Monday, May 31, 2010

Peek-A-Boo, I See You

What are these, hiding behind these large leaves? GRAPES!!

We have grapes, and lots of bunches! We have no idea how they will taste or if this is our red grape vine or the green grape vine (as we failed to mark which one was which, and, frankly, we didn't think that we would have to worry about which one was which). All we know is that we have several dozen of tiny bunches of grapes!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Shower Panned

As you know, the bathroom did not get completely tiled while Will was out of town, but progress was still made. The shower pan was tiled, and that is a big deal as that is a big space. It is 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep. You can see the haze of the cement mud on the tiles, so that is not the final color, but you can see the two tiles next to each other:

The "bull nose" tile was also laid up the one side of the shower in order to get needed measurements for the deflector glass that we will have to enclose the shower. Due to the restrictions of the stairwell, we have to make the glass shorter than we expected. It will be about 69 inches high and about 40 inches wide. Meaning, looking at the bottom photo, the glass will be as high as the first seam down from the ceiling one can see in the dura rock. And, if you look back at the preceding photo, the glass will start at the seam of the third full-size cream tile from the right. Got that?

It will take 7 days to get that glass here and installed. The new deadline for the tile completion is now Friday. It should be easier to complete now that contractors can stand on the floor of the bathroom and shower and get the rest of the tiles laid.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lost Bathroom Bet

Well, Will returned from California and his return to a completely tiled bathroom wasn't the case. So, the contractors lost the bet. However, he did come back to an almost completely dry-walled space, so it really wasn't a loss on anyone's part.

where the bed will go; the "shoe" closet isn't quite framed in yet

As Will says, "Astonishing! It is really looking like a room!" I couldn't agree more. We have the majority of the wall board hung and taped. The lights in the rooms, including the bathroom, have all been hung and work, though they aren't in their final place of tucked up in the ceiling. We have working plumbing and electrical outlets.

Looking to the back of the house, from the closet entryway.
New windows have been ordered for both front & back of the house.

Looking at the bathroom and sitting area; the window seat isn't completely wall boarded yet

Looking to the closet entry; that isn't yet complete as they waiting to install the vanity and plumbing.
Then they will close up the rest of the closet

The pitched ceiling of the bedroom.
Currently all the lights are hanging down, but they will eventually
be tucked up into the ceiling and be recessive lights.

This being a long weekend, no more progress will be made, but I will save the bathroom tiled floor and shower pan for tomorrow.

On order for next week: the arrival & installation of the vanity, the completion of the hanging the wall board, carpet measurements, and hanging of more lights in the stairwell--that is what Tuesday will bring at least. As for the rest of the week, it is hoped that the bathroom will really be done...

Friday, May 28, 2010

This One Goes to 11

Yup, 11 blossoms on Andrew's orchid. It is pretty impressive-- even more impressive that Andrew was able to see the 11 blooms even though he irritated the travel gods. How do I know he has irritated them? Recall the 3 feet of snow from the double snow storm in February? Andrew was in town. Recall the first ash cloud? Andrew was on his way here. And the 2nd ash cloud? Heathrow was closed up until the time when Andrew was to board another flight for here. ...I'm just sayin'.

But the real point of this entry is that this orchid goes to 11.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Flowers in the Garden

Yes, I know I have already shown you my Sweet Williams, but they are just so pretty! Here is a newer photo that shows more of them in bloom.

And you get a sense of what the multicolored blooms look like on the same plant! Every time I walk past these, I just start grinning!

Lighted Drywall

More dry wall is up, some even taped, and we have working lights in the bedroom!

Here is looking towards the sitting area outside of the bathroom. You can also see the tile cutting stuff for the bathroom.:

Here is looking to the bedroom area, where the bed will be specifically, from the closet entry:

Here is the stairs/the bed area:

And here is looking toward the closet area:

As for the bathroom, we have the tile done on the floor and 99% done on the shower floor, but they will be hard pressed to have that bathroom done by 6:00 pm tomorrow, when Will is due to return to the house.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Berry Beginnings

Raspberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries are beginning to take shape!
I am feel your jealousy through the screen... yeah, I'm talking to you, Utah.

