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:


it continues...

More trim has been installed, including the door frames (or most of the door frames) for the bathroom and closet doors, as well as the doors themselves (no hardware yet, though). The last bit of flooring (in the closet) has been installed.

No photographs, because between the position of heavy equipment standing in place because it's still being used and my inept photographic technique (or my lack of mountain-goat grace in clambering to odd positions precariously placed atop table saws or whatever), I have no usable photos.


more trim, more tile

Truth in labeling!

Here's the woodwork on our little alcove - we'd originally intended this space to house a gas fireplace, but when our budget crunch hit, that was one of the obvious things to go...both because it's a luxury item and because it's pretty simple to do later, should we decide to do so.

And here's the side of the bathtub enclosure. Most of the tile work is done - there are just a few spots yet to be done: some infill, some edging, the little ledge that will be beneath the mirrors and behind the vanities, etc.

window trim

Window trim:


Above the landing:

At the top of the stairs, looking north:

In the bedroom:

More to come.

Laconic today.


out on the tiles

More tiles installed. The floor of the bathroom is nearly complete:

The shower surround, likewise, is nearly finished:

You can see the logic of the layout here, I think: borders tend to be formed of a row four tiles wide of the smaller tiles with a "pencil" edging. This carries to nearly all the outlines of the various defined spaces, the main exception being the shower surround itself, which omits the smaller tiles.

For grouting, we're using a dark-gray color rather similar to that of the raw base (you can still see it on the ceiling of the shower area), which has two advantages: first, it makes the colors in the tiles "pop," and (more important, in the long run) it's easier to clean than a lighter colored grout.


exterior all but finished

With a few minor details, the exterior work is now complete. Here are several views of the house, beginning with a shot similar to earlier ones of the eyebrow dormer, now refinished and repainted, and then moving around the house to view the east side (old dormer and the new stairway dormer), the north side (back of the house), a shot of the west side of the house from the alley behind our house, another shot of the west side from the street in front of the house, and finally a shot of the front of the house.

If we were to do this over and with less limited funds, I think we'd make two changes: one, try to find a way to make the west side a little less blocky. That would be difficult: the blank wall that makes it bulky is a closet, and so a window would be a bad idea to articulate the surface, since it would let in light and UV which would fade our clothes. That "more funds" issue might have made it possible to make the dormer on the east side of the house continuous, which might have allowed us to tuck the closet in on that side, between the stairs and the bedroom...but I'm not sure that would have worked. (That plan still doesn't figure what to do with that dead wall on the west dormer, since that wall is either a closet wall as it is now or a bathroom wall...and we couldn't have windows on three walls of the bathroom and the doorway on the fourth: no place to put the sinks and mirrors.)

The other change might have been to have gone with a lighter, contrasting tan on the walls of the dormers (the soffits and window trim would remain the chocolate brown they are). Rose disagrees, but I think that might have lightened up the massing a bit (do remember: she's the architect, so I'm probably wrong...).

We will be painting the rest of the back exterior wall (on the north) with the same paint color: look closely and you can see that the new material surrounding the window is a slightly different shade from the rest.

Overall, though, we're happy with the exterior. But realistically, it's the interior we care about much more anyway. And as the last photo (from the front of the house) shows, from most angles the new construction is all but invisible anyway.

(Here's a sneak preview of the baseboard moulding, or some of it anyway:)


flooring and trim

Except for the closet, all the flooring is in place - and I think they did a fine job aligning the flooring with the stair nosing I featured yesterday, in particular the herringbone pattern solving the corner problem. It would have looked awkward to have a series of short slats of wood along the ledge, running the same direction as the wood on the floor - but this solution strikes me as elegant, and it will look even better once the railings are in place, since the corner of the railing there will delineate the space a bit more clearly:

Here's a clearer shot of the base where the railings will be installed:

And here's a shot of the materials to be used for the baseboards, etc.:

at the top of the stairs

The stair nosing is installed.

This wood is the same wood that will be used for window trim and the baseboard; it will be stained to match as closely as possible the red oak flooring.

The rest of the day the crew installed nearly the remainder of the subflooring (you can see it in this photo) and the flooring in most of the rest of the area, but since it was then covered with protective cardboard to allow the crew to work without damaging the floor, no photo of it.

Two minor problems: there was a defect in a few boxes of the flooring which meant a higher-than-usual rate of unusable planks; the seller agreed to take back the defective flooring for credit on replacement. Fortunately, this won't really cause much delay despite two weeks' lead time, since the only areas left to floor will be the closet and maybe a bit of the narrow ledge next to the landing.

And we miscalculated the amount of tile needed (in a kind of forehead-slapping way...), so last night we picked up the remainder of what we needed (it was a small enough quantity that it was easier and cheaper for us to pick it up rather than have Erik or crew do so). Tile guys are scheduled in today.