Thursday, December 31, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry merry, happy happy!

Hope Santa was good to you all, and that you are still having a wonderful Christmas 2009!

(Hey j! If you double-click on the photo, and look at it large, you will see all of the ornaments you made over the years, including the pretty angel on top. Not the PeeWee though, I made him, Tyco years.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

After snowing all day...

This photo from yesterday afternoon. So nice to not have to go anywhere.

I am going to miss this old house in the snow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We know how to snow, too.

Getting dumped on down here in way south Jersey. Expecting 12" to 18". Any snow left up there in the north country?

Lester and Sophie are having a blast, getting their mugs all covered in snow. The Husband and I are having a blast digging out. Had to do what all south Jersey folks do in a snowstorm: run out to the food store and buy up all the milk and bread. Only I really needed it...didn't have anything for breakfast.

Not sure if we'll make it up for New Year's Eve, so you may not get any more new house photos till after the holidays. I'll try to keep you all posted on the progress otherwise.

Notice my 2 french doors behind the kids? The only problem with opening out, is that they don't when there's this much snow! So maybe it's a good thing, as Martha would say, that we only have one door opening in, in NY.

Everyone be sure to have a Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Haint blue, smurfy it ain't.

I caught the guys just in time (about a month ago)
to paint my front porch roof sky blue. I even bought the paint for them so I could pick just the right color. My porch roof is sky blue here in NJ, and I have always loved it.

If you read the earlier posts, you would have seen when they accidentally painted the front door blue, but now that the colors are in the right places, I am very happy with the results.

So when I went up to NY again last week, Jim asked how I liked my blue roof. I told him I loved it, and asked what he thought. He said it was too "smurfy" for him.

That got me thinking why I liked the blue roof, and where I had gotten the idea. I had heard it was a Victorian thing, and my 1880-something house in NJ is a wannabe Victorian. When I talked to Susan the architect, she said she had heard it called Spider Blue, because supposedly spiders and wasps don't like to build their webs/nests under a blue roof. And the guy who sold me the paint told me it was a Southern thing, and that this was a Haint color. Haint for "haunt" meaning the blue is supposed to keep away the evil spirits.

So I went online and researched Haint blue, and found all kinds of interesting information about it. Here are a few links, just in case you find this as interesting as I do.

This last one:

is from the NPR show, All Things Considered. It pretty much covers all the theories, and was enough to convince me that my blue roof isn't smurfy at all. Susan approves as well, so Jim, you're just wrong!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Picking paints. Final proof.

No more cartoons of the rooms in color...too time-consuming. Here are the final choices. I am going to print these out and mail to Jim just to make sure there is no confusion. The red, dark green and purply colors are almost duplicates of paint colors here in the old house in NJ. Pre-tested, pre-approved by The Husband and me. The other colors were chosen either because they work well together, or because they go well with furniture or rugs that will be going in those rooms.

All the ceilings will be white, like the trim, except for the cathedral ceiling in the bedroom which will be the same as the walls.

I have decided to defer to the architect's original design and keep the single french door—because it can be left open more comfortably, because it's already in place, and because it's about $600 cheaper than the double doors and every penny counts at this late stage.

Now I just have to decide what to do about the woodstove wall. Jim put a chase around the stainless steel pipe, but the chase goes all the way to the floor and messes up my design even more (see photo 2 posts below). I am really confused about how to make this look better. The woodstove was delivered yesterday, and now that I see this big boy in the room, I want to simplify the wall even more than before...There is a solution, I just don't know what it is yet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Be careful what you wish for!

I said I wanted snow, but this is not fair! It's way too cold and windy to take pretty pictures for my Christmas cards, so you all might be getting the "bleak midwinter" version that I told The Husband I wouldn't do. Click on this photo to see a larger much more frozen version than the small.

I made more progress on paint colors, but didn't have time to make any more cartoons. I actually have a paying job that is taking up my precious house design time...but it is helping to pay the bills...

I talked to Susan the architect about my single french door, and I think I am going to keep it. Unless I change my mind of course.

And I talked to my friend Jane yesterday about getting the guy she uses to plow our big long driveway. If we don't keep it clear, the propane can't get delivered. Jim said he'd clear it for now, but there's no way he can keep up with it.

Woodstove gets delivered tomorrow. Good thing I'm leaving, because I'd be tempted to have them deliver it here and fire that baby up!

Whose idea was it to move to the North Country?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Picking paints. First proof.

