Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Point the gun and shoot

After all the energy audits, we came to the conclusion that blown-in insulation would be just the thing to keep us warm and toasty this winter.

Energy Tech Solutions arrived with their Infrared (IR) gun in addition to the drills and hoses for insulation.
They pointed the gun around the house to double-check their earlier estimates and found that most of our walls actually did have insulation! 
 zip-wall added to control dust.
There were a few empty walls - the Baby-Beechnut's room received a healthy dose of padding, as did the dining room,
 holes above the slider in the dining room.
guest bathroom, the underside of all the stairwells, and they even added some to the floor in the Big-Beechnuts room, by plugging a spot in the eaves.
 Adding insulation around the bay window

When they performed the blower-door test, they found the house was still drafty, but that it could be remedied by caulking all the windows.

Energy Tech Solutions did a great job at controlling the dust with zip-walls and patching all the holes they drilled. We are very happy with this work and Jeff had a blast playing with the IR gun.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In Hotter Water

Although you wouldn't know it from reading this blog, there has been a flurry of activity here regarding insulation. Its that time of the year when Jeff claims 62 degrees is the real "Room Temperature" and he starts to mutter about the cool breezes coming in through the front door, all the windows and even most of the electrical sockets. Note: We did turn the heat on before November 1 this year.

We've had several meetings with different companies to have our house audited for energy consumption to identify the areas that should be insulated and how we can qualify for the rebates.

Knob and Tube Wiring

We had to have all the knob-and-tube wiring removed from our house (this photo is from someone else's house on Flickr). It still had current running through it!

We had the basement air-sealed with foam insulation injected between the foundation and the sill. 

That should remove some of the drafts in the basement. By the way, this was FREE! Contact CSG to see if you can get this.

Our gas company came out to look at our boiler and told us we had too much gas coming in from the street and they turned down the flow.

Someone along the way suggested we begin to think about a new hot-water heater. Shortly after that conversation, the water wasn't as hot. Showers seemed tepid. We started to get nervous. Then it hit me. Jeff checked the temperature setting on the hot-water heater and found it was set to the lowest temperature. Problem solved! A quick adjustment and we have hot showers again!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Topped off

We finished the skirted console/buffet table in the DR by adding a glass top.

I love how the DR has come together, this buffet table adds some height, lots of storage and a good-sized bar area.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Skirting the issue

As part of the Dining room redecoration, we had to rethink our storage. 

Shelly recommended a skirted buffet table and I loved the idea of a big area for holding a bar or even food on those big holiday gatherings.

We didn't want to build a shelving area ourselves due to extreme laziness, and you really can't beat the prices at IKEA. So we started with an Expedit. Jeff added some legs and a bigger top to make it a little more grand in size.

We were reassured by Shelly of the correct location in the room and Jeff pried off a section of chair-rail in order to attach the shelf to the wall.

I wasn't surprised that there was paint and wallpaper, but who knew the room was pink at one point? Several layers of wallpaper were also visible.

After a few false starts involving not enough yardage, I sewed a skirt for the buffet, thus concealing all the random stuff stored in the shelf.

 Just wait until you see the table with new lamps and a mirror, and a glass top. I can't decide if it needs trim. Any opinions?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

On the Road: Southwest Colorado

My baby brother was just married in Ouray, Colorado and we had a great time visiting. I think most people were busy taking photos of the mountains, but there were other grand details that caught my eye.

I was impressed by the Victorian cottages, dripping in trim.

There were beautiful chandeliers hanging in the barn where the couple were married. They were made to look like old oil lamps and it brought a refined touch to the rustic architecture of a barn.

The Beaumont Hotel was full of interesting things. This safe at reception was painted with pretty details, I love when someone thinks to adorn a utilitarian object.

The wrought-iron supports for the ceiling fans in the cafe, I love this kind of detail.

The house had some fun trim, I love the "eyebrows" over the upper windows.

Here's the happy couple leaving the wedding, isn't the Beaumont Hotel beautiful? That staircase was so grand.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I was looking thru the latest email from Restoration Hardware when I noticed that they were selling "Decorative rope". For $89.

