Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 2012 update

So much for my plan of doing shorter posts each featuring a completed project...  I see that my last entry was on July first, and here we are now at the end of summer!

And a busy summer it has been! We have been working on a number of projects, but it did not seem like anything was getting finished, and I worked a LOT of shifts at the hospital in August, so those are my excuses for not posting sooner. 

So here is what we have been working on.

Screen Door

Dean wanted a nice screen door for the main entrance. He looked at what was out there, and found even the expensive ones seemed kind of junky, so he decided he would build one from scratch.

We are calling this the $900 screen door because in addition to the wood being expensive, if he had been paying himself an hourly wage on this project, that's what it would have cost!  OK, slight exaggeration, but this project took a LOT of hours to complete.

We purchased some mahogany - a very durable, very hard and weather resistant wood and Dean got to work. 

For some reason he did not feel like setting up the dado blade on the table saw, so instead made a series of small cuts and then hand chiseled the remaining wood.

And here is the frame.

So should we paint it, stain it, or varnish it?
Dean decided to use spar varnish, also known as marine varnish.   
Spar varnishes are typically designed to not only protect the wood, but also give it the flexibility and UV protection it needs to last for years. And the name “spar varnish” comes from the boating world, where the long wooden poles that support the sails are know as spars. So a spar varnish needs to be one that can withstand the rigorous conditions of seafaring life.
 This stuff takes a long time to dry, and was very difficult to sand between coats.

We had the screen frames made at a local home center.  We lucked out when Dean was able to locate his spline roller to get the screen material into the frames.

And here is the completed door.

It sure is nice having a screen door!


We had our first overnight guests try out the guest room/office/library.  Rose and Mike stopped in on their way to Rochester, NY.


Can you believe that 3 years in, we are still not finished with shingling?  The 2 sections of the house that were still un-shingled, were the main entry/porch area, and the shed dormer on the north of the house.  Well the porch area is now done which you will see more of below!! 

The dormer is still waiting and will continue to do so because it is going to involve building some scaffolding.  Genie - AKA Dean's girlfriend - is not able to reach adequately for this area. 

Hmmm, I guess I am not the only one who disappoints on from time to time...

Main Entrance and West Side of the House

In addition to adding the screen door, we have been doing a lot of other work on the main entrance porch area and the west side of the house.

I painted the door.  Here are the test patches I had done a while back.

And decided on Benjamin Moore's Cottage Red - the color on the right.  Eventually, all of the exterior doors on the house will be painted this same color.

We got the porch columns trimmed out.

The lower 1/3 of the columns got shingled.

And then we put a little rain cap on top.

The upper 2/3 of the column is boxed in with pine.


Dean finished the shingling around the doorway.

Then we worked on an archway type detail as you enter the porch.

And then shingled the gable end of the porch with a nice diamond shape detail.

And then we finished painting the trim and built and installed the brackets for the west side.

And so here is the west facade as it looks now.


Mason Bees

CathyO gave me this Mason Bee house for my birthday.  Some bees have now taken up residence!

Do you see the holes that are plugged with mud?

Doors for the Barn

One of the next  projects to get done before the snow flies is doors for the barn.

We did some work trimming the openings.

Spray foam insulation will help seal it.

Nailing the piece in place.

The door frames will be constructed from steel.

We got the steel delivered.

And Dean got a new steel cutting saw.

So, all ready to get started on this job.

Solar Update

The solar panels are still stacked in the basement where they have been since we got them.  We were discouraged by our state's restrictive regulations regarding net metering, and put the project on the back burner.  As a reminder - the law allowed only 1% of all electricity generation to come from home-owner solar systems, and they were very near capacity all ready.

Good news, though.  Just last month, Massachusetts passed legislation and it was signed in to law by the Governor, expanding the net metering program a whopping 3% , which increases our chances for eligibility. 

Now we just have to decide what type of inverter we will use, and fill out the application.  Hopefully we will work on installing the panels this fall.

Getting Ready for a Party

We are having our House Warming Open House Party September 23rd.  We will be marking 2 years of living in the house.  Check your email or FB events for your invite!!  Hope you can make it!


  1. Beautiful house! Awesome glowing moon/dog eyes. The house was glowing too.


  2. Your house has so many wonderful details. I love the color of the front door, and the diamond shape in the eave. It is all looking beautiful. I cannot imagine doing all of the work like that. That Dean is quite a guy. You are quite handy at doing carpentry yourself.