Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in Missouri

Merry Christmas!  Christmas in Missouri was full of firsts.  Our first Christmas tree in 28-years.  The first Christmas in 40-years that we woke up in our own bed.  No airports, kennels or rental cars.  More time with family. 

We spent most of the afternoon with the family at the farm.  I'm glad we've kept the tradition of returning to the farm as a family alive all these years.

My last post was over 2 weeks ago. Lots of things have happened since then.  The week of 12/16 brought snow and ice.  Sun and temperature changes combined to turn the driveway into an icy mess surrounded by a muddy yard.  Only a few ruts, no one fell down - except me.  By the end of the week things were much better.

Our first real snow of the season.  So pretty!

And, so much fun to play in!
Oh come on, play with me . . .

Looking east.

 All the windows are trimmed out on the first and second floors.  They look wonderful.  Jay and Greg have done a great job.  We're starting to get a good picture of what each room is going to look like when it's all done.  The interior doors arrived on December 20th.  We were a little worried that the truck driver would have trouble backing into the driveway, but he made it without too much trouble.

Jay working on the windows in the guest room.

The garage is filled with doors and trim.
And the kitchen is the staging area for the finished woodwork.

The doors are beautiful.  I can't wait to see them finished and in place.  Greg and Jay hung a couple of them this past Friday (12/27) and plan to have the rest hung by next weekend.

One of the yoga room doors.

The stain really brings out the woodgrain.
We had a raised tile platform built in the living room for the woodstove.  After the platform was in place, we had the company that did the stone on the outside of the house put the same stone on the wall above the platform.  We then had the stove installer come in and set up the stove.  Unfortunately, he couldn't complete the outside work since there was ice and snow on the roof.


Our geo-thermal furnace is operational.  No more temporary furnace!  They're still completing some of the ductwork and need to install the humidifier and the ERV (energy recovery ventilation) system.  It's so quiet.

Ductwork waiting to be put in place.
Our geo-thermal monster.
Tile floors are done in the bathrooms and mudroom.  The bathtub is in place, as is the granite top for the shower bench in the master bath.

Master bath tile and granite bench.  The green stuff on the wall is waterproofing.

Warmer weather allowed the deck boards to be put on.  The railing is being made by a local steel fabricator.  Work also started on the railing and screens for the porch. 

Door location on screen porch.
We haven't taken the dogs out to the house lately because of all the mud.  But, they love running around in the fields.  They are both becoming more comfortable inside, especially crazy Nissa, who was trying to get Chris's attention.


Wood flooring will be delivered next week - cabinets will be ready soon.

Happy New Year . . .

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving and beyond

Thanksgiving was spent with family and friends.  We were happy to have our friends Leigh and Robin visit from Michigan.  Had a great time catching up.  We were also grateful for the tip regarding the location of our new french door refrigerator to make sure the doors can open all the way.  Come back soon!

Thanks to my good friends in Michigan who celebrated my birthday without me!  And sent pictures!  Love you guys!!

The Birthday Lunch Bunch:  Nicole, Angela & Erika (photo by Leigh)

The stonemasons continued working outside when it was warm enough for the mortar to dry correctly.  They heated water over a wood fire to mix the mortar and then would cover each area with heavy plastic to keep the heat in.  They finished up last week and came by yesterday to pick up the rest of their equipment. 

The roofers came back to install plastic ice dams on the roof to keep ice and snow from sliding off the roof in large sheets.  300 +/- little plastic doo-dads screwed and glued into place, one between each ridge on the roof. 

We picked out our ceiling fans and the rest of the light fixtures last week and placed the order.  I hope nothing's on backorder.  We agonized over a few of the choices and neither of us want to have to revisit our choices.

Jim finished painting on Sunday - the walls look great.  He stained the beams to match the color of the wood floors, too.  He'll do a little touchup this weekend and start varnishing the windows and the trim boards.

Stained beams

Yesterday was an exciting day.  The oak trim for the doors and windows and the stair parts were delivered from Freedom Products.  It's really neat to think that it was all made specifically for us.  I can't wait to see the doors.  They should be ready by Christmas. 

Stair posts.

Greg and Chris built the raised platform that our woodstove will sit on.  We also did some cleanup and sweeping.  Bobby (the electrician) came by to put in more of the lights and switches.

Pad for woodstove - waiting for tile.
Today (Tuesday) we went out to do some additional cleanup.  Surprise!  We have power to some of the lights in the garage and to the garage doors!!!  I came home and called to have the temporary electric outside the house disconnected.  Neal and Mike were busy installing the ductwork for the furnace.  They hope to be done with the ductwork by the end of the week.

Later this week the flooring contractor will be in to sand the floors and prepare them for the wood and tile flooring.  The wood flooring will be delivered next week and will have to sit for a week to become acclimated to the house before installation.

It snowed over the weekend - more at our rental house than at the new house.  The house looks a little different in the snow.  Most of it melted today.

Our first snowfall.

Stonework is complete!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brrrr! A taste of winter this week.

The start of gun season brought rain, wind and colder temperatures.  We were happy to have the temporary furnace running in the house.  Once the insulation contractors finished with the ceilings and the outside attic access was closed, the house was pretty easy to keep at a comfortable temperature.  We needed to keep the house warm until the tapers were done.  They worked through the week and finished up Thursday night.

Friday and Saturday, Chris and I swept what felt like tons of drywall dust from every surface in the house.  Felt like Charlie Brown's buddy Pigpen at the end of the day - a little cloud of dust followed me everywhere.  We were grateful for the use of our painter's big shop vac on Saturday.  He painted all the ceilings on Sunday and will work on the walls next weekend.

