Friday, October 28, 2022
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
As the floor marched across the top of the radiant heating, in the delicate process of nailing it down, our man-in-charge (one of our sons) became quite concerned about the amount of dirt everyone was tracking in on the heat spreaders.
Rules and regulations, even blockades began to appear. When he got to the entry, we weren’t allowed to come in the front door. Then when he let us come through, he had the dining room and kitchen blocked off. We were bringing in too much dirt. Because of this blockade, we could no longer access the extra refrigerator, but he would just go in with his (supposedly) pristine shoes and fetch whatever we needed for meals. He then became the “Ruler of Egypt” because we had to go ask him for corn and bread.
(I cannot recall at this moment about the signs on the door but I will try to remember for you later. I think it had something to do with another project)
The stuff in the kitchen was moved and that was the final bit of plywood flooring nailed down! You can see in this photo that some of the boards were much lighter than others, and I will tell you in a later post how we dealt with that. While this post is not about the final finish, I will let you see another sneak peak of our color decision making process.
Monday, October 24, 2022
Friday, October 14, 2022
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
The secret to making the plywood floor look like it is NOT plywood, is to vary widths and mix 'em up. My sons cut these boards 7", 5" and then threw in some 4" widths. It was the perfect mix.
Now we had the fun of deciding colors.
(Would you look at those character-full cracks?)
Our choices were dark, honey, clear, white-washed, whatever that one is called that turns gray (is that walnut?) and black. I was using an "eco" stain brand and ordered some sampler bottles.
Monday, October 10, 2022
[Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to my Northern readers! I always say you have the best date for a Thanksgiving gathering. I hope you are enjoying it.]
I have been wanting to share this post with you for a while! I have so much to say it will take several posts to get to it!
In the midst of the Tile Decisions Difficulties, we were also making decisions on flooring. As with everything we attempt to do, it was complicated.
First of all, we had radiant heat for our floor. That was not a bad decision, but the best way to cover a heating system like this is with tile or a spreadable, lightweight concrete type product. Tile was just too harsh of a surface for our living spaces, and the quote for the pour-in stuff was more than we could swallow at the time. It also would have raised the floor level a bit more than planned because of the thickness needed, and that was going to maybe cause a problem with the stair landing. That would have been okay I guess, as the tile that we were going to put in bathrooms and such was already messing with our finished floor levels (we had not considered the "sandwich" that tile takes when we were planning). Still the price was daunting.
I visited a Cracker Barrel restaurant that had moved into our area, and wouldn't you know I was taking pictures of the floors to show my husband. What about this wood-look tile, honey?
We had to look around for another type of floring. Wood floor has very little ability to spread that radiant heat, but people were saying it could work. Engineered flooring is listed as an option online for radiant heated floors. So we started to look at prices. I have already mentioned that my husband found the quality of some of that flooring rather poor. We looked at just wood, but that comes with its own set of problems that have to do with the weather and again, prices seemed so high for hardwood.
My vision for our flooring, especially in the kitchen, was something like an old General Store floor. Something from the 1820s pioneer era that had been walked on for hundreds of years and had that aged, last-forever patina. I knew that with my family's daily usage, it would get all the scratches and dings just like an antique floor, so may as well go for that look in the first place. We were going to be stuck with softwood anyway because of the price of hardwood.
I also wanted very wide boards, like a tree-slice width! We liked the look of wide boards, but the wider you go the more you pay in the flooring world.
I started looking for more options online, and looking for this little idea that popped into my head: what if we just sliced up plywood? It's like engineered flooring. You can get some really nice plywood too. I found very few online who were actually doing it, or doing it to a tasteful level. Plywood can look like giant zebra stripes or tiger stripes on the floor. The color contrast when stained can be too strong with that effect. But the idea kept with me, and eventually (I do not know how!) I convinced my husband to try it.
