Monday, March 19, 2012

Help, Paint Colors

I think I have too many choices.  I go to Home Depot and just ooohh and aaahhh at all of the colors.  I finally narrowed it down to 6.  The bathroom wall is starting to look like a patchwork quilt. I bring home those Color Samples and paint a patch.   Help me please.  What do you think? Keep in mind that slate has so many different colors from green to pink and purple.  Our bathroom is roomy but not spacious.  We have two windows and alot of light.
1. Antique Copper (looked better in the store)
2. Catalina Coast
3. not a color, just a white patch on a hole.
4. Berudan Blue (maybe too blue)

1. Antique Tin
2. Creek Bend
3. Down Pour
Remember the tub surround?
While I was working at the hospital for the last 2 days Ted has been busy. 
Yep, he has been busy with bead board and trim.  He even built me a step because I have short legs and would kill myself getting out of the tub. Remember fractured wrist and leg.  I guess I have lost his trust. I just can't wait to get the bathroom finished.   
We had to get started on painting the bedroom, sanding, staining and finishing the wood floors.  It is really coming along. We both are exhausted but pleased with the work. Let me know what paint colors look best. Thanks.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Insulation Completed

How do you insulate an old house? Very carefully with many, many holes.  Please do not notice the Christmas wreaths which remained up way past the holiday.  We put plastic up in the windows to help keep the heat in and couldn't remove the wreaths.  Well, they're gone now!  No more plastic going up in the fall. YaaHooooooooooo!

Now way down deep into the bowels of the house. Otherwise known as the basement.  I never knew how much heat was lost through the concrete above ground. Evidently, cement blocks have only an R value of 1.  The guys spent 2 days spraying a 2 part insulation foam on the basement walls. After this was completed there was a noticeable difference in the house.
Please notice the beautiful plumbing.  This goes to our new bathroom.  No frozen pipes in the winter. What a novel concept.
Beautiful insulation aaaaa.......

Next came attic insulation.  We have two attics. 

Please don't fall through! Nice and deep with plenty loft.  When we first moved into the house the attics were slap full of junk.  The house was owned by a hoarder and boy was it full.

They removed the top portion of the window at each end and put in a vent to allow moisture to escape. There is old wallpaper from who knows when.  I can't imagine being a kid and staying up here.
They spent about 4 full days insulating the house.  In the past if the temp in the kitchen was 68 we had a rip roaring fire in the woodstove.  Now with the fire banked it will reach 70 with very little effort.  The big test will be when we drop back to the negatives.  Today the high is suppose to be 60.  If this keeps up we should get 3 cuttings of hay this summer.  That will be a blessing in itself.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yes We Have No Insulation

I will admit it, I'm a bit slow at times.  It took Lucy wearing Teds' hat to get her point across.  Okay, we live in a 160 year old farmhouse with little to no insulation in MAINE. It gets cold here and the cost of propane is steadily rising with no help in sight.  We did use fuel oil but the furnace just couldn't even help warm the house.  We heat mostly with wood from the farm.  Still, the temperature in the house rarely gets above 68.  When the outside temp drops below 0 we can wake up to temps in the 50's.  Brrrrrrrr..... Even in my granny gown that is cold.  I was watching a commercial from Efficiency Maine about a loan available of up to $15,000 with a rate of 4.99% and a term of up to 15 years for repayment. 

A Maine PACE loan is a loan taken by a property owner to finance the cost of making a qualified whole house energy upgrade with eligible energy savings improvements to their property. What makes a Maine PACE loan different from other loans is that it stays with the property. If a homeowner sells his or her home before the loan is paid off, the loan can either be paid off at the time of sale or can be transferred with the property to become the responsibility of the new owner.- taken from their website.

