An update? What the…

Well. I’ve been living in my house for almost 2 months now! It seems like a lot longer than that for some reason. It must be because I’ve practically lived in this house since the foundation hole was dug. Whatever the case may be, I’ve been terribly lax in my blog updates. It’s not because I’m lazy, though. It’s because I’ve been enjoying every single moment of living in my new dream house on Fruit Hill Farm.

I’ve been spending a lot of time outside, doing things around the house — playing with my dry stream bed and dry waterfall. It’s so neat and novel for me that I have my very own yard! I can stick whatever I want in the ground, and if I’m lucky the deer won’t eat it. If it survives the deer, and it grows and makes flowers or more leaves or whatever, it’s so fun and exciting! So I thought I’d post some photos of what I’ve been doing outside, since the inside is still “coming together”… ie: a mess.

Just for some perspective:

Last year at this time
Last year at this time
Some (crab)grass is growing in!
And today!
Daylillies in my front yard
Daylilies in my front yard. Thanks Mom!
Drywaterfall
Dry waterfall.
Perspective on where the dry waterfall is. Plus a filthy car and some really tired white butterfly bushes.
Perspective on where the dry waterfall is. Plus a filthy car and some really tired white butterfly bushes.
Japanese Maple. Thanks Pete and Sallie!
Japanese Maple. Thanks Pete and Sallie!
Hinoki Cypress. Thanks Barbara!
Hinoki Cypress. Thanks Barbara!
Baby chickie chickies. Thanks Bethers!
Baby chickie chickies. Thanks Bethers! (plus a blue jay feather. Thanks again, Mom!)
Japanese Juniper. Thanks Anna!
Japanese Juniper. Thanks Anna!
Dry Streambed. There's some lavendar and moonbeam coreopsis and creeping thyme and meadow sage and silver plant and... some other stuff.
Dry Stream bed. There's some lavender and moonbeam coreopsis and creeping thyme and meadow sage and sedum and silver plant and... some other stuff. Oh! And a big pile of mint that started out as a coupla sprigs from Mom's stash.
Dry stream from the other direction
Dry stream from the other direction

And what the heck. Here are a couple of neat things I have inside.

New round coffee table from Dustin at The Juniors at The World Trade Center Furniture Shop or something.
New round coffee table from Dustin at The Juniors while working part-time at The World Trade Center Furniture Shoppe.
WWI? flag. I was so excited to finally get this baby up in its place of honor!
WWI? flag. I was so excited to finally get this baby up in its place of honor!

Chipp, Dad’s Office Maven and also a good friend, gave me a Dogwood for a housewarming gift. I’m so excited about it! And I received a Birch from Aunt Connie and Uncle Arch. Yay! I’ll update the site with new pics when they’re planted in fall — maybe sooner, if I can get it presentable enough inside…

Thanks for reading!

Detail Mania!

Lots of new stuff has happened in a short period of time, so I’ll just get straight to the photos.

the amazing gingerbread railing Tim made from yet another salvaged treasure from Dad's storage
the amazing gingerbread railing Tim made from more salvaged treasures
my house is starting to feel like a playhouse
my house is starting to feel like a playhouse
I hesistate to show this, because the walls look so terrible with only the first coat of paint. but I really want to show off Bruce's wonderful interpretation of Dad's design.
I hesistate to show this, because the walls look so terrible with only the first coat of paint. But I really want to show off Bruce's wonderful interpretation of Dad's design for my powder bathroom vanity. The top is made of Paulownia wood and the club foot is made of Maple. This will be the home for my skull tiles and rock sink.
the vanity in the master bath courtesy of Tim. He straightened out some huge walnut boards and made this beautiful floating vanity.
This is the vanity in the master bath courtesy of Tim. He straightened out some huge walnut boards and made this beautiful floating vanity.
The bane of Tim's existance -- my breakfast bar. It had high moisture content, it was warped, it was cracked... you name it, this piece of wood had it. But I love it and it's a memory from my friend, James Cooper.
The bane of Tim's existance -- my breakfast bar. It had high moisture content, it was warped, it was cracked... you name it, this piece of wood had it. But I love it and it's a memory from my friend, James Cooper. Tim made it work for me with lots of epoxy and sanding and smashing. All that's left is the finish, and I'll be able to appreciate it for years to come. Also, Joel Stickler started hanging my light fixtures. I've been collecting them for over a year, so it's really neat to see them finally going into place.
The counters went in today! The perimeter along the wall is grey Silestone. It's a quartz that has anti-microbial qualities.
The counters went in today! The perimeter along the wall is grey Silestone. It's a quartz that has anti-microbial qualities.
This is an awful picture of the island. I hope to get a better one soon. It's called Ice Blue Granite, and it has lots of sparkly, frosty specs in it.
This is an awful picture of the island. I must be so tired, I can't see straight enough to focus. Ha! I hope to get a better photo soon. It's called Ice Blue Granite, and it has lots of sparkly, frosty specs in it.
bubble light fixture on the landing
bubble light fixture on the landing
I have an outside light, too!
I have an outside light, too!

