Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Island Countertop

This stone wall is on the ridge between our house and the brook. It is a very pretty spot.

Another shot from outside - Karen was out taking pictures one day.

This is the butcher block slab for the island. We will end up with two sections for the island countertop. They are too short and too wide for our application, so we will trim them to length and width with the circular saw. As carefully as possible.

The bare island. No sink, no faucet, no countertops.

Measure twice, cut once. We measured twice, then clamped the level in place as a fence against which to run the circular saw. I'm pretty smooth with the circular saw by now, but the fence is even better. Yes, I made Karen hold the extra bit until I came back with the camera. :) There are some dark spots on this slab - because we are cutting it upside down, and the bottom of the butcher block is not as polished as the top. It surprised us when we opened the first box, but then we saw the big stamped letters that say "Down". We cut it upside down to minimize any tear-out of the wood as we cut.

The first section cut to length and width. The length on this first slab doesn't matter too much - we just needed to trim the rounded end off so it will have a square edge to butt against the other slab. The width of these tops is 39" or so, but we only need 34". The extra 5" will be trimmed again, and will be used as a backsplash on the non-island countertops. We tried a few methods for an accurate template for the sink cutout, and cardboard was one of them. The sink cutout proved to be the most difficult part of this, but we knew that going in.

Both slabs cut to length and width. But no sink access. Hmm, we'll have to fix that.

The sink cutout is done. The camera exaggerates the differences between the slabs, and the tops are not installed here, just set in place.

A close-up of the sink cutout. We cut a few templates out of cardboard until we had the fit that we wanted, and then we traced that edge onto the slab. If it came out great, then great! If it came out bad, then we planned on sanding for awhile. If it came out terrible, well, we would have looked for a top-mount sink that fit the hole. Fortunately it came out pretty well. Some finish sanding, and we were good to go.

Another spot of the cutout.

Last shot of the cutout. The faucet is not reinstalled yet, but that will be simple - it's just a 1 1/2" hole drilled straight through the top. The top will be caulked to the sink, screwed in place, and then coated with Waterlox. It's expensive, but seems to be the best finish we can find for this application. We don't want to risk water damage, so we will treat the wood well before we even reinstall the faucet. No sense risking the temptation.

So how do you do dishes with no kitchen sink? That actually turned out pretty cool. I washed, and Karen rinsed and dried. There is always a way to make things work. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Non-island Countertops

These are the french doors that used to be for Andy and Mindy's bedroom. We seem to change the name for this room every other day or so, but in any case, the doors are painted and installed, and look pretty sharp. Karen painted all of the doors in the house the same color, and with the matching color and matching doorknobs, really ties things together nicely.

This is another picture of the spot under the stairs in the basement. Karen did this, too. She said it was her first time cutting angles, and that she is now one with the table saw.

This is the area above the basement stairs and below the loft stairs. Dad installed the quarter round trim here. Covering up the rough edges feels good. The lines on the wall are spots that weren't taped or sanded very well before the paint went on - that's on the list to redo. But the list is long, so don't look for that anytime soon.

Karen took a few pictures of the snow from the last week of February. Piled high and heavy - the whole week was wet snow that didn't compress at all. It was just solid moisture. Chris used the tractor for awhile to clear some of the snow away from the house. It seemed to fall closer to the house this year than last year, though we aren't sure why. The house sure hasn't moved.

More snow.

Ahh, home sweet home.

Amid all the snow, summer tires for the Miata showed up. Soon... :)

Karen painted the surround for the hearth a charcoal grey that blends with the rest of the hearth. Looks sharp, though it spends a lot of time covered in wood chips and dust.

We bought some butcher block countertops for the area next to the stove. The original plan for the countertops was to pour our own concrete tops, but the combination of time, energy, and reality intervened. The butcher block feels and looks wonderful after being so accustomed to painted plywood.

South of the stove. There is room for expansion in the back, and a backsplash will cover the gap.

Chris' man cave. With all the screws I used, this should stay really solid... Ha ha. No, Dad, I didn't just screw it in place through the plywood. I used brackets that will allow the countertop to move with changes in humidity.

Both sides of the stove installed. You can see a big difference in the face frames - the one on the right has a coat of oil on it, the one on the left does not.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Driveway

We had a relatively easy winter here in the Northeast. Some of the mid-Atlantic states had record storms and huge snowfall totals, but not us. We were spared from many of the largest storms... until the last week of February. The last week of February we had just over 30" of snow and 2" of rain, which is about double the entire rest of our winter season. The snow just kept coming, and eventually I ran out of places to put it. The driveway kept getting more and more narrow, and the snow piled on the house reached the kitchen windows.

This video is from Sat, Feb. 27, and begins about 100 yards South of our driveway.