I didn't see how this could be a bad thing.  I filled out the online application and they called me the next day with an approval. The second step was an Energy Audit.  I chose a company that had an excellent record and references from the provided list.  Penobscot Home Performance came out and  this is what they did. They used a thermal gun which showed that we had NO insulation in most of the house.  Then they hooked up this reverse fan in the door to detect that we live in a SIEVE! No joke. There was more air going through windows and cracks that we didn't know were even there. 
It looked like everything was a go.  Well hold your horses there. Nothing and I mean nothing in my life works that easy.  Our little town of Bradford was not on the list of participating municipalities.  In small town politics talk that means that I had to present the program at a town meeting to our selectmen.  Then they had to vote to put the ordinance before the town in a special meeting.  Oh woe is me. I just knew that it would not work.  But living in a small town worked to our advantage.  With the help of our Town Manager and a dear selectman it went through without a hitch.  We have a Pace Ordinance.  Everyone can sleep easier now.  Now everything was a go.  Materials started arriving.
This......Cell-Pak, cellulose insulation.
More Cell-Pak, some insulation board and lumber....

Boxes of spray foam insulation.....

This is looking like fun.....I consider anything that someone else has to work at FUN! 
Next, men arrive and WORK!
More to follow. I'm in insulation heaven.
Much Love and Prayers from a WARM Mainely Ewes Farm.
Thank you President Obama and the State of Maine for these funds that will be used wisely and for the good of the common folk. I.E. Stimulus funds.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slate Done!

This process took a few days. I would love to say that it went up like a charm.  The process takes time and patience.  The cement board has to be clean and free from debris and then sponged with water.  This prevents the board from sucking out the water from your mastic causing it to dry too quickly and crack.  Who wants to be taking a nice bath and have a 6x6 slate tile come off and smack you in the head? 
I used 1/4 inch spacers and it kept the lines pretty close to being straight.  The big, big, big concept to grasp with slate is that no two tiles are exactly the same size or thickness.  If you want everything nice and uniform buy manufactured slate.  Ted kept telling me that "this is a rustic tile and you will not get the lines completely straight".  He was definitely right.  But I really love the look. 
Surround done.  Just waiting on grout. The floor tiles were a bit easier to lay. I just realized that I forgot to take any pictures of the radiant floor process.  It was actually very easy.  First off we had to buy an Ohm meter and find out how it works.  That was the hardest part of the heated floor. Oh, and to make sure you don't cut that little blue wire.  We watched the enclosed video about 4 times to make sure we were doing it right.  It goes right onto the cement board and then you cover it with the mastic that is used to put the tile down.  Done!
Next was grout time for the floor.  That was a process in itself but it really came out nice.  Last but not least I applied 2 coats of sealer especially made for natural stone. Slate is very porous and has to be sealed about every 6 months.  I love the finished look.  I still have to grout the wall but that can come a bit later. We also have a slate pencil tile stick thingy to put around the surround edges to give a finished look. We have to get the plumber back to finish the sink and toilet. Paint.  What color? Oh, darn, more choices.
While I was busy inside Ted called and had 24 yards of rock delivered to fill in the driveway.  Mud season came early this year.  We were having all the kids up for a homemade spaghetti dinner and they would slip and slide in the driveway.   
Ted just enjoyed the heck out of spreading the rock. He did an excellent job.  Of course we could use about 6 more loads. The tractor has been running like a good Deere.  We didn't have a regular winter, much less snow. So the tractor didn't get put to work much.  Thanks for your comments.  I have missed blog land and all the great folks here. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Does the Tub Fit?

Yes, yes, yes. It almost fit. Well, we knew that we would have to take out part of the closet wall.  Yes, but did I fail to mention that it heats the water while the jets are on? When a woman will gladly give up part of her closet for a tub you know it has to be a special tub.

Wow, it comes with a template.  We have to put cement board under and behind. Anything to prevent water from getting into the wall. 

Here it is all framed in and plumbed. No faucets yet but we are working on that. 
Aww. My poor wall. I can feel tapping and mudding in my future.