Anna's first experience with tile.

I decided I wanted to tile my entry hall to separate one half the house from the other. I thought it might help protect the cherry floors from weather and gravel and such too.  Julia McDonald at Rock and Tile in Charles Town spent many a long afternoon and zillions of emails helping me pick out just the right tile and giving me pointers on the best way to go about this. If you’re interested in tiling, and live in the Tri-State area, I’d advise a visit to Julia. But beware,  she’ll encourage you to live out all your wildest tile dreams…

Next on the list of my helpers is Jen Reineck. I couldn’t have done this project at all without her support and extreme expertise and experience with tiling. She spent 2 long (half) days with me mixing mortar and laying tile. But we got it all done — everything but the pieces that needed to be cut and the grouting. I’ll post another update when it’s completely finished. I’m just so excited, I felt the need to post what we’ve done so far.

All the lines are straight!
All the lines are straight!
When the baseboard goes in and it's grouted, it'll look perfect!
When it's grouted and cleaned up and the baseboard goes in, it'll look perfect!
Pfff. It's practically professional.
Pfff. It's *practically* professional.

When this entry is finished, I’ll only have 2 more tiling projects to go!

Albino crocodile backsplash in my bathroom.
Albino crocodile backsplash in my bathroom.
Spooky tiles imported directly from Van Tiki Island
Spooky tiles imported directly from Van Tiki Island for my temple of doom half-bath.

Tile is fun.

Overdue Update

A lot has happened since the last time I posted! It seems as if things happen so quickly now, that it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the ol’ blog. That and the fact that I’ve just moved out of my apt, and I’m trying to keep up with my work, and I’m also doing house-related things in every spare minute of free time I have.

Anyway, here are a few updates on some little (big) details that have been coming together.

The kitchen cabinets are in:

Hazlenut flavored Maple
Hazlenut flavored Maple. Thanks to J&D Kitchens in Hagerstown!
Spice rack. Oh yeah.
Spice rack. Oh yeah.

And thanks to Kelly for spending hours with me, picking out the perfect lengths of cabinet pulls:

They won’t go in until the end, so they don’t get accidentally scratched. Thanks for lookin out, Tim!

Tim and Bruce got the mantle in place. It's a remenant from the J. Cooper Gallery. James used it for his checkout counter.
Tim and Bruce got the mantle in place. It's a remnant from the J. Cooper Gallery (now closed) in Shepherdstown. James used this piece of swamp maple for his checkout counter.
Another piece of this maple will be used for my breakfast bar.
Another piece of this maple will be used for my breakfast bar.
After many struggles, Bruce got my hearthstones set perfectly. Thanks for helping me decide, Julia!
After many struggles, Bruce got my PA Bluestone hearthstones set perfectly. Thanks for helping me decide, Julia!
Susie's been working on my window trim forever. This is the large Yellow Brick Bank window at the end of the house.
Susie's been working so hard on my window trim forever. This is the large Yellow Brick Bank window with the lower awning at the end of the house. They figured out a neat way to connect the two windows with the trim.
All the doors are hung, including the old doors from Sara Cree's house that Dad and I spent all winter stripping. The old doors add something special to the house.
All the doors are hung, including the old doors from the now dismantled Sara Cree's house in Shepherdstown. Dad and I spent all winter stripping these things. They really add something special to the house. I think that special thing might be "history".
another Sara Cree door and an old copper-washed hinge
another Sara Cree door and an old copper-washed hinge
My "attic" door. It's going in the hole above the kitchen.
My "attic" door. It's about 41/2-5 feet tall. Really neat. It's going in the hole above the kitchen.
Let's grab my new sweet handrail and head upstairs!
Let's grab my new sweet handrail and head upstairs! Oh, and maybe you've noticed that some of the walls are painted? Keith and Doug finished painting my great room and kitchen. The paint makes such a difference.
The post holding the main ridge beam... all sanded and filled.
Tis is the post holding the main ridge beam... all sanded and filled. So pretty.
My upstairs bath sink/vanity. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll have an Eva faucet to go with it!
My upstairs bath sink/vanity. I love this sink. It reminds me of an old wash basin. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll have an Eva faucet here in time to go with it!
Eva faucet (photo from Moen)

