Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas break?

Matt and Phil have been working hard over the last couple of days, making good progress on the house! See, it wore them out:
Matt's been installing flooring on the staircase, making it all look quite lovely.
Phil's been installing doors and trim and things.
Now, nearly all the trim is in place in the house!
I'm told the Mom put the doorknobs on, though, while she was there Monday.
I think the stairs look quite gorgeous in photos, and look forward to seeing them in person.
The plan had been to sand and begin finishing the flooring this week, but the sander we rented had electrical problems--it wouldn't run for more than a few seconds without blowing a fuse--so other projects moved up the list, and sanding will have to wait.

Monday, carpet was installed upstairs and in the front t.v. room. A nice change-up from the plywood, don't you think?
Phil also got to work on constructing steps up to the front porch from the side, digging a nice footing. (And we thought we were done with digging footings... So naive...)
Here's the step he built up to the garage's side door.
Mom tacked a herculean challenge: sorting out the garage. It was kind of messy anyhow, but then because a disaster zone in recent rain and snow storms, when we just dumped stuff in as quickly as possible and shut the door. See, before:
And after.
Much better.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

stepping it up

Matt's in the middle of finals, but has been tempering his study time with some building time; yesterday, he prepared flooring for the stairs. Don't they look nice, all piled up?
Of course, they'll look even nicer on the staircase!
Thanks for the hard work, Matt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

nailing down things

This week, we finished installing the wood flooring; now it just needs to be sanded and finished. Oh, and installed on the stairs... So basically, we're just done with the big flooring nailgun, but that's a good step. And the good news is that it looks lovely. Matt and I went up Friday afternoon, and worked 'til midnight, nailing it all down.

Matt had also gone up for a quick visit earlier in the week, to check the fit on some flooring pieces that needed to be customized, and he installed the second toilet. Now, if there were only doors on the bathrooms... :)

We didn't get around to taking any pictures, though.

Instead, I'll share these pics from Thanksgiving weekend, taken by Shan.
The snow was so lovely through the windows.
We all stopped for a snow-watching break, upstairs.
And then, looked down for a floor-watching moment. It's gonna be cool.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

flooring it

Matt and I spent the night in Julian yesterday; this Saturday, we didn't awake to new snow.

We made good progress on the flooring. Our hope was to finish, but our desire to do things well got in the way of that. See, we installed flooring up to the point where the floor in the kitchen meets up again with the floor in the big room; the boards were about 3/16ths of an inch off from each other.
So, we decided to do it right, with the help of a router. And either router we might use, of course, was down the hill...
In the meantime, we did some little jobs--sealing the granite tile and the backsplash in the kitchen, finishing up little duct box over the microwave, sealing and caulking the upstairs shower, and hanging the first stairway handrail.

It's nice to cross these little things off the list, but also feels like every one we do reveals 2 more: the toilet needed a different wax seal, there's more patching and painting to do in the stairway and upstairs bath now, the shower spigot needs a different fitting...

Even so, it feels wonderfully closer to done than it's ever been.

I think we'll go up again next Friday after Matt's morning class, and finish laying that floor.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Many Thanks

We'd hoped to finish the house in time for Thanksgiving; its incompleteness did not dissuade us from eating there! Here Mom and Nona are making final preparations for a Thanksgiving dinner among the saws and compressors... It was delicious.
We worked hard over the weekend, too. Here, Matt is laying the first strip of hardwood flooring in the big room, with help from Dad. (Mom helped, too, AND took the picture...)
So that we could work (and eat!) into the night, Matt and Dad installed more of the lightbulbs. Dad stood up high on the loft to put bulbs on the pole; Matt screwed them in.
Mom enjoyed the beautiful day, working at sanding and painting more of the interior doors.
Dad's big project for the weekend marked the end of another era in Julian: he took down the old treehouse. Seeing it come down was strangely sad--it had remained as part of Grandpa's legacy there. But, even though it wasn't built by his own hands, the new house stands as a continuing testimony to the legacy of lessons he passed along to his kids and grandkids.
We kept working on Friday and Saturday, too--Emily started installing a handrail in the stairs.
With a little help, I tiled and grouted the upstairs shower--here it is, midway.
Phil and Shan hung doorway trim upstairs, and installed baseboard in all the rooms that will be carpeted. We're now ready for carpet installation--the measurements were taken on Friday, and an appointment made for mid-December.
They were a great team--measuring and cutting, hanging and lacquering.
Our friend Lea came up on Friday evening, too--on Saturday she did a whole lot of little things, like painting this little box that Dad built to hide the vent duct. (You can see bits of our Thanksgiving table stowed away in the cabinets, too...)
Saturday, we woke to a strange sight: snow!
Enjoying the big, gloopy snowflakes through the beautiful big windows, we celebrated what a cool space the house is. Now, we just look forward to trading saws and compressors for sofas and coffeetables.

(And, along that thought, we had a visit from the county inspector on Wednesday; his list of things to do was pretty close to ours, so we're feeling very good. We're on our way.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

before thanksgiving, after the scaffolding

We've reached a milestone event: the scaffolding has come down inside the house.

