Monday, December 2, 2019

Remodeling Our Hut Part 29: Pillars and Plaster Finished

Here we are back on Thursday, October 17, 2019.  October was quite cold this year, and we were definitely feeling the pressure to finish the stone pillars.  Mortar should not freeze before it is cured if it can be helped or it can fail.  

I lost track of how many days Carl took off from work to get the job done.  We both caught a nasty cold and being chilled to the bone most nights didn't help us recover any faster.   

I guess I should have kept track of how many hours we have in these pillars.   As I mentioned in an earlier post, the bid for the masonry labor alone, excluding stone, was $5000.  It took us over a month from start to finish.   I'm sure a professional mason could have had them done in mere days instead of weeks, but this way we could construct them the way we wanted out of thicker, full-bed stone.  I wanted some unique stone courses mixed in, so we split many of the larger stones to create accents.
While we were whacking stones and gluing them together on the front porch, the contractors were busy putting up drywall in preparation for plaster.

Below is the new mudroom addition main closet with a door leading to the garden on the right.

A view of the door leading to the garage on the right, below.

New laundry room entrance

Space for a washer and dryer.  Automatic??  No more wringer washing machine for me?  We'll see...
The ceilings that had been torn out were patched back in again; below is the view from the mudroom entrance.

Standing in the kitchen, looking back to the dining room/study, (the closet on the left is my new broom closet, the thing I think I'm most excited about) below:
Looking north from the dining room/study to the kitchen and dining nook, below:
View from the dining/study to the living room, below:
 Upstairs, the ceilings and most of the walls are now drywalled, below, the north gable:

And below, the south gable:

The 2 x 4 railing will need to be replaced by someone who knows how to build a new railing, namely, Carl, who made the original railings we had.  The staircase has changed dimensions now, so we cannot use our old ones.  But first, he needs to finish those pillars.
We were getting close to adding the top caps to the pillars which was something we were looking forward to and also dreading.  We bought enough limestone to make the caps in four pieces and each stone had to be cut with a diamond blade and tapered correctly. 

Friday, October 18, 2019, and Carl had the first cap cut and resting  on top the pillar, awaiting mortar.  Here he is lowering the fiberglass column in place from the ratchet straps.  We needed to center the pillar on the base before we did the final mortaring.

 In the foreground of the photo above, the long lengths of limestone was what Carl cut the twenty cap pieces out of.

I decided to take some pictures of the house from the road at a few different angles.  The contractors sided the house halfway up on the west side but had to wait for more shake siding to be delivered to finish the entire house.  I liked the look of the shake siding very much and changed the plan a little bit, ok, a lot, by requesting shake siding on the gable ends instead of the double 4" siding.  The original bid only included shake on the front of the house, not on all four sides.  Though it raised the cost, we're already glad we did it.  

 Good grief, the garden has gone berserk since June.  What fun I will have reclaiming order next year.  We'll be redoing all the landscaping out front again, too, time to see the house from the road and not hide it in a brush pile. 
 The porch ceiling needed to be done, too.  At first, we were worried we were in the contractor's way because of the masonry, but they were busy with the drywall. 

I decided a trim board done in the off-white 'Cameo' trim just above the windows would look nice with shake siding above. We had to wait to see the finished product until the siding came in. 

After much anxiety, Carl set the first pillar cap on the far east driveway pillar.

 One pillar done entirely, four to go.  

The sun was setting with a brilliant sundog on display.  Sundogs occur from ice crystals in the atmosphere and are a good predictor of colder (and generally, wetter) weather on the way.
 We did some more mortar work on the uppermost courses in preparation for the caps until dark that night.
 Saturday, October 18, and you guessed it, more mortar.  I stayed home that day as my head cold was making me very miserable.

 Sunday, October 20, 2019, I felt better and we were getting closer:

  Monday, October 21, Carl had to go back to work.  I was working with the construction crew to get ready for the plaster crew coming the next day.  We had to get the old subfloor with the orange vinyl out of the kitchen and into the garage so the plasterers could do their job.

