Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Pond Update

With the close of Summer now behind me, I think that this pond will be the one outdoor project that I continue to work on until the snow sets in. I have about 4 tons of rocks to gather by then, so I need to start now. The problem with all outdoor ponds is this; as soon as you are done making them, you immediately try to think of ways to make them bigger. I am already on this idea and am warming up the shovel and the back-brace for early spring 2009.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Whoa, completely delinquent for the month of July!

Ok, so things have been busy. My teaching schedule for July was totally insane and I am just coming into the end of summer coast before taking off in the Fall again. Nonetheless, I have been working on the house with Kat and we are making progress. I am going to post some better pics this weekend of the front porch renovation, but let me give a bit of an explanation before we get into that.

Our place is half of a double and it is clear from the way the yard and front porch divisions that there was not a strong sense of neighborly community. We are changing that. First of all, we completely lucked out with our neighbors and we love them. If you look at the two pictures below, notice the spindled rail down the middle of the porch. This was such an OBVIOUS boundary that we felt like getting rid of. The neighbors did not really use their half of the front porch when we moved in for the simple fact that the space was so small because of this divider. The stairs to the porch were also an issue. They were only built on our half, meaning that if we did open this porch up for sharing, we would have to rip them off and build new ones all the way across.

The following picture does not really show this too well, but I will add more this weekend. What you are seeing is the new stairs, the newly opened front porch and an extension of the blue stone patio extending the area by a huge amount. This is a much more intimate setting for sitting, chatting, reading, etc.

That is our neighbor putting white Christmas lights in the Japanese Maple for some patio ambiance. My wife Kat and Katie ( shown in pic ) were all about the lighting.......

More to come!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sneak Peek at the Spare Bedroom before/after


Unfortunately there are no really detailed "before" photos of the walls and their condition. I can assure you that they looked like they had been imported from afghanistan. The patching and sanding on this room alone took me an eternity.... or so it seemed. The paint on the floor was also an issue. It too much longer to heat and scrape that off than I ever expected. Here are some after shots........

There is only one coat of finish on the floor in these shots and as you can see, it is still drying. I will hit it with 3 more this week and we should be moving the furniture in a week after that. The blue was hard to capture with the light coming in the windows, but it is somewhere between a robin's egg and a Tiffany's box.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some images of the brick and what I am up against

Here are some photos that I took of the immediate brick issues that I could see. I am sure that once I get up on a ladder and begin examining, the issues will increase in number.

You can see in the photo above the sloppy, concrete based mortar applied to the joints. It is on the surface of the brick and is generally awful looking.

The image above represents what a majority of the brick is starting to look like. This is why I am seriously concerned.

This is an example of the moisture getting into the porous brick and cracking off the surface when it freezes. Repointing will put an end to this.

Ok, so there are many projects afoot

I am currently working on many different projects at once. Dining room, final punch list in the living room, the spare bedroom floors and walls, a contractor is coming to do the front steps, and the second tier of the rock wall terrace. WIth all of this on my plate, I am feeling much pressure to begin pointing the brick on the house. This pressure is mostly from sweeping up the newly dissolved mortar that has fallen onto the walkways week after week. I also seem to have a carpenter bee problem as I have seen them burrowing into the mortar on the front of the house. I have been taking pictures of the current state of the brick and doing some reading on how to properly do the work. I am going to do this little by little as I have with all the other projects. Here is a great link that I found to an article on This Old House's website on repointing brick. You may love it!

Click here for the article

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stone Wall #1 Before and After

So one of the first jobs I started on when we moved in was to repair this collapsed wall. There was an earlier post of this, but these photos should give you an idea.

Here is the before:

and here is the after:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Trying to save the bedroom door

We found this in the back corner of the basement. It has some pretty severe water damage and one of the tenons has pulled away slightly. It perfectly measures the opening in the bedroom doorway, so this means that we can use it if we can resurrect it. I am certain that it is original to the house. I will be working on this over the weekend. More then.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Some before and after flooring

So I have been on the flooring kick lately and I don't think I posted any comparison photos. Here is the first one:

This is the division between the living room and the dining room. The living room is finished. It is the perfect shot to give you the before and after idea. Here are two more with the close up of each side:
This with the tung oil and resin...

This was what the floors looked like before.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gonna Reupholster this baby in Mohair

Found this lovely piece at a garage sale in Upper Black Eddy, PA. for the very reasonable price of $50! I am looking for some upholstery mohair in white to re-cover it in. I may dye the mohair a cool green so that it has some reference to the original.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Some notes about the pine floors...... again

Sometimes, when you pull back the carpet on an old wood floor, there is evidence of where area rugs used to be. You can see this because there is a significantly large rectangle of bare wood in the center of the room, and the flooring around that rectangle has been painted. I had mentioned this in an earlier post, and I was optimistic about the fact that this would make refinish much easier. I was totally wrong and here is why.

