Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday: Yucky muck (9/30/10)

The good news is that the torrential rain has restored our moat.  And not the moat IN our basement...

The bad news is that Reuben's having a really bad hair day.

Wednesday: Busily rearranging the outdoors (9/29/10)

This was kind of a fascinating day.  This is the original carport pad that he's about to tear up.

At the same time, his colleague is cutting the carport pad about 4-5" from the surface of the stone wall.  It was decided that this would hopefully give the wall sufficient stability while the pad was being torn up.

A moment later...

Half an hour later...

I had to go out for a while and don't know how long it took to remove all the debris, but this is what it looked like a few hours later, when I got back.



They also dug out the 4' crawlspace that will be underneath the new dining room (foreground), and beyond that, filled the courtyard garden space.

They also prepared the new carport for pouring.  And I think I took this picture right before the rain started...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday: Chimney work (9/23/10)

Further work is going into creating the new fireplace wall in the living room, and below, the chimney extensions on the outside.

And on the outside...  So far they've been using stone that was either removed from the walls or fireplace earlier, or from a stash of stones we've always had in the garden, but will likely need to purchase more.  The darker colored mortar is strong enough to hold the stones in place while it sets up, and is then topped off with some lighter colored mortar which better matches the old mortar.

This is one of those things I've always wished I knew how to do myself.  I have really had to control my nitpickier instincts on this in particular lest I unfairly irritate the stone mason.  Or as one friend put it, we find in the Washington Post Metro section, "Homeowner critically injured by stonework accidentally dropped from scaffolding."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday: Work continues... (9/21/10)

They poured the foundation for the living room fireplace.  (This is starting to look like it's going to be one of those wall-sized firplaces you might see in a castle, but it's not...)

The courtyard garden wall without all the scaffolding.  (This will be finished with stucco.)

This is the back door side.  They've removed one living room window to provide an exhaust fan for sawdust the day earlier, and you can see the edge of the stonework on the chimney extension.

They're supposed to start framing any day now, so it will be easier to envision the new space...

Monday: Somebody's been busy (9/20/10)

Catching up on progress after our weekend guests flew safely home...  They finished the blockwork in the basement.

Moving upstairs, they cut away the area in the floor where the new hearth will be.

And the wall, and the ceiling.  And removed the existing window so they could put exhaust fans in the opening to rid of the sawdust.

They're applying the stonework to the chimney extensions.  We had a little chat about the visibility of the vertical lines of the exisiting chimney, and the builder was unhappy with it too.  Turns out that the lower portion will be hidden by the decking, so it shouldn't be as visible as it is here, but they're going to rework a fair amount of it.

Wednesday: Gellen/Carpenter stimulus spending in the cinder block industry (9/15/10)

Somehow, I've apparently managed to block (no pun intended) this day from my memory.  I do recall goofing around helping out a friend who'd just had surgery, but obviously, a lot went on while I was gone.

This is blockwork around the fireplace in the basement, apparently required to support the extended hearth upstairs.

More blockwork on the chimney extensions.

More blockwork on the garden courtyard wall.  The gate and slit openings are taking shape.

This is the inside view of the courtyard garden wall.  Jack is starting to rethink the placement of the "living wall" - maybe it should be on the wall to the left.

This is the access opening from the new little basement area that will be underneath the new hallway, into the 4' crawlspace under the new dining room.  Our neighbor is convinced that this secret little hideaway will be in some future underground railroad.

Tuesday: More foundation work (9/14/10)

We had the loveliest of visits with my parents, so I've been off enjoying myself rather than posting photos...  This is from last Tuesday - this is the view out the back windows.  They're pouring the floor of one new part of the basement.  I neglected to get a photo of the pouring on the other side.


This is the poured flooring of the back foundation, once finished.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday: More blockwork (9/13/10)

Today they extended the blockwork on the courtyard garden wall.  The opening to the left will have a wooden gate in it.  The horizontal gap to the right will be a slit opening.

They also added blockwork to create the chimney extensions - all to give it proper proportions.  There are little metal hangers inserted in the mortar - I assume that's to key into the mortar in the stonework that will be applied over it. (?) 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday: IT WAS REALLY LOUD HERE TODAY (oh... was I shouting?) (9/10/10)

So this has been a wierd little cedar-lined closet in our basement.  They decided (with our agreement) to widen it into the next room's closet so they could place a doorway into the new part of the basement almost underneath the existing front door.  (I'm willing to bet that sentence only makes sense to me...)  To those who aren't familiar with our house, most of our basement is a "real basement," not a 21st-century, Washington-area finished basement.