Rope. For Eighty-Nine American dollars.

Apparently, one is supposed to pile this rope decoratively somewhere in their house. Sure, it would have been helpful when Hurricane Earl came to New England last weekend and we needed to tie down the patio furniture. But really? Rope for $89?

I am clearly not taking advantage of the crap lying around my house. I've been trying to be more creative lately when it comes to decorating, so I decided to let Restoration Hardware be my inspiration. I looked around and realized I have lots of things with which to decorate!

Assorted garden hoses..

Sculpture Pile of old Nails Fasteners

 These would be especially interesting, old window weights with rope. A two-fer!

Then it hits me! Functional yet colorful, neatly coiled, just like RH's rope. Green extension cord! Don't you love it?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Preparing for the worst

In theory, Hurricane Earl should arrive tonight. We live about 40 miles west of the coast, so I'm not expecting much more than rain and some wind. With the dry summer we've had, I'm hoping for lots of heavy rain.

But, when it rains, we often lose the power, so I decided to can a batch of tomatoes, rather than freeze them. It took a little while, but I think I have the hang of it.

This batch started out as 10 lbs of heirloom plum tomatoes from the CSA. I think next time I'll squish more tomatoes into the jar. But as a first-time try, I feel pretty good about it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blogger get-together

The smart ladies from Hot Houses in LA came for a visit.  They were very kind and ohhed-and-ahhed over our kitchen and the new screened porch. They told us stories of the fabulous houses they'd sold in LA, and we compared notes on termite treatments.
Learka and Heather happen to be good friends outside of blogging, but we spent a lot of time talking houses.

If you ever need real-estate help in LA, these are your people!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Accidental Stalker: 9 by Design edition

We had a busy weekend, but it included accidentally stalking the nice family featured on "9 by Design". We were driving through western Massachusetts and I was looking at houses when I noticed the Great Barrington house that looked familiar. We made a u-turn and I said "I'm pretty sure that's one of the houses that Bob and Courtney own!" Yes, we are on a first-name basis.

This was the only photo I was able to get,

but you can see better photos here, look under the projects section.

Then, the next day, we were sitting in traffic on the West Side Highway in NYC and I was looking at the houses when Jeff and I both said "I think that other house is right near here, the view seems familiar." Sure enough, we saw this house overlooking the Hudson (the white one).

A little closer...

The facade, with the blue faux-bois boards is very fun and distinct.

We didn't set out to find these houses but it was a nice surprise during a fun weekend. Maybe I should watch less TV?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Look on the Bright Side

If you've been following me on Twitter you'd know we've been making some updates to the Dining room. What? You don't follow me on Twitter? You should, I would tweet more often if I had followers!

I contacted the super-smart, ever-patient, design-saavy Shelly of Van Rozeboom Interiors to help me make some updates in the house and to phase out our college and barely-post-college decorating scheme.

She started with my living room and then we moved into the Dining Room. I'm still incorporating the changes into the living room, but the dining room is proving to have a higher instant-gratification rating among people who live in my house.

(Ignore the legos-in-progress on the table!) 
We changed out the old gold-toned, plain-jane, chandelier for this sparkly number. At her suggestion, I also added 4 coats of high-gloss paint to the ceiling. I love how the ceiling seems to be glowing and the chandelier makes the room feel so lively. I'll post more pictures as the room comes together, but I couldn't wait to show off the new bright side of the dining room.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Suck it, Mother Nature!

I am aware of the power of Mother Nature. We've had termites, carpenter bees, vampire bats. We've had water in the basement and watched our neighbors get flooded.

So I knew I was tempting fate when I put my tomato seedlings out before Memorial Day. Friends at work said it was a gamble. To that, I now reply: I"m not gambling! I'm winning!

I am cheerfully harvesting warm red tomatoes well before many of my friends. Score 1 point for me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Decked. Out!

Sorry that we're more than mid-month without a deck update, but July is "Birthday Month" at SOABT and we've been busy. But I do have great news.

