Friday, December 10, 2010

Good, warm Fire! [Not the scary bad kind.]

For the past few days Bob and I have worked painting the drywall that was replaced when the box for the stove went into the ceiling.Nicholasville Paint did an awesome job of matching the paint. I brought in a piece of the cut out drywall and they matched it without knowing brand or formula.

We are messy painters, so I taped and covered things well and Bob got on the ladder and did the painting. It was a bit precarious because the ladder had two legs on the hearth and two legs on a sort of nailed together platform that sat next to the hearth.

 We painted on two different days and then removed the draping and tape, washed the stove pipe and box which had drywall mud and hand prints and bits of paint, etc.

Finally installed. After all this time and going through a few different installers, it is finally ready to use. But, alas, we had to go home.

So, today, we fired it up. It takes such a tiny bit of wood to make a good fire. We used just a bit and before we knew it the internal temperature was at the magic number of 500 degrees, so we engaged the catalytic converter. It is supposed to burn most of the smoke so you don't see much at all outside the house and just a bit of wood gives the maximum amount of heat.

The soapstone adsorbed the heat and was radiating nicely. It felt great. We still have to install the trim around the ceiling box [you can see it laying on the hearth] but that is for another day. Today we cleaned the whole upstairs. Carpet comes on Monday.

It was a great day!

Take care,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Woodstove finally installed on coldest day of the year!

Finally, after nearly  10 months since I placed the order and over 7 months since we took delivery, our wood stove is finally installed.

Whew! It took 4 tries before we finally got someone to install it. A big thanks to Jason and Noel via our new Contractor Cliff Swaim, for finally getting the job done.

Although they had gotten started last week, because of some questions they had about installation and because they had to build a scaffold to get to the roof, they were not able to finish installation.

I arrived before 8:00 to meet the guys who were delivering our new mattress. We thought the carpet would be in by now and our new bed would be set up and waiting for the mattress, but it was not to be. The sun was just rising when I arrived. Red sky in morning--sailors [and wood-stove installers] take warning. 

Hole looking up from living room.
The problem is, it was 16 degrees with high winds. The wind chill in Lexington was 3 degrees, and you can be sure at the top of that hill it was MUCH colder. I sure would not have wanted to be up on a steel roof  cutting a hole all the way through and installing stainless steel stove pipe.

It was crazy cold and so windy and big flakes of snow were flying by sideways. I am not exaggerating, they were going completely parallel to the ground.  

At any rate, the wood stove guys had built a scaffold [last Thursday] up to the roof so they could attach the stovepipe. 

 Doesn't this look like lots of fun? The wind was just awful, howling around the corners of the house.
 A bit precarious, don't you think?

When I left it looked like this. They went for an early lunch to get something hot to eat and to get some tar to seal around the boot.  Later in the day, Cliff called to tell us they had finished installation and that we could now make a fire!  Of course, we really need to prime and paint the area around the chimney pipe inside where the drywall was re-done.

House from the road.
The whole time they were working I was inside doing touch up paint, caulk and organizing the supplies down there. The mattress was supposed to be delivered between 8 and noon. At noon, Bob got a call on our home phone that said they would be there in 30 minutes. At 12:50 two guys in a beat up old pick-up truck, with the tail gate down, drove up the long, cold, icy driveway.

My beautiful European Pillow-top King Serta Mattress was strapped down like a restrained patient. I guess I was expecting a regular box-type, enclosed delivery truck all tucked in-warm and cozy.

The two men, jumped out, unloaded my mattress into the basement and away they went without so much as a "Sorry we are late." It was covered in plastic and no worse for wear, so all is good.

As I was complaining to myself on my way home how I had to wait 5 hours for them and if they were going to call 45 minutes ahead of time, I could have waited at home and just met them out there. Just then, I came around a bend and off in a paddock of Shawnee Horse Farm I saw ten thoroughbred horses running like fire across the field. It was beautiful--the hooves and manes flying across the snowy field. It was breathtaking and I prayed they would not break through the fence. They didn't. They just ran along it, all together, like something out of a western. If I hadn't waited 5 hours, I would not have been at Shawnee at that time, and think what I would have missed.

All in all, a magnificent day!

Take care,

Monday, November 29, 2010

We are almost ready to be done!

