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When we found put that we were expecting a little human addition, we agreed that we wouldn’t take on any major projects to try to finish before the baby came. I didn’t want to be stressed out about house projects but also wanted to make a little progress on the house. We agreed that we would have some plaster work done in the hallway which allowed us to get our air conditioning installed. The hallway project also included installing a lining closet. And while we had the plasterer hired, we decided to also have him do the wall between the kitchen and dining room, mostly so we can get a door installed there to keep the cats off the kitchen counter.

Of course neither of these projects are completely done but the remaining work is minor and can be tackled when we find ourselves with extra time on any winter day.

The hallway. We plan to install picture rail where the two paint colors meet so we can easily swap out artwork without damaging the walls.

The hallway. We plan to install picture rail where the two paint colors meet so we can easily swap out artwork without damaging the walls.

Daiken mini split air conditioniner. It is installed directly across the door to the dining/living room side of the house. With a small fan placed in the doorway it cools our house nicely. At nighttime we can shut the door and direct the cool air to the bedrooms. It works very well.

Daiken mini split air conditioniner. It is installed directly across the door to the dining/living room side of the house. With a small fan placed in the doorway it cools our house nicely. At nighttime we can shut the door and direct the cool air to the bedrooms. It works very well.

Hallway linen closet. We decided to line it with cedar which smells awesome. With five shelves installed it houses our sheets, towels, bathroom stuff and sleeping bags.

Hallway linen closet. We decided to line it with cedar which smells awesome. With five shelves installed it houses our sheets, towels, bathroom stuff and sleeping bags.

The linen closet will have a door to match the rest of our doors. For now it just has a curtain. We are also postponing installing the trim on the two bedroom doors and dining room doors as all need adjustments to the frame in order to shut correctly. In the case of the dining room door, we actually plan to flip the whole thing around so it opens into the doorway. A few pieces also need to be refinished.

The other plaster projects in the dining room involved a new wall and patching the hole in the ceiling from when we installed the beam during the roof construction.

This is the scratch coat on top of blue board.

This is the scratch coat on top of blue board.

Painting the finish coat.

Painting the finish coat.

All painted.

All painted.

Getting these two projects to this point was our goal so now the baby can come. I do feel like I am going to be pregnant forever but even if it doesn’t want to come out on its own, it will only be two more weeks at the most. So until it shows up, I will keep busy with the garden harvest, sewing and knitting, cooking and cleaning.

The plasterer finished on Monday and it looks great. Now that the plaster is dry, it’s time for primer and paint. We also have the A/C guy lined up for next week but it has been unseasonably cold here, especially this weekend. The high on Saturday was 61. I made soup and baked bread and don’t remember if I have have done that in July. I’m sure we’ll still get some hot weather so I’m not complaining for now.

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Catch-up post

Here’s a short catch-up post to show you that we haven’t been completely lazy and unproductive. This year has actually been eventful and this summer is super busy. During the winter months, we worked on the upstairs. We framed out the knee walls anD hung dry wall to the rafters behind the kneewall for fire blocking:

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We also ordered Warmboard for the radiant floor and installed most of it. Then Spring came and it was time to head out into the garden and also shift gears to finishing the hallway so we can install the mini split air conditioner. We decided to take down the ceiling in the hallway because it was in rough shape and really loose, not really adhering to the lath anymore. Originally, we had planned to do the plasterwork ourselves but I didn’t have faith in my plastering skills and frankly just didn’t want to do it. We got a quote from a local guy and it was reasonable so we went ahead and hired it out. We still had a lot of prep work on the hallway, like sistering some more floor joists in an effort to level out a bit more to get our doors shut, scraping and washing the walls and prepping for the A/C unit. We also cut in an opening to make a linen closet and shrink the bedroom closet. The plasterer started today and thinks he will finish up on Monday.

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The plaster should dry for 7 days before we prime and paint so we should be able to get the A/C hooked up within 1.5 -2 weeks. If we have another hot spell like we did this last week, i will be really happy about that. The excessive heat and I just don’t do well together and it makes me horribly unproductive and cranky. I am excited to pick out a paint color for the hallway and paint. It seems like in all our house remodeling we are always so far away from getting something to the final finish stage. The hallway, which has definitely been the ugliest room ever since we moved in will be the prettiest room when it is all done.

We have had one of the wettest beginning of the year on record this year. Which is ironic considering last year we were in a full on drought. We got so much rain that once again out backyard flooded. This time the damage wasn’t as bad as I have more soil in the raised beds but the water was close to the top edge of the beds, so about 6.5 inches. We pumped it out this time just with our neighbors small sump pump but it worked. Now it is crispy again and I am having to water the raised beds.

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February Already

It’s been a while since I last wrote about our house projects so here’s a quick update:

We got as much work done on the dormer as we wanted to. We left the top of the gable wall for now because we need to install the bathroom fan outlet so we are waiting until we know where it will come out.

We went to Germany for the Holidays and relaxed while also having a lot of family gatherings and little trips.

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Christmas Eve

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Ready for the adventure mine

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Delicious wedding cake I made for my sister and her groom.

Since our return, Winter is in full swing, minus the occasional 50s day in January (thanks to climate change), and we have hibernated a bit and are taking it easy. We started work on the upstairs and started framing the kneewalls. Next we will install dry wall to the rafters behind the kneewalls and then we’ll finish framing up the walls. After that, the plan is to install the radiant floor and then we’ll see. By then it might be nice enough outside again for us to shift our projects back to the outdoors. We aren’t really in a hurry to finish the upstairs as we have enough space for now with the two bedrooms downstairs but I think we are hoping to get that done within 2 years or so. It really depends on time and money and our siding project is a bit more urgent as the siding is in bad shape and probably leaking water to the sheathing.

