Sunday, January 27, 2013

House Guest

Welcome, Wilson!
Our niece, Kate, recently relocated to Portland to attend graduate school. We're all really proud of her and jealous that she is living in such a beautiful and vibrant city. Sadly, she had to leave her kitty cat behind.  Now, due to a variety of family obligations, Wilson is at home at noTTafarm! Katie assures us that he will adapt to being an outside cat - so if we can get Bibbers' approval, Wilson will join the noTTafarm cat crew.
Wilson is going to hang out in our garage for a few days to get used to us. If he seems to be adapting, we'll introduce him to the barn and corn crib.  
He's a tall and long cat, with a beautiful black-and-white coat. I hope Tux and Churchill don't mind having a look-alike in the neighborhood!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tiling is Focus of 3rd Straight Weekend

The good news is that we're more than half done laying the tile in the first floor. The bad news is that we're still not done! We're very happy with the way things are going, they're just going slower than some of us would have hoped. Still, it's been fun to watch the progress that each tiling session brings. 

As described in a post earlier this week, Scott spent a lot of time during the week cutting tile to fit around the perimeter of the dining area and kitchen. As each piece was cut, he numbered and labeled it and its adjacent (already in-place) buddy. Pretty Foolproof!
In order to keep the herringbone pattern true, some of the perimeter pieces took on some pretty neat shapes - like this Oklahoma-shaped one.
 Another precise cut - this tile fits around a floor register vent.
When it comes to placing each tile, Scott has a good system down. He uses a trowel to add mortar to the floor...
...then he places the back-buttered tile in place. Then he spends a little time making adjustments to ensure the tile is as level and even as possible.
Even the crazy-shaped tiles get the same level of care.
Mama Marita stopped by on Saturday afternoon - this time to watch the U.S. Ice Skating Championships. She's turning into quite the sports nut!
The tile in the kitchen has - so far - been the most difficult to lay. Despite a $2,000 floor-leveling bill, the floor (which spans the old and new houses) is still pretty wonky. Scott will tackle any lippage with his Dremel tool and a grinding disc before we grout.
On Sunday, the tile work moved to the connector hallway. Scott had to play contortionist in order to fit in the tight space at the bottom of the staircase.
Once the mortar is set in a day or so, we can tackle the remaining stair-area tiles.
At the end our our Sunday, about half of the connector is done. We still have the connector-to-parlor hallway, the new-kitchen-to-old-kitchen hallway, and the pantry to tile. My plan is to crack the whip on Scott every night this week to see how much progress can be made before Saturday.
This evening ended the same - with poor Scott on clean-up detail. It takes about an hour for him to scrub all the mortar out of the bucket and off all the tools. He's a real trooper, though, and has yet to complain.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Working Toward the Weekend

In anticipation of a full day tiling on Saturday, Scott has been catching up on tile cuts. Many of the tiles that border the dining area and kitchen must be cut to fit, so Scott fired up his new tile saw and put it to the test. 
This particular cut, to fit around a pilaster on the south side of the dining area, required two plunge cuts from the front and back sides of the tile. The porcelain tile is very strong, and Scott has not experienced any trouble cutting it in any shape or size. Now that he's got a good inventory of trimmed tile, we should be able to make short work of permanently placing it Thursday or Friday evening.
A Perfect Fit!
No Fair! 
Scott is the first official user of the pop-up electrical socket on the new kitchen peninsula. I guess it is a pretty good place to charge one's phone.
Another Beautiful Sunrise!
Winter mornings may be cold but they sure do produce some gorgeous color. Perhaps Scott knew what he was doing by placing that oversized east-facing window in our new bedroom!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tiling Monopolizes the Weekend

Our efforts this weekend centered on tiling more of the dining and kitchen areas. Lucky for us, we had some great help! Laying the tile is a slow but steady process, and as of this entry, we're maybe about 50% done (just don't count the powder room.)
Saturday morning, Kevin and Carl were at the house before 10, ready to pitch in. Carl and I back-buttered the tile while Scott and Kevin put mortar on the floor and set the tile in place.
I'm so proud of Scott for letting Kevin help with this! Kevin has enough experience with tiling to know what to do plus, if anyone is a persnickity as Scott, it's Kevin. Too bad he had to rush off after lunch to spend the afternoon at the zoo with his wife and baby! (Just kidding - I'm glad they got to enjoy some family time on this unseasonably 55-degree day.)
Thanks again, Kevin!
Carl is becoming a back-buttering expert! He spent a portion of his Sunday with us, too.
Thanks again, Dad!
We were so glad that Pete had a chance to spend some time at noTTafarm on Saturday! Because his work schedule rarely allows for free weekends, this is his first visit to see the interior of the new addition. Marita joined us after lunch and cheered on the Creighton Bluejays as they faced-off against the Wichita State Shockers on TV. Who knew my mother-in-law was such a big college basketball fan?! (Sorry, the Jays lost by a few points.)
Pete pitched in with the tile work, too. Now he can brag about his experience as a back-butterer. Plus, I think it was fun for him to hang out with his favorite Aunt, Uncle, and Grandparents.
Thanks for your help, Pete!
By the end of the day (Saturday) more than half of the kitchen area was done. The tricky part will be the many cuts needed to tile near the cabinets. We still hope to have the tile all done by next weekend so that the grouting can begin! 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bibbers Survives Scary Episode

Bibbers The Barn Cat had been missing for a few days. Scott discovered him Tuesday night, trapped in one of the new basement's window wells! We think he had been there two or three days.  He dug an indention in the gravel in one corner to stay warm. We opened the window to give him some food and water, then lowered a ladder down into the 6-ft-deep well. Since he's not one to let us touch or carry him, we had hoped that he had the strength to climb up and out. 

