Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another photo

No new house photos today, so here's another photo from earlier in the summer. Last night Erick and I were planning on finishing the tyvek on the east and north walls, but it was far too windy, so we just cleaned up instead.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finished a painting!

I started this painting the first week of July in the hopes that it would be finished for the Artists by the Sea event in St. Andrews the weekend of July 10th-11th. No such luck! I found the time Saturday morning to finally finish it though. House wise, Erick and I put in the corner posts: 4 massive 6x6 beams.. the largest of which were 14' long and weighed about 200 or more pounds).

Partners, 2010 soft pastel, 7 x 10 inches

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lazy week

Despite the work that has been going on at our house this week, Erick and I have been taking it easy. We worked our butts off last weekend in the searing heat and have spent this week recovering. Tomorrow it's back at it - we're hoping to tyvek the remaining exterior walls and to put on the rest of the strapping. In the spirit of laziness, I thought I'd post a photo today that has nothing to do with the house. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Decisions Decisions

When we first started making noise about building a house, one of the things we heard frequently from people who had been there, done that was that all the decision making will drive you crazy. How many windows and where? Which flooring? What sort of drywall? What colours? What countertop? What windows, siding, roofing, doors? What fixtures, lights, appliances, handles, outlets, etc.? But so far the decision making has been the fun part. Like the day we went to the plumbing show room and picked out our kitchen sink, faucets, bathroom sink and faucets, toilet, and bathtub. We were in and out in 40 minutes, and were both in perfect agreement about what we wanted. I suppose it helps that we're on a tight budget that we both recognize the importance of.

Picking out our lights took a little longer (about an hour and a half). We went with antique bronze, a burnished brassy colour. There are sconces, simple chandeliers, track lights, and some overhead lights. We picked out our doorknobs and locks in about 20 minutes, and again went with antique bronze to match the lights. The picture above is actually of our mudroom door knob (and it shows you what the antique bronze looks like).

Still we have lots of other decisions to make, ones that I'm looking forward to. At the moment it's countertops... With our budget it will be laminate, but there are *so* many different styles and colours to choose from.

Interestingly enough, the wall colours were one of the first things we started picking out. What else would you expect from an artist though? ;)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Windows at last

Well, here they are. Twenty-two windows, and two doors were installed in approximately 7 hours by a team of two guys. They caulked, shimmed, and taped everything, and they look great. I'm posting most of these pictures in black and white, because the blueskin, white tyvek, red roof, and red tuck tape look a little too fourth of July for me. Ok ok... see below for a colour photo. It really does look silly though. The windows and doors are from Ultimate Windows and doors on Rothesay Avenue. I would *highly* recommend them to anyone looking for windows. Their windows are good quality, and the salesman we dealt with (Mark Campbell) is really on the ball. You can tell that they value their customers.
Here's the mudroom door:
And the front door:
And, (sigh) the promised colour picture:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today is the day!

This is the last picture you will see of the house with empty window and door holes. Today is the day!! The installation crew arrived at 9:00 am and are working away. We started the planning for the windows and doors almost 6 months ago, and I can't wait to see how they look.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Window prep

This weekend Erick and I busted our butts getting the window and door holes ready to have the windows and doors installed today. Between the two of us, we put in almost 40 hours of work, on the hottest weekend of the year to date. And then this morning I got a call from the window place saying that the job scheduling guy went on vacation before they could get confirmation about coming out to do our job this morning, so they're not coming until tomorrow. Good thing we were ready! ;)

The top picture is when we finished on Saturday night.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Window flashing and more about stove choice

Last night was lovely in Musquash, so I decided to get off my lazy butt and take some pictures of the house: All kinds of stuff going on with the well and septic. Our septic got approved, so yay! for that.

You can see where we've started putting tyvek and strapping around the windows in preparation for their installation.
We also discovered this awesome window flashing called 'Blue skin' which is basically a thick adhesive rubber strip that you stick on top of the tyvek and strapping around the windows and doors to keep moisture out. It prevents drafts, keeps moisture out, and self seals around punctures. Below is the corner of the window to the left of the door, above. It sometimes takes some practice to figure out how to use the materials correctly. ;)

To address Chris's comment re. the woodstove: The Alderlea does come in a larger size (the T6 for 3000 sq ft homes), but the larger stove is no wider, and it only allows peices of wood 2" longer than the T5. And of course it's more expensive. We talked to a number of people about it and decided to go with the T5 for a number of reasons:

1) Houses insulated such as ours with cathedral ceilings show a temperature gradient from floor to ceiling of less than half a degree. Yes heat rises, but you have fewer drafts and no cold spots, which means that everywhere is pretty much the same temperature.

