new bed assembled, plus some other new items

Aside from the usual holiday concerns, we ended up spending quite a bit of time securing the shelves - and, in particular, securing the corner piece we put on. (We probably should have planned simply to slide one shelf behind the other - but it's really surprising to me that Ikea doesn't sell a square cover and hardware to go over the resulting corners when people prefer not to lose half their shelving space by shoving the shelf into the corner behind the adjacent unit.) Unexciting photographs, however - wow, look, it's a carriage bolt, and a piece of tile!

Here's the new bed, from two angles:

We got this lamp as a gift - I'm not entirely sure this will be its final location, though:

And here's another shot of the bathroom, looking a bit more lived-in with towels and such (although really, so far, it's not...):


more furnishings

We assembled the new sofa...

...and installed the ceiling fan and light:

This was the replacement ceiling fan. The original order would not have worked: the lighting sales guy made a mistake and didn't realize that the low-ceiling adapter we needed was not compatible with the remote we also needed. The wiring was already in place assuming the adapter...so we couldn't use the fan at all, since without the low ceiling adapter it was too low to use, both by code and for our comfort. But it also proved too huge for the space - something we didn't realize when we'd ordered it. So when the mistakes gave us the opportunity to replace the ceiling fan with a unit that could use both a low-ceiling adapter and a remote, we went with this much smaller fan, which fits the space far better and is plenty efficient for our needs.


a date with Ikea

I've built the bookshelves and the little storage cabinets that go under the main bedroom window...

Cats just won't stay out of the photos:

I had to lie flat on my back to keep my own reflection out of this shot:


cats roam free!

Finally, our second floor is finished! There's still some work to do (construction caused some minor damages to the ceiling of the first floor in a couple of places, which the crew is fixing; and the concrete at the base of the demolished chimney needs to be jackhammered away and filled), but essentially, what's left involves us assembling furniture and moving in. (We're also switching some things up on the first floor - I might as well document that process here over the next few weeks, to wrap things up.)

The completion of the work, and the absence of strange people tromping around in big boots, means we are finally able to let our cats back into the basement...and to explore the new area. There's nothing there yet (and closet and bathroom are temporarily off limits...some loose wires awaiting a replacement fixture in the bathroom, and packages covered in tape - which Lumen eats - in the closet), so it's big, echoey, and scary...as Oranj demonstrates, with his confused protest in this shot:

Here's a glowy-eyed Lumen, bravely exploring the new (and still rather dusty) territory:

Lumen walks about where the foot of our bed will be:

Oranj at the top of the stairs:

And finally, Oranj in the foreground, Lumen in the background, with a nice view of the front of the space (the alcove will be lined with bookshelves, and there'll be a sofa facing that window):

What do you think happens when a door is closed - truly evil in the eyes of cats - for six months, and the cats can hear that there are humans on the other side, talking and doing things?

Note the nice raw wood - claws are sharp! (That's the door at the back of our kitchen, which we closed to confine the kitties to the first floor for the duration of construction.)



We originally weren't going to put in handrails, being young and healthy...but seeing some older folks try to navigate the stairs - and discovering that it was pretty much required by code - changed our minds. (And then we remembered that someday we'll be old, too.) So here they are (not fully sealed and finished yet - and all the blue tape marks various paint touch-up spots, which should be happening tomorrow.)


metal and glass exact

Our glass shower enclosure has been installed. Here's what it looks like:


more doors, more floors

The end keeps getting nearer, as a lot of detail work continues. We've assembled the preliminary contractor's punchlist of all the outstanding items, most of which should be completed next week, the rest of which we'll walk through with the contractor shortly after that. What's left after that point is our own work: assembling and placing a lot of furniture (most of which we bought at Ikea), and rearranging the two downstairs "bedrooms" (currently a bedroom and a study: the bedroom will become the study, the study will become Rose's "crafts" room). That should be finished by Christmas, if we can find time to put everything together.

Here are some photos: the stairs were sanded and refinished, and they look like this (still some trim to be applied along the tops of the pieces on the wall):

The door hardware has been installed on the two pocket doors: the single one on the bathroom door -

- and the set for the closet:


yesterday upon the stairs...

