Wednesday, November 30, 2022

One for the Annals

Summer construction days are memorable. The heat, the eating outdoors, and the storm-watching. 

So many interesting cloud formations. And would they come our way? I have mentioned before that often rain is over there. But on this particular day surprised us.

One of us was on the scaffolding, and couple of us werew oohing and ahhing over the lightning over the rimrock opposite us, and trying to photograph it,, and others of the family were scattered in various spots.  One huge flash and a boom surrounding us and we all sprinted inside in seconds. The ladder on the porch was rattling and trembling perhaps in fright. Things were getting blown around, and hail came in vertically and hit the front windows (recall that our porch is 10 feet deep!).

Then torrents of rain. All our materials stored on the porch were soaked. 
A river ran down the side yard. 

And especially memorable... it rained INSIDE the house. A waterfall poured in from the top of the front door, streaming down all our drywall and on to the newly stained floor! The culprit was the upstairs window sills, which had not yet been caulked. Where else was it going to come out? All the newly installed trim or???  The thought of all that water inside our walls was upsetting, as you can imagine. 

 It will go down in the annals of Housebuilding History for us!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Why you should Build a SHOP first


This is what happened to the laundry room while the flooring was going in. We had no "shop" so all tools went in whatever room was available at the time. Combine that mess with the fact that we were trying to function as a homeschooling family, and have a life beyond construction. Then throw in cooking in this room vs the RV during a really hot summer, add a baby to the mix and you have a MESS! I am not sure I have fully recovered from it. 

To top it off, the tile floor in this room proved a cool spot in the heat of August. Often you would find one of the family on the floor, either a construction worker asleep (a roll of Costco paper towels at his head) after lunch, or a smaller child with a toy. Some even ate on the floor on the hottest days. On the other side of this photo is a fridge and a freezer (the RV unit was far too small).

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Getting the Flooring Upstairs

As much as I love the plywood floors and wanted them on both stories, it was too late to change the order for our upstairs flooring. We did regular tongue-and-groove fir (WAY better looking than the gnarly plywood) but I wished it could all match through the whole house. However, the second story kind of has its own “look” which is not as rustic as the first story. We were not doing the “General Store Floor” look up there anyway. I had hopes that at the least the floor would be easier to finish (less splinters to glue down!). 

Getting the long boards up there was quite an interesting family event. 

The children were always glad when they could help with the house build. 

The boards handily came with cardboard and plastic "toys" to keep one amused for a while. 

Instead of turning the stair corner/landing to the second floor, the most direct way was used. 

No walls were dented and no windows broken! Because this was not stable plywood, the boards had to sit upstairs for a while and "acclimate" before they could be installed. 

This is a fast-forward from that acclimation time. The flooring was nailed in and actually made the second story look quite old-fashioned, so it did not feel too different from the downstairs. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

 This is close to autumnal colors I think...the high desert at sunset! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of many blessings!

Monday, November 14, 2022

Some Other Things


A bit of a random post about other things that were done that summer. The west side of the house had some fancy white underboards (I am sure there is a word for them) attached. I do not understand how anyone can work that far up off the ground just standing on a ladder. I am so grateful that someone can do it though!
The time came when the extra construction stuff in the back went to the dumpster. We salvage what we can but still the trash piles up. 

A job well done. 

These lights make me happy and sad. Happy because they look great, are adjustable, and just want I wanted to light up this bookshelf wall. Sad because we miscalculated where they were to be installed and they are too close to the wall. In order to redo them, the painted drywall ceiling will have to be cut, patched, mudded, sanded, primed, painted... at this point I think we would rather build narrower bookshelves. But anyway, don't they make a nice glow?

A "helper."

Here's how the reading nook turned out. I was not enthused about an arch because I thought it looked like a doghouse. The little ones don't care though and they like hiding in it sometimes. 

Our drywall pros did a great job, but this was probably the most difficult spot of all. I wasn't sure if they would volunteer to come back!

Friday, November 11, 2022

A Bit of Earth and Sky

During a project that seemed to consume all our time, it was nice to take walks and get away from it all. So let me take you along on a few!

