Holy Shit, The Garage

Okay, so there is no hope of starting this post with some clever opening line because I just can’t wait to show you guys something…



Holy. Shit.



Yeah, okay, so I’m not going to pretend that this is nearly as important to anyone else as it is to me. I haven’t often talked about or posted pictures of the full garage because it stresses me out. I mean, listen, in the three years I’ve lived here, I’ve probably only been away from the farm for, what? Fifteen days? That means there are about 1200 days of my life where I walked out the back door, or drove home from work, and saw this…




Rotted doors, rotted windows, rotted siding. Plus a lot of missing siding, or no siding, or, well, this…


That’s real. That’s what the back of the garage looked like (complete with missing garage door) when I bought this place.

If you’re wondering why the hell it took me this long to do something about it… well. Good question. I actually priced out “residing” the entire garage within the first month of living here, but the builder I talked to was going to charge me $10,000.

If your eyeballs almost fell out of your head… fair. Mine did too, especially when I was in the midst of paying for all of the plumbing to be fixed and a new roof to be put on the house. It just wasn’t financially feasible, even though it was probably a fair price for the work. (Protip: If you ever want a ballpark on what having work done on your house should cost, estimate your material cost and then double it for labor. It’s not 100% accurate–obviously any contractor will have their own way of pricing based on costs, efficiencies, and how much they want the work–but that should at least put you in the general range of what it should cost.)

Since I wasn’t going to pay $10k to re-side the garage, I did what I could. I had a new garage door installed in the shop a few years back. I did some demo myself and then begged help from one of my uncles to get the worst two sides of the garage taken care of. I painted… eventually. I definitely didn’t intend to find myself three years down the road, still staring at this shit…


There are so many things I can do without help if I don’t have the means or desire to pay for it, but it turns out that installing 10ft sheets of T1-11 is not on that list. I mean… shit. I could probably rig something up on the tractor and figure out how to get it done. It’s not impossible. It’s also probably not practical (unless I’m trying to prove a point… and honestly? It’s been a long time since anyone in my life has tried to tell me I “can’t” do something, so that’s less of a motivator these days than it has been in the past.)

So, anyway, this damn garage siding has been weighing on me for a long time, and I finally just manned-up and did that thing I hate doing…

I asked for help.

And my dad showed up with my kid brother and some of his buddies, and they helped with the demo and hauling those sheets of siding around…


Which was absolutely amazing…


And then my mom had some of her friends up to the farm last week and they helped with the painting…


And with a week off work I was able to continue to paint and get a ton of trim work done…


I love trim work.

Which brings us to this…

image(Also, someone is going to comment on the “sag” in that 100 year old corn crib roof as if the world is ending… it’s not. This building is perfectly solid, if a little settled. Everyone has the right to be uptight about their own shit, but I’m not interested in anyone pulling that Chicken Little routine about my house or outbuildings. Trust me… I’m perfectly aware of what’s going on in all of my buildings from a structural standpoint, and I’ve got this shit handled.) Anyway, the progress is amazing, even though there’s still a ton of work to do before it’s finished, including painting the back side and install all the “upper” trim, corner trim, and soffit boards. I’m also considering what to do on the peak of the roof where the octagon window was… it wasn’t feasible to move the framing for the larger rectangular window I’d hoped for, so I’m considering a false “door” or possibly commissioning some ironwork from a blacksmith friend of mine… we’ll see.  That’s no small amount of work, but I’m happy to do it, because instead of driving home from work every day and seeing this… image I’m gonna see this… image

I’m just going to say this again because it bears repeating: Holy. Shit.

40 Responses

  1. The Paslode cordless trim nailer is the best invention ever!! Now they have other cordless nailers now that don’t use fuel cells, but the Paslode still works great.

  2. Wait, is one of these the “after” for that gaping back?
    Who took the pic of you being badass?
    And, of course, congrats!

  3. It looks amazing! I get how stressful it can be to look at something you want to fix every day, but have to wait to do it for whatever reason. Except now you get to look at awesome every day!

  4. Wow!! And I think it’s totally obvious what should take the place of that window. A giant, iron-work black feather. I mean Duh.

