Friday, June 15, 2018

Shut The Barn Door!

So our trip to Home Depot birthed the idea for a barn door at the bottom of the stairs! There is no heat or air conditioning so I will have to rely on a space heater in the colder months and to keep the heat in Mister says I need a door. Umm... okay! Isn't he the greatest! Some girls want diamonds but I am perfectly content with a barn door, insisted on my my man. And, he will make it to our specifications so I can still get furniture up and down the stairs.

I ordered the hardware through Amazon. Link here.

Mister bought... wait for it.....


He had to frame in the doorway a bit so we had somewhere to mount the hardware. He also drywalled and later painted the stairwell.

He layed 7 8ft lengths of shiplap together on the floor and fastened them together. We want the big door so we can get furniture in and out. He used 1x2" strapping to frame the door out, locking the shiplap in place and cut a cross piece, gluing and using a brad-nailer to secure.

The door is huge! It glides beautifully and it is a nice addition to the whole project... after all, who doesn't love a barn door?!

Next step is moving into my new space!!! 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

We Passed Inspection

If you've been following along you know that we built a garage and signed the contract with the builder last May. (Whew! That year went quick!) Half jokingly we said we wanted it done before the next snowfall. Who knew they would take us literally? We parked our cars in the garage December 5th, 2017. Just because we were parked in there didn't mean that we had passed inspection but it didn't stop us.  And, it snowed four days later!

The finished garage is 24'x24'. We lowered the height of the head room from 12' to 10' to make the structure not look like a huge monolith next to our house. While it is not as big as it originally was on paper, it still fits both cars, a snowblower, a small workbench, and storage under the stairs.

The upstairs space will be a place for me to work on my crafts and store said craft material instead of having it spread all over my house. This is a dream my husband and I share. To have a place to set up my sewing machine without having to take it down from the dining table every night is a fantasy I have had for a long time... Back when my girls were little I used to sew a lot for them. Nowadays, I can't be bothered most of time because of the hassle of having to get everything out and put away again.

Mister got busy lickty-split and insulated the walls. He's a go-getter and if you hear nothing else from me on this blog hear this... do not marry a man who is not a hard worker.

Time for sheetrock. The girls and I held the sheetrock in place while Mister fastened them to the studs.

No pictures of that because I was holding sheet rock.....

My 1st idea was to put pallet wood on the walls inside the dormers. A friend had several pallets and kindly brought them to us in his pickup. Mister quickly axed that idea. There are just too many cuts and angles to accommodate. Okay then, I will use them to make either wall on the sides of the garage pallet walls. Too much, said Mister. Okay, just one wall then? Agreed.

I checked all the pallets to make sure they were wood I could use. (Important step if you're using this wood in your living spaces. You can find instructions online or in Pinterest.) Mister got busy ripping them apart... What? Oh, no, I wasn't going to do that. Well, after the unsuccessful dismantling of one pallet Mister said, "Not happening". I know how to choose my battles and this is not a hill I want to die on.

Ok, next idea... blackboard paint on either side wall. I'll think on that one a bit.

Mister taped and mudded all the seams and allowed them to dry.

He had to do a couple coats of joint compound and once dry, he sanded it all while I spent a "girl's weekend" on the Cape. Yes, I am one blessed woman.  It took him 6 hours to sand everything! Hard worker, girls!

Everything got a coat of white paint and he painted the subfloor with gray porch and floor paint. No, no fancy flooring for me. Remember this is going to be a work space and storage.

Once the white was on everything I couldn't believe how bright it was in there. For now I have decided to not do the blackboard paint but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Mister had an idea. I ordered some hardware from Amazon and Mister and I made another trip to the Home Depot. Why? Well, you'll have to come back soon to find out.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Garage Progress

If you read last week's post you know that we decided to have a garage built. The New England winters have proved too much for this lady.

We cannot do this on our own so we hired a builder. We met with him in May, contracting not only for a garage but for a shed, also. Our main concern was getting put on his schedule and being in the garage before the first snowfall. It is May so that gives them plenty of time.

A new shed was built and the old rotting shed was removed. That wasn't until August.

The ground was prepared and a foundation was poured. This took way longer than I thought it was going to. The Lord is obviously still trying to teach me patience.

Because of the large trees that flanked the driveway there was a lot of the root system in the ground where the garage will go. That soil is not good for foundation building as the material will rot and breakdown over time. It had to be removed and better soil brought in. Yup, we had to buy dirt. 

And we wait. That soil now has to settle, rest and pack down. We had to water our dirt to help it pack down. I am so impatient! 

Finally it is concrete day. It is September 21st. School is back in session! I am not sure what I thought was going to be the timeline for this but I am pretty sure this was not what I was thinking in May. 

Now we wait some more. This concrete has to cure. 

3 Weeks later the framers showed up. No warning, no 6:30 in the morning! 

These guys worked sun up to sun down. Three days later the framing was complete! Now we're getting somewhere. 

The original plans did not take into account some changes that we had to make. Because of the available land we had to build on we had to change the size and we lowered the height so that the garage would not be taller than the house. Nobody explained that to the framers... oops. That took some time to fix to accommodate a wall of windows upstairs. 

