Sunday, June 29, 2008

Working on Sunday

A travesty, I know, but I think it was all God-pleasing work, and we got quite a bit accomplished.

After church, I made a quick trip to Lowe's for more cabinet handles. I bought all they had (26), and we're still about 5 short. I then started cleaning thinset from the grout lines between slate tiles. It was rather tedious; there was a lot to clean out because I had been a little sloppy when laying the slate. I also used a cold chisel to alleviate any extreme instances of unevenness between adjacent tiles. Behold, the tools of the trade:

I covered the whole floor (minus what I'd already grouted) and vacuumed thoroughly afterward. Now I'm prepared to dive into some serious grouting next week.

While I was doing this, Jessica was painting quarter-round and repainting (for a total of four coats of Behr Polar Bear 1875 semi-gloss) cabinet doors:

It's a dangerous thing not knowing what you want to do next; it's at these times that you receive assignments. My assignment was to install the overhead bathroom light fixture that we bought on Friday (Our regular lighting store was having a huge sale, and we got a great light for $7.00!). I'd never installed a light fixture before, so this one took me about two hours:

Finally, not more than 30 minutes ago, Jessica installed all the cabinet handles we had. It looks really nice, and does a lot to give the kitchen a finished look.

P.S. I tried shooting the inside of the front door again. This is the best I came up with, but I think it's a little better than the first ones I took:


But first...

Last week, Jessica decided to stain the inside of the front door. We had been planning on painting it because there was some damage on the inside from when the holes for the door hardware were cut. I had repaired the damage with some wood putty, but we were afraid it would be clearly visible through stain. But Jessica tested out a little stain on the damaged part and it looked okay, so she went ahead and stained the whole thing. It turned out very nicely, and the hardened wood putty took the stain very well, so you can hardly even tell it's there at all. To put it mildly, Jessica was extremely pleased with the way it turned out. (My pictures, though, didn't turn out so well; I definitely did something wrong when I took them.)

Now, I can't imagine having it painted; it looks fantastic. More kudos to Jessica! (Maybe I'll try to take a better picture and post it later.)

Friday evening, we went to Lowe's and bought about 170 feet of quarter-round, then we brought it home and painted it all. It wasn't fun.

Saturday, Mom-Mom and Papa came down at around 9:00, and work began very soon. Jessica decided that she and Papa could put in quarter-round while I worked on the kitchen floor. She wants the refrigerator to be put in as soon as possible, so we decided I should just grout the part of the floor on which it will reside. Here's that part of the floor after a pre-grout sealing:

Grouting went well, and after I apply a final coat (or two) of sealant to it in a couple of days, we'll be able to have our refrigerator delivered.

Jessica, Papa, and Mom-Mom worked hard on putting in quarter-round. They finished installation in the living room, the hallway, and the brown room.

Today, Jessica intends to paint over the filled nail-holes. I, of course, shall be continuing work on the kitchen floor. I'll likely be cleaning out grout lines in preparation for much more grouting this coming week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dishwasher and Slate Installed

Yesterday, Wayne and I installed the dishwasher.

It was a long, painstaking, and frustrating task that I'm very glad to have done. It's still not perfect, but it's in there and it looks good. We washed our first load of dishes last night; it ran calmly and quietly, and Jessica said that when she took them out this morning "they all looked perfect," so I'm leaving it alone.

Tonight, I finished laying the slate in the kitchen. It was a momentous and liberating event. The task was very tedious, and only slightly less difficult than laying the shower tile; it's nice to have it done, and I reckon I'm satisfied with how it looks.

The feeling of freedom will be short-lived, though, for grouting awaits me. Grouting slate is a lot more difficult than grouting tile because you have to be much more careful about the grout getting on the surface of the slate; it has a tendency to discolor the slate and will cause major problems if any grout is accidentally allowed to dry on the slate. All this is because the slate is very porous compared to tile. Unless it goes much more smoothly than I expect, grouting will probably take me two weeks or so. Then, finally, I'll have to apply two or three coats of stone enhancer/sealer (which, by the way, will make the slate look darker and a little "shinier" than it does now). It will be so nice to have it completely done, but I know that's still many hours of work away.

