Construction Diary

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Hi there! I'm Merry, married to Husband for 39 years, 2 grown daughters, 1 dog and 3 cats, living on a little acreage in the Midwest. I am a Christian and like writing Inspirational Christian romance (I have several books out) travel, reading, history, archaeology and writing.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Back Deck...

This is the finished deck. Well, except for the gutters, scheduled in two weeks.

This is under the porch area. The black wrought iron candle holder hanging on the left post is an antique. It has an orange ceramic candle in it. The brass bell and anchor is a farewell gift Richard received when he retired from the US Navy. Our chiminea came with us from Texas. The cushioned chairs were bought from a yardsale and the teak rockers are from Home Depot's end-of-season sale.

This is the open area. We've stood out here next to the rail and used the nightscope to look for animals and study the stars. Because of the clearing for the house, we have a nice view of the South eastern sky. BTW, if you've never used a nightscope to study the sky - do so immediately! The clarity is amazing (and beats dragging out the 8 inch telescope!). The horseshoe has a hinge made from another shoe that served as some kind of door or gate hinge.

This just shows the sitting area under the roof. The tree was left in place and a hole was cut in the deck to accommodate it. However, the tree has a very persistent borer insect who is drilling its innards out. We are trying to save the tree, but are worried we may have to cut it down. We'll either plant another or cover the hole in the deck if that is the case.

Another shot of the sitting area. The triangle dinner bell is a reproduction. The horse shoes are from around this area. Pa found them while plowing his property and on walks around the lake. One is from a large-breed horse such as a Belgian or Clydesdale. The other is a mule shoe.

The deck & porch...

I've not posted in a while because we just got busy. We made a couple trips to see the girls, went camping, adopted a new cat and have generally been doing yardwork and the mundane every day tasks of living.

This is the front porch - note the wrought iron inserts. Our neighbor Becky's idea. We love it and think it looks wonderful and unique. The inserts were bought at Hobbty Lobby on sale for $10 each.

This is a photo of the entire house, mostly finished outside (we still have to install gutters, scheduled for two weeks from now, I think).

Next spring and summer we will begin the massive landscaping jobs. Right now, Richard is clearing the woods of brush to reduce risk of fire. That smoke you see is him burning brush at the fire ring to the left (not seen in photo). Once we've cleared space for a garden and some "walk-around" room, we'll begin the task of taking out carefully selected trees - the spindly, non-thriving ones. What's the use of a house in the woods if you get rid of the woods? We plan to keep as much forest around as we can, but we want room for both the animals in the Sanctuary and ourselves to keep a wide berth from each other.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Where'd we go?

When I lost my harddrive, I also lost 6 weeks of photos I'd taken around the property. Cie la vie.

We've been working a lot around here but mostly on landscaping. Which sounds really neat, but it isn't so. In this case, most of the work involves picking up rocks, seeding the grass and watching it grow with the torrential rains we've had here.

Other than that there's been a lull in construction. The inside of the house is pretty much finished.

We decided, after several people slipped and fell that we DO need porch railings on the front porch. Our contractor also had plans to do a back deck in late spring, early summer.

He started today on the front porch rail.

This is one section. I couldn't afford wrought iron railings. It was Becky's idea to buy the Hobby Lobby wall art and then have the contractor incorporate it into my wooden rails. This was a lovely compromise and I think its even prettier than I had imagined. I'm very happy with it.

In preparation for the back deck building, Richard and I started a few days ago pouring the concrete piers.

Part of the deck will go 20 feet out with a roof over the last 10 feet like Mom and Pa's deck. The rest of the deck will be 10 feet out.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The guest bathroom fix...

The pedestal sink is gone. Instead, to make more room Nathan built a custom cabinet. Its stunning and we love it. The counter Formica exactly matches the tumble of stones in the foreground of the Hovenweep tiles.

I'm having fun trying different colors of bath mats and towels. I like them all.

