Thursday, November 29, 2007

Polyurethane and stair frame

I managed not to go to the house until AFTER work today. Justen was still working on the front porch where he has given our mahogany decking a lovely border and framed in the front steps for the eventual pouring of concrete (how warm does it have to be for how long to do that?) I could peer in the front window and see the now-polyurethaned and walnut-stained living room floor and went inside to check it out. The floors are looking really great. The second coat of poly will go on tomorrow. What I could see of the natural pine in the guest bedroom looks sweet and they'd sanded and poly-ed the stair treads and presumably the upstairs hallway and closet. Although since we're not allowed to walk on the floors until Sunday I had to imagine how awesome they look in my head!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Floor stain and patching and porch decking!

I popped by the house just before 8AM this morning to pick up some stuff for work that I'd left there. Like clockwork, the floor crew was already there and setting up for the day ahead. They'd patched the major sections of the dining room and living room and were going to hit some smaller holes in the guest bedroom before putting down the walnut stain on all of the thin oak flooring. I left to let them go about their routine. Mid-afternoon Nick called to see what direction we wanted the bamboo flooring in the study oriented..."Really?! That's going to be done today?" I excitedly exclaimed. "Yep." (I don't think Nick is nearly as excited as I am). Eric and I stopped by about 6:30. The smell of the stain hit us like a wall when we entered the house. We stood on the plywood in the kitchen and blasted our mega-watt work lights on the walnut-stained wood. And we were pleased. We snuck through the unstained guest bedroom and bath onto the finished bamboo flooring in the study. The midtone bamboo coordinates well with the green paint in there and L&L did an amazing job laying it in adjacent to the oak in the dining room with almost no seam! And they gave us a nice transition into the guest bathroom:
From there we had a closer look at the living room with it's rug-reminiscent border and it too looked phenomenal! Hmmmm...maybe Justen got work done today too as it was a lovely 50 degrees...and I noticed that the mahogany porch flooring has moved from the second floor den to the basement steps with the rest of the pieces that were way too long to maneuver upstairs. We grabbed the lantern and headed out. Sure enough, the porch framing is complete and the mahogany decking has been laid! No more 4 foot drop from the front door:We can't wait to see the embellishments. Clinton and Becky stopped over to check everything out and Clint's got tomorrow off and offered to photoshop in what corbels would look like on the porch. Cool!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And the promise of what is to come...

KraftMaid Cabinets called to say that our kitchen set is in production and set for delivery the week of December 17-21. From there Lowe's will set up an installation team. Hamilton Parker phoned to say that our tile order is (finally) in so I swung over there to pick up the terrazo-esque stuff for the floor, the Victorian chair rail and the black cove molding all for the master we now have ALMOST everything we need to start tiling. I think Eric has been convinced of the fabulousness of radiant heat flooring, so it's his job to order the supplies to make that happen in both bathrooms and the kitchen...and he's been a little, um "distracted" this week (what with a trial and all). The pressed tin ceiling is due in by December 6th. We need to affix that before we tile the kitchen floor...which has to happen before the cabinets can go we've got our work cut out for us in the coming weeks!

They kept at it!

"They" referring to both our hardwood floor refinishers AND our porch contractor. It was a lovely sunny, if a bit chilly, day today and plenty got done (that we didn't have to do). The floor guys were already at the house and calling me at work to answer questions about 8AM. I went over at 9:30 and they had completed the sanding (to the edges) in the living room and guest bedroom. I answered questions about what to patch and then got the fun of seeing what the floors look like with polyurethane in little patches where they sampled it for me. I really like the natural pine with the poly in the guest bedroom and hallway. It gets a rich warm color with the polyurethane and likely won't need stain. The oak floors in the front room would probably benefit from an application of walnut stain as it evens them out and will go better with our eventual trim. When I left them they were getting set to remove and patch some of the rotted thin strips in the dining room. When we got back this evening they'd patched the whole dining room (it looks great) and around the arches where there are several extra inches of open space on the floor where that pesky brick wall used to's too far to easily cover with trim, so they are filling in as they can. There are still plenty of holes, gaps and irregularities throughout that are disturbing the floor guys, but Eric and I consider them the "character marks" that come with a 104 year old house!
Justen got the porch footers set up and the base of the porch framed today. The braces are installed too, so it looks like we have the promise of decking shortly! Eric's trial continues on through tomorrow so maybe I'll have my husband back for the weekend....when I have to work on our Open House & Craft Extravaganza at the Market....come over for great indie holiday shopping!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A full house