Work on the stairway has begun. Below are two views showing the existing wood, sanded but not finished. The stairs were a darkish brown, with lots of layers of varnish and wear, even to the point of a slight depression in the treads. Rather than replace them, we opted to sand and refinish them. As it turns out, there's a variety of wood: the landing is, if I recall what the floor guy said, maple, while the treads are birch and the risers...something else? This view shows the stairs from the bottom landing in the back hall: sanding isn't complete yet, but it's nearly done:

Here's a view from above, at the top of the stairs on the second floor. You can see the floorboards of the landing quite clearly in this shot:

They expect to finish the work tomorrow. As noted in the previous post, what's been going on is fine detail work, which is all but invisible to the untrained (or non-obsessed homeowner's) eye: that's nearly finished. What's left? A legally mandated handrail in the stairway; a bit more detail finish work; cleanup; installation of bathroom hardware; and various issues elsewhere in the house, ranging from reinstallation of the shelves in our front hall closet (which, you may recall, was shortened to accommodate HVAC) to remediation of various issues that arose during construction (minor ceiling damage in the library, replacement of some wood paneling removed for access to plumbing, that sort of thing). And the last major item, utterly outside the realm of our contractor's work: the installation of our shower surround. That's scheduled for December 8 and 9.

But once the contractor's work is done, ours begins: we have lots of furniture to assemble, various other items to deal with (such as window treatments, etc.), and - a late addition to the project's scope, entirely our doing - moving the bookshelves from what is now the library (the "orange room") to what is now the bedroom (the "green room"), with the orange room becoming Rose's sewing/exercise/craft room, and the green room becoming the library/study. Finally, there's a bit of business involving moving the wireless router and cable up to the second floor, and trying to figure out the best way to get sound in the new library/study from my laptop. (Right now, it looks like simple external computer speakers are the likeliest bet...unless Apple's AirTunes - which I already use to port music from the computer to the stereo system - can switch between two sets of speakers. I need to do some research...)

So the contractor's work should be finished by the end of the first week in December, with punchlist and final cleanup, etc., happening early the next week...which is the same time the shower surround will be installed. Also around that time, our new ceiling fan (replacing the bad one we had to remove) and missing bathroom light (weirdly, misaligned post so it wasn't level) will come in as well (we're installing those). We'll have a couple of weeks after that for assembling new furniture, installing window treatments, and disassembling and moving stuff between the green room and the orange room...our hopes are that everything will be completely done and set up by Christmas. That's longer than we'd anticipated (as I think this blog has made clear), in fact longer even allowing for the 6-8 weeks of unanticipated delay...but right now, as we can see what things are going to look like, we're pretty damned happy.

Not least, cats will once again be able to roam the whole house, and their litter box will be restored to its old location, in the basement, well away from us, so we no longer have to clean up stray bits of clumping litter on the first floor... Whew!



Much of the work that's been done the last week has been very fine-tuned detail on the woodwork and trim...the sort of thing that's nearly impossible to notice at first, much less photograph.

But yesterday, our bedroom door arrived, and today, it was installed. Here's what it will generally look like, open (which, the upstairs being entirely the private portions of our us*, will be most of the time):

Here's the view of the door closed, with a better view of its detail, as seen from the hallway area at the top of the stairs:

And here's a similar view from inside the bedroom. (The little irregular dots are bits of cork, there to protect the glass, which will be removed.)

* What, you don't like my abstract poetry? That was supposed to have read something like "the private portions of our house" - entirely different from "the private parts of our house"...which would be, I dunno, the plumbing for a start. Or an end.


avoiding all bad puns related to "plumbing"

Our plumbing fixtures are installed. Of course, I have photos...and since who doesn't love a photo of a toilet, that's what's first:

Originally, a failure of communication made it likely we wouldn't be able to get this toilet and would have to settle for your normal, everyday-looking toilet. Oh no: nothing but the finest for our posteriors...the plumbing crew came through and figured out how to make this one work. We thank them from the bottoms of our hearts.

Next, half of the pair of sinks:

The shower hardware, and the ceiling fan (which informs that "humidistatic" is too a word):

Finally, the bathtub and tub fillers:

What's not here yet is the glass shower enclosure, which will probably be the last thing to be installed of the entire project. We needed to wait for the tiling to be done for them to come out and field-measure the project, and then there's a couple of weeks' lead time until the actual glass is made and can be installed. (At least we hope it's the last item to be installed!)


fiat lux!