When you open the door to the cedar-lined closet, much of the cedar lining is now gone, and they're about to open a door slightly to the right of this shot.

To the right of that cedar, they have demolished/cut the foundation to allow a doorway into the new part of the basement.  (Plywood, or something similar, placed there for the time being, to block the opening.)  Much prior to this photo, I decided that Reuben and I deserved a respite from the noise and vibrations of all the demolition, and had a leisurely (sp?) late lunch on the patio of Foxfire Grille.  These photos were taken after our return...

Same space from the outside, with the new doorway in the near right corner of the photo (guess I won't be going out that doorway anytime soon...).  They're finishing the prep for the foundation pour in the new basement that will be underneath the existing front door and under the new hallway.

Here's what they removed to make that doorway.

Another shot of the sightline (back-to-front), where the new back door (almost all glass) will look down the new hallway through the large window in the front.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday: Just as you suspected, the Gellen-Carpenter property is single-handedly destroying the Chesapeake Bay (9/8/10)

There's a whole lot of text cut off to the right of this photo of the letter just received, but this little bit will give you the gist.  Our total reduction of impervious surface, use of pervious pavers, and a rain collection system for garden irrigation, apparently does not count as far as the county is concerned.  They now not only think that their requirement for a 65' (or was it 85'?) x 5' drainage ditch requirement (a mere $17K) is justified, but now seem to be insisting that we pay someone to redesign it to standards published after our request for permits was submitted.  Oy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday: More foundation work (9/7/10)

View from the front.  We've had no end of cars slowing down and drivers asking us for some of our excavated dirt.  Believe it or not, we need it all.  (Someone else asked if we were putting in a pool...)

Most of the day was spent preparing the foundations for the pour - this is the back door foundation.  Lots of gravel dust all day - I really felt for the workers.

Around the corner to the front - this is the foundation for the chimney extension.  They backfilled dirt around it.

This is the front door foundation, aka, the future hallway upstairs.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday: Thoughts while nothing really happens... (9/5/10)

Nobody's been here working since Thursday, and that means Jack has been dangerously distracted with coming up with new ideas for the house.  The newest (which I LOVE) is planting a "living wall" or "vertical garden" on the courtyard garden wall, which the sliding glass doors in the new dining room will look out onto.  We had long talked about a formal, contemporary koi pond there, so the new idea is to have water trickle down the wall, hydrating the plants, and falling into a koi pond that goes along the bottom of the garden wall (this would not be the only recirculation/oxygenation of the water for those poor little fish...)

If anyone has an opinion to offer on this, please do!  (If so, go to the 'Comments' link below this post.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday: A bit more garden wall... and some catching up on my part (9/2/10)

Not a whole lot changed this day.

They built this portion of the garden wall.  Again, the other two walls (above photo) were looking kind of freakishly tall to me, but the lower portion to the right here (which is the new dining room foundation) only comes up to the level of the floor in the existing house.  When I realized that, it seemed to fall better into proportion.

Such dramatic changes had previously been taking place outside, that I realized that I hadn't posted some of the changes inside.  They put up new zipwalls downstairs for further dust protection.  Also, they took up some of the flooring where they'll be installing a cement footer to support a new wall going in upstairs.  Reuben just loves barreling down the stairs and into the basement, through this opening...

...then around through this new little zipwall.  It's sort of like going through an old-fashioned haunted house ride.

Also, in the basement, they had dug out this section of hearth and flooring, and laid rebar, for the new chimney/fireplace foundation.

Wednesday: The walls keep getting taller (9/1/10)

The walls seem kind of overly tall, but then look how tall I've become!  (Oh, and they have cut the hole for the window here.)

They removed some stones from this opening to make it wide enough to accept a standard 3' entry door for the future back door. The builder said they'll be "toothing in" stone to fill it in. Sheila's in that orthodontia phase, and that's all I can picture...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monday: If I keep going away for long weekends, will they keep getting a lot done? (8/30/10)

It's sort of like when your child goes away to camp for a week and comes back seemingly a foot taller and a year older. It's starting to look like a building... This is where the new carport will be. These walls will eventually be covered with stucco.

I was a bit concerned, because there's supposed to be a large window where the stone meets the new wall. It turns out that they build the wall, then cut an opening for the window. More precise, I suppose.

The courtyard garden will be behind the carport wall. (Sorry to have been so repetitive about these, but until they become more like rooms, it's difficult to visualize - unless you've lived with the drawings for three years, as we have!)

The courtyard garden from the other side.

The new dining room.

This opening is where the new back door will be.  There will be a sightline through the window-to-be, in the front, through the glass back door here, out to the back yard.  This hallway will be Sheila's new running track.