Friday, June 29, 2012

jens still working...

I caught Jens with his stain bucket this week right before he was staining the maple portion of the floors which includes the kitchen, downstair's bathroom and hallway.  The dining room, living room, study and staircase are all oak and will be stained and finished in early July.  Yes... the floor work was delayed because of other commitments.  I am happy to report that Mike is off of suicide watch (or would that be murder watch?) and we are going to work hard to get as much moved in this weekend as we can.  After the oak floors are finished, we can move in the first floor furniture and make this place our home.

Love this bottom photo.  You can tell a floor guy by his shoes!

Will keep you posted! Thanks for sharing our excitement with us.

kitchen is taking shape.

As you can see, the kitchen is taking shape. The marble is set, the hardware is on and the tile backsplash is done.  The floor has been stained but I don't have a photo yet!  Dave is building the island and will deliver to Larry for painting next week. We plan to set the appliances over the weekend!  Things are moving along... slowly but surely.

more finishing touches.

A few more lights in the girls' bathroom and a few more switches.   A kitchen disposer installed and a new faucet! It was great to have the Renz crew back.  Thank you Keith and Gene. (And thank you Cary for sending them!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jens is on the job!

Our final BIG piece before move-in is refinishing the wood floors on the entire first floor of the house. And yesterday Jens Andersen of Andersen Wood Floors started the project! This feels good.

another blog quiz.

How many gallons of paint did we use on the house?

The friendly fellows in the photo are my buddies from the Benjamin Moore Color Store in Omaha, where I have been picking up paint on a weekly basis for months and months. (I am diverting your attention because I wanted you to think about it thoughtfully before you saw the answer.)

The answer: 223 Gallons

That would more specifically be 77 gallons of Primer and 146 gallons of Top Coat.
It is a big house that needed tender loving care - and lots of paint.

more curtains up.

The upstairs is pretty ready for our anticipated move-in at the end of the month. The downstairs is making fast progress but there is much to do down there...

Just thought you might like to see the curtains that moved from the Little House and Casa Blanca to happily reside at the new house. The top photo is the guest room and the bottom photo is grandma's reading corner in the upstairs hallway.

dirty jobs.

It is certainly true that I could have an entire blog devoted to the dirty jobs that Mike Blanc has taken on during our house project.  Many of them are to help keep our expenses down.  Many of them are because they are such  stinkin' dirty jobs that no one wants to do them no matter what you pay them!

Last night Mike finished the final room in the grind-the-concrete-on-the-basement-floors project.  Note: This is a dirty job.  And thanks to Mike, now the painters can come in and finish painting the basement floors!  The square footage in the basement is massive by the way. 

Basement concrete expoxy paint sticks better and holds better when the surface is free of any existing paints or oils - and adheres best when the surface is slightly roughed up. So hard-working Mike grinded all the floors with a hand sander - and with ingenuity he hooked up both both Shop-Vacs to pull the concrete dust. Don't worry. He was wearing a respirator as well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

finishing touches.

If you remember, Mike reenforced the porch and rebuilt the structure that held the cast iron stairs in place earlier this year.  Now we got to repaint them.  Glorious.  The color is exactly perfect.  The grand staircase is grand again.  (If I had time, I would actually enjoy just standing and staring...)

mike is busy.

I have heard Mike say recently "For the longest time we couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel... now we see it and it looks like a train barrelling down the tracks!"  Mike's project list is long as many, many, many of the house projects fall on his shoulders.  Some of them are because it helps us save money, some because he wants to, and some of the jobs he takes on because they are so stinkin' nasty that no one else will do them.

While we won't view Mike's Final Game Plan list, I will share that he is busy designing and building the shelves for our storage room in the basement.  For the record, I think storage space is exciting!

marble is set.

 (By the way, this section of counter top is "Mike's Bread Zone.")

I chose marble as our counter top of choice for a variety of reasons. I am a real cook and care more about having a great surface for cooking and baking than I care about the pristine-no-rings-or-stains look. I also think marble represents the history that we have in this house. It is also the the exact counter top that my friend Barbara McAfee has in her Dallas kitchen, which has been the inspiration for our kitchen from day one. I also heard that Martha Stewart loves marble counters for cooking.

