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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Taking care of business

(Pictures are from last week.)

Go Phillies!

The dogs and I came back up for a quick visit to take care of some business: I need to talk to the electrician again, meet the propane guy delivering the tanks, have Karen the Kitchen Designer come out to measure, and a few other things I can't think of right now. It was dark when we came in, so I didn't get to go back to the house to see if the 5-gang window unit was delivered today as scheduled. The front door and french doors should be here this week as well.

These photos are of the "3-gang" window unit in the dining room, and the "chandelier" that goes just in front of those windows over the dining room table. In a perfect world, I would be able to line up each pendant light with the center of each window. Another Pottery Barn sale on the lights, and the windows are Paradigm triple-glazed (except where they come close to the floor, like here, and then they have tempered glass on the bottom half). The engineer recommended these because they are highly efficient. I had to think twice about using them, being the green anti-vinyl girl, but they should keep us warm and last for many years...have to get over the vinyl.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't wanna go home!

Packing up to go home to a stormy NJ. Hard to do when it is so beautiful here. Sophie was in her usual spot on our bed last night, wondering why we are outside and she is not. The black wire in the foreground will be my DSL connection when we ditch The Dump. You can't see in the photo, but the well is all covered up again so that no one falls in.

I went out to the house and drew my kitchen island on the floor in chalk. Despite some debate over whether there was room for a counter and stools with the island, both the architect and kitchen designer were correct about there being plenty of space. In the photo where I drew the island in blue, I am standing by the front door looking back to the 3 dining room windows. The blue lines to the left are the stairway, to the right is the island. The other photo has the island staked out on the floor, and the kitchen counters drawn (roughly) in blue.

Now that we have windows, it's really starting to look like a house.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another glorious day in the north country

Nor'easter? This ain't no Nor'easter! These last 2 or 3 days have been the sunniest all week. Cousins Greg, Brian and Andrew did a great job with the dock installation this morning—wetsuits and all. Even thought the sun was shining, being up to your waist in cold water has to be a bit unpleasant. We are forever grateful, guys!

Then we took a ride up to see Cousin Chris. We found the radio playing and no Chris, but we did see a very handsome Bullwinkle who was very happy to see us. We only left because he insisted on trying to eat my shoes. A perfect day for our last full day here. Going out to dinner tonight to the Rose and Kettle. Just perfect.

Friday, October 16, 2009

All dressed up for Friday night

Stories of the big Nor'easter approaching were much exaggerated. We did have a dusting of snow this morning, but it was really very sunny and beautiful for most of the day. The husband did a 6-mile walk, while I chatted with the architect and builder about peel-and-stick window membranes and such.

Then we wandered the Farmer's Museum for the afternoon and chatted with the blacksmith and the General Storekeeper.

It is clouding up and will probably be stormy for the weekend, but overall it has been a good week and we got to see a lot of progress on the house.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We have windows, all but one

Windows finally were delivered today, except for the big one that goes in the living room...the one we all were waiting for...the 5-gang unit. We did manage to find some more fresh eggs in Richfield Springs (thanks, Anna); we reported a car accident in front of the school while we were there; we met with Gary the Farm Table Guy; and then followed up with Karen the Kitchen Lady. (Thanks to Gary and Karen as well!)

I can't decide if we're further along or more confused about where we are going with our kitchen and bath design, but I think we have some work for Gary either way. When Gordy cleans out the kitchen for us tomorrow, we are going to take our layouts and chalk them out on the floor. It remains to be determined if there is enough room for a counter with stools on the island, and still maintain a clear path from front door through the back, looking out the dining room windows.

And then there's that 3" to 6" of snow October Nor'easter that is headed our way, supposedly. Libby and Aunty Emby are reconsidering their visit for this weekend. And Jack and Emma, the Cookie House folks were supposed to come today for a visit, but changed their minds about a nice country drive with threats of impending stormy weather.

Maybe we'll get a real storm and get stuck up here for the rest of the winter. Wouldn't that be lovely.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Siding the whimsy...still no windows

Windows were supposed to come yesterday, now not until tomorrow. So they are installing as much siding as they can, including the whimsical swooped dormer. As Gordy pointed out, the siding is level, but looks like it swoops up with the roof.

