Making Landscape Headway

Well, despite other jobs conflicting with a lot of the guys’ work during the weekdays, whenever they show up, they seriously crank.

Here were some results, a couple of hours into day three:

Then, about five hours later, we were here:

Then came day four:

And on day five, the efforts of just one guy got us here:

Believe it or not, even with all that stone we had delivered, we need more! The order for that is in process, and hopefully, we’ll have delivery by late this week so the guys can keep the momentum going this coming weekend.

Here are a couple from this morning, now that I’ve added some seasonal decorations to the front. We’ll see how long the pumpkins and gourds will last before the squirrels feast on them.

And in the meantime, Tim also attached the finial to the garage cupola:

Work(s) in Progress

Some of the action since Friday morning

Mama cupola is up, though we had one little issue. . . The last piece of glass, which goes in the “door” on the left-hand side, became a victim of Friday afternoon’s gusty wind. This shot, if you look really closely, shows Tim inside, installing one of the panes before the wind had the final say:

But, it still looks really pretty, and we’ll get a new piece of glass (plexiglass for this panel, perhaps?) soon:

Now I have to go shopping for a light fixture to put in there, because the neighborhood has voted, informally but unanimously, that it needs to be lit up. Who am I to argue?

While all that was happening, I decided to get a different perspective on the pre-landscaping state-of-affairs, by climbing out the front window and onto the front porch roof:

By yesterday morning (Saturday), the contractor had the machines here and ready to go:

And by early afternoon yesterday, the digging began!!

The guys made great progress in about 5 -6 hours yesterday:

Then there’s the backyard!!

Today they’ll be doing more digging and prep for the patio and walkway areas and the stone walls, plus installing electrical conduit piping so we can finally stop running the garage by plugging it in to a heavy duty extension cord. . .

Happy Sunday everyone!

What’s Been Going On…

Howdy y’all!! Sorry it’s been so long with no updates!

Since early August, we’ve been up to a little bit of a lot of things, including finalizing design details for the landscaping, which, at long last, will be kicking off next week (a not-so-little undertaking!!). The delivery of, quite literally, tons of materials, began today, with 3 truckloads of “Connecticut Blend” pea gravel:

Most of the rest of the stone will arrive tomorrow, except for the stone we’ll be using for the walls in the back, the step for the side door, and a semi-circular “sitting wall” at one end of the side patio. And the bluestone for the top of the sitting wall and the side step. The contractor will be bringing those next week.

After a very long wait, “Mama Cupola” is being installed on the house. Tim set the saddle the other day; today I helped get her midsection into place. Hoping the top will go up, the glass will go in, and the finials for both cupolas will be in their forever homes when the weather clears up tomorrow…

Meanwhile, back on the inside of the house, we bought, and Tim installed, our laundry room sink. I just ordered the stone for that countertop yesterday (I’ll share a photo of that once the countertop is in. It’s kinda boring for now!).

We stained and painted the handrail, newel posts, and the acorn finials for the staircase (cue the choir of angels… those have been fully in place since January, if memory serves, so this was one of my big “let’s just get it done already” items …)

Same goes for the finish painting in the upstairs hall. With that done, the switch plate cover for all the switches at the top of the stairs is back in its proper place (shown in the photo above).

I’m fairly certain no one is happier about that than I am. (It’s been off since the upstairs hallway trim was painted, well-over a year ago. It might even be two years. Clearly, all vestiges of the impatience that was a hallmark of my youth have long-since left the building. Literally).

I’ll be taking lots of photos as the landscaping (really hardscaping for now) happens over the next few weeks. (Planting plans are still TBD and won’t happen until spring).

I promise, barring any unforeseen circumstances, to share the progress as we go, so stay tuned!!

The Devil’s in the Details

But the details are coming together. . .

So this will be mostly another visual update, because most of my writing energy has been going into a third round of edits for the book.

The great news, though, is that 2 1/2 weeks-post-vacation (and with 8 days to go before we head back to NC to get Owen moved back in at school), the needle is moving once again.

The front porch is tantalizingly close to being officially done

The front porch is done and painted.

Finished front porch 1

The only bit of work that remains is to connect the electrical for the ceiling fans (they are now temporarily, and, if you ask me, somewhat unsafely) wired into a heavy-duty extension cord that’s plugged into an outlet (yes, it’s a GFI outlet) behind the right side of the porch, in an alcove area where we have a faucet, and sometimes store random tools, coolers, etc.

Ceiling fan wiring
Temporary Wiring Setup for the Ceiling Fans

For now, rather than turning the fans on and off with the switch they’re supposed to be connected to just inside the front door, someone tall has to pull the chains to get them going. Or if no one tall is nearby, I have to climb up on the Adirondack chairs so I can reach the chains. Not the worst thing. First world problems.

It makes my heart happy that my wind chimes are now hanging back in their rightful spot.

