Renovation Recap: The Living Room Reveal

There are those moments in life when something happens and you look back on it and realize the work to get there was worth it, and that is exactly how I felt when we finished our living room 99% and moved into it this weekend! It was such a surreal moment. I came home tonight and immediately walked into the living room, sat down and just enjoyed everything about it. I can’t wait to show you the reveal, but I will because there were a few steps before we moved in and a few photos you just need to see first.

This is a pine trim which Andy milled from strapping he received with the delivery of another product. It was clear, it was perfect, and it was free. I married well.

DSC_3909-01The baseboards are also a beautiful routed pine. It’s a fairly traditional style but that’s right in line with our craftsman/shaker/farmhouse preferences.

DSC_3896-01 Once Andy finished putting the Danish oil on the trim, we let the room air out and did the final cleanup consisting of cleaning windows, scraping the windows, vacuuming and in general relishing in the room before we moved furniture in.

DSC_3966-01 DSC_3969-01Then we took all of our furniture junk, and moved it into our really nice new living room. Actually, only the couch can be referred to as junk as all other furniture pieces are handmade and are actually quite nice.

DSC_3975-01The photo above sums up how we’ve been living for months, so let me just say I’m a little more happy that view now looks a lot more empty.

DSC_3998-01Someday I’ll look back on this photo and be like, “ahg, I can’t believe it used to look like that, and I was totally cool with it.” Truth though, I honestly don’t care.  I am just so darn elated with this accomplishment which was no small task, considering this room from the other direction used to be a falling in porch which I once power washed an old toilet on.

pictures1 327Now, that old fallen in porch is long gone and our new living room is a cozy, warm, friendly, loving space.

DSC_3986-01DSC_3992-01It might look a little plainly decorated in photos, but in person it’s so nice. I love the layering of woods, the neutral walls, the open and airy feel to it. There are obviously still some interior design type things we need to do like get a light shade for the center of the room, upgrade the lamp on the table, add some art, maybe some window treatments, and get a new sofa but I don’t even see those things at this moment. They just don’t even matter. No interior design is going to really matter until the house is complete and we can see it in one piece. We have a few sentimental items up now, and I brought in my baskets of yarn, but besides that we’re good as is.

DSC_3991-01You can see my kindle charging next to the sofa, which brings me to another awesome thing Andy did in this room for convenience purposes. He put outlets on either side so we could each plug in our electronics without always tangling them around each others stuff. For Andy this simply meant a laptop. For me, it’s a laptop, my camera battery, my phone, my kindle, the lamp—you get the point. So needless to say I have a double outlet on my side and he has a single on his. On my side two of the plugs are also operable by switch. If you walk into the room from the kitchen area, you have the option to either turn on the dimming overhead lights or flip on the lamp. It’s definitely not a “need” and it never was, but when Andy mentioned the option without a lot more work it was a no-brainer. It’s a nice convenience to have, and it means I have three other outlets I can leave my other chargers plugged into if I want.

DSC_3990-01The other “design element” I did in this room was to re-organize the bookshelf so it was more visually appealing. I know what the books look like I use the most (i.e. cookbooks and gardening references) so I can grab them quickly. I hesitate to call this a “design element” only because it was more of a “dust your shit once in a while and make things look nice”. I did this by organizing every book by color family. I used to do this with my clothes in my closet in high school sometimes and I loved it. Turns out, I now love it on a bookshelf. I think this was a thing like two years ago. I seem to remember seeing people organize things by color on some design show a while back. Consider me up to date and totally hip to trends (*nods head in a sarcastic “yeah, that’s it” manner*).

DSC_3977-01 DSC_3979-01What, you didn’t think we’d be highlighting a hand turned vase, a chainsaw book and a sawmill book on our bookshelf? Come on now. Oh, and to the far left is a book called American Brassiere. It’s a cook book that I don’t work out of a lot but I still thoroughly enjoy none the less. Just throwing that out there.

DSC_3981-01Andy and I were both wowed and loved how the bookshelf looked in the room for the sheer fact that all of the natural light made the wood grain glimmer. It never looked like this in the darker room before so we’re happy to see the fine grain in all of the glory it deserves. Well played natural light, well played.

At the end of the day, we are incredibly happy with this room and how it turned out. It’s so nice to have one room you can come into and not have to look at the items that still needs to be done. At this point, window treatments, etc. don’t feel like things that need to be done. Finishing the flooring in the other rooms are on the need to be done list, so as far as I’m concerned right now this room is done. OH and as it turns out, when you have nice things you want to take care of them. Guess who’s going out to get felt pads to put on the bottom of the coffee table? I guess I’m officially that adult. At least I’m not putting tennis balls on the legs. Did anyone else have to do that to their chairs in elementary school or know what the heck I’m referring to?