We are also spending a lot of time talking about all of our different projects, our goals and timelines. We find ourselves reconsidering ideas we once had and changing the plan if it makes more sense. For example, we originally planned to put the shower in front of the window in the upstairs bathroom. From a use of space perspective this makes a lot of sense but from a water proofing perspective it would be difficult. After reconsidering the bathroom layout and being honest with ourselves about our needs and preferences, we have come up with some other ideas. We are also reconsidering our windows. While we really like our old windows and believe that they are superior to modern replacement windows we are finding more and more that our old windows have a lot of drawbacks when being used with a super insulated house with radiant heat. The issue during the winter is warm air leaking through and then condensing and freezing on the exterior storm. Then when it warms up a bit, the water melts and refreezes on the exterior sill. So while other’s have icicles on their roof, we have them on our window sills. We also have a lot of condensation on the interior window when we close the shades but closing the shades helps with the cold off the windows at night. I try to wipe off the wet windows in the morning but it is soaking into the wood and peeling the paint. We also don’t know how to address the detail of extending the exterior window jams when we add 6″ to the wall thickness with insulating, airspace and siding but we know how to install a new window with window bucks. Extending the interior jams also seems a bit easier as we would not be dealing with water on the interior. We will probably go with a triple glazed Marvin window that matches our existing 3 over 1 style. It will give us the chance to reduce air leakage during winter and radiant heat gain during the summer. We hope to spread out the cost while we only work on one side of the house at a time and be able to afford it that way.

Some progress news

We got a little bit of work done on the gable dormer siding and the root cellar last weekend. A. installed most of the straight pieces of the siding on the dormer. He had precut all the pieces and I had primed the cuts and touched up the paint a couple of weekends ago.

The easy part of the siding on the dormer is done

I have also been working on building a root cellar/cold closet in the basement. I framed up the walls last weekend. This was my first framing project and I think I did alright, especially with a horribly uneven concrete floor. Over the week I cut foam board insulation to fit in between the joists and yesterday we installed the door. We got a new exterior door from Menards that is Energy Star rated. I checked the local ReStore for a door we could use but nothing in the size I need and insulated. I would never buy this kind of door as my front door but for a root cellar it is a good enough. Installing the door was quite a challenge. The floor is so uneven that the sill was hard to even out but in the end we did a good enough job. The door opens and closes without problem and looks mostly plumb and square.

Root cellar walls

Half insulated ceiling in root cellar

Root cellar with door

We still need to cut the hole(s) for the outside ventilation, install the other half of the ceiling insulation and foam all seams. I hope I can finish this up this week.

A. also worked on the new wood rack yesterday and got it more or less finished. He still needs to rip down some plywood for shelves and install all the shelf brackets. After that I can work on moving all the wood from its current rack to the new rack and start rebuilding my studio space. This is also a project I hope to work on this week. I didn’t need to work in the studio last week as I was bisque firing and glazing but now I am getting nervous about not having my space set up. I guess that’s a good motivator.

Rack for sheet goods and dimensional lumber.

Sheet goods will be stored in between the two stud walls and the dimenionsional lumber, trim etc will be on shelves that are supported by the metal brackets you see in the front.

This weekend was a rainy one. We had pouring rain all day Saturday and most of Sunday. We can’t remember a weekend since this spring that we have had this much rain which also means that most of our attention has been on outdoor projects, saving interior, especially basement work for a rainy day. So here it was, the rainy day(s). We finally finished all the work on the beam project which included nailing in one last hanger and installing cross blocking.
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Then we got talking about a root cellar, which I have been wanting to build for weeks now. I had a good potato crop, squash and carrot crop this year and I don’t know how to store these things in a warmish basement. Last year my potatoes grew roots and got all pruny and the carrots just get moldy in the fridge. Originally we thought the space underneath the basement stair landing would be a good spot and then we realized that the air vent piping would get in the way of a future addition out the back. So after considering all the corners in the basement we realized that the only logical space would be the corner of my studio. This also meant that my studio would have to move and we decided that the front corner on the driveway side was logical. Now we have to move a rack that we keep our wood on but A. welcomed the idea since he didn’t like the design anyway and since he wants to create a space for sheet goods as well. So now here we are totally rearranging the basement. It makes total sense and we are wondering why we didn’t think of this sooner. Unfortunately this is going to be a lot of work and will interrupt my studio for some time but maybe a bit of a break won’t be the end of the world either.

So A. started building a wall underneath the beam on the studio side of the basement today. This wall will support the new wood rack.
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I ended up spending the day canning. I still have a ton of green tomatoes and made a green tomato salsa recipe along with another batch of tomato sauce.

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Now that the leaves are getting crunchy under my feet, the nights are getting cool and the days are getting shorter, we  are thinking, talking and doing more house projects. The summer was hot and sticky here and often we had no motivation to work on any of our projects. We were also busy with baseball (that’s A. and the As) and art shows and pottery. We made some slow progress on some of our projects and the garden, of course, keeps me busy. The last couple of weekends we seemed to have found a bit of motivation again so I have been working on stripping the window casings of two of the basement windows and finished repainting them today. A. has started the dormer siding project. It took us forever to decide how we want to place and secure the ladders to work on the sides and then we kept getting delayed by swarms of wasps building their nests on our roof. Progress also seems slow but it the nature of doing detail trim work.

Starting siding installation on the dormer, freeze board is newly installed.