Finished front porch 2_LI

The rest of the exterior trim is at least in place now

Even if it might not be painted until . . . I don’t know. I can’t even guess at that.

Last piece of trim in place on back deck
The Last Piece of Trim on the Back Deck

Ceiling done on side door overhang
Side Door Overhang Ceiling is Done (the Phoebes Finally Fledged)

Meanwhile, I’m lobbying for some type of decorative bracket detail to enhance all these plain overhangs we have.

Ceiling done on side door overhang_LI
The Author’s Awful Rendering of Potential Future Bracket Detail, but you get the Idea

And, one last, big surprise

The drawings for the house always had one exterior design element that I knew we’d get to. Eventually.

Well, “eventually,” at least in that context, has arrived.

Behold: cupolas!! Not one, but two. One for the house, and one for the garage. Mama-Cupola and Teenager-Cupola.

Cupolas in the garagePapa and Mama Cupolas

Mama-Cupola is over six feet tall. Teenager-Cupola is about four feet tall.

Me in front of Mapa Cupola
Mama Cupola is TALL

I’ve also ordered two proportionally-sized copper finials, to add a final, crowning touch to their tops. For now. Eventually maybe we’ll find a weathervane we love for Mama, but the finials are going to look really cool. They should get here within the next two – three weeks.

The cupolas arrived yesterday, and Tim started painting them (well, Teenager, anyway) to match the rest of the exterior trim (whenever that gets done) almost immediately, a sign that he’s as excited to see them in place as I am.

Teenager cupola will go up first. Maybe even today. There’s a ladder leaning up against the garage as I’m typing this.

Not for the faint-of-heart

This will be a challenging and potentially dangerous undertaking. Thankfully, each cupola has 3 pieces – the base, the sides, and the roof. Otherwise we’d need a crane to get them in place. The boys are both here to add manpower (and stability), and I suspect we’ll have some help from the neighbors, too.

If I don’t get recruited, I’ll be cringing somewhere, stealing occasional glimpses of the progress through my fingers, which will be clamped firmly over my eyes.


Porch Ceiling +

Painting can take a long time when it’s done by someone who really cares about what they’re doing. My contractor/husband joked as he was prepping the porch at the end of last week, filling nail holes, sanding, and caulking that, “the effing carpenter always leaves a mess for the painter to fix.”

If you’re just tuning in, Tim is both the carpenter and the painter, which is why, when he made his carpenter complaint with great mock seriousness, I burst out laughing. He’s also the electrician, and the plumber, and the framing guy, and the roofer on this decade-long project, for which the exterior trim work is almost literally the icing on the cake.

Forty Years of Experience, and . . .

Of course, there are other things that might slow one’s progress when painting a front porch besides excellent attention to detail. Such “things” might include situations in which the painter/carpenter, who’s been doing this sort of work for over 40 years, is distracted and gets stymied by setbacks like falling backward off the stepladder (because he lost his balance while looking up, for the second time in 2 days, ignoring his wife’s admonition when she witnessed it on day one, that he move the ladder when the overhead work got too close to vertical, thus avoiding the type of circustance in which his dizziness is more triggered).

Another example of something that might cause painting to move more slowly would include improperly setting up a sixteen-foot 2×10 on the saw table (which had nothing to do with the porch – it was for a side project), thus dropping one of the very heavy cut sections onto the top of his foot.

Gratefully, no serious damage was done in either instance, but both incidents, understandably, more or less shut down progress for each of the days on which they occurred.

Yet Progress There Was

And it’s looking beautiful (despite the clutter):

Porch ceiling painted_LI

The Brief Saga of the Ceiling Fans

We went and picked ceiling fans a few weeks ago. I was happy to not have to be particularly picky for a change. After all, logic told me, they’re outdoor fans. They don’t have to be fancy. They just need to be functional, and not be at complete stylistic odds with the house’s exterior architecture.

Tim disagreed vigorously with the style I chose, but we came to a cease-fire position and picked them up last week. Cease-fire, that was, until he hung one.

The style itself, surprisingly, wasn’t at issue, though. The ceiling clearance was. And normally, cutting the downrod wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but in this case, due to the way the wiring was done, it was an issue, and, even if he could have cut the downrod, he couldn’t have cut it short enough to put the blades at a height he was going to be able to abide.

So that fan has taken up temporary residence on the dining room table. I’m thinking today might be the day it goes back into its box.

Porch fan on dining room table

Tim went searching online and found a similar style, outdoor rated, but low-profile, so they’ll be closer to the ceiling. They shipped yesterday. No clue when they’ll arrive, but I’m hoping it’s before we leave for vacation in a week and a half.

And the Bathroom Doorknob

The bathroom doorknob arrived right when it was supposed to last Friday. It’s been sitting on the credenza in my office ever since, exactly where you’d expect to find a doorknob.

Another thing on the list of “stuff I hope gets done before vacation.”

bathroom doorknob in its box