First off, the bare patch in the middle had no protection whatsoever. As dirt filtered through the carpet, it was forced into the grain of the soft pine below. This fact coupled with there being no rug on that floor for many years has created a floor that is not so much patinated as it is grey. Grey with general dirt patina....... Now, when you also take into consideration that the floors were exposed and not treated with oil to maintain their flexibility, you have a situation where the grain is starting to delaminate. While sanding, the disc tends to slide under one of these lifted grain laminations and rips it free. This has become a whole new challenge. I am getting there in terms of having the floor ready for finish, but it has taken a far greater effort than the floor downstairs that had the polyurethane on it. Between the urethane coating and the exposed bare floor ( both being damaging treatments ) I would take the urethane over no protection in terms of a restoration project.

I will begin to apply the first finish coat next weekend. More on this when I have photos or news.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

So it seems.....

So it seems that there are a few of you out there who are reading the blog and I am surprised when I meet you and you tell me this. This is of course due to word of mouth but it still surprises me. So first off, I wanted to thank you all for checking in. It is reassuring to know that there are some people out there who are interested.

Now I have been thinking about these posts lately that have been about furnishings and what is actually going into the house. I have had a conflict with whether or not this is valid material for such a place. I go from thinking about this being a house blog and focusing on floors, re-glazing windows etc, to this aspect of the house which is more about decorating and less about restoring. I feel that the character of the house is enhanced by the decor, and that is a vote for keeping up with the design postings.... but my conflict continues. I am posting a poll to see what you think. Be my guest and vote!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Third floor spare bedroom renovation

So the main spare bedroom is underway. The first task was to remove a very strange set of closets that had been haphazardly installed. There were four solid handmade pine doors across the outside wall. Behind each was a bay with a hanging bar and each bay was lined with cedar particle board. Now I am making this sound a lot better than it actually was. The cedar board was screwed in with dozens of drywall screws, the design was all wrong for the house, and it was unfinished. The good news is that when I took the unit out, most of the solid pine that was used was recyclable. I will use this wood for shelves in the attic studio. The closet was not too difficult....easy in fact compared to the floors.

The floor was painted around the carpet which was both good and bad in terms of sanding the floor. The painted area was a top layer of acrylic, a layer of glue which held the carpet, and two more layers of paint. The disc on the sander hits this and immediately gums up. I picked up a heat gun and tried to remove all that I could before sanding. This worked a bit better and I have made some progress. The area that was unfinished has had so much foot traffic without the protection of the carpet that the pine is more of a grey color than a patina. The area under the paint has a more of a patina to it and matching that to the grey dirty area has proven difficult. Eliminating the rectangle in the middle of the floor will be a challenge. Here are some pics.


Here is the sandpaper pad

New dining room chairs!

So I went down to Mode Moderne and bought some Eames DCM chairs. Michael at the store was extremely patient as he took me to the warehouse and looked over what was available. I cannot say enough great things about them. This place is packed with great finds which are all in great shape. You can see the website here. Below are some pics of the chairs.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Furniture Progress

So here is a dry fit of the table I am making for the dining room. The inspiration came from Jean Prouve's table. His work blends a severe simplicity with function. It is no surprise that he created one of the first prefabricated houses. I am also hand planing a massive piece of walnut for a coffee table. The piece is 18" wide by 8' long by 2 inches thick. I am going to use the whole slab for the piece. I will upload images as they come.

Ok, so this is a long time coming

I have been out of the blogging groove for a bit and have finally completed my finals with my students. I can get back to working on the house. I have a month off and plan to do as much as funds will allow. Kat and I have been through the ideas and we have come up with the following: 1. We are desperate to get the furniture that we want into the house, so I am working on making that. Below is an early photo of my friend holding the legs to the new dining room table up for a look. I am also designing two side chairs that will be cushioned with white mohair and made of walnut. More on this as developments come. 2. I will be doing the refinish on the dining room floor. The living room floor looks fantastic and I am eager to continue this process of getting these pine floors restored. 3. The guest bedroom needs a slight overhaul. There are these makeshift closets that were built in there that look like a cross between phone booths and holding cells for death row inmates. I cannot stand them and they will be the first to go. Floors, painting and patching will be in order up there. 4. The kitchen gets put on the back burner until August when my summer teaching comes to an end. That will be a major project and will require lots of dough.

I will take pics this weekend to show off the finished rock wall, the living room floors and the new paint in the dining room. I will also include any finds we manage at the College Hill yard sale this weekend! It should be a good one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Final coat on living room floor today!

I will update the floor photos today just before the final coat goes down. I have been excited to see the first coat of satin on the floor in a dry state. Last coat today and then we can move on to other rooms in the house. More on this later. 70 degrees today!