Yes, I know these pictures are more like cartoons than the real thing, but they are helpful to me. Moving rugs around to help decide on a color scheme, and trying to keep the colors so that they all work together, from room to room. Even if we don't keep all the rugs we have, it's an easy way to make this work.

The Husband and I both like dark colors on the walls, but maybe they work better in our old house with the light-stained molding. Although the white molding does make a nice contrast. Have to go with a lighter color in the bedroom, because it has a cathedral ceiling and I want to paint it all the same. The other rooms will all have white ceilings.

Something else that came up for discussion today—I have always imagined 2 french doors swinging out to the screen porch. In the top photo are our french doors in NJ...same Andersen door, but 2 swinging out to the deck, no screen. The architect always envisioned one french door swinging into the dining room. This was discussed several times with Gordy and Jim, but when it came to putting in the order, Jim deferred to the architect's drawings with the one door. He says he'll take it out and either sell it or use it in his own house, but maybe it does look OK after all... Do I really want to give up on my 2 french doors that I hounded The Husband for in NJ?

Oh yeah, and that wall behind the woodstove is the final version of what I have been designing for at least a year. This would be my perfect solution, but one I am pretty sure I can't afford. Might just be a painted blue wall until I hit the lottery. Even those little wings on either side of the woodstove cost $250 extra, so they're waiting for the big bucks too. Might help if I actually bought some lottery tickets!

Ask for snow and you shall have it.

It started snowing lightly as we drove through Hartwick last night, and I think it continued through the night. And then we are scheduled to get 3" to 6" more tomorrow. Luckily they are much better at clearing roads up here, so I should still be fine for driving home on Friday.

Today's job is to try to choose paint colors for the interior. I took some pictures in NJ of the things I expect to put in each room, and some pics up here of the interior.

Hope I can throw them altogether and come up with a plan.

I was out at the house with Jim and the guys discussing the progress. He thinks the heat shut itself off because somebody drained the water from the system thinking the drain was a water supply. It's up and running again, and actually about 73° in there right now. I really wish there was a working bathroom, because that is definitely more comfortable than this drafty Dump. But it would be tough to stay out of the way of the guys while they are working.

Dogs are tired after a romp in the snow with Kaya. Back to work for me with my colors.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I need snow!

I've been struggling to find a snowy pic for our Christmas cards this year. If I don't get them to the printer soon, there will be no time to write them up and send them out.

From what I can see on the WKTV weather report, I might get my wish for snow in NY this week, and there's even a chance that the rain and sleet here in NJ today will change to snow tonight.

Here's a Christmas pic that The Husband rejected for our new cards. Don't know why? I find it hysterically funny. hehehe. Maybe because we used those scary axe-holders on our cards 3 years ago. My Mom hated that card.

Working on soapstone counters, stair parts, and picking paint colors this week. Looking forward to it. This is a very exciting time to watch what's going on in the house, but it doesn't lend itself to good picture-taking. I'll work on getting some new photos this week.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snow up there today.

December brings just a bit of snow, that's what I wanted for when we were there last week, just enough to take some pretty pictures. Oh well!

House is coming along nicely. French doors going in today or tomorrow. Taper needs to come back and finish up, and then I need to start picking interior paint colors...but quick!

Kitchen island design is pretty much finished, but I asked Gary to finish the bathroom vanity first. These photos are the final kitchen layout and the close-to-final island design.

Still deciding if I want to spend $150 on LED under-cabinet lights, or if I am going to buy a $20 string of LED lights from Ikea and see how they work out. I don't mind spending money for real light fixtures, but somehow the under-cabinet lights just don't seem worth the big bucks.

Going back up on Monday, and I hope to finish up with all the shopping for parts and other decisions before Christmas. Jim said they will be mostly done by then, just a few things won't get done in time for the holidays.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rain and cold. Tapers are here.

There was a chance of snow flurries today, and we had a few of those, but mostly it was windy cold and rainy. On our way out to the Farmers Market and then the Farmers Museum, we caught a stranger and his son coming down the driveway. Turns out they are the "tapers". Still back there, been there since about 11 am taping and spackling the sheetrock.

Yesterday was pretty much the same weather, except for one bright spot—we went to closing on our "bridge loan". The last big roadblock has been removed, so we now have the money we need to finish this project.

Lester and Sophie are bored after 2 days of bad weather. Thanksgiving day was a beautiful day—so beautiful The Husband took me for a short walk that turned into a very long walk. And then we went to the Otesaga for lunch/dinner, so the dogs missed out on all the fun. I am sure they will get over it. It is supposed to be a nice day again tomorrow. We'll get them out there before we leave to wear them out a bit.

