Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Home Improvement Wrapup

We've been back in Tucson for 6 days now, but life and work has conspired against us updating the blog.  I know some of you like to see the progress we're making on our little "place in the woods", so here is how we closed out our most recent stay.

First of all, while we often show shots of the Fox River from the house, we've never shown the house and river in the same shot.  Time for the new software to assemble a panorama mosaic!  You really get a feel here for how close we really are to the Fox.  It is only about 40 yards, and having them in the same shot helps.  It is a big change from last year to this trip.  A year ago they just had a 2 foot snowfall, and the River was frozen over - we walked across it last year, but not this February!

Another reason I took this mosaic is that Riverwoods contacted us this trip about Wheaton College's interest in building a canoe house for their crew equipment, as well as the canoes for the camp.  Since it will be located near the canoe racks, and potentially block some of our views of the River, they asked for our reaction.  Since we feel fortunate to be a part of the camp, they are welcome to do what they like, but I thought I'd document a "before" view.

I also finally got a daytime shot of our finished guestroom showing the shutters and sheers in place.  The room is all but finished - just a little trim and paint work in the closet to call it complete and ready for visitors.  Actually, sister-in-law Susan already stayed with us this last trip, so it is officially open for business!  Compare to 2 posts ago to see the effect of these details - it looks a lot more finished now!

With most of the effort in the bedroom finished, it was time to move to the kitchen.  Our last trip in December we found Maj had just finished installing the beadboard ceiling.  Unfortunately, we found some electrical wiring issues.  When Melinda installed the kitchen lights, the circuit breakers kept popping - always a bad sign!  In addition, Maj found that using a saw in an exterior outlet (same circuit) also popped the breaker, which it hadn't done before.

Unfortunately, that meant that Maj had to remove her ceiling work to re-expose the wiring for this trip.  On the Saturday of our stay we had an electrical contractor out to check things out, making some minor changes and additions, then splitting the circuit to have the exterior lights and outlets on a separate circuit.  While Melinda enjoys wiring, sometimes this house's wiring, with its numerous changes over the last 8 decades, is tough to figure out and the contractor was well worth it.

So after the obligatory Sunday trip to Iowa, it was full speed ahead Monday to replace the kitchen ceiling.  Since the lumber was already measured and cut by Maj back in November, with me helping her sort pieces and her on the pneumatic nail gun, we had it replaced in record time.  Melinda and I went light shopping and decided on track lighting, and she installed that the next day.  I made myself useful by making a run to the hardware store (my best-suited task with the skills these girls have) and helped out where I could, as well as snapping a few pictures.  The track lighting is certainly a change from standard kitchen lighting, but I think it will look great.

So that is our progress this trip.  I believe Maj will work on painting the ceiling as her time permits.  Since it was installed twice, there are twice as many nail holes to fill.  We've already made plans for an April trip - I'm not sure yet what projects await - I only follow orders from the bosses!


David A. Harvey said...

Wow! You really have made that little cottage a modern home. I admire your talents in this endeavor - something I could never do. If your looking for a project in Tucson - I have a bathroom that needs a good remodel! :-) Kudos!

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