Friday, May 31, 2013

This Week in Review . . .

From last Friday to today, we haven't done a ton of work around the house but we have kept very busy with friends and family! I hope you don't mind if I share a few photos of our fun week. (And, yes, it was nice to take a break from home improvement projects!)

Sunday, May 26th, my sister's youngest (our nephew, Joe) graduated from St. Thomas More High School in Rapid City, South Dakota. Joe will be a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in August, and is threatening to visit noTTafarm so I can feed him (yikes! I'm going to have to increase the grocery budget!)
 The happy graduate with his Mommy (Karolyn), sisters Lauren and Chelsie, and Daddy Alan
 The happy graduate with his Godmother (Aunt Kristin) and his best Uncle, Scott
The happy graduate with his Grandparents:  Mary Lou, Ray, Jolene, and Ed

The only sad part about going to Rapid City is that we missed our niece Karli's graduation from Millard South High School. Luckily, her graduation party was held the week before, so we had a chance to celebrate with her and Tim, Teresa, and Clark.
Congratulations, Karli!
She will be attending college this fall at the University of South Dakota. She is so happy to be a Coyote, just like her Mommy and Daddy!

We were also anxiously awaiting the arrival of our friends John and Stephanie from Atlanta, Georgia! With their kids out of school for the summer, they loaded up the van and headed cross-country to spend time with John's extended family. We lured them to Omaha by promising them free noTTafarm tours, and they graciously accepted. Wednesday night, the seven of them plus our friends Jeff and LeNae (all the way from west Omaha!) had dinner at noTTafarm.
 Jeff, John and Scott: fraternity brothers
For dinner, we made our own salad bar with lots of fixings and grilled chicken. It was fun (and the kitchen and dining area performed as promised.) It was great getting to show everyone all around the house, and they seem to think we have done a good job, so far!

After dinner, the four girls (Anna, Abby, Carson, and Emerson) went on a photo shoot around the house. They got some pretty creative shots!
 Anna and Carson in the 1920 bathroom. 
(They're both 11 and just as cute as bugs!)
14 year old Abby next to the chimney in the kitchen.
 Anna studied trusses in school this year, and was fascinated by the great room.
Emerson is 15 and has a flair for the dramatic . . . why else would she go under the basement stairs and hang out with daddy longlegs?

Thursday, May 30, was our 27th Anniversary!
We went to Roja with the gang, including Jeff and LeNae's kids (Andrew and Danielle), and our friends Chris and Lori (another fraternity brother.) 
 Jeff and LeNae will celebrate 26 years of marriage in August.
 Stephanie and John are newlyweds! They've been married just over a year.
The whole bunch of us after dinner
Back row:  John, Andrew, Carson, Anna, Scott, Jeff, Danielle, Andrew.  
Front row:  Stephanie, Lori, Kristin, Emerson, LeNae, Chris, and Abby

Whew! Now that we're all alone once again, we can get back to work!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Friday, May 24, 2013

News but Not So Good

We received word on Thursday that the appraisal came in at the same high number. Yay! Then, our mortgage lender looked at the photos attached to the appraisal. His decision, based on what I can only believe was influenced by black magic and snakes, was that the house is not "finished" and therefore does not qualify for a mortgage.  Boo! So, here we are, trying to figure out what to do. The construction loan actually expires in July so we have as many as 60 days to finish. We will have a meeting next week with the mortgage company to hammer out the details. And, yes, I am tempted to take an actual hammer to help prove my point. 

Oh well. 

Scott is a trouper, so Thursday night, he got back to work. He installed hardware on the doors in the connector.  Good job, Scotty!
 Who knew that installing door hardware would take so many tools?
Don't they look pretty?
Now if I had a dryer vent, I could put that laundry closet to work!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!
Congratulations, Karli and Joe, on this weekend's Class of 2013 Graduations!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keeping You Apprised of the Appraisal Situation

Our "final" appraisal - the one necessary in order for our soon-to-expire construction loan to transform into a regular ol' mortgage - occurred this morning. We remain hopeful that the appraiser will, once again, see that the value of the finished product is worth taking on the risk - even if we have different definitions of "finished."
The best part about having the appraisal over with today is that we took the night off! We had some delicious take-out dinner and a glass of wine, and I'm planning on going to sleep as soon as I'm done with this entry. Yay for Sleep! The good news is that the house is really clean right now, and I was able to unpack some books and other pretties so it looks more like a real home.

