Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks For The Memories

Now that Ed is home full time, things are finishing up at record pace. Even so, it seems to take twice as long to do any particular project as we think it will.
Two weeks ago, I finished the El Dorado rock without major mishap..except for that little thing about cutting a piece on the Skil saw without realizing Ed had changed out the blade from the diamond blade to a blade to rip wood..or hands or legs..whatever gets in the way. Who knew? Anyway no spouses were harmed in the making of this wall, so I felt pretty good about that.

Last week, during gale force winds (no, really) we drove over to the coast and picked up our wood stove, a Hearthstone Tribute soapstone stove. It was raining pretty hard and the guy at the store says "That cast iron probably shouldn't get wet. It'll rust." The stove was wrapped in thin plastic ,then in an open wood crate, and we had the truck. Ed says "I don't think I'll try to tarp it in this wind." So off we go. It got a little wet, but it dried off nicely. When we watched the news that evening we saw that the roof had blown off the courthouse in Seaside about 10 minutes after we left.

Ed spent part of the last two weeks installing the glass balcony rail. Once we had all the proper parts (another story) it went in fairly quickly. It looks great, enhances the view, and we both love it.

It adds a feeling of spaciousness to the living area and prevents that 650 sq feet from getting too claustrophobic. The deck has ample room for several chairs and a table..the perfect place for coffee in the morning or an adult beverage at the end of the day. I can hardly wait for the weather to cooperate.

Depending on the weather, for the last two weeks, Ed has been working on the wood trim. He thought he had enough wood prepared for the baseboards, windows and doors. but those doors and windows can be sneaky, and he spent more time than he expected ripping down spruce, planing, sanding, staining and sealing.

Last week we had a dry day. Ed called Taylor and asked him to come down to help get the wood stove up the stairs. The cooktop range and the fridge barely went up those steep narrow stairs, and the wood stove is a lot smaller than a refrigerator. Unfortunately, the wood stove weighs 318 lbs. Taylor and Ed got it on the dolly, and up about three stairs and realized they weren't going to make it alone. So as Ed held the dolly on the third step, Taylor jumped in his truck and ran for reinforcements. With two guys pushing and one pulling, the wood stove finally reached its destination.
This is the smallest wood stove that Hearthstone makes and it's amazing just how efficient it is. We build a small fire in the morning, and by 11:00 it is 68 inside. We let the fire go out and the soapstone continues to radiate heat into the room throughout the day. In the evening, we build another small fire and it is plenty warm for the rest of the night. Now, we're not in the harshest part of the winter yet, but because the apartment is so well insulated and because this little stove is so efficient, our biggest problem is going to be not roasting ourselves out of our living room.
I left for a week to visit family, and by the time I got home yesterday, Ed had the trim just about finished. Once we get the furniture moved in, it's home for the next several years.

So this is it..the final blog entry for the apartment. We started with a standard garage with primered metal roll up doors and now have beautiful shingle style craftsman lodge apartment. Except for the punch list and one piece of artwork for the last piece of window trim, a few exterior shingles, the work is complete. We have officially named the garage apartment The Crow's Nest.

The final piece of trim went up last week. I took a piece of sanded alder, and using some stained glass software, Rapid Resizer, I put together a banner. Then using old fashioned carbon paper, I traced it onto the wood. It was my first time using a router, but since it was a small one, it was fairly easy to control. I routed out the words, then the birds. We stained the board, painted in the words, and put on the finish coat. Then Ed nailed it up. I'm pretty happy.
Ed has mentally moved on to the next project and is already planning the foundation for the house. I wouldn't have it any other way. Like so many journeys, this isn't really the end, it's just the beginning of another one. The roller coaster starts over again. Keep your hands and personal belongings inside and tighten your seat belt, because we start the house in the spring. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Home Is Where The Heart Is

"Home is where the heart is,
And my heart is anywhere you are.
Anywhere you are is home."

It has been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. In my case, that couldn't be closer to the truth. Recognizing that, Ed has been working diligently to pull the rest of the kitchen together.

He put the window trim around the kitchen windows and started on the granite.

We set out the granite tiles for a dry fit throughout the entire kitchen before cutting anything. Good thing Ed knows what he's doing because I would have just started cutting and gluing. We had to raise the level of the stove top to accommodate the plywood, wonderboard, mastic and tile. Later when the grout is in, we'll lower the stove down where it belongs.

