Friday, December 16, 2011

santa came to our house!

Today was a special day at 315 N. Thomas because not only did Santa come to town - he came to our house!  The jolly fellow stopped in to see his "painting elves" and check out the chimney. 

santa works here.

Days are merry and bright at our big house on the prairie. The upstairs painting is almost completed and work has begun on the first floor.  We feel especially blessed that Santa himself has beeen working on our house!

Larry Shelley, owner of Two Guys Painting, actually does have to leave work early today for a Santa gig. He is my favorite Santa.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

insulation man.

The insulation of the 315 Thomas house is now complete!  Mike started this massive project in August and his work culminated in the insulation of the exterior closet walls on the south side of the house.  He left this particular insulation project until last because... it sucks.  All of it was nasty and labor intensive, but this involved crawling in and out of the tiny crawl space hole to place the insulation pieces.  Mike always told me that he had to do the work himself, because you couldn't pay anybody to do it - at least to do it right.

He was blessed to have Thad Nelson as his handy assistant for the project. Thad caringly cut the pieces and handed them in to Mike "in the hole".  They worked from 8am until 8pm - and the insulation project is officially complete.  It is a big house, and I am learning that a well insulated home will be much more energy efficient.

We also decided that this project might be one of the very few things that Mike's massive weight loss was good for... Could you crawl through that tiny little hole in the wall?

Friday, December 2, 2011

no wonder my head hurts.

Sometimes my head feels like it will burst with decisions to be made.   Yesterday I made the PAINT COLOR CHART so that not only could the painters keep things straight - but so I could keep things straight!

Yesterday, in a single day, I was asked to think about the following:   Would I like the bathroom tile to have a bull nose edge or a deco edge?   Would I like the tile setter to cut the slate into small pieces for the shower floor, or make another selection?   Would I like an apron under the kitchen windows, or rather have the tile border there?   Would I like the cabinets above the washer to be 18 inches deep as the architect recommended, or just 14 inches?   Would you like to pick out spindle for the basement stairs banister?

This certainly is not the extent of the decisions for a day... but it is all that the ol' brain can retrieve at this moment to tell you.   Please do not hear this as complaining.  This is one of the most thrilling things that Mike and I have had the privilege to do.  In fact, almost every time I enter this house I say to myself  "I cannot believe this is really our house... " and I thank God and my dad for making it real.

what is dave doing?

 This week Dave has been finishing out the mudroom addition.  He matched and replaced the cedar siding, put in a bead board ceiling and put in the new porch floor. He also did the finishing trim around the doors and windows.
 Love our new floor grates for the wood floors - the first of many.
 We finally got to put the vintage looking Pottery Barn lockers into the mudroom!
 Earlier in November Dave prepped our upstairs balcony for a new floor...
And basically he has been working to finish out the doors and windows throughout the house. It is looking beautiful!

wet paint.

Earlier this week a primer coat went on the entire upstairs.  (No, I am not going for an Artic White decorating palette.  Primer is most often white.)  All the details that go into "painting a wall" are mind numbing when you are doing the job right.  All the workers are taking much pride in this project.  This grand old house is worth it.

We did have one 'situation' on two large exterior windows and two exterior closet walls with the primer not setting up (and running) down the walls due to the extreme temperatures outside on the uninsulated surfaces.  It actually ran outside onto the new exterior paint job and shingles.   Oops. But the good news is that everything cleaned up well.

painting prep.

Our wonderful painting crew, Two Guys Painting (which is more often five guys and a lady), spent the last three weeks in November prepping the upstairs of the 315 Thomas house for painting.  Hours and hours of scrapping and sanding... and mudding and sanding... and scrapping and filling window lattices.  All the surfaces are being repaired, filled and smoothed.  They know how to fix things that I don't even have the "painter's eyes" to see.  I admire their hard work and their painstaking attention to details.

The least I can do is bring them lunch every day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

the house is painted!