I tried tearing off the old vinyl from the plywood, but it wasn't giving up easily.  Amazing flooring after forty-one years of service, still hanging on.

 I'd wanted to tear up the rest of the floor going down the hall, too, but ran out of time.  It was ok, the old floor didn't affect the plaster.

Orange flooring bits everywhere.  

 Pick up everything, get it out of the way, the plaster crew needs room to work.

 When Carl arrived home from work, we hauled out everything that wasn't nailed down for the next day.

Tuesday, October 22, the plaster crew began work, patching and prepping the walls.

The walls that were existing were prepped with an orange substance to allow the new skip-trowel coating to adhere to them.
 The plaster crew was large and very quiet, efficient and polite.  It was hard to believe there were so many men working in the house as I worked back on the front porch again with Carl, raking out mortar on the pillars.

There were no arguments coming from this crew at all, just quiet, steady work.

 After the first day, they had the walls all prepped and ready for the finish coat of plaster.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 and the plaster work was done in eight hours.

 I'm intrigued by the light patterns during the day upstairs; the round windows will have new stained glass added as soon as I get a chance.

The south side of the new gable will be a very nice workspace for stained glass layout and glass selection and sewing, too.

We really do need some railings, though.  

 Carl looking at his stonework from the dining room.

The plaster was very gray before it dried.

 Below, the view from the living room up the staircase looks like an ultra-modern house design at this point:

 The upstairs round windows will be visible from the first floor too, so I'd better come up with a nice design.

 Dining nook bay window.

 View from kitchen to back door in mudroom.

 All that's missing is the kitchen sink.  (And a few other things.)

 Above is our old hall closet soon-to-be pantry after I clean out all the stuff, that is. 
 Broom closet is the first door, second door leads to laundry and bathroom addition.

 Basement door and hallway leading to master bedroom.

 The original house ended where the two heat registers (now moved) are seen as black rectangles.  

At this point in the remodel, we finally felt like we were moving forward and maybe seeing light at the end of the tunnel that wasn't an oncoming train.  The plaster made a big difference in our outlook.

And another thing that was Finally Finished on October 23, 2019 was the pillars.  

Yes, at last we were done.  

 Pillar #1
 Pillar #2 (Do you see anything different about this one?  Answer at the end.)
 Pillar #3
 Pillar #4
 And, finally, Pillar #5

Ok, about Pillar #2, below...when I was raking out the mortar on this one, I was curious as to why Carl had put some of the smaller stones in vertically, which is something we never do.  

I questioned him on it and he said, "This pillar is where you can see it from the dining room and where you'll sit on the porch when it rains in the summer.  Don't you see what it says?"

I took a step back and that's when I saw it.
 Once you see it, you cannot un-see it.  

Carl's pet name for me is in the pillar.




Beth said...

Your home is really looking great, Karen! The pillars are fantastic - good job! And I love your loft area and pantry. Wondering if the basement will be "finished" or more of a storage/furnace area. Guess I'll just keep following your posts to find out!
Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Karen.
Blessings, Beth

Anonymous said...

Carl is very clever.

Alison said...

Tell Carl he brought tears to my eyes. You guys did a fabulous job on those pillars. I really enjoyed seeing these photos with the walls in a more finished state. I had a feeling you would be giving those round windows some kind of stained glass treatment.

A bit late, but Happy Thanksgiving!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

WOW! Carl's romantic touch to the pillar has brought tears to my eyes. Just the sort of thing my husband would do. You guys have done a fantastic job! Love you both ~ FlowerLady

chavliness said...

In addition to doing a fantastic job on the pillars Carl turns out to be a romantic. Very cool indeed. I knew the round windows will not stay clear for long... I wonder about the rectangle windows bellow: they are all the same size on one side, and staggered on the other.

El Gaucho said...

Those pillars look very good, and kudos to Carl for the thoughtful gesture, that was pretty sweet of him.

Anonymous said...

Carl is making all the other husbands look bad, he better watch out!