We are almost ready to be done!

Kari came home from her Americorps Assignment in New Orleans to spend a week with us for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful. Not only did we get some time with our girl, but she was an incredible help with finishing up the cottage. Kari caulked, painted, shimmed and glued-- so many of the finishing up, time-consuming jobs are done.

 The steps are poly-urethaned. I love the blue side boards. I wasn't certain before hand, but when it was done I loved it.
Bathroom with cabinet hung and cute little knobs on it.
The kitchen came out cute. I love the Corian counter.

I love the little soap dispenser on the left.

 Loft almost painted. Eventually the access door were painted blue but they are VERY hard to access. I would not have done them the way they are done.

We will fix them so they are on hinges later, but for now they will be OK. I took off the knobs and put on handles so we can wrestle them out better.
 The loft  access was fixed so we can actually get up there. Kari and I painted a couple of coats of paint on the spindles.

The ladder going up to the loft. This ladder is the most sturdy ladder I have ever used. I have carried a shop vac, paint, vacuum and other items up and down this ladder and it never even moves or shakes a bit. It is made of oak and poplar.

Our plan is to just push it up into the loft when not in use and pull it down when we want access.
 Kari put the quarter-round behind the woodstove, filled the holes, touched up the paint and caulked. It looks great!

Speaking of the woodstove--it looks like we finally have someone who can and will install it. He cut the hole in the ceiling Saturday and says he will have it installed by Tuesday.

Then there will be some ceiling repair when he is done, but at least it will be installed.

 I primed and painted 100 Shaker Pegs and many 1x4's so that Bob and I can put up Shaker pegs throughout the cottage. We figured six 8' boards and four 10' boards will do it.

The carpeting will go in later in the week so once the stove is in and the carpet installed, the interior will be done!

Bob is building some retaining walls outside before the final grade is done and we still need a bit of vinyl siding put on, but other than that, we are good to go!

Bob has some time off at Christmas so we hope to spend some nights out there then.

Take Care,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Misty morning from another perspective...

I had to meet the HVAC guys today so they could finish up the job. I also had to let the painters in, so I was out at the farm early this morning.

I decided to drive past the driveway [dead end lane] and see what our cottage looked like from the next hill over. I will have to take some photos from this perspective when it is a sunny day, but when I saw it perched up on the hill I thought, "If this wasn't ours I would really be wishing it was!"

It sure looks like a vacation get away.

  I guess it won't look so forlorn when we plant some grass and do a bit of landscaping.

On  another note, the painters continue to work. It has turned into a bigger job than they thought, so I am really glad Kari and I didn't try to tackle the job by ourselves.

The carpet comes in about 2 weeks, counter top will be installed tomorrow!

The paint crew arrives!

The basement trim is primed.

Loft doors and trim primed. The little doors to lead to storage areas-there is one on each side. 

The loft railing is finally done.  The carpenter made the oak and poplar ladder to lead to the loft yesterday.

I should have taken a shot of the polyurethaned oak and poplar stairs, but I forgot. They look awesome!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Siding done! About 3 weeks away from completion...

Front of house with siding and outdoor lights.
This week there was quite a lot of activity.  The siding guys finished their job. We are pleased with how it finally came out.

Faucet in lower level bath. We need to install the backsplash.
Siders at work.
Roofing guys fixing some roof problems. They finished that job.

HVAC almost all installed. They need a few more coolant lines and will finish up this week.

View with nearest neighbor house in it.

Misty view from deck.

Mist over the farm.

Almost done now!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Daughters, Dinners, Peas and Painting...

The paint guy who came to give us an estimate for the cottage was super nice and professional. Since it is a small house [about 580 square feet with a 100 sq ft loft] and the ceilings are already painted [even the cathedral ceiling has 2 final coats], the walls primed and much of the trim work only needs one finish coat,we figured it wouldn't cost that much.

Let me tell you--forget wanting your sons and daughters to grow up to be brain surgeons so they can support you in your old age--have them be painters. The quote was WAY out there-- I mean WAY out there. So, needless to say, we will do the painting ourselves.

In all fairness there are a some nail holes that need to be filled [I did a ton of them already], some caulking and sanding and stuff, but really, the quote was over $2000! Can you believe it!!!