Plumbing in for the vanity.  We did not attempt to install the plumbing or plumb the tub ourselves. We are aware of our limitations.

Kind of reminds me of the old one hole outhouse.  No spiders.  

I just knew there was mud and tapping in my future. 

We take turns. It takes about 3 coats before it is smooth enough.

After sanding a final time the ceiling and walls are beautifully smooth. 

I think the worst part of sanding drywall is the mess that is left to clean up and having to wash my hair. It makes such a yucky feeling.  We finish up the floor with cement board.

Then of course the clean up. What would we do without a shop vac?
All the seams in the cement board were tapped and mudded and  ready for slate tile. I am very impressed with the work done.  We have never attempted a bathroom from the walls out before. 
Much Love and Prayers from a very tired Mainely Ewes Farm

Monday, March 12, 2012

En Suite Bathroom

Well it's about time.  Where have we been and what have we been up to?  Sitting around, lazing away time with our feet propped up sipping ice tea. Heck no.  We have been busy inside of the house.  Two major projects are under way.  Each a very big project in itself.  I'll start with the first, but by no means the biggest.   En Suite Bathroom.  It was there since we moved in.  Right off of our bedroom but not functional.  See, we have had so many other projects to finish first. Like the kitchen.  Boy was that ever a biggie.  We used a 2 burner Coleman camp stove for 6 months while we built the kitchen.  I say "built" because there wasn't one.  Nope, not even electricity or plumbing.  We kept moving our bathroom back as other renovations came first.  Then the dreaded bathroom turned into a junk room.  You know what I mean.  You have something you should throw away but you just might NEED it. So it goes into the junk room.  Yep.  I had an en suite junk room. Just what we all need. Here is the evil monster it became. The last owners gave up after the bathtub went in. Yes, there is a bathtub in there under all that junk. No plumbing or running water though.  See the window? It has plastic sheeting to keep the wind from whistling through. It doesn't open. It is just a pane of glass. What good is that I ask?
Good space, just full of junk, ugly tile without grout, oh and there was a giant hole under the tub that the cats used as easy basement access.  Does all of this sound kind of chilling? Yep, cold actually.
First all the junk was either thrown away or relocated to another junk room.  Yep, we have another junk room otherwise known as the basement.  That is soon on the clean out agenda. Ted cracked up the ugly tile and tossed it into the trash.
Then a trip to Home Depot for the tub of my dreams.   It not only has jets to soothe my aching back but it keeps the water warm.  Oh, I may never come out.
We had to have the toilet that never ever needs plunging.  I think plungers are disgusting. Shouldn't all toilets be plunger free?   Ted had to have the one with the quiet closing lid.
We both agreed that our bathroom needed radiant floor heating. That was a no brainer. A thermostat that can be set to have warm toasty floors when I get up for work at o dark thirty. Soooooo necessary.
We weren't very pleased with the vanities that Home Depot carried so we went on over to Lowe's.  Sink, granite top, backsplash and vanity all in one and on Clearance. YES!
Okay, now this is where we had words.  I wanted slate. Ted kept reminding me just how difficult slate was to work with.  I know, I know, but I waaaant slaaaate.  I did start to whine a bit. It was worth it, I got slate.  Now that I said that, there were times in the next few days when we were laying the slate that he did remind me that "You just had to have slate".  Yes, it was a bit more work.  I have never laid slate tile before.  Thank you internet. Information super highway to the rescue. A whole corner of slate tile for the floor and tub surround. Boy was that heavy.
First the window had to be replaced.  It now opens.  Imagine that. A new concept.  No more air flow. That is unless the window is actually open.

The tub looked a whole lot littler up on the wall at Home Depot.  The box was hugundis.  We had to take it through the dining room.....
and into the bedroom.  Can you see how low the ceiling is? Oh my goodness. Is it going to fit into the junk I mean bathroom?
The bathroom project has been going on for a few weeks.  We keep working and are now seeing progress.  But did the tub fit?
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm