Sunday, September 30, 2012

And Then There Were Walls!

Well, the time has finally come. The walls went up yesterday! By noon, almost every wall in the cottage had been covered with new sheetrock; the bedroom took a little longer.                               
                                           The doorway to the right, leads to the front entryway.

                     The empty wall straight ahead will have open shelves made from half beams.
                                                           The farm sink will be to the left.

                               The farm sink will be just under this picture window so I can look out 
                                                          at the meadow when doing dishes.

                                                   A lovely view for dishwashing, wouldn't you say?

Here is the front entry just off the kitchen. The blue wall is the only original wall we left in the house. Remember the blue boys room I wrote about (And So It Begins... 6/30/12)? 
That wall is now the back of the new coat closet. This room will have bead board wainscoting, a bench and hooks on the right side. The front door still needs to be stained. 

Here is the new living room. The fireplace is behind the vertical piece of leaning sheetrock. The windows look rather close to the fireplace, but, bookshelves are going to be built on the right and the couch and floor lamp will be on the left. Once the stone is installed around the fireplace, 
the look will change considerably. The patio door is just out of the photo on the right. 

This is the other side of the living room. The hall on the right leads to the bathroom and bedroom. 
The window-like opening in the wall is where the cellar stairs used to be before Michael turned them around. This will now be a built-in bookshelf. The doorway on the left side of the photo is the kitchen.

The bathroom is just around the corner from the living room. We double-insulated the dividing wall between the two rooms, to ensure privacy. Even with dark colored, mildew-resistant sheetrock, it's still a bright room because of the skylight. Michael wanted to carry on the beam look in this room and I think they work really well here. The commode will be tucked behind the wall on the right while a built- in linen cupboard will be installed on the left behind the tub. The vanity will be placed directly across from the tub.

Michael held off on the bedroom until last. 
This room was the most difficult and took the longest to complete. 

The tongue and groove flat boards you see in the middle are for the ceiling. 
We first have to prime and paint them all white before we can hang them. 
We hired a talented guy (Josh) to tape and mud the sheetrock, which he will do today.  

The area above the beam on the wall, will also have sheetrock applied. 
It will just take a little longer to cut around the beams.

       It's the same on this side except a little loft door will be installed in the middle of the upper wall to 
                                                              access the attic space.

 The door on the right heads into the walk-in closet. The door on the left leads to the hall.

           Here is the inside of the walk-in closet. The slanted ply-wood you see, forms the ceiling of the      basement stairs, which are located just below this. The slant takes up a bit of space in the closet but will  
                                                         serve as a practical shoe rack in the future.

It's been pouring rain for the last three days but so much is still getting done. I have to pause here and just mention how amazing Michael has been. Even the weather doesn't slow him down. He has not stopped for a minute since this project began. He has given everything he has to this endeavor and it shows. The workmanship is flawless, the timing is spot on (ahead of schedule actually), the graceful management of other workers and his planning is perfectly precise. His talent and skill as a carpenter and general contractor are only enhanced by his artistic soul. 
I am so very grateful!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mushroom Miracles

Here at Catch Meadow Cottage, nature and wildlife abound. Yet nothing seems quite so prevalent as mushrooms! They are everywhere and luckily I love them. Eating them (the edible ones), photographing them and studying them. They are so varied in form, color and texture and I just find them fascinating. I thought I would share with you, some of the mushrooms I discovered this week.

One of the many trails I walk, looking for mushrooms.

                                   The beautiful but deadly, Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa)

                                                                The medicinal Turkey Tail

                                              A hearty Bolete (I'm just not sure of the exact type)

                                                   Yellow-Tipped Coral (Ramaria formosa)

                                                  Shaggy Scaly Cap (Pholiota squarrosa)

                                               Scaly Vase Chanterelle (Gomphus floccosus) 

                                                       A polypore (I'm not sure which type)

     I thought this was a Honey Mushroom but after reviewing this photo, my friend who is the Maine  
     Mycology expert, feels they are more likely Pholiota alnicola.

For the next few weeks I'll be on the lookout for Chanterelles and Black Trumpet mushrooms. 
Tis the season!

We've had a few shy visitors recently walk the trails too. We caught sight of them on the Trail Cams  
   Matt set up a few weeks ago.

                                                         A gentle doe headed into the meadow.

                 An eight point buck, healthy and strong.
                              Enjoy your day! Keep your eyes open for the little miracles of nature.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fire and Water And Things In Between

 Well, it's been a very busy week at Catch Meadow Cottage! We have been drilling holes in all the studs, threading wires through every hole, endlessly sweeping up wood shavings, installing electric boxes for switches and running to the store to buy lighting supplies. We've also been busy building the exterior housing for the fireplace and preparing for the water tank and filtration system installation.  

Originally the oil tank was in the far corner of the basement but since we will no longer be heating with oil, there was no use for the tank and we removed it this week. Now this corner in the basement will contain the water filter, tank and pump. Everything will be neatly stored in a small closet and 
this closet will actually be part of the new laundry room!

This is the corner before the oil tank was removed. 
The blue tank will be replaced and relocated in the new "water closet".

This is the corner after the oil tank was removed. I first painted the walls with a water sealant. 
The filtration apparatus etc. will be housed in this corner.

