Because it was all going so smoothly

I don’t know what else to title it…because that’s what it is. anyway, the last time I was there a bunch of painting got done and Dad started on the door and window trim. He sent me some pictures! Also, David the Builder got the floor put in on the back porch, which will also be screened, but obviously isn’t there yet.

Ok, so there’s the porch in all it’s sunny yellow glory. Obviously no walls or screen yet. I’m not sure what color to paint the floor, honestly I kind of think the wood is pretty all on it’s own. Maybe a clear marine varnish?

Also, the doors and windows (well, singular in the pictures but you get the idea.) I probably should have used the same trim around the doors and the windows but O well. I didn’t and if it starts bugging me in the future, I’ll change it out. Or Dad will. Or I will. Someone that may or may not be me will.

Now. There have been Adventures In Bureaucracy with the whole thing. It was all going too smoothly, something had to happen, right?

So, #3 is wanting to buy a piece of land just west of where I’m building. By that I mean RIGHT THERE. So, of course it has to be surveyed. All standard stuff. Only, upon surveying and all, it was determined that, due to the 3 of us and #3 not being Immediate Family, the Hillbilly Compound is actually a subdivision and each house needs direct access to the main road which means my property will have this skinny little finger going through the middle of #3’s property in order to access the road. Ok fine, I can wrap my head around that. A little annoying but whatever. Only…

The surveyor figured out that my house has been built on the easement- county property. It Must Be Moved Over 60 Feet To The South. Which puts it right on top of the septic tank. Well then, that needs to be moved as well. It Must Be Done.

Except that…Dad has been paying taxes on that property for the last 15 years, to which I say that means he’s got Squatter’s Rights (or something). Also, the easement stops somewhere in the midst of Dad’s property and it’s pretty unlikely, given who-all owns the surrounding land (that is, someone with a reputation for never, ever, not in a million years, ever selling the land. Ain’t happening. And also it won’t ever  get built on. Ain’t happening) All this to say, the easement is pointless.

So, Dad talked to the county commissioner and is consulting an attorney who deals with this sort of thing, and getting it all straightened out. He’s griping about it some, but he also likes a challenge and the occasional confrontation where he can point out things that are ridiculous, so I know he’s only griping because he’s supposed to.

Me, I’m sitting back and trying to decide if I really like the blue I painted my bedroom, or do I want to go with pale periwinkle.  I’ll be going back over there in a couple of weeks, to work on those doors that I started stripping and didn’t finish. I’m also going to make a final decision on the bathroom tiles. Maybe get them bought. Maybe not.

Blue and pink

Well, I have pictures of it all, but they’re on my phone and I can’t figure out how to get them off of it and on to the computer. Maybe if I could get a more literate person (say, the 3 year old down the street) to help, I’ll have them to show to you. But, he’s busy checking the stock market (or something).

Anyway, last time I was there- a couple of weeks ago (I think), I got a bunch of painting done. The porches still aren’t finished, but there’s no rush on that other than the simple desire to see them done. I had a conversation with the builder about them that went something like this:

(He was working on them, getting the joists up…he’s a very careful and meticulous fellow, thus slow, but that’s ok as long as they’re done before I want to move in.)

Me: “So…(excitedly bouncing on my heels) you’re going to be finished with them this weekend, right? So I can have my porches, right? Right?”

Vince the Assistant Builder: “Why Yes, of course! And we’ll build you a porch swing, too.!”

Me: “OH YAY! I have some rope in the truck, can you make me a hammock as well?”

David the Builder: (giving me the hairy eyeball)  “I’ll be finished with the porches if you’ll be finished with the painting.”

Well, the porches didn’t get finished and neither did the painting, but a bunch of the painting is done and I can see the colors and all that. Lots of blues- pretty much all the same hue but in different shades. What’s left are the closets and the 2 largest rooms. I’m waiting until I have help to do them, mainly because I don’t want to do them myself even though I am totally capable of doing them. It just seems like it would be more fun with a couple of other people, a radio, and some box wine.

