Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Kitchen Booth Benches

Dad (aka Grandpa) also made us new kitchen booth benches.  Once we finish the baseboards, they will look built in.  The best thing about these benches is that the lids lift up to we can store things inside.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Entryway Bench

Our back door is a bit of mess.  We have only a small coat rack (which bought at a shop down the road from us when we lived in St. Albans) that can't cope with all of our coats.  Dad made us two new coat racks that we hope to hang up soon, and he made us a new bench.  Our hope is that the bench contains our shoes and also gives us a place to put a basket for hats and mittens.

The kids "helped" their Grandpa find the wall studs, measure, and of course drill.  Here they are on the new bench.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Uptairs Flooring

Dad is visiting for a couple of weeks and is helping us with the flooring upstairs.  He is working on the floor in the play room where Colin left off.  Colin is removing the rest of the flooring from the master bedroom.  It is somewhat strange to be ripping up something that we put down.  When we first moved in we renovated the upstairs kitchen, painting the cabinets and installing new floor.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Level Flooring

Dad made great progess on the floor while he was here.  The top of the stairs (above) and the hallway just outside the master bath are now level.  I no longer feel like I'm going to fall into the bathroom while walking past.  Dad also installed the spine all the way from Alistair's room to the master bedroom.  Now it is our turn to finish it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Leveling the Landing

We live in an old house.  Sometimes I think about the women who might have lived in this house, and I think about what they wore.  Did they have hoop skirts, or more simple day dresses?  Over the nearly 150 years since this house was built, it has sagged a bit in places.  When you would drop peas or other round things in the upstairs kitchen, they would roll away.  Our pine Ikea hutch leaned towards the center of the room.  Now that Dad is installing the new hard wood flooring upstairs, we are becoming more acquainted on the details of the undulations.

The landing at the top of the stairs is, in our minds, a slight step down from the hallway.  It made sense, especially with the door and wall that separated the two.  They had different surfaces and they were different heights.  It turns out that if you put a level across from the edge of the hallway surface to the outside wall of the landing, it's nearly level.  There is a quarter of an inch difference.  Using plywood and building paper, Dad built up the floor so that the landing is now level.  In the gap where the wall was, he was built a small ramp to make the quarter of a inch transition.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tree Peony

Today our tree peony bloomerd!  Three years ago I bought a tree peony at an end of the season sale at Edgewater Farms.  This spring buds appeared for the first time.  We had a very severe frost a few weeks ago, so every night I went out and put an empty sump pump bucket over the peony so prevent damage to the buds. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Early Spring Flowers

Our backyard has turned blue with forget-me-nots.  We receive a lot of compliments, and our neighbor across the street said that he took pictures.  Upstairs, when you look out the back windows from the hallway or the blue room, all you see is blue.  The bees and butterflies love it too.

The bleeding hearts are blooming, and so are the dandelions.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Springtime in our Woods

We have spent a lot of time outside this spring, taking advantage of the unusually early and warm spring.  The black flies are out now, which makes it less enjoyable.  Unfortunately we don't have screens on our porch yet, so the only refuge is inside.

We have spent a lot of time up in the woods.  Alistair has been climbing on rocks, jumping over logs, and finding treasures (like old dog toys and an angel garden ornament).  We've also been working on the paths.  Today we went for a walk in the woods.  Alistair enjoys hiking to the top to see our neighbor's tractor and sit on the stone fence.  He also like so to blaze new trails and clamber up some of the big boulders.

Most of the ferns are opening.  We have some Christmas Ferns, but most of the ferns are the common ones above. 

We also have a few purple Trilliums and some Jack-in-the-Pulpits, which are a fun plant.  I especially like the striped one shown below.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Window Trim Started

We've been plugging away at things upstairs.  Colin has started to trim the windows.  There are 10 windows in total, including the triple at the back.  Here is the west in the blue room, with trim 95% complete.  The hallway has also been painted (Concord Ivory to continue the yellow from the front hall), and Charlotte's room is just about ready for paint.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blue Room

We made some good progress on the upstairs this weekend.  Colin finished installing and painting the new ceiling above the stairs.  Alyssa finished painting the ceiling and walls in what we are calling "The Blue Room."  It is a strong color, but we thought it would be nice to have a bright color for the playroom/rec space.  (The color is Mill Springs Blue by Benjamin Moore.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Record Setting Warm Temperatures

The past couple of days we have had record setting temperatures.  The high today was 82.  Yesterday it was 80 and Monday it was 79.  It makes a change from last year at this time when we still had snow cover.  It was so warm today that Alistair wanted to play in the sprinkler.  He also wanted to water the plants.  Pointing to the dead leaves on the rose bush, he said, "This plant needs feeding."