We had plenty of people working at the house today! I dropped Eric at the office at 6:45AM (he's on his way to a trial) and went to the house. I plastic-sheeted off the rooms on the 2nd floor to prevent wood dust from interfering with my painting. L&L Hardwood Flooring showed up promptly at 8AM, asked me some questions and got to work. I left for a few hours and by the time I got back at 11:30 they had the living room sanded (note the lovely inlaid border):
I got some more priming done on the second floor in the bedroom and they got to work prying up the extra small slat trim in the future office (the darker spot is where it used to be). By the end of the week we should have bamboo flooring in here:
Then the guys sanded the pine flooring in the back bedroom....Uh, after removing another hundred of the nails I warned about. Apparently this room used to have the small slat oak flooring that's in the front of the house and when it was removed at some point they just left the myriad finishing nails and hammered them down.
This photo shows the strip of small slat oak flooring that will be patched. The flooring at the very bottom has been sanded:
And wonders never cease, our porch contractor has returned from finishing another job and promises that he's devoted to our porches full time until he is finished. And he was earnestly digging footer holes and mixing concrete like a madman in the cold rain yesterday so we'll believe him until we have reason not too. And he sent photos of the other job that he completely and they look great so collectively cross your fingers that the porches turn out so good!

A visual recap of our painting progress

The Fire Orange entry/dining room taken from the kitchen:
The Fire Orange arch looking into the Mustard kitchen (we're still trying to decide what color to paint the arch undersides - there are 3):
The arches in the Mustard kitchen looking to the front door:
The comparably tame Harvest Gold guest bedroom:
The second floor trio of greens in the hallway around the laundry room (yes, the edging still needs to be done in the photo even though it's complete in real life!):

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back home and back at it...

We had a lovely weekend in the Windy City for Grandma Mac's 100th Birthday party. We picked up Heather, Jamie and Bernadette Fine in Yellow Springs along the way and drove with them to Chicago. We had a great time as the whole MacDonald clan was present. Mom and Dad brought Mike, and Steff, Clayton, Summer and River came in on the train. We all stayed at the Staybridge Suites and even got to have a mini-Xmas on Saturday morning. Then we had Gram's party at Friendship Village which was a fun 4-hour affair with lots of entertainment (like Mike Irish step-dancing), a super slide show and a hearty meal. After the party, Eric and I detoured to IKEA to pick up a few things for the abode: the kitchen faucet for the farmhouse sink we got there in April, a cabinet for the bathroom sink that's from there, some lights for the "groove room" (AKA the den) and other assorted little stuff like curtains. After a weekend of fun, we dropped the Fines off at Midway at 6AM this morning and hit the road for home ourselves. Eric has a trial tomorrow and Tuesday for which he has been diligently preparing (reading depositions, writing arguments, etc) all last week and on the whole ride up and back. We got home about 2PM and he headed straight for the office. I grabbed a new gallon of paint from Sherwin Williams and finished up the second floor hallway for good (after a break for dinner). The Reno's stopped by for a weekly tour and were kind enough to help us move the mahogany flooring that was abandoned in our living room by our missing porch contractor to the second floor so that the hardwood refinishers (that they recommended) can get straight to work in the morning. I'm meeting them there at 8AM and can't wait to report how day one goes!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful for extra time for projects...

Yes, it's a national holiday and all, but we don't have to report to Thanksgiving dinner at Bryan's house until 2:00PM which leaves us ample time for accomplishing...stuff! We got to the house at 9:30AM, decided on a course of action for the remaining green walls in the upstairs hallway and got to painting. Most every wall got a first coat and we're loving the way all of the angles really "pop" with the coordinating shades of green. We did so well with the mid-tone Hearts of Palm that we completely killed that gallon. Then we're off for Thanksgiving Dinner and a weekend in Chicago with the MacDonalds for Grandma Mac's 100th birthday party!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What a Wednesday!