Hope that you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rock is done. Door is red.

The day before Thanksgiving, so not a whole day of work on the house. Jim the Builder was proud to show off my red front door—it was painted over last week, and he said the blue made a nice tinted primer...

Rockers were out today. They finished up before noon. The downstairs bath fixtures were delivered today. Turns out the missing fixtures were not so much of a holdup. They just cut the sheetrock but didn't attach yet. Jesse the Electrician came yesterday to finish wiring the basement, which also needed to be done before rocking.

Jim still thinks we might be done by Christmas, but we're not gonna make him stick to that deadline. He also might stop by early some morning to shoot that 6-point buck that has been spotted a few times by the guys.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And a special shout out to Lisa and Jersey, cooking a turkey for "The Boys" tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Master bath on order

Bathroom orders have been placed (thanks, Kelly!). This is my $45 either oak or ash vanity that came from the New York Hotel, by way of my friend Anna at Finders Keepers in Richfield Springs.

Some pathetic Photoshopping has put it all together with a recycled cobalt glass top, undermount Kohler sink, and Kohler Archer faucet. There was much discussion about whether or not the blue glass will be as blue as this sample. It better be! Or I will need therapy to get over it.

Gary the Farm Table guy, in addition to making me the kitchen island, is going to do some surgery on the vanity to make the sink fit, and to make the drawers work a bit better than they do. I dropped it off at his shop yesterday. I will definitely lose the top drawer, and maybe some of the second. But since I like it so much better than the other options, I think storage space won't be a big issue.

Everything but the lighting and medicine cabinet has been ordered. Now I just have to hope for some more Pottery Barn clearance items to show up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New rock rocks. New, not so much.

Apparently I did not order the tub and shower fixtures soon enough. They needed to be installed BEFORE the sheetrock. So now some of the sheetrocking will be held up, all because of me. Of course no one told me I had this deadline until today, so I can't take full responsibility.

Jim the Builder called me while I was in the bath showroom hanging out with Kelly. He told me that he needed both bathrooms delivered pronto. Only problem was, I was just ordering the upstairs bath fixtures today. Took me this long to make up my mind about the vanity. Other stuff will take at least 2 weeks to come in. The downstairs fixtures are all packaged up waiting to be delivered, but their normal delivery to this part of town is Thursdays. Too late for today, next week is Thanksgiving.

I am pretty sure it was an accident. Or maybe Jim's paying me back by painting my front door sky blue. So, whaddya think? Nice, huh?

Easy enough to make that mistake—I left him 2 gallons of paint—the red for the door and the blue for the porch roof. Jim knew the difference, but didn't tell Jerry the Painter. At least he didn't paint the porch roof barn red!

The sheetrockers finished most of the second floor today. They will come back tomorrow and Monday to finish everything...except for the part below the shower and tub. It really changes the whole look of the rooms inside now that there are walls. Soon I will have to choose paint colors...

This is the first big bump in the process, at least the first big one on me. Not so bad in the general scheme of things. At least I don't think so.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rock and rolling right along

Sixteen-ft and twelve-ft pieces of sheet rock were delivered today. Even though the boom truck offloaded them, the guys still had to grab them and move them inside. Thanks guys, for all your heavy lifting! Upstairs rock came in through the windows (sashes are easily removed), basement rock came in through the Bilco doors. (I hope! I didn't stick around to watch that part.)

Spray-foam salesguy stopped by to inspect the insulation...said he hadn't seen the soy-based stuff in use before. Other than walking on the still-tacky deck floor before I could catch him, he was pleased with the outcome, as am I.

Shortly after he left, the appraiser (for the bank) came by for a tour. He asked a lot of questions and genuinely seemed to like the house. I am fairly certain he will do a MUCH better job than the previous appraiser for the previous bank who nicely put a wrench in our initial attempt at a construction loan.

I stopped in Cooperstown to chat with Karen the Kitchen Designer and Jessica our new Bank Hero. Things are mostly finished up on both accounts.

Going to visit with Kelly from Northrups tomorrow in Oneonta. Will stop at Lowe's and Gary the Farm Table guy's on the way back. Making excellent progress this week, and coming back next week with The Husband to finalize as much as we can. Also making our yearly visit to the Otesaga for Thanksgiving brunch—turkey and ALL the trimmings you could ever possibly want.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Near perfect progress. Near perfect weather.

These are front and back photos from this morning.

I finished a lot today, even if it doesn't feel like much. Had a nice grilled pizza to top it off.