The stonemasons continued to work on the outside of the house, although the weather slowed their progress.  I think they should be able to finish next week, before Thanksgiving.

We choose the slabs of granite to be used for our countertops and all the tile for the bathrooms this week. 

This week has been a little quieter, had time for actual housework today - dusting and vacuuming at the house in Washington in preparation for Thanksgiving.  
Chris talking with Jim as he stains windows in the studio.

Taping is almost done.

Chris and Steve trimmed the trees in front of the house this week.

Taking more cardboard to be recycled.


The deck - or what will soon be the deck.

The monster painting machine.

Chris and Nissa playing frisbee behind the house.

Damn, we hate getting our picture taken.

Sunset tonight . . . hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2013

And so it begins . . .

We made it.  All the drywall is up and the tapers are almost done with the 2nd floor and have started on the rest of the house.  This weekend should be quiet at the house - Jim will be the only one working.  Everyone else is out trying to shoot Bambi. . .

The insulation crew was in the house for 2 days and will come back next week to blow insulation in the ceilings now that we have drywall up.  They also need to finish a few areas in the basement.

We ordered handles and locks for the exterior doors and sent the lighting list to the supplier for pricing.  We ordered all our appliances, too.  The local Sears store made us some excellent deals.  Can't wait to get the new french door refrigerator and the new washer and dryer.  The ones in our rental house have seen better days. 

I met with Nate to discuss the screen system for the porch and the railings for it and the deck, so that work can start.  As soon as the rest of the stone siding is done the deck, driveway and concrete patio at the basement walkout can be scheduled.

We went out to the house this afternoon.  It was nice and quiet.  We were the only one's there, which doesn't happen very often.  The rooms are starting to look like real rooms.  The wood flooring will be here in a couple weeks and the trim should arrive about that same time.  The guest room is looking really nice . . .

Front door is looking good.

Guest room looking to Chris' studio.

Insulation in the living room. 

The ceilings are done in this photo of the living room.  The black thing is the woodstove flue.

Work in progress.  My god, it was a mess!!  We shoveled drywall dust and pieces out the next day.

Master bedroom in progress.

Ahhhh, much better after cleanup.  The beams are looking good.

At work in the kitchen

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In anticipation of deer season . . .

Deer season!!!  Everybody wants to get their work done before next Saturday when gun season starts.  Can't tell you how many times I've heard, "we need to get your job done before next weekend . . . "  So we did our best to line things up.  The weather was uncooperative early in the week.  The rest of the roofing material finally came in, but it was cold, windy and rainy.  Metal roofs are slippery when wet . . . or dusty.  But the roof was done by the end of the day Thursday.  YAY!

Calvin putting the finishing touches on the roof.
The garage was insulated on Monday.  It was fascinating to see how it was done.  They go through each room with a foam gun and seal every little seam and crack, including all the holes that are drilled for all the electric wires and all of the electrical boxes.  Then they stretch a fine mesh fabric over the wall cavities and blow insulation into each one until it reaches a certain density.  The ceilings get the same caulk and seal, but they hang fiberglass batts in the shallow parts of the ceilings and then blow loose insulation in on top.  The final step is done after the drywall is up on the ceilings.  They go in through the attic access and blow in loose fiberglass to a certain R-value where the roof pitch is high enough to allow. 

Garage walls filled with insulation.
Tuesday we drove into St. Louis county to look at granite for our countertops.  The variety is amazing. They had slabs of marble, limestone, soapstone and quartzite. One of the slabs was full of huge fossils. Wish I could afford it!  Several of them had such strong abstract patterns they looked like paintings.

The chimney installer put in the sleeve for the wood stove on Wednesday.  He wasn't sure he would be able to cut the hole in the roof because of the rain, but it dried off enough to get the job done.  We couldn't move forward on the rest of the insulation or drywall until he was done. 

Wednesday night the drywall crew came in and hung the garage.  Those guys are all business.  They were done in a few hours and it looks great.  The tapers will come in later.

The stonemasons were back on Thursday and Friday.  They made good progress.  About half of the stone is on now and looks really nice.  It grounds the house - makes it look connected to the land - like it belongs there.  To be honest, I wasn't real crazy about it when they started, but I love it now.

Garage doors were installed Thursday, too.  Jeff put up more trim and siding.  Tyler and Adam brought the trash wagon out and hauled away all the scrap from the roof and a bunch of other trash.  It continues to amaze me how much packaging and debris is created in this process and there's just so much that you can recycle.  They also framed up the front steps on Thursday and they were poured on Friday.  The knee walls on either side will be covered with stone.

First coat of stain on the front door.
Thursday and Friday were absolutely gorgeous.  Sunny and in the 70's.  Everybody was in t-shirts instead of sweatshirts like earlier in the week.  The insulation contractor was back on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday.  The 2nd floor is insulated now.  They'll be back on Monday to work on the 1st floor and basement walkout.

Shiloh enjoying the porch.  He kept the insulation crew company.
On Friday, Chris and I decided to take advantage of the good weather to get rid of some of the wood construction debris.  We took our lawn chairs, sandwiches and a cooler out to the house on Friday afternoon, built a small fire and burned about half of the piles that had accumulated.  Steve came over to keep us company.  Our peace and quiet was interrupted when a delivery truck showed up full of drywall for the rest of the house.  

The sunset was amazing Friday.
I drove out early this morning to check on the progress of the drywall on the 2nd floor.  I got to the house about 8:30 and they were more than halfway done.  They will come back tomorrow evening after the insulation guy leaves.  The tapers should start work tomorrow also.
View from the studio to the guest room.  What a difference!
View from the guest room to the studio.

We just might make our deer season deadline. . .