Sunday, February 26, 2006

multiple updates

Here are some photos. Apologies - no time for commentary.

Frosty morning

master bath tile

Solarium floor freshly grouted. Tricky trim installed around window.

Curtis just about finished grouting the main bath.

Heinz starting to install the kitchen cabinets (Saturday).

Main bath cabinets & flooring installed

Laundry room on Saturday. (before)

Laundry room on Sunday. (after)

Kitchen - mostly installed

Kitchen island, put together in the dining room and ready to be moved to the kitchen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Flooring progress - two steps forward and one step back

Due to the weather, we did not expect the flooring guys on Friday, but we did expect them on Monday. Mike had truck troubles and didn't show.

Charles and Dave and I laid out some tiles in the foyer to determine a pattern. The idea that I had wanted (a center square with tiles laid on an angle - like shown - surrounded by a field of regular tiles) didn't work because the tiles are so large (19" square and 27" on the diagonal). So we decided to just put them all on the bias, and forget about the square.

That's Tawny's tail there at the bottom of the photo. (She's a Lab so that tail is always wagging!)

This photo shows one of the tapered square columns set in place. You can't buy tapered square columns (well I haven't found a source), so these columns were made by the carpenters on-site. Panel moulding will be applied to the top and bottom of the column.

Note the tile in the foyer has been cut and set in place. It will be cemented down on Wednesday.

This photo shows the wood caps for the half walls in the dining room. They are constructed out of MDF, like the columns, and required some tricky cutting to get this angled piece to fit in one piece. Panel moulding will be applied below the cap to finish it off.

This photo is a bit dark as the sun had set and I had to rely on the unreliable flash to take this photo.

Looking ahead, this will be a busy week.
Monday: build and install columns and caps. Painters return (one left shortly after arriving for a paint emergency), the other spent the day caulking and nail filling the trim. As noted, flooring was a no-show. Remaining light fixtures delivered. Plumbing fixture delivery delayed to Tuesday as driver got lost (he was new).
Tuesday: Complete fabrication of columns/caps. Plumbing fixtures deliveryed (2nd time lucky, perhaps). Painters completed painting the master bedroom (ceiling had to be repainted due to drywall patch), closets, and master bath. Flooring: tile.
Wednesday: Install columns and remaining trim as arched mouldings picked up on Tuesday. Painters will complete the kitchen and the office. Flooring: tile. Heating guys come to complete the HVAC installation.
Thursday: Stair installation. Painters. Flooring: tile. HVAC. Electrician.
Friday: Cabinets arrive today. Installer will work on w/end if needed to ensure base cabinets will be installed before Monday, as that is when the granite people come from Montreal to make the templates for the countertops.

Stay tuned, as I expect nothing but disappointment from the various trades.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A welcome visit from friends

We had freezing rain last Thursday night. Then we had a flash freeze on Friday morning. It created the beautiful effect of crystal-coated trees and shrubs. Unfortunately it also created traffic havoc and five people died in area fatalaties.

There was a tree that still had some leaves hanging on. They were covered in ice and tinkled like little bells when the breeze blew.

We had a welcome visit from some friends on Sunday. It was wonderful to see them, and have an opportunity to get out of the little house for a few hours and visit.

Peter and Gerry have been in the situation we are in before (in temporary accomodations) several times in fact, and understand the situation completely. So Gerry very kindly put together a supper for us of curried beef, with rice, chutney, nan bread, beverages, and even some cake and biscotti for dessert. It was extremely delicious, as we are very appreciative as the little house where we are staying doesn't have an oven, which limits the cooking possibilities. Thank you so much Peter and Gerry!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Trim, tile and weather

The long job of trimming out is nearly complete. This photo shows the fantastic job Dave and the crew have done. You can't really tell the detail in this photo (as it was dark and I had to artificially lighten it) but the trim for the arched window lines up nearly perfectly with the vertical part, and without those corner blocks that I detest.

It is actually not possible to get a piece of curved trim to line up with straight trim, since the process of making the curved trim means it has a slightly different profile. To my eye, this is as perfect as you can get. The trim on the two adjoining windows in the corner is also very nice.