The lighting is nearly complete! A few minor adjustments here and there, and once we're moved in and furnishings are in place, we'll reevaluate which bulbs go in the fixtures, but here it is. All the photos are without flash but brightened slightly and color-adjusted.

The tour: we begin with the lights above the stairway landing window (because I had loads of work to do, I took these photos quickly...which meant I stupidly nearly obscured one of the two lights in this shot: don't kill me):

At the top of the stairs, we have this fixture illuminating the hallway area between the stairs, bathroom, and bedroom (we have three of these lights; subsequent shots display the fixture itself more clearly. That red plastic thing is a wrap for the fire alarm which needs to remain in place so long as workers are spreading dust about):

Into the bathroom: here's a shot of the main lighting above the sinks. Only one of the sinks is in place, and the mirrors (two of them, placed between the sets of lights) are not up yet either:

Above Rose's bathtub (it's Rose's because she'll be using it way more than I will), there's an overhead light to facilitate reading:

On to the bedroom: here's a shot of the lights flanking the east window bay:

And here's another shot of the fixture that's also in the hallway and just inside the bedroom door (no photo of that particular one, for some reason):

The light and ceiling fan in the center of the bedroom is partially installed, but it's not shown here both because neither of the two shots I have of it are very good, and because its position has to be adjusted a bit. Instead, the last photo in this entry is of our closet light (whoo.):


the end is nigh!

No recent updates not for lack of work being done, but because there's been almost too much of it: the moment I go up to take a photo, the next day finds the next stage finished. Plus, between lots of work, leaving before it's full daylight and getting home after dark, and some friends as houseguests for the last week, I haven't had time to update.

Anycow: tile work is nearly complete, with the stone tiles sealed and grouted, with only a few minor details to be touched up. Painting is also nearly done, again with only a few minor touchups left to be done. The plumbers have returned, and they've nearly finished the hookups in our basement and plan to set up the toilet and sinks early next week.

Basically, what's left is the final plumbing and electrical work (including installation of lighting), final work on woodwork trim (including the installation of the handrail on the stairway), and refinishing and adding trim to the stairs themselves (that's nearly the last thing that'll be done. All that remains after that are a few minor details related to ways the job has impinged upon the rest of the house (there was a mishap involving our first-floor bathroom ceiling fan, which needed to be rerouted...and the hardware in our front-hall closet, removed due to using some of that space for HVAC runs installed in the back of the closet, to be reinstalled on the new back wall). There's also the bedroom door - that's a story in itself, which I'll relate once it's arrived and is in place - and the shower enclosure, which will in all likelihood be the very last item to be installed, even after we're otherwise moved in to the space.

So, photos:

The hardware in our new walk-in closet has been installed:

Shower hardware is in place:

And our accent paint is in place on the alcove at the front of the bedroom:

As you can probably see, there's still some detail and trimwork left to be done here (as I note above), but increasingly the room looks like it will when it's finished. Finished, but unfurnished: after all the contractor work is done, we have loads of new furniture to assemble and move into place...


railing against...

The stairway railings are almost complete. They still need to install a handrail (it's code), but you can see the last few days' work on the railings below. The top pieces, which will eventually rest against the wooden banister pieces, are not yet in place - for that matter, neither are the bottom ones.

Here's the area at the top of the stairs to your left as you reach the second floor, at two stages of progress and a couple angles on the first stage:

Next, some views of the area just beyond the stairs that overlook the stairway proper:


lack of clever reference to railings and tiles

The tile work is nearly finished - or rather, the tiles themselves are nearly all installed: next, the tile needs to be sealed and the grout applied. But here's a look at the last bit of tile, which is a little ledge behind where the sinks will be (the wood below is just a temporary support):

And here's the pattern at the edges of the floors, along the walls:

The stairway railings have begun to be installed. Here's a first look:


floors and doors

Work on the trim continues. Doors have been installed as well for the bathroom and closet.

Here are two shots: one looking into the bathroom and showing the door surround, the other from roughly the same position showing the pocket door half-closed:

Here's a shot from inside the closet, where flooring was finally installed, showing the flooring and also the double pocket doors: