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Deuce Cities Henhouse

The Trees behind our Cabin
Hey budz! I know I have been missing the last few weeks. I’ve been racing the weather trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends at the cabin before the winter really starts to set in – which it’s starting to do right about now. I’ve spend a handful of extra long weekends at the cabin where I stay on to work after the family heads home for the week. There has been so much to do this year, and I hope to explain a lot of it in more detailed posts as I settle into my role as blogger and out of my role as full-time handyperson.

Let’s start with the exterior! We have had water issues at the cabin – thankfully nothing like a deluge in our basement, but generally the cabin basement can smell pretty musty. I don’t know the exact cause, but I can bet that our water diversion system (which is actually no system) needs some improvement. Since taking ownership of the cabin, we quickly realized that when it rains our driveway turns into a pond and a river. All of the water that comes off the giant hill behind our house get stuck in our driveway and can’t find its way down to the lake. Jeff and I took on the task of digging a trench (aka Trench Reznor) for a simple all-in-one french drainage system this summer. This would be kinda easy if we were digging in soil and not compacted stone. We could usually dig a few feet of our 90+ foot trench in about 45 minutes, so we chipped away at it every chance we had.

In October we finally finished the digging and were able to install the french drainage system by NDS. And it hasn’t rained since – we were hoping to test it out with actual real rain at least once before we had to cover it all up with soil, but we never got a chance. I’ll have to remember that trick for next year – find a good reason you need it to rain and it won’t happen. We tried to simulate rain with a hose and our drainage did what it was supposed to do, it never backed up and made its way out towards the lake and slowly seeped into the soil, but let’s be real, a hose can’t replicate a hillside of water. I hope we have this figured out, because I’d hate to have to dig this sucker up in the spring. For those who are wondering – this is 4″ corrugated tubing wrapped in a sock of styrofoam. The sock is meant to keep out soil and allow rain to filter down the the tube. The corrugated tube has perforations in it to accept the water. There is also a small well (large drain) at the center of the “pond” (aka the place by our front door that fills with rain and resembles a small lake). This allows a lot of water to enter the system and make its way down to the lake. Next year I will extend the french drain to the downspout from our roof and this should really take care of the problem. Hopefully in the end it will greatly reduce the musty odor in our cinder block basement.

Outside Projects at Our Wisconsin Cabin

We also got our dock out – or (ahem) we paid a bunch of dudes to do it. We typically have this really old guy (he’s like 90, but super strong), come and take it out for us, but it had rained so much this summer that the water was too high for him, and he wasn’t able to do it. This old guy was like a secret wizard sorcerer. We never could figure out how he could get all those heavy dock pieces out by himself, but he did! AND he would stack them nice and neat too. These new dock youth don’t care much about looks and threw all our dock sections haphazardly on the shore. We tried to straighten them out, but snow and wet leaves made our footing too slippery and we had to abandon the plan. I miss our very old super strong dock guy.

Our Tiny Wisconsin Lake
Last weekend it lightly snowed for us all Saturday and it was so pretty – the oak leaves were falling at the same time the snow was! An open lake with snow is one of the best things around, it’s so rare to see – I imagine this lake will be frozen over any day now. Saturday was such a cozy day and we did nothing except have a fire and make good food all day long!

We also got to see a sneak peak of what the new dark cabin exterior will look like in winter, and we love it. LOVE IT.

Lots of Projects at Our Wisconsin Cabin
Inside is where my time has been divided between three projects. The biggest of these is the bathroom tiling project. I really wanted to get the tile installed before the winter came and it got too cold to use the tile saw outside. I was able to finish the tile in the nick of time – everything was frozen the morning after I finished! The rest of the bathroom reno projects are inside and obviously way less cold – I’ll be able to take them on here and there and I hope to have the bathroom totally finished by Christmas. I’ll be posting a more in depth bathroom update real soon.