Did I mention that at work they discovered that I've got 8 remaining vacation days to expend this year? So I've got this entire week of Thanksgiving off. It means that I can get a lot done on the house, but it also makes me acutely aware that our porch contractor (who promised me a front porch by Thanksgiving) is AWOL and has been incommunicado for days. It is somewhat disheartening to accomplish more in three days than the guy you've paid thousands of dollars in downpayment to has in three weeks. But let's focus on the successes. Today was a fun painting day. I started on the hallway greens. We've got three tones- very light, medium and a darker shade. With all of the angles in the hallway it's fun to decide which is going where. I went with the ones I knew for sure- the medium tone (Hearts of Palm) is going on the walls of the hallway up the stairs and the lightest one (Restoration Ivory) is going on the ceilings. I got a first coat of both of those down and left the remaining walls (and trust me, there are plenty) to confer with Eric about! Note the nice little makeshift railing my handy husband built to keep me from spilling over the side:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Priming and caulking and purchasing Tuesday

Today we gave Heather and Jamie (and Emily) who are on their way to Yellow Springs for Thanksgiving the tour of the house. They saw it over Labor Day Weekend when we did not yet have drywall. It was fun to gauge how far we've come since then by their reaction. When they left for YS I went back to work. I primed the entire second floor hallway to get ready for our trio of greens. And I removed more staples from the steps. Ugh. Then I got out the caulk gun and spent about an hour and a half putting silicone into every seam and nail hole in the guest bathroom floor. We've got to seal it to prep it for the self-leveling concrete. Eric did a great job this weekend creating plywood patches for the 3 holes in the floor:
Yesterday I put down a couple coats of "Pro-Level Primer" which is also supposed to make the floor less porous, but the silicone ought to "seal the deal!"

For our evening's entertainment, Eric and I returned to Lowe's to seal another deal, placing the order for our kitchen cabinets. We're going with the KraftMaid (sorry John!) Solana Cherry Square. Just to compare, we got a quote from a local custom cabinet maker who came highly recommended, but his estimate for cabinets alone was more than our budget for cabinets and countertops. And Lowe's has (had) a sweet deal going on where we received our farm sink cabinet free (subtract $451 from the total), a $500 gift card for ordering more than 10 KraftMaid cabinets with installation, we should get another $1,000 in gift cards for a special kitchen promotion they had going on, oh, and since we are going with Lowe's installation, the whole deal is tax-free so say hello to another $800 in savings. We figure we can get our gas range and over-the-range microwave with the gift cards. We've got until Monday to change our minds, but we're pretty happy with the decision right now!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday painting Monday

I heart my days off. Today's task was finishing up painting the guest bedroom in Harvest Gold. I edged it (twice) and it's, well, as good as gold!
While I was at it I went on a staple removing binge in this room. They are clustered around the outside edges of the wall and across some apparent seams in the room. This room also has a really wierd has dozens of small nails that are half sunk in the wood and the other half knocked over and pounded into the floorboards. Those suckers are a nuisance to remove. My final good deed for the day was to clean out the guest bedroom closet. We'd been using it as makeshift storage for tools and miscellaneous other stuff (like a hundred yard roll of plastic sheeting?) I transported everything to alternate quarters in the kitchen (and the dumpster) to prepare for the arrival of the floor refinishers next Monday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ApplianceSmart Sale...