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads this post and/or as followed my blog. I know there are a lot of people who read and never comment and that’s totally okay (though I would love if you said “hi!”, I’ll say “hi!” back!). This blog really is a cathartic place to get some of my feelings and thoughts out and I absolutely love sharing our little life with you. I wish you could all just come and sit in here and feel how relaxing it really is. Then again, if ALL of you were in here it wouldn’t be relaxing at all, so let’s just do it one at a time. I’ll put on some tea for you.

xo,

Heather

P.S.) I’ll be back within the next week or so with an update on the other parts of the renovation we’re still working on! There’s also been some talk up at the farm, and some gardening underway so I hope to write about all of that soonish too. Have a wonderful day everyone!

Reclaiming Our Living Room

We’re in the mountains of Maine today reclaiming our sanity, which has given me some time to edit some photos and catch up on some posts. I have to tell you guys how relaxing this is. I’m sitting in a rocking chair, in front of a wood stove, in a stream of sun, with a mug of hot tea. To say this is nice is an understatement. So while we reclaim a sense of balance and relief at being away from renovations for a couple days, let’s talk about our reclaimed southern pine floors we put down in our living room.

Flooring (22)These floors are my dream floors. The beautiful variation, the saw marks—count me in. They are the type of floor you see on Houzz and keep as an inspiration piece. They are floors you look up price wise and, when you’re on a budget like ours, gasp and fall over sideways when you see the cost. They are also the floors which my husband managed to divert from the waste stream.

Because of how this floor is laid, when all is said and done there’s a decent amount of waste. When Andy saw this he realized there was enough to do the floor in our living room, floor the small space in front of the new stairs and maybe, just maybe, build a someday farmers table for our someday porch—and keep these extra pieces out of the dump. So of course, it came home.

It was his first wedding anniversary gift to me and to say I was delighted would be a gross understatement.

We had been keeping this flooring in our barn for months on end, so it was important to bring it into the house to acclimate before we laid it. It was a little more organized than this (the day we started laying it) but more or less there were piles of flooring everywhere. My shins are direct proof of these piles. You would have thought at some point I would have learned to step over or walk around the piles instead of directly into them. Lesson not learned.

Flooring (5)When it came to laying this flooring it definitely took time. Unlike regular flooring, with reclaimed flooring you have to match widths, sometimes you have to fix splines, and in general it can be a little frustrating to line up. To make it easier for us I decided we needed to pile all of the flooring by width so we could easily grab what we needed. The boards ranged from 6″ to 12″ so there was definitely a huge amount of variation. It was much more efficient versus our original layout kind of seen above and below. In other words it was not the most efficient method.

Flooring (13)To start laying the floor we needed to make a border around our concrete hearth. Andy took two of the shorter and narrower width pieces, put a 45 degree angle on each and laid them on either side of the hearth. They were held together in with biscuits and secured to the subfloor with construction adhesive and finish nails through the face (top) of the flooring. One of the advantages of a floor like this is that you either will never notice the finish nails, or they look like part of the original product.

Flooring (4)Laying the first course of flooring was pretty much like any other flooring—start in the center. To do this easily we found the center on each wall with a measuring tape, marked it, and use a chalk line to connect the two center marks.

The next step shows why this flooring takes longer than other types. With most flooring you can grab whatever works and lay it, as they are all the same width. With this type of flooring it was vitally important for us to lay every board for our rows out ahead of time for two reasons:

  • We needed to ensure we had enough of the same width to create the entire row.
  • We needed to ensure the great variations in the wood would look visually appealing when put together. A very clean red piece of wood could either look great, or horrible, next to a darker very marked up piece of wood. In floors like this they don’t need to perfectly match because in the end we wanted a varied look. There were a few times however we swapped pieces out because they just looked wonky.

Once test laid, we had to ensure the butt ends (where the two boards meet up end to end) would sit flush so we cut the ends off to make them square.

Once we had a chalk line on the floor we followed that line with our boards while making sure the flooring was centered, and not to the left or right of the line. To secure this type of flooring we glued it down and biscuit jointed on the the butt ends.

Flooring (3)After the floor is laid and we were sure it was centered, we braced it on one side. We did this with scraps screwed into the subfloor firmly against the non-tongue side (but not so tight it bowed the flooring). This is so when we installed one side we didn’t throw the flooring off kilter from the original straight row. Flooring (11)From here it was a matter of laying everything. Some of the boards weren’t perfect on the edges so they needed to be planed down a little, some needed to be stood on in order for them to slide in easier, and some of them worked perfectly. It was important not only to lay down our rows prior to securing it, but to also test fit the pieces too.