As I was painting my bedroom, the paint (as it does) went on much lighter and darkened up as it dried. The dry color is a perfectly acceptable blue and I’m going to live with a bit to make sure I am satisfied with it, but the color it was when it was going on was this magical sort of very pale periwinkle that probably has nothing to match it ever in a textile. Like, I loved the color.LOVED IT, but would never ever be able to find a bedspread or a quilt or anything to match or coordinate, so I’d have to have pure white and that’s a complete disaster because for some reason white and I don’t mix. If I wear white, or have a white towel, or white upholstery, I will bleed spontaneously from the backs of my knees or something and ruin it. Except that I know a TRICK, taught to me by Dad who said vets use it on dogs with white fur because people who own small white dogs tend to be upset by blood stains. Hydrogen peroxide will get out a blood stain. It will! But I don’t want to have to keep a 55 gallon drum of the stuff in the back yard because the place is close enough to Ft Benning to get the occasional drone fly-over and I don’t want to be on A List. Also, bleach is bad for septic systems. So I am going to fantasize about that beautiful pale periwinkle and consider repainting my bedroom.

Here’s another thing that has occurred to me: If I want to repaint the bedroom I can and NO ONE CAN SAY A THING ABOUT IT. If I want to repaint my bedroom every day for a month I can, because it’s MY BEDROOM. I was busy getting all excited about the studio- the one that’s on the northeast corner of the house and has eleventy-seven windows. Well, ok it has 7 windows, but they’re big. I am so stinkin’ excited to have a studio for my sewing and stuff that is all full of natural light and I was thinking about that: A great big room that’s ALL MINE and exactly what I’ve always wanted in a studio! Including a huge window seat and wide sills where I can put African violets and orchids! Then it occurred to me: The entire house is mine. That was weird. Not consulting with anyone beyond what’s within the bounds of the Nebulous Building Code…making those cosmetic decisions all on my own. Now, it sucks the way that has come about, I’d much rather be doing this with Himself, but that ain’t life anymore. So I’m making gravy with the stuff I have instead of thinking of the stuff I don’t have.

Himself’s remains are in a box on the mantle right now. I have a spot picked out for them, outside the east window of my studio. They will get planted there, and a big pink Japanese magnolia on top of them. He always wanted a magnolia garden, and I think it’s suiting and appropriate to plant one there. He’d like that. He’d also like that every time I look out that window I’ll think of him and smile at the tree.

Image result for japanese magnolia

The Floors!

So the guy went on and installed the floors, and Dad has assured me that it is fine to paint, as the floor guy will be sanding them several times and applying multiple layers of assorted finishes. I think they look good! He put in #2 flooring, with knots and imperfections, because that is more interesting than #1 with all it’s smoothness and blandness. I completely agree, because interesting is always better, in my opinion.

Kitchen floor


northwest bedroom floor

Also, I’ve been seriously investigating woodstoves. Now, up until recently I’ve been looking at all the contemporary incarnations- Vermont Casting, Hearthstone, etc, and had just about settled on one. However (you saw that coming!), after attending a Christmas Cookie Swap several days ago, my mind changed. See, it was held at a beautiful old house and dead center when you walk into it is a giant woodburning Charm cookstove- the sort of thing your great Gran-Mammy had in her kitchen back in the day before they got around to running electricity out to the ranch.

Image result for Charm cookstove

 I queried about it and was informed that it was indeed used to heat the house. It was so stinkin’ interesting, beautiful and all that I decided to look for something along those lines for my house. Now, I didn’t want a giant Charm cookstove, it is way too big for my purposes (and space), BUT, it did set the idea ball rolling to look for something far more interesting than a contemporary thing (as pretty as those can be). So, thanks to the Internet, I found a place that refurbishes and sells old parlor stoves (much smaller than a cookstove, and pretty much exactly what I want, AND at roughly the same price as a contemporary one). The only catch is, can I install it in such a way that will work in the airtight house it would be going into? Contemporary stoves are made for such. Can this one be retrofitted to achieve the desired goals of both warming my house *and* not using up all the oxygen? Here are the ones I’m looking hard at (inquiries to the company have been made regarding installation):

Yes, I am aware that one can’t just plop it in the floor and have a pipe out the back. There will be a stone pad and firebrick wall, and a triple walled pipe. The trim on all of these is nickel, and I’m going with nickel everywhere else (fans, lights, door hardware), so that fits.  I’m very excited about having found these!

The walls! The Porch!

