Back From The Great Beyond…

Okay, maybe not the great beyond but… back from the land of silence.  I know.  I know.  Just when you (or at least one or two of you) had gotten interested in the mis-adventures of this renovation, I just fall off the face of the earth — sorry, sorry, please accept my humble apologies!!   This renovation just kicked into high gear over the last couple of months and, one of the things to fall by the wayside was updating this blog.  Again, I apologize to everyone that was following the progress.

I won’t bore you with the horrid experience with the HVAC installation – just suffice it to say that company will not be getting a referral from me.  Ditto the spray foam insulation company.  The only two jobs we contracted out and they both do a nose-dive in the toilet — hmmmmmmm???, tells you a LOT about quality customer service and service after the sale *roll-eyes*

Here’s where things have progressed to thus far:

  • all of the framing is completed inside;
  • all of the wiring is completed & signed off by the building inspector;
  • all of the siding is installed on the outside;
  • the cedar siding is installed on the gable peak above the front porch;
  • the back & side decks are built;
  • the HVAC, including all ductwork, is installed (contract job);
  • the spray foam insulation is blown into the walls and attic (contract job);
  • all of the drywall is hung inside (all walls, and 2 ceilings);
  • the kitchen cabinets have been purchased and stained;
  • ordered and received hammered copper kitchen farmhouse sink;
  • the (old) brick accent wall is installed in the kitchen;
  • pot lights installed in the kitchen;
  • antique transoms (circa 1915) installed in 3 areas;
  • the varied width wood plank ceilings are installed in the master water closet, guest powder room and pantry;
  • the large linen closet is lined with cedar;
  • misc. this-n-that… on the way to moving in… (still not close enough!!)

and, with that, I bid you a good-night until next time … it has been a very long day – the last brick in the (kitchen) wall was laid today … cue the Pink Floyd music … I will do my very best to not slack on the updates … In the meantime, if anyone wants to come and help out, just grab a tool belt and come on!!

© The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012

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The Transformation Is Amazing!

“The inferior man lived only in his fantasies, because he lacked willpower and imagination.  The superior man-made his fantasies a reality.  (Martin Darius)”  ―    Phillip Margolin,   Gone, But Not Forgotten

I can’t claim any sort of superiority, but I can certainly lay claim to days, weeks and months of blood, sweat and tears…  A renovation is akin to giving birth — you carry the child, nurture and care for it for months until the day it is to make its first appearance for the world to see and, mixed with your excitement, you know your life — as it was — will never be the same…

Just as you’ve heard your friends say, “Oh, sorry, we can’t make it.  We have … a baby.”   I find myself declining invitations and passing up fun things I would never have missed a year ago because, “Oh, sorry, we can’t make it.  We have … a renovation.”

We’re working on the renovation “part-time,” which means only three days a week, and working at our “real” jobs the other four days a week leaves no time to breathe, to think, to rest, to relax, to catch up on anything that needs to be caught up on, including spending time with friends, seeing family, or even an occasional movie or dinner out.   It is all-encompassing and literally time-consuming to the point of exhaustion.

Case in point — the lack of updates on the blog and twitter … there just hasn’t been time to post anything.   It’s 3:03 a.m. and insomnia is the only reason for this update …

So, let’s go back a bit and try to catch everyone up on all that has happened since the last update…

