Monday, August 22, 2016

Installing Basketweave Tiles

Since Christian's master bathroom floor was nearly a square, we felt a basketweave tile would look nice and Christian picked a Carrara Marble one with "Emperador Dark Dots"; or taupe colored small squares. The tiles came with three sides of theses dots and some are cut off as the tiles are fit for the layout. I numbered the tiles before installing so we had no mistakes, and used leftover side tiles for the closet floor. We started at the tub edge with all white tiles.

 Half the floor was installed one day, and pieces of sheetrock were used over it to finish the next day.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cooling An Old Farmhouse

Old Farm was considered a "tear down" farmhouse since there wasn't a way to access the upstairs after a larger; new chimney was installed. Heating it would be no problem, and by opening up the chimney surround with a cathedral ceiling the house could cool down naturally. I designed stairs that started in the foyer some, allowing room for a landing notched into the chimney to turn into a hall. Fans in the upstairs windows help draw out the heat.

The old farmhouse Christian bought, had a nearly installed new HVAC system in it. The air handler was in the attic connected to a compressor outside, and the ducts were being installed. Since the main part of the house has exterior brick walls, many of the ducts were in closets and one in the corner of the living room. This week we sold all of these parts to buy an AC compressor for the new air handler installed in the expanded basement.

Meanwhile, the vintage attic fan has a temperature gauge which turns it on when needed as it opens a large ceiling vent upstairs. It's a wonderful system and since this house has many old shade trees around, it has been comfortable even during this record hot summer.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Cape Car

Our old farmhouse on the Cape was once a farm of potatoes, but now where we go to vacation as a family. The most useful vehicle here for us, is our Vintage Jeep which allows access to remote, breathtaking beaches you can reach only with 4-wheel drive cars whose tires are deflated some to drive the dunes. A shovel and heavy chain are required to be kept in the car, and the four front fishing pole mounts allow four people to sleep overnight on the beaches.

Alex decided our Jeep should be a 1995 Jeep Rio Grande Wrangler, which is the last year they were made with a heavy metal body and most reliable mechanics. I found this one in Virginia with very few actual miles on it since the owner had trailered it to fishing beaches only. Alex has a rack for the back of this Jeep which carries a folding table, chairs, and portable grill; while the top holds several surfboards. He also has a thick manual for making repairs.

This classic Jeep turns many heads on the Cape and has several styles as the doors and top are removed for summer. We use a water sprinkler under the carriage after driving off-road, to keep it free of salt etc. Bill has just finished repairing both wooden garage doors where we keep this Jeep.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Replacing Old Clapboard Siding

We feel lucky to have a quality lumber yard not far selling clear cedar clapboards we've fitted around the new front window, which helps enclose the old farmhouse porch here. It costs $1.64 a ft. unprimed, and we have used a few hundred dollars worth of it.

The sunroom on the far left side of the house will need an enclosed interior wall of this clapboard replaced as well. The far right greenhouse clapboards are ok.

Matching the paint clapboard's color to Benjamin Moore's "Calming Cream" was a challenge though, since the paint has faded a bit around the house. I am anxious to paint at least this front portion of the house.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Home Depot Subway Tiles

The cost of Home Depot Snow White subway tiles was about $150.00 for each of the shower surrounds in Christian's upstairs bathrooms. We used Versabond gray thinset mortar and Polyblend Delorean Gray non-sanded or mixed grout; each totaling $45.00. I found two "Noble Niches" on ebay for $40.00 a piece for the shower niches, and easily found videos on how to install them.

The best price I found for having the tiles installed, was $2,500. Instead we bought a large; barely used Ridgid wet saw for $200.00 to do the work ourselves which took a week of Bill and Christian's spare time to tile each bathroom.

The savings allowed us to feel we deserved nice Carrara Marble tile floors from "Marble Online", and the basketweave style above is laid out for us to install next in the master bathroom. The cost for both marble floors was half our savings so far.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A New Tack Room Door

Bill and Christian have installed a new tack room door I found for 1/3 it's cost; new and unused by a builder's customer. It allows Christian to have a view of his house from the horse barn's tack room. The old metal door and light here had rusted and rotted out.