The mud at the back of the porch is drying up, but the frost heaves are bringing rocks to the surface.  We have six rocks now to use in the garden as part of edging or a wall.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Drywall Primed

We finally got some priming done today.  We primed all the new drywall in the "blue room" (above, and not yet blue) and in Charlotte's room and the hallway outside Alistair's room (below).  Next is priming the old walls.

First Meal on Porch

Except for two picnic lunches on blankets on the porch, today we had our first proper lunch.  We brought up our table and chairs (we bought in England at a gardening auction) and ate our lunch.  The weather is beautiful today, especially for mid March.  We are excited about using our new porch.  The old one was so dilapitated that we didn't use first floor porch at all.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mud (Natural, not Joint Compound)

We haven't had much snow this winter, but that hasn't stopped mud season.  We lost grass cover with all the porch foundation digging, and now it is just a muddy mess.  Yuck.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

And Another

Today when Colin rolled back some insulation to install the new ceiling light box in the blue room, he found a sleeping bat.  It was hibernating in it's cozy bed of insulation.  It stretched a bit as it began to wake up, so Colin quickly used a bucket lid to flick the bat into a bucket and brought it outside.  He laid it on the driveway, and when he checked on it a few minutes later, it was gone.  We shudder to think how many other bats are hibernating in the attic.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yet Another Bat

This morning, as Colin was about to go upstairs to load up our car with old plaster, lath, and other unusable building materials, he noticed a bat on the third step in our front hall.  It flew out the front door when he tried to move it.  He followed it around to the back of the house to see where it went, but he couldn't see where it flew to.  Maybe back into the attic, maybe off somewhere else.

Yesterday morning Alistair woke up over an hour earlier than usual saying that he heard something.  (He was scared and ended up in bed with us and Charlotte.)  We wonder if he heard the bat in the ceiling above his room.  Alyssa had heard something rustling in the bathroom ceiling a few weeks ago.  Both the bathroom and Alistair's closet are below the new bathroom.  The bat could have flown out from behind the new tub, which does not yet have walls.

This is not the first bat we have seen this winter.  Colin found a sleepy one in the attic a few months ago.  He put it outside, but it soon flew away.  Then the night before Colin's Dad left after his visit this fall, there was a bat flying around his room.  Colin, his Dad, and Alyssa's Dad cornered it into Charlotte's bedroom (under construction) but it disappeared the next morning.  One of the roofers found a bat in the fall too (he just put it back in the attic).  Over the years when Colin was doing a lot of wiring work in the attic, he thought he saw something flying.  (And of course when Lauren visited one summer, there was a bat in the house, but that flew out of the basement.)  We're worried we might have a colony up there.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mud, Sand, Repeat

During Charlotte's naps, Alyssa has been working on the new drywall at the top of the stairs.  The main thing left to do is work on smoothing out t he wall where the old wall with the door was.  Tonight, Colin chipped away at the left of the two ridges.

The other area of work is the old doorway at the other end of the hall.  There are some big holes on the hallway side that need filling (that you can't really see in the picture).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stairway Ceiling

This weekend, Colin started to install the stairway ceiling.  We used the same material as in Alistair's room.  The different sloped sections make it a bit tricky to cut the wood.  The new ceiling looks great, and we are glad that we don't have to look at the ugly plywood anymore

Shedding Snow

The new standing seam roof is doing it's job of shedding show.  The gable above the side stairs keeps the snow and dripping water off the stairs.  It also made an interesting snow curl, which Colin knocked off to Alistair's delight.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reassembling the Hallway Upstairs

Today Colin continued working on the hallway upstairs.  This weekend we started taping and mudding the drywall we hung last weekend, and we are getting the top of the stairs ready to nail in the wood ceiling.  It dawned on us that we have not had a proper ceiling at the top of the stairs in about five years or more.  We took down the horrible ceiling tiles and then realized that the roof was leaking, so we decided to wait until we replaced the roof.  That took a while.