  •  the trenching was completed to the house from the utility pole for the underground wiring.  additional trenching was completed off of the main trench to the workshop outbuilding, the (pseudo) garage that still needs a complete renovation as well, and to the spring-house;
  •  all of the rough wiring was completed, checked by the electrician and approved by the County Inspector;
  •  a new power pole was installed on the property, a larger transformer was installed, new, larger wiring was installed (all street-side) and all was connected to the pole near the driveway;
  •  the existing (temporary) power was disconnected from the house, the pole closest to the house was removed, the security light was removed from that pole and relocated to the pole near the driveway;
  •  the new power was ran to the power pole near the spring-house, which tied into the underground wiring that had been trenched and ran to the main house;
  •  the trenching was completed for re-establishing water to the main house;
  •  the pex plumbing system was installed in the main house and the spring-house;
  •  the tankless water heater was installed;
  •  the spring was shocked and the entire spring-house, inside and out, was cleaned, cleared and refurbished;
  •  the pump on the spring-house was replaced and the all of the wiring was connected;
  •  the main house now has electricity and water — so a toilet has now been installed!;
  •  a utility sink has been installed in the laundry room;
  •  a security system has been installed on the main house and outbuildings, with additional 8″ cast iron bolts on the tops and bottoms of all six french doors;
  •  solar-powered motion-detection flood lights and solar-powered dusk-to-dawn security flood lights have been installed around the perimeters of the eaves of the main house and outbuildings;
  •  motion detection sensors have been installed at the entrances to both ends of the driveways to notify when anyone walks or drives onto the property;
  •  the last side of the house (where the temporary power was) has been demo’d, cleared, sheathed, tyveked and sided;
  •  the brush & scrap/demo piles have been removed from the property and the areas where the two piles were have been cleaned, cleared, raked and prepped for re-seeding;
  •  the 2nd non-working chimney has been taken down to below the roof-line and the roof has been patched, awaiting the installation of a new roof (the old bricks are going to be recycled for the garden and front walkway);
  •  the dips in the front gable have been braced and straightened in the attic;
  •  we have someone scheduled to come and bush-hog the front and side pastures;
  •  we have the hardware for the shower, the powder room (and that great fossilized rock sink we got months ago) and the kitchen sink (all of the finishes in the house – plumbing fixtures, door handles, etc., are oil-rubbed bronze);
  •  once the Inspector comes back out and does the final inspection on the electrical, we can get the spray-foam insulation company in to do the insulation;
  •  and, once the insulation is in, the drywall can go up;
  •  somewhere in there, a roof will also be going on;
  •  the hvac is scheduled for the end of June;
  •  the solar panels are scheduled for the end of June as well;
  •  add a french drainage system to the front and side yards;
  •  build the back and side decks.

A few “not-so-great” moments include being broken into and robbed, again.  This was two days before the electricity was turned on and the security system went it.   And, yes, we know who did it — the same person who did it last time.   I called the Sheriff’s Department, made my report, the case was assigned to the same Investigator that was assigned to the last robbery and, like last time, he hasn’t done anything (yet).  It has been over two weeks already.

This “suspect” has been arrested over 20 times in the last 3 years for crimes ranging from burglary and trespass (sounds familiar, huh?) to possession and selling cocaine.  Can someone explain to me why this person is still walking the streets???    I gave the Investigator his name, address, telephone number and directions to his house and a list of what he has of ours and, when I called two days ago to follow-up (since I had heard nothing from him), I found out that he has still not been to the man’s house to question him (even though he told me he was going to his house 2 days after the second break-in).

I’m usually not one to discuss politics (or religion) but, this is an election year in this County and the Sheriff is out there campaigning for re-election.  If this is any indication of what he and his department are all about, I’ve got some anti-campaigning I’d be happy to do for him — any and every chance I get!

On a better note … the apple, plum, peach and persimmon trees are loaded with fruit, the heirloom hybrid daylillies are all ready to burst into bloom, and we are tilling for a new flower garden shortly to take advantage of a hill that gets a lot of afternoon sun.   There is still a LOT of landscaping work that needs to be done and, due to the renovation, some of it may have to wait until next year… but, the place is still a paradise even amidst  the overgrowth.

Thanks for being so patient on the updates … it’s all work, work, work, then renovate, renovate, renovate — doesn’t leave much time for eating, sleeping or resting (let alone blogging).  Until next time,

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt


© The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012


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Soffit, Fascia and Siding, Oh My…

It has been way too long since my last post – forgive the delay!   I still don’t have my laptop repaired from the puppy disaster… I am (almost) enjoying the ‘down-time’ of the online sabbatical — almost.

The house is progressing at a major pace – considering the limited work schedule.  We have completed the following:

  • dug the trenches for the underground electrical from the pole to the house, ‘barn’ and workshop;
  • ran the wiring from the pole, in the underground trench, to the house and into the house to the breaker box;
  • completely sheathed, tyveked and installed the siding on three full sides, including framing in the windows, doors and the corner side/trim pieces;
  • replaced the fascia boards and trim boards all the way around three full sides of the house, and the soffits, where needed;
  • met with 2 hvac reps, 2 painters, 4 roofers, 2 insulation reps, 3 foundation / waterproofing reps who came out to write up estimates;
  • finished planting in the butterfly/bee/hummingbird garden.