Flooring (6) Flooring (8)With the test fits complete, we banged each piece into place (using a scrap piece of wood, not hitting the actual flooring) and nailed it securely. Andy used his pneumatic flooring nailer, but there are plenty of just fine regular ones too—you just have to hit them harder.

Flooring (10)Once we finished a few courses we removed the blocks we initially secured against the first course and kept on going in the other direction.

Flooring (12)With the easier of the two sides done (to the left of the hearth from the direction in the photo above) it was time to tackle the right side. It wasn’t particularly harder, but it did require just a little more work.

Flooring (14)The first row we laid on this side was the most complex. We had to both secure it to the hearth, and attach it to the original course. To tie into the hearth side, we used the biscuit jointer to pull everything together. The issue was the original course had the groove where we needed a tongue. Why was this a problem? This meant only one thing—a spline.

A spline is a thin piece of wood inserted into the groove of flooring to turn it into a tongue. Since we needed our center board to have two tongues, a spline was the only way to do it. I didn’t get any great picture of a spline, but if you look in the photo above there is a thin piece of wood sitting on the concrete hearth—that’s a spline. They can be bought, but Andy made ours on the table saw with some scrap wood. To put in the spline we glued it into place and then finish nailed, and then set the nails, to secure it and to make sure the nails were flush so the next piece of flooring would actually fit.

After this part I didn’t get many more photos of day one. We were getting to the final courses laid on this side, we were hungry, and we were in the last push for the night.

The next day however, we got up early and started again. Andy’s friend stopped by with his black lab and while they chatted they laid the last course. His buddy is also in construction and builds furniture too so it was great to have him stop in to inject some energy, and help, into the final push.

Flooring (19)When all was said and done, and a day and a half of work later, we had a beautiful floor.

Flooring (20)There was much rejoicing and dancing.

Flooring (21)

We’ve had this floor laid for about a week or so now and it grows on us more and more each day. There was something off though and we weren’t sure what it was until it hit us. The thing with our house is that we’re going to have a lot of different flooring. We’re keeping the oak in the original house, we’ll have beech upstairs as well as beech on the staircase and in the downstairs bedroom, and we have the beautiful reclaimed floors in our living room. When we stepped back we realized the reclaimed floor just wasn’t tying together. It looked great, but we needed it somewhere else so it looked like it was on purpose and not just an after thought. That’s when we realized we had enough to lay in front of the stairs and how well it would bring everything together.

While we are going to finish the staircase first, we laid a few boards and I’m happy to say it totally fixes the balance issue. With the wide living room and the small amount in front of the staircase it looks great together and looks purposeful.

Flooring (1)We’re very happy with the floors so far, and frankly, everything. The house is pulling together so nicely and we love it.

I’ll be back next week with an update of all the little things we’ve been doing including higher-quality photos of the lighting we installed, new lighting we’ve put in since, paint in the staircase and more.

With all that said, I’m checking out and am going to head out into the woods. We’re going to go tap some trees to try and get a little more maple sap before the season is over, cut some wood, and spend the day with family cooking over a fire outside and having fun in the snow.

xo,

Heather

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful—But The Logs Are So Delightful

I have to be entirely honest with you guys. If I told you I always knew what a sawmill was I would be lying. I’m into homsteading now, but at 18 I thought for sure I was going to be in finance in New York City. Ten years later I have made almond milk from scratch, and I have more pairs of boots than high heels.

Nope, that’s a lie. It might be a tie. (Update October 2013: It’s true. Most heels have made their way to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. I officially have a couple pairs of high-heels and significantly more pairs of boots of all sorts).

I still had no idea what a sawmill was until Andy came around, even then it was still a few years before I ever saw one in person.

Long story short we sawed lumber at Andy’s mom’s house years ago. By “we” I mean I stood and watched and liked it—more than I expected I would. We’ve stopped and watched the sawmill demonstration at the Fryeburg Fair every year too. Watching men at a sawmill demonstration is like watching a national geographic documentary on culture. It’s entirely fascinating and perplexing. I realize this is a generalization. My own husband has mentioned multiple times about getting a sawmill for our property. Normally this happens almost immediately after the sawmill demonstration. I have so far kept this from happening since we don’t really need one. (Update October 2013 – I must have been delusional while I was writing this, or I’ve drank the water, because I think I want a sawmill *more* than Andy at this point. For real. I’m even egging him on for a grapple and hydaulic cable logging winch for the tractor. I’m also voting for trading in our tractor for the next size up.)

I also am taking too much credit for it. If he really wanted one and found it for a good price he would buy it. I should mention I would totally be okay with it too.

Where was I going with this?

Oh right. For a few years now Andy and our neighbors have been thinning out the woods and piling logs behind our house in the corner of the hayfield. Most of the trees are Poplar and Pine (surprise, we live in Maine) but there were also a couple Fir and Hemlock too (I had to ask Andy what the other two were).