Something you should know about me--I hate to paint. I am not good at caulk. Have you ever seen a baby after eating peas? Well, that is me when I paint and caulk--everything, everywhere! And I don't really like caulk in my hair and on my nose!
Granddaughter Elinor with first taste of peas.

This is where the story gets good. Kari [our only daughter] is serving in Americorps for a year and so far her service has been centered around building and remodeling homes. Just when I was going to cry  about all the painting that needed to be done, Kari  sent me this email:

"I did get to do some finish work the past couple of days, including cutting and laying all of the quarter round for a few rooms, then nailing (finish nail guns are super fun), caulking and painting. Everyone complimented me on how professional it looks, and one guy told me I should go into the finishing business. Maybe someday I can pick up some side jobs, because I really do enjoy it, and I am getting pretty good at it."

So,  it looks like she will fly home for Thanksgiving to have a good family catch up time [which will be awesome] and be able to help me do the painting/caulking too boot! I am so encouraged and we are all excited she will be able to come home for Thanksgiving. She is not going to believe how much Allison and Elinor have changed.

God is good, all the time...even when it comes to  daughters, dinners, peas and painting. 

Take care,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

After 7 Years--No More Trips to the Outhouse!!

2004 the beginnings of our outhouse!
 Yep, that's right. You heard it here first. After 7 years of ducking behind trees [guys], running to the state-of-the-art outhouse Bob built [girls] and one incident that involved two daughters with lowered britches and a mouse...we now have indoor plumbing! We are the proud owners of two toilets, a shower, a tub with shower, two sinks and laundry tub, water heater and outdoor taps!
 Here are the water heater and laundry tub waiting to be hooked up. I have wanted a laundry tub for over 25  years. I am pretty excited I can actually wash Scrappy Dog without bending over into the bathtub.
 Basement Bath, waiting for faucets.
 Basement Bath--the toilet is waiting in expectation.
The dishwasher needed a certain kind of adapter. The plumber didn't have it--then I remembered that Lowe's sold me one back in February when I got such a  great deal on a Kitchen Aid, stainless steel interior dishwasher. I ran down to the barn, quickly found it and then huffed and puffed back up the hill. I was amazed I could find it so fast after all that time and with all the furniture in the barn waiting for completion of the cottage.

Here is the laundry tub with faucets. However, I would not recommend that you buy this type of all-in- one-tub from Lowes. The faucet will not let one drop of water through it. UGH! The plumber said he saw another of this same type do this.

So, I need to take the faucet off and get a replacement. He will install it when he comes to finish the sink in the kitchen. [Still waiting on the counter top to be installed so he can put the faucet and drains in.]

 While the plumber was working the wood stove guys came out to look at the situation. These two guys placed the stove, which weighs about 500#, on the hearth [grunting and groaning like crazy]. It was heavy and hard because they had to put in the right place and not scratch the tile. It had to be at least 12" from the back corners of the stove to the wall, so a lot of measuring and tiny movements had to be done to get it lined up right.
 Ahh,  doesn't the stove looks happy sitting in its new home?

They will come tomorrow and install it. I pray all the bits and pieces that they need are in all those boxes in the basement.

After they got it in place they got out their binoculars and tried to spot some deer. As they were moaning that they couldn't see any, the plumber told them he saw five on the hill this morning while he was sitting in his truck waiting for me. They were jealous.  
The upstairs bath is ready to flush! We still have to have a nice cabinet hung over the toilet and have the shower curtain rod hung, but it is functional and looking good. It is a small bath, but looks pretty cute. Cris and Jen and Elinor bought me the cute little pump faucet for a gift. It looks adorable.

Tomorrow is another big day. Besides the wood stove guys, the HVAC guys come early morning to finish hooking up the heat pump and installing the heat/air vents.

The finish carpenter comes in the morning. He has a few things to do to finish up the trim and loft area.

The painters come for a consultation in the morning too. We need them to polyurethane the oak steps, hearth and a few other things and, we just realized, the paint is just primer--not the finish coat. So, they will have to give us an estimate on that. I spackled a ton of holes and don't mind painting trim, but now way are Bob and I up to painting cathedral ceilings. Ugh!

Take care,