with reclaimed truss wood bought from the ReBuilding Exchange!

2 comments

  1. I love it! Looks great. I have a collection of old windows and an ugly garage as well. I pinned this project. Maybe I’ll do it next year.
    What did you use to secure the windows to the garage? Are you confident that a gusty midwestern thunderstorm won’t take them down?

    • Thanks so much, Monica! I used a combination of 2″ and 2.5″ coated deck screws to hang them. I’m more worried about my 3 year old throwing something at them, but I feel pretty confident that they’re secure in a windstorm. Each one is individually screwed into the sides, studs where possible, and then the overlapping windows are screwed straight through the bottom windows and through the side as well. I guess time will tell…?

What do you think?