Monday, December 5, 2011

A Warm December

On into December!  Ho, Ho, Ho!  However, before I get ahead of myself I realized I forgot to mention Thanksgiving...  On Thanksgiving Day we had a dual celebration, my sister Brooke's 40th.. yes I said 40th.. did you hear me say 40th?  birthday as well as the annual Thanksgiving Day feast.  Brooke got to open her presents alongside the turkey carcass, and pumpkin and apple pie crumbs.  We had a very good time... as usual.  

My grandson Donovan ran around like a wild chicken and we all visited and ate a delicious meal.  Mom and Dad had worked on the turkey... and the sides.  Brooke, Jeff, Ella, and Ave brought some fantastic appetizers (prosciutto wrapped, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, balsamic jobbers) sort of like these but bigger with rich and tasty olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dipping bowl:
and of course we broke into one (or two) of Dad's home cured/canned jars of green olives.  Near the end of the visit we pick names for Christmas presents...  except for Donovan we all put our names into a hat and draw the name of the intended victim.. er.. recipient of our gift.  We started doing this several years ago... and it really cuts down on the holiday shopping madness and makes it all so much more enjoyable.  

We made a couple of big strides at the house since I last posted...  we are 3/4 of the way through our bathroom!   Yayyy for the toilet!  Yayyy for the shower!   and as soon as David finishes fine tuning the plumbing in the sink... Yayyy for the sink!  

You may remember the before shots of the bathroom:


Well, we both jumped in the shower (relax folks...  this is not that kinda blog!) and with hammers, pry bars, and some colorful language we smashed out the old tile, and knocked down that weird upper box tiled thing. (Which was empty by the way.. there were no bodies stuffed up in there, or old treasure maps, or buckets filled with gold doubloons.) That box thing merely covered up more of the scary painted redwood tongue an groove beadboard.  Dang.
Anyway, David dropped in the shower floor, fixed the drain pipe under the house, and then we started tiling.  I say we... it was mostly David I just got in the way and wiped off the grout once in awhile when he told me to.  But we tiled the floor, the shower, and then tossed up some greenboard... er.. sheetrock/drywall.  I HATE drywall already.   We almost had an international incident as we put up our first sheet of greenboard on the ceiling.  David was at one end working his way up the ladder while I was on the other end already on the ladder trying to hold it in place... and my ladder slipped.  Just a touch but enough for a flash picture of me crashing down from the ladder, drywall dust everywhere, and David and I being found days later under the shards of broken greenboard.  It was just a little slip though and we ended up doing just fine.

Greenboard / drywall is a necessary evil however, and once it was all up and primed the bathroom renovation moved quickly.  The toilet was returned, as was the sink, and shower.  David also rewired and added in a new spiffy light. 

We still have to paint, trim, get a pretty new shower curtain and rug... oh yeah and replace that wonky window.... but we are getting there.  Here are the 3/4 of the way done shots:

Another big step was getting the Regency wood stove installed.  David and I had previously cleared a spot in the living room, drywalled, and then David built a hearth all in anticipation for the stove's imminent arrival. Here is another shot of David building the hearth... (We will be trimming out the edges after the floor is stripped, sanded, and stained so keep your eyes peeled for that near the end of the project.)

Well, the stove appeared after Thanksgiving and it truly is a great little stove!  We are very happy with it!  The stove came with a fan that turns on and off automatically.  It helps to blow the heat up behind and over the top of the stove into the room.  The black thing behind the stove is a heat shield. It allows the stove to be closer to the wall which was very attractive to us in such a small living space and protects the wall from heat.  You can put your hand down between the stove and that shield while the fire is rockin' and there is nothing but cool air there. It really does the job well!

This little stove heats our whole little house with very little effort.  David and I enjoy woodstoves and this one works well enough to heat the entire house and keep it heated throughout the day.  It seems to just make the bones of the house warmer as well our our bones!  Delta has moved her sleeping spot from behind our chairs on her bed... to right in front of the stove with her head up near the hearth! 

Our kitchen cabinets might not be done until January so we are shifting our order of jobs around.  We have lately been eyeballing the living room, and the dining/office area, as well as some more of the finish work in the areas we have already been working on.  One job that might get moved up much quicker is sanding, stripping, staining the floors.  It is a house size job and it is going to be a messy one but some of our finish work can not get done until the floors are finished. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November blows by... with lots of photos



Early November this year started on a very sad note... two sad notes actually.  My aunt Maureen Killion passed away, and so did my ex-sister-in-law Dana Ahner.  
Maureen Killion                                                                                        Dana Ahner

Their services were one right after the other.  My aunt Maureen was 80 years old and she was ready to leave us.  Maureen was married to my 'Uncle Brother'. Alan Duane "Buck" Killion. He was my mother's brother and the family knickname of 'Uncle Brother' summed up what he was to all of us... except of course for those who called him Dad and husband.  Maureen taught my sister Beth how to knit, something which Beth enjoys immensely and has always given her great pleasure.  Dana was 38 years old and had been ill as well but her death was certainly not expected.  She also had a spitfire sense of humor and was constantly reinventing herself.  She was not afraid to jump in and try something new.  I remember so clearly going to the airport near Seattle to pick her up after she got out of boot camp.  She was deployed as an airman to the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island in Washington.  I was so proud of her when I saw her come off that plane in her Naval uniform.  I first met her when she was 9 or 10 years old, and I see her face in the two young sons she left behind.  Both women leave behind families who grieve deeply.  They were sisters, mothers, daughters, aunties, friends, and in Maureen's case a grandmother and great-grandmother. They will be sorely missed.

