Monday, December 28, 2015

The Boiler System

This Christmas season, Bill and Christian have completed their efforts installing the new boiler/heating system in Christian's old farmhouse. We have ended up with six zones which include forced hot air, radiant wall and hydronic radiant floor heat, and indirect domestic hot water. We will hire help to install the duct work and air handler. The red and green parts kept it festive looking here.

My jobs have been to clean the non-removable duct work and design the hydronic floor heating system, which kept the holidays busy...but not too busy to dress up the dog Anders. Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Blue Kitchen?

Christian's old farmhouse kitchen is now a dark red which would be nice to change to a dramatic blue color or nice shade of blue. I have been hunting for the right colors to show him. Here is an expensive English paint we could have matched.

This color goes well with the nice brass hardware now in his kitchen. It is a Benjamin Moore blue paint as is the next blue. (Images via Pinterest.)

Although the above is not a kitchen, the color blue is simply beautiful and dramatic. 

Here is Christian's red kitchen. We are looking at three blue shades of paint from Restoration Hardware to have mixed in a Benjamin Moore paint. The medium shade is favored, but the deep blue would be striking. Since the cabinets will stay white, a lighter shade seems best, or a warm ochre color? The back splash will be a Carrara Marble herringbone tile.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Using a Transom Window

Christian has started opening his transom window to let warm air into the house on sunny days he is working in the basement. The trim on this large window is primed and flashed now.

Here is the work going on in the basement...building the heating system. Bill and Christian have also repaired all of the burst copper plumbing pipes in the basement besides reinstalling very long ones removed in order to dig out the new crawlspace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Buying Barn Lights

Of the oh so many goose neck barn lights available, we decided on a Vintage French weathered zinc one for the main horse barn, and another weathered zinc exterior light for the side of the garage/barn (this one has a cage which goes over the bulb). They were on sale and at the Restoration Hardware Outlet Store which was lucky. Both of these lights were missing when Christian bought his old farm.

Another new light we found on ebay will go in the newly enclosed front porch. It is a salvaged Great Lakes boat find also on sale, which is just the right depth to allow the french doors to open near it.

Also missing from the farm, is an exterior barn door to the tack room. I found this unused one being sold by a contractor for almost a third the cost, which actually matches a house door opening to the mudroom. Soon the tack room door facing south and the house will have visibility inside and out.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cleaning; Top to Bottom

Here is Christian's farmhouse attic scrubbed clean with only major cooling elements left in it. The gigantic fan between two converging chimneys actually pulls enough hot air out of the brick insulated house, to ignore a large AC unit waiting to hook into new duct work someday. It has an insulating cover (right) for winter.

We have decided not to install a high velocity AC system because of the noise and invading parts. The parts here were never used and can be given away.

I have power washed the basement so that Bill and Christian can start installing a Weil-McLain boiler, indirect water heater and water tank. The base was built deeper with cement block we had and wood panels will hold seven heat zones of forced hot air, modern cast iron wall radiators, and in-floor hydronic PEX radiant heat in both full bathrooms.

The middle of the house is still being scrubbed and more old paint is being stripped!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Installing a Big Beam

Bill and Christian have just finished installing a 4" X 6" X 12' pine beam which was first fitted into the original old oak house beams, by notching them for a level fit. This will make the new floor going in above them very solid and without movement up or down.

One other 4" X 4" post was added to a corner to reinforce the old beams there (below left).

This is a lovely sight for us. Coming home though, it is very lovely to see my Petunias still blooming this late.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Salvaging An Old Factory Window

We decided to use 5/4" X 4" clear pine lumber for trim around the old steel factory window - Christian has used to close in his antique side/front porch. Bill has helped him to create an angled wooden lintel above it and sill below, which mimic the surrounding windows in proportion and style. Four inch wide lead flashing will be installed above the lintel and below the sill.

The window panes are 3/16" safety glass we installed with clear silicone and original size wire clips. A new thermal window of this size would have cost about $8,000 and would not have a transome that opens or the character of this one. Since only 10-15% of window heat loss is through the glass itself, using tempered (safety) glass in a refurbished frame is quite efficient while lessening outside noise and being a requirement for glass near ground level. The total cost of this window was about $1600. 

It seems to blend right in already. This window captures great (southern exposure) sunlight most of the day, preserves the original porch architecture which is special to early New Jersey farmhouses, encloses the basement door, and will protect the plumbing within which had been run outside of original 1780 brick insulated walls here. Now all four sides of this house have lovely glassed in living areas.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

First Farm Fire

Last week Christian and Bill cemented in the hearth bricks and today the "new" wood burning stove went in. The stove pipe will be painted black.

It seems strange to have a fire here before the floors are in, but tonight it will freeze and there is much work yet before the new boiler can be used. Two old floor beams will be notched back into place in order to lay a plywood subfloor soon though. What a fun way to get rid of scrap wood we have around.

Farms for Sculptures

Bill's latest garden seat sculpture has found a place at Christian's old farm which feels perfectly placed there. Old farms seem to be a lovely place to use and appreciate Bill's sculpture work!

Two other garden seats are now placed in Christian's bricked and fenced patio area where two bird houses existed at one time.

Rerouting Plumbing and Electrical

Christian and Bill have rerouted the vent and drain pipes in the main bathroom here, in order to allow for a medicine cabinet to be built in. This wall was built out for another; larger vent pipe earlier, creating much interior wall space we felt should be utilized.

The electrical wiring has also been rerouted to include a shower light, new ceiling exhaust fan and double sconces on either side of the medicine cabinet. New wall switches operate the first and last two.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Closed In and Lit Up

The front/side porch of Christian's old farmhouse is now closed in with insulation, plywood, Tyvek, a large steel casement window frame and plastic. The front entry is lit with a vintage Moravian Star light. The size of the house is fuller with the front a complete facade.

Having the side front porch closed in, allows the entryway to stand out more I think and Christian has decided to keep it lit always...with an LED bulb of course.

The inside image of the casement window shows the four center panes outlined which pivot open; hinged.

Nothing like finding the perfect porch light at a neighbor's yard sale!