Later Tuesday evening, with Bibbers curled up and sleeping in a corner, we lowered Leo's travel carrier into the well with a cozy rug inside so he would have a little shelter for the night. Wednesday morning, Scott shimmied down the ladder, snagged the carrier with a still-sleeping Bibbers inside, and carried him to his home in the barn. Bibbers Rescue Mission 2013 was deemed a success! He seems to be no worse for the wear and back to his normal noTTafarm activities.

Wouldn't you know we'd have all of this excitement, and I never thought to take any pictures?  Here's a photo of the window well, taken August 22nd.
And here's a picture of Bibbers taken May 29th.
Stay Tuned for Bibbers' Next Adventure!

Progress Update: Thursday Edition

Two people at work today chided me because I haven't updated the blog since (gasp!) Monday. So - here's what's been happening at noTTafarm 'lo these past three days. 
Our plumber, Tony, stopped by today to wrap up a few final things. We now have running water in the new kitchen, and the new refrigerator will have water for the ice maker. He also installed shut-off valves in the master bathroom so (someday soon) it will have functioning sinks.
 The copper line for the ice maker is coiled and ready.
The shut-off valves in the master bathroom have nothing to shut off - yet. 
The flooring contractor also stopped by Thursday to install the wooden floor registers. 
Scott and I worked on laying more tile Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. We've figured out a system and things are going much quicker than on this past Saturday or Sunday. We are looking forward to diving right in again Friday night and straight through Sunday to get as much done as possible!
The Herringbone Pattern is Shining Through!
It hasn't been that difficult to keep track of the pattern, and we are quite pleased with the look, so far!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, January 14, 2013

First Shower Taken on Second Floor!

Since he wasn't in the mood for the hard work of tiling this evening, Scott made himself productive in the 1920 bathroom. 
What's that?
You thought we finished it months ago?  No, no, dear reader. 
It's still a work in progress but as of a few moments ago, it has a working shower - the first on the second floor of this 92 year old house.
The Kohler Bancroft shower head is about 8 inches wide.
Woo Hoo! It works!
The shower valve has a white porcelain handle. The cubbies Scott created will hold shampoo and soap.
 Next step, drilling holes for the shower rod. 
 Then, installing the curved shower rod.
All done!*
*Well, except for hooking up the bathtub, installing wood trim around the door and window, and adding hardware to the window and door. Scott took a quick shower this evening and reports that water pressure is great, and the rainwater-style shower head is just right.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Lighting Finale

Our trusty electrician, Troy, made what is most likely his last visit to noTTafarm today (Monday, January 14). He finished installing light fixtures in the kitchen, great room, and laundry closet. He's done a great job, and saved Scott a lot of work!
The track light above the peninsula holds three pendants which match the solo spot over the sink.
Another set of cable lights is anchored to the wall between the northern-most truss and the fireplace. Its warm light highlights the fireplace beautifully.
The contact switch within the door jamb of the laundry closet operates like a refrigerator switch. The second you open the door, the light comes on. Now all we need to do is stain the woodwork on the landing (and wait for delivery of our washer and dryer.)
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

And Now for the Tile

After months of planning, several consultations with the tile supplier, a couple of trips to Home Depot, and an Escape full of mortar and grout, the time has finally arrived. The first floor tiling began today (Saturday, January 12).

While I was out this morning at a church conference, Scott had help from his dad (Carl) and Kevin (of the New People). Their first task was to lay out a large section to make sure the herringbone pattern selected by our loyal readers (thanks, Voters!) would work. It's going to be great - despite the tile supplier's words of caution. He told Scott he'd have to be committed for trying it but since this little construction project of ours has already driven him crazy, he shouldn't suffer too much.
Wouldn't you know it? The tile saw Scott purchased last year to work on the 1920 bathroom is too small to cut the 12x24 tile. After a quick trip to Home Depot and a short lunch break, Scott and Kevin assembled the new tile saw. What's a Saturday at noTTafarm without a new power tool?
Kevin missed the first test of the tile saw due to a broadcast of the KU basketball game. How is it again that a Jayhawk is our friend? Thank you, Kevin, for your help today!!
Carl and Scott approve of the new saw's abilities. It's much more powerful than the older model, and should do a fine job with the jillions of tile cuts to come.
Leo is the Best Helper!
Nothing makes it easier to work than having a tabby cat hanging out with you.
And so it begins!
With a little help from Carl and me, Scott got a great start on the dining area floor. Much more work is to come, and Carl has promised to return Sunday morning to pitch in. Me? After church ushering duties, I am going prom dress shopping with Karli so the boys will have a nag-free afternoon.(Side note: can you believe my baby niece is a senior in high school already?)
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Great Room Floor Complete!

As expected, the flooring contractor was delayed the installation of the great room floor by one day. The wait was worth it, however, and the floor looks great! 
 We extended the solid birch flooring used in the library and parlor.

Scott got busy and "made up" the wiring for the satellite television. 
He was not pleased with the drywallers, though, since they sliced off a large section of the cable's slack during installation. He struggled for quite a while to make the short cable work.
It was fun to place the furniture - though we are realizing that we have a shortage of seating. Until my new sofa arrives (in about 7 weeks), plan on arriving early to claim your spot.

The completion of this flooring marks the last large task to be done by a sub-contractor! We are very close to closing out our contract, and completing the final projects on our own. It's been a fun and challenging seven months!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!