Garden Neglect

With all the home improvements going on, I have neglected to keep you all abreast of the fantastic growth going on in the garden! Everything is in delicious bloom or greenery. We have had the perfect amount of rain and the right amount of sun. The garden will be a super success this year!

Here are our beans & peas, peas & beans:

Our potatoes are so happy that they are in bloom:
Tomatoes already in their cages:
Mystery Garden is revealing its secrets:
And, finally, we have not one but three strong rhubarb plants spread throughout the garden:

I have more to show you, just you wait. I just was rather excited about these in particular....

20 Pieces and Counting

Twenty *different* pieces of dry wall so far in the closet alone-- and it is only about halfway dry-walled. They guys have been cutting the drywall outside and then carrying up two pieces at time so as not to damage any corners of the pieces.

Twenty also means the amount of times they went up and down the steps, carrying the bits of dry wall for the closet. The stairs from the 2nd floor landing to the attic is very tight. So tight is that corner and low that ceiling that the dry wall won't fit up there at all when each board is full-size. Hence, the cutting of pieces outside and carrying them up. Three flights of stairs, in case you are wondering. Who needs a StairMaster in this house?

For the bedroom ceiling, we only have 8 pieces:

Also, the bathroom floor tile is done:

The bumper between the shower and the floor is only partially tiled at the moment. Tomorrow's goal: the shower stall. Time is a wastin' if they are trying to finish before Will gets home on Friday night.... tick, tock, tick, tock....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bathroom construction

The first few rows of the bathroom tile were laid today (no grout, though)! The warming wire kit was laid for the radiant floor--yes! even in the shower, as it is safe for wet areas--was put down first, then some tile mud, and then the pretty tiles.

We have two dimmable lights and a powerful fan working in the ceiling. We will also have two lights over of the vanity, and one in the shower. Between those lights and the two windows, we will have plenty of brightness in the room.

We will even have bench that we can sit on underneath the windows that will be warm! The other "bench" is actually were the vanity will rest:

Tiling went a bit slower than the builders wanted to go, namely because two of them don't have that much experience with tile and the third is a bit under the weather. By tomorrow, these tiles will be dry enough to stand on them. It will make it easier to lay the rest of it, including along the two benches' sides and tops. Once the floor is covered, we don't have to worry about standing on the exposed wire and breaking it.

Also on the agenda tomorrow, some dry walling! 50 sheets of wall board were delivered today and sitting in the garage. The boards are 8 feet tall x 4 feet wide and won't fit up the stairs. Instead, the guys will measure what they need, and cut several pieces in the back yard, and then bring up the cut pieces. At least, that is the thought this evening.

And tomorrow will also be a hot hot day. It will be the first test of the insulation: can it really keep the attic from being baking hot? Hopefully, for the workers' sakes, the answer is yes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pipes & Tiles & Breakers, Oh My!

Copper pipes went in today for the shower fixture, as well as the durarock sheeting and installation of the shower valve.
Below, another angle of the shower stall. This will be a wall in the bedroom when it has wall board on it.

And here we have inside the stall, with my lovely little bench!:

In other exciting news, the tiles I picked out on Friday is here!

The tile is Italian (of course!) and manufactured by Folio Artistica, and the name of the tile is Meteor. We--and by "we" I am referring to myself and our contractor-- picked the Lava (below) for the shower and Sand (two photos below) for the flooring. The tiles are in 9 x 18 in rectangles for the room's floor and the shower walls. The small squares, like the one below, will be laid on the shower's floor and ceiling.
You can see how there is some reflective bits on the tiles. It is very pretty and I do think better than the tile that Will and I originally picked.
Finally, we have modern electricity: seven 20 amp breakers with two to spare (a 20 amp and a 15 amp). The plugs are working now; next up is getting the recessed lighting in place.