The birds are flocking in like crazy to the feeders — I now have 5 feeders in the back, 2 feeders on the side and 1 feeder in the front.  We have a bird that built a nest in the mudroom and she has 5 little, tiny blue eggs in the nest.  We leave a window open for her to come & go and she sits on her nest and doesn’t seem to be bothered by our working close by. 

Speaking of animals, we have a pair of gophers on the very back of the property, each have a den into the side of the bank, about 100-150 feet apart.  These are some ‘big’ gophers — at least 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall!  They are not shy about coming out and walking around, even when the dogs are frolicking in the back pasture.

The next few weeks will see even more changes (I hope!)…  and, I hope I will be able to share the changes with you…

© The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012

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Put Your Best (Front) Forward

This week we tackled the front of the house… the weather is still being so cooperative — beautiful, sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s.   Again, we stripped the old siding off, hung the new sheathing plywood, wrapped everything in Tyvek and hung the hardie board plank siding.  We also trimmed out the windows and left the opening, plus 36 additional inches, around the front door bare to install a new door.

We installed a set of 30-light  french doors that will be painted on the outside (I’m thinking about a barn/brick-red) and, probably, stained on the inside.    The double-lock set (deadbolt and handset) are oil-rubbed bronze.   I’m still debating on the technique to use for privacy on the glass — aside from the amazing security system that will be installed – (that will still let in plenty of light) — I’m either going to have the panes frosted, or have the glass stained — if stained, the colors will be either a lighter or darker shade of the siding and a coordinating color in an alternating pattern every other pane.

The trim around the door is an 8″ trim piece on either side with a 10″ trim piece on top (which is the same as all the other doors and windows) and we are still debating on the embellishments to that basic trim.

The spindly posts on the front edges of the front porch will be replaced at a later time with more substantial posts and railings.   But, because of this project, we had to install two new posts, one on the back-end of each side of the porch because the rafters/beams had originally just been nailed into the siding with no other support (scary!!)   We added a 6′x6′ on each side and the weight/bulk of these two posts made a big difference in the look already (and took a lot of weight off both the unsupported roof, and our peace of mind).

Two sides down, two more to go… and, it’s not even officially Spring yet.  Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us two beautiful weeks to get so much accomplished outside!!

© The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012

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Sunshine, Lipstick and Mascara

The last three days have been amazing — clear, blue skies, beautiful sunshine, highs in the 80s — who would imagine it is still early March?   So, instead of being stuck inside working, we decided it was time for a little “lipstick-&-mascara” to brighten up the exterior.   We started with the longest side (as in most surface area, juts and angles) of the house, stripped off all of the siding (if some of it could still be called that) and hung the sheathing plywood.  Next came the Tyvek house wrap and, finally, the hardie board plank siding.  I think, after cutting planks for two days, I inhaled enough concrete dust to fill a small swimming pool.

After three days of serious lifting, toting, measuring and leveling… the first side of the house is now transformed into something that looks like a ‘real’ house instead of something that should be condemned.

[of course, with the laptop still down because of the puppy damage, photos will follow later]

© The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012

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The Transformation Is On Its Way

 This week saw a lot of detail work completed in the areas of plumbing, subflooring and roughing in of interior walls.   All of the plumbing lines are installed under the house back to the drain from all of the toilets and sinks (with the exception of the master shower that has to have concrete removed to run the lines).   All of the subflooring has been installed in the whole house where the hardwood will be laid.  The only remaining sections that need prepping and subflooring are the laundry room, utility room, mudroom and master shower that will need a different type of insulation sheeting and subflooring for tile.

All of the interior walls are roughed in.   I, now, have to remember to walk thru the doorways instead of just walking — wherever — when I go thru the house.   It is a little disconcerting, considering in has been an “open-concept” since November, but it is also making everything feel “real” for the first time, too.   I can actually “see” where each room starts and stops and, although it is still just studs and I can see through everything, my mind is now, visually, adding those walls.   It is really, finally, coming together.

A set of solid wood, glass pane, french doors (24″ each) that were original to the house are being re-purposed and used for the powder room entry at the end of the main hallway.  The doors will be stripped, sanded and refinished and the glass will be frosted for privacy.

I wish I could *dazzle* you with photos but, with the laptop still on the fritz due to the “puppy-incident,” photos will be forthcoming as soon as all of the technology is back in working order…

We also planted 21 lombardy poplars along the back pasture fence line to act as a screen / wind break, as these trees are fast-growers.   I have 3 trees left and want to plant them on the left side of the pasture between our property and the property next door.    I have a magnolia that is coming soon and want to find the perfect place for it (there is already on in the front/side yard).    I also want to add a couple of crape myrtles, too, but I need to clear some of the scrub-brush and shrubs that are overgrown before getting to that point.