When I first discovered bitterroot, I thought it was so alien-like. But then to see it when the blossoms unfurl!

It has become one of my favorite flowers.

A beautiful view from just above the neighborhood and quite aways above the valley. 

That year the lupines were in abundance. 

A pretty sunset glow

We once calculated that this is about 3600 above the sea. 

We hike to what we have dubbed "levels." First level is our house up to the flat spot where we can see the Three Sisters mountains. Second level is up a steep and slippery rocky shale slope to another flat spot, and third level is the very top of this hill where the best view awaits. It is a tiring hike though!

All kinds of interesting rocks are up that way, and once in a while a new wildflower is spotted that doesn't grow on the other "levels."

One day we saw some interesting sky-art.

It was like the opposite of sun rays...

Was it smoke? Yet it seemed to have no bottom part on the ground.

It lingered and lingered and then faded away as the sun set. 

Well I hope that was a diverting break from saws and planks of wood. Next up is TILE, oh the joy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Laundry Room Floor

After he had practiced on the water heater closet and the half bath, our son tackled the much bigger project of the laundry room. His brother came in and laid the heating system, which was supposed to work much better under tile Jumping ahead, I can tell you that those "spreaders" are still too far apart to make an even heat, but it is the warmest room in the house. 

The orange underlayment is like a large thick honey-comb. My son was keenly interested in knowing everything about tile and researched all the best "practices" in the industry. He found experts on youtube and compared their advice. He even asked for the North American Tile Handbook for Christmas. 

During this time one the boys' friends from Alaska dropped by to check on us. He is such a help every time he shows up. He helped build the jig for the stair treads, help set the front door, and when he came this time he helped re-set the front door after we had undone it.  
Everyone needs friends from Alaska. They know how to do things. 

Now the excitement starts with the test run.

This concrete-style tile has a slight "pillow" edge. My son was concerned about "lippage" (those unlevel tiles that will trip you) but he did a good job keeping it to a minimum. Pretty good for a beginner!

As stated in another post, this was a clearance tile from Dal Tile ($1 each). Concrete-looking tile was not my first choice, but it actually does well in the laundry room. 

This is also the "mud room" for the snow-suit entrance. It is very nice to be able to corral all that snow-melt in one room and have the heated floor to aid the removal of crusted ice from gloves. 
The floor turned out very well and has proved very durable. I have accidently dropped heavy things on it and my thought (while I am gaining courage to open my eyes) is usually "You have cracked it for sure this time!" So far it has been okay. I would just sit down and cry if anything happened to this floor!

And now for the glamorous finish! Yeah. Well it is a utility room after all.


Monday, November 7, 2022

Adventures in Tile: the half bath

 One tiny room has never felt "just right" and that is the half-bath. You can do a lot with small spaces, those are places you can "make a statement" or "an impact" if you will for less money and less commitment than a large room. But it has taken a while to finish it. The walls had been white, then aqua blue (horrible) and then white again. And then to decide on the flooring... at least it wasn't going to be terribly expensive to tile!

Trying some things out. The large marble-look wasn't quite our "thing." 

We tried several other tiles and configurations of tiles and in the end the gray squares won.

Dry setting to check for fit and cut accuarcy. It was decided to give them a "border."

Tiles set! You see how much nicer it is to frame them with a border.

Tile was then grouted.

It turned out well!

But now we thought we could do something bold, such as paint the walls a dark color. We chose gray.
Do you know how hard it is to match gray???
And the color changes when you turn a light on or off, and whether you are in Lowe's looking at it or at home. 
It was called "Mark Twain House Ombra Gray." Not because we like Mark Twain but because it seemed to be the one that matched the tile. For a little while it does match, if you aren't looking too close.

The floor turned brown when I got this room painted. Grr. Not only that, I discovered the difficulty in painting dark over light: there are parts that just don't get covered of the previous paint and wall texture. Unless I take a watercolor brush in there and fill in all the white wall spots. 
Will this wall get yet another coat of paint? This isn't the last you will hear about this little room!