Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Custom Trim

Beginning with the closet, Bill installed the closet pole by drilling holes into the shelf support (the paint was still drying on the shelf) to keep the look simple, as the trim in this house is. Several simple trims were made for the closet. 

The trim around the front door required some chiseling and filling of old beams, with termite prevention and insulation added before hand. The front door had to be removed to do this (luckily not snowing at the time) and will be removed again to be stripped of old paint. The wood shown here is just primed.

The largest wall in the foyer has 1" X 12" pine ship-lapped boards over thick insulation, screwed to the framing. This added structural support and interest for us, while Bill carefully cut the sides flush to avoid using trim. Hidden floor beams were chiseled to allow for trim to fit and some trim made thicker to cover a flooring gap.

The work below shows gaps being filled in.


Here is the insulation Bill added behind the new door trim which makes a big difference! The ceiling has small 1/4 round trim.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saving Heat

Old Farm’s heating system has three zones which is lucky for a house of 1100 sq. ft. The master bedroom is one; the kitchen, living room and bathroom are another; and the upstairs is the third; which we have not set-up yet. It also has three fireplaces downstairs with a wood stove in the kitchen hearth - which heats all of the areas with plumbing as well as the colder northern side of the house. This wood stove can heat the second zone easily if only one of us is here and sleeping on the couch. With ceilings as low as 7 ½’, it is easier to keep warm here in cold weather.

In Scandinavia, bedrooms aren't heated much in conservative homes - which is a great way to be greener at Old Farm. A thick feather blanket and your own body are the main sources of heat. (I plan to store extra down bedding on the shelf in our new foyer closet.)

Old Farm was built directly in line with the North Star behind it, which means the front of the house faces south, is sun-lit and warmed all day long. Above is the master bedroom in late afternoon; still warmed enough to go without additional heat most times. Early Cape homes were situated like this because of the solar heat and light advantage, although many have been moved to new sites. The previous owner of Old Farm believed it is the oldest remaining private home on the Cape which has not been moved, added on to or made into a public place.

The front door of Old Farm's two small windows also face south and add a bit of light and warmth to the foyer. We plan to install a large, opening skylight in the southern roof above this door to add much sunlight and ventilation to the upstairs loft area. The earliest glass windows used by colonists were made of diamond-shaped leaded panes, however, many were painted over to avoid paying the English tax on sunlight in their homes! 

Here is our main source of split wood at home in Hopewell which fills the old barn foundation. Most of this wood is Osage Orange; the hardest of wood types, and was cut down alongside a neighboring road being widened. We made over twenty trips to haul the large and heavy logs here to be split. The logs are so dense that they will not float in water and create very hot fires. Small batches will go to Old Farm.

If this wood was not collected to be burned, it would rot and release just as much CO2 into the atmosphere. I stake sighted strings which help keep the stacks stable, dry and wheelbarrow distance apart.

Kubbestool - Log Carved Chair

This chair was made by our good friend Benny Granskog, who comes from a family of Finnish carpenters. The log is hollowed, shaped and then seasoned. It sits on our side porch in Hopewell between wood stacks for our stoves. We like to store large pots of winter soup on it instead of using the refrigerator's energy, and put our boots on to collect more wood.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hanging an Old Door


Here is an original old door I found in the shed and stripped, Bill built bigger and now hung as our new foyer closet door. The boards sticking out in the photo above are creating equal space between the door and the new frame all around. The door is first mounted with it’s hinges to this newly built frame, before the fitting.

Earlier (below) you can see the new door frame inside the closet with it's hinge groove, waiting to be built in. The electrical wiring was done while the wooden walls were being finished, before the door frame could be added and then the door hung from it.

We installed the closet light with a clear bulb so you can still see the deco-design of the old milk glass shade.

To begin with, Bill added to two sides of the old door by using a biscuit cutter joiner, wood glue, and clamping it to a long surface (or using bar clamps for the side board added). Two panel hand-made doors like this were built in colonial America until 1740 when four panel doors became popular.

Bill sanded and painted the larger door here to save time installing it at Old Farm. Below is the hand-made door hardware mostly painted a coat of satin black Rustoleum. The interior latch is too long to use here, but will be painted later and used on the front door. Acorn brand latch parts are sold by some suppliers and easily fitted to old handles as we will do on the closet door inside. The 18 new screw heads were all painted black to match the hardware.

The hand-made antique door hardware above, was further cleaned up by simply burning it overnight in our wood stove fire. We have done this to remove layers of old paint and rust from our antique Victorian hinges here in Hopewell before painting...


Garden Sculptures

Bill’s sculptures in the main garden at Old Farm have names now; Gull I and Gull II. They looked lovely this winter of  so much snow and cold weather, standing among the plants I leave for the birds to feed on before cutting them back in spring. Old Farm had two feet of snow last month, but these sculptures weathered well since I had Bill mount them on 2” X 4” tall wood spikes driven well into the ground.

 Gull I (in front)

Gull II

 Here are the sculptures in spring, surrounded by blooms.

A side-view of Gull I.