Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

January 27, 2012

Drawers and Cabinets

Filed under: Interior,kitchen,Master Bath — Duane Diefenbach @ 7:11 pm

Over the holidays I made drawers for our vanity that I installed about a year ago (see this post). They came out very well but the wood has aged a bit in the light and the walnut and cherry trim on the drawers has a slightly different hue than the vanity.

The next project I have been working on is to build and install the upper cabinets to go in the pantry area of the kitchen. The next set I ever do will turn out better but I think I have been able to hide most of my mistakes.

As you can see, a lot of doors need to be made for the kitchen. However, our cereals are no longer in a box on the floor near the cupboard. Lisa also has some organizing to do. But I was told I have to finish the drawers and cabinet doors for Molly’s window seat and bookcase (see this post for something that I was working on only 2 months ago!).

January 1, 2011

If Doors Could Talk

Filed under: Interior,Master Bath — Duane Diefenbach @ 10:20 pm

Door have two roles – to keep some things in and to keep some things out. The doors we are using in this house were made in the mid-1800s and installed in a house in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. One of the widest doors from this house was 35″ wide (and only 76″ tall) and I saved it for the master bathroom. With all the doors I have had to strip the 1-3 layers of paint before filling holes, priming, and painting. All the doors have a bottom layer of blue or yellow milk paint. This particular door had blue milk paint and damage to the lower left panel.

I had assumed the repair to this panel was from damage that occurred in the 20th century, but upon removing the paint I found that the repairs were made with cut nails held together with layers of paint. Other holes and wear and tear indicated that this door was well weathered indicating it might have been an outside door (or shed). Plus it clearly had a rimlock installed but one of the holes was cut for a Blake thumb latch (but no evidence a thumb latch was ever installed).  Was the door made with the intent to use a thumb latch but instead installed with a rimlock? Anyway, installing the thumb latch was easy!

And why was the door kicked in sometime probably during 1850-1900 (modern wire nails arrived sometime around 1910)? Was it while trying to keep something out – or something in? Probably both.

Anyway, now that we have a door on the master bath we can keep the bedroom cool while sleeping but set the thermostat so that the bathroom is warm (especially the floor tiles from the radiant floor heat!) when we wake.

The master bath is now almost done… I just need to do a few things like…

-cover the shutoff access for the shower

-make a medicine cabinet

-make the drawers for the vanity (see earlier post)

-final touch-up of wall paint

– hang some art

That should take all of about 2 weeks to finish… but only after I make a kitchen.

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Help

Filed under: Interior,Master Bath,tile — Duane Diefenbach @ 6:17 pm

With parents and my sister’s family visiting we took advantage of the help to get a big project started in the master bath – the shower needs to be tiled.  This has been a daunting task because I have never done wall tiles before and this is a custom shower.  And one of the design mistakes we made was to not pay enough attention to the area of the shower and where the bathroom door was located. As a result, to maximize the shower size I had to bring it right up to the bathroom door and the wall between the toilet and shower was too small. So…

In preparation for tiling the shower in the master bath I first had to build out the wall between the shower and toilet

And here it is painted and ready for tiling

I started with help from my mom to install the Schluter shower system waterproof membrane that seals the shower. You install the tile directly over this membrane.

We took a break from working on the shower on Thanksgiving Day (milled hemlock boards for the porch ceilings instead) and then Friday I tiled the shower with the help of Pete, my brother-in-law.  It took all morning to get the walls complete. “All” I have left to do is tile the shower floor and curb and grout (and install the fixtures).  Here’s what the shower looks like at this point.

During all this my dad finished insulating the basement (Thanks Dad!). Friday afternoon Pete and I cut down a box elder where the clothes line will be relocated and we moved the chicken tractors under cover for the year.

In case you’re not from Pennsylvania, it’s deer season on Monday so it will be at least a week before I have any more progress to report.

November 17, 2010

Well, it is woodcock and grouse season

Filed under: flooring,Interior,Master Bath,Master Bedroom — Duane Diefenbach @ 9:24 pm

That’s my excuse for no updates.

After returning from MN I had some wonderful hunts in PA. In late October in about 3 hrs Walt and I had 25 flushes in just 2 coverts. Then I went to MD for a workshop the first week in November but upon my return I hunted the last Saturday of woodcock season and had 16 flushes for the day. But I get ahead of myself.

On the 6th of November Molly and I went to Quehanna for our traditional grouse hunt (but we couldn’t stay overnight) and Windsor pointed a black bear.  A great story that is best told in person, but the short version is that as we were walking out of a covert she pointed a crack in a big flat rock. I climbed on top of the rock and looked down in expecting a porcupine when a black bear growled at us.  Suffice it to say I jumped back and called off Windsor.  A half minute later a 300-400 lb black bear climbed out and ran away.