Charles found the source of the water leak we had about 2 weeks ago (see Feb 5th note in the Feb 13th blog entry). The leak was due to faulty installation of the chimney cap by the fireplace people. Note how they did not run the bead of caulking completely around the chimney storm cap.

That's the 3rd error the fireplace installers made.

Bad weather: Because freezing rain is forecast for Thursday night, the flooring guys will not be back until Monday, when they will grout the tile they have already laid, and lay the tile in the foyer. We have to select the grout colour this weekend, and decide on the tile layout in the foyer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Floors started

The tiling of the floors started today - one week later than committed.

This is the solarium floor. It was mostly tiled, as was the main bath.

Tomorrow's tiling will be the master bath (ensuite) and the powder room.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A catch-up blog entry

It's been over 2 weeks since my last blog entry on January 23rd. That was the last opportunity before we moved that I had any time to blog. The sale of our old house closed on January 30th, and we had a hectic few days leading up to it. We rented a panel van and made several trips of bulky and/or fragile contents to storage, and also took a loveseat and clothing to the little place (300 sq ft!) that we are renting in the interim.

So this is a catch-up entry. Since we don't have internet hookup at our rental accomodations, it's been a bit tricky as to how to update the blog. I had planned to write my blog entry at home and save the text and the pictures to my USB memory stick and upload it somewhere, but I couldn't find my USB stick. I thought about using a floppy but could only fit 4 images on it. Fortunately I looked harder and found my USB stick, which is what I am using.

In the spirit of the blog, these are in reverse chronological order.


Of course, I couldn't do a blog entry without adding a photo of Tawny. She loves playing in the snow, as you can see here.

Just before I took this photo, she was laying in the hole right behind where she is in this photo, and had her entire nose and face buried up to her eyes in the snow.

No wonder she has a snow nose.

February 12th - Frost outside the windows

On Saturday when we were walking around, I noticed some frost on the outside of the windows. The frost was there because the window was not properly closed and secured, which meant that warm humid inside air was escaping, and then frosting up the transom as it cooled off.

I took this photo in the office as it shows the frost on the outside of the transom window. I went around the house latching all the windows that were not properly secured. The frost was gone this morning.

February 10th - Patrick's last day

Today was Patrick's last day. He left the crew for a job in the technology field. Patrick had worked in a similar job before, and wanted to try something different for a while. It was good to have Patrick on the crew.

Patrick did a wonderful job on the window ledges, and I will think of him whenever I look at those ledges.

What didn't happen this week? The flooring crew were supposed to show up on Wednesday to start tiling. They were delayed at another job and so we don't expect them until Monday, despite assurances that they will come on Saturday or Sunday to get started.

February 7th - Painting

The painters started on Monday. This is Stewart, who is with All-Pro Painters. We hired Joseph Trus, of All-Pro, for 5 or 6 projects at our old house, and have hired him again for this project.

This green (in the solarium) looked really limey, almost flourescent, when it first went on and we were quite concerned. However, with the second coat on and the trim was painted out (which covered up the white primer) it looked quite good. The painters have all the ceilings painted, and all the rooms have at least either one colour coat or a colour primer coat on the walls. Because painting is faster than trimming, the painters caught up to Dave and his crew that were trimming, and will come back to complete the job when the trim installation is complete. We expect that to be before the end of next week.

February 5th - Excess humidity

We had a heavy, torrential rainstorm on Saturday night. It was pelting down incredibly hard!

When we went into the house on Sunday, we were very surprised to see water on the floor in the spare bedroom, and the ceiling drywall soggy. Investigation into the leak showed that the cause was the fireplace people had not caulked the full perimeter of the storm cap on the chimney, the person had only caulked about 3/4 of the way around. The silver lining of this is that the finish flooring wasn't installed. If it had been finished, there would have been a lot more damage, so we were glad we had this leak now. Since Charles' crew is repairing the damage and correcting the source of the leak, I suggested to Charles that he send a bill to the fireplace guy to recover his costs.