We left the old medicine cabinet in place. The sink is now in the corner with a small mirror over it. The mirror lifts off for cleaning. The small colored tiles are actually other photos of Hovenweep custom-created to pull the decor together.

This picture shows the space now available between toilet and cabinet. You can see the custom tile mural of Hovenweep National Park over the tub.

Another view of the little cabinet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More gravel...

When we first started construction of the house I ordered gravel to keep the mud at a minimum. In this area, gravel sinks into the soil after a while. We knew we'd have to order more eventually. I finally did it last week. 17.4 tons of one inch road gravel to cover the bare spots. The driver dumped it in 3 increments around the property.

Dumping near the porch to re-gravel the driveway turn and around the concrete stoop.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tile in the kitchen...

The tile guy and began his last job - tiling the kitchen. Richard and I cleaned out the garage and I found some more kitchen stuff. In one box was a Teissedre tile I bought in Arizona 22 years ago. As an afterthought, I was thinking that tile would look pretty good somewhere in the kitchen. Here's the story of Teissedre Tile Designs:

So I ran the idea past Richard and he loved it. This tile is representative of the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano.

The tile guy did this unique cutting to make the corners on the shelf above the stove.

Here is the finished shelf with the stove and spices in place.

We're pretty happy. The grout has already dried to a lighter color than the pictures show. The tile guy also caulked with a beige colored caulk.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Laundry cabinets...

We've been doing little things that aren't readily visible on the house. Richard has finished staining, cutting and installing the baseboards for the living area. He stained all the doors a light honey maple. He burned lots of boxes. He made dinner. LOL

We also finally went through some of the garage. We emptied out the front area and the side mezzanine shelving, then sorted through it. I found the crystal, the pots (I already had the lids), the wooden trays, the rice china, and my cookbooks. I also found more boxes of fabric and quilting materials. All of this made it into the house to be put away. We haven't done that yet, though. LOL.

One thing I found previously I'd forgotten about. I have a large, antique Mr. Peanuts jar. I broke the lid a gazillion years ago and have been unable to find a replacement. Pa made me a new one out of lovely swirly-grained walnut. Now I owe him cookies. Chocolate cookies, of course. Here's the photo:

We went to Lowes and bought stock cupboards for the laundry room. I wanted storage in there for the towels and bedding, since I don't have room for a linen closet elsewhere. We are very pleased because the laundry room now has a more finished look with the units.

Today, Lonnie is here tiling the kitchen backsplash. While digging through the boxes I found the Tessidere tile I'd bought in Arizona many years ago. The colors are very similar to the Venetian Stone tile we chose for the kitchen. So Richard and I decided that Lonnie can implement the Tessidere tile into the wall of the backsplash.

Nathan came yesterday and took measurements for the new bathroom cabinet. The sink/toilet issue IS code, but we've decided we want a little more room in there. I really hate giving up the pedestal sink, but the comfort zone outweighs the look of it. In this case, form follows function in a big way.

I am still sold on an outdoor shower area for bathing dogs and washing up when doing outside work, so we think we can utilize the sink in that future project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cabinets done!

Okay, so they need the knobs and handles, but Nathan finished the woodwork and the doors. It really looks good. You can see the Tiffany-style lights over the tables, too.

Richard and I are very pleased with the look of the cabinets. Nathan is now rendering a drawing of a possible fix in the guest bathroom.

The guest bathroom was my one design flaw. I had thought the space was larger than it was and had the plumber position the toilet across from the pedestal sink. When we started using the bathroom we discovered there is barely room to squeeze by to get to the tub. I thought we'd have to tear out tiling, cement board, tile floors, plumbing and electrical to fix the issue. Nathan suggested a small wall-jugging cabinet to hide the plumbing, sacrificing the pedestal sink for a small corner unit with counter and make it all look like a custom built in. It sounds like a lot cheaper fix than what we were contemplating. And it even sounds very pretty. So we are waiting on drawings to see what it will be like.