We’ve been busy again at Shadowood trying to get all the finishing touches done.

Sealing the grout

Sealing the grout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sealed the grout on the glass block wall in the shower and finally got to try it out. It’s GREAT!

Inside the shower

Inside the shower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shower spa is awesome, from the rain head to the jet sprays. They all work just great, and are certainly a wonderful way to end a day of hard work.

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We added a towel hanging bar right outside the shower to finish it off.

Next, we painted the railings on the utility porch.

Painting utility porch railings

Painting utility porch railings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utility porch railings

Utility porch railings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll use this porch for wood storage for the fireplace and we’ll screen it in later…probably in the springtime. Just because it’s a utility porch doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.

Finished fireplace trim

Finished fireplace trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the fireplace, we added the final trim to the mantel and it really changes the look.  We’re really going to enjoy this in the winter, too.

Next, we moved to the sun porch.  There’s still lots of work to do out here, but we wanted to get the windows in as soon as possible before bad weather.

Prepainting the windows

Prepainting the windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re using french doors instead of windows, so we painted the exteriors and stained the interiors before installing them. They are made with plastic wrapped around the glass on both sides, so it made the painting a lot easier. Just paint and remove the plastic. Nice clean edges.

Sun porch windows

Sun porch windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had already prepared the outside and weather-proofed around the frames, so all we had to do was apply caulk, set them in and caulk the exterior on the edges.

Caulking the windows

Caulking the windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were 8 of them, and John just did them one at a time.  He had to hang out  on the last two because they are above a long drop to the basement. Sure was nice to get those old sheets off the windows.  This is going to be a nice room.

Now, I think the next project has made the biggest change of anything we have done…the flooring in the rest of the house.  We took a “stay-cation” and it took us 5 days to do the three rooms.

Hardwood locking flooring

Hardwood locking flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started in the bedroom.  First we installed a quarter inch thick cork underlayment.  We’re using a locking hardwood  floating floor because of the radiant floor heat.  Regular thick hardwood would warp and buckle because of the heat.

Bedroom flooring

Bedroom flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was hard getting started and making sure we had everything perfectly straight.  It was also hard staying on our knees for 5 days, but the finished product was worth it.

Hallway

Hallway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first day, we only got half of the bedroom done.  We moved on out into the hall and across to the living room toward the kitchen.

Day 4

Day 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By this time, we were not only tired, but we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Floor outlet

Floor outlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We installed a floor outlet in the living room and kept moving what little furniture is here out of the way and back into place. The kitchen was hard, but on day 5, we finished it and put the refrigerator back into it’s space.

Living room back to bedroom

Living room back to bedroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are sooooooo pleased with the look, and it’s great because it’s DONE!!

Of course, we still have to put in baseboards and shoe molding, but that’s a piece of cake compared to the floors. I think we’re almost ready for the last inspection!

 

Well, we  passed our inspection and the building department finally granted us a “Certificate of Occupancy” or CO.  It’s been a long time coming, but we made it through.  Now, one more inspection from the bank and we’re cleared to move in!  The building department is concerned with safety, but the bank wants all the trim and “pretty stuff” done before they sign off on our new house.

Praying mantis

Praying mantis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we wanted to involve everyone and every creature in praying for that …hence, the praying mantis came and blessed the kitchen window!  The cat brings us animal sacrifices quite often, but they’re too gross to take pictures….Ha Ha.

We have a little more work to do on the door trim and still have to put the hardwood floors in the bedroom, living room and kitchen, but we’re getting there.

Last week, we built the glass block wall in our shower.  That was a monumental task.

Building glass block shower wall

Building glass block shower wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blocks are anchored to the floor with metal straps that are imbedded in the mortar.  Then every other row of blocks is tied together with horizontal metal reinforcing rods.

Filling the joints

Filling the joints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mortar had to be packed in tightly and wiped down to smooth the joints.

Top of wall detail

Top of wall detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seemed to take forever, but we eventually made it to the top and topped the whole wall with more slate tiles to match the shower walls. Whew!

Finished wall

Finished wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t even estimate the number of hours we’ve spent in this shower and have yet to actually use it!

We got a little rain one day and got to witness the way the rain chains work.

Rain chain at front

Rain chain at front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are used instead of a downspout to direct the water in the gutters down to the ground below.

Rain chain

Rain chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much more fun than a downspout.  We bought this one and I’ve been working on a home made version for the back porch chains.  It’s another fun thing to do and I’ve really enjoyed “playing” with it.