Ten years ago we bought a cheapie tile saw from Home Depot. That little $39.95 saw is like the Energizer just keeps going and going. Ed took all the tiles that needed to be cut, and did (most of) them in one trip.

Going up and down the stairs a gazillion times is a killer leg workout. Of course, I'm up on the landing at front door watching. He's down there working away, standing at the edge of the abyss.

The tile fit like a dream, and we got the kitchen and bathroom counter done in record time. Ed put the wood trim around the edge, and the grout in. I'm really loving the way it looks. We still have
to do some fine tuning. There are a few plug covers to go on, and the stove top height has to be adjusted.

The original plans called for the kitchen counter to make a el, with the stove top and eating counter. I changed it to make the counter run the length of the wall, to include a small desk, and have the stove top and eating counter in an island. We are really glad we changed it because it seems to be a better use of space.

Ed wanted to get the refrigerator out of the garage and up the stairs. In case it slipped your mind, I'll just say that a refrigerator is really big, really tall, and really really heavy. We had two problems. I can't help him get it upstairs, and the staircase is about an inch too narrow. Ed was gathering tools to do violence to the rail, when I had an idea.

I was originally thinking of ways to reduce the weight..(somehow that's always on my mind).
"What if we take off the doors?" I mused.
I'm a genius...who knew? The problem of the narrow staircase was solved!
Thursday Taylor came down to rototill the vegetable garden, and he and Ed moved the refrigerator upstairs.

Finally... a real kitchen...but wait!

We need actual running water, and a working drain. Ed started putting all the pieces together and he says. "Looks like some kind of weird musical instrument."
"Give it a try," I said,"It can't sound any worse than my bagpipes." And guess what? It doesn't!
But we needed a drain much more than we needed a drain and kazoo band, so he went with Plan A and installed the pipes under the sink.
The wood stove is on order, a Hearthstone Tribute stove, and should be here in a week. Wonder if we can get Taylor back to help get that upstairs?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sticks, Stones and Sinks

Ed wanted to get the doors on before the cabinets came on Wednesday. Ah, the things we take for granted; true love, hot water, refrigerated food, flush toilets, doors on the bathroom.

For these things, we are grateful.

We bought unfinished fir three panel shaker doors, stained them to match the cabinets, and put on a coat of varethane. There are two closet doors, a bedroom and bathroom door, and a bifold door for the linen closet.

At 10:00 Wednesday morning the Peter and Tom, the cabinet installers, showed up. I was so happy I could have hugged them, but I managed to restrain myself. I won't bore you with a
bunch of pictures of them lugging those things up the stairs. Mostly because I was so scared while they carted them up, I forgot to take pictures.
See that upper cabinet? They brought that up as one unit!

There is a desk area to the far right under the window, and the island will have a 15" bar that extends out behind the stove top.

They installed all the kitchen cabinets, and an upper cabinet and vanity for the bathroom.

Friday I started putting up the El Dorado stone behind where the wood burning stove will go. This is my project, but I don't know how to use the Skil saw, so every time I wanted a stone cut, I'd have to catch Ed between trips up and down stairs to cut one. Either that or ask him to stop what he was doing to make the cut. Word of caution: Do not try to cut these stones with a tile saw. While the tile saw will cut them with no problem, it throws wet ground cement everywhere...shirt, hair, face (remember safety glasses) . There is no conditioner made on this Earth that will take care of hair dipped in wet cement dust. Finally by Saturday afternoon, I worked up the courage to try the Skil saw myself. It's a miracle! I didn't cut my leg off or anything!

We are using the China Beach Stacked stone, and acrylic mastic instead of thinset. Since I'm doing the stone, and I'm relatively clumsy with tools, I didn't want to worry about the thinset setting up too fast. I took several photos of the stone. One shows them more yellow than they are, and one shows them too brown. The true color is somewhere in the middle. By evening my back was barking at me, and I had used both gallons of mastic. I was ready to stop.

Sunday we went into town and bought 10 gallons of mastic, plywood and wonderboard to go down on the kitchen cabinets, and a kitchen sink. It's a Franke granite composite sink. I couldn't wait to see how it would look, so as soon as Ed made the cutout on the plywood, I just had to try it for fit.