Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Watching The Mud Dry

 The tapers have finished, and we're just waiting for the mud to dry. Once it's dry, the walls will get a texture coat and we can start painting.
   Ed doesn't do down-time very well and was looking for short time projects to do while he waited. He started piecing the waste pipe from the house toward the septic tank. Of course, that meant getting down and dirty. At least it's dry under the deck.

 We took the opportunity to make a quick trip to Astoria. It was a gorgeous spring day, and I love watching the big ships come in.
 We made the obligatory stop at Home Depot. This time we were looking at tile and slate. I have become obsessed with flooring..hardwood, tile, slate, ceramic or porcelain. I look at it all.
I had an elevated expectation of what would be available in the flooring world. I had visions of huge warehouses of discount tile of every color and texture. After several trips to Portland with varying results, I think we have decided on honed walnut travertine for the foyer and most of the bathrooms. Won't that look great with the cabinets?
   I also found an inexpensive ceramic tile that is a very good match with the walnut travertine for the craft room floor. I mean, really, does the dog care it's not the real deal?
 Our bedroom and bath will be blue and gray which is different than all of the rest of the house. I found a delicious honed travertine, silver, in nice big 18" tiles. for the bathroom and shower.

  Yesterday Bob Redmill of Redmill Drywall returned to texture the walls and ceiling. The house got a smooth coat. The stairwell going to the basement, and the two rooms in the basement got a rougher Venician Plaster texture.  We'll paint that to look like stone at some later date.

   Some of these guys do all their work on stilts. Frankly I can't imagine how sore these guys were the first two weeks on the job. They even go up and down stairs in these things. I asked one guy how many times he fell while learning to use them.
  "Four times" , he said.
  "It's a miracle you didn't break your leg." I replied.
   "Yeah, it can get ugly." he answered.
  No's an hour to the hospital.

So today we can start painting. Ed is moving staging and the airless paint sprayer up from the barn.  I thought we'd still be waiting for the mud to dry and made plans with a friend today, but it'll be my last free-play day for a long time. Paint, tile, floor, furniture, stain, door jambs, baseboards.... they will be my life until we move in.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Forward

   We've gone to daylight savings time this month, and I am really enjoying the extra hour of light in the evening. That's not to say that it is sunshine, because sunshine isn't due here until, oh, July. We do occasionally have a gloriously beautiful sunshiny day. I'll let you know when that happens.
   The sheet rock guys have been mudding and taping for a week. Because the weather isn't exactly warm, it is taking a little longer for each coat to dry, in spite of our space heaters.

 Ed has been trying to stay out of their way while still keeping busy. It isn't easy. He bought 50 sheets of Durock for showers and fireplace surrounds. The downstairs fireplace will have slate tile in a modified  Craftsman style, with bookcases on either side.

The upstairs fireplace will also have slate tiles in a slightly different layout, with the TV on the left, and woodstack on the right.

  I am the Chief Purchaser Of The Interior, and I've been frantically trying to find the best price for tile and hardwood flooring. Who knew shopping could be so stressful?

 Since it was time for our Annual Theberge Women Hen Party, I took off to California for a few days. I took advantage of the one day of sunshine to take a long walk. The air smelled delicious, like chlorophyll
and candy. And it was no wonder! Blossoms were everywhere. People were wearing tank tops and flip flops. Ahhhh Spring!

   By the time I got home, I had Miracle Grow coursing through my veins. I wanted to plant things. I wanted to pull weeds. I needed to be the tender of tiny green shoots.
  Actually, there was a huge heavy wet mound of dirt in the front yard that needed to be spread around more or less evenly. There's no use using little tools when you have big tools. Ed got the tractor and the backhoe, which made quick work of shoving the dirt into place. I planted the 6 lavender plants I had previously purchased. Ed put screen around the new dogwood tree so the deer wouldn't snack on it. I put down a nice heavy coat of grass seed, and we'll call it good for now.

