The Final Stretch

Hey guys!  We have been waiting to write a post with some substance, because a lot of the current progress at the Little House is tedious detail work that doesn’t photograph well.  After our last post, our craftsman have been hard at work on the windows, doors, and trim of the Little House.  I think we’ve talked enough about windows, so take a gander at this:


That’s right, all of the windows are now in!! This is a huge step forward, as we are now able to make progress on the finish work of the interior.  Also, as I’m sure you’ve noted, we have doors!  The doors have a little story of their own.  When we were demoing the little house, we found a variety of exterior doors on the house.  Thus, in deciding what to keep, we got to do a little picking and choosing!  While assessing our options, we were trying to pick something with a good bit of character, and we were also concerned with boosting our natural light given the small existing windows on the house.  With those considerations, we had an easy winner (sorry for the poor photo, we are currently doing this post while out of town!):


We also liked this door because it continues a three-or-one fenestration theme we’ve inherited with the little house.  In the existing windows, the sashes are three lights over one light:


For the door we chose, there is one large pane of glass, and then three panels, one of which is also divided into thirds.  We like the symmetry there, so we saw that as our sign.  We took the original door to a cabinetry craftsman, and he quadrupled it for us.  The first shot shows the two front doors (stacked) beside our inspiration door, and the second shows the slightly larger two rear doors (also stacked):



We got some insulated glass panes for the glazing, some Ebay salvaged hinges from the same maker of the hardware that was used on the main houses, knobs and deadbolts to keep out unwanted guests, a little weatherstripping, and BAM:


We have exterior doors!

We also have an exterior door from our master bedroom that will lead out to a small deck for fire egress purposes, and for that spot we didn’t want such a large window as we used on the first floor doors.  Hunting with Mom through an excellent architectural salvage shop in Front Royal, I stumbled across this beauty!


I was immediately drawn to this guy because of the three light upper window, which keeps with the three-or-one theme and will let some morning sun into the master bedroom without sacrificing privacy.  Salvaged doors are reasonably priced, and after double checking the measurements we sealed the deal:


After stripping off most of the old paint, our craftsman hung the door.  Now to finish restoration and glaze the upper windows…


As for the trim, we picked a style that we really liked from a home we visited this past summer:


This trim is a bit more ornate than the plain board trim that would have certainly existed originally, but we justified this change as reflecting the changed use of the house in its present function.  We liked the clean lines, and our craftsmen Colon and Dustin are using rough-sawn pine lumber to custom-fit each window and door:


(Future Laundry Room)


(Future Kitchen)

The craftsmen have also been hard at work hanging interior doors and finishing our interior wall cladding in our closets:



(Guest Closet)

We also have made some progress in the full bathroom!


Outside the house, several other projects have come to completion, and we now have an approved septic field!  This involved a great amount of digging across a decades-old farm area with multiple hidden utilities just waiting to be found by the excavator, but he did a great job.  Here is where the septic comes into the house, passing under an existing power line:


And here is the settling tank, all ready to be hooked up:


The septic line travels about 150 feet over to the distribution box system:



And once it was all approved we backfilled, and moved on to the next project!


Which, it turns out, was another DIY endeavor and turned out to be our least favorite task thus far.  Of course, it involved MORE HAND DIGGING.  About two months ago, we found out that the crawl space under the addition required a french weeping drainage system to meet code requirements and prevent flooding.  As we plan to install several mechanical systems in the crawl space, we didn’t object, but here is where a little prior planning would have made a world of difference.  When the pad for the crawl space was formed, we did not clean around the edges or use cement forms along the rear of the house.  Instead, we poured the concrete right against the dirt of the hole that had been dug, which was perfectly fine.  Until, as it turned out, we had to dig down beside that concrete and install the drainage system.  This entailed us crawling down into the foundation trench and hand digging a channel for the drain tile.  As this earth was previously undisturbed, it was incredibly compacted and filled with river rock.  The progress was slow, back breaking, and tedious (we felt like Jean Valjean), and we were lucky to be able to trench 8 feet in an hour.  For future reference to other diggers, dig a bigger hole, use concrete forms, and install the drain right away!!

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Here you can see the sill of the footer, and I am using a pick axe to trench down beside it so any water drains into the trench drain tile and not our crawl space:

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The following day, we painted the foundation with a water sealant coating, just in case the french drain doesn’t 100% solve the problem.  Belts and Suspenders, Folks.


This stuff wound up getting pretty much all over us, and for future reference, this is a job you want to do in a hat, long sleeves, and pants.  The scrubbing required to remove the tar sealant from skin is brutal.  Don’t even ask about what you have to do to get it out of hair.  At last, we had our drain trench dug and foundation prepped!


We then laid some landscaping fabric and ran our drain tile with a slight decline to our sump pit (also hand dug):


Dad found a remnant four-foot piece of large plastic culvert for our sump pit, and we were so grateful!



We dug down so the drains would be well above the level of the sump:


And set the pit into place, drilling 4 and 1/8 inch openings in for the drain tile.  IMG_0032After watching several YouTube videos on the subject (this house couldn’t have been done without YouTube), I found a great how-to on DIY sump pump installation from Apple Drains in North Carolina.  The dude who narrates is hilarious, and he fully explains the all aspects of the project and tells you why you are taking different steps.  I added two lines going into the crawl space, one for the pumps power supply and one for a garden hose that I can hook into a dehumidifyer for the crawl space.  It took me about two hours of measuring PVC and gluing the whole thing together.  Here you can see the white PVC lines running into the pit:


And here you can just see the drain tile poking into the pit on the edges, covered with filtration fabric, and the green device at the bottom of the pit is our pump:


Despite how labor-intensive this task turned out to be, we are hopeful that our crawl space will be moisture free for life, and I have some confidence in knowing how the whole thing works!  After reading all of this, I’m sure you will share in my excitement when I came home to this inspection result:


Each day we are getting closer, and for our interior design fans, we are nearing the phase where Rachel will take the helm and detail our choices room-by-room.  So exciting we can hardly wait!