February 3rd - stairs!

The stairs to the basement have arrived. We would have liked to have maple stairs, but there is just no room for that in the budget, so we have carpet grade stairs.

Ironically, wood stairs often require a runner because the stair treads are too slippery. And a carpet runner for stairs costs more than carpetting the whole thing. It seems really funny to spend a lot of money for wood stairs and then even more money to cover it up because they are too slippery!

February 2nd - measuring for curved molding

We have several arched windows, including this one in the office. Charles and Chris are measuring the arch so we can have a curved moulding fabricated.

We purchased all our mouldings from Bytown Mouldings in Carp. I did a lot of shopping around and found that Bytown could provide the product we wanted (paint grade but NOT MDF or pine) for the best price. All our mouldings (except for the curved bits) are American Yellow Poplar. It takes paint well, is much harder than pine and MDF so is more durable and doesn't get that beat-up look, doesn't bleed sap like pine and gives a sharper, crisper edge than MDF.

February 1st - trimming

Our house sale closed on Monday and we were busy all day back and forth with lawyering and banking etc. I took this whole week off from work as we had been expecting to move in this week. When it became obvious that we would not be able to move in as planned, I decided to take the time off anyway as I have a lot of vacation days I need to use up this year.

This photo shows me helping the crew out. I am squaring up the recess for the hinge in the door jamb. Yes, my hair is really messy - that is due in part to the famous "toque head" and the fact my hair was very long. I did get a hair cut a few days later.

Chris installing the casing

Chris has primary responsibility for installing the casing around the windows and the doors and has been doing a pretty fine job at it too (note the nice tight joint at the corner above his head). The shim is temporary placed behind the trim at the corner to hold the two pieces of casing in the same plane, while the glue cures.

Congratulations to Chris and Nancy! They are affianced, as Hercule Poirot would say, or engaged, as the rest of us would say.

A hanging lesson

Dave is responsible for hanging the doors. We purchased the doors as slabs, so they were not pre-hung, so the jambs needed to be built, hinges routed in door and jamb, and hung. This was not necessarily an easy task as some of the doors are quite heavy, especially the 36" wide 1 3/4" Safe'n'Sound doors. We used these thick doors on the quiet spaces (bedrooms) and the noise generating spaces (laundry room, bathrooms). The closets received the standard 1 3/8" thick doors. We do not have any sliding doors in the house.

Here, Dave is giving Sean a lesson on how to hang double doors, using the closet doors in the foyer. Sean was previously responsible for installing the door stop on all the doors, and this was the next step. All our doors are hung with ball bearing hinges that we purchased from Preston Hardware. We used three 3 1/2" hinges on the Safe'n'Sound doors, and either two or three 3" hinges on the 1 3/8" thick doors, depending on the width of the door.

According to an article by Larry Haun in Fine Homebuilding, a carpenter in the '50s was expected to hang 8 doors a day. I guess this was they way they did it then.

January 31st - door hanging in progress

The door hanging is going in earnest.

This is a photo of the master bedroom door in place. It has also been painted with one coat of the trim colour, Cable Knit (CC306 from Ben Moore). This 36" door is a 1-3/4" thick Safe'n'Sound door.

All the room doors, with the exception of the powder room, are 36" wide. This was part of the design to facilitate wheelchairs, should that ever be required - of course, we hope that will never be the case. That is also the reason why we do not have any sunken floors in this house, as that would introduce a potential barrier.

January 30th - garage doors

The garage doors arrived today - they are Garaga XL in claystone.
The XL means elongated panels, and claystone is Garaga's name for their taupe colour. There is a slight colour difference between the garage door and the aluminum trim, but it is not as pronounced as it looks in this photo (at least on my monitor).

January 27th - tub installed in master bath

The plumbers came today and installed the tub in the master bath. We are using the American Standard Town Square family of products in the master ensuite bath.

Since it is a large tub (42"x72"), a mortar bed is laid down before the tub is installed, this helps the support feet hold the tub so it doesn't move when it is filled with water. I later placed some insulation around the tub to help keep it warm when filled with water.