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? 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.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

balmy days

November days in Vermont in the high 60's? Unnerving, but wonderful for the second coat of Falu, spray painted on a few exterior walls today.
Sections of the house still need work, but the upper parts, which require the "manlift" got priority this week. Let's get that "manlift" off the invoice soon, shall we?
The drywall is finally up, and the taping and mudding will begin on Monday. The rooms are really beginning to take shape. Here you can see the living room and foot of the stairs.
The guest room is looking cozier, with its sloped ceiling and small proportions. The window looks north, and sits high enough to check for Northern Lights. This room will feature some sweet Vermont art and a bookshelf filled with work by local authors. There is some very special bedding that has been waiting for this room. I can't wait to pull it out and spread it on the bed and sigh. Simple pleasures.
The roughed in stairs rise up to the little hallway, where the sleeping/reading nook will be built around the window up there. 

The quest for interior wall colors has begun. Sometimes when I wake in the middle of the night, I see color swatches waving in my imagination. I wish I could wake up with the perfect colors all lined up, with the correct number of gallons noted for each room. Is there an app for that??? 

The waiting seems to be long. Cooking on a hot plate has lost its sense of adventure and juggling pots and pans in the bathroom sink is just plain boring. The tromping of workmen and loud radio music and late afternoon site clean-up are getting a little old...but patience has been my challenge all along these many years. I will persevere. The vision is getting closer to reality and that alone is worthy of celebration.

Hang in there with me friends, the light is at the end of the tunnel. I think I can see it.                          

Thursday, October 22, 2015

progress update, hampered by SNOW!

 The insulation guys arrived early last week and spent two and a half days 
at the house, creating a snug and energy efficient home for us.
Here's one well-protected guy spraying in the foam insulation.
Wearing a respirator, with a fresh air feed and a protective body suit,
he looked a little other worldly.
Watching the foam expand to full size.
Once it's expanded and cooled, the excess is carved off,
allowing the drywall to be installed flush with the uprights.  
Here's the view side of the house,
all nicely insulated.
Now we are getting a better idea of how things will look
with light and bright walls.

Late Friday afternoon we finally got HEAT in the semi-finished basement where we are staying during the renovation! This was a most welcomed development as the temperatures have been dropping lately.

Over the weekend the guy who is installing our roof tried valiantly to get it finished up. In a freak October snowstorm it became more difficult to accomplish! He was shoveling as fast as he could to clear the roof on Sunday and finally gave up. He came back yesterday after the snow melted and we now have a brand new roof on the house, woodshed, three season porch, front porch, office and breezeway. The old metal roofing has found a variety of new homes all over the neighborhood, thanks to the giveaway culture up here.

In a race to beat the drywall installers due to arrive next week, the plumber and electrician are working hard to get the rest of their work roughed in. The interior strapping is nearly done, and the first of the exterior siding is going up today. 

I must say that the early snow lit a fire under the whole process, and for that we are grateful!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

today's tour

Hello. Won't you please come into the living room? If you sit on the couch just here, you can see the mountains. And that little hole in the wall? That's where the sweet little propane stove will vent, just to take the chill off. 
After years of waiting, we will now be able to invite you to step out onto the three season porch right from the house. In nice weather, we'll be able to leave the door open and let the breezes flow through. How about before dinner drinks? Or games of "pass the pig", bananagrams and poker? Maybe overflow sleeping or afternoon naps...
Come on upstairs. At the top of the stairway, there's a window that overlooks the road and driveway. We are going to build a Carl Larsson-esque nook up here. There will be a twin mattress, surrounded by a wooden cut out frame, with a curtain to pull across for privacy. It will provide a lovely spot to knit, sip tea, read, hang out with a friend or sibling, nap or slumber for a whole night.
Step into the upstairs bathroom. On the left is the tub/shower. To the right of the windows is a space for the stacking washer/dryer. And to the right of that the five foot vanity will hold one sink. Yes, one. We are good at sharing at our house. :-)
This is our bedroom, and our bed will fit quite nicely between those two windows, night tables on either side.
This is the view that we will see when we sit up in bed in the morning, through the windows (to the right, above).
Are we greedy to claim the whole front of the house upstairs for ourselves? Our bedroom will open to a wide hallway into an alcove on the northwest side of the house.  A fine place for a yoga mat, a writing desk, a spot to curl up with Masterpiece Theatre...

