Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Raining Cats And Dogs

   Not much to show for this week. Not that things didn't get done, but how many pictures of roughed in plumbing can anyone be expected to enjoy? Surely, there is someone out there who is breathlessly waiting for the plumbing chapter...
   Boyd from Gallow and Smith Plumbing was completing the rough plumbing. Boyd came to Ed and said  "I have to drive into town and pick up some more black pipe 90* elbows. I thought I had enough in the truck, but I don't." Yikes! Town is an hour each way.
    Ed says..."I think I have some of those in the barn." After running down to check..sure enough, he did! Which is why, whenever I'm sent on an errand to buy two of something, I come home with three.
   Ed built the deck for the spa tub. This is a Kohler Archer 6' jetted tub. One of the reasons I bought this particular tub was that it had an in-line heater. That also means that Ed had to remember to wire for two outlets..one for the jets and one for the heater.

   He also framed in the support walls in the laundry/craft room for the shoe rack and dog rinse . On the left will be a shoe cubby, since this where we will be coming in and going out most of the time. Instead of shoes winding up in a muddy pile, I'll have a nice, neat place to put each pair. Just to the right of the shoe rack is where the dog wash will be. In a perfect world, the dog will be trained to come in this door (only), and go stand in the shower pan until being told it's ok to come out. That way we can rinse his/her feet.I don't think this will work well with the cats. It is unbelievable how much dirt and mud comes in on pet paws! We can also put very muddy wet boots here to drip dry a little, and hang wet coats. Then to the right of the dog rinse will be the stackable full sized washer and dryer. At the corner will be a counter, then a laundry sink.  
   My kitchen is also plumbed. The sink will look out into the rest of the first floor and out the big expanse of windows to the valley below. I also have a prep sink in the island. Boyd also put in a gas pipe for the propane for our stove. Here, Midnight is checking to see if there is any food in THIS kitchen.
    While Boyd has been working on the plumbing, Ed has been putting in the vents for fans. This is not his favorite chore. Some of the vents go through unheated attic space. That means all that vent pipe has to be wrapped with insulation. We don't want steam and moisture going up into the vent in the attic, condensing on the pipe and running back down into the wall as water. So Ed has been standing on a ladder, wrapping that nasty fiberglass insulation around the vent pipes and taping it down.  It's ugly, itchy work.
   Yesterday Chuck-the-building-inspector came out and signed off the rough plumbing and the framing. 
    Ed says it's time to get serious about electrical wiring. I need to order the central vacuum system. The entryway, dining room and island light fixtures have been ordered. The interior doorknob sets should be here next week.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Plumborama

    It's been a busy week. The delivery trucks have been here so often with plumbing fixtures, I've started setting a place at the dinner table for the truck drivers. Shower pans, tubs, toilets, faucets, drains,valves. It's a Plumborama.
   The Swanstone shower pans came last week. This week we received all the Kohler faucets for the bathrooms. It was overwhelming trying to pick out the perfect faucet, so instead of choosing a different style for each bathroom, I made it easy on myself and stuck to one classic style for all.
   Thursday afternoon we were scheduled to receive delivery of the Kohler toilet fixtures and the pedestal sink for the powder room. Mayflower said they'd bee here between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sun sets at about 4:35 here this time of year, but it doesn't get really dark until about 5:15. 5:30 came and went, and by 6:15 we decided they got tied up and weren't coming. We started following our usual evening routine..shower, a glass of wine, dinner. At 7:40 we hear a truck transmission gear down and the grating of brakes. Ed and I looked at each other in disbelief. It's night, in the Northwest, a week from winter solstice. It's overcast, and we're at the end of a very rural road. So to say it is dark outside would be a serious understatement. I ran over and threw on the porch light while Ed grabbed the car keys and headed down the stairs. He started the Jeep and threw on the lights so they could see to come in the driveway. The two delivery guys were as cheerful as could be. He says, "Yeah we stopped at a restaurant in Grays River (20 miles away) and asked where this place was, and everybody there started giving us directions."  Ten minutes after they arrived we had five toilets and a pedestal sink stacked up by the garage and they were on their way. Poor guys..they had one more delivery to make before they drove back to Portland.

   Ed has been working on the basement, specifically the area that will be the home theater. He put up soundboard on the interior walls and placed the cans for the  lights. This is going to be a fun spot. We'll elevate the screen on a small stage just in case the grandkids ever want to give a performance, but the room will be big enough for "Soup and Movie Night" with friends and neighbors.

   The thing that really felt like a step forward was the arrival of the plumbers. They will be placing the waste lines, the water lines, and the valves. We had to wait until those fixtures arrived before scheduling them to come out, and when they got here they didn't mess around.  Ed and I went over each room and made sure we were on the same page for placement of sinks and toilets, baths and showers, laundry and...well..you get the idea. It's amazing how much two guys can get done in a couple of days.

   The weather forecast said we would have a few days that might be relatively rain-free, so Ed thought it would be a good time to do something about the entrance to the basement. We needed the road to be wider, and we needed retaining walls on either side. It didn't have to be pretty...it just had to be solid.

   Sam Longtain showed up with his equipment and began scooping out dirt, and placing huge interlocking
blocks. These blocks are made locally at Southwest Concrete. When they have a truck come back to the shop with leftover cement, they pour them into these blocks. They may differ in the mix, or the amount of calcium, etc, but, boy can they hold back a ton of sand!   And that's just what we need.

 When he was done, the entry to the basement was wide, clean and solid. As an added bonus, we will have a path up to the other side of the hill between the house and the barn.
   No, don't flinch. I'll plant grape ivy, or nasturtiums or something along those blocks to make them look less industrial.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Think That I Shall Never See A Poem As Lovely As A Tree

  I've been playing with tile for the fireplace surrounds. I would love, love, love to get something like Pratt and Larson tiles, or some other kind of handcrafted, period specific tiles, but since I'm not filthy rich, that's out. for the most part, slate tiles have been done to death, although they are used a lot because they are beautiful.I spotted some 3x6 slate tiles and decided to mix in some accents and see if I could find a pattern that wasn't too far off the mark for Craftsman style. I'm still working on it.

    Saturday, Ed and I drove down to Tsugawa's Nursery in Woodland. They have a wonderful  selection of Japanese maples and dwarf evergreens.  Ms. Lawrence spent quite a bit of time helping us decide which trees to bring home, and how to best place them. What a font of information she is! We came home with a kousa dogwood "Milky Way", the largest tree, and three maples, "Red Dragon", "Crimson Queen", and "Tamukeyama". As soon as Ed gets the sidewalks repoured, I'll put them in the ground. Winter is the best time to plant these trees, since it gives them time to set roots before the growth spurt in the spring.
   We've been impatiently waiting for plumbing fixture deliveries. Finally, on Monday, we received three! First was the Kohler jetted tub, followed by Swanstone shower pans, then Santec shower unit for the craft room mudpan. Still MIA are two more Kohler tubs, and Grohe shower fixtures. Somehow they don't have the expected drama just sitting in the cardboard boxes. But ohhh, when they're in!

    In the meantime, Ed has been plugging away (no pun intended) with the electrical. He's been nailing in those little blue junction boxes everywhere. Starting in the basement he has started fishing wire from box to box.We should keep a count and see how many miles of wire it takes to complete the job.