Monday, November 24, 2008

The First Siding Party

Eli put himself to sleep one night. He really enjoys feeling like one of the boys wearing "ear nobs". Chris and Andy were putting up sheathing boards in the boy's room that night, and with a hammer drill and a circular saw just a few feet away, this was the only sure way to get some rest!Apparently we didn't take a picture of the finished room, but you get the idea. The sheathing boards now extend up to the floor joists, and there are just a few pieces left to finish in between the joists and along the South wall. Speaking of the South wall - the sheetrock is in place on the lower half of the wall, and the window sill is installed. The sill is 18" of 3/4" poplar. It should hold up pretty well to the abuse a boy's room will see. We can't say the same for the window. That glass seems destined to meet a soccer ball within the next few months.
We cleaned up the dining room a bit - which means more boxes are piled in other rooms. Not very much is actually 'put away' yet, but at least is out of the sight. A bare floor gives your eyes some breathing room, so to speak.
The current state of the living room. The twin rocking chairs are in a cozy spot in front of the fire.
This armwah (it looks way cooler spelled that way) used to be a TV hutch in Andy and Mindy's house, but now it's a game closet. It's about 2" too wide to fit between those posts, so it isn't quite backed against the wall. There still seems to be plenty of room, though, and for now, it's a good spot to keep all the games.
Roger said he's been wanting to put stairs here since he first saw the doorway, and he finally got his chance. He and a bunch of other friends came by on Saturday to help with siding. When the ladders became the bottleneck, we set to work building these stairs and working on the boy's room.
It was a cold, blustery day. At 8 am we were still well below 20 degrees, and with the wind, it didn't feel much over 5. The sunlight on the South wall made it tolerable, and the excitement of watching the siding go up was worth the chill.
We primed and painted these boards several months ago. They were stacked neatly under plastic, and in the humidity of the summer months they seemed to have stuck together quite well. They're scuffed and well-worn, but still brand new! We are very happy with the look, and the weathered appearance really makes it seem old already. Good old, not used up and worn out old. We'll add a trim piece to the corner one day.
This is how we ended things on Saturday afternoon. The West wall is done, and 25% of the North and South walls are done, too. The gable ends of the house really soak up the time.
The parting shot from the cherry tree. We live in a barn!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Move. The What?! Yes, the Move.

This was a busy week at the homestead, and we have lots of friends to thank for the progress that was made. Thank you!

Robb came by two nights this week and installed some kitchen cabinets. He enjoyed using the pocket jig, and was impressed by how sturdy everything came out. We started installing the cabinets at the north end of the kitchen, with the cabinets snugged into the corner, then worked steadily south until we came to the gap for the stove. We left the remaining cabinets loose to give the plumber plenty of space to hook up the gas line to the stove.Karen cut a few boards to fit her bathroom, and decided to sand them before she put them in place. We had cleaned out the house a bit before this picture. It sure was handy to have the tools readily at hand on the workbench in the dining room, but it's really cool to have such an open floor space, too.
Dory really likes the orange chair. She curls right up in a ball. Andy is working on drywall, fitting pieces against the roofline near the peak of the house.
Karen with the Makita in the dining room. Within a few days, it will be unacceptable to run the circular saw in the dining room. Too bad. It makes for an awfully nice shop floor.
Don came by on Monday and Tuesday night this week. On Monday he applied the first coat of tung oil in the loft bedroom. On Tuesday, he applied the second coat. Sometime this coming week we'll begin the application of the carnuba wax.
This picture reminded me of Plato's cave. Andy was cutting drywall again. Yeah, he does that alot. He finished installing everything down to the basement, so it's one uniform plane for 3 1/2 stories.
Chris and Karen's tub is installed and working. I suppose we ought to sweep the floor, but after that... it's bath time. Sometimes a good hot soak is just what a body needs.
The power has been turned on upstairs, so most of the lights and outlets work now. Andy and Chris finished the chimney installation, including the 8' of chimney pipe outside the house and the necessary extended brackets. It looks very tall, but the draught should be ideal.So clean! Mindy did a lot of cleaning to prepare for the move. She went through an entire bottle of windex to take the sawdust off the windows. The house will never be this empty again.
Same view, but on Saturday morning. :) Full of stuff. You know how they say if you move in before the house is done, you'll never finish? Well, we believe that to be true, and we accept that it will remain so in our case. However, there are always more good things to do with your time than time to do them all. If a perfect house takes a back seat to something more worthwhile, them we're all for it.
A lot of friends helped us out with the move on Friday night. I know a lot of you reading this are also looking to build your own house, so let me point out what you may already know. There are friends, and then there are friends. Some friends will come by for an hour on a sunny afternoon and pound a few nails. And some friends won't quit until the work is done, regardless of the hour. We're blessed to have both kinds of friends, but some people in our lives really went the extra mile this week, and we look forward to serving them somehow in the future.
What to do with a working stove? Bake cookies! Karen is in the foreground unboxing kitchen supplies, Eli is stirring, Benson is trying to find baking powder, and Mindy is supervising the stirring. The range hood is not totally installed yet, but the stove works, the fridge works, and the sink works. Close enough for us. We'll finish the rest of it up later. No, really, we will. Before the garage, probably. Before the shop, though? Well, that's just crazy talk.
The living room has filled in a bit. The house has changed in very dramatic ways for us this week. It will never go back to what it was, and with the excitement of change there is always the sad tug of the memory of all the happy hours that brought us to this point.
We don't always work, you know. Eli and Chris played Mancala on Sunday afternoon.Mmmm... toasty. We lit the first fire on Sunday afternoon, and boy does it feel good! The chimney works beautifully, and there's nothing else quite like wood heat. It isn't really cold enough for a fire yet, but it was just too tempting sitting there empty.