We’re just about ready for the flooring now, so stay tuned.  More fun is on the way!

 

Here we go again.  More phone problems!  The old green phone ( you know, the one we just installed ) stopped working and somehow managed to mess up the whole line and knock out all our service.  We could call out, but no one could call in and the line was full of static.  They fixed it again and we had to get a new phone.

New (old) phone

New (old) phone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We thought, now where does anyone buy a wall phone these days?????? How about Walmart.com?

Remember these?

Remember these?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep!  Works great and brings back fond? memories.  It will also take your change. (Gotta pay for all this new stuff some way!)

Great place for pocket change

Great place for pocket change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only thing missing is re-dial, caller ID, hold….etc. Anyway, we think it’s kinda fun.

 

We took care of the 3 minor “glitches” holding up our final approval by the building department last weekend, so  today we got gutters.

Big green gutter machine

Big green gutter machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guys arrived this morning and started measuring and extruding gutters right away.

Trim paint finished

Trim paint finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John had finished painting the last of the trim work on Friday so we could cover it up with the gutters.

Longest gutter stretching down the driveway

Longest gutter stretching down the driveway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The longest run had to be made down the driveway as it was too long for the machine, two trucks and my car all in front of the house.

Front downspout

Front downspout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are only 3 downspouts because we didn’t put gutters across the back or on the upper roof  in the loft. They left room for covering the porch piers with rocks.

Installation in progress

Installation in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guys did a super job and the color match to the trim was really great.

Utility porch

Utility porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The building department was really only concerned with the water removal on the utility porch side, so I’m sure this will take care of that.

Utility porch

Back porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had them put only a short gutter over the back steps and there will be rain chains on either side of the steps that will carry the rain into the fern beds.  Working on those rain chains now, so later on that picture.

All-in-all, we’re pleased with the work.

House front with gutters

House front with gutters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, calling for that final inspection first thing Monday morning!!!

We’re still doing lots of DETAIL work.  This past week we built a video tape shelf for the niche downstairs next to where the TV will hang.  I know! Video tapes are so…..yesterday!  But, we have a large collection and a few spare video players, so who needs the latest technology for that?

 

Building the "niche" storage

Building the “niche” storage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “niche” is just a pocket that formed when we poured the foundation for the living room fireplace.

 

Spacing between the shelves

Spacing between the shelves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried not to waste any storage space in this house, so John set about to build a shelf unit to house as many of our tape collection as we could stuff in there.

 

Installed in niche space

Installed in niche space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it holds about 115 tapes (about 1/3 to 1/4 of our collection)!

Movies anyone?

 

Loaded with video tapes

Loaded with video tapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We already had a large collection and then I inherited some more that were collected by my late aunt and uncle, Don and Maxine McBee.

 

13 single tapes per shelf

13 single tapes per shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They make for a nice “man cave” addition!

We also installed the cork flooring in the upstairs rooms and hallway.

 

Top of stairs with cork flooring

Top of stairs with cork flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow!  The place sure looks better with real floors instead of the ugly sub-floors.

 

Upstairs trim and cork flooring

Upstairs trim and cork flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cork will make it much quieter downstairs when someone is walking around up there.  It feels really good underfoot and looks great too.

 

Library/loft

Library/loft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cork flooring is no only quiet, but also holds heat in the winter and is naturally fire, mold and insect resistant.  We think it’s a great choice for a library room and the small bedroom. We’ll add some bookcases along the knee wall in the library later, but for move-in purposes, we’re pretty much done up there! Yea!

 

Upstairs trim and cork flooring

Upstairs trim and cork flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loft view from bathroom

Loft view from bathroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the pictures show, we also got most of the door trim and baseboards installed upstairs, too.

We had another bout of phone/internet problems again, so kinda slow on the posting.  We’re working so hard to finish now that it’s hard to remember to take pictures…and without them, no blog.

We called for a final inspection last week and were already told that virtually nobody passes on the first try, so we weren’t an exception.  Only four things to correct…3 of them minor.  The fourth was what I’ll call a major minor!  We knew we needed some guttering at the utility porch, but were hoping they would not require it for the final.  We were wrong.

So, we continue to “do our thing” and will call for the final again as soon as the guttering is done.

So close now!!!

There are so many details that we are working on now to finish everything.

Ferns at back

Ferns at back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spring rains brought out all the flowers and plantings that we did last year, and we are pleased.

More back porch ferns

More back porch ferns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ferns around the back porch are especially nice. They soften the edges of the porch and are so inviting.

