Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This is just a close up of the windows. I built the picture frame trim down on the ground and then just carried it up in one piece and installed it on the windows. This was easier, given the circumstances of the windows, than taking it up there and nailing it up a piece at a time. The inside trim has the linseed oil/beeswax finish on it. This is all a select pine that has been stained with Olympics new, custom-color premium stains. I really like them. You don't have to use a wood conditioner on soft woods with these stains. You can see in this photo the beginnings of my light fixtures. More about those later. I'm still working on the globes.
On the exterior of the windows I wanted a finish that would hold up to more strenuous conditions so I used a Spar varnish. This is the best type of clear exterior wood finish that looks really great too. This type was rated as an interior version also, so it had very little odor. I expect these windows to be open a lot so I extended the Spar inside on the sashes too. The large overhangs on these windows don't allow much rain to get on the windows but it can happen and during the winter, these windows will receive a lot of harsh sunlight as they are south facing and work to absorb heat for the house.
Allen installed a temporary kitchen sink that he had salvaged out of an old house he has been working on. He loves these old cast sinks but I hate them. It will do for now though. So, the water is working in all the house now; kitchen sink, toilet. No shower yet though. I imagine that the kitchen will be the very last thing to go in so it will be pretty rough for a while.
I think I need to add to my water filtration system too. I have one separate sediment filter now but I think I may need a finer one to help cut down on what goes into the last filter. The filter cartridges in the main one are $100.00 each so I must help extend it's life as much as possible. They said the cartridges should last 3 years but with these heavy rains lately we were getting a lot of sediment out of the spring. We raised the foot valve below the pump to about 4 feet off of the bottom of the spring and I think this helped also. I also need to shock the water system once before we really start drinking it to make sure and flush out any bacteria. At times, the water has sat in the system for a few days without new water being pulled in and it got a little smelly at one point. We try to run the water a good bit every day just to keep things fresh.
I will try to post again soon; it seems like I have been very unorganized lately but I think I am getting back on track. I am kind of running out of things to do that don't require a lot of money so I have been trying to assess things and see what can come next.
Edit: Allen says I have to correct myself about the sink. It is not a cast iron sink but enameled steel. So there.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
We have set the toilet but have encountered a problem with that. Here, Allen is removing the center of the toilet flange. It's made to pop out like that; they make it in there so that debris does not get thrown down your drain during construction. The toilet is left over from one of Allen's jobs and it's practically brand new. It's been several years since that job and we both forgot why the owners didn't want it. Well, we found out after hooking it up. There is a slight crack in the upper part of the bowl, so it leaks! But, I have various products for repairing porcelain and ceramics so I drained the toilet, let it dry and then patched the crack with a glazing material that you don't have to fire. Should work fine but it has to cure for at least 10 hours so it will be tomorrow before I know if it is OK. But that's what you get when you use reclaimed material. Most of the time stuff is in great shape but sometimes you do have an issue to deal with like that. Some people won't accept anything but perfect stuff but it doesn't bother me. The crack is on the side away from the door and under the seat, so no one will probably see it anyway.
Here we have put the wax ring on, note the kind that has the little plastic ring built in. Allen thinks these are better than just the wax. I know this is just riveting information but I don't have photos of much else! If you have never installed a toilet before though, this might come in handy someday because you never know.......
Allen secured the brass bolts in the toilet flange and then placed the toilet carefully down over them. It helps here if you have someone (me!) guide the bolts up through the holes in the toilet bottom because he was mostly concerned with getting the wax ring in the right spot. Then you press down evenly on the toilet to squish the toilet down over the wax ring. Allen just sits on it backwards; that mashes it down pretty good. Then you put the washers and nuts on the bolts and carefully tighten to snug the toilet down. I grouted under the toilet instead of just caulking because the slate, being natural stone and therefore of varying thickness, left a little bigger gap between the toilet and floor than say, VCT or linoleum would.
Well, hopefully my next post will be a little more exciting or at least more aesthetically pleasing. I am about to start setting light fixtures on the clerestory wall and I am going to be making these myself so you all have to help me and tell me if they look stupid or not. I'll show you what I'm thinking of doing; it's one of the best recycling projects I've come up with. Anybody out there drink a lot of wine?