Except, as we know by now, things don't just "come down." Phil, Matt and Dad took it down. Now there's space for flooring (and, eventually, furniture!). I suspect this makes the house feel a lot less like a construction zone and more like a dwelling space... I'm anxious to see it in person.
Emily lent a hand, too, preparing the bathroom wall for the sink and vanity.
Meanwhile, the scaffolding got lower and lower...
Matt and Emily set the antique dresser we turned into a vanity into place in the bathroom.
And finally the scaffolding came all the way apart. "It's the end of an era," Phil declared.
Soon, we'll have a fully-functional bathroom as a working sink joins the toilet and shower. Just in time for our Thanksgiving work there!
Besides taking pictures, Mom worked hard at cleaning up the place so we'll be ready to put flooring down.

Additionally, Matt delivered the wood flooring to the house, along with baseboard, on Wednesday and Thursday; Matt and I milled the trim for the doorways on Friday, and Saturday Matt did work on the stairway handrail and the last bits of hooking up the solar water heater.

Now, we're all ready for a big weekend of work over Thanksgiving, installing wood flooring, door trim and baseboard, and tile in the upstairs shower!

Monday, November 16, 2009

cleaning up

While I was down the hill in San Diego, yesterday we crossed a threshold: the tool storage room has become a room ready for carpet. Mom did valiant work getting it ready.Shan braved the cool-looking but tricky-to-grout backsplash, Phil worked toward getting the sink all set up. Matt played with electrical stuff (and supervised, as you can see here).
As the day turned to night, Mom jumped in to help clean up grout lines. It's all looking quite lovely.
Dad and Matt worked taking care of last (hopefully!) electrical details, testing stuff and cleaning up any remaining issues. Now, we're nearly ready for inspection! (Well, as you can see those blue outlet boxes in the island still need to be wired, but that's not too tricky, and now that the grouts all done, they're ready to go...)
It's so wonderful to cross things off the list and imagine completion (or something approximate) as within reach. :) Thanks for hard work yesterday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

kitchen work

Lately, we've all put some work into the kitchen--two weeks ago, Emily and I laid the carefully-cut countertop tiles while Matt, Nona and Mom worked away on other projects.

On our way home (it was Halloween), Emily got a trick: a flat tire. Here she is on the side of the freeway, after Matt and I stopped to help, with the lovely Halloween sunset.
Last weekend, Matt and I went up Friday to do the last bits of countertop tile and take care of a few things, like hanging the last big fan. Then, on Sunday, Phil and Shan came up to grout the tile, put in the island's oven and work at installing all the sink fixtures.
This week, Dad went up to meet the fire sprinkler-installers so they could do their finishing work. (Unfortunately, they missed one; it makes me feel better that professionals do this, too. I think I've installed the "last" outlet cover about 3 times already, and now we have at least 1 more.)

Today, we went back for more. And, in anticipation for whatever Thanksgiving feast we can enjoy there, we took up the deck table that had been waiting in storage. Lunch is much nicer with a table--I wonder why we didn't do this sooner?!? It was a beautiful fall day--a little cool outside, but nice in the house.
Matt helped Dad hang the beautiful upper cabinets he'd built--they all fit perfectly and look great. Hence the nice smiles here:
Emily and I tiled the backsplashes, Dad installed the microwave, and Matt worked on wiring in the garage. Things are really coming together and looking wonderful!
It looks unlikely that we'll really be able to use the kitchen this Thanksgiving, but it's gonna be a great place to work in the future. Our friends Beckie, Jake and Leah stopped by, and they had no trouble imagining tasty sweet things coming out of the oven...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

practicing for halloween?

So, not really meaning to work on costume possibilities for Halloween, I discovered a great way to turn your hair gray: cut lots of granite on a wet saw. Be sure the water sprays your head. Don't rinse, repeat. Mom took this pic of Matt and I at the end of the day, as we ate a feast at Nona's house.
But don't worry: besides coloring hair, we also crossed a few more things-to-do off our list today, on a beautiful fall day in the mountians. (Mom ventured into town for a quick trip to the hardware store, remembering, as she looked for a parking spot, that many people like to come to Julian in the fall. Most of them want to eat pie in town...)

Matt worked at perfecting his lacquer spraying skills, adding finish to the beautiful upper cabinets that Dad built. Now they're ready to hang.Emily and I worked on the kitchen countertops, cutting all the pieces for the island and around the sink. Even the tricky angles. (Okay, Matt helped with the tricky cutting, until we got our skills built up more...)

Here, Emily shows off the beautiful layout. It's gonna look good--if we can ever get it to fit perfectly when we lay it in the grout!
Nona supervised, cleaned and read.
Phil and Shan hung all 5 interior doors. Now it's much nicer to use the functioning bathroom. More discrete, for sure.
And here's my stunning look from earlier in the day: a trash bag bib and pink sunglasses as protective eyewear. It's important to stay dry and be safe when using a wet saw.