I spent the morning e-mailing and designing bathrooms and kitchens (again). Stopped by to talk with Gary the Farm Table guy, and we are nailing down the details. Did a quickie food-shopping at the Fly Creek General Store, because it was around the corner from Gary's shop, and saved me a trip to either Cooperstown or Richfield Springs. Got some good apple cider, peach preserves, pumpkin bread and oat bran bread.

Jim the Builder AND Jim the Worker were here today sealing the cedar porches. Gave them the lock from Brother Bill's room to use as a temporary front-door lock so they don't have to beat up the expensive lockset on order. (Thanks, Lisa!)

Since I left, the garage slab was poured, the front door installed, spray-foam installation is in and was inspected today, screen porch is pretty much finished up (minus the screen), and the sheet rockers are supposed to come tomorrow. French doors coming Monday. The only other things still held up are waiting for decisions from me, and I expect to get through most of them this week. The appraiser is coming tomorrow, and that should get us the supplemental loan.

Ahhh! Time to take a breather. We're getting there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No more Nor'easter in NJ!

Finally, after 4 days of wind and rain, the sun has reappeared! This photo is a rare shot of the boys at home, hanging out together. They are in the back room with our new $200 piano ($440 if you include moving it here)...a real bargain.

Since I have been in NJ all week, I have no new photos of Lester's Flat, but there has been progress. The front door and insulation are in. Forgot to ask if the french doors made it as well. The screen porch is finished up in the back, and the sheet rock guys are coming on Tuesday to rock the whole house.

Cousin Greg did his best to rescue the dock—he dragged it back through the water to where it started out, but as a one-man operation, that was the best he could do. Let's hope this $25 bridge to nowhere doesn't end up being a lifetime project. It was supposed to be just a quick fix to give us access to our property on the other side of the creek.

I am heading back to NY tomorrow to see what's happenin'. I have to meet with Gary the Farm Table guy to firm up plans for the kitchen island. I also have to finish up my bathroom and kitchen orders with Kelly at Northrups and Karen at Bruce Hall. It is finally time to make all decisions final.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Still wintry and wet, warmer weather on the way

Friend Jane and I were supposed to go for a nice long walk today, but it's just too raw and nasty out there. It is supposed to warm up to maybe even 60° on Sunday, but I am going back to Jersey tomorrow. I expect it will be even warmer down there, so this time I am happy to go home.

The front door isn't coming until Tuesday. That and the french doors and the insulation should all be in by next week, so when I do come back, things should be warm and toasty in there and some drywall should follow soon after. I want them to finish the basement first so The Husband and I can start moving the bed and some other things down there when we come up for Thanksgiving. With no kitchen or bathroom done yet, we can sleep there and come back to the drafty Dump during the day. We'll pretend we're camping out in the new house...just cuz I want to.

I finally put in the order for the kitchen cabinets and counters yesterday. Today I bought a small oak dresser (only $45!) that I hope will be my master bathroom vanity. I have to either find a marble top and buy a drop-in sink for it, or if it fits and if I can afford it, get a nice Kohler integrated cast iron sink/tabletop. I figure with the money I saved by not getting a $500 vanity that I don't even like, I can play around with the sink and faucet and get something I really do like.

Cousin Greg is waiting for the warmer weather on Sunday to come and rescue my dock. He said he'll try to float it back upstream and leave it on high ground for a springtime installation. Since temps are going down into the teens tonight, I worry that even a wetsuit won't keep him warm in that cold, cold water... We really owe you big time, Greg!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wintry weather to start the day

Beautiful dusting of snow greeted us this morning (best viewed large especially if you want to find the Lester). Since then it has turned warm and sometimes even sunny. Went down to the creek with the dogs and came back without my Sophie. Either she found her way across the creek and couldn't get back, or she was just messing with me. Had to cross the barbed wire fence to go around and show her a way to get back...little stinker.

Need to leave soon to meet with Karen the Kitchen Designer. Final plans are ready, and need to leave a deposit. Jim the Builder said he would pick up the oven and dishwasher and store them in our basement. Slate came yesterday, it's the big white package in the front yard, second photo. They promised the front door is coming tomorrow—that's the last thing we're waiting on in order to get things moving. As it is, the guys weren't here yesterday or today because they can't really do anything without the door.

Post more later, gotta go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

House on hold

My patient house is waiting for its front door to be delivered...supposed to happen yesterday, now waiting on it today. Until the door is installed, they can't close up the house and turn on the heat, which needs to happen before next Wednesday when the spray-foam insulation guys are coming. Going with soy-based foam in keeping with the green theme.

