Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter in the New (Old) House

It snowed a lot today. We bought a snowblower the day after Thanksgiving, but they were out of stock, and we have to wait until next Saturday to pick it up. So in the meantime, shoveling.

We get awesomely spiky icicles along the roofline over the deck. I hope the dogs do not get impaled.

Since we have exterior doors now, we picked up some wreaths over the weekend.

We have room for a full-sized Christmas tree. It's in the front room with the teal trim.

It's snowing outside, but the pellet stoves are keeping us warm and toasty.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

we own stoves

We bought pellet stoves: one for the front of the house, including the second floor bedrooms, and one for the back living room off the kitchen. Rodney and his father installed them, which took about a day per stove.

Here is the Harman Accentra in the back of the house.

It's a pretty good lookin' stove, if I do say so myself.

The exhaust pipe exits the side of the house facing the garage. It smells nice, like a fireplace. The light next to it is also new. It helps me see when I take the dogs out at night.

In the front living room with the aqua trim, we installed the Harman XXV. We'll be painting this room soon, so the black spray paint on the wall doesn't matter. Rodney and his dad had to drive to Augusta to find a special corner pad for this beast.

They had to zig zag the pipe a bit to avoid a wall stud.

Rod says this:

"When we drilled the first pilot hole through the interior wall for the venting, we hit a stud. Since we didn't want to move the stove, we added a second elbow, placed horizontally, to move the venting's exit point away from the stud.

Within a few days we realized this front stove was emitting a smokey smell that the other stove did not. By inspecting the connection points between the venting's sections with a flashlight in the dark, we were able to determine that many of the joints did not seal properly when originally assembled—smoke was pouring out of them on startup. Our venting—ICC's 4" Excel pellet venting—has rubber gaskets on each section that are supposed to simplify installation and obviate the need for high-heat silicone or tape between each venting section. Evidently these gaskets did not seat properly when we first assembled the venting (although we had no similar problem with the other stove, which we installed first). After disassembling and reassembling the venting several times, we finally(!) managed to get everything sealed properly. No more smoke in the house."

The exhaust pipe exits the side of the house, about 15 feet from our next-door neighbor's porch. I brought them cupcakes to make up for the smoke. Until we plant some tall bushes next summer, the pipe is visible from the street.

It's pretty stupid-looking.

But we are warm.

We fill the stoves up with 40 lbs. of pellets about once a day. We use big buckets to carry the pellets from the basement (you can see one in the picture of the XXV). We've already gone through almost a ton of pellets, but there's more where that came from.

We are very toasty.


Monday, November 30, 2009

We've Been Working, Just Not Blogging

Since we last posted, the backyard has gone from looking like this:

To this:

And we've learned that raking is very good exercise.

Remember the barfy baby blue bedroom?

We painted it the same respectable colors as our bedroom:

We are still touching up, since insulating the built-in dresser was messy.

We also have to go back and repair some of the floor in our bedroom, thanks to Ellie.

She clawed through 150 years' of paint, trying to get at the men working in the basement.


We completed many projects during October and November, and we'll post about them this week.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


The custom-built counters in the small kitchen were not designed to accept a dishwasher; too shallow for a full-sized dishwasher, and with such limited cupboard space that ceding any more than absolutely necessary to built-in appliances would leave us nowhere to keep our kitchen stuff. So after a great deal of research, we settled on a small, 18" dishwasher that would fit naturally in the portion of the counter that juts out into the middle of the kitchen--replacing one drawer and one cupboard door, without extending halfway into the neighboring drawer and door, obviating the need to rebuild the trim, and the remaining drawer into a narrower one:
While a larger dishwasher would have been more useful given the great number of dirty dishes that we daily produce, this will work for now. We really cannot live without a dishwasher, and thankfully avoided having to remodel the entire kitchen to get one. The kitchen layout is quaint but awkward; someday (low priority) a complete overhaul may be in order, at which time we can get an industrial-sized dishwasher.


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Deck is Finished

Here is the deck from the back yard.

All those crazy overgrown plants were removed, so we'll have to figure out how to plant grass.

The new deck is much sturdier than the old one. Before:


Now we have a gate close to the door of the house, so we can easily let the dogs out into the yard, or keep them penned on the deck.

The space between the new rails is too small for trapping skulls:

We're thrilled with the new deck. It looks great, the cedar smells good, and we're getting a lot of use out of it.

Our new problem is that a pair of woodpeckers have begun digging holes in the old wooden stairs and railing by the driveway:

I've watched them throwing splinters all over the driveway. Who knows what kind of delicious bugs they're finding in there. Replacing these junky stairs might be a project for next summer.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Deck in Progress

As you can see, the old deck had issues. There was no flashing or ice & water shield between it and the sill of the house. The "ledger" was attached to the sill with dinky nails that extended about half an inch into the sill. Snow on the deck melted and rotted the ledger and sill, until the nails attaching the deck to the house had nothing to nail into. The deck sagged and the wet sill continued to rot. Walking across the deck was like walking on a trampoline.

The rails were also spaced too far apart, at exactly infant skull size. At one end the rails were missing. The stairs were at the far end of the deck, only a few feet from the neighbors' house, and there was no gate.

When the deck came off, this was left:

The deck guys were able to attach new 2"x10" pressure-treated wood over the old sill with 12+ inch carriage bolts. They say the sill will dry out and be okay. They put ice & water shield over this new wood and built a pressure treated wood frame for the new deck.

The visible part of the new deck will be made of red cedar.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

major project$: roof and deck

Pictures of the roof before:

What's that bubble?

Gaps into attic.

Three layers of wavy shingles.

No drip edge.

Pictures of the roof now:

No more bubble!

Lookin' snazzy, with a drip edge.

The new roof makes a big difference in the look of the house. The color and shape of the roof haven't changed, but the house looks more solid and better cared for.

Now that the roof is taken care of, the second most pressing project is replacing the deck:

...and dealing with the wet, damaged sill:

It's the stuff of nightmares.


Monday, August 24, 2009

pink bedroom painted respectable colors

Master bedroom before:

Light pink walls, bubblegum trim, dusty rose floor.

Master bedroom now:

Antique white walls, white trim, gray/blue floor (with painter's tape still on).

We need to clean up some of the spots where paint got underneath the tape, but overall, a much better look.

The old heating grate.

Peaceful view out the bedroom window.

We'll see on Wednesday how it looks with furniture.