Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prime Time

We got the walls and ceilings fixed up to our satisfaction with spackle and sanding and we are now ready to paint.  So we start with primer.  We are focusing on the main living level which includes the kitchen, bathroom, dining and living rooms and also the main bedroom for now.

Dean works on the cut in,

While I work with the roller.

Here I am working inside one of our under-the-eaves closets.  Kind of an awkward area for painting.

Plumbing update

This week the hot water tank was  installed. 

No hot water yet because the electrician still has to come out and wire it.

And we had a utility sink installed in the laundry room.

I have always wanted a utility sink!  I must be some kind of a dork to be so excited about a utility sink,  but it will come in so handy for rinsing my tie-dye projects!  Let's have a big tie-dye party at some point in the future!

The laundry room

Here's what the laundry room is looking like these days.

We got the Formica counter top from a free-cycler, and these are two of the damaged 42 inch base cabinets from the kitchen.  Right now, this is a catchall work area holding tools, and drinks and dog biscuits, but one day this will be a nice folding table and storage area...

More counter tops

Dean cut the butcher block that will make up the remainder of the kitchen counter tops.  Here they are roughly in place. 

They will be attached to each other using a biscuit joiner.

Measuring for brackets

One of the common features of an Arts and Crafts Bungalow is the decorative brackets that are placed in the roof overhangs, and appear to support the roof. 

In the process of shingling, we need to put in wood plates to attach things to, like the plate for the exterior flood light seen in the picture below.  Since we are getting close to the roof line, we have to think about putting in wood plates for the placement of the brackets.  Here, Dean is taking measurements for bracket placement.  Note the use of a level...

Coming up this week: 

More painting! 

By weeks end, our floor finishing crew should be starting work.  This will mean we have to stay on the outside of the house for a week or so. 

That will put us to work on  - you guessed it - shingling! 

This will also be a good week to visit Lowes and pick out some kitchen appliances.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Working toward Occupancy

We've got our sights on an Occupancy Permit, and have been focusing our energies on the areas we need to qualify for one.  We have heard that we need to have:

  • A bathroom witha toilet and a door

  • A kitchen with sink, fridge and stove

  • Finished floors in kitchen and bath

  • Finished stairs with handrail

  • Weather tight exterior
We will move into a quite unfinished house, but we are anxious to not be paying rent any longer.  I just hope that once we move in, we will keep our momentum going to complete the project...

We don't yet have a date for the move, but it seems within possibility that it might be by the end of summer?!???  We'll let you know because we will be looking for some help to move!

Setting the stage

Last weekend Cathy and Teddy delivered some staging to us.  This should come in handy for a couple of areas that Genie cannot be set up in due to uneven terrain.

How they happened to have a set of staging is another story of BBB (builders behaving badly). 

When they built their addition, the builder abandoned the project (after being paid of course) and he left some of his tools behind - among them this set of staging.  So we benefit from their misfortune...

Counter tops

On Monday, we had some kitchen counter tops installed.  We are using a recycled glass product called Curava for part of the counters, and we will use maple butcher block for the remainder.

Here are the guys from Merrimack Stone doing the installation.

Making the cut out in the base cabinet.

Doing the dry fit.

Putting on the sealer coat.

And when they were done, here's what we have.

And later that day, Dean did a partial installation of the faucet so we could see how it looks.

The butcher block was also delivered on Monday.  We ordered chunks of butcher block that we will cut to size and install ourselves.  Measure twice, cut once, measure twice, cut once, measure twice, cut once...

Here, Dean applies a coat of dilute polyurethane to the backs of the butcher block - this will help prevent warping. 

Prepping for Paint

We spent a good part of the week getting prepared to paint.

The results of the skim coat plaster job that we had done on all of the walls in the house was below our expectations.  So what else is new?

We chose plaster over drywall and joint compound because we were lead to believe it would give a superior result.  What we expected was for the walls to be very smooth all over.  Dean will tell you they did an all around shitty job.  I would say I think it came out OK, but there a quite a few dings, gouges, high and low spots, and rough patches through-out.  I would estimate about 1- 15 defects per each wall and ceiling.

Anyway, we have been sanding and spackling to fill in the defects, and sanding again, and we should be ready for paint this coming week.  So here is a montage of sanding pics...

Plaster dust is rough on the coiffure.

And more sanding...

And still sanding...

Fixing other stuff

Because our former builder failed to put in blocking between the wall studs, there are places where we had no way to secure the base cabinets to the wall.  Here I am putting in an L bracket so that we can tie this cabinet into the nearest stud.

And here, Dean is cutting out a section of the drywall in the bathroom so that he can place some blocking to attach the sink to...

Marking the area to be cut.

Making the cut.

The exposed stud.

Chiseling out part of the stud so as to sister it with a cross piece.

And putting in the blocking.

Now we have a place to attach a sink!

More Plumbing Excitement

The plumber did  some work on Friday.  We now have three lovely outdoor water spigots!

The final connections of the soil pipe to the septic have been made.

And we have hooked up the washing machine.  We don't have a water heater yet, but we can do cold loads and save ourselves some trips to the laundromat!


We have been appreciating the rain, as it means we have to run the sprinkler less in order to keep the hump green.  We have discovered that it takes mucho kilowatts to pump water from the well!

Speaking of green, our future green energy plans include:

  • Photovoltaics.  When we build the garage, we will have a nice chunk of south facing roof real estate to install a bank of photovoltaic panels.

  • Windmill.  We plan to put up a small, relatively inexpensive windmill.

  • Solar water heating panels.  These are also in the plans.
  • A clothesline.  One of the simplest and most efficient uses of solar energy!

Still shingling...

There is still plenty of shingling to be done.  We are getting up the the scary high areas of the house.

Preview of coming attractions

Dean had this idea of putting down a coat of diluted polyurethane on the un-sanded floors as a way of protecting them from paint spills, etc.  It gives us a little preview of what the finished floors will look like. 

It is such pretty wood!


When not sleeping on or under the porch, Pumpernickel has taken to chillin' at the North side of the house.  She digs a little cool spot in the sand and naps all afternoon...

Finished stairs

Tom came out on Saturday to install the stair treads and hand rails.  He was accompanied by his helpers Ben and Cheryl.

A view looking down the stairs.

And the hand rail.

While he was here, Tom took some measurements for doors that he is going to order for us.

This is where is is saying "who built this house anyway?"  "There is no door that comes in this size..."

That's it for this week.  Next week - painting, and the floor finishing guy is coming out to look at the job...