So that’s it for today’s updates. Stay tuned. Tomorrow(-ish) I’ll show you some tiling that my pal, Jen, and I did!

Interior Trim

Bruce and Susie and Tim have started my interior trim. First they had to finish the cherry floor, though.

I know they're professional skilled craftsmen/women and all, but... how they do that?
I know they're professional skilled craftsmen/women and all, but... how they do that?

Anyway onto the trim. I’m told the trim is what’s going to pull everything together — the walls and the floors and the windows. It’s the finishing touch. And you just have to appreciate the lengths the MFT Inc. crews go to to make sure the trim is just right. There’s a reason they call him the best builder in the state!

upstairs hallway
upstairs hallway
Baseboard: See what I mean about the attention to detail?
Baseboard: See what I mean about the attention to detail?
Tim's idea. He made some cherry trim and used the leftover floorboards.
Tim's idea: He made some cherry trim and used the leftover floorboards. Pretty nice, eh?

Everytime I go out to the job, I think to myself how lucky I am to have so many creative and talented people working on my house. Not only that, but they’re all pretty great people too!!

I've always wanted a stream…

We had one when Leah and I were young, but it only happened when the spring overflowed after a heavy rainstorm.  We had to share it with the cows, too. They usually drank it all, stomped in it and ruined it. Well, thanks to Pete Spaulding of Spaulding Landscaping at Home View Farm and his amazing crew, I have my very own stream that I don’t even have to share with the cows.

a view from above
a view from above

It’s actually a dry stream bed or “dry crick bed” as we call ’em in WV. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it helps carry excess water away from the house when it rains. They hand picked the stones along the edges from a big ol’ pile of rocks Zach pulled out of my foundation hole. Then they very thoughtfully placed each rock and even shaped some of them to make them fit just right to look natural. I’d say they did a pretty amazing job.

It runs along the back of my house
It runs along the back of the house
It runs along the back of my house, as if it was left there by mother nature.
and has a little natural bridge to get from one side to the other.

The best part is that I now have a wonderful feature in my yard created by talented craftesmen and craftswomen that I can build on with plantings, etc for years to come.

detail
detail

P.S. Did I mention the waterfall?

The dry waterfall that leads to the dry stream bed
The dry waterfall that feeds into the dry stream bed

Yeah, they made a a waterfall too.  Again they used stone that came from under my house. It will be a perfect frame for the view of the fields. I can’t wait to watch it and help it transform over time.

Another special detail from another skilled artist!

Cherry Floor: Phase Three

The drywall is finished, and Ken Purdham’s crew did an amazing job. Big thanks to them! The rooms look like real rooms now with beautiful solid walls.

In other news the cows have found me, and Frankie is finally using his window:

Moo.
Moo.
"Arf!" -Frankie. "Moo." -Cow.
Just the right height

We also picked up my floor tiles for the hallway and kitchen door entry. I’ll tell you all about how great and helpful (and patient) Julia McDonald at Rock and Tile is when I get to the tile installation phase.

I had to lay a few out to see how they're going to look.
I had to lay a few out to see how they're going to look.