Wayne and Gary finished the well connection today. They moved the pressure tank back to the new house, but somehow it still provides pressure for The Dump.

And, while all of this was going on today, we met with Jessica the Bank Lady about getting another small loan. Thanks, Jessica, for making the process pain-free.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making a mudhole and a trip to Oneonta

Metal monster was back this morning to find the well connection that needs to be adjusted. Jim the Builder was digging from up top, while Jim the Worker was down in the hole with a shovel. He got pulled away from working on Lester's Flat to go to another new house construction, and this is the dirty job he has to come back for? I am so sorry, Jim!

You can see in the third photo who the real boss on the job is...Kaya, Queen of the Hill.

The Husband and I interrupted Kelly's lunch on a surprise trip to the bath showroom in Oneonta. We had a good look at some possible upstairs bath fixtures, and even a better look at some kitchen faucets and sinks. Need more time to make all these tough decisions...

So we had to stop at Brook's Barbecue while we were in town. Much better than having to cook on the grill in the rain!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Evening Blue siding arrives

HardiePlank siding arrived today, and the guys made some progress in installing it. It is a definite toss-up between blue and grey, which is exactly what I wanted, an unidentifiable color. With any luck the windows are coming tomorrow. Jim the Builder and Wayne the Well Guy are supposed to take care of business tomorrow as far as getting water out to the new house, and keeping the connection here at The Dump. Then it is up to us to get the propane tank out there to provide heat for the freezing workers. I think it went down to 25° last night, and it is raining out there now, so there is a good chance we will get those snow flurries they have been predicting.

Jesse the Electrician did our walkthrough today, and it looks like we will need more fixtures than I had imagined. I don't really like recessed ceiling fixtures, but in some cases it just makes sense. He also suggested that the electric company, a co-op, might add a mercury light fixture to our existing electric pole for $8 a month. They provide the fixture, maintain it, and pay the bill for that amount. It might be a good way to illuminate the driveway for visitors, or even us pulling in on a dark winter night.

And, Susan, we are leaning heavily toward keeping the garage where it is...for several reasons. Although we fully appreciate your reason for wanting to move it, you will have to come out to convince us (and I know you are reading this!).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yes we have some fall color, but should we move the garage?

We came up to see some great fall color, but very chilly temps. Probably going to have to refuel the heater in The Dump just so we don't have to worry about running out before the new house is done. Let's just say The Dump is not very well insulated.

We stopped in to see Susan the Architect yesterday. She said she had been thinking about suggesting that we move the garage to the other side of the trees. We had planned to put it just in front of the house, where the red and blue plumber's trailers are in the first photo. But Susan pointed out that that location would block a nice view of the house as you come down the driveway. It would also block the view from the house to the horse farm in the second photo.

The new location would be just at the end of the driveway in the first photo, just before it curves to go to the house. We put some stakes in the ground there, and sat on the front porch to discuss it...and now we don't know what to do...there are benefits to both locations.

Think we need you to come back and tell us what we want, Susan!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

L&S invite Libinder Patel

Leaving tomorrow with The Husband for 9 days up there. Hope to accomplish a lot of things, including lining up a propane dealer, and turning in the supplemental loan application. Also hope to see a lot of progress on the house: they should be getting both windows and siding next week, well connections should be completed, and maybe even a front door and sidelight will be coming in.

Lester and Sophie have invited Libby and Aunty Emby up for a visit next weekend. We hope the weather improves (I think I saw flurries in the forecast already!) so that we can entertain them properly. But hey, flurries in October will just make the pictures prettier.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Septic tank in September

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on up there in NY when I am here in NJ. Wayne the Well Guy called yesterday to say that the wet weather has continued since I left last week, so the builder couldn't get in there to dig down to the service connection, meaning Wayne won't be able to get out there until next Tuesday. He did comment on what a sweet little house we have! Always nice to hear that someone else likes it too.

