Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We have Walls!


When I left for work with morning, we had the open walls with insulation-- which, we were offered a job hanging insulation that is how good of a job we did-- and when I came back: all the dry wall was up.  The guys dropped the sheets off this morning: 12 foot long boards of drywall.  Two guys returned about 2 pm and hung the entire space's drywall, leaving about 6:30.

Will said that it was absolutely amazing.  The guys would measure, cut, and hang a piece.  Some of these pieces had very awkward cut outs, like the notch around the closet.  The side walls are the basically 2 sheets of the 12 foot board installed horizontally to minimize the pieces used.  The ceilings a bit more, but not much!
Where the former door was into the dining room

 The space now looks like rooms instead of a construction site.  It also feels a bit smaller and I am hoping that the layout of the new kitchen will be the right one-- not the time to have doubts, I realize.

Tomorrow the dry wallers will be back to do the taping of the seams and a mudding.  It may be possible that they can even sand the seams and apply a second coat of mud.  The faster they are, the better off we are: cabinets come on Monday.  With the delivery of appliances this past Monday, the the house and garage are full. Now we have a potential storage issue with the cabinets and my large, honking stove.  We think we can work around it, but in the meantime, the dry wall finishing has to be done and the floors have to be installed.  Then they can set the cabinets.  And who knows when the windows will be here!
looking into the doorless closet
Ah, but the walls.  It is so nice to see wall board again and know that the end is really coming.  I feel that with the hanging of dry wall, the reassembling of the kitchen is taking place and not just total destruction/demolition of the space.

corner of the bathroom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspections and Insulation


 The beam is set in place and the support beams are removed! The kitchen space is opening up.  We had the framing and the wiring inspections today and we passed.  Now we can close up the walls and it will start looking less like a construction site and more room-like. 

The steel beam set in place

Now the next step of insulating the newly framed wall we took on ourselves.  We got the simple, pink fiberglass R-12 insulation and filled in the former window cavities and then between all the studs.  In the bathroom, we added more insulation to the sound-proofing that the crew has put up earlier.
We did the walls in about 2 hours, with me doing the measuring and cutting and Will doing the stapling-- though I realize that there is no photo of me doing the work.  Only proof of Will's labor, but I swear I was working too. 

the now-insulated, passing framed wall
 We used all the insulation and only had the tiniest bits of scrap left over.  We felt that it made a noticeable difference in temperature, but that could have been because we shut the back door after Stirling came in....ahem.

The sound proofing we requested in the powder room was only put in on two sides and not the floor or ceiling.  We added regular insulation to the outer wall, but we aren't sure how quiet it will be in there once it is closed in and has a door.  When standing in it, there is a definitely a dampening of sound, but we aren't sure how that will translate when all of this is said and done.
The sound proofing is the more dense stuff seen here.

 Tomorrow drywall comes and will be hung and the rest of the week will be finishing that: taping the seams, mudding, sanding, re-mudding the seams, etc.  We were told that we were about a week behind schedule, but that they might be able to gain more time if the drywalling goes quickly. Fingers crossed for that!

My reflection in the window proves that I was at least there...

Happy Birthday Andrew!

See, just a kid at heart!

Happy Birthday to the best brother-in-law!
Numero Uno is right! 

Hope your day is marvelous and all your birthday wishes come true!

XO, us

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 

Will, Stirling, and I were invited down to the country for the holiday weekend by our lovely neighbors, the D's.  Most of you are familiar with the D's dog: Biscuit, Stirling's best friend.  We have decided that getting Stirling was the best decision ever.  Because of her, we have met so many wonderful people, including wonderful people with a beautiful home on the Choptank River in the Cheaspeake Bay watershed.

The D's have had had this place for 30+ years and have about 17 arces (majority of it does not face the water).  The house and land at one time belonged to a DuPont, but I am not sure when that was the case. 
The D's country house

Regardless, it is beautiful and the scenery is stunning.  We were able to watch the geese and ducks come and go; gulls bobbing in the water; and blue heron flying & fishing.  The Choptank River is pretty healthy and it is a great place for oysters and a variety of fish, not to mention crabs.  In fact, the D's have a crabbing cage off their pier that they use to catch fresh seafood.

Mr. D took us on a boat tour of the bay.  Several large, sprawling houses face the water-- what are called telescope houses, as additions have been attached to the house year after year, creating the telescope effect.   We passed Mr. Jones house--as in Dow Jones-- as well as his helicopter pad. Apparently he comes down to the Eastern Shore for weekends. 

 The main house itself isn't too terrible big; it is just two bedrooms.  There is a separate cottage that Mr. D uses for his office and the upstairs is an additional bedroom.  What makes the house though are the huge picture windows that face west, with views of gorgeous sunsets. 

leaning cedars

It is also one of the few houses on the river that has a beach-- of which both Biscuit and Stirling took full advantage.  The trees on the property are also so fun: the yellow ginko trees, the leaning cedars, and the twisted willows all just add to the relaxing vistas. 
dogs in the river after a romp on the beach
the house from the vantage point of the boat

We were also there to give thanks
and to eat.  and eat. and eat some more.  Mrs. D certainly knows how to cook!  Thanksgiving dinner included her sister, her brother-in-law, and her nephew, along with us.  I made fresh bread for the occasion and we provided the wine. 

