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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Greenhouse Progress Update

This weekend while I was playing at the plant exchange, David and his crew were working on the garage conversion.  There was a moment of panic when Tom arrived with the Uhaul on Friday evening, threw open the back of the truck and there were no aluminum H profile pieces.  Fortunately I had the direct number for Kathy Lewis at McConkey.  Although thy were closed, she was still there and, because we had to have the aluminum on Saturday, agreed to stash them behind the warehouse for us to pick up.  She even offered to meet us half way but found that the 12 foot lengths wouldn't fit in her small car.  Although the Uhaul had been returned, we're lucky enough to have a small pick up and were able to go and get the necessary bits.  Crisis averted.  Well, until the next morning when David arrived and we both thought that the other had purchased the specialty screws to put the whole thing together.  Fortunately, there was a website that gave specifications for the exact screws and, while the box stores didn't have them, a specialty place, Tacoma Screw, did!  Whew!


Polycarbonate going on the wall.  This was about all that got done on Saturday as David was alone.

Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. the three guys came and began applying the aluminum.

View from inside looking out at the alley with the garage door open. 

 By afternoon, one side was almost completed.  View from neighbor's yard. 
 Bless their hearts, they worked until 10:30 p.m. to get the whole thing done. 

Next crisis was that the rail of the door is too small for any standard door hardware.  An 8:30 trip to Lowe's yielded no specialty hardware for thin door rails.  Fortunately, I found something online.  We have a guy coming to install that, put molding around the door, and put a gutter and downspout on the side.  Once that's done, I can put the window in the door. These pictures were taken at dawn on Monday morning.

Because the guys were using the plywood ceiling to work on the roof, it was the last thing to come out way after dark on Sunday night.

Foggy Monday morning was my first chance to see what it looked like without the ceiling.


It may not seem like it but it was very bright inside, brighter than most of my garden. 

Fans in both gables for cooling. 

So, what would you do, leave the wood or paint it?  White perhaps? 


So, the electrician came and the whole electrical panel needs to be replaced including new wiring from the house to the garage.  Yikes.  Fortunately this will only take a couple of days and he suggested installing heaters on a thermostat while he was at it.  Well...o.k.   I'm thinking of covering the insulation with large mirrors to reflect light.


I've decided to use a ceiling fan for air circulation. 

 Here's where the paint question comes in again.  Should I paint the cinder block or just leave it?  It'll be covered with plants or tables anyway.  The intake shutters will be on the same thermostat as the exhaust fans so they'll open as the fans go on.  Pretty cool.

Garage door shut. We decided to leave this in case some future owner wants to use this as a place to park cars again.  So, there's a lot to do yet before plants can come in but the painting (if I paint instead of leaving the wood.)  can wait until next summer when I have lots of time. The space is roughly 550 square feet a fourth to a third of which will still need to be used for garden tools and stuff. I'm excited but am looking forward to moving plants inside.  It will be interesting to actually have space for them but it's a little daunting to figure out how to arrange the space  and how to use this once it's done. 

So, what's your vote, walls and wood painted or left as is (cleaned up a bit!)

55 comments:

  1. Painted white will reflect more light.

    (This answer was terse, but done in verse) :)

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    1. You're right about light bouncing off white!

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  2. Painted pale green will be serene. :-D

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  3. Can I send my plants over for the winter ?

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  4. The ceiling fans and ventilators will make such a huge difference in the health of your plants Peter. Fab changes and all looks exciting! Never mind the mini crisis, glad to hear they were resolved.

    As for the paint it depends on your scheme but it's difficult to go wrong with white ;) and yes paint the blocks, the safest option as on occasions they will be exposed and not covered with plants you'll be glad they were painted.

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    1. I'm looking forward to everything being hooked up and working! White was the first thing I thought of although a few years ago, I saw a greenhouse painted a light shade of lavender that was quite lovely.

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  5. It's looking great! That will be such an amazing space for you. I'm rooting for painted wall, natural wood on the ceiling structure. Are you sure about the mirrors? Only if there's no way for them to receive direct sunlight--I have a terrible problem at my house with sunlight that's reflected off my house windows and burns landscape plants.

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    1. Your scheme would work and doesn't require me to do much painting. I have a few large former sliding closet door mirrors that might get put against the ends of the space where they won't reflect any direct sunlight but will cover the insulation.

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  6. Cool transformation of a passive to very active room! I'd vote for natural wood, cinder block painted or unpainted. Don't forget to give yourself a place for table and chairs to sit and admire the wonder you have wrought amongst your very healthy and happy plants.

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    1. It still looks like a dirty garage to me but I'll get it cleaned up. Because the plants will need to come in as soon as everything is working, I'll have the whole winter to think about the paint/no paint issue.

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  7. It's huge! I'm kind of with Emily on this - painted walls/natural wood on ceiling beams, etc.

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    1. I like that idea as it requires no ladders!

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  8. I'm in favor of painting everything white! I'm so thrilled that this is moving along so nicely -- finally. Can't wait to see it. All your hard work organizing who does what, finding supply sources and getting them all together in one place will be so worth it.

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    1. My first thought was all white for the sake of consistency. Because there are a variety of materials, a single color would unify the space nicely. Lots of time to think about it this winter! I think that we're in the home stretch now.

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  9. So exciting! I scrolled up, down, back taking it all in and appreciating all the work.

    Anxiously waiting to see it fill up and be featured in a magazine.

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    1. Filled up will happen soon but you might have to wait a very long time for the magazine part. (Does Better Shacks and Hovels Magazine count?)