But the biggest news of the week is my living room and kitchen floor. My friends Dustin and Laura Fritz and my dad are the most beautiful people in the whole wide tri-state area. We had a goal of getting all the flooring down in the living/dining room and kitchen. They worked like maniacs all weekend, and we met the goal! And they did it all for a coupla pulled pork sandwiches. I’m still in shock that it’s done, especially since Dad is the only pro of the group. Granted, Dustin and Laura renovated an 1800’s Fire House into an actual house, so they have a bit of experience with working on projects similar to this. But I still consider it a pretty great accomplishment. Thanks three thousand billions guys!!

Dad picking out a board, and Dustin nailing one down.
Dad picking out a board, and Dustin nailing one down.
Fritz Dream Team
The Fritz Dream Team
Laura getting the seams mega-tight
Laura getting the seams mega-tight
the finished living toom
the finished living room
kitchen
kitchen
View from above. Gotta love the variation in the Fruit Hill cherry!
View from above. Gotta love the variation in the Fruit Hill cherry! I couldn't be happier.

And I also want to give a special thanks to Dad for cutting and collecting all of these trees for me.  There wouldn’t even be a floor if he hadn’t found the trees.

Cherry Floor: Phase Two

For reference, this is how my floor started. (I thought I’d posted these photos, but I guess I not.) This is the day Keith came and picked up the logs to take to the sawmill. Phase One:

The pile of logs
The pile of logs
Keith taking the logs away
Keith taking the logs away

For phase two, Keith milled the logs into lumber and dried them in the kiln. Saturday we went to pick up the lumber and transported it to the Hicksville Planing Mill where they’ll make the lumber into floorboards.

We arrive at the sawmill.
We arrive at the sawmill.
Sawmill
Sawmill
Keith opening the kiln.
Keith opening the kiln to reveal my lumber.
My floor in the kiln: Keith told us about the very complicated sequence of temperatures and time that it takes to each species of tree dried just right.
He told us about the very complicated sequence of temperatures and time that it takes to get each species of tree dried just right.
Trailer's all loaded up. Hmm.. that might be a bit too tall and wobbly.
Trailer's all loaded up. Hmm.. that might be a bit too tall and wobbly.
That's better. We'll pick up the other bundle plus the Walnut this week.
That's better. We'll pick up the other bundle plus the Walnut this week.
Cherry Floor: Phase Two
Cherry Floor: Phase Two
We arrive at Hicksville.
We arrive at Hicksville.
Planing Mill
Planing Mill
Saturday's a busy day at Hicksville!
Saturday's a busy day at Hicksville!
Bye Phase Two! See you at Phase Three!
Bye, Phase Two! See you at Phase Three!
Is that a bike?! I hate bikes!!
"Is that a bike?! I hate bikes!!"
....
....
"Get outta here!! I hate you, bike!!"
"Get outta here!! I hate you, bike!!"

Update: Drywall.

I’m starting to lose traction on my blog. Things are moving so quickly, I’m having trouble keeping up. I should probably fashion a helmet with a camera attached, so I don’t miss anything. I annoy my father enough as it is, though. (“What did you say the difference between semi-gloss and low lustre are again?” “Wait… why are there nails AND screws in the drywall?” Ummm… can you look at these 27 different outdoor light options I’m considering?” “What do you think of this tile layout?” “How long til I can move in??”) Can you imagine if I showed up to the jobsite with the Blog-o-nator Helmet?

Anyway, these pics were taken yesterday. Today they finished hanging 95% of the drywall, and Kenny cleaned up the mess. Keith talked me out of flat paint. And my good friend Julia @ Rock and Tile ordered my floor tiles, as well as some croc skin* tiles… more on that soon.

(*No crocodiles were injured in the making of the tiles.)

The red really brings it all together, eh? Maybe I should try putting the window treatments on the INSIDE, though.
The red really brings it all together, eh? Maybe I should try putting the window treatments on the INSIDE, though.
Staircase and landing.
Staircase and landing.
View from the loft to the dining and living area
View from the loft to the dining and living area
My office... before Kenny cleaned it spotless today.
My office... before Kenny cleaned it spotless today.
Looking out of the upstairs bathroom into the hallway out to the loft
Looking out of the upstairs bathroom into the hallway out to the loft