Monday, April 17, 2017

a new deck!







Three daughters, a son-in-law and a future son-in-law arrived on Friday afternoon. A brother and a sister-in-law arrived on Saturday morning. A few extra folks joined us for dinner on Saturday, just to cheer us on. Over three days, a sturdy and handsome deck was built under the watchful eye and gentle leadership of my brother Doug. 

There was an Easter egg hunt, hosted by the kids. There were delicious meals and plenty of clean up help. There were memories shared, aspirations and secrets. The weather was great, with rain overnight and sunny breezy days to work. Teasing, story telling, hugs and so much co-operation! 

Everyone is gone now, trickling away since yesterday afternoon. 

Batman and I need to do a bit of grading, we need to add the railings and we're scheming about a daylily bed.

I had not listened to the news for days...we were too busy working and having fun.

But now,  I wonder about the state of the world and the threat of nuclear war (I am so disgusted). If the world comes to an end I will sit here, watching the sun set over the Green Mountains of Vermont, with all the love I have been blessed with, brimming in my heart. If the unimaginable does not happen, I will sit here filled with gratitude. 

Peace.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

progress on the three season porch

Finally picking up the reno story! 

We were happy to let the crew install the new windows, but as we saw our budget swell, we stopped right there. The porch sat at a standstill, with its yucky old carpet and its simple framing until two weekends ago. 

My multi-talented brother Doug and his wife Ra arrived to whip the project into shape! Peter pulled up the carpet and we removed the carpet tacks and most of the staples before Doug and Ra arrived. Our kitten Wilma took on the role of chief inspector. We bought drywall, compound, insulation and whatnot ahead of time and had them at the ready.


Of course, there were a few supplies that needed fetching, so we headed down to town on Sunday. My brother said, "You can't find wood like this down our way", as he figured out what we needed for trim. These are two of my favorite men on the planet.
The saws whirred, the sawdust collected, the drywall dust flew and I got to use the router! Doug was a champ and led the crew. (Mostly, we just tried to stay out of his way).
By the time Doug and Ra left on Tuesday morning, the porch had been transformed. Next up...I think we'll paint the room a bright white and the ceiling sky blue. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

sunday tour

It seems that everything came together this week and the reno has been stunning us. After dreaming and planning and working for this for so many years, we are in the "pinch me, it's real" stage of the project.

This morning I brewed a mug of tea and wandered around in the early morning light with my camera. I took a bunch of pictures, and I'm happy to share these with you. I hope they'll give you a sense of the beauty of this place.

Peter took some time off from work on Thursday to help Glen move the cupboards from Glen's workshop in to the kitchen space. Here they are, set down on Thursday, in some sort of order. The island will arrive late next week. (Sorry about the poor lighting, will do a better job when the whole kitchen in is).
Glen came back on Friday to install the cupboards, both in the kitchen and in the upstairs bathroom. The Shaker knobs have not come in yet, so he has used blue tape to create temporary pulls. The Elkay stainless steel farmer's sink has been set, and we await the countertop measurements on Monday.
You can see how the color of the red birch cupboards change with the light in this space. Left to right---space for the dishwasher, a skinny cupboard, space for the fridge and then a tall pantry cupboard, with sliding trays on the bottom and adjustable shelves on the top. The plumbing pipes above the fridge space will be enclosed soon. You can get a peek at Benjamin Moore's London Fog here too.
The vanity upstairs is a stunner, made of local curly maple. Glen's talent makes it look more like a piece of furniture than a vanity. It is just gorgeous.
The new interior doors arrived, and are stacked at the foot of the stairs. Here you can see the interior window, between our sunny bedroom and the stairwell. We'll have privacy glass installed, allowing sunlight to pour into the stairwell in the late afternoon, as the sun sets.
Here's the view out of the master bedroom to the south, with a bit of the roof's soffit showing. 
The crew set up a table in the master bedroom where they have been cutting and building the window trim. This is the view to the west.
Here's the stairway, awaiting treads and railings and balusters. The stairs to the basement are stacked right under these. The new door to the three season porch is on the left, the old and wonderful front door is to the right. 
Here's the dear old front door, with new trim. We'll build an entry storage corner to the right of the door. Still gathering ideas for this space.
The storm door has not yet been installed on the three season porch, and the frosty morning here in Vermont has been etched on the windows.

This coming week the countertops will be measured, crafted and installed. The vinyl flooring will be installed in the kitchen and the bathroom. The kitchen island will arrive and then the floor sanding will begin. In the meantime, our trusty crew will trim the windows in the three season porch and continue with odds and ends.

There may be cookie baking and kitchen dance parties in this house before the 25th of December...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

telling stories

Old floor, transition framing and underlayment 
(for vinyl flooring in the kitchen) 
at the top of the stairs to the basement.

