Friday, December 30, 2011

Alistair's Current Closet

We had to empty out Alistair's closet today.  It is right underneath the new master bathroom and will be used to run the pipes up from the basement (and to run the drain back down to the basement.  Shawn worked fast this afternoon.  He has already moved the stack from the middle of the room to the wall and has started running the drain and stack for the sink.

Opening Up the Floor

This week, Colin started wiring for the new bathroom as well as rewiring what was the kitchen and the living room. Chris also ripped up the old floor so that the plumber (Shawn) can run the pipes. In the photo below, the joists under the plywood run perpendicular to the wall. There appears to have been a staircase at some point (fifty years ago or more). Very curious as to what the layout of this house has been over time.

No sign of any bats in the attic today.

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Master Suite Windows

The windows are in, and we can't get over how much light there is upstairs. We know that the light will be different once the walls are up, but in the meantime we are enjoying the light.

The bathroom window is nearly the width of the bathroom, which is kind of crazy.  Again, not what we were envisioning at the beginning of our design process, but the large window will create a bright room.

Here is a view of the future master bedroom of the bathroom, hall, and closet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Window Preparations

Yesterday, they prepped the walls for the new windows (you can see the headers).  We have the bathroom window already (since we ordered it for Charlotte's room before we realized that we it wasn't an egress window) and the bedroom window is due tomorrow.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bathroom Framing

It was too dark to take a picture on Friday afternoon of the bathroom framing that Chris, Brian and Dennis built, so here here a picture in the daytime.  We can't believe how much they have done in less than two days of work.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bathroom To Be - Demolition

This morning the guys cut away the floor where the bathroom is going to be.  It looks like the floorboards were replaced, maybe for stairs.  We often wonder what configurations and additions this house has been through in the past 150 years.

End of First Day Demo Upstairs

By the end of the day yesterday Chris, Brian, and Dennis had taken down the laundry room wall and the wall between the living room and kitchen.  You can see the stack from the downstairs bathroom that used to run in the wall separating the two rooms.  With the wall gone, the space seems huge, like we should have a dance party or something. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Demo Phase Two - Upstairs

Today is the first day of work on the upstairs master suite.  Alistair was happy to see Chris, Brian, and Dennis again.  It didn't take them long to knock down the flimsy laundry room wall.  Already the space seems so different.

Brian found evidence of munching carpenter ants on the little kitchen window header, which was what we expected.  We had heard munching and even witnessed a mass exodus of flying male ants.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Porch Progress

We are done working on our porch for the winter.  The screens, lighting, new back wall, and finishing touches will wait until spring.  Here is a brief slideshow of our progress so far.

Standing Seam Roof

Today a team of friendly, bearded men, many dressed in camouflage, installed the standing seam roof on our porch.  They were quick, finishing the job before lunch.  It looks great.  Work on the porch is done now until spring.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Stairs

Chris, Dennis, and Brian are pretty much finished will all the outside work until spring.  Chris put the finishing touches on the new stairs this morning.  The new metal roof should be installed soon.  Chris put our old stairs off the back of the porch so we can use it this winter.  We still need to figure out what we are doing for a patio off the back.  We'll tackle landscaping in the spring.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We are nearing the end of the porch construction. Today they installed the porch railings they assembled yesterday. As Dennis said, the railings bring it all together. Mitch and his guys also finished up their work on the roof.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Stairs!

Brian finished building the new stairs today. It was exciting to walk up a different way onto the porch. Alistair said that the stairs were "pretty". The new stairs are six feet wide. We wanted the new stairs to be wide enough for us to comfortable walk down the stairs with a toddler in one hand and an infant in a car seat in the other. We also thought it would be nice for the stairs to be wide enough for decorative plants and pumpkins.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Roof

Today Mitch and his guys put the shingles up on the west side of the roof. It went really fast. The picture also shows the truck convention in our front yard. Brian was not here today, so his pick up truck is missing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pick-up Truck Convention

I think we had a record number of people working on our house today. In addition to Chris, Dennis, and Brian (and his trusty dog Conrad), Mitch and two of his guys were working on the roof. Not counting our car, there were four pick up trucks, an SUV, a van, and a Honda all parked at the front of our house.

Dennis worked on cladding the columns on the new porch while Chris and Brian worked on the new stairs that will be on the side porch. They discovered another huge bolder that they had to move by hand (not with an excavator like a few weeks ago). I think the bolder will become part of our garden.

Alistair has taken a liking to Chris, Brian and Dennis and to Conrad. Alistair picks out dog biscuits for Conrad when we are out grocery shopping. He also asked Santa for a dog, and when I asked what he was thankful for on Thanksgiving, he said a dog. He also is just generally interested on who is here and what they are doing. Today he asked where Dennis was (he was using the table saw) and if he was on his submarine. (Dennis worked on a submarine while in the navy.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Early Snow

The weather this fall has been very odd. We had snow just before Halloween and we had snow again a few days before Thanksgiving. Thankfully Mitch and his guys were able to put the weather guard on the roof before the snow came. The snow actually seemed to slide right off it. They have finished the east side of the roof yet. Hopefully the snow will melt soon and they can finish.