So much brighter and cleaner now! I painted a semi-gloss white over the water sealant. All the duct work you see in the ceiling, will be removed and a nice sheetrock ceiling will be added.....someday.

Now for the wiring! It just seems like an endless job. Wires are hanging everywhere. It's a little scary not knowing which ones are live. They are all capped and marked but still....

        Can you see all the wires running through the studs and into blue boxes? It truly amazes me that                Michael and other electricians know what they are doing. I would get terribly confused!

Along with the wiring this week, Michael also built what he calls an exterior "doghouse" for the fireplace. When my Dad was visiting, he suggested we build a box outside to house the fireplace so that we could have the fireplace flush with the wall inside. Genius! What a great idea...I just didn't realize at the time, how much work it would entail. In true Michael form though, this seemingly simple feature was solidly built with class and style and in very little time.

   Here Michael begins to build the outside housing for the fireplace. (Once again I'm totally distracting    
                  him with my picture taking. He is a very patient man...most of the time!)

 Here, between the living room windows is the area where the fireplace is located. (If you look very closely you can see Michael's arm in the fireplace...a little spooky looking but he was actually nailing the plywood in from the outside.)

                                   Because the fireplace is a gas (propane) unit, it needed to be vented.
     After the exterior "doghouse" was finished, the fireplace could finally be inserted. Flat stone that we 
       have been collecting from around the property, will bedeck the new fireplace from floor to ceiling.

                  The new fireplace housing will be shingled like the rest of the exterior of the house 
                                                                  and will blend right in.

    On my walk through the meadow yesterday, I couldn't help but be amazed by how colorful the land 
               has become in the last week. This Box Elder is so striking against the blue autumn sky.

Like the Monarch butterflies that flitted about the meadow all summer long, 
their beloved milkweed has also begun its migration to distant places. 

                                                              Have a glorious autumn day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The New Mailbox

When I first bought the property the old mailbox looked tired and sad. Propped up with a small stick on one side of the post, it looked as though it would topple over with the first autumn wind. Its paint and numbers were worn and the whole underside of the box had been gobbled away by carpenter ants. This week I decided to give it new life. I wanted to reuse the same box and salvage as much of the post as I could.  

Here is what the mailbox looked like when I first bought the property.

Here is what it looked like after I removed it from the post.

After sanding it down and scraping the loose paint away, I used spray paint to coat both the inside and the outside of the box. I love the new bright red color and painting the inside seems to finish it nicely.

                                                           Matt  dug a new hole for the post.

                    After rebuilding the post, Michael brought it over to insert it into the newly dug hole.

Matt filled the bucket with cement and then added water. This new post will never lean like the old one.

                                                    Matt and I painted the rebuilt post white.

                           When the paint dried, Matt screwed on the newly painted mailbox.

And Voila! A nice new mailbox. I'll plant some pretty flowers and hosta around the bottom of the post.

I added some extra touches by painting the front tabs and the side-flag black. 
Matt suggested I paint the "U.S. MAIL" letters on the front of the box white. 
I liked that idea so I might just try my hand at it today. 


                                                          What a difference a little paint makes!
                                       I'm already imagining how it will look at Christmas time.

My resident turkey flock was very excited to see the new mailbox when they visited yesterday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Adding More Beams

This past week, Michael finished the task of getting all the beams in place throughout the cottage. Unlike the bedroom, where we used 6x6 beams suspended from the new cathedral ceilings, we chose to use smaller 4x6 rough-cut spruce beams in the living room and kitchen. These beams were cut into the sheetrock ceilings in order to appear authentic. They are less likely to pull away from the sheetrock and cause gaps. We decided to keep the ceilings at the original height in this area instead of creating cathedral ceilings. This will help conserve heat, especially since the main source of heat which is our gas fireplace, will be located in the living room. 

This is what the beams look like in the living room. (The fireplace will be on the left wall)

                                                And this is what they look like in the kitchen

We are trying to decide which is the best way of treating the beams. Should we use a stain to make them a little darker or a bleaching oil to give them a weathered look? Originally I wanted to whitewash them but now I am not sure. We definitely want them to look old and weathered but not too dark and heavy. I will keep you posted on our final decision.

We also got the bathtub last week and put that in place. Nothing fancy, just a simple tub. We just don't have the space to have a tub and a separate shower. We are planning on building a lovely outside shower in the private bedroom garden next year and a shower in the basement bathroom. As you can see in the photo below, there are two walls at the end of the room. The one on the left will have a built- in cupboard behind it and the one on the right will separate the vanity from the toilet.

                       The bathroom (The vanity will be located directly across from the bathtub) 

By taking out the low ceilings in the master bedroom and building cathedral ceilings, we were able to create a loft space which will give us 12 useable feet of attic storage space. Michael built the frame for a  small door we are going to make out of old barn boards. The weathered ladder I found in the woods last week will lead up to this door.

                                       The doorway to the loft space in the master bedroom

If you turn to the opposite wall from the loft space in the bedroom, you can see the upper window we installed. We decided to install a horizontal beam under the window and vertical trusses on each side, thus continuing the rustic barn look. It draws your eye up when you first enter the room. I think it will be stunning when the sheetrock is installed around it on the wall. Tongue and groove boards are going to cover the ceiling instead of sheetrock.

                                           The beams on the back wall of the master bedroom  

           So much more to come in the next few days. Until then, enjoy your Monday!