Jessica accomplished a lot today, too. Most notably, she got all the interior doors hung, which was not nearly as simple as it should have been. I was dreading tackling that task, but she surprised me by doing it all herself. Thanks, Jess!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're Still Alive

Summer brings an end to the blogging drought. Let's get right to it...

Last weekend, Jessica and I went to Nashville for our first anniversary. We enjoyed just exploring the city and finding fun things to do. It was very nice to get away from here for a few days. House work isn't moving at the break-neck pace it was for the first few months, but things are getting done.

Blinds have been hung in the bathroom, our bedroom, and the "Cookie Crumb" room:

Jessica stained the outside of the front door, and it looks very nice:

Jessica worked hard scraping, priming, and painting the front porch "ceiling", and now it's almost where she wants it. She wants to put up some molding. (In the next picture you'll also notice shutters, which Wayne and Jessica hung on the front and garage side of the house):

Yesterday, Wayne came over and installed the light fixture that Jessica picked out for our bedroom (the pictures didn't turn out that good--the light looks much better in person):

Until recently, I had really been slacking off on laying slate, but I've gotten quite a bit done this weekend. I have about 12 more pieces to set...then the grouting begins.

Today, Jessica picked up her dog from Wayne and Tammie's house and brought it over to hang out in the back yard. I suppose Heidi will be moving here in the not-too-distant future.

I took some pictures of the flowers that are growing in the back yard near the stone wall. I think Jessica said they are lilies. I think the red/orange ones are really neat:

It always feels like we're close to finishing things up, but more things are constantly popping up. I guess that's how things will be for awhile. ...though that doesn't bother me, because once I finish the kitchen floor, doing anything else will feel like a vacation. ;-) I'll try to make my blog posts more frequent. Maybe Jessica will post a thing or two sometime.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Visual Update

I've finally uploaded some more pictures. I always thought that once we moved in I'd have more time to blog, but it's had the opposite effect; since we're on-site, any time blogging could be spent laying slate or painting, so I usually can't talk myself into it. Anyhow, these pictures are long overdue, and I'm sorry for the inconsistency as of late. As always, I'll post some favorites here and the rest on the 'House Pictures' page.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


An update is well overdue, and though I don't have any new pictures up yet, I aim to offer simple information of the progress we've made.

We finished getting everything moved out of the duplex and into the house on Saturday evening. Life is as crazy as I'd expected. Jessica has been working very hard to get things unpacked and put where they belong, and thanks to her we're already much closer to relatively clutter-free living. Last Thursday and Friday, Papa helped us get the bathroom finished--well, not finished, but functional. We installed our sink and toilet. The toilet tank was leaking and we were very worried, but Lowe's replaced it for us and now it's working flawlessly. Yesterday morning I discovered that the drain pipes for the sink were leaking, but I worked on it yesterday afternoon and I think it's fine now.

For about two weeks now I've been trying to get the drains for the kitchen sink working, but I keep running into little problems, and leaks persist, so I think I'm just going to let the plumber deal with it when he returns tomorrow to finish up the tasks they didn't get to last week. We had our new water heater hooked up and had all the old galvanized supply pipes replaced with a product called Wirsbo Aquapex. It's some sort of polymer that has advantages over copper. While installing this, the plumbers discovered some problems with the big pipe coming to the house through the front yard, so I gave them the go-ahead to replace that as well. It'll be a hefty bill, but it's well worth it to have reliable plumbing, satisfactory water pressure, and clean water, not to mention the value added to the house.

We're slowly working making life normal--installing blinds, fixing sinks, installing kitchen flooring, etc. We're enjoying the house--the parts that are done, anyway. The bathroom is getting very close to being complete, and we love it. Papa did such a wonderful job on the baseboards, wainscoting, mirror frame, and chair rail. We're really pleased with the way everything turned out. I promise pictures soon.