Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Backyard Shed Makeover

Hello! Here's a quick update on one of our recent home update projects. We have a small shed out back that was starting to look more and more tired and outdated (see below), with its set of old-fashioned windows & shutters, and a full-sized exterior door. The celebration you see here brightening up the old shed is Colette with Chloe and friends at Chloe's #7 Mermaid birthday pool party this past summer! (Where oh where did summer go??!!)

With just a little bit of time and work, we recently gave our old shed a makeover to update it and integrate it better with the look of our backyard pool and pergola area.  Colette showed me the idea we modeled this after, and after we talked through the details of how we wanted to do it I got busy cutting, hammering, painting, and putting it all together and now it looks like this:

In the spring we'll add some nice hooks for pool towels, and maybe something else summery/beachy, to the center piece.

Here's what it took to accomplish this transformation:

I first took off door and removed the door frame. Some good old fashioned demolition using a hammer and nail puller. (Note - in addition to the door you see in the above "before" picture, there thankfully was also already another exterior door on the right side of the shed, so no extra work was required to make sure we could still get inside the shed after making the front door disappear.)

Next I removed the windows and window frame. Same thing--hammer and nail puller. Then I ripped the vinyl siding off the front (but left the siding on the three other sides--no need to change anything with them, except to paint the siding to match the color). I framed in the holes where the door and windows used to be, using 2 x 4 studs from Home Depot which I cut to size and installed with nails and wood screws. I then installed plywood over the holes where the door and windows used to be. Below you can see the window hole covered and the door hole framed in and ready to be covered.

What it looked like after door and siding removed, holes framed, and plywood installed over window hole.

A 4' x 8' sheet of plywood from Home Depot was all it took to cover the door and window holes. I just cut two pieces to size and hammered them into place (Note that the cuts in the original plywood around the door and windows were not terribly straight so it wasn't really possible to install the new plywood over the 2 holes in a really tight/seamless fashion, but as you'll see farther down that doesn't really matter much as we were able to caulk and paint to deal with this.)

The trash heaps:

Old door, door frame, and windows.

The siding - gonna be a big trash day coming up soon!

Here's what the framing looks like from inside the shed:

Next I built, installed, and painted the center piece. I got some 2 x 2's and 1 x 4's from Home Depot, and built this simple frame using the 2 x 2's for the side rails and the 1 x 4's for the slats down the middle. I just hammered this all together using large exterior finish nails, and used a small 1 x 4 block of wood as a guide to space the slats evenly all the way down.

After this I built, installed, and painted the shutters. In the picture below you can see a finished shutter on the left. I'll go through the steps I took to assemble and install the shutters next. You can also see the finished and installed/painted center piece here. (Note that I used a roller to paint the plywood behind the center piece before I installed it, figuring this would be easier than painting the plywood between each of the slats after the center piece was installed.) And color credits to my beautiful Colette, the incredibly talented artist and color genius who picked this really nice off-white color - it's Behr Ultra Creamy White from Home Depot. It's the same color we used to paint a few sections of trim around the pergola sitting right in front of the shed, as you can catch a glimpse of here as well.)

To assemble and install the shutters, I started by cutting and installing a 28" piece of 2 x 4 as the bottom (outer) frame of the shutter, as seen in both the picture above and the picture below. (Note, as you can also see here, that I installed some 1 x 6 as trim across the bottom as well.)

I then painted the plywood behind the shutters before installing anything else. The awesome shade of gray we used (also selected by Colette!) is Ben Moore Coventry Gray.

I used 1 x 2's to build the inner frame which forms the border around the shutter slats. I just cut and hammered 4 pieces of 1 x 2 together to make the frame, and then installed it on top of the 28" outer border piece of 2 x 4 seen above. I then cut and installed a 28" piece of 2 x 6 as the top/outer border piece of the frame, and then finished painting the rest of the gray all around the center piece.

Here's what the inner frame looks like installed, with the top and bottom outer frame pieces also shown.

To make all the shutter slats, I cut a bunch of 1/4" lattice trim from Home Depot to size (26.5" long). I hammered 2 small brads into each end of the shutter slats, leaving the ends of the brads protruding roughly 1/4" or so.

Important note--Before I installed the inner frame onto the plywood as shown above, I measured and cut (using a mitre hand saw) shallow diagonal slits 1" apart all the way down the interior sides of the 2 long pieces of the inner shutter frame, as shown below. With these diagonal slits cut and the inner frame installed, I then pushed each of the shutter slats firmly into place by inserting and pushing the brads on either side of the slats into the diagonal slits, as you can also see here.

Next I cut and installed a couple 2 x 3 studs to form the shutter's 2 outer frame sides.

I then squeezed a bead of liquid nails on either side of the tops of the slats and smoothed it out using my finger.

Then used a small dab of wood filler to cover up the front edge of each of the slits cut into the sides of the shutter frame.

After the liquid nails and wood filler dried I sanded it down and then used wood filler and caulk wherever else they were needed across the "new" front of the shed. I then installed some thin strips of wood trim across the top and sides of the shed wall to give a more finished look.

Finally, I sanded and painted everything else that needed it.

All done!

Thanks for reading!

- David