Colin also finished demolishing the old archway that was between the hall and what we are now calling The Blue Room, since we are thinking of painting it Benjamin Moore Mill Springs Blue. 

 All of this demolition has left us with a lot of plaster and lathe and garbage.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Little Helper

When Alistair heard that Colin was going to hand drywall today, Alistair wanted to help.  We're not sure he knew what drywall was, but he was more enthusiastic than Colin was to hang the drywall.  We were on the phone with Grandad when Colin needed help with the first sheet.  (Lucky Grandad was able to hear the whole thing.)  Alyssa screwed in the first couple of screws, and then Alistair wanted to help.  He put the screws on the magnetic tip of the screwdriver and wanted to help Colin drive them in.

Later in the afternoon, Alyssa sneaked up to help Colin with the sheet at the top of the stairs.  (We have been looking at that exposed lathe for literally several years.  After we tore down the ceilling, we realized we had a leak in the roof, so there was no point putting up new drywall that was going to get wet.  It is good to see it finally covered up.)  After Colin drove in the first coupld of screws, we here this little "I want to help," as Alistair climbed the stairs.  He passed Colin screws.

While Colin was working hard hanging drywall, Alyssa and Alistair were decorating Valentine's Day cookies (see our other blog).  As it was getting dark, Alyssa and Alistair went upstair to let Colin know there was extra frosting that would be a yummy dip for pretzel rods.  Alistair wanted to help again.  As we tried to get him back downstairs, he replied, "I'm busy now.  I'm cleaning up this big mess you made."

Saturday, February 11, 2012


We have found some interesting (and sometimes very ugly) wallpaper in this house over the years, but this is probably the oldest.  We found this wallpaper directly on the original plaster on the wall outside the front upstairs bedroom. It was well protected under a stud for many, many years. The wallpaper has vignettes of buildings or other outdoor scenes.  It is similar to the paper we found at the top of the stairs, which also had vignettes of steam trains and outdoor scenes.  The background to that paper was gold and the colors more bold.  We often think about what this house was like when it was first built in 1864.  Maybe this wallpaper is a clue. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Goodbye Door

Colin attacked the door at the top of the stairs.  When we first bought the house, this door was painted a light purple.  The door was the interior door for the upstairs apartment, so we don't need it anymore.  We couldn't believe how wide and open the top of the stairs is without the door.  We haven't figured out what exactly what to do with the transition, but like everything else, we will.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Plumbing Finished

Shawn came today to finish the plumbing for the new bathroom.  He connected the new pipes (the vertical ones in the photo) to the rest of the plumbing.  He also finished installing the new Grohe valves.  We're ready for cement board.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Project Handover

Except for the final plumbing hook ups the plumber is supposed to finish tomorrow, the scope of work that Chris was doing upstairs is complete.  The mudding is done.  They are handing the project over to us. 

We have a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Exterior View of Upstairs Construction

We haven't posted an exterior picture of our new upstairs windows, so here it it.  To be honest, we haven't really had a chance to look at the exterior.  The two pieces of siding below the middle window are from the old dryer vent.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mudding, Part II

The mudding is pretty much done now.  These pictures are from Wednesday.  Dennis came yesterday (Thursday) to finish off sanding.  We're excited to paint, although we know that once the project is handed over to us, we have a lot of work to do before we can move upstairs.  We are also waiting for the plumber to finish plumbing the shower and bathub. 

Friday, January 20, 2012


Yesterday the gang was back to start on taping and mudding the upstairs.  (Alistair was excited to see Chris, Brian, and Dennis and to give Conrad a dog biscuit.)  Above is the bathroom.  You can see the two circles for the scones that will be on either side of the vanity mirror.

Above and below are photos of the master bedroom.  You can see in the photo above where the old kitchen cabinets and the two recessed lights were .  Below you can see the old wall around the laundry room and square where the light fixture was.

Below is the new family room that used to be the living room.