The drywall is all in, ready for priming and painting. The primer and paint has been purchased, and is sitting in my dining room, accusing me daily of slackery and constantly asking why I haven’t applied it to the walls yet. Apparently I am denying it of it’s destiny. I say I’m waiting for the right moment…that is, when the HVAC is installed and it’s not 37F inside the house.

Dad emailed me a bunch of photos the other day (thanks to an assortment of excuses, I’m just now getting around to posting them) along with an announcement that the heatpump was installed and now it’s warm and cozy inside. This means I can satisfy the 12 gallons of paint and 18 gallons of primer by fulfilling it’s destiny. Not sure WHEN…though I am going over there after Christmas and will stay long enough to at least get the primer on the walls. If I’m feeling super industrious, I may go ahead and put as much paint as back and knees will allow.

Apparently the painter dislikes the yellow I chose for the screened in back porch. He seems to think it’s too vibrant, too YELLOW. Mom and Dad think it’s lovely, and according to the photos, I think so as well. There’s nothing in the world wrong with a cheery yellow back porch. It isn’t a color I’d want for a bedroom or bathroom, but a north facing porch that looks into acres and acres of hardwood forest, and has a little table and 2 chairs…that seems like YELLOW would be just right.  Now, the porch itself, the floors and all, aren’t in yet, but you can see the color and with a little imagination, picture what it will look like:

What a YELLOW! That creamy sandy color is the rest of the house.

The inside is ready to paint. Some of the lights have been delivered, but I don’t know if they’ve been installed yet. I doubt it. Each room will have ceiling fans with lights, and there will be pendants over the sink and kitchen island.

Standing in the living room looking north into the kitchen (and onto the not-yet-installed back porch)
Standing in the kitchen looking south into the living room
Oak flooring! It has to sit inside the heated house for several days, to acclimate, before being installed. The entire house (except the bathrooms, which will have porcelain tile)will be floored with this stuff.

How exciting!  I want to paint before the floors are installed so I don’t have to fool with dropcloths (except to throw them over the piles). Since there will be crown molding, I don’t have to be super careful with the upper corners. Also, no popcorn ceiling…just nice and smooth.  In 100 years, after I die, if someone wants popcorn ceiling they can deal with it themselves. I’m not going to.

It’s kind of fun to imagine 100 years from now, someone living in it. Possibly a descendant? David the builder has done such a solid job, and been so careful with choosing materials and technique, that (unless it burns down or something) this house will still be standing in 100 years. What will be done with it by then? All solar power, with Tesla batteries? Plug-in spots for cars? Or will the occupants be Old School and use the wood stove for heating and cooking? Who knows? Who’s going to find the time capsule? What will they think of the $2 bill? Will hard cash even be a thing in 100 years?

It was inevitable

So, I went to The Home Fixin’ Gittin’ place for paint today. I got a lot…16 gallons (in 2 gallon buckets…would you believe it’s cheaper to buy 2 gallon buckets than 5 gallon? Go figure) of primer and 12 of paint in an assortment of blues and a pale, pale pink for the sewing room. Also, rollers, pan liners, brushes, all that good stuff needed. The floors aren’t in yet so I don’t have to worry with drop cloths. That’s nice!

There was a very nice woman working the paint desk there, patiently letting me write all over the paint cans stuff like “great room 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc”. I also decided to go with the paying more per gallon and got the stuff in 1 gallon cans because the idea of pouring out a 70 pound 5 gallon bucket didn’t appeal much.

I wasn’t really sure which colors I wanted until I got online and looked at the Pantone colors and there is a lovely grey-ish blue that I used  as the baseline hue, and the rooms are varying shades, from a very very light to one that’s almost the color of stonewashed blue jeans.  There was this image on Pinterest that was a hallway painted a medium blue and the doors were dark blue, with white trim around them. I thought that was very sharp and I have a small hallway that will work just right. I like blue, it’s a neutral that isn’t brown. I really dislike brown.

Only…Dad called and it’s supposed to get down to minus eleventy-seven (or something) and only up to 13 (or something)..I mean, that’s pretty cold, and the house doesn’t have any heat yet and paint doesn’t go on right or dry right or anything when it’s that cold. Plus the idea of painting in a freezing cold house for hours and hours, box wine and radio notwithstanding, doesn’t appeal much.

