Monday, March 28, 2016

Finishing the Master Bath

The upstairs bathroom was the room that had the most components left unfinished, but we have now completed everything except the door pulls on the closet doors.

Seemingly simple things can sometimes take a while to accomplish.  Case in point was installing this shelf above the back of the toilet.

First, it took me a long time to decide what I wanted to do with this space...

I finally decided on a shelf, and found some mounting brackets that I liked.

Mounting the first bracket was pretty straightforward as it was mounted into a stud.

The second bracket was not in a stud.  Our first attempt to mount it using this type of screw anchor system failed because the screw would not grip the anchor, or maybe the anchor would not grip the drywall, I forget exactly which is was...

So we switched to molly bolts.

With the brackets finally installed, I was ready for the shelf.

I started with a nice piece of oak, that Dean had salvaged from his father's garage, and with his help, I cut it to size and finished the edges using a router.  I applied a stain that I ended up not liking the result - too dark.

Then I came up with the brilliant idea to use the top that we took off the bureau that we had converted to be the sink base.  I cut and used the front section that has this nice curved profile.

It looks so much nicer, and it matches the sink base.

I put up some of my art work that has been in storage for quite a few years now.

So here are some views of the final finishes.

Looking out the door into the hall and stairwell

Looking in from the door

The closet doors which still need their pulls installed

Tub shower area

We are now working on closet doors in the upstairs rooms. 

Dean is up there making some hammering sounds as I type this.  

I'll post more on this as we progress.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Few Updates

We moved into the house September 2010 - so already over 5 years here!

Things certainly slow down and priorities shift once you take occupancy.  And it's those "little" things like trim and closet doors that end up remaining unfinished for extended periods.

So here's a little run down of some things that are in progress or that we have actually gotten done.

Central Vacuum Installation

We plumbed for central vac before the drywall went up, and finally purchased and installed the system.

Fixing the washing machine hook-up

The plumber who installed the hook-ups for the washing machine, failed to allow for any insulation between the drain pipe and the outside wall, so it froze in winter.  Rather than tear out the drywall, Dean re-plumbed on the wall surface.

Wood Stove Re-build

Our soapstone wood stove had some cracked stones, so Dean took it apart and replaced the stones and put it all back together

We had some nice toasty fires over the winter and Missy discovered her new favorite place to nap!

Lots O' Painting

I finally got around to painting some of the exterior doors.

The barn doors got a coat of paint

The G shed got painted.

I'll be doing the rafters and underside of the roof trim in the green trim color that we've used on the house.

The baseboard trim in the stairwell that had been unpainted for like forever was finally tackled by Dean.  

I had painted the risers a while ago, and now the stairwell is DONE and it looks REALLY nice!

Moving Rocks

Of course, we moved some rocks.  One of our favorite things!

Using my muscles to nudge a rock into place.

Training for the Spartan Challenge!

And we have almost completed the stone wall to surround this garden.  The opening you see above will remain open for accessing the area, and it's possible that we might install a pretty gate here in the future.

G Shed Details

We put up a shelf to hold pots on the outside of the shed, and I painted and hung an old shutter as a decorative element.

 And used some black birch to make decorative brackets to hold the shelf up.

I have a few more little decorative touches planned for the shed.  I have some old windows to install in the window openings, and we plan a black birch bracket for the front gable end of the roof.  

Just because it is a utility shed does not mean it can't be cute, right?

Pebble Mosaics

Most of my pebble mosaics are holding up well, but a couple of the stepping stone ones at the house's entry are crumbling.

Detail of crumbling cement

Not sure why this is happening.  It would be nice to figure it out, because I have a few more mosaics planned.

Other Projects

We have been working on installing a new Generac propane fired generator to replace Big Bertha who currently resides in the shed.  I plan to post the whole story when we get it done.

And we have been working on the Master Bathroom.  It is 99.5% finished, and I will post about this soon, but here's a sneak peek!

That's it for now.

Next up, I'm hoping we will finally finish trimming and install closet doors on the upstairs closets.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Raven Rush Hour

We noticed the phenomenon of what we call "Raven Rush Hour" when we were first building the house and spending a lot of time outdoors.