Once that was done we had to wait for inspection. That took almost 2 weeks or waiting! 

Once the framing was done we had to wait for the electrician. He's a busy guy. In our area this is a dying breed- we need tradesmen. And, we wait for inspection . Next up is siding. 

The siding went on so quickly that apparently I didn't get any photos of that. We chose a white vinyl siding. 

December 5th we moved our vehicles into the garage and waited for final inspections. 

It was literally just in time. The first snow of the season came December 9th. 

When you are having others do the work you are on their time table. We did say we wanted to be in before the first snowfall and they did accommodate. Next time I will be more careful with my words! 

Now, I have a huge space upstairs that will be my space for crafting..... the plans were already in brain but we will be doing the work ourselves. Oh, boy! 

Thanks for spending time with me. If you've not yet subscribed to this blog would you consider doing that? The link is in the column on the right. Thanks, again! 

Monday, May 21, 2018

You Have To Know Your Limits

While I have been quiet on the blog over the winter and much of the spring I have been busy.

We live in Massachusetts. Springtime is exciting and bursting with color. The summers are glorious, the beaches are beautiful. Autumn in New England has to be seen to be truly appreciated; rolling hills decked in reds and golds are world renowned. And then... there is winter. "Wait", you say, "why are we talking about winter?!" Stay with me.

I suppose if you ski, ice skate, ect. the winter isn't that bad... but I am not one of those people. I like the first snowfall, maybe a light snow while I'm Christmas shopping and possibly Christmas morning and THAT'S IT! From December 26th until some late day in March I question why I live here, what it would take to sell our home and move, or how to afford a three month long vacation south every year.

One of the my least favorite chores in the winter is clearing off the snow from the cars. For 14 winters we have lived in this home with enough parking for 6 cars but no garage. There was a shed at the end of the driveway. The house originally had a barn where the shed stood but that was long gone before we bought it.

We decided that we were getting too old and our cars were taking too much abuse. Two old maples, over 100 years old, flanked the left side of the driveway. I had to go to Google Earth for photos of them because for some reason I did not take pictures of them!

Both were diseased and we knew it was only a matter of time before they would need to be taken down.

Those factors combined moved us to build a garage! What do we know about building a garage? Nothing.

We contracted with a local builder because we know our limits. We are limited to where it can be positioned and how big it can be. To the rear is our septic system. It has to sit so many feet off the front property line and so many feet from our neighbor's property line. That being said we had to be very precise and smaller than we would have liked. We would still need a shed to house yard equipment. Trying to figure out where that was going to go I think was the hardest part.

The shed was needed to store all the stuff that our old shed housed but in a different spot. The old shed was rotting and wouldn't survive a move. The problem was trying to envision where it should sit in relation to the garage once it was built. We opted to sit in on an angle off to the side.

We contracted to build a two story, two car garage and it will sit where the old shed was. The upstairs will be a work space for me; not a living space but a place I can paint or sew or craft and have all the mess out of the house. If you sew you know how difficult it is to have to pick up everything to make dinner and use the dining table for something other than what you're in the middle of at the moment. Downstairs there is enough room for a work bench at the back of the garage.

As I said, we know our limits so it is better to have the shell done by those who know what they are doing but I had plans brewing for the inside! I will be sharing the process here in the coming weeks.

Thanks for spending time with me today.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Washington D.C.

If your new here or if you only visit here for the crafts or decor stuff maybe you don't know we are a homeschool family. I don't usually talk much about it here. I have realized (through many too opinionated conversations-on my part) that the homeschool experience can be a deeply personal and wildly different experience for every family.

As a homeschool mama we have enjoyed the days curled up on the couch as I read aloud. Those were my favorite times. My second favorite times were the field trips. We live in an awesome area of the country for history and art field trips and those times were great, especially when the kiddos were younger but time goes by and they grow up. Their growing has meant that they have surpassed some of my abilities or even desires to try to teach in certain areas. Thankfully, we have several homeschool co-ops around that offer different tutorials. My girls have benefitted from outside classes in writing, choir, biology and chemistry, algebra, foreign languages, drama, AP Literature and AP Government, ect. all taken by different instructors. This takes some of the pressure off an overwhelmed mama and gives a different source of accountability to my young adults-in-training.

Recently, the AP Government class got to take a trip to Washington, D.C. Of course, their interest was the government mechanics but for me it's all about the beautiful architecture! This was my 2nd trip to the capital so I didn't worry too much about taking photos of different landmarks but really looked more at not-so-famous buildings. Here are some photos to maybe inspire you. All were taken with my phone.

Loved the iron work on the stairs! 

 Don't you just love the color on this building...

A little Victorian flair to these two...

Lovely trim work and corbels always catch my eye...

I don't know what kind of a tree this was but the blossoms were beautiful against the cloudy sky and gray row house. 

We crammed much into the two days we were in D.C. The kids had a great time, we all learned more about our government and I came home with some beautiful photos for inspiration. Thank you for visiting with me, I do hope you enjoyed the trip around D.C. through my eyes.