It is exciting to have the exterior of our grand old house painted, and its grandeur restored.  The colors are exactly what I wanted and I am happy to just stand & stare.  Want to know a secret? I love driving by it whenever I am crossing town.

The painters started this big exterior project the same week that we started our radiation treatments.  And six weeks later they put the finishing touching on within an hour of Mike completing his last treatment.  (I am not making this up.) Our painters did an amazing job scraping, caulking, prepping and painting - and I would like to take this time to thank Josh, Nips, Damian, Chad, JJ, Bev and Larry for their EXCELLENT work.

dave at work.


Master Carpenter, Dave Grimm is currently finishing out the trim around the doors and windows upstairs, and trimming out the new closets with base boards.  I am also showing you his brilliant solution to our basement cave door.  What a a beautiful change!

mike's projects.

Mike's projects have slowed at the house considerably since the radiation treatments have taken their toll, but he still loves to tackle projects and finds it "energy-giving".  He has been working on insulating the attic with great detail and care.  (Too dark up there to photograph.) He recently removed two layers of flooring on the master bedroom balcony, so Dave can replace the floor.  And he is currently working to repair the veneer on our grand front door.  We are thankful he has the house to keep his mind off of radiation.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

painting continues.

The exterior painting of our grand house at 315 Thomas continues.  This week the crew of Two Guys Painting finished prepping and priming the north side of the house.  We are so appreciative for the excellent work they are doing.  I am so glad I am not doing the painting that I love bringing them goodies to eat before we trek to Omaha every day for radiation treatments.

Just had to show you the new colors again on the middle photo.

And I love the bottom photo of the soffet because you can see both the BEFORE and AFTER - and get a glimpse of the detailed prep work that this crew is doing.

We are very thankful for the wonderful people we have had the privilege to work with on this project.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

weekend work.

This weekend Mike's cancer 'therapy' was to tear up a section of the kitchen floor that needs to be replaced. He salvaged the wood floor from the upstairs bathroom for this very purpose. Jens Anderson will replace the wood and rough sand the floor later this week. Mike has to be careful to monitor how much he works at the house. The radiation treatments are taking a toll on his energy and ability to eat, but I know it makes him very happy to be able to tackle little projects around the house when he feels up to it.

The other weekend job was cleaning out and organizing the garage, and Mallory Jane came home for the weekend to help. The painters need some garage space for their supplies - and these two got the job done! Mike concocted this unique "paint tray" to hold the remains of all the old partial paint cans in the garage. This "paint art" is our safe way to dispose of the old stuff after it has hardened on the tray. No, we did not go to an art museum over the weekend, and no, we will not be hanging this over the mantle. The correct answer is: Safe Paint Disposal.

new colors are going up!

For the past several months I have been pondering the exterior colors for our grand home. This is a big deal for me because colors are important to me. My college training included color theory classes. My recurring nightmare: That I am called away on a trip when the house is being painted and when I get home I discover that the color is not right. I cannot live with that so I have to spend thousands of dollars to have it re-done. Really.

I am elated to tell you that the colors I selected are up on one side of the house AND I LOVE THEM. I started with the garage so I could see the four colors together on a less grand scale. I did change my mind once - back to the first color I picked out from the git-go. From the color chart photo you can see that I tried some lighter shades (bottom) but the contrast was too subtle.

Since they wait to put the fancy new mudroom entrance door in place I included a pic of the side garage door so you can see the blue accent "kick color" in play. The blue will be reserved for the doors around the house including the cave door basement entrance. Love how the dark sage color works on the fascia boards (next to the roof line.) Love how the colors work with the red roof. Love how the colors feel a little Swedish to me.

Larry Shelly's Two Guys Painting crew is doing an amazing job. The amount of scraping, caulking and prepping required to restore this grand house is mind numbing to me. I love their work and attention to detail. I could stand in the yard and stare at their beautiful work and and the way the light plays with the colors for hours. The photos really don't capture it... wish you could drive by.