The Thanksgiving holiday is a natural time for major sales. This holds true for major appliances as well. Apparently everybody wants to upgrade for the holidays. Eric and I spent the morning working at the house (painting and fixing the floor in the guest bathroom). Eric agreed to humor me and go to ApplianceSmart out on Cleveland Avenue as we heard they were having a big sale and that's where we got our whole set of appliances last year when we remodeled the kitchen. We walked in looking for a washer and dryer for starters. We've got an unusually small laundry closet (31"x45") and are going to need a set that is shorter front-to-back. Thus far we are having a hard time finding anything under 28" and apparently you've got to leave about 4" for the dryer hose. We were liking the great deal they have on the Whirlpool Duet Sport (washer and dryer for $799...the cost of ONE of them elsewhere), but weren't sure they'd fit. So, we gave up on those and went to look at Fridges. We're going stainless again and they had some great deals (35% off outlet prices) on their scratch and dent stock. After much deliberation and advice from one of the sales guys, we ended up with a GE Profile fridge with more bells and whistles (like a compartment that can be programmed to chill stuff in 15 minutes) than I've had before- at the cost af your average fridge. It must be said that it has one itsy bitsy dent on the side that we'll never notice once it's installed. Now that sales guy Patrick had our attention he detoured us to the dishwashers and reeled us in on another GE Profile model with lots of rack options and a lazy feature that allows you to pour in liquid Cascade that measures out just enough for each wash and we likely won't have to refill it for about a year (and if we do it's got a sensor to tell us to!) SOLD! About this time Patrick must have figured out we're serious shoppers and decides to mention that those Duet Sport washer/dryers we were keen on can actually be vented from either side for a small surcharge and would probably actually work rather well for our space. Well, allrighty then! We'll take a set of those too!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Duct dilemma down!

We're getting the hardwood floors refinished on 11/26..yep, that's just around the corner. In the meantime we learned that they' ll need the house heated for the floors to cure once stained and poly-ed. But the earliest duct cleaning I could get scheduled was 12/5 by Favret. Now the reason the duct cleaning is so imperative is that the construction dumped all kinds of nasty into them. And we fear that firing up the furnace would result in some minor catastrophe with all that junk sucked into it. So first thing today I called Favret and asked them to put me on the flagged list of next available cleaning should somebody cancel. And then I called up MasterClean and pleaded and they were able to squeeze us in on Monday afternoon (11/19). Just as soon as had I set up the Monday appointment the phone rang. It was Favret and if we could let them in the house within the hour they can get it done today! Coincidentally, Eric was already at the house with Rick from Quality Air who's done the rest of our HVAC work. It was perfect timing because he installed all of the returns and ducts and was right there to give the Favret guys the details of what needed cleaning. Eric dropped by after lunch as they were finishing up to touch base. They left the furnace on (as requested), but warned him they thought the blower might be going. When he went back 20 minutes later...the furnace had already quit working. So a phone call to Favret and they sent out a different guy who cleaned off a different part and we're up and running again! Stay tuned and we'll see if that's still true tomorrow morning!
Addendum: the furnace is still going strong!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How long does it take to plot a kitchen?

Eric and I "dropped by" Lowe's tonight to get a kitchen cabinet estimate. We'd taken careful measurements and created a precise drawing of the current kitchen (empty box) and where each door, window and electric outlet sits. We'd poured over the various cabinet catalogs and had selected the brand (KraftMaid) and the style (Sonata Cherry Square) that we are most interested in. We got to the counter at 5:30PM and found a little placard that read "To make sure you get the attention you deserve, please schedule a time with a member of our kitchen design team." We saw Steve, coincidentally the guy who owns the plumbing company who's doing all of our plumbing at the new house but moonlights at Lowe's. I said, "oops, I guess we need to schedule an appointment!" Imagine my surprise when Steve says, "no, I can take care of it tonight!" So we sat down and made further decisions about stain color, glass panel designs and location, cabinet configuration (shelves vs. drawers), cabinet height (I'd really love for them to go to the ceiling), guess-timated appliance sizes and so much more. Steve plugged the multitude of cabinets into the computer design program one at a time as we electronically moved around the room in computer graphic 3-D. It was sometime after 9PM when all of the cabinets were finally placed, glass doors designated, the island situated and plotted and Steve pressed the "calculate" button. It was probably about what we expected, but still painful to witness in writing. I've had it in my head that we'd go with IKEA cabinets, but the prospect of assembling them AND THEN hanging them all makes that a daunting proposition. And yet, I'll have to compare the prices and see if there's some ridiculously significant savings to be gained that would make me seriously reconsider it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Colors make me happy!

