After surviving a severe case of Builder's Burnout, complicated by a rash of Stuff That Has To Be Done Immediately, Ed started cleaning up the last of the detail work on the house. He began by casting the cement caps on the columns. After looking at several different products used to form up the caps, he decided to just build his own. He made forms out of strips of plywood, then mixed the Portland cement in buckets and hand carried it up to the porch to pour into the forms. Bag after bag, bucket after bucket...it adds up to a lot of pounds of cement. One and a half bags for each single column and three bags for every double column. There are two double columns and two single columns front and back. You do the math.
Once the cement was poured he cased out the posts. Because of the Northwest weather, maintaining anything made of wood is a challenge. Ed decided to use a product similar to PVC, except it is formed in sheets, similar in dimension to plywood, made by Kleer. He cut it with a regular Skil saw then glued and nailed them together.
They were easy enough to lift into place. The problem we had was getting them lined up square and plumb. The columns are tapered and the cement caps are sloped for drainage. That creates a double whammy of misperception when eyeballing the alignment. So the conversation went like this:
Ed: "Is it straight?"
Me: "Um...I think so."
Ed: "OK, I'm going to shoot the nails."
Once the casing was completed, he sanded the cement caps, put trim pieces around the crown and base, mounted corner bead, and gave everything a good sealing with caulking. The columns are finally done!
We decided to put skirting around the bottom of the porch, partly for eye appeal, and partly to keep critters...skunks, possums, whatever...from taking up residence.
The Man Cave gets worked on when the weather isn't conducive to outside projects. We ordered bar edge trim for the bartop along with brass foot rails. While we were waiting for that to arrive, Ed did some more work on the bar cabinetry. There will be a small fridge under the counter. We decided not to get too crazy with beer taps and kegs. Ed has been working on a backbar which will have the obligatory mirror and a place for bottles.
He also finished up the theater seating. He built a platform for the second row of seats. The seats have motorized recliners so he wired in for boxes to plug in the chairs.
Then we lifted the chairs onto the platform, plugged them in, and aligned them for perfect viewing. Now all we need to do is agree on a movie to watch!
One of the best things I have done since moving to the Northwest is blog this building experience. Sometimes you lose sight of what motivated you in the first place. Sometimes you forget just how much you have accomplished. Sometimes it's just good to review the obstacles and be reminded of your blessings.
We managed to get through an eight-year process without major illness or injury. We didn't make one unexpected trip to the hospital. Ed is an amazing individual whose problem solving skills and patience are truly inspiring. For the first four years, he made a weekly 1700 mile commute for work. He worked on the building project on his days off, essentially working 7 days a week, month after month. Then when he retired, he worked 6 days a week to build the house. He says he didn't really retire, he just changed jobs.
Front or back, each porch beckons friends and family to enjoy our home, and really is there much else that is important? Our hope has always been to share our home with those we care about.
Recently someone asked me "Is this a Craftsman style home?"
In my heart I thought, "Oh yes, it is. Not only in style, but in actuality. A craftsman built it...a true craftsman who cared about each step. He thought about every nail, every joint, every tiny detail."
And so I find that each time we come up that driveway, and each time we open the door, the very house itself whispers "Welcome home, welcome home."
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