Saturday, September 24, 2011

Superior Walls & Framing

Framing is coming along and dad got his sign up :)

How we got here:

Stone tamped down to prep for the walls & floor

Superior Walls' crew carefully measured

And a really big crane came...
and the custom formed foundation walls

Walls lowered into place -

And securely bolted together
And we have a basement!

Next, framing of the deck began

We also found time to sandblast the exposed stone that will be in the kitchen - it came nice and clean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Inspiration - windows & floors

Naturally, we have been looking at magazines and blogs for ideas on style and decor for quite a while.  However much of our inspiration has come from houses my father has completed - it really means a lot to see the ideas come to life.  Luckily, many of his recent clients have similar tastes to us :)

We are using these same doors - 8' high french doors, which will have large Cottage windows on either side, just like this home:

With Chris for proportion-

We'll also use the Cottage style windows like these in the back room, allowing an unobstructed view to the barn/ animals/ fields:

Another (also gorgeous!) home that my father is working on has the same floors that we will be using - they are 6", 8" and 10" width pine, shown here unfinished.  We think the random width pine will really keep with the modern country feel of our home.

We might also use the same color Hardie Plank as that home:

Decisions, decisions!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Completing the excavation

Last week was a washout from a week full of rain.  This week is better weather, but the rock beneath the house-to-be is still hard as hell!!

Before additional excavation started - note the solid rock to the left.

The tool for the job:

Day 1 complete -  majority done, minus the worst / hardest part.

After a very long day - section 2 complete.  There's our basement! 

Lots of dirt & rock

Another view:

Looked fun getting the excavator down:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our temporary kitchen

We managed to keep pretty much everything we need - stove, sink (cold water only), fridge, washing machine.  Dryer is there but not connected since it's not too easy to get a propane line up here. Note the construction permit in the window :)

And a view near the door.  Saved a cabinet, toaster oven... Table is in the foyer.  It works for now!  One thing I know for sure, we will really appreciate our new, spacious kitchen!

Chris' creative piping job coming out the window-

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Excavation/ Footings

Next step was to support the old foundation prior to constructing the new one.  We are using Superior Walls for the new foundation, but some work to prepare the Site for them was necessary.

Complete digging down to the correct depth -

Set forms for poured concrete:

At this point we had to have a Township Inspector come out before we could pour the concrete.  Everything was approved, and we could then pour concrete:

Next, the mason built the block walls to match height of superior walls:

There will be a "shelf" here in the basement in this area, encasing the foundation of the old house, with a staircase going up into the old basement.  Conveniently, the shelf will be a nice bar-height, easy on the eyes with the exposed stone behind it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 update.  The block is complete, and the next step is to expand the excavation to the full size of the addition.  However, some rain is holding us up a bit, and it doesn't look like its stopping anytime soon...

Grilling Dinners

From the start, we did not have a sink in our makeshift kitchen, so meals that don't require any cleanup were a necessity.

Night one we had grilled porterhouse steaks, grilled zucchini, and an easy salad.  For the zucchini we simply quartered, sprinkled with some kosher salt and rubbed with a bit of olive oil and grilled on Medium-Low until soft and lightly charred.  The eco-friendly inside was pained by using and throwing away paper plates, but it's just for a while until we have a sink :)

Night 2 I made chicken.  Seeing how long we can make it without going out to dinner!  I marinated the chicken with salt & pepper, balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil.  I sprinkled the same on the zucchini & squash.  I purchased a tomato & parmasean flatbread from ShopRite and threw it on the grill to heat up - it was great!  Plus a greens salad with Marzetti Light Ranch dressing - so delicious, relatively low fat / calorie (for Ranch!), with no preservative, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or artifical flavors.  Next -best to homemade :)

Demo Day

We are finally ready.  Permits are in order, subcontractors are lined up, and Hurricane Irene granted us a free day off of work.  Monday, August 29 was demo day.

The dogs were wondering what is going on.

I had removed many of the perennial bulbs from the beds that surrounded the old addition, with the help of a great friend - unfortunately we got poison ivy in the process!!  We also saved most of the stones that were used to make the rock wall.  The electrician and plumber came to disconnect everything leading to that section, and the framer cut the roof for easy separation.

Goats don't care -

Kenny getting ready to rip & tear.  He jokingly said "Oh I read that book, "How to Tear Down a House", last night so I'm ready!".

Got a good spot -

It was a bit nerve-wracking!

But all went smoothly and the addition came right off the stone house as expected.  We tried to salvage as many of the old beams as possible.

Juan found a praying mantis - we were happy to see this sign of good luck on Day 1 of our demolition.

The symbolism of a praying mantis:

The mantis never makes a move unless she is 100% positive it is the right thing for her to do. This is a message to us to contemplate and be sure our minds and souls all agree together about the choices we are making in our lives.
Overwhelmingly in most cultures the mantis is a symbol of stillness. As such, she is an ambassador from the animal kingdom giving testimony to the benefits of meditation, and calming our minds.
An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm. It may also a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent.

I love what it represents and how it fits into our lives right now.

But enough with the serious stuff... celebratory champagne!

We had to start right away removing the old concrete/ plaster from the old exterior.  This wall will be our new kitchen wall, so we want to get the exposed stone nice and clean.  Minor damage above the doorway where one of the pegs was very securely in that beam.

Chris getting right to work:

 The house looks so small and cute!

Beautiful end of an awesome day!