When we first moved into the double wide that was originally here, there was a 5' cedar fence surrounding the house. The blackberry vines, with thorny canes out of a horror movie, were growing over the top of the fence.  It blocked the view and the first change we made in the property was to take down the fence. We've slowly beaten the invasive vines back. When we put in the retaining wall in December, the last section of fence came down, and we had a bit of grading done on the west side of the house. Today Ed raked down the lumps and I spread grass seed over it. By summer it will all be grass.
   Task by task, we move forward.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The First Walkabout

     The guys from Redmill Drywall showed up Tuesday morning and hit the job like a whirlwind. In an hour they had the two upstairs bedroom ceilings done. I tried to stay out from underfoot, but it was unbelievable to watch.
   I have received several questions about the barrel ceiling, so I wanted to be sure and post a picture of that being done. The crew chief, Valentin did our apartment ceiling, so he knew what he was in for. They used 1/2" drywall on that portion so it would bend. It looked so easy. Once it is taped and textured, it'll be smooth as a peach.
   With a six man crew, they finished in three days. I'm so glad Ed decided to sub this out because it would have taken us forever....if we'd lived.
   Friday the clean up crew showed up and hauled several truckloads of scrap away and put down paper. We're ready for mud!
    So let's take a tour....

   As you enter the foyer, there will be craftsman style display cases on either side of the entry into the living room, with columns going up to the soffit. In the picture here it looks like the ceiling in the living room is dropped, but it's not.

  To your left is the hallway to the kitchen. Feel free to hang up your coat in the closet on the right. The powder room is on the left. You can see the pantry door further down the hall.

As we step into the living room and turn around, you see the foyer from the other side. The stairs to the basement (Ed's Man Cave) is on the left. My piano will be on the wall on the right.

 Midnight is taking the tour with us. We are standing in the dining room looking at the living room and  fireplace. There will be mantle height  bookcases on either side.

The living room is open to the dining room and kitchen.

   And the kitchen ... In the forefront is the sink and breakfast bar. The stove, cabinets and fridge on the right, and cabinets on the left. Under the window is a desk and place for all..or rather, some of my cookbooks. The island with it's prep sink is in the center.

  Moving into the kitchen you have a view of the dining room. The dining table will be centered on those windows. We'll have a lovely vista regardless
of the weather.

   Just down the hall is the laundry and craft room. This was originally a bedroom on the stock plans, but we added an exit door and put the laundry here, giving us a much bigger hall pantry. We have a great place to rinse muddy dogs and hang dripping coats. The washer and dryer will stack just to the right of the dog wash. There is plenty of room for stained glass, painting, and oh yes, folding laundry (if I must).

 There is a nicely sized bathroom off the craft room, mostly because the craft room was originally planned as a bedroom. The spa tub is here. I'll most likely make stained glass panels for these windows.

On the other side of the first floor is a large bedroom, with access to the back porch. This will be a guest room until Ed and I are too old to make the stairs, say.... 103.
    The bathroom here has a good sized shower with a  low step, keeping in mind that the future may someday include limited mobility. We plan on staying in this house until they drag us out.

Let's take those stairs now to the second floor. An oak newel post will be at the base, with fluted 1x4 stiles up the stairs, in the craftsman style, of course.

 The family room has that great barrel ceiling that the eyebrow dormers create. The stock plans called for a vaulted ceiling over the living room and a loft between the two upstairs bedrooms, but we wanted the extra space. We also wanted to limit lost heated space.

    We put a second fireplace upstairs. We have found that the new woodburning stoves and fireplaces are so efficient, the trick is to not roast yourself out of your house. We plan on heating primarily with wood, although we have a big furnace in the event we need it.
   This is also where we will watch TV most of the time, since there isn't one in the downstairs living room. It will go on the left, with a wood box on the right.

   What would have been the loft is now my library. I am very excited about this room. I have boxes and boxes of books in the barn just waiting for their new home. I only hope the mice haven't read too many of the books! Bookcases will be window height along the stairwell and under the windows, then taller on the wall on the right. A few overstuffed chairs and a table....ahhh..heaven!

On either side of this area are similar bedrooms. The west bedroom will be a guest room. The plans called for the dormer to be much larger and a storage area, but Ed changed it and I like it much better.

From the french doors looking in the other direction, each bedroom has a large closet and a bathroom. These bedrooms are plenty big for a king sized bed, dresser, seating area with a table and chair, and perhaps a small writing desk. The vaulted ceiling makes it seem it even larger than it is.