The porch is coming along nicely. The new cedar decking is in, and they are putting up the trim. The decking is "green" so we'll wait until spring to finish it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Goodbye Dumpster

Alistair loves trucks, so this whole project has been exciting for him. We are guaranteed at least one truck in our driveway a week Today we saw the dumpster being taken away. No more dumpster.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Side Porch Ceiling

When we first bought the house, the side porch had this horrible silver foam panels on the ceiling, almost like a dropped ceiling. They reminded me of the silver insulation foam you would attached to you loom looper oven mits. They were so ugly. Today Chris and Dennis installed the new ceiling on the side porch. Much better. It is the same ceiling as the back porch and works nicely with the siding.

Friday, November 18, 2011


On Thursday, Mitch and his guys started ripping the shingles off the roof. Today they started on the west side of the roof. The east side is always pretty shady, so there was a bit of rot on the lower sections of the roof. Some of the boards and the fascia board are being replaced. It makes me nervous just seeing those guys up on the steep roof.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Side Porch Reconstruction

After a morning of demolition, here are Dennis and Brian putting the new joists on the side porch. During demolition, they found a little bit of dry rot on one of the sills. Chris didn't seem too concerned about it since it is under cover of the porch. They covered it with the rain guard and will attach the new joists to a ledger, not the sill. They also had to trim the bottom of the columns in order to make the new deck level.

Tomorrow the roofer starts on the front roof. By our car, you can just about see Brian's dog Conrad. Alistair has been picking out little dog biscuits for Conrad at the grocery store. He proudly tells the cashier "Biscuits for Conrad." They give a puzzled look to why we are only buying one or two.

Side Porch Demolition Part Two

Goodbye decking and dodgy wood joists.

Side Porch Demolition Part One

Things are moving along with the porch. The gable over the new stairs (yet to be built) is finished and painted. Dennis has put the decking on nearly half of the back porch. Today they are working on the side porch. The rafters and joists were in worse shape than we thought, so they are going to rebuild parts of it. They are making quite a racket taking apart the base.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gable on Side Porch

Yesterday, they framed out the gable over the new (yet to be constructed) stairs. We found a perfect example of the design we wanted on a porch in Woodstock Vermont. They are also making progress on the porch trim. We had to be a little creative with the trim at the corner where the difference in roof slopes meant the top of the facia on the two sides didn't match. It turned out great.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mysterious Archway

Dad ripped off all the trim in the upstairs hallway today in preparation of installing the new floor. When he pulled off the trim from the doorway between the hall and the living room, he found an archway. We always thought the doorway was odd, and it was also very low. Ray, who lived upstairs a year ago had to duck when he walked through it. Why someone would cover up a perfectly fine archway to make a narrow and low doorway is a mystery, especially when there is a matching doorway on the other side of the room.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Porch Progress

The porch is coming along quickly. They are starting to put on the trim on the back porch. The side porch was in pretty bad shape, so they stipped off the old standing seam roof, the shingles underneath, and the rotten clapboards below the windows. Both windows over the side porch have also been replaced. The back of the house is done. The triple window looks great with the new siding and trim.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Siding

It was a cold and snowy morning this morning when Chris, Dennis and Brian arrived. Dennis said that he had about six inches of snow where he lives. We had just over an inch. (You can see some on the roof of the porch.) They brought in the scaffolding boards so they would melt before they started working on the siding around Charlotte's window. They also trimmed out the triple window.

Here is a picture of the underneath side of the porch roof. To add the feeling of space, we are keeping the rafter exposed. The rafters and the boards have already been painted Maritime White to match the trim on the rest of the house.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Triple Window

Today was an exciting day. This morning they removed the upstairs door, made a huge hole, framed out the window rough opening and installed the window. It looks great from the outside, and the view from the upstairs is amazing, especially with the fall color.
The porch ceiling is also up, painted, and weatherized.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Porch Rafters

The rafters for the porch roof are all in place, ready for the ceilling. It is all very exciting.


We have had quite a few trucks stop by as part of our construction project. This truck delivered insulation and wood for the porch ceiling.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Framing the Porch

The footings are in and Chris, Dennis, and Brian are framing the new porch. It was strange to stand on it for the first time. It seems huge. Can't wait to sit out there on a summer's afternoon.

You can also see the new window upstairs, closest to the porch.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun Discovery from 1902

Yesterday when Brian, Chris and Dennis were working up in the attic on the new ceiling joists, Brian found some old tobacco tins and a tobacco box amongst the insulation. The tax stamp on the tobacco box is April 12, 1902. The Old English tin (curved so you can put it in your pocket) has a patent date of May 1899. Brian also found a church offertory envelope dated January 1904 as well as some type of pipe. In all the years we've been working on the house, tearing off old walls and such, we have never found anything like this.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Porch Footings

Yesterday and today, the builders were working on the porch footings. We weren't sure how far down they could dig before they hit ledge, but they were actually able to dig the four feet or so needed for the porch footings. Alistair was definitely excited by the mini excavator Brian used to dig the holes for the foundation. He ate his breakfast while watching him place the pre-cast footing into the hole.

Brian also dug the holes for the side porch footings. He found some enormous rocks. They also had to move the dumpster (using the excavator) to get to some of the other side porch footings.

It has been fairly wet the past few weeks, so our yard is now a big muddy mess. Well, we've been talking about having the lumps smoothed out and the lawn reseeded because it is so weedy. I guess we'll be doing that now.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Painting Alistair's Room

After a busy day picking pumpkins, Colin painted the second coat of Shaker Beige on Alistair's new bedroom walls. He also started to install the cedar panels in the small closet in his room which will be used for long term storage.