Our marble slab is full of color and I can hardly wait to see all the pieces come together by month's end - tile back splash installed, island set, PB Hundi Lanterns hung above the island, wood floors stained, chairs at the island and desk, etc!

kitchen is painted.

Chad and Bev of Two Guy's Painting were an absolute whiz team the past two weeks.  As you can see the kitchen is painted!  In case you were wondering, we used Benjamin Moore's China White.

As you can see, the marble counter tops are set too, but that is for another post. Smile.  Carpenter Dave Grimm is finishing the kitchen island this week, and the soapstone of the island top is on the way to Nebraska. More on that later too. We continue to be amazed that the kitchen looks bigger and feels bigger with the cupboards in. Go figure.

final game plan.

Believe it or not, we are in the final month of renovations to our amazing home - and we can hardly believe this ourselves.  After two years of working, laboring, sweating and making almost daily decisions - the end is near, or should I say 'the beginning is near'.

To keep our beloved workers on track and on schedule, we made a Final Game Plan.  I am pleased to say that things are going well.  Larry Shelley's Two Guys Painting crew of Chad & Bev finished all their painting responsibilities in a very timely fashion.  JJ at Granite & Marble Interiors of Fremont saw that the marble counter tops were set last Friday.  The Renz Electric & Plumbling Crew will finish out the kitchen and miscellaneous this week, and Jens Anderson of Anderson Wood Floors will bring the biggest transformation with the refinishing of the floors on main level as well as the grand staircase.

Ready or not, here we come.

our key.

While the house at 315 Thomas Avenue is unmistakably an architectural treasure as a whole, we consider many of the tiny parts that make up that whole to be treasures on their own.  One of those is our beautiful house key.

With the house came a tiny box of keys... and in it was this beautiful key that opens the grand doors at the front entrance (west side) and the side entrance (north side).  After oiling, the locking mechanisms and key still work perfectly together after more than 100 years.

The key is ornate and beautifully states "Sargent & Co" on the back - and "New Haven, Conn" on the front around the ring. It also says "Patented Feb.10 ,91 - Aug.10 , 97" which would be February 10, 1891 - August 10, 1897.

I was adamant about keeping these original doors, and thanks to Mike's ingenuity we were able to preserve the damaged veneer on the front door and it once again looks beautiful. (See previous post : mike's projects  November 2011.)

The trouble has come in having another key made. This old key is shorter and stockier than the key blanks that are made for present day locks.  But low and behold, last month I found a hardware store in Lindsborg, Kansas that did it!  I love Lindsborg anyway, but now I have yet another reason to admire their town.  (I stay overnight in Lindsborg on my frequent trips to Dallas to break up the trip.)  Michael at Lindsborg Hardware located an older blank, and then altered it a bit to resemble our very vintage key - and viola! it opens the doors. 

Even though our family's entering and exiting will happen through the back (east) door, it was uncomfortable to only have one beautiful key to open the other doors.  Thank you Lindsborg Hardware!

lost another tree.

Another big storm system swept through Oakland on the night of May 25.  We had a huge branch go down in the yard at Casa Blanca when furious winds passed through town, so when the storm subsided I headed to the new house to check for damages. When I reported the damages to Mike I said "If I could have guessed a tree that was young and healthiest and I thought we could never lose in a storm - that is the one that went down."

The Linden tree on the south side of the house snapped off just above the ground.  There were cases of similar damage in the path across town.  We are hoping to replace it with a fruit tree sooner rather than later. Again, nothing hit the house for which we are thankful.

signing the mortgage.

On May 22, 2012 we met our banker (and friend), Ron Baumert of Centennial  Bank at the new house to sign all the officials papers that turn our home equity loan into a mortgage.  As soon as Ron laid out the papers and pen, Mike came around the corner with a bottle of bubbly and three wine glasses to toast the occasion. Our first mortgage payment is due at the two year anniversary of the day we first set foot in the house "to peek".  It was on the night of Sunday, June 20, 2010 that we fell in love with this old house... now our home.