Out front, the plants are thriving also.

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m especially pleased to finally have hollyhocks at the front corner of the house.

Front flower bed

Front flower bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbines, hostas and ferns

Columbines, hostas and ferns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also daisies and day lilies and blue hydrangeas.

We’ve got most of the doors trimmed inside, too.

Master BR closet trim

Master BR closet trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powder room door trim

Powder room door trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downstairs hall trim

Downstairs hall trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work is almost done in the downstairs bathroom.

Downstairs bathroom cabinet

Downstairs bathroom cabinet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John installed a cabinet with a towel bar under it for hanging the bath mat.

Kitchen shelf

Kitchen shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We built a shelf for the kitchen cabinets and are ready to finish the lighting over the sink.

Finished stairs

Finished stairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stairs got a coat of polyurethane.

I think we’re really close to getting our final inspection now. There’s one more big project to do before we call the building department for inspection, and we are hoping to do that next week!  Yippee!

The punch list is really getting shorter now.

downstairs bathroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got most of the trim done in the downstairs bathroom and installed the vanity and sink.

 

Vanity top and sink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sink is painted to look like marble, so the tile was chosen to match one of the colors in the sink.  We still have to install towel bars and TP holder and a couple pieces of baseboard trim, but this room is basically done.

Finishing the cabinetry

Finishing the cabinetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent some time finishing more cabinetry for the den/home theater room.  One cabinet will hold electronic equipment and such.  The other cabinet will be installed in a niche, and will act as a closet and storage area.  We still have to do the Murphy bed finishing and attach all securely to the wall.  It will make a nice “apartment” downstairs for overnight guests or someday could be used as “caretaker” quarters.

 

We spent quite a bit of time working downstairs. We painted the hallway and kitchen walls and the “tunnel” to the outside. No pictures yet.

Purple azaleas and redbud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also moved to the yard for some work.  The azaleas and daffodils bloomed and all the perennials made their comeback.

Bank beside steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camilia

Camellia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irises at front

Irises at front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring flowers

Spring flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbines, hostas and ferns

Columbines, hostas and ferns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, what a difference a few weeks can make this time of the year!

Side steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While enjoying the sunshine, I did some work on the steps to go from ground level to the lower level.  This is just a dry fit.

Dry-fitting the steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stones will have to be set with mortar to insure they don’t heave and separate.  There will be a patio at the bottom of the steps.

Boraxo dispenser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got the Boraxo dispenser and soap dish installed in the laundry room.

Coat closet doors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John hung the closet doors on the coat closet, painted the interior and installed the shelf and hanger bar.

Coat closet interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, we just need to do the door trim on that.

Brackets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We installed some brackets in the master bath today.  There are large brackets framing the tub, and smaller brackets at the shower entrance and at the toilet.

Master bath trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We still have to trim that window over the tub and build the glass block wall around the shower. Whew!  We’re closer every day!

 

 

Yay!  We’re connected again.  We took another hit to the modem in a storm a couple of weeks ago and lost our internet again.  Hopefully, those days are over now.

Phone installed

Phone installed

The phone guys came out and connected the new house (which is grounded) and brought us a new modem for the old house (which was not grounded). Now, since they’re wired together, we’re hoping both are protected.

 

 

 

We’ve been working on a lot of trim and detail work, so everything takes a long time now.  We started with the stair railings.

Downstairs railing

Downstairs railing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made them out of a 2 x 4 connected to the wall and topped off with a 2 x 6. We rounded the corners on the top edge and routed a space on the back where the fingers can grasp and hold.

Finished railing

Finished railing

 

The downstairs railings continued the pickled pine to match the trim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upstairs railing presented a little more of a challenge since the walls are not on the same plane at the top and bottom.

Support for railing

Support for railing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of building code rules about stairs and railings, so it was not an easy job.  The railing also spans a hollow wall at the bottom where there is a pocket door into the powder room.

Upstairs railing

Upstairs railing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We used the same type of railing upstairs, but we routed a groove on the back and the face for a little fancier look.

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John filled the screw holes with buttons.

Post cap

Post cap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also made toppers for 5 outside porch posts.

We have to have all the trim on the windows and doors on the outside of the house done for inspection, so even though the sun porch will be completely enclosed, the doors and windows are considered to be exterior.

Sun porch window trim

Sun porch window trim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worked this week to do that trim.

