Call in the Pros

Over the last two months, the work on the Little House has been going forward with minimal efforts from yours truly.  With our lives in the Valley now ramping up with various commitments, we are glad to report on some great news.

Our last posts filled you in on the roof and and some electrical progress, bringing us to the step where we needed to finish up the framing and plumbing.  While we are rather proud of our past d0-it-yourself capabilities, we draw the line at potential future fire/water damage.  Luckily, we have had some great help with the basic electrical and have contractors handling the HVAC and plumbing.  Unfortunately, the photos from this phase aren’t the most exciting (so the writing has to be extra good, right?).

Downstairs:

You might remember the old, winding staircase that was original to the house.  Its width and stair height do not meet modern building code requirements, and the staircase had a few structural difficulties . . . The below picture is after we had excavated over two feet of soil from under the floor joists.  Due to the giant crater we created, the stairs were floating approximately three feet above the ground.

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Luckily, if an existing component of the house pre-dates the building code, it is grandfathered in so long as the structure is repaired and not completed replaced.  Thank goodness our craftsmen are the best – they were able to shore up the stairs and now they are sturdy, safe, and gorgeous.  Renewed to their original, narrow-but-charming glory!

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The little hidey hole under the stairs was also a component the craftsmen were able to save.

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This has been one of our favorite parts of the renovation so far.  Here are the stairs from the top down.  We are finally using them for the first time (without risking life and limb, that is)!

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Downstairs, we also have an electrical panel,

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plumbing for the mudroom laundry,

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plumbing for the downstairs powder room,

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the height of the kitchen window has been adjusted and the plumbing is ready for the sink, dish drawer, pot filler, and refrigerator,

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and we are wired for a chandelier above the kitchen table!

IMG_1336 Upstairs:

Things are moving right along on the second floor, as well.  The brick masons removed the remaining plaster from the walls and cut channels for the electrician to run wires.  The masons then filled the channels with mortar:

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The channel above the door will be for wall sconces (to add a little ambiance), and the lower channels are for light switches and outlets.

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The masons then covered all of the brick with two coats of mortar.  They add score marks to the first layer, as shown below, so that the second layer will adhere to the first more securely.

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And the second coat – voila!

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We plan to paint over the mortar for a finished but rustic look.  We are also really excited about the vaulted ceilings and exposed roof in the bedrooms (we may have mentioned that once or twice).  When the HVAC infrastructure was added, ducts were inserted into the walls and ceiling.

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We obviously need to find covers for these, but we are so thrilled with the thought of central A/C!

What was once a maze of framing and subfloor is now starting to materialize into a bathroom.  We now have a toilet stall,

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the framing for two medicine cabinets and vanities,

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and closets that connect to the bathroom!

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Most exciting of all is the claw-foot tub!

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What, you can’t see it?  That’s probably because the tub is still out in a barn :)  We went on an excursion to Walton & Smoot Pharmacy in downtown Woodstock. The pharmacy is still a family-owned business, and is still a social hub right in the heart of town; however, before it was a pharmacy, the building housed Woodstock’s hotel.  The second floor of the building is still the ghost of the old hotel, and sinks, toilets, and tubs are still plumbed in for the skeleton of each room. 

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We were able to find a tub that wasn’t in bad condition, and with the help of a little muscle (a.k.a. Chad’s brother, Daniel, and his friend, Matt), we got the tub back to Edge Hill.  Once the floors are in, we’ll get that baby into place – until then, we are dreaming of the first soak.

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Once this baby is all hooked up we are going to refinish and paint it to match the room. We are also jazzed to have the framing up for our shower…

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…which holds water!  (see lower left corner, below).

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Whew.  And to top it all off, last week the building inspector paid one of his merry visits and informed us that our rough in was good to go after we add in a few more electrical outlets (luckily none need to be cut into brick walls!).  WHAT GREAT NEWS!

After we add those outlets, the next step is to add copious quantities of insulation.  After this very cold winter in a non-climate controlled Big House, we are HUGE believers in insulation.

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And, more good news: our drywall installation is booked for the end of June/beginning of July!  Things will really start taking shape over the next weeks, and a fall move-in date is looking to be within the realm of possibility.  Fingers crossed, and, of course, we’ll keep you posted!