Friday, May 28, 2010

The week in review

So, Joe was here this week and provided both great work but also a sense that we're getting somewhere with this whole project. I've been doing my thing for a while and it helps to have Joe in on the effort. We made headway.

Joe was working on the second floor, building the headwall that defines where our bed will be and then the closet. So far we like the arrangement and think we'll stick with it.

I've been tying up the loose ends with the water supply. At the point, with one minor exception, all the water lines to all our plumbing fixtures are in. The fun part of this is pressure testing the system. This is sort of like pumping up a bike tire except that the inner tube in this case is all of the water lines running through the house. Like a bike tube, you hook up a air pump and pump up the system to a given level and then look to see if the gauge stays constant. If it does not, there is a leak and you need to go around a dab each fitting connection with some soap-like stuff and see if it bubbles.

We found a leaky connection right off the bat because I'd forgotten to crimp one of the fittings. I crimped it and presto, the system held air. After a couple of hours I went to check again and the pressure had dropped from about 15 psi to 10 or so. I then went around doing the bubble check and eventually found a small leak near the pressure gauge. I re-installed it, checked again and found no bubbles. I re-pressurized the system and will take another look in the morning. This is cool stuff. If the system holds air, it'll hold water.

Window adjusted

The third (and final, I think) version of the window trim. I took the side pieces down by an inch and it looks good. The only other change I might make would be to trim the top piece, but for now this is what we are going to go with.

I am close to being able to pressure test the plumbing supply lines. I hooked up all our various plumbing lines yesterday and labeled them. Blue-cold, red-hot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's Window

This morning I tried out a different style of window trim. I like this a lot better then yesterday's approach. Nance liked it better too.

Tomorrow I'll go with the same style, but thin up the boards a bit. What is there now is 5 1/2" inches wide. I'll try 4 1/2" and see how that feels.

Joe came back and was hard at work today. Him being here helps me to stay focused and its great to have two of us making headway. Welcome back Joe!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Window Trim

Today I spent a little time driving around the village checking out the exterior window casing of various old houses. I found the ones that had a bit of notable cornice detail caught my attention.

Here's one I liked:

I came home and did up a version for one of the windows in the back of the house. Once it was up, Nance and I looked at it and decided that there was maybe a little too much drama at the top. We also thought it would make sense to try it on a larger window that is more representative of the average. So I spent the latter part of the day working on another toned-down version. I'll get that up tomorrow.

Joe doesn't know it yet, but once I work out the details on this, he's going to be the guy making up the trim for the windows while I get ready to insulate. Joe's due back tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Second Floor

A drawing of the second floor plan. (Click on the image for an enlarged view)

Our friend Mary recently wrote asking about the second floor and what our plans are.

It was an astute question because the truth is we haven't ever really nailed down our plan for the second floor. At some point way back we decided we could sort it out later. Well, later is now, and we are trying out different ideas.

We've actually been sleeping in the house since the end of April and so have had an opportunity to place our futon in various locations to see how it feels. We started off with the bed in the upper left-hand corner of the main room. That had sort of dark light and no distinct views. It felt sort of just shuttled out of the way. Mary's question got me thinking that we needed to pay a little more attention to this area of the house and so I started playing around in Sketch-Up and soon found myself placing the bed lined up to look west out the double windows. It looked good in the drawing, so I slid the bed over and tried it out. Lo and behold, it felt good.

The issue with this spot is that it is very near the current entrance to the bathroom, so in order to make way for passage to the bathroom we slid the bed a bit to the left and now are going to try that arrangement. I'd rather the bed be lined up nicely with the double windows, but something has to give.

The other issue involved here is guests and the guest room. We'd like to make it so that guests can come up the stairs and pass by our sleeping area without the feeling like they are completely walking through our room. The arrangement as shown above doesn't quite do that, but we are going to dwell on it a bit and see what thought come up.

More on all of this later...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Work continues

The blog has been a little quiet lately mostly due to the fact that the work I'm doing right now is mostly unremarkable; lots of blocking, tidying up small things, getting bids for various projects, and generally planning for insulating.

Last Friday we picked up our clapboards from Ward Clapboard mill in Moretown. The clapboards are all primed. Now we just need to give each and every one of them a coat of stain. Its a big project and the sooner we start the better. Each evening I keep thinking I'll set up and do a bit, but we've been really pushing to catch up with the garden over the last few days, so it hasn't happened. Maybe today...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Site Plan

(Click on the image to embiggen it)

Today (and yesterday) I worked on our site plans. The big bugaboo all along has been what to do with the cars. We hoped that removing the garage would make it a little clearer, but its still a question.

I've been spending time playing with different configurations and today, with Nancy making some key suggestions we think we landed on a reasonable solution. We'll have to shift the little shed a bit, but we should be able to fit the cars next to it and keep them from being the center feature when you either come down the driveway or look out of the house.

We also thought about where we'll store our firewood such that it is accesable and near where a delivery truck can dump it. What is not really solved is where to store bikes so that they are handy, sheltered and otherwise secure. Hmm....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Basement Stairs: Check

The stairs to the basement are complete and we are happy with them; not too steep but not to plush either.

Likewise the electrical panel is in and Felton wired in a number of outlets from the house that will serve as our power supply. We would have actually had the main power line running into the panel except that the electrical supply house cut the line at the wrong length. We'll get it in place today. At that point the power will be live in the house.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stairs and Electric

I noticed, after taking this photo, that it was roughly 10 minutes after noon. I then wondered if at noon on the equinox if the shadow might line up directly with the sunburst triangle. That would be really satisfying. I did my best to align the axis of the house on south.

Felton installing the conduit connecting the panel to the conduit running to the meter

Stairs in progress

My mighty assistant helping me muscle the stair set into place.
The stairs will finish at a small landing at the bottom which Nance is standing on

I've been building the stairs from the first floor to the basement and they are almost complete. I'll finish that project tomorrow. I'm not sure why I waited this long to do this project--perhaps because it is sort of fun and a bit of a reward for having the plumbing and electric in place. It'll sure be nice to go up and down stairs rather then the ladder.

Meanwhile, Felton has been at work installing our electrical panel and connecting to the conduit running out to the meter near the pole. With luck, we'll have power running into the panel tomorrow. Once that's done, well make a few of the outlets in the house live so we can run things from the outlets rather then the jumble of extension cords and power strips we currently have in place.