Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Early Spring

Here we are at the Spring equinox, and it marks 5 1/2 months that we have been living in the house.  It feels like home, and although we continue to plug away, the house is far from finished, and we still are not completely unpacked and settled. 

I look forward to the day when everything  is in it's place!

Signs of Spring

Genie has come out of her long winter hibernation, and is eager to get back to work!

Pumpy is shedding her downy undercoat.

Locke Brook has broken away from the snow and ice.

When we step out the door into the yard, we can hear her singing loudly and jubilantly!

And then, of course, there's the MUD!

We are anxious to get our excavator back to complete the rough landscaping, and get this area paved.  We are going to be using a material made from re-cycled tarmac.

Fixing the roof

No doubt you will recall our roof woes.  Well, we figured out that what we needed was a different type of ridge vent.  A more "venty" ridge vent.  And after talking with the roofer who did the original job, he graciously agreed to send a crew out to replace it.

I am happy to report that the problem seems to be fixed! 

This morning, the outside temperature is 32 degrees F, and the attic temp is 37.9 degrees.  A few months ago, when it was in the 20's outside, the attic was in the mid 50's!  So, it seems that we now have an actually working venting system, and hopefully this will dry out the soggy insulation.  We do still have to get back up there and pull the insulation out of the rafter vents, and this should allow even more air flow.

Plumbing problems

When we ran out of firewood and had to start using the house's central heating about a month ago, we discovered that the heating system is inadequate.  By inadequate, I mean that it runs for about 5 hours to get the house from 60 degrees up to 70 degrees.

When he was installing the system, we questioned the plumber because we did not think that he was putting in enough baseboard registers.  In every house that I have lived in before, the baseboard registers would run the full length of the outside walls, right?

The plumber assured us that he had made calculations based on the size of the house and the insulation capacity to determine the amount of heat registers installed.  I cannot vouch for his math, but I can tell you that in our old house which had quite a bit less insulation, it took about 30 minutes to accomplish the task of warming up the house.

So Dean called him to talk about it, and several other plumbing issues, and he is declining to take responsibility for any of it.  Oh, brother!  Here we go again.

Dean's plan to bring more heat into the house, is to replace a couple of the register runs with these double decker runs that he has put together...

Here is the list of the other plumbing things that are F'ed up:
  • The way the he plumbed the hot water to the upstairs.  To get hot water to come out of the kitchen faucet, we have to run the water for about 45 seconds.  I know that this does not sound like much time, but this represents a few gallons of water wasted each time.  And it is the same with the shower.  The weird thing is that the hot water heater's location in the basement is almostly directly below the kitchen sink!
  • One of the outside spigots turns itslef on randomly and runs at full speed.  We now have to keep the shut-off valve to this spigot closed.
  • The trap for the washing machine drain freezes in the winter.  We found this out when we ran the washer, and got a flood in the basement, when it could not drain because it wsa plugged with ice.  The trap really should not have been placed in the outside wall where it cannot be adequately insulated.
  • He has failed to provide us with the trim kit for the upstairs shower (which we plan to finish ourselves) even though we have paid for it, and asked him for it on several occasions.

Progress Indoors

We have spent the winter working on a variety of indoor projects and have made some nice progress in several areas. 

  • We finished the tile in the entryway.

The grout we used is very similar in color to the tile for a monochromatic look.

  •  Dean has got the bump-out bench for the entryway almost completed.  Soon we will have a neat little spot for changing our boots and shoes.

We used leftover flooring material for the surface of the bench.

Here, the bench is in the basement getting a few coats of polyurethane.


  • We installed the closet door for the entryway closet. 

We have gotten more efficient in our door installation process since the first one we put in!
Measuring the door.

Trimming the frame.

Pre-drilling the frame.

3 1/2 inch screws used to secure the frame to the rough opening.


Using a utility knife to trim the shims.

  • We put in some additional electrical outlets
Since living in the house, we discovered that we wanted a few more electrical outlets.  We especially wanted them in the entryway, and at the base of the stairs where we like to have a night lihgt on.  So Dean went to work punching a few holes in the plaster and installing 3 more outlets.

  • We installed a shade in the living room
We decided that we wanted a shade for the living room door that faces the front of the house.  I had been looking into purchasing a custom Roman Shade, but was put off by the price.  Then I thought that maybe I could majke one myself - so I looked on-line for instructions and quickly realized that it was more complicated than I thought, and way out of the range of my very basic sewing skills.

So I turned to Rose, who agreed to make one for us.  I bought some fabric and took some measurements, and Rose worked her magic to produce a beautiful Roman shade that fits perfectly.  Thanks, Rose!!!

So here we are installing the shade...

Measuring for screw placement.

Drilling the pilot holes in the mounting board.

Marking the door for screw placement by tapping the screw with a hammer to make a little indent in the metal.

Drilling the door.

Hanging the shade.

And here it is in the fully down and halfway positions!

Thanks, again Rose - really nice job!

  • We installed the backsplash trim in the kitchen
We decided to use Maple for the backsplash.  Here, Dean is rough fitting the lenght of wood.

Rough fitting the maple.

Scribing the edge.

This spot where the butcher block meets the Curava, has a level change that required removal of some wood.

Dean uses a wood chisel...

And then uses a plane to make the piece fit...

Our supervisor keeps an eye on things...

  • We've continued to work on various bits of trim here and there.

    Getting the trim ready for one of the 2 pocket doors in the house.
    We finished trimming out the kitchen window area.

Speaking of Spring...

Last spring, we no sooner had the house framed when our local Phoebe couple built a nest in the peak of the gable dormer.  A fine place to raise a brood, except that there was too much human activity in the area, and they abandoned the nest.

We took it down just last week and found four little eggs inside.

Our goal is to get the shingles and bead board done before they return this spring, so we won't have to be disturbing them. 

So it's off to work we go!

Putting up the flashing.

Getting the shingling started...

That's it for now!  Stay tuned for more shingling and other outside stuff!