Monday, February 25, 2008

What'd you get for Christmas?

Sarah, who's knows I like my bird feeders, got me this wonderful J Schatz creation:

It's headed out to West Virginia eventually, but for now it's in the Japanese maple in front of our house, visited often by a neighborhood woodpecker.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Enter Sandman

While the guys were putting in the stove I was sanding my taped drywall seams downstairs. I've never done drywall on this scale before, and I felt like the Karate Kid by the time I was done. ("Show me 'sand the floor.'") But I got the walls done, and that meant I could get the second pass with mud finished before I left. Ceilings still need to be sanded - not looking forward to that. The tv room from both sides:

Back bedroom from both sides:


And stairs:

I still have some inside corners on the ceiling that need to be mudded and taped (those are the hardest), but I'm almost there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Doors or...The Cult?

Which comes to mind when you are trying to title a blog post about Fire?

So when we came up with these plans with Res4 we didn't really know where to put the woodburning stove. The living space isn't that big to begin with, and there were drawbacks to all the spots we considered. We worried about it being in the flow of traffic (kids running past it), about how furniture would work, about heat distribution, etc. We thought about whether we were trying too hard to cram it in, but I do like my fires...

So we settled on this:

Not ideal - blocks the slider - but it allows a couch on one side and two chairs on the other. When I actually investigated the stove Res4 had spec'd, I realized that the footprint was not immodest - the smallest floorplate you can get is 43"x31", and you need 16" clearance off the front for any combustibles. And when the stove actually arrived yesterday, it was clear our chosen location wasn't gonna work real well:

The plate was going to be floating in what seemed like the middle of the floor, and jutting way out into the middle of the room. I think the stove by itself would have worked fine there, but the floor plate really changed the dynamic. The first alternate location was against the middle of the halfwall, so that chairs could be placed on either side (where the stepladder sits on the cardboard in the pic above). But that felt really tight too - not a lot of room for a chair on either side. So I made an executive decision and placed it in the corner:

That works really well for a lot of practical reasons, foremost among them the fact that it isn't in the way of anything. The big downside, of course, is that now we can't put a chair there. But there will be plenty of seating all around this space (bar stools, dining chairs, etc.) so hopefully this will work. We'll see what Res4 has to say about it...

Here's the stove in detail:

Installation was pretty easy. Bart and Matt from Advanced Chimney Technology knocked it out in half a day. Watching them do it made me think that of all the DIY stuff that seemed un-doable (galvalume flashing, HVAC, rough-in electric), this was probably the one that I could have taken a shot at. They literally cut a hole in the roof and slip-jointed everything in place. $1600. (And that was half as much as the DC folks recommended by the stove retailers.) The roof interface and the chimney cap were pretty straight forward; I'll take a pic next time I'm up on the roof.

I had the sliders in the basement open while I was sanding the drywall, and Bart said that when he punched the hole through the roof the debris shot up in the air. So drafting won't be a problem...

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Better late than never, right?

Woodburning stove was installed today and I made lots of drywall progress over the last couple of days; I'll get some pics and details up tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Bart at Advanced Chimney was supposed to install our woodburning stove today but he's got the flu(e).

*Tepid laughter from the audience*

So we're rescheduled for next Monday. But the propane people came and installed the converters for our range, so at least that's up and running. I got our lights, switches and outlets (mostly) working in the basement, which is nice:

And finished the final drywall hanging tidbits (like corner bead) before the mudding and taping can start:

And started the mudding and taping (which is going ok, though as you can see from my irregular fastener placement that it's not going to win any awards):

I know it's cold everywhere right now, but it was REALLY cold in the house last night. Lost power with all the wind, and I hadn't really gotten the house warmed up at all when it happened, so I went to bed in my sweats, a sweatshirt, a hat and two comforters, and temperature somewhere in the 40s in the bedroom...

The aptly named Blue Ridge in the distance on my drive home:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Your New York Football Giants!

Notwithstanding the title (congrats Zach!), this is a serious post. My blogging hiatus deserves explanation...

Everybody says that the enthusiasm for housebuilding projects wanes at some point - hitting-the-wall kinda thing, I guess. I don't think it has at all for me, or that it will. But there's no question that the toll of this on all the regular life stuff that should be getting done is adding up. I'm back at school, Sarah is back at work (nights) after a three-month maternity leave, money is tight, nobody's getting enough sleep - and that's all WITHOUT dealing with the house. So for me, the issue becomes one of balancing: getting out there to the house to do the (really pretty satisfying) work of finishing things up, or carrying my weight at home. As much as Sarah thinks this will be a great thing to have done, there's not a whole lot of it that's gratifying for her day-to-day. I take off for a few days, she's home with the boys, I (finally) finish the deck and I'm thrilled with the whole "I did that" self-absorption that motivates much of this project, and she's, needless to say, not nearly as impressed by the whole experience as I am. (The same can be said for my blogging, of course...)

So the house (and blogging) have been taking a backseat for a bit. I'm still getting out there, but only occasionally. But I've got lots of things to blog about, so I'll be getting some more posts up soon.

Friday, February 01, 2008

We will return shortly to our regularly scheduled programming

Computer problems, school, work, and childrearing have put a dent in blogging as of late...