The french doors that lead out to the screen porch in the back (see photo) are the last piece of the exterior puzzle. They are also supposed to come next week, but the guys boarded up the hole in the meantime so they can stay warm while working inside.

Slate floor tiles are overdue as well. Hope to see them magically appear today. Who knew that it would cost almost $100 more to ship from Vermont to NY, than from Vermont to South Jersey? Doesn't make any sense, but it's true. As long as they come this week while I am here, it will be okay...won't be installing them for awhile.

And the Maytag Man wants to deliver the oven and dishwasher even though we are at least a month from kitchen installation. I think we are finalizing the plans for that and actually placing the order for cabinets and countertops tomorrow or Friday.

So even though I am not seeing a lot of progress on the house this week, I am tying up a lot of loose ends. And that can only be a good thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dock takes a hike

Where Sophie is standing (first photo) is where the dock was a little over a week ago when I left. I just got back last night, wandered to the creek this morning, and now there's no trace of it. It's probably floating in the lake by now, or maybe on its way to Pennsylvania.

I am going out in search of missing dock. I guess Mother Nature did not like our rearrangement of her land. Called The Cousin, who really did a great job installing it, to tell him it was missing...both he and The Husband refused to believe that it was gone.

Update 2 pm: I made my way through the muck and rushing water to find the dock's new home—about 300 feet from where it started (second photo). At least it's not in the lake or in Pennsylvania. We could actually float it back to where we want it, but I don't know if there's a better way to make it stay there. If the cinder blocks and galvanized pipe couldn't hold it, what will?

Note to self: Buy some boots. Waterproof shoes don't work too well when you're in water up to your knees.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A loan, slate and vanities

Antique-shopping this past weekend produced no perfect vanities for the upstairs bath, but these are some possibilities that we found. Most are too small and too low, the big bureau is probably a good size but would look too massive in the smallish bathroom.

Jessica the Bank Lady called today to say she thinks everything looks good for the new loan, but she needs a few more papers in order to complete the application. Once we find out for certain that we have the money, I can put in the order for kitchen cabinets and counters, and tell Jim the Builder to start on the garage. He wants to get the slab poured before the really nasty weather comes in.

Camara Slate called to say the slate tiles for the floor are being delivered on Friday. Wish I could be there myself...have to confirm that at least one of the guys will be there to accept delivery. Heading back up on Sunday to stay most of next week. I really thought the excitement would decrease after a few months of watching the house rise from the dirt, but it just gets more interesting every day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

All the windows, most of the siding

Windows are all in, and about 3/4 of the siding as well. Propane tanks were delivered today, but only 10 gallons in each until they come out to deliver the rest. Rather than have the 2 big white tanks that you see in the photo, when we finally have a garage and are actually living up here, we can switch to a larger tank and hide it behind the garage.

Karen the Kitchen Designer was out to measure yesterday. The only things holding up the final cabinet order are deciding on a sink and a vent hood for the cooktop. The Kohler cast iron sink I wanted was not to be the best choice for installation, and I couldn't find another cast iron sink in the same size. I wasted a good bit of time web-shopping last night, only to find out that, even in the 25" x 22" relatively small size that I want, all of the ones that I was interested in (copper, stainless steel, fireclay) were too much money.

Then today I did a little more poking around on the internet. I went back to Vermont Soapstone company only to find a soapstone sink, exactly the size I need, for $450. That's more than my original Kohler sink by $125, but less than almost every other sink I found by at least $100. And, since my very first magazine clipping of our favorite kitchen (House Beautiful) has a soapstone counter and farm sink...well I think I have made my decision.

Also talked to Gary the Farm Table Guy today about making us the island. He will send us drawings by the end of next week. And Med the Blacksmith is sending us cabinet hardware samples in the next day or so. Spray foam insulation guys are supposed to come out next week. Front door and sidelight also due next week. French doors will take another week because we are waiting for the Truckload Sale to save a few hundred $$$. Things are moving along quickly, and I am very pleased with the progress. Jim the Builder even came up to The Dump to repair a leak that sprung under the kitchen sink. This place is falling down around me...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guess what's in that truck!

Today was the day! Not only perfect weather, but the big window arrived. And even better news for the guys: The guy who brought it on the truck removed the sashes (with glass) making it much less heavy to lift and install. The only bad news was that it was pretty windy which made it more difficult to maneuver.

Siding is really coming along nicely, and the little dormer windows went in and really catch your eye as you're coming down Route 28 (according to Jim the Worker). Jim is pro-whimsy.