So, it’s been postponed until the HVAC is installed (sometime in the upcoming week or so.) I’m refusing to worry about it though I sure do wish the painting could get done this weekend.

Apparently, Inspector Clouseau is being a pain in the arse, super nitpicky and, according to Dad, has ventured into the area of Probably Illegal and Certainly Ridiculous. More on that later, after I get the particular details. Because…if things go TOO smoothly, one gets worried.

Every Outfit Needs Jewelry

All the ordered appliances have arrived- kitchen stuff, washer and dryer (I spend half as much on the stove as budgeted, so sprung for new ones), toilets and sinks.

The drywall was put up this week, and the guy will return next week to sand it (after the mud dries). I decided to go with smooth ceilings, because the textured stuff gathers dirt and it difficult to clean (so says 30 years of home owning experience. We put smooth ceilings on the house we renovated in 1990, and I loved them). Himself said that the textured ceilings came about because the smooth ones are a little more difficult to do, being overhead and all. Plus my ceilings are at 10 feet instead of the standard 8, so even more so but I want smooth, and smooth I’m getting.

I’m down to choosing the jewelry…faucets, door stuff, light fixtures and ceiling fans. I’ve got to get the tiles for the bathrooms (that’s about been decided, plus I found someone with Skill to help me with the tiling, in exchange for a pool table I’ve been wanting to unload) (I love bartering. Everyone benefits).

Ebay is a great place to find interesting things for cheap. Since I have these beautiful antique doors, I want beautiful door hardware. None of this bland old brushed boring blah but servicable but so uninteresting door knobs. Way back in the day, they made everything interesting. Have you even noticed the very old streetlamps, and how pretty they are? Or mailboxes? When did we go to completely serviceable yet so boring with the aesthetics? Why does a door knob or a mailbox or a floor tile have to be so stinkin’ PLAIN? IT DOESN’T. So, in the interest of making my house Not Boring and Exactly As I Want It, I’ve gotten these for the doors:

6 of them (because I need 5 and they’re sold in pairs). I also have rimlocks to go on the inside of the doors (that’s how the door stays shut, and how one can lock the door. They use old timey skeleton keys). *and* fancy glass doorknobs for added excitement and decorations.  Long backplates like these are necessary because the doors had them before, so there’s holes and scarring on the doors that need covering up. These will do the job nicely. Viva la Ebay!  I’m sure there’s more to it than just screwing them on and calling it done, but we’ll work it out.

I’ve been gathering paint chips in the interest of choosing. I’m going with various shades of a certain type of blue- sort of on the greyish side of a true blue (that is, not leaning toward green or purple). I’ll use a lighter shade on the great room and guest room, a slightly darker one in the other guest room, and a slightly-lighter-that-the-first in the hallway. I want an extremely pale rose-pink in my sewing room (that’s what I have now and love it), and a blue-that-looks-white-until-it’s-against-white in my bedroom, and a slightly darker shade of that in the master bath.  All the bathroom fixtures are white and brushed nickle, and I’m going with white tiles. I’ve decided against the cobalt blue in the master bath, in the interest of being able to change the colors at whim, so all I’d need to change are the paint and towels. I’m still going  to do something interesting under the tub, but that may be as simple as a different style of tile, rather that colors.  Of course, that is all subject to change about 24 times before the actual works starts. I do know the paint in the rooms should be light, especially in the great room because of the way the windows are in.

I also need to get around to picking a wood stove. Oy.

BUT you know, this whole thing, having The World’s Most Enthusiatic Overseer (Dad), and The Greatest Builder That Ever There Was (David the Builder), and his Very Fine Crew, Indeed, has meant that all I’ve really had to do is the fun stuff- the choosing of the appliances and pretty things, and the decision making about where stuff goes and how big I want it. Himself always ALWAYS said he never wanted to build a house because it’s a huge headache, and maybe it has been for many people, but all I can see is Dad having a great time being Dad about everything, and I’m having so much fun taking my sweet time and getting just the right things for prices I’m willing to pay (like, the refrigerator I wanted was marked down $700 just for November….which is why I’ve been biding my time on getting things…sale prices. Everything goes on sale at some point.)

I’m going over there in a few days- Thanksgiving is coming and an assortment of relatives are showing up at Mom and Dad’s so I will as well. The Offspring mostly have to work, but possibly #4 can go with, as will Rusty the Dog Who Owns The new House And Will Let Me Live There (in exchange for biscuits and such).