Since my last post, we've kept going and going and going, staying up too late but doing our best to get as much done as possible.
I did a lot of painting . . . FINALLY got the 1972 entry hall cut-outs finished and painted.  FINALLY got the powder room (inside and outside) painted. Did touch-up paint in the kitchen, library, parlor, and master bedroom. We've got quite a stock pile of paint, stain, and polycoating in the basement!
I stained and finished another big batch of baseboards; these ended up in the upstairs connector, the master bedroom closet, and the 1920 hallway upstairs. There are still a few more rooms to go - just have to wait on someone to cut them to the right length and give me the go-ahead.
Scott nailed the baseboards into place at about 11PM Tuesday night.
Scott spent a lot of time planning and thinking and cutting and clamping parts of his stair rail design. His plan is in place, he just need the time to cut all of the steel and bolt it into place. Much more on this to come in the future!
Before the appraisers walk-through, I wiped down the not-quite-done tile in the master bathroom. It looks so great! We are really excited to get this project finished (just not tonight.)

We hope to hear from the mortgage lender Thursday or Friday. We'll be sure to share any news right here on the ol' blog.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Week's Worth of Work

The looming mortgage appraisal seemed like a good reason for me to take a week of vacation. For the past five days, I've done what I could to "finish" the house. Scott was able to take Tuesday and Friday off, too, so we tried to keep each other on task. Read on for the highlights:

I know it seems like we're already done with painting but there were several rooms that either needed touch-up (like the great room and dining area) or had simply been put-off (like the kitchen and connector.) It took me the better part of two days to take care of all of the "Muslin" areas, including the walls surrounding the super high window in the connector. (That's right . . . the extension ladder was once again called into service.)
 All done with (at least one coat) of Muslin (which I've decided matches the color of pancake batter.)
One of the long-suffering in-need-of-paint areas was the stairwell and hall way in the 1920 portion of the house. Scott finally decreed the drywall patching was in good-enough shape so I happily added a nice coat of "Watery" blue. Amazing how a coat of paint can make you feel like you've really accomplished something! Painting will continue in the library and 1972 hallway tomorrow or as soon as Mr. Camp deems them ready.

Scott continues to chip away at the tile in the master bathroom. It is looking fantastic . . . there's just a lot of it!
The walls inside the water closet are fitted with 6x6 tiles and accents of the dark brown tile we used on the shower floor. Scott finished the floor of the bathroom tonight. Still left to finish are the walls of the main bath area and the shower enclosure, most of which will utilize 12x24 tiles from floor-to-ceiling.

Steel Work
My contribution to the still-to-come Scotty-designed stair rail system was to clean the steel. Approximately 60 pieces of steel in various shapes, sizes, and lengths had to be cleaned of rust. It took me six hours over two days to clean the batch. Each piece also requires two coats of spray-on clear coat; sadly, I was dismissed from that portion of the project due to a lack of perfection (too blotchy).
By the time I was finished Friday morning, my pretty green gloves were completely grimy and my right hand was numb from gripping steel wool so tightly.
I thought I was pretty clever, using the trash cans as make-shift saw horses. Luckily, it was a beautiful and warm week at noTTafarm so tasks that could be taken outside were welcome!
Stay tuned to find out how this variety of steel is installed!

I arranged for Habitat for Humanity to pick up a stack of goodies. They were so happy to collect our unneeded items, and we were so happy to clear some space in the basement and barn! Kudos to Scott for "letting go," though there's plenty more where this came from.
We were able to donate a few light fixtures, two toilets, the double oven and stove top, the furnace, the air conditioner, and two chimney caps. I hope that Habitat benefits from the sale or salvage!

Scott has been on an endless pursuit to have perfect drywall throughout the house. He sands and muds and lets it dry and sands then starts the process all over again (and again and again) so he can achieve the smoothest possible walls. The biggest challenge and time-sucker has been the 1972 hallway and cut-outs we created into the library. Luckily, it seems that the drywall portion of the project may be done tomorrow!
From the library looking into the hallway. 
You should see the dust! Ugh! If you come over, don't wear black and bring a damp cloth to wipe down any surfaces you may want to touch. Drywall work is the worst.