This week it's all about the floors. When we bought the place we were delighted to find hardwood oak under the carpet. Gretta and I spend many, many hours the very first weekend we were here (8 years ago, as part timers) pulling up the carpet and yanking staples.

The old house was a warren of little rooms. Now that all the interior walls are gone, the crew is working on repairing the old flooring in a few spots and creating a smooth transition between the hardwood floors and the area for the vinyl in the new kitchen. (The entire first floor is "open plan". We have decided to use vinyl flooring in the kitchen...both to save money and for its ease of clean up. This will be a very hard working kitchen).
Here's a bit of patching where the tiny old hallway used to be,
and the framing between the wood floors and 
the underlayment for the vinyl.
The demo of an upright in the old bedroom closet left an odd hole in the floor.
I told the guys not to sweat this spot, no need to "feather" it in.
This funny little patch will most likely be under the sofa anyhow.
This puzzle is at the bottom of the new stairway going to the upstairs.
A very tricky spot to repair, as it's where the original hunting cabin
and an addition were integrated.

The floors going in upstairs will be brand new, of course, and the old floors downstairs will be refinished. We will have the best of both worlds...unmarred floors up, and floors that tell a story down. 

Later this week? A peek at the downstairs wall color and the installation of the kitchen cupboards. See you then!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

a porch, a primed interior and a question

We've lucked out with fairly mild temperatures for November in Vermont. This week the footings for the three season porch were replaced, hopefully preventing the previous heaving and dropping that happened with the frosts and melts. Oh, and by the way...the former sliding door that we had so much trouble with over the years? Hmmm...it had been installed upside down. Can you say "do it yourself"? 

The old windows have been removed and the framing is done for the new ones, which will match those going across the view side of the house (minus the transoms). The siding will be feathered in, so that the entire front facade of the house will be our handsome falu red.
The three season porch had been a favorite place to sleep in the summer time, with our kids vying for "first dibs" on the space.  I'm thinking this space may become the heart of our home in nice weather!

The doorframe on the right hand side of the photo will accommodate a sturdy storm door, which will eventually open onto a small deck (DYI spring 2016).
The dry wallers finally left on Tuesday. The walls and ceilings have been sprayed with primer. The ceilings were also painted (after all the ceilings we painted in our CT house, we decided to pay to have this done...besides, they are nine feet high). 

When I walked in to the space at noon today, the floor protector had been pulled and the old oak floors had been swept. With the sunshine pouring in I began to see a real home rising out of the chaos. 

This long and narrow space will be the dining room, with plenty of room to tuck a variety of odd tables together, end to end (our version of a table with leaves). The brand new door on the right leads out to the three season porch. 
Here's a shot of the kitchen, looking from the front door. The "L" shaped countertop will fit into this corner, with the sink centered under the three windows. The *gas* range will be on the wall to the left. I think my rosemary plant may sit on the counter, right there in the sunny corner. 
One of the things we most wanted with this reno was a real mudroom. For a bunch of reasons, it just didn't work out. I asked the builder to move this old window up a bit. I have sketches for a well-organized corner, with pegs for hanging jackets, a bench to sit on while putting on boots and shoes, baskets for hats and mittens and a modest wood bin. This project will keep Peter and I busy on cold winter weekends. 

Our fabulous Home Comfort will be moved back in just to the right of the window. We're keeping the old, custom built front door. It's taken some abuse in the reno, but we hope it will recover well.

We plan to pull up the old carpet on the three season porch. I'm sure that Vermont winter temperatures would make vinyl flooring brittle to the point of cracking. We do NOT want to do carpet. Hardwood floors are not in the budget. I'm wondering about painting some plywood with decking paint. Do any of you have ideas or advice for an affordable solution? We would really appreciate your input, dear readers.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever you'll be up to.

Friday, November 13, 2015

field trip!





We recently took a field trip to see the progress being made on our kitchen cupboards. Glen's workshop is an inspired space...well lit, organized and wood scented. Trained in Scotland, Glen spent years working on Nantucket and has adopted Vermont as his newest home. Lucky for us, Peter met him via work, and we are now looking forward to having Glen's beautiful work nestled in our new kitchen and bath. We asked him to find a source for local wood and he came through with flying colors. Red birch in the kitchen and curly maple in the bathroom.

We are tall people, and Glen has added a few inches to our bottom cupboards to bring the countertops up to a more comfortable height. Do you know how many years we have waited for this to happen???
I am actually looking forward to washing the first sink full of dishes without having to stretch my back every few minutes.  Such simple, simple pleasures.

My new best friend lives at Glen's place. Jasper is a fine shepherd who would chase a frisbee as many times as I would throw it. There are also two very fine cats that hang about the place.

If you didn't have access to a "real" kitchen for months on end what would you cook the very first time you found your way into your dream kitchen? Please discuss.