And the kitchen color is guaranteed to knock anyone out of a glum spell. Eric and I cleaned up the guest bathroom this evening- vacuuming up all of the drywall dust and chunks. Then he removed the extra slim-plank flooring that covered 1/3 of the room. We had to tear that up and we'll have some holes to fill in (where old heat registers were). Then we've got a self-leveling floor concrete to pour on that will serve as the base for our eventual tiling. While Eric used the prybar, I was wielding the roller brush in the kitchen and laying down a coat of Mustard Gold paint ( It's a pretty bright mustard-y yellow that we chose because it works nicely with both our muted slatey floor tiles and the colorful Mexican tiles we intend to use as the backsplash in the kitchen.
Check out the floor tile here:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Color and Shape

Eric powered out quite a bit of work on Saturday. He painted the whole living room ceiling and started the Fire Orange on the walls. That gave me plenty of edging work to do on Sunday. We spent a FULL day at the house, arriving at 8:30AM and painting, etc. until 3 when we decided we were STARVING. Here's me edging the dining room. By the end of Sunday we had this one completely knocked out! Yes, it's bright with a 500 watt bulb glaring on it:
Where once there was a front porch....and someday soon there will be again!
Eric delighted in ripping up the last vestiges of the nasty brown carpet from the stairway to the basement.
He must have been inspired by my work on the steps to the second floor. A cloud of dust filled the first floor when I took out the roll of brown shag. I cannot tell you how many staples and obnoxious "u" tacks I had to remove from these stairs. Eric suggested we pay tribute to the stair color "periwinkle blue" elsewhere in the house:
My first task Sunday morning was to second coat the edging in the living room and touch up all of the ceiling:

It's kinda crazy how different the color looks just from different angles and with the light shining on's almost the same spot:
The lovely new plywood floor in the kitchen awaiting tiling:
Eric will have to explain this one, but I think it's the kitchen floor with the old plywood rippedup and before the new plywood went down:
The porch footer hole after the downpour (there's cured concrete below that muddy water mix):
A charming collection of green glass pulled from beneath the front porch:
Today's accomplishments were not nearly as exciting or visually stimulating. I primed drywall in the basement stair hall, guest bedroom, kitchen and second floor hallway. And sponged drywall dust from the master bedroom and loft. Eric sistered a third joist in the basement. Justen arrived to haul the gorgeous mahogany for our porch floors into the living room for safekeeping.
Maybe there will be fun (color) painting to report tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pond power and more amber

Our electrician, Dustin, was back today. He removed the brick path next to the back porch, dug a trench to to bury the power line and installed the outlet for our future pond. We intend to transplant the 6 fish from our original pond (all thriving at the old house) to make the move with us. Eric has a plan to create a lovely paver patio to better enjoy our water feature (the current one is across the sometimes-dog-mine-laced yard). Eric and I spent a quality hour rolling on the Rookwood Amber main color in the living room. We gave it a solid first coat and killed that gallon, but will have to go back to SW for another to give it a second coat. And my hope is to paint the living room in the coming weekend. Stay tuned for photos!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Work we didnt' do...

A couple things were accomplished today that we can take no credit for. First, the multiple layers of plywood in the kitchen were torn up, the basement joists braced (in addition to Eric's awesome sistering job) and new 3/4" plywood put down to prepare for eventual tiling (which we will do). Larry and Felix made quick work of that this afternoon. My favorite part was that they tore up the 8" of random brick left in the floor from where the wall dividing the house used to be and laid the new plywood almost flush with the dining room hardwood. That gave us an easy answer of how to bridge the otherwise awkward transition between the rooms. Now it's going to be tiled right up to the next room and we'll put in a threshold between the two! Justen returned and dug the first of the (five) holes in which to pour the cement for the porch pillars. He found a lot of rock down there. Sorry Justen! But that project is moving along long as we can get the weather to cooperate. Eric didn't feel too swell so he stayed home tonight, but I went back to the house and cut in all of the corners in the living room with the Rookwood Amber. We're taking tomorrow of for a They Might Be Giants concert and Thursday having dinner with friends. Maybe we'll roll it on Friday!

Porch & Paint Photos

Justen began the front porch demolition yesterday, which was very exciting as the porches are the last exterior elements that we are going to tackle (aside from landscapping, of course). Here is the location of the former porch. Mary and I had great fun salvaging old paver bricks which we found under the porch deck (and Justen played along very nicely). Some of the pavers were still in a pattern indicating a very simple porch foundation which must have pre-dated the wrap around porch which was torn down years ago.