We plan to work on the downstairs bedrooms this coming week, and expect to report good progress on that front when we write next.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Return of the Zing

This is the beginning of the form for the kitchen island countertop. It is made from 3/4" melamine, and will be poured upside-down. The rectangle in the middle is the cutout for the sink. We will add sides, a soap dish area, maybe a drainage tray. We'll see.The electrician installed some switches this week, but no circuit breakers yet. Karen was doing some sanding in her and Chris' bathroom to prep for paint.
Karen in the bathroom, but without the dusk mask so you see it's really her. The wall behind her is finished, and you can see the cutouts for the sink drains and supply lines. The matching vanities will go in soon.
This one is for Amber. Sorry about the flash and the sawdust. Mindy cleaned a lot of space on Saturday night; made room for tools and wood downstairs and generally got a few rooms ready for actual living. That's not all she did this week, of course, but it's what she was doing when I went around on Saturday night taking pictures.
Ok... you can barely see Karen in there, but she's on the stairway doing some sanding on the railing. The dining room has been cleared out a bit, though Andy and Chris still have to move some wood. Mindy put tung oil on the edges of the stair treads, so another railing piece has been installed. Andy is in the background somewhere, mudding some drywall.
These are Andy's legs. He is mudding the wall inside Chris and Karen's room. He has already done most of the stairway and inside the dining room, along with the wall in the kitchen. This is a better view of the new railing piece that was installed. We really need to put the ballisters in place on the stairs.
The South wall of Chris and Karen's room. Chris has lots of ideas for the lofty space here, but unfortunately does not have enough voting power to overturn Karen's veto authority.
One window is messy and not too pretty. The other is a little less messy and a little more pretty. These are 1x8 sheathing boards with the tongues ripped off. Ripped with a saw, by the way, not just ripped with plyers or something.
Remember this color? The cranberry zinging has begun! There are a few sections that need to be done so the electrician and plumber can finish their work, so we will focus on those areas. We don't expect to finish all of this soon. But it's a start, and once some more inside work has been completed, this will be a fun way to pass the time. It was raining at the time of the picture. Not snow, not sawdust, just rain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The First Sheets of Drywall

Chris and Karen were up in Maine on Sunday, so the blog is a bit late. We did make a bit of progress last week, though, and it's only right that we report on our status.

We put up some more boards in Chris and Karen's bedroom. Their closet is closed in on the left, and the bathroom is closed in, too. All we have to do is hang the door! Sort of...

You can see a large stack of drywall in this picture. 50 sheets of 4x8 material should cover most of the area where we've chosen to put some color in the house to contrast with the pine.
Andy and Chris worked on the chimney for the woodstove this week. Cutting a hole in your roof is a bit unsettling.
Nearly done. We have a few screws left to put in place, and there are two more lengths for the outside that need to be installed. It was less than 40 degrees and pitch black when we called it quits on the roof that night. We worked on a few more things inside, then Andy rode his motorcycle home. What is the windchill factor for a 40 mph wind when the actual temp is in the upper 30's? COLD!
Some friends of Chris' came over to help on Saturday, and we put them to work with some sheathing in the loft bedroom. Thanks, Tommy and Kitty!
Yes, the pictures could be in better order. This is the finished hole in the roof, with 2" clearance to any combustible material.
Some of the drywall on the North end of the dining room.
On the same plane as the dining room wall, this is the entrance to Chris and Karen's room. The drywall in their room has already been hung. To line up properly with the studs, one of the sheets in this picture protrudes into the doorway a little bit. Our doorway isn't really that narrow.
Tired of drywall yet? This is the kitchen. We left a blank space for the plumber to run the gas lines to the range. Once he does that, we'll wrap this up, mud it all, and install the kitchen cabinets.
Benson tried three different drills for this job, and he settled on the corded Bosch. He really likes to help, and it was great to be able to hand this job over to such a willing worker.
Brian came over again on Saturday and did most of the updates in Chris and Karen's room. Aside from family, Brian has been the biggest help out here. When you take it upon yourself to build a house, it's important to understand that when you're tired, it's dark, it's late, you're hungry, or whatever... you still have a house to build, so you just keep going. It's been great to have a friend who understands how we approach this project and who steps in whenever he can to help. Not everybody "gets it". Brian does.
Just a forewarning... we will all be in NYC for a baby blessing next Sunday, so the blog might be a Monday event next week, too.