During the day
The Deck is completed.
 At dusk.

Well, completed enough that I've stopped freaking out about it.

Completed enough that we had a deck-warming party last weekend.

These last 2 photos show my favorite part, the uplighting in the eaves. It gives it a nice warm feeling, and the outdoor speakers you see in the corners are Jeff's favorite part.

The best part- I didn't get a single bug-bite during the party. That means the deck is a success!

There are still some minor things, like paint touch-up and door handles, to finish. But for now, we're on the deck, waiting for a cool summer breeze.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Old exterior

When we pulled off the aluminum siding on the (new) inside of the porch we found the original wood siding.

It was painted a gray color. Its blue-ish, not battleship-y. But not too surprising, we also found this color is also on the trim in the house, under all the white paint.
The back of the plank says G.A. Thayer.  Just an interesting find from the exterior of our house.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Porch Progress

We are on the home stretch, albeit at a turtle's pace.

The ceiling has been painted haint-blue, specifically Sherwin-Williams Atmospheric.The fan and the lights are in. We went with a tropical-looking fan and 2 sets of track lighting (yes Dad, it is all rated for outdoor use).

The deck has been sanded and a coat of stain was applied. The stain we chose was Benjamin Moore Bison Brown. 2 of the doors are on, there are 3 total. I imagine we'll need to do another coat of paint on the doors, so we left the painters tape on for a few more days.

The outdoor light as also been installed.

Once we finish the floor, its just the screens and then time to shop for wicker furniture!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Point

We are at The Point in the project. The Point where I feel like it will never be done and even though the porch looks mostly completed, I worry that the mountain of small tasks will turn into a Sisyphean effort and we'll be here next year still making a list of things to get done.

I was at The Point during our kitchen remodel when I catwalked across the kitchen praying I didn't fall through the rotten subfloor boards when my foot went clean through a board and I almost pitched 6-month-pregnant-belly-first into the basement.

Then Jeff sent me this picture today, and I realized we are almost past The Point, and life will seem happy again and we relax on our new screened porch while the kids play outside.

This is a photo of one of the screens installed.

We're almost to the end. And not a moment too soon!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Final Lighting

I finally decided to shop the "old-fashioned" way, and I went into a lighting store to see what they had. I found the winner!

This is going to be the outside light hanging above the door between the grilling porch and the screened porch. Now that we've gotten that, we can figure out what kind of lighting we need on the inside.

Monday, May 31, 2010

In the event of a poltergeist

I was googling "porch ceiling blue" when I learned that its not a exact color, but the shade of blue. In the South, its referred to as "Haint Blue", as it was the blue that repelled restless spirits, aka Haints, and, coincidently, annoying mosquitos.

We decided on Sherwin-Williams' Atmospheric for the ceiling, and it looks just like I think a porch ceiling should look. Or will look. After Jeff finishes the painting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Outdoor lighting choices

Its been difficult to find outdoor lights for the new porch.

Since the header beams aren't that high, the light is going into the soffits and therefore has to be about 10" wide by no more than 11" high. We might get this light in a fun color.

Its hard to find the lights we want that are pendants,

I love this, but it only seems to come in a wall-mount.

I had wanted something like this acorn

but I worried about it swinging during a storm.

Then we went back to BarnlightElectric.com and realized the Laramie came in lots of fun colors.

Now we just have to pick a color!

Next up: Ceiling Fans!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raise the roof!

The walls/supports and the roof are on the new screened porch.

I am so proud of how it looks from the yard, I love the way the roof peak disappears with the hip roof design.

Now we really have to decide on the details: a fan, lighting, the screen doors. Since the main parts are up, I can start to imagine the details. More to come on the details after we figure them out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Starting to frame the floor


The floor is going in over the existing deck to save time/money on demo and to use the existing flooring to make the structure stronger. Also, it raises the floor up to be even with the floor in the house so there's less of a transition to the outside.

The flooring will be Douglas fir, tongue-and-groove, to get a tight fit so the mosquitoes can't sneak in.


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