Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stairway To Heaven

   The stairs have been the project of the week. Last week Ed glued up stair treads from left over flooring. Then he added a bullnose to the front edge and trimmed them up for installation.
  Tuesday we went into town for more lumber. We needed hemlock for the stair risers, shop grade plywood to rip down for pantry and closet shelves, poles for the closets, stuff to make fireplace mantles, and trim. Once that was home, Ed ripped down the plywood for the shelving. We've had wonderful weather all week, so the staining and varnishing went without a hitch. At least I got to work outside instead of in the

    When the hemlock was  ready, Ed went to work on the stairs. The unfinished stairs are the last glaring eyesore inside the house, and he was on a mission.
   First he floored the landing. I asked him to set the flooring in this direction for several reasons: It is parallel to the flooring in the living room and the first steps off the entry. It's perpendicular to the stairs from the second floor, giving a visual cue that you're at the bottom of the stairs. That sounds a little silly until you've misstepped and fallen down the stairs, then it all makes sense. 
 The end result is stunning. He did a spectacular job with the stair treads. We used up almost all of the left over flooring, which decreases our waste, and saved a bundle of money. We still have hand rails, stiles and newel posts to be installed. Those should arrive in about a week, and it's back to staining and varnishing.

     It's a miracle that Ed was able to complete the stairs given the various interruptions. Ferrell Gas showed up on Tuesday to evaluate the site for the propane tank. We decided to move some furniture down from the loft in the barn one morning while it was cool.  Thursday night the bed frame I ordered from Amish Outlet was delivered. Of course I couldn't just let it sit there...oh no! I wanted to set it up right away. I waited as long as Friday morning, then Ed and I put it together.
    Ed went back to work, this time putting in shelves for the pantry. Around here a well stocked pantry can save you, because it's two hours to and from a large grocery store. Sometimes in the winter the roads can be impassable for several days. At least.. that's the rationale I use. Ed says the shelves could use a sanding and another coat of finish. I say...stock those shelves!
   This week the propane will be installed, and we'll see if we can get Sister Brigit (the stove) up and running. If the stove works, we'll move in.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hello Dolly or Highboys

   For over a year, the piano has been living the temporary bedroom in the garage. Sunday afternoon I asked Ed and Dan to move it into the house. I was as anxious about this as I was about moving the stove, and for the same reasons. It's as heavy as a tank, it's a tight fit, and if it gets dropped it's toast.
   We pushed it to the roll up door, and with Ed on the tractor and Dan providing traffic control, they positioned the forklift tines just right. Getting the piano past the two garage columns wasn't hard, but getting the tractor tires and forklift tines through was a piece of work. Because the driveway has a sloped edge, the tractor couldn't back straight out. With lots of maneuvering they managed to inch out without damaging the columns or the piano.

 Once the piano was out of the danger zone, they walked it back to lean on the back bars of the lift. Then Ed ever so slowly slowly drove it over to the porch where we had the dolly standing at the ready.
With the precision of a surgeon, Ed set the piano ever so gently on the dolly and pulled out the forklift tines.

 We thought the stove was heavy at 500+ lbs, but the piano had that beat by a mile. Even with the dolly wheels, we knew that rolling the piano into place would destroy the floor. We brought in plywood and made a runway. The piano fits the wall perfectly.  I found some old sheet music from the early 1900s and framed them. They will go above the piano.
   Ed teases me about decorating before the house is finished, but I can't help myself. With the exception of some touch up paint and the stairs, the inside is done.

I stained and varnished the stringers this week. They are lumber from the old spruce tree that fell in a storm our first winter here. Yes, I know. Some people would have painted them. We have so much finished wood in this house, why stop now?


 Ed decided to make the stair treads and risers himself. Buying stair treads to match the floor was jaw-droppingly expensive, and we had three boxes of flooring left over. As of yesterday he had about half of the stairs made.

   The creek restoration project hit a bump in the road...literally. We were expecting more wood to be delivered, this time in a highboy trailer. I wasn't sure what that was, so when it showed up, we went down to watch the unloading. The driver got out and chatted with us for a minute, then says "You'd better move back. Sometimes these things tip over." So we dutifully moved back a safe distance and he started his engine. I was expecting the trailer to dump sideways, but it began to lift...and lift. After a bit of maneuvering  the logs were out. He said he had several loads coming in the next day and off he went.
Coming up the valley the next morning, he came through the sharp turn and flipped his trailer over, dumping the trees in the neighbor's pasture in the process.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the project that was supposed to start on Monday is now delayed. A small thing considering the alternative.
The hardware is now on the cabinets in the living room, kitchen, and craft room. We're still waiting for some of the items for the bathrooms.
   The only thing that isn't done in the kitchen is the front panel of the dishwasher and the final hookup for the propane for the stove. With a microwave and an electric skillet, I could probably survive until Ed gets the propane finished.