The crown above the powder room is almost done, too, which means I'll soon be able to paint! Remember when we tore the powder room apart back in January, 2011? I would never have guessed it would take 2 1/2 years to recreate it.
Stay Tuned for More Progress! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top 10 Sunset Kisses noTTafarm Good Night

I don't know what was in the air tonight but our day ended with a spectacular sunset!

noTTafarm looks even more magical in the glow.
Sweet Dreams!

Signs of Spring

Sunday May 12th was a particularly lovely day:  a high of 68, not much of a breeze, and clear blue skies.
 The crab apple tree is in full bloom . . .
 The big cottonwood tree is showing its colors . . .
 The baby iris are blooming . . .
And Scotty got to use his mower for the first time this spring!
It's a Beautiful Spring at noTTafarm!

Happy Mudder's Day!

That's right . . . Sunday was "Mudder's Day" at noTTafarm. Between working on drywall repair and making a supply trip to Home Depot, Scott mixed up a bucket of "mud" and placed the tile on the master bath shower floor.
First things first.
Scott laid out the tile to make sure it would fit. He marked all of his cuts in advance; including those for the tricky area around the drain.
Then, the mudding begins!*

All Done!
This tile is from the same family of Crossville's Buenos Aries Mood porcelain tile we've been using. The color, "Recoleta," looks like a wonderful pan of brownies. Sadly, it is not made of chocolate.

*Since Sunday was also Mother's Day, I wanted to be sure to post pictures of Scott working on tile. My mommy seems to think Scott spends too much time on his knees completing all of our tile work. She may be right!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kicking into High Gear

Saturday morning started out early. At about 3:30, Wilson and Leo took turns walking on my head, curling up on my tummy, attacking my feet, and causing general discomfort - so much as to force me to escape to the guest room (only to have them follow me and repeat the same behavior.) Then, at 6, we had to rise and shine in time to chauffeur Scott's folks to the airport. But, fortified by coffee, we were able to start our day's work by 8:30.

First, it was finally time to tackle the stain and finish on the high window in the connector. Scott set up the big extension ladder and propped the orange step ladder on the stairs so that I could reach the entire window. I went up and down both of those ladders countless times!
Halfway done with the first coat of stain.
By 6:30, I had two coats of stain and the first coat of polycoat on the window. Tomorrow (Sunday), I will sand and add two coats of wipe on poly. This task wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined - except for the pain in my ankles from standing on a ladder, 16-ft. in the air all day. ("All day" is an exaggeration to add drama to the story.)
In between coats on the window, I added two coats of stain and one coat of poly on the wood trim surrounding the 1920 bathroom door. Scott utilized a mix of original woodwork and new but the sanding, staining, and poly-ing created one beautiful doorway. Another task to cross off the to-do list!
After lunch, I embarked on my next task:  painting the underside of the staircase in the connector. The ladder was called into duty once again as a platform.
The paint we chose a rich chocolate brown, Sherwin Williams 6006 "Black Bean." This is another color we used at Grant Street but it worked perfectly into our noTTafarm color scheme.
Two stairs done...ten to go. The hardest part was the stairs at the very bottom. I had to lay on my back and paint over my head to reach the edges. Luckily, my boss gave my efforts two thumbs up!
The finished paint job makes the stairs look so elegant. The combination of paint and stain will really look great with the railing system Scott has planned. 

Whew! That was a busy day!

Master Bath Progress

Over the past few days, we've continued to work on installing the tile in the master bathroom. We are really happy with the way it is looking but it is going along at a pretty slow pace. There have been quite a few complicated cuts, and keeping the pattern on track takes a little time.
The sink wall is complete, and the pattern is really cool! Scott had a great idea to use some 2x4 polished tile as an accent (note the nine little tiles clumped together above the light fixture holes.)
 The main floor is just about done. The polished tile accent stripes nicely set-off the 12x24 tiles.
 The pattern repeats inside the water closet.
Leo especially likes the tile for two reasons: (1.) it comes in cardboard boxes which make for good lounging areas, and (2.) it's the same deep caramel color as his soft coat! (That was a happy coincidence...we are not quite as goofy as to match our tile to our cat. (Or are we?))
Stay Tuned for More Progress!