December 29, 2007

Settling In

After doing lots of little finishing projects, we've finally settled into our little home. Kerstin made this wonderful little island in our kitchen which really classes up the place and gives us much needed countertop space. The bathroom still needs a bit of work (shower doors and a heater), but other than that, everything else that we set out to finish this year is finished. Now we're switching gears from getting house done to getting ready for baby. I'm pretty enormous at this point and things are pretty uncomfortable now. Sleeping sucks, for example. Lots of aches and pains in the hips and lower back. And bending over... only a faint memory now. I for one am looking forward to getting my body back and meeting the little fellow that now fills every square inch of it. There have nonetheless been several requests out there to see photos of my belly, so I'm including a final picture of me to placate the masses.

I have intentionally cut off my head in this photo because there really is nothing nice to look at above the shoulders. That whole "beautiful glow" of pregnancy that everyone talks about is a crock. I am puffy, red, and full of acne. It's pretty frightening. I hope that I'll return to my former self once the baby arrives. Until then, no face shots!

December 5, 2007

First snow

We had our first snow fall December 3rd. About a foot accumulated. We were all toasty-warm in our house, doing chores and installing door-casing and kick-molding. The trim in the kitchen coming together, but it’s psychologically challenging. The trouble is that I have to mill every piece of lumber to form. All the wood I’m using is left over from the demolition. Its nice old pine, but it only has one finished surface and is 7/8 thick. Instead of grabbing a board – cutting length to size - nailing it to the wall – and painting it . I grab a board, check for nails, cut length to size, cut width to size, plane it to proper depth (3/4), do a quick sanding, nail it to wall, patch flaws, paint it. It takes more time and the garage is really cold these days.

We are sleeping in the house and slowly getting our things out of boxes. We don’t have much furniture or shelving yet, but the house feels good and we are making due. The living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are pretty much habitable. Other rooms will be habitable once we unpack the boxes. We are still waiting on part for our new stove too, so we can't use the cook-top. It's good to be in the house though, two thumbs up.

November 18, 2007

Nearing move in

I'm not sure what stage of the game this renovation is at now� near the end maybe?

We've put some boxes in the living room and have a new fridge and stove, but the kitchen walls still need to be painted and there are countless tiny/ not-so-tiny projects that are on my list. Overall though, I think we can move in this weekend - defined by spending the night and sleeping in the house. (as opposed to spending the night working on the house all night).

I would say at this point all livable space is over 90% complete, but nothing is completely done. We are still dealing with pig-tailed bulbs for lighting (but they are all switched). The bedroom closets need the sheet-rocking and paint. Master bedroom door needs casing. The bathroom needs casing around the window, shower, and door and we need a custom shower door. Kitchen needs loads of casing and kick molding and I need to run some new electric for the new stove. So when I say 90%. I'm only talking about the facilities never mind curtains, carpets, and couches.

The kitchen floor was the last big project. It came out pretty well, as long as the material continues to last. The engineered parquet did not inspire confidence in its durability. The parquet tile is pretty thin and the pieces are held together with hot-melt-glue and some soft-metal wire (no joke). The dude at the building supply place said we could either glue it down or pin it with narrow gauge staples. I figure if I pined it, it would last about two months before all the parquet pieces start shifting and lifting and breaking, so I used the glue so all the pieces would be held in place. I then put two coats of urethane over the already finished top surface for extra wear protection. I think the parquet durability was more intended for some 2nd den, rather than a kitchen application� I hope it lasts.

I also had a chance to do a repair the other week. I patched a leak in the roof. The tar seal around the chimney was a little punky.

Also, a picture of the sunset in October.

November 6, 2007

Kitchen Renovation Continues

We had our stove installed last week and it works great. We're really happy with the way it fits into the space. There's nothing like a roaring fire on a cold November day.

Now Kerstin and Burris have moved on to the kitchen in earnest. They've put sheetrock over almost all the walls and plastered over another wall (with the baseboard heating). The doors have been hung and the new wiring and can lights are in. We even got a second-hand fridge that's living in the dining room at the moment. Now we're on the prowl for a stove and dishwasher. Kerstin is hoping to finish the walls within the next few days and put the floor in by this weekend. If all goes well, we'll move in this coming Monday!