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Otherwise the garden is doing pretty good. The okra is way up and starting to bloom. Way too many squash. I knew better than to plant 6 hills of yellow and 5 zucchini. I hope to have some watermelons this year though! They are in the back next to the corn. I used composted cow manure and seaweed this year and it seems to be working well. The seaweed is supposed to help the soil retain moisture through very dry periods. Hhhmm,, maybe. I watered some during the drought but not excessively. I have also managed to grow eggplant this year too! I have never been successful at that before and am quite excited. Allen hates it but I love it. He said he never understood why I couldn't grow in in years past because he always watered it for me....if you know what I mean. He better have been joking. Here are a few things I just picked; yellow squash, of course, 8-ball zucchini (great stuffed), my eggplant! I have been getting loads of Lemon Boy tomatoes, a red tomato ( not sure what kind), green beans and my cucumbers are finally starting to go.
Hey, lots of you like puzzles and trying to identify strange objects so here's one for you. Can any of you tell me what these are? I love to collect them but don't think I'll be stringing any on a necklace to wear. They make some even bigger that I want!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Well, first Allen installed the Durock over the plywood subfloor. It is 1/2" cement board and he glued it and screwed it down in about a 12" grid pattern. This gives you a very stable surface to adhere the tile to because with stone or ceramic tile ( anything you would grout), you don't want any movement in the floor when it's walked on. We kind of had to piece it as we were being real conservative in buying material so we put that area, in the upper left hand corner, where it will be under the sink.
For the remainder of the project I was on my own! Allen got me started and then went to mow but I wanted to do this myself anyway. I have never installed stone flooring before. So, I got all my slate together and found the pattern. Fortunately, I had presence of mind enough to save this diagram from 8 years ago that comes on all boxes of tile that call for a certain pattern. Now, most real stone setters would probably laugh their butt off at how I did this but I felt it was this easiest way for me. I have no idea of the "proper" way to set stone but that leaves you free to create your own system. Yeah. Ok.....
Next, I just laid out the whole pattern in the room, making sure to center it both ways. I was so lucky that it just worked out right. I had about 1 1/4" margin on either side (against the wall). It fit perfectly long ways. It was like the tile was just made for the room and I had just exactly enough! I drew a control line down one side to keep that straight and checked it for square every so often. There is some humoring in here and there with this. You want it square off your walls for the most part because that is where it will show up. I kept a 1/4" grout joint throughout.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I don't think I have shown a picture of the exterior of the house in a while. Not much has changed there. All of the block that is going to be laid is there though. Charles came this past week and finished that up. This photo looks kind of messy though; I need to do a good clean-up. Lots is happening on the inside of the house though. I finished the ceiling, hallelujah!!!! We are going to be installing the slate floor in the bathroom on Sunday. More walls are primed and ready for finish paint.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
On the previous post I mentioned VOCs and Pablo asked what that was so I thought I'd provide a little information to all on that. This is a very simple definition I found.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are the fumes that you smell while you paint, and sometimes several days after. A VOC is an organic chemical that becomes a breathable gas at room temperature. Some examples are benzene, ethylene glycol, vinyl chloride and mercury.
VOCs in paint usually come from additives to the paint, such as fungicides, biocides, color, and spread ability agents. High levels of VOCs in paints can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and health problems in the very old, very young and in those with chronic illnesses.
Concerns about air pollution and hazardous waste have greatly reduced the use of oil-based paints which can release high amounts of VOCs and contain toxic solvents. Alkyd-based paints and latex paints are much safer, but some still have high levels of VOCs.
One of the things I am trying to accomplish with this house is to build an environment using all natural materials wherever possible. You know, untreated wood, stone, natural fabrics etc. I'm trying to severely limit the amount of plastic which will be in the house, which are another source of VOCs and other nasty things. Besides that, it has no soul. Carpet, plywood and some paints also emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen, so no carpet anywhere in the house. Now, I have used plywood but as of now there are just no other sources available in this area for an alternative product.
Most of my family laughs at me for being concerned about such things and actually taking these steps but just by coincidence, I'm the only one who does not take any prescription medications whatsoever, is not overweight, can work the hell out of most anybody and am often told that I look younger than I am..... if they don't see my gray hair! And I have a happy personality (most of the time.... hush Allen!) Now, whether this is due to just eating healthy and staying active or to avoiding these products I mentioned also, I don't know but, you know, it doesn't hurt. To me, if you are surrounded be natural, inviting furnishings you just feel better.
I am continuing to work on the ceiling finish and priming walls today. I will try to have more photos soon. I am trying to make good use of my time off but I always feel like I'm not doing enough. Allen has been working his butt off under the house leveling out the dirt so that we can pour a slab under there for my studio. I'll get photos of that too.