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  10. My ten cents: paint the ceiling wood a nice Majorelle blue and rest of the wood (the walls) yellow. Then the cinder blocks white. https://www.google.com/search?q=majorelle+blue&espv=2&biw=1216&bih=616&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=vGI1VLbBBYOvogT-oIDoDg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg

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    1. I'm crazy about that blue and the combination with yellow would make my heart sing. I wonder if it might be a little too dark though? The exterior of one outside wall of the garage was already that blue.

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  11. If you want to look at my Pinterest page of peeks into a greenhouse -- they get painted and not painted and all are beautiful. You have time to do lots of looking and really decide before next summer.

    http://www.pinterest.com/jeanjonesc/greenhouse-peeks/

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    1. Thanks for your link! Lots of great ideas and I'm glad that I don't have to make a decision for a while yet. I might get a bit antsy and paint during Christmas break...

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  12. Soooo exciting! My vote: all wood pickled white, cinder blocks painted solid white OR wood pickled driftwood silver-grey, cinder blocks painted solid pale grey, which would look great with any mirrors you install. Can't wait to see what all you do.

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  13. Wow, this will be amazing. You'll want to have sleepovers in your greenhouse :-).

    Paint: white for maximum light, as Alan suggested.

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    1. Once it's cleaned up, I may just move out there!

      White would be lightest!

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  14. I love the pristine white of Mark & Gaz, but could never pull it off with my messy ways. Plus, as far as I can see, the lumber in the roof and struts is fairly rough. I like that natural look anyway. I would paint the concrete blocks, though...probably a soft yellow-green, but that's just me. We will all be on tenterhooks, waiting to see what happens after you sift through all this advice.

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  15. Painted white! Wow, you've built a great greenhouse, Peter. Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks, Satu! I hope I remember to take care of the plants inside all winter!

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  16. great project .
    it will be a fantastic greenhouse!
    a dream for me

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    1. Having a greenhouse has been a long time dream of mine. Now that it's almost a reality, it feels a bit strange.

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  17. You and your crew have overcome a bunch of obstacles to get this done! Good job! It will be amazing.
    I vote for white paint on the wood, leave the cinder blocks gray.

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    1. These guys worked really hard and we did have a few moments of panic but it will all be done soon and we'll look back and laugh. I like your idea about leaving the cinder blocks gray and painting the wood white.

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  18. This so exciting and looks like all your hard work, planning and supervising is paying off beautifully! I cast my vote for leaving the rafters and supports natural: White has such a way of getting dirty and needing repainting sooner than almost any other color. It will be wonderful, whatever you decide!

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    1. Good to know about white getting dirty. Cleaning isn't my favorite thing to do. In any case, everything will stay as is for this winter.

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  19. This is awesome, what an inspiring project! Personally, I think the natural wood and grey cinder blocks give a more interesting and natural look than painting either one. Unless you go all the way to artistic with a large mural...

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    1. Large mural would be interesting but beyond my ability - Natural it is! We'll see over this next winter if there is any inspiration to change that come summer.

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  20. Either way (white or natural/sealed with lacquer or similar) is going to look great. What a tough problem to have ;) good on you though, you deserve it! You are going to have so much fun in there.

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    1. Don't know if I deserve it but I'm lucky enough to have the greenhouse dream come true. Once everything is connected and working and the plants are in, I will indeed have a lot of fun in there!

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  21. I wouldn't paint a thing but you can color me green (with envy.) Wonderful job!

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    1. Thanks. You look lovely green by the way; goes with everything in the garden!

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  22. Wow, is looking really really great!!! I would definitely paint the cinder block, but I don´t know what color.

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    1. We'll see if a winter of unpainted surfaces gives rise to color inspiration.

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  23. Very exciting. Who needs a garage, anyway? If it were me, I would not bother with painting. I like the bare wood.

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    1. Since we've not used it for cars in the 17 years we've been in the house, obviously we don't need a garage. I like your idea as it requires the least amount of work!

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  24. The crew did a great job and you guys really rose to the occasion conquering all the obstacles. Definitely paint now while it is empty! Something neutral like white, although i like all the ideas above. I have two Pinterest boards you might find inspiration from - http://www.pinterest.com/laurinraven/potting-sheds-greenhouses-and-gardening-benches/ and http://www.pinterest.com/laurinraven/staying-organized/ has a few cool ideas too! What a fun project! Looking forward to updates : )

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    1. Hi Laurin, Thanks for the pinterest boards! I know it would be best to paint now while it's empty but I need to start bringing plants in as soon as the electricity is hooked up so painting will have to wait until next spring when the plants all go outside again. It's sort of a good thing that I'll have to wait as it'll give me some time to think before acting.

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  25. Looks really beautiful--maybe a silvery sage green or blue-green? Light, but not stark? Walls, too. What you need is a painting party, get it all done before you move lots of stuff in there--sooo much easier!

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    1. I like your idea of light but not stark. I've seen a very pale blue, the color of our autumn sky, not quite as dark as robin's egg, used on walls of greenhouses and it almost blends with the sky. So many choices!

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  26. The first thing I would do is rig up a hammock. Then I'd surround myself with my favorite plants, grab a blanket and a nice warm drink, and then I would just lay there and imagine what I'd like it to be like when I need it the most (probably winter for both mental and climatic reasons). I think I would probably arrive at some kind of warm color or tone - something that would keep the gray skies of winter at bay - yet be light enough to retain the airiness of the space. I would paint the floor a dark, warm brown - something like Benjamin Moore's Wenge. Oh my god, what a fabulous space you have to play with. Turning green over here... :)

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    1. It is becoming an interesting place to experience a bit of garden when it's too wet outside to play there!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.