October 30, 2007

Baby pictures

OK, OK, I can't help myself... I've turned into one of THOSE proud mothers to be....I can't help it. He's just so cute.
I had a 3D scan yesterday and here are some pictures of our little kiddo in utero at 28.5 weeks.

October 29, 2007

Wood Stove

The ground floors came out pretty well. The 3M safest stripper worked
wonders… the trick being to tarp it overnight (with a tarp, not
cardboard – which was handy after we ran out of tarps, but very
ineffective). The floor has a quite a few discolorations that I may
have been able to sand out, but the time/ effort/ cost/ what can I
accept/ equation lead me to the judgment of ‘good enough’ and I
moved on. The finishing touch was to paint the wall in the dining room red.
This may seem unrelated to the floor issue, but when you enter the room
you immediately notice the red wall and don’t look at the floor one

I have begun work on the kitchen construction, Ilana is looking for
appliances and wood stoves and other fixtures. Burris and I decided to
start by putting some lights in the kitchen ceiling and running the
kitchen electric. After a long discussion at the building supply place
we discovered they had only one model of light that would work as a
can-light, but it was ½ too tall to fit between the ceiling joist.
Since most of the joist boards were not nailed down we pulled them up,
ripped some ¾ material and tacked it on top of the joists… no big
deal, just half a day of work.

We ended up being two lights short so I went back to the building
supply place and to my amazement they had a whole new shipment of
different lights that were slightly smaller and would have fit in the
space without needing the ¾ padding had arrived. The existence of
these lights was not mentioned two days previously. Grrrrr.

Like most of the projects in this house, the kitchen lights are taking
more work because we are implementing long-term improvements. With the
floor boards out above the kitchen we added more insulation, and

The hearthpad for the woodstove is done! Burris and I banged it out
in 3 hours on Sunday. The stove will be delivered on Wednesday,

October 26, 2007

Red Wall

We were originally going to put the red wall in the living room, but decided to do it in the dining room instead so that it would draw the eye away from the floors. I'll let you decide if it was a successful stategy or not. I love the color of red, in any case.

Burris is building our bathroom vanity out of old-growth lumber that he and Kerstin salvaged from pieces our old subfloor. He's stripped, planed and hand sanded every piece in this cabinet, which was designed with an over-hanging sink. I'm told the graceful arch above the legs is his trademark design. Very cool!

October 22, 2007

Nasty Surprise Number 3

Oh, the tar! The tar!! It was everywhere. I guess this is our third, (and by Kerstin's estimation), final nasty surprise in our new house. For some completely unexplainable reason, the previous owners decided to tar the linoleum to the wood floors in the dining room, while they simply papered over the rest of the rooms. Why they did this, we'll never know. Kerstin has been heard muttering a few choice curse words over the past few days which, I can only assume, were aimed at Herb's ghost. Kerstin and Burris have done nothing but scrub, strip, sand, and attack the floor with various chemicals all week to try to get it all off the floor. In the end, Safest Stripper by 3M was proclaimed the best product for tar removal on the market. Burris and Kerstin can say this with confidence since they tried EVERY possible method. Man, it really stank in there. I don't know if it was the stripper or the tar itself, but it had this really nasty burnt chemical smell that I could only tolerate with a facemask. So I've been staying away from the house while this procedure is going on. The tar is now mostly gone (pictures coming soon) and all the floors have been sanded, re-stained and sealed. It's looking a whole lot better now. We're hoping this is the last of the nasty surprises.... They're starting to really bring us down.

Floors Unearthed

When Aaron and Liz were up here last weekend, we unearthed the wood floors under the linoleum. It was a very dusty procedure, but what a change after all the garbage was taken out. Ole gimpy was still able to lend his good hand. What a brother!

October 15, 2007

Completed Room Shots

The master and second bedrooms are complete! Check out the bitchin' floors. These are shots of the second bedroom (aka baby Gilg's room)...

And some shots of the master bedroom...

And finally, some fun "before and after" shots to see how far we've come....