Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I've no pictures to post today, only tired and cramped hands to attest to the fact I have been PRIMING each and every piece of trim and molding that is going up onto the addition.  The master carpenter who is trimming out the house is quite good and patient enough to wait for me to prime each piece of trim before he cuts and installs it.  He had a particular treat for me yesterday when he pointed out that 525 dentIl molding TEETH had been cut and were ready for priming if I so chose to do it.  Without a speck of enthusiasm for the task, I have completed about 400  the 525 teeth.  I will get more primer and complete that task tomorrow.  

After all, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Cleaning house several months ago yielded  a definitive dating of the house here on Hawthorne Avenue.

This I found written on a section of the paper insulation under the back stairs.   It said, 

" Norman Ely
120 E. 13 th
Nov. 18, 1907"


While on a ladder attaching nailing flanges last week, I noticed this pencil writing on the back of the original clapboard siding.  My assumption is it was a calculation used in constructing the house back in 1907. 


........what kind of math is this?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


    Friday evening we hosted an impromptu gathering of friends.

A clean tablecloth and a quick trip to the wine and cheese shop and we are set.

No pre-party dusting or vacuuming required at this construction site.

An eager hostess awaiting her guests sets the tone of the affair.

Hats, coats and scarves are highly recommended in an unheated space this November evening.


Miss Magnolia LOVES a party but not wine.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Dear Reader,
    If you've missed recent posts, you may read here to know how excited I must be to see yesterday's progress on my house.......

AHHHHHHHHHH.......Lightning rod

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


    In September we took delivery of new doors for the addition and garage.  Beautiful double-paned fir doors.  The one seen here goes on the second floor out to the deck.

Last week, the hired contractor installed this door......improperly.

No Jack stud, no tape, no house wrap, ....
Last Sunday, Donnie #1 removed the door and installed it properly.

Leveling with shims

Sealing with tape and caulk


Now the door is in right, supported from the roof line to the foundation on the 1st floor.  Donnie to the rescue, again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


    The weather is getting crisp here in Virginia and the colors of the season are popping.  My favorite color on Hawthorne Avenue at the moment is COPPER!

Thomas (roofer) trims a strip of copper to mount as flashing above the newly installed copper ledge outside the 3rd floor window
Copper scraps on the roofing truck
I love the new copper ridge roll on the garage
Thomas created a nice copper detail around the base of the chimney along the roofline on the 2nd story.

Roofers form and cut copper sheets to fit snug on the roof

Monday, November 7, 2011


Four months ago we rebuilt several sills on the French doors.   We took time last week to continue working on those thresholds to prevent water coming in.  Donnie and I measured, cut, sanded and installed thresholds on all four upstairs sills.

We used fir for the threshold
  In order to create a tighter fit between door and threshold, we trimmed the bottom of each door.

When each door was cut there was a pronounced scent of fir.  That a piece of wood over 100 years old could emit such a scent was wonderful.

From the bottom up.....sill, threshold, door.....perfect fit.


Thursday, November 3, 2011


  We've been working recently on the master bath.  Removing old flooring, replacing flooring, building walls, altering same walls,  moving same walls.  All this while hired contractors (HVAC, window, electrical, & plumbing) attempt to get their work done around us. It has been most challenging to the plumbing contractor who has had to move his shower pipes and drain more than once.  (Thank you James for the enormous amount of patience you've shown us.  Your work has been tip-top.  We promise not to move or rebuild another wall.)

This is the back wall of the walk in shower.  See the header and rectangle near the top.  This will hold a window
 which came from the original carriage house (no longer standing) and allow light from the west into the space.

Wallace pulls up old flooring and prepares to replace with 3/4 ply in the shower stall.

Plumbing for the shower is in and the shower 'vestibule' is complete.  On the right is a
floor to ceiling wall and on the left is a knee wall separating the shower from the toilet.

Billye tests out the new plywood flooring and wonders,
"So, where is this shower you told me was up here?"