Then on the following Wednesday after school Molly and I hunted the hillside behind our house for an hour. We flushed 3 grouse and Molly had a shot at one (but like me, she missed). No woodcock. Then on our way back Molly noted that Windsor’s tail looked funny. I concluded it was broken.  Took her to the vet and left her for the evening to have her tail docked by about 4 inches.  No grouse hunting for 14 days.  She is recovering well.  Did I mention Windsor and Hazen were at the vets on Monday – Windsor had a thorn removed from her foot and Hazen was spayed?

But I digress – this blog is supposed to be about the house.  I have been trying for several weeks to finish up the master bedroom. I think every weekend I have been telling Lisa, “I think we can move in.”  But I have been too optimistic. However, on the 14th I had everything completed in the bedroom except (1) trim above the closet, (2) doors to the closet, and (3) a bedroom door.  So we moved in Monday night.

Moving the bedroom is a story in itself because the pencil post bed I made when we first moved to Pennsylvania (and I had my first real job and bought a table saw) required that we cut a notch in the header above the stairs to get it to the 2nd floor in the stone house. Fortunately, not much changed or shifted since we moved in 11 years ago and we got it back down the stairs. Except this time Ethan was of more help than Lisa.

After the move here is a picture looking in through the doorway (no door yet) to the master bedroom and of the  closet (no doors).

It is an absolute pleasure having plenty of room to walk around the furniture without stubbing a toe or banging a shin. And we’re quite pleased how Hazen highlights the color of the pine floors that we reclaimed from the attic.

In the bathroom I (almost) finished the vanity (still need to make the drawers) that is designed around the vessel sink we carried home from Spain in 2006 (inspired by the bathroom vanity in the wonderful hotel we stayed in Sevilla). Just fyi, the design inspiration is on the right. I made our vanity out of walnut with some cherry trim and highlights. You will have to visit us to truly appreciate it!

I have also been able to test the clawfoot tub twice since it has been installed. At the price of embarassing my grad students (and kids). Here is a photo of the second test of tub performance. It is everything I wished for – lots of water and plenty of room to stretch out!

So now that we can sleep in the master bedroom I have to set new priorities. I have been told they are to get a door hung to the bedroom (as you can see I am working on that).

And to tile the shower in the master bedroom

Not to mention getting the crawl spaces completely insulated before it gets really cold and making a kitchen. Stay tuned!

October 20, 2010

It’s Almost November!

Filed under: Interior,Master Bath,Master Bedroom,Plumbing — Duane Diefenbach @ 8:57 pm

We have to go way back to late September to pick up where I left off. Our latest efforts have focused on the master bathroom and bedroom. The bathroom floor is installed so I could then install my 6′ claw foot tub. Because my arm was broken the Forstmeier’s came over to help move it into the house.

We then had the tub interior refinished with an epoxy/acrylic finish that made it look brand new and installed the mahogany rim.  My dad helped me install the fixtures but they leaked at the shutoff!  ;-( It’s been over a month and I haven’t had time to redo the seals and try out the tub!

My dad also helped with the installation of the flooring in the master bedroom. Even though my arm was out of the cast by this time my dad still had to do all the nailing. We used flooring that Lisa and I removed from the attic of the stone house. The flooring is tongue and groove white pine that ranged in width from 9″ to 16″. It was pretty dirty and black, but the hope was that when carefully sanded it would have a great patina to it that you can’t get with new wood.

My mom mentioned that it looked like we were building a shed (thanks Mom!). But I think it turned out ok. Here’s a photo after sanding, a coat of shellac, and 1 coat of polyurethane. Still 2 more coats of polyurethane to go.

The reason there has been so little progress (and news) is that in October I had a meeting in Utah and then I was in Minnesota at another meeting (and grouse and woodcock hunting with Windsor). We had great hunts with the best day having 17 grouse flushes and 15 woodcock flushes. Windsor pointed 12 of the woodcock we flushed.  I would have bagged more grouse but my shooting was not on par with Windsor’s pointing. I think every day I did get my limit of woodcock, however. You can’t see the birds in the photos below where Windsor is pointing – but I wish I had the camera out a couple of times when she was pointing right next to the woodcock!

Windsor was pretty tired (as was I) when on Wednesday I walked about 5-6 miles and she must have run about 25-30 miles. She ate dinner and didn’t wake for hours.

Thanks to David Andersen (and his Drahthaar’s, Warf and Tuvak) for hosting and guiding us!

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