Mrs. D sets out a menu for everyone and creates anagrams from your name.  You have to figure out which place setting is yours by figuring out the name cards. 
my name card

Will's name card
 We had our fill of turkey, two types of stuffings, onion pudding, green beans, sweet potato rounds, bread, and two types of cranberry sauce.  It was all delicious.  And then came three different types of pie: apple, pecan, and pumpkin.  Not only did we fare well with the meal, but the dogs did very well too.  Lots of turkey was accidentally knocked to the floor, where waiting pups scarfed down the droppings. 
golden leaves of the gingko tree

cranes by the swimming pool

 All in all, it was the perfect holiday weekend get away: about a 1.5 hour drive to a seclude home on the water.  We aren't sure, but we think that the best time was had by the dogs.  Both were exhausted by the end of the weekend from all the swimming, running, wrestling, eating, walking, chasing, and mauling that was done.  Upon our return to the city, Stirling napped for about 8 hours straight, went for a quick walk around the block, and then curled up again for the night. 

one happy, sandy, wet, crimping dog

along the water's edge

their pier into the Choptank River

We couldn't have been more thankful to have a dog in our lives, as she has introduced us to some wonderful dog owners who were quite amazing to share their holiday with us.  We had a wonderful time and do hope that after all the dishes we did, walks with the dogs, and small chores around the house, that we get invited back.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

the gingko tree with the edge of the cottage

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beams and Bricks

The brick pillar has been removed and the beam has been successfully installed. The beam is compromised of two L-shape pieces of metal, installed separately and then welded together to the older beam. 

The two halves are inserted into the wall (on the left of the photo),  and then shored up the existing bricks with some additional cement.  Over this long holiday weekend, they will leave temporary supports and then remove them on Monday.  After the welding was done, then the brick pillar was removed entirely.

Because of the temporary supports, one can't get the full effect of having the whole kitchen opened yet.  We will just have to wait until next week!

the wooden 2x4s will be removed after the weekend, giving time for the cement on the left wall to dry & cure

what is left of the pillar

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hardwood Colors

Stirling can't make up her mind either
We have to pick a stain for the oak wood flooring that is going into the kitchen and bathroom.  We were given these five choices and have eliminated two: Natural--too light-- and Provicial-- too similar to what we currently have.

We aren't going to be refinishing the entire downstairs at this time (my head would explode if I also had to pack up of the rest of the house), so we are looking at something darker for the new floor.  Nothing too dark that the back of the house, despite all windows, becomes a black hole or shows every dirt or dust particle in the sunlight. 

Currently, we are leaning towards Jaco Bean.  Or Dark Walnut.  It sorta depends on who you ask, and what time of day.

The planks will be the same as what we have in the rest of the house: 2 inches wide.  The samples we have are just in 4 inch planks. 

We have some time on this decision, which is why we keep changing our minds.  I think that this is the last thing to be done, and from what I am currently looking at in the kitchen, we have a long ways to go.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Masonary Crack

So, last Monday, the mason had an accident while cutting out the new opening for our window.  We aren't responsible-- the construction company is and they do have all the proper insurance.  But we have since discovered a major crack in the outer wall. 

It runs from the bottom right hand corner of the new opening (if looking from the outside), splits a brick, and then runs zig-zag through the mortar to the bottom row of bricks on the house before the foundation. In some places, the crack is pretty substantial, and in other places it is just a hairline.  The other issue is that the crack comes through the entire wall-- we can see it on the exposed bricks inside (where the new sink will be) and we can feel the air coming through.  

Our construction company is having a structural engineer come out to have a look and offer a solution.  It should be a straight forward fix: repointing the mortar outside is definitely going to happen.  We aren't sure what the answer will be for the inside of the house, though. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Slowly, But Surely

We seem to making some progress. We have a full opening from the foyer into the new area outside of the closet/bathroom/basement entry.  It feels so nice and spacious.  It will be a lot better flow of traffic, especially since you won't have to walk past the basement door in a narrow passage to then turn around and open it.  We aren't removing the door frame entirely, as we need some sort of transition for the floor.  We are putting hardwood down again, but we will refinish it a different, darker color than the rest of the flooring on this level.  

There will be a wooden frame on both sides of the opening here and so they have left about three inches on either side. The new opening is slightly wider than 4 feet.  

 This photo gives you an idea the new flow of traffic in the house. You will be able to easily circulate through the house to get to the dining, sitting, or tv room as well as easy access to the loo. No more walking through the kitchen to use the toilet!

ceiling in new foyer/basement door

We have a ceiling framed for the majority of the space, including above the basement door and we have junction boxes with wires running through them.  None of the wires are live yet-- subpanel to go in on Monday, so maybe by the end of next week, we will have lights in the new areas.  What the electrician has also been able to do is untangle the former kitchen wiring from the rest of the house.  Meaning that none of the rest of circuits in the house are shared in the kitchen-- which is how it was and so out of code.   

We also have the majority of the framing down towards the back of the kitchen: in the former door way, in the way back, and around the new header/bump out that forms a separation into Will's office area (and basically is there to hid the radiator pipes we had to move). 
 The doorway into the dining room was also widened and then framed out properly. We have a new light switch in place as well, along with an cutting in the wall where the very first switch was.  It was a bit of a mystery for the electrician couldn't find where the wiring started for our old switch.  None of us were, therefore, surprised to learn that when the door was moved to the end of the dining room, wiring was just run from the original switch without moving the junction box at all.  Again, against code, but now fixed. 
exhaust fan for the bathroom

The electrician also ran a wire to the outside of the house so we can add a motion light fixture out there to light the path down the side of the house.  It will be on an inside switch as well, so we can easily turn on the light if necessary.