We noticed that most days, when we were paying attention, we would see a large number of ravens flying over our property.  In the morning, they move from south to north and in the evening they fly from north to south.  Sometimes they are a little bit east of the house, and sometimes a little bit west, and sometimes they are directly overhead.  Sometimes they are caw-caw-cawing the whole while and other times they are silent.

The exact time of the commute changes with the seasons and seems to be related to the light.  The morning commute right now occurs around 6:15 am.

During the late summer and early fall, we can hear the ravens down near Locke Brook making all of their various calls all day long.

They were the inspiration for my naming the house "RavensLocke".

Here's a snippet of what we see almost every day. This happens to be an evening commute.


Watching Raven Rush Hour delights me to no end!  It always feels like a little gem or a blessing to be out in the yard or walking down the driveway, or even looking out the dining room windows and witnessing it.

In other news, I plan to post on some house updates very soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

End of Summer 2015

We are still working on things big and small.  Here's a few things we worked on over the summer.

We finished the railing on the back deck.

Rather than using balusters, we opted to use horizontally strung cable wire.

First Dean marked out the measurements on the upright posts, then drilled the holes and installed these eye hooks.

 The cable is looped through this cable clamp  then through the eye hook and back through the clamp

 The the cable clamp is tightened.

 The cable goes through the middle post and is secured on the other end post with hook eyes and cable clamps.

 Once the cable was strung on both ends, it was time to tighten it up.  Back to the starting post to tighten the nut which pulls the cable taut.

I made some cushions for these free-cycled deck chairs that I had picked up.

I only took on this project because I could not find the right size cushion that I wanted in a store.  I am not a very confident sewer.  I looked at some tutorials on You Tube and decided to give it a try.  They came out OK.  Not perfect, but functional....

We made some progress on the upstairs bathroom 

We installed the shower fixtures.

The replacement shower control that I bought had some problems.  If installed as instructed, water would have leaked behind it. 

So here is the shower controller valve.

Some spray foam insulation was used to fill the gaps.

Then the remainder of the space was filled with grout.

Now we are ready to install the fixture.  First a squirt of silicon caulk.

 Our new supervisor checks the work...

Then another squirt of silicon caulk.

 And finally the cover piece.

Dean continued working on insulating and enclosing the walls in the garage.

Initially he was putting up drywall, but then switched to OSB panels...

We put in a central vacuum system.

We had put the plumbing for this into the walls a looong time ago, back before the drywall was even hung, and we finally bought the vacuum and hooked it up.

We fixed the plumbing for the washing machines.

Do you remember how our stupid plumber had plumbed the drain pipes for the washing machine  with out any insulation between it and the exterior wall?  And the pipes would freeze in the winter?  

Dean re-plumbed the whole system and it works great, of course!

I did some painting.

Painting the G shed.

 And I'm painting all the exterior doors in Benjamin Moore Cottage Red to match the entry door.  Here I am working on the basement double doors while Missy monitors my progress.

Dean is working on re-building the wood stove.  

A couple of the soapstone slabs had cracks in them, so they are being replaced.

We moved more rocks. 

What is it with rocks?  We love them!

We have been working on the area at the center of the driveway, and had most of it done already.

For this section, we are working with smaller rocks that can be moved using a hand truck, a crow bar, and some muscle.

Using my muscles!

My favorite way of "fine tuning" rock placement is to kick it into place.

We are leaving this break in the wall so we can get into the area for working.  We might put a gate in here at some point in the future.

We started on the new generator project.

Remember how I said at the end of my post on the generator shed that Dean decided he wanted to switch to a propane based  generator that kicks on automatically when a power outage occcurs?  I was not kidding! 

 So he got to work building a concrete slab for the new generator to sit on.

Here's the form with re-bar in place.

Bags of concrete.

Filling the form. 

In the next phase of this project, while digging the trench to run the wiring conduit out to the electrical service box, Dean discovered yet another mistake made by our former builder.  Oh yes, I kid you not!  

But that is a whole 'nother story that I will relate in the next episode of Moore House Home Build, so stay tuned.