2) It is recommended to use a smaller woodstove than your floorspace would dictate when your house is well insulated and when it's passive solar. Our floorspace is 2000 sq ft - and our stove choices were between stoves for 2000 sq ft and 3000 sq ft.

3) If your house is smaller than your woodstove can heat, you can't burn it properly (get it really going) or your house will overheat. Not burning it properly results in a less efficient burn (more particulate in the smoke and more offgas), and a lower lifespan of the stove.

4) We found a used (but basically brand new) T5 that was $1000 cheaper than a new T6.

Various family members have been betting how many cords of wood we'll burn next winter. They've been all over the map with their guesses - what do you guys think? :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Something different...

I'm going to take a break from the regularly scheduled programming (or blogging) today to show you the woodstove we're getting. It's going to go right in the middle of our house, in the corner made by the stairs. Here it is:
It's a Pacific Energy Alderlea T5, designed for heating homes 2000 sq ft (like ours). It's cast iron, non-catalytic, and has two top parts that wing out so you can use it as a cooking stove in power failures (see insets above). I though that was just too pratical a feature to pass up in our part of the world. Below is the hole in our roof where the chimney goes up. Eventually there will be a chimney pipe going from there down to the stove, but for now we just have a hole.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More digging

Last week Derek Thompson from Coastal Enterprises started putting in our septic system. Above is his excavator, and on the left you can see the septic tank and some of the white piping. At one point Derek had to get in the tank to cut something with his jackknife to make it fit. He could have used our rip saw and avoided getting in the tank, but that was the one day we had all the tools locked up, and he couldn't get at it. The hole he used to get in the tank doesn't look big enough to let a person through (see below in red).
Here's a closer look at the trench that will have the water lines running from our well to the house:
And here's my rhubarb plant after they were done with the excavator. It still looks sort of alive here, but trust me... it is most certainly dead now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The (long awaited?) roof pictures

Well we've been talking about our red metal roof for a long time, and last week it was finally put on. These pictures are from Saturday morning in the thick Musquash fog. I suppose I could have gotten better pictures in last night's sunshine, but in the spirit of laziness I didn't. :)You can see the top of our well in the bottom right of this photo. The trench is for the pipes to connect the waterlines to the house. The excavator on the right is putting in the septic tank and field.
Also note the shiny new chimney :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Drip Edges

Well after a week of no new posts, here's an update... In these pictures the roof has tyvek on it and has been strapped, and the drip edges installed.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Snowglobes in July

This weekend Erick and I worked on framing the windows. First Erick routered out the foam from between the layers of OSB, and then we measured and cut 2x4s to fit in the holes, then we foamed the holes, stuck in the 2x4s, and nailed them in place before sealing the edges with still more foam. This sounds like it would be a quick job, but it took Erick and I working from noon until 8:30 on Saturday, and from 10 unil 7 on Sunday to get this done for our 22 windows and 2 doors.

The routering of the panels had an interesting but wholly upleasant after-effect. The foam from between the panels was shredded by the router and due to the wind this weekend was whipping around the inside of our house the whole time, and I imagine it was very like being inside a snow globe. The foam flakes varied from invisible powder that coated your skin making everything itch to pieces the size of my fist. I've swept up four full garbage bags of foam and there's still plenty more. Worst of all, it's water resistant so there's nothing you can do to weigh it down, and that nicely swept pile you just made goes swirling around the house again with the first gust of wind.

Since I was too tired and irritated with the foam this weekend to take any pictures, you'll have to make do with one of my rock garden. It has some herbs, a tomato plant, and some flowers. :)

Friday, July 02, 2010

More window shots

Since I was a bad blogger yesterday and didn't take any new photos of what was done yesterday, I thought I'd post a couple more pictures of the window and door holes. Here is the mudroom and mudroom door hole. On the left of the door hole you can see the big closet. Th mudroom door will be solid (no glass), but we are planning on having a screen door there as well for air flow.
And here is my favourite window - the master bedroom. This window is on the east wall and in the morning the sun shines directly in. Yesterday morning I sat in that window and drank my coffee like a cat in the sun. It was lovely. Also note the fairly huge closet. :)
Yesterday we were working on the house from 8:00 to 1:00 - and I'm pleased to say that after about 10am, there was *very* little sun shining directly into our house which meant that the house stayed cool all day. I was glad to see that because I was concerned that having all the southern windows would make our house overheat in the summer. But it seems that the sun is high enough in the sky this time of year that the roof overhang keeps it out.

Ok, one last window shot (this is the south west corner, and no it's not really that dark):