Monday, June 25, 2012

Friday: Chimney cap beginnings (6/15/12)

A lot went on this day.  But the big attention-grabber was that they arrived with the first phase of the chimney cap.  The architect wanted to extend the height and visual vertical proportion of the chimney and cover up a bit of the very large flashing that you can see near the peak of the roof.

First comes the framework.  I tried to lift one end of it while it was resting on the ground to no avail.

Up it goes...

Much leveling and attaching ensued.  They then installed the stainless steel "wrap."

This side of the wrap covers the most visible part of the flashing.  (And the crime scene tape is there because another set of very industrious workers refinished the deck this day to get rid of some problem areas, which looks gorgeous now.)

Then they mortared the attachment points and the ends to ensure high winds couldn't disturb the steel wrap.  The front and back will be covered with four panels down to the stone, which will have perforations to allow ventilation but keep the birds out.

Friday: Flower power (6/15/12)

Let's take another look around the garden...

Here's a broad view of the bog.

A little closer...

A giant calla lily...

And some smaller ones.
I love these giant day lilies.

Some purple irises...

A pretty red hydrangea...

This is a terrible picture, but I love these little bell-shaped clematis flowers.

And an unreal looking cactus flower.  This cactus is something like 1 1/4" in diameter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday: Bird down (5/22/12)

This is the second time in two weeks that we've had a Downy Woodpecker fly into the same living room window.  The first one died very quickly, unfortunately.  This one I found sitting lopsided, but it righted itself after a few minutes and was blinking its eyes.  It was around 9:00 in the morning, so I didn't think I could call the wild bird store I frequent yet.  I went online and read that if it doesn't fly away I should do something to keep it warm and provide a certain water/sugar/salt mixture.  So I did.

We've had constant Downies on the peanut feeder, so I had wondered if we have nests around.  (I HATE the way this pole leans every which way.  Must figure out how to fix that.)

I had loved that when you drive around a curve approaching the house, you can see through the courtyard doorway to the trees on the other side where the birdfeeders happen to be.  Hello.  The birds can see from the feeders out the courtyard doorway.  Up go two bird stickers.  Bummer.  The windows being really dirty was not a sufficient deterrent.  The good news is that he suddenly flew away 30 minutes later.  And I had since called the bird store and got someone who had saved an abused pigeon and nursed it for four months before releasing it, so I obviously called the right place!

Friday: Rain chains (5/18/12)

A couple of days ago the gutter guy came with his carefully engineered box gutter for the skylight-opening in the porch roof.  These clips will support seven galvanized steel chains that will hang to the ground and serve as a substitute downspout.  He said that he held onto the clips and literally hung his body weight from them to ensure that they could support the weight of the chains.

On Friday, he attached the chains.  (The one in the center is darker because we bought a chain months ago and left it outside to see how it would weather, so they'll all turn that color.)

This is how it looks from the front door...

And this is how it looks from inside the kitchen.  I love it.  I can't wait for it to rain...

Oops, I almost forgot that the day before, the plaster guys were here reapplying coats of plaster to the courtyard walls that got ruined by an unexpected downpour last fall.  They've been so good to us...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thursday: Furniture and rugs (4/26/12)

We're having a hard time moving back in.  For one thing, it's an enormous relief to be able to just live in the whole house again.  Secondly, the furniture we had was all bought for previous houses (only the sectional sofa was bought for this house, but for a smaller living room, and the black one - that needs more discussion) so we clearly need to be staged.  So we just threw some stuff in.

We totally can't figure out how to make these two couches work together.  They're both obviously really just dog beds (can't sleep comfy without a pillow...) and the section Reuben's on here has been pretty trashed by him leaping off it to go bark at...  anything.

We put one of the Gabbeh runners in front of the hearth, and I think the color works pretty well with the concrete.

We bought this sofa before the space in the living room was well defined.  Got it at an art deco/vintage modern sale at the local community college.  I still totally love it, and it's crazy comfortable, but it was purchased rather prematurely.  We're having a hard time making it work with the other sofa.  And my grandparents' rug is one of my all time favorites.  Have to find a place for that.

This doesn't show the runner very well, but we put the other runner (they both used to be in the bedroom hallway) in the new hallway.  Don't know, but that might work.

And we got three barstools.  The third had a finish issue and is going to be refinished or replaced.  And check out that barrel cactus in the dining room!  Thanks, Irma!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Saturday: Finally back to the garden (4/21/12)

And our heads were somewhat cleared of fretting every day about house details, and we realized, "OH!  We have a garden in the back yard!"

I'll see if I can circle around, somewhat in order.  With carefully placed yellow decor (dandelions), we see the Weeping Norway Spruce (?), and the now-huge table-top pine that Jack's parents so graciously bought for us.  :)

Underneath the pine we have some fuzzy pulsatillas...

Then the wisteria bonsai, which has seen better days.

Itty-bitty irises...

A really huge arisaema...

A primula and epimedium (checked Wikipedia to make sure I spelled that right and came up with this:  ..."also known as Rowdy Lamb Herb, Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings, Horny Goat Weed, or Yin Yang Huo")

A cypripedium...

And another...

Orchids (?) and a primula...

A funky flower I can't name...  (although I'm kind of wishing I could call everything a Horny Goat Weed...)


Polygonatum...  (and an ancient hellebore)

Primulas...  (which are apparently making a certain nearly-naked woman very sad)

A bog flower I can't name....   /moraea?/

Other itty-bitty irises...

A yellow spiky thingy...

And a white iris.  *phew*

Monday: Chimney proportions (4/16/12)

We came to the revelation quite a while ago that the chimney didn't match the proportions that were intended in the original drawings.  The width matched, but it appears the builder read this to mean that he should match the original chimney height, which is understandable, but nowhere near the height indicated in the drawing.

The first photo shows the drawings from straight on and the actual photo adds perspective...  So all you can see from the other side of the street is the chimney damper.

When you go off to an angle, you can see a bit of the top... but this does match the original height of the chimney.

So the architect did some sketches and we're considering a chimney cap that will cover the clay flu and damper and get back the proportion that was originally intended.  A couple of guys came to try measuring out a prototype.  Should be interesting to see this come together...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday: Renovation lessons learned (3/21/12)

OK.  Jack was right.  Putting things in see-through bins was an excellent idea.  If we really wanted to go looking for something, we could find it.

Jack was wrong.  The plastic bins didn't keep the mice out.  They actually only got into one bin - the one with the semisweet chocolate.  And that's the only thing they ate.  I guess the semisweet chocolate slowed that guy down enough for the trap to get him...

And it was really a bummer having to throw away almost every single pantry food item because they had been packed away for 14 months.