Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New things, including yarn

It's always a good week when you get new yarn in the mail.

Isn't this pretty?  It's called 'Fresh Spring Growth'. 

I find now that when I look at Vesper colour combinations I wonder how they'd look as fingerless gloves.  I will get right back to that pattern as soon as I have Carolyn's socks done and delivered and can hardly wait.

*happy sigh*

Want to see what the house is looking like these days?

After our issues last fall slowed us down on the exterior and stuck Ray and Al with the worst of the work in the coldest temperatures, we've been plodding on with determination.  But quite suddenly over the last few weeks, I can almost feel the whoosh as we've raced forward.

Just the other day, for example, our temporary stairs moved to the correct location - we were working with temporary stairs until now, the better to shift materials and tools between floors - and their landings were assembled and set in place.  The real stairs which will link them are being built as I type.

This is taken from the top floor, looking toward our two crazy huge stairwell windows, and the 'new' about them is that I finally figured out how to dress these things.  I mean, they let in a lot of light, but also a lot of eyes (the interior of these windows is visible both from the street and from two of our neighbours' windows) and I am hoping to be able to pad downstairs in my PJs with abandon.  Solution: motorized blinds, which require 14.4 wiring in the top right corner of each window running to a switch and on to the electrical box.  So grateful I was able to pin this down so Ray can set it all up before the drywall goes over the studs.

We decided on blinds for the master bedroom too, the kind you can lower from the top or raise from the bottom... with maybe curtains running over them, if there's space for a curtain rod?  There might not be on the triple window at the front, because it's tucked pretty tightly into the space. 

A not-new thing is the header that's lower than the big window's upper frame.  Can you tell from this angle?  it's quite a lot lower in person and looks not unlike a beam in a Tudor attic, which would be great if we were putting in beams instead of drywall.  Thankfully we decided some time ago to splurge on a new structural engineer - it ain't cheap to change mid-project - and the new one took one look and offered another way to provide the necessary support with a shallower beam.  That job is moving up the list and should be done in another week or two.

My overall feeling about the windows is:  it's not their fault that buying them was such an unpleasant experience, or that their maximum opening is too narrow to get through comfortably in case of fire, or that they are visibly tinted green, or that the crank you use to open them is really floppy and keeps snapping in the wrong direction as you turn.  Since the day I signed the contract for them I wanted to buy something else, and since the day they went in I wanted to replace them all, but we can't afford to right now, and they offer a lot of sound and temperature insulation.  They seem to get along with the house, so I am trying to be more welcoming too. 

Also Ray is putting smoke detectors in all the upstairs rooms, and wiring all the detectors in the house together so that any smoke, anywhere, will alert anybody in the house for maximum escape time.  (I sourced a really good hood vent for the range in the kitchen, so with luck only the occasional serving of burnt toast will give us all non-fire-related heart attacks.) 

What helps in my effort to be nice to the windows is that the view from the front ones is lovely - though it still feels strange to see the street from up at this height!

There's a bathtub since I was in last week, too:

Ray is anxious to get the basics into this bathroom and covered up before the insulation goes in because apparently it will be more difficult to do afterward.  I was amused to find water in the tub, as though it can't wait for its first bather, but Ray explained that they are testing to ensure there's no leak.

Choosing the bathtub was surprisingly painful.  There were basically two models under consideration, and Brent at the kitchen/bathroom store was really encouraging us to go with the other one.  It is very sleek and modern and squared off, and it's much deeper.  But I can actually get in and out of this one - there were some rather embarrassing moments when I tested the other - and it has armrests and a wider side (the better to set a book on) so we decided to go with the budget model.  Four bathrooms and this is the only tub in the house!  I hope I got it right.

Outside, we have now have some soffit and fascia installed, and brick going straight up to the roofline, yum.

Originally, the design called for custom-tinted wood siding at the peak of the roofline but I don't remember why that was even proposed.  I asked for a zero maintenance plan, and even the best wood siding will eventually need paint.  After a winter of trying to tell ourselves it would be okay to paint every few years, we brought the brick guys back to give us something we won't have to do anything about for the rest of our lives.  If you're ever in this situation, just go all brick the first time the guys come.  It's SO much less expensive.

At the front of the house we have a bump-out that will eventually rest on the roof of our new porch (apparently coming soon.)  Kind of sticks out in more ways than one, huh?  It's supposed to have the same siding that was planned for the sides of the house.

We can't finish with the soffit and fascia till it's on, but according to the siding guy I talked to, the product specified in the design can't be applied over that much insulation.  And it was the only one that can be custom tinted to our original grey porch paint, so if we want zero maintenance (and I do) it's either choose a stock colour from some other product and match that, or go with black or white and keep our grey.  The consensus appears to be for white, because the downspouts and the porch roof are going to be black and so is the fascia, while the siding under our dining room window in front will be white as before. But we still have to decide on the material because there are a ton of choices.  Big surprise there, huh?

Here's another Not New:

I'm still not bored, or even stressed, in spite of all the stuff I still have to decide on. 

I asked Ray the other day if he's getting tired of our project yet and he said No, it's still exciting!  That's how I feel too.  Every time I go into the house I see the bones, but my imagination overlays them with the finished product, and I feel completely at home and happy.  I was incredibly happy when I saw how neatly the tiles I liked for the main floor meshed together.  I still keep going over to the marble subway tile sample and petting it.  You can expect to see a lot more of it under yarn and knits in progress, too!

I will miss Ray when we're done here even though we have (smaller) projects to work on together in the future, because we're been in near-daily contact for almost two years already, and it will feel like leaving a rewarding job with really fun colleagues. 

I don't know too many other people who enjoy their renovations so I think we're pretty lucky, don't you?

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