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Building a home, week 17: What you need to know about DIY sheds

In this photo, these pendants over the kitchen island appear to be copper as they should be. In person, they appear to be an antiqued bronze or antiqued gold, which isn't acceptable.
In this photo, these pendants over the kitchen island appear to be copper as they should be. In person, they appear to be an antiqued bronze or antiqued gold, which isn't acceptable.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini

This week started with much anticipation because there are only 10 days until we are scheduled to close on the house and there’s lots to be done both inside and outside.

Distressed Black Walnut wood countertops from Craft-Art warm up the kitchen and offset the slate island perfectly.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini

Outdoors, the landscaping continued and work was scheduled to start on the driveway, but meanwhile, we wanted to have the parts to a Home Depot outdoor shed delivered so that it can be assembled. That posed its own set of problems that everyone who attempts to assemble a shed from any big box retailer needs to be aware of.

Meanwhile, here’s how week 17 rolled out in this countdown installment of “Building a home.”

June 21: Work was completed on the hardscape patio in the backyard. Tomorrow, they plan to start on the front walkway. However, before they do, we placed an emergency call to Mark McClure of Beary Landscaping after we noticed an error in the hardscape material list. With so many things listed, we overlooked the fact that the brick we wanted for the front yard was not specified; instead, a flagstone that matched the back patio was listed. McClure suggested we meet at Aspen Valley Landscape Supply in Lemont to pick out something new. In just 10 minutes, we settled on Pine Hall Brick’s Old Tavern, a brick paver with an aged look that will complement both the dark brown front porch and the green façade of the house.

June 22: Inside, the painters continued their work by finally finishing painting the laundry room. They also finished the basement and the staircase bannister. Nearly all of the light fixtures were installed as well. Thinking that work would have started on the front walk, we were disappointed when nothing was done other than outlining its placement and spreading gravel.

June 23: The day started with an early meeting with the trim carpenters from Westlawn Construction about making shutters for the front window. By the end of the conversation, we decided to drop that idea in favor of a wood valance that would hide a shade. However, the bigger issue of the day was the Home Depot shed we ordered a month ago, which is when the problem started. Fortunately for us, we weren’t planning on assembling it personally; we hired an installer who went to Home Depot to pick it up.

Immediately, we discovered that the shed is shrink-wrapped to a large pallet, which meant we could never have picked it up without a pickup truck. Our installer had one, so he got it, but with the heavy rains in June, he was unable to back his truck into the yard to get close enough to the concrete pad planned for the shed so that he could offload it piece by piece. Because the palette weights more than 1000 pounds, it can’t be carried in one piece to the job site; it must be unpacked and carried piece by piece.

Today, we saw a window of opportunity. With work scheduled to begin on installing the driveway today, we would either need to get the shed to the garage before the driveway went in or wait until after the concrete cured. We chose the former when we saw that Beary Landscaping had a forklift at the site for off-loading palettes of stone pavers. We use the forklift to offload the shed from a flat bed truck and take it to the garage for storage prior to assembly. I’m not sure how many do-it-yourselfers would have the ability to do that, no matter how handy. The key is having the proper equipment to successfully install a shed. Without a pick up or flatbed truck, you wouldn’t be able to get it to the installation site. Without a forklift, you’d the ordinary do-it-yourselfer would have to assemble it off the truck. If this equipment is not available, you have no recourse other than to use the installation services offered by the retailer.

At the house, lights were installed throughout along with door hardware, plumbing fixtures and trim. By the end of the day, I had running water in the sinks! Late that night, anaglypta paper, a paintable textured wallpaper, was installed on the ceilings of the office and butler’s pantry.

June 24: Today, the better question is what didn’t happen at the house? Once again, there was an army of installers there. The staircase was completed with railings and balusters. The paver walkway was installed while another team worked on installing the driveway. In the meantime, I met with the painter who will make the anaglypta paper look like a tin ceiling.

Upstairs, we had a glitch in the master bedroom closet. The closet organizer will go up to the ceiling and as of today, it will block more than half of the light fixture on the ceiling. It looks like the like fixtures will have to be relocated.

June 25: The Craft-Art wood countertops planned for the kitchen and powder room were installed today by The Countertop Factory.

Will the house be finished in time? To read what happens week, click here.