I was going through some photos and found this one from September when the new septic tank was delivered. Sophie is making sure no one comes by to steal it. For all my friends and family in suburban NJ who are spoiled by municipal septic and water services, this is what real life in the country looks like. That's the top and bottom of the tank before they were buried. It looks so clean and white and perfect, doesn't it? You'll have to figure out on your own what that tank is for and how a septic system actually works. Aside from not fully understanding the process myself, I don't think the description is blog-worthy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iron railings and slate floors

I am not ashamed to admit that I stole the idea for my iron railing balusters from this Pottery Barn catalog photo. The Husband and I both like the simplicity of it, and when we agree so easily on something like that, we have to run with it. Only difference is a wood handrail and newel post, still to be determined what type of wood and what style.

I also kind of like the green painted risers. I would probably have done white, but this makes me think a darker color would look good...still thinking about it.

The first floor will have dark slate (Vermont black) and light bamboo (vertical grain caramelized) floors. The stair treads are bamboo as well. The second floor will be a medium dark cork, and green slate tiles in the bath.

I have not even begun to choose paint colors for the walls, but I know the tongue-and-groove ceilings in the screen porch and dining room are white, and the front porch roof, sky blue. Brett, one of the workers, says he thinks I'm crazy for painting the clear pine T&G, but I'm convinced this will look best considering what the other finishes will be.

Still though, it is very hard to imagine what details you want when the rooms aren't finished. We don't even have the windows in yet, not even close to having drywall. We picked all of the crazy colors in our current house after years of living in each space and imagining what they would look like. I predict that we will choose all the colors, and then end up changing them after we have lived there for awhile. It would be nice if we could get it right the first time...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Report from NJ

Jim the Builder and Jesse the Electrician never showed up on Friday. We'll have to do that walkthrough next week sometime. I hope that Jim was able to get the hole dug around the wellhead so that Wayne the Well Guy can make it out there this week and make whatever connections will bring water to the new house, and maintain the connection in The Dump. Also saying a silent prayer that the heating oil will hold out in The Dump until the new place is livable. I don't want to have to keep dumping kerosene in the tank and then have to get rid of it when we finally dump The Dump.

We ordered the iron stair balusters, reluctantly paying the $100 shipping, and we plan to put in the order for the slate tiles that will cover the living room, downstairs entry and bath floors, and the upstairs bath floor and shower surround. These will be coming from Vermont, and talk about shipping! the cost of shipping these on a lift truck is almost $300...but worth it I think for the quality tiles and the fact that the guys won't have to magically lift 2,000 pounds of slate off the back of the truck. Silly me, I thought I was going to pick it up in the CR-V!

This photo is my favorite little shed, with the new house in the background (click to see larger). It is from several weeks ago, but gives a good overall view of the "lay of the land".

Going back up with The Husband, who is currently in DC, this Friday and staying for the whole following week.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Tour of Lester's Flat

Lester was kind enough to take us on a tour of the Flat yesterday, but KatyDaly couldn't find the time to publish it until today. There were about 15 minutes of sunshine this morning, but this whole week has been pretty much chilly and damp.

After some online shopping last week, I found my new oven and dishwasher at the Maytag dealer in Oneonta yesterday. Since my horrendous experience with a Kenmore, and then a Frigidaire refrigerator—two refrigerators that have died several deaths each in The Dump in only 4 years—I am hoping that Maytag gives me a better run for my money.

I was hoping to make more progress than I did with the bank, the Farm Table Guy, and then the kitchen design, but that just didn't happen. I did meet again with Wayne the Well Guy, and I think we worked that out to be done next week while I am in NJ. And I think Jim the Builder and Jesse the Electrician are coming out before I leave today to walk through and figure out an electrical plan.

Also made progress with finding slate floor tiles (in Vermont) and talking to the blacksmith we met last weekend at the artisan fair in Greenwich, NJ—both are sending samples.

Coming back up next Friday with The Husband, for about 10 days, and things should really start happening by then with the windows and siding. Maybe there will still be some color in the trees for him, and I hope, some sunshine!