We will be in the east bedroom, which is a mirror image of the west bedroom. The bathroom is a little different because of HVAC ducting. The double sink vanity will be as you enter the bathroom.

Then left to the 6' shower tub and toilet.

 Shall we head down to the basement? Ed is pretty excited about his home theater. We hope to occasionally have "Soup And Movie Night" with friends and neighbors. A big screen and surround sound will insure we feel the movie as well as see it.

A little refreshment? Let's go next door for some popcorn and a cold beverage.  The saloon will have swinging doors, a wagon wheel chandelier and a cowboy bar....just like Bonanza!

Now that we've sat around watching movies and had a beverage or two, we really need to get rid of those calories. Step on into the gym. No pain, no gain.

   That concludes the tour. Next week it all gets taped and textured. I'll make a quick trip out of town for a few days, and when I get back I have buckets and buckets of paint to look forward to.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Bucket Brigade or A Window Of Opportunity

   Tuesday, Ron-The-Stair-Guy came out to take a look at what we'll need for the stairs. Ed will install them but we need parts, and I don't know enough about rails, stiles, and all that stuff to order them on-line. Because the building code dictates what goes where, Ed will need to modify the area where the stairs come down to the landing so that the handrail can come all the way down on one side.
   Wednesday was insulation day. Two guys from Gale Insulation showed up first thing in the morning and hit it hard.
   I know I'm repeating myself,  but the transformation is so startling, I can't help it. The first thing you notice is that the door opening and closing sounds different. The rooms don't sound like you're standing in a warehouse. Walking is muffled. And when I yell for Ed, he can't hear least...that's what he said.

  Abby, the dog is increasingly deaf, and we found her wandering through the house, because she couldn't hear where we were. There are walls where before, there were just studs and miles of wire.
    We used to be able to see from the foyer area through the hall and craft room to the back door. Not any more. I am finally (finally!) able to get a true sense of the size of the rooms.
The insulation guys worked very late Thursday to finish the walls. Ceilings will be blown in after sheet rock is done.

  Ed is pretty happy to see the last of the framing and wiring. He's been working on a short list of last minute items. He finished the blocking for the shower arms, towel bars, and tp holders just before the insulation guys started.
   Of course, once the insulation was all done, he remembered One More Thing.  One wire for the alarm system had to be fished through the insulation from the basement up into the attic, but that was managed with a minimal amount of swearing.

   While the insulation guys were working, Ed started framing in the area for the stair rail. He decided to just make a display box, which is fine with me. If we had originally known we were going to have a display box there, it would have been nice to make it a light box, but the wiring is done now. There will be arts and crafts style stiles and a newel post at the bottom of the stairs.

   Ed also framed out the hearth steps for the two fireplaces. I'll tile these with slate later.
    Meanwhile, I went to town to get paint and more lumber. The truck was in the shop, so whatever I got had to fit in the Jeep. I stopped at Home Depot and picked up 10 2x4x8 and went for paint. Sherwin Williams was having a 30% off sale. When you're buying as much paint as we will need, that adds up! I came home with 30 gallons of paint, with a promise to come back for the rest when I had room in my car.
Sunday I went back for 32 more gallons. I think I saved over $800.00 by buying it on sale. I still have 7 gallons to go. Raw sheet rock really sucks up the paint.

    Friday the sheet rock was delivered. It was two trucks full. Some could go straight through the front door for the first floor, but the second floor sheet rock had to be carried up the stairs.
   One of the guys looked around and said to Ed, "Can we take out that window and load it through the window?" He pointed to the second story arched window, masterfully trimmed and painted.
   "No.", Ed says, "As a matter of fact,I called last September to see if they wanted to load sheet rock early before the window was installed, they said you would just carry it upstairs."
  Easy for them to say. Those guys hoofed all that sheet rock up the stairs piece by piece. Some of it was 12 feet long.
  The road up to the roll up basement door is a muddy quagmire, so Ed lent them some plywood to make a platform for their dolly. They still had to use the bucket brigade method to unload it from the lift onto their dolly.
   Ed and I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning up the inside of the house. We put tools away, swept the debris, filled garbage bags, took stuff down to the barn. Finally we were satisfied that the remaining items wouldn't hinder the guys coming Monday to hang the rock.