And the exterior color???

Some of our favorite people live in Sweden and although we've never been there, we do just love their red houses. After much internet research, I discovered that the red is called "Falu" and  the closest we can come to it in the States is Sherwin Williams' "Vermillion". Wayyyyyyy out of my usual color scheme, but this just seems so right to us. Beautiful in the snow and balsams of deep winter, spectacular in the foliage, bold in the pale spring and steady in the summer sun. We are painting the first coat of the siding ourselves on the ground, and then the pros will come in to spray the second coat once it has been installed on the exterior.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

september october transition

Curly maple and "Dakota" solid surface for the upstairs bathroom vanity. 

All the windows are in, the framing upstairs is done, and the electrician arrives tomorrow. Things have slowed down since the whirlwind days of the house raising. The foam insulation has been pushed back a week, to October 12. Our contractor is trying to get more than one house snug before the colder weather comes in. We are trying to be patient.

I've been out in the world, making choices on all sorts of things...each decision taking twice as long as I hope it will, it seems. I'm not sure what happened to "plain and simple" in the design world, but there's not much of it happening these days. As I check things off my list, though, I can imagine things coming together in a few months, and then it will all be worth it. :-)

Our main floor is now wide open, with lots of big windows all around. Kitchen, dining and living space will flow one to the other. We are envisioning a very clean, Shaker esthetic. I am wondering if any of you have ideas for very neutral wall colors that will embrace the sunshine and views that we are so blessed with.

And the exterior color? Will reveal that next week.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

a progress update (since my mumsie has worn out the last post!)

I want to thank all of you for your enthusiastic comments on the last post.
It's such fun to share this long dreamed of project with you!
Another detail from the day of the house raising--
Steve guides an existing power cord up through a carefully pre-drilled hole in the new sill,
just before the wall is actually set into place.
The purple cord was used by someone on the ground to guide the wall into place, 
as it was floating from the crane. 
(It looked oddly as if the guy was walking a giant dog!)
Here is the wall on the second floor, facing the road, being set into place.
(bathroom on left, upstairs hallway in center, guest room on right).
Taken from the driveway, this photo shows the 
corner where our kitchen sink will sit. 
Windows on both the south and east sides, 
so I can watch the sun rise as I make breakfast.
And that very hazy view to the south west?
The Green Mountains.
 This is how it all happened so quickly.
The magic crane.
The crew came back on an amazingly gorgeous Saturday
and worked all day to get us closed in before Saturday night's rain.

I LOVE the way the old and new lines are coming together.
It's beginning to look like a Vermont farmhouse!

(The photo above was taken from the side yard, 
where the wedding tent sat just a month and a half ago).
The old woodshed to the left stays the same.
The three season porch will get a bit of shoring up, 
new windows and some new siding.
(Photo above, taken from the view side of the house).
I have not been up to the new second story yet,
but folks say the view from up there is amazing.
(This photo was taken from the driveway).
Can't wait until the stairs go in next week.

The "man lift" and windows arrive tomorrow.
The electrician and plumber work next week.
The spray foam is scheduled for October 5th.

Peter and I continue to clean up the project site every day.
The "freecycle" pile up by the road has been a great way to 
get rid of things that are still useful, and a fun way to meet new friends.

There has been much discussion about what color to paint the house.
The window frames will be black.
To save money, we will be painting 
the siding and the trim the same color.

Do you have any suggestions?
(It cannot be white, because it sits so close to a dirt road,
which kicks up a lot of dust).

We are close to choosing a color
and let me tell you...
it is way out of my comfort zone.

Please give us some ideas for further consideration!
Thanks, friends!