Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rub-a-dub-dub . . . You Can Use the Tub!

Most of you know that the clawfoot tub in the 1920 bathroom is one of the best features of the original house. We had it repainted, had it carried up the stairs, and pushed it up and down the hallway a few times before finally getting it into position in the remodeled bath. And there it has sat, unused for more than three years. 

The Victorian-style supply lines we purchased to match the new hardware would not work with the limited amount of space available between the tub and the wall; we needed to purchase flexible supply lines with the right size of connectors. Sadly, this task fell way to the bottom of the "To Do" list . . . until Saturday, November 14. After a consultation with Scott and a written list of details, I ventured to Ideal Hardware (on my own!) Once I arrived at this midtown treasure, I was certain that the parts we needed were available. The store's shelves are stacked high with every kind of widget imaginable. One of the nice staff members helped me find the exact parts necessary - and $26 later, we were in business.
"Ta Da!"
Two 20"-long braided stainless hoses and two stainless elbows are all that we needed.
The original set of supply lines are rigid pipes, rather than flexible hoses.
Here's the original Victorian supply lines packing slip - proving that three years have gone by rather quickly!
The space between the tub and the wall is really limited. Scott had to bend and stretch and contort and...
 ...bend and stretch some more to get the elbows and hoses hooked to the tub and to the valves on the floor.
When we had this bathroom re-plumbed, the plumber set the drain too close to the wall - but only because we didn't account for how thick the wall would be once it had a layer of cement board and a layer of tile attached. The good news is that - it works!
Woo Hoo!
A little work and a few bucks - and the tub is now available for your bathing needs! I have plans to get some bubble bath soon and take the tub for a test drive. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Mantel Finished!

We continued to work on the great room fireplace mantel bit-by-bit over the past two weeks. We've been lucky that the weekend weather has been sunny and unusually warm - so sanding could take place outside.
The big slab of locust was placed on the patio dining table for a good sanding session. Scott and I each used a palm sander and sanded each side of the slab with 60 then 220 grit paper. The top and short sides were sanded super duper smooth.
All that sanding left quite a pile of sawdust behind! 
Luckily, Scott has a new leaf blower that he called into action. He blew all the dust off into the grass then cleaned the patio of dead leaves, walked around to the courtyard and cleaned it off, took care of leaves along the garage, etc. etc. This new toy is hard to put down!
With sanding complete, the slab was toted down to the basement for finishing. 
First, Scott cleaned the live edge with a damp rag to clear out any last bits of dust and loose bark.
We applied two coats of natural stain and two coats of brush-on poly to all sides. The top and short ends then received three coats of wipe-on poly.
Once the finish went on, the locust revealed its beautiful honey color.
Today (November 15) we placed the mantel on the fireplace. Scott has plans to permanently attach it with mortar so that all gaps between brick and wood are eliminated. But for now, it looks awesome!
All set for Thanksgiving - just a little over a week away. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fireplace (At Last!) Gets a Mantel

Yesterday was my birthday. As such, I thought it was a perfect day to ask Scotty to think about creating a mantel for the great room fireplace. We had the wood - a thick plank cut from a locust tree - and we had an idea of what the finished product should look like. All we needed was a little time and a little whining . . . and the mantel project was underway!
The big locust plank had been drying in the barn for over two years and has been acclimating to the indoor climate since we carried it to the basement sometime earlier this year. It is heavy! This particular tree had to be cut down to make way for the addition so it is rather poetic that a slice of it will soon be a permanent great room fixture. The plank was cut when the sawmill visited during Lumberjack Day 2013.
Scott cut a piece of rigid insulation 66-inches wide so we could see what the finished product might look like. It also helped determine the finished depth of the mantel.
Using a straight edge, Scott penciled in the outline of the finished piece. The overall depth of the mantel will be nine inches, with six inches resting on the brick and three inches cantilever. The live edge of the locust will be maintained.
After a lot of discussion about what tool to use, the circular saw was called into action. Scott lopped the end off first.
Now comes the hard part . . . trimming the back half of the plank away. We wanted to run it through the table saw but determined through a dry run that the plank was just too heavy for the two of us to support while feeding it through the saw.
Scott screwed the straight edge to the plank, propped it up on a stack of 2x4s, and fired up the circular saw again.
My job was to stand near the smoke detector and push the button when it started screeching. I'm not sure why we didn't stop as soon as the smoke started to fill the room - but eventually we wised up and moved the operation outside.
Once out on the courtyard concrete, Scott easily sliced through the plank.
The short ends were cleaned up with the chop saw (conveniently currently set-up in the garage.)
"Ta Da!"
Once the cut-down plank was placed on the brick, we could easily imagine the finished product. All but the live edge will need to be sanded and clear-coated. The live edge needs to be cleaned up a bit to eliminate any loose bark and dirt. Scott is also considering how to attach it to the brick; we may end up using some mortar which would alleviate any gaps inherent with the natural warp of the plank. In any case, it looks like our stockings will have a proper home this Christmas!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Deadline Goal Missed but Project Moves Forward

Remember the previous posts that described Scott's enthusiasm for updating the barn windows? Way back in August, it seemed reasonable that each window of the barn could be either replaced or rehabilitated by the end of September. Well . . . fast forward a few months . . . and the project continues but at a slightly slower pace. Still, let's check out some progress:

The windows on the east wall of the main floor are particularly bad. Scott took apart one of them a week ago and discovered quite a bit of rot.
We have had some nice sunny weather around noTTafarm despite the fact that Fall is officially here.
Many of the support pieces were replaced with wood from the seemingly never-ending stockpile.
The trim on the exterior will also need to be replaced. Scott had to trim away all of the rotted siding to create a clean edge.

The only thing missing from this post is the "Ta Da!" moment when I show you the finished product. Wouldn't you know that I forgot to take an "after" photo? I'll have to catch up with that sometime soon. Suffice to say, it looks great!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!