As for David and I, we have been chipping away at the house... literally.  We finished the sheetrock in the bedroom and painted... this is a terrible picture as the lighting does not show the colors well at all.  I blame the photographer completely.

The ceiling is white (really it is), the now non-existent trim will be white, and the walls are a soft Wickham Grey from Benjamin Moore paints.  Here is the inspiration... you have to imagine our room trimmed and the floors done etc.  It will get there but maybe not quite with those exact built ins, but I got ideas.  Quick! To the Pinterest boards Batman! 
We also worked more on the side fence in the yard which added a ton of privacy to the yard.  There was just a chain link before between our house and the neighbor's back deck... and on the other side of the neighbor's yard was another chain link and a small apartment complex of what looks like maybe 8-10 units.  We could see from our yard right onto the deck next door and then into the laundry room of the apartments.  The fence changed that completely.

At the risk of sounding very Eddard Stark-ish 'Winter is coming' and that assisted greatly in the decision to get our heating situation under control.

We picked out a nice little woodstove to replace the old oil burning stove that was here and it was installed a few days after Thanksgiving.  Just in time we are thinking as it is a bit chilly in this mostly un-insulated little house.  Not Michigan chilly by any means, but California coast foggy chilly.  However... since the stove was coming in we had to change our focus quickly from the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen and instead sheetrock the area above and behind the stove and build a hearth.  So we put the brakes on the jobs we had started elsewhere and quickly switched gears to the hearth area. 
First the old weird painted brick face had to come off the wall behind the stove, then the old painted brick hearth itself needed to be chiseled off, then the wall paneling, then the fancy wallpaper, then a couple boards of the side solid paneling, so that we could insulate.  The wall boards were replaced, and then back to sheetrocking or drywall.... I have always called it sheetrock which might very well be incorrect but it is just a habit. 

Oh yeah... and David finally had to build the hearth.

If you have followed the blog for awhile you might recognize that hearth tile as the same from our Michigan house. Look here and here and scroll around a bit for a quick reference.  It is the same... the very same actually we have been dragging around a couple of boxes through our travels.

Once that section was done we moved on to a different jobs.  My parents came over to the coast for a couple days and after a quick inspection my Dad jumped in and helped David tear out a couple walls.

We waited to do this to hear from him which walls were load bearing or not.  We were pleased to learn those weird old partial walls were not load bearing so out they came and all of a sudden the house is opened up! 

Here is a shot of the old wallpaper found under the walls in the old dining room... it was different from the paper in the front room. Must have been pretty lively looking in this small house back in the day with all that colorful vine-y ribbon-y swag-y wallpaper.
Just this one act of tearing down walls and faux walls seems to have made a significant difference in being able to visualize the house completed.  Of course I think I thought that when we took that ramshackle weird tiny bedroom wall in the middle of the house too.

Once the walls were down, and the hearth was finished and ready for the stove we turned our attention back to the job we had put on hold.   

The bathroom... good grief. That weird overhead box tile thing, the 5 layers of Amityville Horror house paint over redwood tongue and groove, the HUGE redwood plank trim that covers up the old window which hid lead weights, and the blue painter tape that they decided to leave up after they painted.

I forgot to mention the "medicine cabinet".... wow.  You can kind of see it in the left picture there where it would be behind you when you stood at the sink facing the window brushing your teeth. Here it is below in all it's glory.

The thing is... the sink is centered on the edge of the window, so one can not really hang a mirror directly over the sink necessarily.  We are looking into a hanging mirror off the trim or an arm mirror that attaches next to the window that can be adjusted to where it is needed over the sink.  In these older houses sometimes you have to make do with some little quirks unless you feel like dropping big cash to redo things.  We don't so we adapt, overcome or just deal with it as is.

Well... that catches you up a little bit.  We remodel in a scattershot fashion so these posts will kinda be all over the place.  Once we are done I hope to do a final posting with simple before and after photos. 

There is one thing I would like to show you we 'found' in our backyard though before I close this post out that I just love to share with everyone.  Take a look at what we can see over our back fence... a little black skunk making it's daily trek!

Heh heh... I guess I should say The Skunk and along behind the engine are the viewing platform of happy tourists, and passenger cars... all the folks out for a view of the northcoast redwood and pine forests as well as a taste of a historical trip out to one of the old logging camps where they disembark and have lunch etc.   Kinda fun!


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