Oh! Did I mention Dad built a long seat to go under the windows in the sewing room- it’s a box that’s…what…maybe 12 feet (ish?) long and whatever the height is to under the windows. Some of it will have a hinged lid on top, some will be open on the side (for sliding baskets into) and part will have a nice thick upholstered cushion, on which to sit and drink tea and observe the backyard wildlife. Probably should put a bird feeder right outside there. It will be a lovely place for the cats to birdwatch. I may put dog cushions rather than baskets in the open parts, as that seems to be the sort of place they’d like to sleep.


Insulation and paint

The front of the house is painted so now you can see what it’s kinda going to look like…only the porch isn’t in yet. I think he’s waiting for all the tromping in and out from workers to stop, and for the wood to dry out enough to not warp once it’s down. He’s using treated to make the porch, and I’ll paint it…something.

The front is painted! Yes, that’s the color. I don’t know the name- some sort of Historically Significant thing from Sherwin-Williams.

All the exterior walls and the ceiling have dense foam insulation, that was put in this last week as well. Under the house there is a plastic membrane covering the ground, and foam insulation on top of that, up the concrete block walls and footings, and the underside of the floor (of the house), so it is (essentially) completely sealed (except for the access doors). There was a degree of…shall we say…”disagreement” (that is, everyone thinking a Certain Bureaucrat they call Inspector Clouseau is an idiot) over the method of insulating the underside of the house. A certain insulation contractor, who’d been doing this job ofr many years, was accused by the Inspector, who was about 12 and fresh out of whatever school it is that housing code inspectors attend, of not knowing his stuff and how dare he, etc.  Dad, who ain’t afraid of 12 year olds, and the contractor, who Knows What He’s Doing, went over the child’s head and read the code, which was essentially the opposite of what he (Clouseau) had said, as he (Clouseau) had obviously misread it. Clouseau refuses to back down still. Because…y’know…Housing Inspection School and Youth obviously trump 78 year old men who’ve built stuff since they were 3 and know how to read. Dad and the contractor are refusing to back down, and since Dad has been convincing children he was right since he started teaching in (hm….) 1970, I’m pretty sure he’s going to win this fight. My only concern is that in pissing off Inspector Clouseau, there will be Multiple Difficulties in the future. However, I also know for a fact that all the contractors know this child, and how to deal with him. They tend to leave one glaringly obvious (yet easily remedied) code violation for him to find, so he can be satisfied with a Job Well Done and flex his cute little muscles.

There is a stack of about 150 4×12 sheets of drywall, to be installed now that the insulation is in. Theoretically, in the interest of economy, I could do it, but I won’t. That is a heckalotta drywall and I’ve done individual rooms (25 years ago when we renovated our first house) and it was…tedious, and really, really hard on the skin (the mud is pretty alkaline). Plus, in order to be really good at it (which I wasn’t) and able to get it done quickly (which I DEFINITELY wasn’t), one has to do it all the time (which I haven’t). So, there’s a couple of people who know what they’re doing who are going to do it. (THANK YOU!) That should take a few days…I guess.

Once that is done, the floors will go in (red oak throughout, except the bathrooms) and they will get a single coat of varnish. Then I’ll paint (with friends- I have several who want to help. We’ll make a big ol’ party of it! Box wine and music!), the floor guy, upon reservations of the flooring going in before the painting, was reassuring, he’ll buff the floors before putting the next coats of finish one, and that will deal with splatters. I’m still going to use dropcloths thos.  I’ve requested marine varnish for the main room- it’s nearly indestructible- and standard floor varnish for the bedrooms.  All clear- no stain. I like light wood floors and if there’s no stain they should age in a lovely way over the years.

When the floors are done, I’ll start moving stuff over, a truckload at a time, as I go over to work on the bathrooms and kitchen. Dad and I have decided to build the cabinetry. He built the stuff in their library and it is (essentially) exactly what I’m wanting, style-wise. There isn’t a single standard size spot for commercially made cabinets *anywhere* in that kitchen. So either we build them ourselves or hire a custom cabinetmaker and I’m not really wanting to spend $20K. The guest bathroom will need a custom vanity as well, but I’ll put those all in another post, when I get around to them.