Interior Projects at Our Wisconsin Cabin
One of those snowball things happened and our new chairs that flank the fireplace caused me to replace the rest of the living room furniture – bah. That’ll be its own post in the coming weeks, but I am so excited about our new Gaba sectional from Article. It’s so cozy. I had my brother and his family up last weekend and all 8 of us were so snuggled in on that sofa. The kids liked to lay across the wide back and play vid games. I have no doubts that this new sofa was the right move.

I also got a new fiddle leaf fig because something really bad happened to my other. I won’t go into details, but I cried. Jeff told me to go get a new one before the weather got too cold to transport it here. I promised this one that nothing bad would ever happen to it.

Oh, and I had a total fail experience early this fall. The front door that was originally here at the cabin was a hollow core door. It was fine, not the best, but fine. The outer veneer however was cracked and peeling, and I wanted to replace it before winter. I had a plan to peel off the old veneer and replace it with a new sheet just like Nicole Curtis did on the Minnehaha house that one time. All good ideas in theory. I had the door curing outside and had taken a short nap (like I always do) on a sunny September day, when all of a sudden a rogue rain storm popped up and ruined the door (a hollow core door basically melts when it rains) – it was all the rain’s fault, my daily need for a nap had nothing to do with it.

The door was already nearing its end days. Before I had decided to veneer it we had debated whether or not we should replace it with a new solid door, our only hesitation was the cost. After the door was ruined it was an easy but expensive decision to order a new solid slab wood door. I think this one looks great – I took photos of how to install a slab door to share with yous guys in a blog post. BUT, I can’t share it until I have real deal “after” photos and that involves painting the door, which involves time, which involves…. See my problem? I think I’m gonna paint it black (or maybe white). There’s just too much wood in this cabin, and I think a black cabin door would look cool.

Sunrise in the Northwoods
I’ll leave you with this fall sunrise that I was lucky enough to witness during one of my mornings working on the cabin. The sun rises so late and so far off to the south now. During the summer it rises much further left (aka North, duh). Thanks for reading – I’ll be back with more in depth posts real soon.

in The Cabin
10 comments… add one
  • Laura November 7, 2019

    Whenever you post it makes me want our own cabin in the woods. Not in the budget yet, but someday! Keep sharing. I love to see how you’re making it your own!

    • Scoops November 20, 2019

      Keep the dream going! I didn’t think we’d ever be able to make a cabin happen for us either.

  • Taylor November 7, 2019

    So excited to see you back on the blog. I enjoy following the “routine” work you’re doing- I learn so much from your projects. Thank you!

    • Scoops November 20, 2019

      I won’t ever stop the blog. I hope to being sharing more detailed projects soon!

  • Ellen November 8, 2019

    The bad thing that happened to your fiddle leaf fig – I just want to know if it involved fungus gnats? Because I’ve been fighting (and I fear losing) a battle with fungus gnats on my fiddle leaf fig. Those suckers are driving me crazy, they just won’t leave!
    I’m excited to see pictures of the new door. I vote for black paint.

    • Scoops November 20, 2019

      Oh no! That sounds horrible. I’ve never heard of them so I have no experience with them. I did have a fig that have root rot and I found cutting it back and replacing the soil gave it a second lease on life. Hope that helps.

  • JULIE MARQUEZ November 13, 2019

    That sofa looks so cozy! I love hearing about what you are up to. I hope the drain works and I can’t wait to see the new door!

    • Scoops November 20, 2019

      Hey Julie! I think I gave myself too many different projects and its been hard to wrap any one of them up. I’m trying to tie up loose ends at home and at the cabin so I can share more focused posts. Thanks for reading!

  • Julie April 27, 2021

    Hi Alison,

    Your cabin is darling! Can you tell me what color of paint you used on the exterior?

    Thank you,


  • essie August 15, 2021

    I love the paint color on your cabin and deck – can you share the brand, color, etc?

    Thanks so much!


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