So a-shopping we will go, and we were of course looking for really, really nice plywood. Yikes again on prices. Then one day I went to the local lumber outlet store and saw some really cheap, awful, beat-up, horrid stuff. Splinters abounded. It looked like it had been chewed up by a dinosaur. Literally had holes in the top layer. But, it had character! And, it was around $25 for a 4x8 sheet. We picked the best of the stack to bring home and play with it.
I will show you more of our experiment in the next post, including what it looked like with various stains and laid out on the floor.
Saturday, October 8, 2022
I am not sure if I covered this subject yet (hah) but when the drywall was up, and "mudded," it was my job to get it "dusted" so I could prime it. The dusting didn't go so well in places. It is harder than you think! If you put too much damp cloth on it, you will basically turn the mud back to mud and it comes off. If you don't do enough, your paint will not stick, as you see here:
We have a few family and friend birthdays to celebrate in October. I'm prepping for one this afternoon. I've been thinking about the typical USA birthday traditions and wondering how they became so prevalent as they are so humiliating! Especially for children's parties. If you ponder them for a moment, you may come to my conclusion that they are odd little rituals that we could just as well leave off.
Did you ever have to endure the "birthday spanking to grow on" when you were a child? Sometimes at your birthday party in front of all the little kids? Yes, I know it never hurt, but what was the point? Is it leftover from some superstition, or just to make you wait longer for the cake?
Did you ever do "pin the tail on the donkey" or "blind man's bluff" or something similar at a party? You know, the one where you are blindfolded, disoriented, and then became the object of everyone's hilarity as you groped around?
What about birthday hats? They are awfully similar to dunce caps.
Blowing out the candles? Who started the tradition of melting wax all over the top of someone's cake, and then asking them to blow germs all over it before people ate it?
The Birthday Song-- can you think of a more embarrassing tune? I have refused to be sung to at all for the past 4 years. It is liberating on my special day not to be the focus of that song! Or any song! I don't like standing there with everyone staring at me singing a song that I am not supposed to participate in. It is usually sung out of tune and at the wrong pitch (nobody tunes up before they start singing it, have you noticed?) and led at a glacial pace. It drags, it sags. Folks, it's just not working anymore. But please don't substitute anything; it's just plain embarrassing to be sung at.
Now I realize that some folks are just sentimental and these things are part of their good memories. For example, my family still has a shrunken, melted mass of plastic that decorated a cake top for 55 years. It was originally a little cowboy on a horse, from a set of toys. It rode to the top of a child's cake and continued to be exposed to flames until the poor horse and rider were unrecognizable to anyone not "in the know." But to have that melted mass on the cake was important to grandpa, to give him a good feeling I guess, and good memories of his family's birthdays gone by. Maybe I am not that sentimental.
I think that Americans are more and more "think outside of the box" type people and can come up with better birthday traditions, as indeed a lot of families have. When I was growing up, we got to pick a birthday trip in our beautiful and diverse state of Oregon. The coast, the desert, the state's tallest mountain and the world's deepest lake were all a few hours away for an afternoon to remember. I count my teen years by which places we were at for each birthday.
My own family have rather quiet home birthdays, partly because of construction (I have a lot of photos with messy or unfinished backgrounds!). We pick out a special meal, and a dessert. We sometimes have a pie instead of a cake (today we're making a chocolate cake upon request. Last year it was donuts!). My children have grown up with a candle in their own personal slice because we are germphobes (but still I wonder why we do even that candle thing?). We don't have humiliating party games. I can't get my better half to quit singing the birthday song to the kids, but if they are young enough they will sink under the table while it is sung. So I suppose we have a foot in the past, but I am open to other ideas!
Which humiliating birthday rituals have you left off? What have you substituted?
Friday, October 7, 2022
It is a bit late in the year but these were in my construction photo file and I just love to share wildflowers! So I'm going to share them in the order I found them in my files.
We live in a High Desert and not a lot of moisture (less than a foot a year). That particular spring of construction seemed greener, and we had an abundance of wildflowers just up the hill from the site.
And there you have it, a rare cloudy day in the High Desert.