  5. Goodness Kit, very impressive results!!! Yes, the structure had good “bones” from the git-go, as re-habbers say, as well as good footings.
    Kudos and congrats to you and all who rolled up their sleeves on this list item, right down to the nugs, who prolly helped at times 😉 It turned out really nice!
    The barn quilt thingy on the front of barns and buildings all over Iowa and no doubt many states is rather awesome and colorful and has become quite.. numerous n cliche. Something up there which portrays the uniqueness of your own likes, interests, n representation of the farm would be kewl to see when arriving whether nostalgically made by a blacksmith or a water jet Laser Cam. Looking forward to see what you come up with and some garden, kitchen news.
    constant growth

  6. Your title pretty much sums up my reaction! Love Tara’s idea of an iron black feather!

  7. Boooring…. I come here for blood and smashed fingers! Not just plain old awesome before and after pics that hardly look like they’re on the same planet! No one even got hurt at all? Did the chickens at least get in the way sometimes?

    🙂 It looks amazing, I bet that frees up huge amounts of “inspiration space” in your head, too. Love the barn quilt ideas.

    1. and one with the feather… one with a cat…. one with a tool… how about a nine patch with a feather design border??

  8. terrific job! Love it and agree it would be a perfect finish to add a large black ironwork feather!

  9. If you don’t do a black iron feather, how about a large plywood cut out black feather? Or some other trim material… aluminum or something?

    Or a barn quilt block… grin

  10. I am so happy for you. It looks fantastic. I bet your Dad is proud to have helped. Way to go!

  11. I know I have seen the picture of the back side but I guess I never realized that was the same building! Holy Crap! What a difference!

  12. Love it!!! Holy shit what a difference – it’s like you have a whole new house on your property! I vote for the black ironwork feather too. That’d be kick ass and perfect.

  13. You can’t believe how much I look forward to your postings. It really makes my day when I see a new one is up. I love the way you just tell it like it is. A little rare in blogland. Congratulations on the barn transformation. I’m afraid I would have just ordered a wrecking ball and started over.

  14. Must be the year for (finishing) the outdoor-get-up-on-a-20′-ladder-so-you-age-10-years-in-ten-minutes projects!!! I used to read your blog daily but I kept having anxiety about all your projects getting finished as though they were my own….now I check in every so often and do the OMG, Oh Wow, and Wow, that looks fantastic and breathe a sigh of relief.

    My favorite tool this summer:a telescoping to 16′ paint pole. (It has kept us from becoming too well know at Urgent Care). On to ripping out the outside stairs and rebuilding them and replacing the T1-11 while we’re at it… always fun!

    Your adventures are always an inspiration and makes me think we can do anything with the right tools!! Great pics!!! Black Iron Feather? ABsofreakinglutely!!!!! Make it BIG!

    1. Checking in every once in a while is a much better idea then… my unfinished projects really don’t stress me out at all, I’d hate for them to be stressing out others! 😉 ‘

      Am definitely leaning towards some kind of big feather if we can figure out how to do it awesomely.

  15. Looks great.
    A barn quilt painted by you would be perfect.
    have never seen one with a feather, but you could figure it out.

  16. A puppy… needs a puppy. Or two. A bloodhound type o’ dawg, with big, deceptively sad eyes…
    rabbit – varmint chasing ride shotgun in the truck dog.

    1. Ha. I really really like other peoples dogs, but having a dog on the farm isn’t for me. My neighbors have some awesome Newfies if I ever need a dog fix!

  17. I mentioned that sway backed ridge line a couple of years ago, but seeing the finished barn, eh.

    Just adds a little character.

    Nice job, tool ninja.

    1. Oh, so many people comment on it! I had someone on Facebook try to give a step-by-step of how to fix it… which I know people are just trying to be helpful but it’s tiring to have to re-explain why it’s not an issue every time. 😉

  18. That’s quite a big difference to what it looked like four weeks ago 🙂 And good decision not to spend the 10k to re-side the whole thing and painted it yourself, looks fabulous. Love your blog Kit, keep it up 🙂

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