Our neighbor and his brother (the farmer) own the woods behind our house and told us if we got the logs sawed we could have the lumber for our addition. I can frame how Andy felt about it in this way: it would be like giving me butter and telling me if I make cookies with them I can eat them. Yes please.

So after we found out one of the Sawyers in town was busy all winter doing carpentry work, we got wind that one of the guys at our church (with an awesome old-timey mustache I someone managed not to get a photo of) had a sawmill. Andy talked to him on Sunday, he came out and looked at the lumber later that day and then a few days ago I woke up to Andy jumping out of bed like it was Christmas because somehow, in the distance, he heard Craig pull up with the sawmill and start it up.

He informed me this was a very big deal. I asked him if it needed a blog post well knowing the answer. He looked me in the eyes and said again that this was a very big deal and exciting. With that I put my boots on, rubbed my eyes at 7:30am, grabbed my camera and made my way out to where the sawmill was.

Despite what this photo looks like there’s actually something exciting about watching a log become a board you are going to build your home with. It feels like automatic progress.

You might wonder why we don’t just buy the lumber we need.

A.) Despite it being more work, it’s cheaper to pay the sawyer than to buy all of this lumber.

2.) It’s way more fun to do it this way.

18d.) It’s super interesting to watch a log that looks all meh on the outside and see how beautiful the grain is on the inside. It never really gets old. Except when I get cold. Then it gets old pretty fast when I can’t feel my nose anymore and I left my mittens in the house. (Update October 2013: No. It never gets old. It might get cold. You might have to go warm up. But the sawing itself never gets old. I want to smack myself for even saying it could get old.)

As for my boy—he’s in love.

It’s only the truth.

Happy Freezing Your Butt off To Take Photos For Your Husband Because You Love Him,

Heather

You Can Just Call Me Primey Painterson

This just in. Heather can’t look at shades of white any longer for the livingroom. So, with no shade chosen the preparations have begun, (see the start of this project here).

The solid pine boards on our walls are approximately grade z. This means there are roughly 500 knots per square foot. On Friday evening after work I picked up a small can of BIN at Home Depot. As a side note – this isn’t “primer” like you might think , it’s quite watery (and it’s suppose to be).  It worked great.

As a reminder, for the last 3 1/2 years the living room has looked like this more or less.

Friday evening it was looking more like this:

On Saturday, Mr. A and I went to Home Depot to pick up a couple things for this project, and a few things Mr. A needed for a basement project (to be posted later this week). I grabbed a bucket of 1-2-3 water based primer hoping it would be enough to cover the BIN and the wood, which as a reminder are solid wood boards not the typical wood paneling.

With one coat of primer the wall looked crazy. As you can see, the BIN does an awesome job. The 1-2-3 primer soaked into the wood everywhere except the knots (where it should be soaking in the most). Had I thought ahead I would have painted all the walls with BIN to stop the wood from soaking up the primer.

Two coats of primer definitely made a bigger difference. The discoloration by the stairs is from the light, not the primer.

I accidentally spilled the BIN, hence that awesome white spot on the floor. We are planning on painting the floors so I wasn’t especially careful (at all) in regards to getting paint on the floor. If you are planning on keeping your nice floors nice, I would highly suggest putting down drop cloths and using painters tape.

Once I ran out of primer I really needed to settle on a color scheme. On Friday when I grabbed the BIN, I popped into Homegoods and Marshalls and found an awesome blue and white lamp for $30.00 marked down from $60.00. Saturday as I was looking around my house for inspiration I realized my colors were sitting right in front of me.

News Team Four Assemble! (Ok, I might have had anchorman on while I was painting). I grabbed a pillow I made from Mardens fabric, the lamp I bought, my wire rooster I adore and paint samples. See the flowers in the pillow? Those are my colors.

Here’s a better shot. I had to get my beautiful wire rooster in, he can’t be left out because he will very much be in the decor. As the newest member to our household he deserved to be in on this.

I’m aware those blues look all the same, but in person they are very different. The square is more traditional blue, the rectangle one has a hint of teal in it and the two together are more gray blues.

The decision? The primary wall color will be “seapearl” (the second darkest). As for the floor and large wall, I’m thinking either the “square” color for the floor and the “rectangle” color for the wall – or the two grayish ones with the dark for the floor and the lighter for the wall. I’m going to get samples of each and test them out.

So as of Saturday, that’s where we stand. I’ll be getting those samples this week and updating on what happens next! Hopefully by then I’ll be painting, and maybe will even have the rug purchased. I’ll get into the rug choice later – some things need to be left for next time!

Happy Painting…and painting…and painting,

Heather