And the Winner Is…

Posted on June 18, 2009
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Sherwin Williams‘ Refuge (SW 6228). The color is (to my amusement) part of the Haute Couture collection, which, according to Sheri Thompson, Director of Color Marketing and Design, “isn’t for those with a follow-the-lead attitude.” The funny part? It came out in 2005, so we aren’t exactly blazing a bold trail with our color choice. We just thought it was pretty.

(This was the color on the far-right side in the paint samples photo.)

Deciding what to paint the house was a major decision, but we think we chose the right color. It’s a medium blue with a bit of green and gray, and it changes depending on whether the sun is bright or the sky is overcast. The white trim looks very crisp against it.

I think it has both a nautical and historic feel to it, if that makes sense. A couple of neighbors have commented on how much it reminds them of the lake. Santosh, who lives across the street, called it “very Nantucket.” So, we have a Nantucket-y, Greek Revival–inspired farmhouse, I guess. Works for me.

The photos don’t really do it justice, so you’ll just have to visit…

Front of house

Front of house, with first coat and trim painted.

Back of house

Back of house, with first coat and trim painted.

Body Discovered in Backyard

Posted on June 16, 2009
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Given the general weirdness of the house’s previous occupants, we were bound to find something creepy even after the house was completely gone. We predicted that Briar would eventually dig up a body part, but it was the construction crew who unearthed Ken.

He has seen better days.

Doll parts

Bro-Ken (ha ha)

No new developments on the painting front because it has been raining on and off all day.

Blue Monday

Posted on June 15, 2009
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Before applying the blue paint that we chose, Mark of Bay View Painters primed our house using a blue-based primer. So, now it looks like a giant robin’s egg (deluxe version with windows and stuff).

Powder blue primer.

Step 1

The painters will start on the first coat of real paint tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain.

(Title-related flashback.)

Week in Review

Posted on June 13, 2009
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The drywall crew has been here for three days and they have completed installation for all of the interior walls and most of the mudding and taping. It is so cool to see all of the rooms defined.


Sunny corner of the kitchen.


The fireplace was installed on Wednesday.

The basement floor is finished. Our basement windows arrived earlier in the week—they’ll be in place next week.

Basement floor

Basement floor and basement windows in their packaging.

We knew that we wanted to go with blue for the exterior paint color, but weren’t sure exactly which blue. Our painter, Mark, gave us three different paint sample books to look at, each of them about two inches thick. That’s a lot of paint colors.

Given that each little paint sample is about the size of an address label, it’s kind of difficult to look at a color and imagine what it will look like when it’s covering a two-story house. To help us make a decision, Mark painted some larger samples on the front and the back of the house, where we could see how the colors look in sunlight and in shade.

Blue hues

A range of blue hues.

Our architect, the construction crew, neighbors, and passers-by have been happy to offer their opinions. Dan from the crew wondered whether we were planning to paint the entire house in blue stripes. Although this would make the house easy for visitors to identify, we’ve decided to go with a solid color.

Which one will we choose? Tune in next week to find out…

Ground Floor

Posted on June 10, 2009
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Another delivery today…

Cement truck

Cement for the new basement floor.

After the cement is

poured, the crew smoothes it out.


Now I know why Bob brought galoshes.

Drywall Delivery

Posted on June 8, 2009
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Early this morning, a flatbed truck full of drywall pulled up in front of the house.

The drywall has arrived

The drywall has arrived.

How do you get twelve-foot sheets of drywall to the second floor in more info

a house that doesn’t have a staircase?

In through the window.

Through an upstairs window, of course.

The drywall crew arrives tomorrow, so we will have interior walls by the end of the week. Yippee!

Inside Jobs

Posted on June 6, 2009
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Most of this week’s work was on the interior. On Thursday, the crew built the bumpout for the direct-vent gas fireplace that will be in the living room. I am sorry to report that a required front glass panel will preclude the indoor roasting of chestnuts.

Fireplace bumpout

Fireplace bumpout

Also on Thursday, Sam and Dan built the deck for the master bathroom soaking tub, which is a Kohler Purist. The tub included a paper template (for installation), which the guys were able to use as a template for the deck. They did a really nice job in just a couple of hours.

We’re still trying to figure out how many Koi will fit in it.

Soaking tub

Soaking tub

As you can see, we also have some insulation at this point. Even with only half of the batting in, the house is already better insulated than the old house.

Here’s the happy, well-insulated place where my shoes will live with John’s blue shirts. (And where Briar will probably hide out during thunderstorms.)

Master closet

Master closet

Someone on the crew was creative in letting light in.

Hearts and stars

Hearts and stars

Tub, Take Two

Posted on June 3, 2009
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There were few things worth saving from the old house because the previous owner had demolished and/or removed anything even remotely charming or usable. Cast iron clawfoot tubs, however, can take a lot.

Including being painted harvest gold.

Yellow tub-marine.

Yellow tub-marine.

And, yes, that is what the master bathroom looked like. (Note how the previous owners just painted the floor along with the clawfoot tub feet.) The entire house was like this—in various stages of completion and states of absurdity.

Here’s what the tub looked like after John from Cream City Tub & Tile got his hands on it.

Shiny and new.

Shiny and new.

The feet were refinished in black enamel.


One foot.

This bathtub will go in the guest bathroom, along with a vintage-y looking Kohler Bancroft sink. Here’s the ceiling light that I’m ordering for the room from Rejuvenation.

Lombard flush-mount ceiling fixture.

Lombard flush-mount ceiling fixture.

If you’re in the market for lighting, check out their Web site—you can choose a fixture base in a number of finishes, add a shade, and then view how the fixture will look in your room after inputting your room’s dimensions. It’s very helpful, especially if you’re like me and you have trouble visualizing what the finished product will look like when it’s installed.

Closed to the Public

Posted on May 30, 2009
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On Tuesday, I asked Bob to put in a construction door because we have been having some issues with people thinking that it’s okay to just walk into the house to see what we’re up to. Quite astonishing. We’re hoping the door will make the nosy numbskulls think twice about poking around in a place that is both a construction zone and private property.

Construction door.

Cheaper than a moat.

Apart from that, it was a rather uneventful week. The crew had a short schedule due to the Memorial Day holiday and work on another project on Friday, but they put up some more of the siding. The front of the house is nearly complete, except for the porch.

Front, mostly sided

Front, mostly sided.

Next week: Drywall!

Pretty on the Outside

Posted on May 22, 2009
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This week’s story: Siding. The house is looking more and more finished from the outside. And our neighbors won’t have to listen to the whipping crackle of Tyvek flapping in the breeze, which is a bonus.

Here’s the view from the street on Tuesday evening. That’s Sophia parked in front. She’s a sassy little Alfa Romeo who followed our neighbor home one day. His wife agreed that they could keep her.


Vroom vroom.

By Thursday, the crew had completed more of the front of the house.


Front view.

And even more of the back.


Back, south side of kitchen.

And, by Friday, the west side of the house was sided.


Back, west side.

We bid a bittersweet farewell to the forklift, which was picked up today. Bob had rented it for two months and that time is up. From now on, the crew will have to reach the high spots using ladders and scaffolding, which will take a bit more time. Our yard seems rather empty without it.

keep looking »