Some issues are popping up: the shower head we picked isn't going to work so we have to get another one; the spray foam dudes made a mess in what will be the storage area that someone will have to clean up; and the old wiring has yet to be deleted as there was some confusion on who was going to do that, the electrician or the contractor. But one week into construction and these are the only issues, where each one can be quickly addressed-- I think that is pretty good! I hope I didn't just jinx the project....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Paint Color Advising

"Darling, you want *what* paint color to go with these towels for the new bathroom? Oh my. No. That is all wrong. We need to start over and look again...," Jackie seemed to say.

Spray Foam Insulated!

Yesterday, Nova Spray Foam Company came out and insulated the attic and the crawl space under the side porch (aka our t.v. room). This stuff is the coolest! The guys were really quite personable and very interested in our garden-- I got a grape vine tip from one of the gents. They worked from 10:30 am until 5:30 pm and what a difference it has made already! They were fantastic and I would highly recommend this company.

This stuff is sprayed from a high-pressured tank onto the walls and eves. It dries and then is shaved down, basically with an extra-large bread knife, to be even with the rafters. I am assured that it is the highest quality of insulation (R-49!); environmentally friendly; no off-gasing; does not breakdown and have decrease insulation as it ages; absorbs sounds; and it will dramatically increase our energy efficiency. Already the sound difference in there is amazing. It was pretty fumy, so I was really only able to go into the space this morning and really get a good look at it. It is feels like the Styrofoam peanuts one gets with a delivered package of a breakable item.

They even squirted the stuff around the new windows to make them air-tight.

This is looking to the closet, the tube is an air ventilator they left to pull out the fumes. It ran all night and made a world of difference in the smell up there.

The southeast corner of the house, with the air ventilator tube going out the back windows. Where we will have access areas and storage areas, the foam was not cut back, as there is no need to have smooth walls since no wall board will be hung from it.

The rafters above the stairs going into the attic. You can see it is a bit drippy, but that will scrape right off.

This view is showing you the bedroom while standing in the closet. You can see where the wires are poking through where lights will eventually go. Since this stuff is so soft, the builders can dig out spaces that they might need for lights, etc. and still have lots of insulation surrounding it.

The closet ceiling. This stuff has no food matter in it, so no mold can grow on it. Plus, what mold was on the wood will now die, as it will not get any food or air.

And the bathroom, where the vanity will be going.

With the crawl space, we should also feel a difference in the first floor. I am not sure if we will be able to use the t.v. room in the winter, but we will not feel the cold air seeping under the door and into the basement. All in all, I am super pleased and think that this insulation is the best kind to get.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Incoming Plumbed & Tile Preview

The pipes for the in-coming water has been plumbed to the shower and sinks (though we are still missing the sinks). The Mikes tested it and no leaks! The drain in the shower also functions. Next step, more dura-rock on on the shower stall and then the tiling begins!

And speaking of tiles, here are photos of the tiles coming tomorrow. We have picked two colors and these photos from the tile company's website really do no justice to how pretty the tiles are in reality. Our contractor commented that he wasn't a fan of the first brand we picked out, but loves this brand and would use it in his own bathroom.

The brand is Folia Artistica. The tile is called Meteor. The colors we picked are the Sand (first photo) for the floors and the Lava (second photo) for the shower, including its floor and ceiling.

These snapshots really don't do the tiles justice. So you will have to trust me that these are pretty. Will is trusting me, why can't you?

Friday, May 21, 2010


The electrician (finally) came today and we have a subpanel for the attic. As you can see,

we have no breakers yet. Those will come on Monday--that's when we are due to be "hotted up."

Other progress was made: the plumbing was tested and the water & drains work for the shower; the crawl space under the t.v. room (Edward's former office) has had the old insulation removed in preparation for the spray foam insulation due to come on Saturday; and the attic space has been cleaned up considerably, also in preparation for the insulation on Saturday.

We also ordered new tiles, which will arrive on Monday--same day as the vanity. We are moving right along! In fact, our contractor has a new goal: to have the bathroom completed before Will returns from Anaheim on Friday night. I do believe that they will accomplish it by Thursday.