 That's been his major project this week. He had to dig down 18" to lay the line for the propane. He also wants to stub out for a BBQ and the emergency generator. He briefly thought about renting a trencher, then realized that the machine wouldn't fit in between the garage and the back columns. So he broke out the shovel. Then he had to cut the cement with the diamond blade and pound it out with a sledge hammer. That is hard, hard work!

   Tuesday the propane company will come out and take a look.  I'll probably be inside hanging pictures.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fridge, Faucets, Furniture and Family

   This week has been a whirlwind! The new refrigerator came on Monday.
   Our first company was due this week, and Ed worked hard to get the water and sewer up and running. Now the showers work, the toilets flush, and the sinks function.
    Tuesday the upholstered furniture arrived. This is the first time I've ever picked out upholstery fabric for new furniture, and it was a scary thrill. It's hard to look at a little swatch of fabric and envision it in the color scheme and on the chair. Case in point: That darned chair came out pinker than I expected. It'll go live in one of the bedrooms as soon as I find a replacement.
Dan and Ellen arrived, and Dan helped Ed bring the dining room furniture down from the barn loft. After a disinfectant rub-down and a good polishing, it was ready to go. I still need to re-cover the chair seats. One thing at a time.

   Dan is a master carpenter, but what he loves to do is finish carpentry. Ed and Dan put crown molding on all the kitchen cabinets. It really finishes them beautifully.
   Then they moved to the entry. I've been waiting impatiently for this part of the house to be completed.  The columns originally came to us square, and had to be remade. Ed then waited for Dan's arrival so they could put them in together. Dan ripped down some of the left over crown molding from the kitchen and used it to trim out the columns.
    It's perfect.
    It's beautiful.
    It's craftsmanship.

  It deserves two pictures.

    Friday night we had our first meal in the new house. It felt so right, so comfortable. I hope it was the first of many, many memorable evenings with family and friends.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lord Of The Wax Rings

    Since the granite was scheduled for installation on Monday, Ed put in all the water shut-off valves last weekend...all 33 of them. I don't know that it was any easier, but he had more light to see what he was doing.
    Monday dawned and I was like a kid on Christmas morning.  The truck arrived with the crew from Bergerson Tile and Stone. Tony, Derek and Willy checked out the worksite while I drooled over the stuff on the truck. I kept running from one side of the truck to the other. The Golden Night pieces were on one side and the Matrix was on the other. I kept hoping I hadn't made a terrible mistake using two different kinds in the kitchen.

  They brought in some of the Golden Night first. Granite weighs 18+ lbs. per square foot. It covers the perimeter of the kitchen and the kitchen desk under the windows. I don't even want to do the math.

   Next came the slab for the kitchen island. This is a beautiful piece of Matrix Motion. It has big swirls of white quartz, and streaks of yellow and gold.
   Tony, the crew chief was very careful with moving each piece. Every move was discussed and outlined before anyone lifted anything. In this business, there's no "Oops...sorry". And it's a long way to the hospital.

 They got the island piece inside without incident and tilted it into place.  

   The last piece to come in was the heaviest..and the trickiest. This piece has the kitchen sink, a turn, and the breakfast bar. If something horrible was going to happen, this was the one it would happen to.

   Tony took a few minutes to think. They studied the cabinet. They walked out the the truck. Tony thought some more. They came back in, looked at the cabinet, went back out to the truck.
   Four men, all as strong as bulls, wrestled that piece inside. By the time they got it in the house and next to the counter, they were all winded and sweating.
   I think we all breathed a sigh of relief, but the most difficult part was still to come.
   Tony thought. He looked. The crew rested and tried to breathe in oxygen to replenish screaming muscles. Tony thought some more.

  "Let's just take a few minutes before we lift this." he suggested. Everyone breathed a mental sigh of relief.
They discussed just how to lift, whether to lean and tilt, who should move where and when. Finally Tony said "Ok, let's just do it." And on "three" they did.  
   When that piece went down, nothing broke and nobody was hurt, I said a quick prayer of thanks.
   That crew had worked darned hard, and since we are miles from everywhere,I gratefully fed them. Smoked and grilled salmon, fresh cole slaw, and roasted red potatoes were served out on the deck.

The kitchen is more beautiful than I ever dreamed. The crew stayed late to drill holes, set sinks and finish the seams.

The Golden Night complements the Magic Chef stove perfectly.

  Elicia and I grouted the downstairs fireplace in time for the Matrix Motion hearth stones to be set. Ed put the face plate on the front. We still have some caulking to do, and the mantles to be built and installed, but it's all starting to come together.
   Elicia helped me fill nail holes on all the baseboards, window and door trim. Ed had already given the baseboards a second coat of finish, so we sanded the window and door trim again and gave them another coat. 
   I carried the toilet tanks to each bathroom, and made sure there was a lid and seat for each one. Because I'm a wimp, I left the bowls for Ed to carry in. He set all the toilets yesterday.
"You know you live in Washington when it's August and you have to heat the wax rings in hot water because it's not 70* outside." he commented. We now have five toilets set in place. I wonder what would happen if we should ever flush them all at the same time!