Below: our final accomplishment last night: painting the vaulted ceiling, which Mary had primed earlier in the day.

Below: The study. Yes, we like green.

Below: the mistake. The red/orange, combined with the gold/yellow and the green in the study created one big traffic-light. However, we did like the amber in the foreground, so it will stay in the living room.

Below: Just a shot of our arches primed and ready for (not yarrow gold) paint.

Below: Eric makes it to Prime Time.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Brick bonanza

Our most fabulous porch contractor, Justen, started today. (And we're not JUST saying that because we know he reads our blog). I had the day off and went over to the house after lunch to work on guessed it...painting. When Eric dropped me off Justen had already removed all of the railings and several of the decking planks on the porch. All the better to view the amassed garbage under the porch. From bottles and cans to another gazillion nails, the "mystery of what's under the porch" did not seem too exciting. While Justen continued the porch disassembly, I primed the nether regions of the living room ie., the cathedral ceiling. All was going swell until 2/3 of the way through it my super-find of a telescoping handle from a mop that ever-so-conveniently also fit a paint roller...snapped right off at the base. So I had to go to plan B. That was duct-taping another, shorter roller extension handle to mega-long telescoping handle and finishing the job...the whole ordeal took me 3 hours. That seemed like a really long time to paint the upper half of a single room. I decided I earned a break and headed out for a smoothie. By the time I got back Justen had then entire porch apart and had uncovered lots of bricks. We Martineaus have a little brick fetish, at least for the higher quality old paver style bricks. There had been a dozen of those just lying under the deck. My "overhead arms" were cashed so I decided to help out by cleaning up the crap from under the porch. I was halfway into the 3rd 5-gallon bucket of random bottles, cans, nails and plastic bits when our friend (and avid blog-reader) Andy pedalled by and stopped for a tour (hi Andy!). Next up was brick hauling. I started crating the uncovered bricks back to the "brickyard" that is now our backyard. I think Justen was a little confounded to learn that we've even go our bricks organized (well, sort of) in piles in the back. City pavers go against the fence. The facing bricks from the house go to the back pile and the crappy, crumbly porous red bricks go to the front pile. It sounds a little ludicrous, but we've got plans for each type and we may as well separate em now! Eric arrived post-work and three of us carted armload after armload back to their respective piles. Then Justen uncovered an old porch base made of street pavers. It was another dozen of the bricks we think might make a great patio someday. He good-naturedly dug them out for us only to realize that there was another layer below...and maybe next to that one. We let him off the hook on those and sent him on his way for the day. Then Eric and I dug up as many of the pavers as we could easily remove. By this point it was really dark and the storm hit our side of the city full force. So we went inside and I convinced Eric to "just put a little of the paint on the ceiling" in the living room that I'd primed. 1 1/2 hours later the ceiling was aglow in Jersey Cream. Aside from some aerial edging, that ceiling is almost done! Can't wait to put up the wall color tomorrow!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Color quandary

We've contemplated every current paint chip available from Sherwin Williams and Lowe's. We have a bag of them that have been categorized, ranked, and assigned potential room placement. Yesterday we spent hours washing down and then whitewashing the drywall in the closet, study and, dining room and living room with primer. Then we spent another hour at Sherwin Williams getting 8 gallons and two test quarts of various hues created to get some color up. We started with the first floor study. It is now a perky green called Asparagus with a lovely light green Citrine ceiling. It rocks. We threw a little of the Rookwood Amber on the living room wall and we were pleased. We moved into the dining/entry room with the test quarts of Fire Orange and Yarrow. Yarrow is a bright, we thought mustard-y yellow that we framed the study in. Fire orange went on the wall and soffit at the study entry over the Yarrow. And looking from across the room you saw we paused and said "that's just not right." In our minds we'd envisioned a lovely rouge and amber contrasting, but sophisticated melange. What we got was garish McDonald's foyer. So we let it sit overnight. And still hated it today. We'll have to come up with a new (not "ew") plan!