Sun porch door and window

Sun porch door and window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have one more sink in the downstairs bathroom to install and then we’ll mostly have painting to do.  We’re almost there!

We’re working our way down the steps this week.

Installing bead board

Installing bead board

John installed the bead board on both sides of the lower stairs.

Work in progress

Work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really changes the look.  It doesn’t feel like you’re descending into a dark dungeon because the finish keeps it light.

Trim and runner

Trim and runner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After finishing the boards, we installed trim pieces at the top.  I worked some more on the “rug runner” and finished the portion above the landing.  Sometimes it’s not convenient to have the stair painting going on when you’re having to go up and down the stairs to work on other things, so I start and stop a lot.

 

Painted runner

Painted runner

It’s all worth it, though when things turn out as planned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We worked some more in the basement.

Hall ceiling

Hall ceiling

The ceiling in the hall is painted and finished now.  The air exchanger is in the hall ceiling and keeps the air circulating so it doesn’t get stale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also worked on sorting the co-ax and telephone wires that will originate in the mechanical room and send out service to the rest of the house.  We don’t have a cable option and cell phones don’t work very well here, so we really must have a land line.  We wired each floor level for phones and data and they all come together through the ceiling in the mechanical room.

Co-ax & phone wires

Co-ax & phone wires

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We added a cabinet to the wall there. The cabinet will house all the devices to send the signals.

Cabinet for wire connections

Cabinet for wire connections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully we can keep them all clean and protected there.

 

The punch list is shrinking rapidly now and hopefully we can get our final inspection soon.  We’ve made it through yet another winter, and as the spring flowers begin to peek out of the ground, it gives me hope that all our efforts will soon pay off and we can finally move into our dream house.

It was a beautiful day for working inside today.  It snowed about 3″ but the radiant floor heat is working well and it was nice and warm inside.  I was back to working on the stairs.  In the meantime, I had another birthday!

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

Jenny, Tim and Willow sent flowers, and they have lasted a long time.  I’ve really enjoyed them.

tiles for stair risers

tiles for stair risers

 

 

 

 

 

 

John cut some tiles for the stair risers and we laid them out in the living room floor to seal them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sculpting stair tiles

sculpting stair tiles

I sculpted one tile for each step using the Dremel tool. The slate is soft and carves pretty easily.  I did mostly leaves, some pine cones and a dogwood bloom.  They turned out pretty well.

 

 

 

 

lower steps and landing

lower steps and landing

We also did tile on the split landing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sealed and ready to grout

Sealed and ready to grout

Today I finished cleaning them and sealed them again to get them ready to grout tomorrow.

I really like the contrast with the lighter stain on the steps.  Just about ready for that hand rail now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mechanical room door

mechanical room door

We also finished  the door for the mechanical room downstairs.  John got it hung up last week, and it looks good. He also did some things that needed to be done in the mechanical room….nothing worthy of pictures, though.

 

 Stair "runner"

Stair “runner”

Now I’m working on the stairs down to the basement.  John got all the treads and risers done, and today I painted a “runner” down the middle.  It’s the same color as the laundry room and upper walls going down the stairs.  It will need another coat of paint and some further decoration, then poly-u.  It’s all coming together, but I wish we were already moved in.

 

Groundhog day...no shadow!

Groundhog day…no shadow!

By the way, the house looks really cozy when it is snowing!

 

 

 

Wow!  Another New Year! We’ve been battling colds and “bugs” since before Christmas.  Work on the house has been slow and tedious.  It’s not just the fact that much of the work is trim work, but when you feel badly, everything seems like a chore.  I think we’re both feeling better now, so here’s what’s been happening.

Backer board on stair risers

We started working on the stairs from the main level to the loft.  We plan to tile the risers, so first we had to install backer board.

Installing the treads

Then we added the skirts at the edges and installed the treads.

Attaching the treads

John wanted to get them really well attached so we wouldn’t have squeaks.

1st coat of poly-u

Next, we stained the treads and gave them a coat of poly-u.

Ready for the tile

Next step will be to tile the risers and install a hand rail.  They look good and….NO Squeaks!

We removed all the temporary treads from the lower level staircase and added skirts to the sides.

Starting the lower stairs

Then we attached the risers.  The risers and skirts are “pickled”.

Lower level stairs

The treads were added and will be stained like the upper stairs.  So far, we did only the bottom half of the stairs.

Last run of stairs to do

Next, we work on the stairs from the laundry/mud room down to the landing.

Getting the railings installed is required for a CO, so hopefully, we’ll get that done very soon.