Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'when are you moving in?'

This is the popular question.  And this is a photo of the kitchen to help answer the question.  The kitchen was totally empty (with the exception of my tile boxes) until the tile setters set up their saw in the open space today.  You can see that we kept the cupboards that were original to the house and have uncovered the original wood floors.  The rest of the kitchen is taking shape in carpenter Dave Grimm's shop.

I think "mid-year" is a good answer to the question.

Monday, February 27, 2012

our beautiful floors!

Jens Andersen of Andersen Wood Floors has outdone himself with the beautiful staining and finishing of our wood floors upstairs.  A favorite pastime is standing and staring.  Honestly, they don't even look real - in a good way.  Picking the stain color was a big decision but we are thrilled.

We can hardly wait until enough work progresses to start the floors downstairs!  Remember, we removed linoleum and /or tile from the kitchen, the downstairs bathroom and long hallway so that we will have wood floors throughout the entire first floor.  To say that it is exciting to see our hard work come to fruition like this is an understatement.

mike's basement projects.

As you might remember, we tore out every bit of old wood in the basement and have been in the process of rebuilding walls and reinforcements.  As carpenter Dave Grimm is hard at work building the kitchen cabinets in his shop, Mike is hard at work as the basement foreman, handy man and chief builder. 

Mike decided to portion off part of the storage area into an add'l bedroom space that we are affectionately calling "Baker's Room".  (It is behind Mike in the top photo.) He is also putting the walls up in our spacious storage area (which can be seen in the second and third photos).

Mike has had quite a bit of fun working on his basement "outhouse" located in his workshop area of the basement. He has many more finishing details planned than what you see now in the bottom photo.  It is even insulated by the way. Stay tuned for more.

tile work progresses.

 Master Bathroom: The shower walls have been set in place, shower floor has been tiled and grouted, slate floor tiles have been laid and grouted, and the tile work in the shower and around the tub is progressing.
 Kids' Bathroom:  Only a few finishing tiles and grout are needed to complete the downstairs bathroom.
Basement Office Room:  Did we mention that Mike felt that his desk would feel too cramped in the Reading Room on first floor (formerly Tom's Smoking Room)?  We got the brain child to use the "extra room" off the laundry area as Mike's Office.  He is totally jazzed about this.  The electrical box that he designed is in the room for him to admire, and only until you set foot in our basement will you understand how sunny & cheery the basement is because of the high ceilings and large windows.  We also used the extra rugged & adventurous colored slate tiles (that were not the desired look for the Master Bathroom) to tile Mike's Man Cave. The look is pretty spectacular.

Our tile setters plan to finish up this week which will be very exciting. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

laundry room is taking shape.

Our basement laundry room is starting to take shape.  We are excited about the hanging locker storage cabinet that Dave built across from the washer & dryer.  This is similar to the system we use with the girls now because clothes never seem to make it all the way to their rooms anyway.  We had storage built under the stairs behind where the ironing board will sit. (Remember,one of USMC Mike's favorite hobbies is ironing - really.)  We also have cupboards above the washer & dryer.  This is all part of the genius of our architect, Gary Bishop.
Note: we felt "ahead of our time" when the new PB catalog featured laundry room storage lockers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

the soapstone sink.

Our grand old house came with a grand old soapstone sink in the basement.  It was actually hooked up to the fresh rain water cistern in the yard at one time.  My dad's cousin Janice Sanderson, who lived two houses down the street back in the day, told me that it was fashionable for the young girls to wash their hair with the rain water to make it softer.

We knew we wanted to keep the sink and put it back to good use.  Mike made a very sturdy stainless steel stand (the thing weighs a ton) and also secured it to the studs.  Mike is busy "polishing" it with a sander before we give it a coat of mineral oil.  The mirror that will be above the sink from original to the upstairs bathroom.  The sink will find lots of creative uses where it sits in Mike's workroom in the basement, even if we never wash our hair in it.

Note: In honor of this grand sink we are putting soapstone on the island in the kitchen as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

beautiful slate.

We are restoring the hardwood floors in every room in the house - with the exception of the upstairs bathroom, also called the Master Bath or the "Parents' Bathroom".  There was excessive water damage in this old bathroom, but we carefully salvaged the good wood and used it to repair a portion of the wood floors in the kitchen.  (It was a meaningful recycling job!)

As you can imagine, selecting the flooring for the one room that would not have the original wood was a big decision.  I looked at lots of flooring options.  First decision made was that I wanted a natural stone because the house deserves it.  When I saw the DalTile soft slate color called Autumn Mist, it was love at first sight. 
(After I saw a similar slate color on the flooring in the servants' quarters in the PBS series Downton Abbey, the deal was sealed!)

The only 'problem" with Autumn Mist is that the color palette of this natural stone is quite varied.  Solution: We are using the softer colors in the Master Bath and putting the more intense colors on the floor in Mike's Office Room in the basement. 

It was an exciting day when the tile arrived and we carefully divided the colors between soft, silvery, bluish grey slate - and not soft, silvery slate. We laid out all the slate tiles on the kitchen floor. It made for a fun date night. (One of my favorite things about this particular slate is that you don't honestly know how to describe the color - except wonderful.)

This week Mark laid the slate tiles in the upstairs bath, and today he grouted the floor and the shower pan tiles.  May I just say - I had no idea how many layers and seal coats and elaborate "things" go into a shower pan! There is a lot a groundwork before any of those tiles were laid.

the tile setter is on the job!

Mark Clausen and his able assistant Rick (of TCF Tile & Stone) are on the job at 315 N. Thomas. They seem to alternate between the two bathrooms, upstairs and down.

The tile work in this downstairs bathroom or "The Girls Bathroom" is nearing completion.  I am loving our tile choice with the beveled edge and beautiful crackled finish.  I have decided the use a darker grout color because it "looks older" in a classy way, and will tie in with the tiles I have selected for the kitchen back splashes. It really is exciting to watch all these pieces come together... slowly but surely.

upstairs floors sanded.

The wood floors upstairs are all sanded, and we have picked out our stain color.  Jens Andersen of Andersen Wood Floors has done an amazing job prepping the floors and will be starting the process of finish sanding, staining and finish coating the upstairs on Monday morning.  This is very exciting folks!

After the kitchen cabinets are in and the downstairs bathroom tile work is completed, we can refinish the floors downstairs.  I will keep you in suspense about which stain color we selected. hee. hee.

my favorite house in town.

I have loved hearing people in town tell me that "they drive by our house at every opportunity" to admire the new colors or see what progress is being made.  Well, I also drive by the house every time I am crossing town for this or that.  I never get tired to looking at it at different times of the day... and in different seasons. 

It is beautiful in the snow too.