I am also planning to clear out and till a large section of area in the upper, front yard between the circular drive and the street in the section of yard that is currently just grass, trees, bushes, scrub-brush, shrubs and misc. plant materials now.   There are two large trees that frame a section that I am using to create a butterfly/hummingbird/bee garden.   I have several of my bulbs and bushes already, and more ordered and on the way.  The design is planned and will take into consideration the two-tiered step-down of the yard in that area with the plan for the larger blue, red and yellow butterfly bushes to flank both sides of the beds on the edges around each of the circles of the beds.   The climbing hummingbird vines will be staked on posts in the back on each side.

English: A red and yellow Daylily. Daylilies f...

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The rest of the bed will be filled with english lavender, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, old-fashioned daylilies, presidents & yellow cannas, giant hybrid delphinium, mixed hybrid lilies, eye of the tiger irises, old fashion lilacs, stella d’oro daylilies, double hollyhocks, and purple rooster monarda.    There will be a large birdbath in the middle for water, as well as two sandy, moist gravel areas on each end for the butterflies to take their “mud-baths” in, which is how they prefer to get their water.

The four birdfeeders are doing a “booming-business” and I will be adding at least 2-4 more once I get a section of scrub-brush cut back directly across from the dining room french doors on the side yard.   The yard is always filled with such beautiful songs…

This coming week we plan on working on the outside of the house, if the weather cooperates…

©  The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012

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Back From The Great Beyond

I know, I know … it has been way-too-long since an update … many probably think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth or, at least, off of the scaffolding.  Neither is the case.  It’s just been a lot of little things that have added up to no updates.  So, for those who have waited (and even those who haven’t) — here’s what’s been going on with the renovation (and a few other things that have contributed to my vanishing act).

All of the staples, nails and other assorted debris have been removed from the beadboard ceilings.   The last room (the kitchen) which had drywall over the beadboard was demo’d of the drywall — it had been a debate as to whether to remove the drywall since the kitchen was a later addition to the house and the ceiling was almost 2′ lower than the rest of the ceilings throughout the house.  It was difficult to determine if there was damage to the beadboard because the attic access was too tight and very limited.  We finally took-the-plunge and were very pleased to discover almost pristine beadboard underneath.

We’ve also added new 2×10 headers in the left hallway for the load-bearing wall and framed in the 6′ entrance for the living room/dining room and framed in the half-wall at the entrance/front door on the living room side in the hallway.   We’ve also added new 2×10 headers in the right hallway for the load-bearing wall and framed in the 5′ entrance for the master bedroom and installed the two 10-light french doors.

Next came taking out the studs between the dining room and kitchen, adding new 2×10 headers and framing in for the new kitchen bar/half-wall/counter.  We moved on to the framing in of the master closet.  Just seeing the floor and ceiling plates go in and studs go up made the closet become a reality.

In the midst of all of this, we “adopted” a new rescue puppy or, I should say, he adopted us.  And, he has created a frenzy inside and out.  Our dog isn’t too happy with the addition.  There are days I’m not too happy either.  He has already broken my laptop (hence the lack of updates), eaten a leather sofa, chewed up several power cords and chargers (including the one to my cellphone), chewed several shoes (including eating one of my Birks), and the list could go on and on…  He is so lucky that he is cute, cute, cute!!

The picture below is the damage he did with the contents of the paper shredder and a few minutes alone…

We have laid more sub-flooring and only have the hall and the powder room left to do (with the sub-flooring).   Of course, we still have to tear out the flooring in the powder room and have a plumber come in and check everything out first before we can progress with that part of the renovation.

It has been so warm recently — in the 70s — that we actually worked outside for a couple of days.  We ran the mower (which the yard really needed it – the pasture is another story — I think that will take a bush-hog, or renting a herd of goats), picked up debris, limbs, etc.  The 24 poplars that we ordered for the “screen” along the middle section of the back property line of the pasture arrived earlier this week so those were on the agenda for planting, too.

Things are progressing and it is actually starting to take on the beginnings of the house we will be living in … someday …

The Dilapidated Farmhouse 2012 



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