Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

This will be my last entry of the year. And, boy, what a busy year it was. We put down and finished 900sf of oak flooring, built 1 and a half stair cases with open spindle railing, did two full bathrooms and redid a third, a back porch with railing, [went to Europe for 3 weeks!!!], had the house painted, had the front yard landscaped, hung some doors, and finally built two interior columns.


But, this coming year promises to be even busier. We've got to close the building permit. That's it. No more. This must come to an end. This means we've got to fix all of the remaining issues, with highlights including the balcony railing, the front siding, the remaining interior doors, and the space under the main stairs. Then, even after the permits are closed there will be work to do. We'll still need to trim out the windows and doors, the baseboards, the shoeing, the wainscoting.

But, it won't stop, even then. The main floors will still need a lot of work. The living room needs it's ceiling redone and the windows trimmed. The kitchen will be completely gutted down to the studs and floor joists, then rebuilt with new flooring and site-built cabinets. The dining room needs a built-in sideboard and the library (our former bedroom) needs some shelving. That should take us through 2007, at least.

So, on that thought, happy New Year!

Greg & Jenn

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Left Interior Column

I was able to finish the preliminary work on the left column in the main hallway. I got the substructure, the panels, the shelf and the collars all mounted tonight. Tomorrow I hope to mount the horizontal boards that will bridge the gap between the two columns. These boards will be solid oak 1x6, about 12ft long, and be cut at the ends with a 30 degree angle. They are supposed to remind one of the beams across the porches, kind of tie them together. Hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow. This weekend, we will be out of town. We are going to the coast (Lincoln City, Oregon) for the New Years weekend. The weather is supposed to be stormy, which should make for some good viewing.

Here are some pictures of the left column. I'm hoping when it is really finished that it will have a proper Craftsman look to it. I still need to apply some trim molding, sand, stain, and apply some finish. But, I won't be doing that until late spring or early summer.

Here you can see how I framed the upper tapered portion:

Friday, December 23, 2005

Interior Columns

I've been working on the columns in the main hallway of the first floor. So far, I have the right column done for now and I just started working on the left one. I probably won't get too much done over the weekend (what with Christmas and all -- remember Christmas?). By "done" I mean I have the panels cut and fitted and the collar and shelf pieces are in place. The collar was done, similar to the exterior columns, with 2 steps. The top step is 2" and the next one is 1 1/2" (from 1x white oak). This makes for an nice effect. The shelf is also made from the 1 1/2" oak. The top of the shelf is exactly 3' off the floor. The base portion of the column is strait 5"x10.5", but the top portion is tapered so that it is 5"x10.5" at the shelf, but 5"x5" at the top where it meets the collar.

But, enough type, here's some pictures:

The right column (done for now)

The left column (base panels and shelf are in)

Before (right column)

Tree Gone

Our neighbor didn't waste any time. The 60' oak tree fell Monday afternoon and by Wednesday it was all cleaned up. Nothing remains except a stump and one wrecked fence.

Here are the tree guys making waste of the oak.

And here is our new backyard in the Post Oak Tree era.

The tree guys picked up every last twig. They even raked up the sawdust from the chain saw. Nice Job!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tree Down: More Pictures

Here's a few more pictures of the 60' oak tree that fell into our backyard on Monday. My neighbor says he will have it cleared tomorrow (Wednesday). I'm really glad he is taking care of it so quickly. If it had been on our side of the property line and fallen into our yard, I'd probably let it sit there a few weeks...

Click on pictures for closer look.

Oh, and here is a shot of the backyard the day before the tree fell, taken by Jenn. You can see the oak in the top right corner.

Monday, December 19, 2005


We got the ice and winds that were predicted. But, it seemed liked the worst of it was over when a warm front pushed through around 6am today. We made it to work, though late. However, when I get home, I'm startled by what I see in the backyard. This is what I see:

Turns out around 3pm the neighbor's old oak tree finally gave up. Covered with ice and fighting the wind, it finally fell over, taking the fence with it. The good news is that, not only was no one hurt, but no other property damage besides the fence is noticeable. It was just so strange to look out the dining room window and see the entire backyard filled with a down tree. Wow!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

White Christmas?

A White Christmas came early to Portland, OR today. Around 1:30pm we got some sleet mixed with snow, which eventually turned to just snow. I'm sure if you live where it snows all winter, you're probably thinking "big deal". But, it's the first time in 23 months that we've had snow in Portland. So, here, it is a big deal.

The snow is nice, but they're predicting freezing rain over night. Freezing rain is no fun at all. Yuck.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. I'll be spending time working on the interior columns, at least while the electricity holds out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Plotting An Arch

I’ve been pretty busy with the "paying job" lately, but I have had some time to work on the house. Mostly I’ve just been slapping oak plywood on anything that doesn’t move. Seems to be working too. Much of the "visible substructure" in the sunroom and the main stairs is now a lot less visible thanks to the ply. Now, I’m ready for the next sorta big task: the main hallway arch.

The idea of this design is to get something similar to the beam and columns on the front and back porches (see picture top left of page). There will be a horizontal beam that is held up in place by two flanking square tapered columns. I've also always like the half-height walls often found in the original Craftsman, usually between the entry way and the living room or living and dining rooms. Those half-heights are often connected to the ceiling with a square tapered column. It's just very Craftsman. I'm trying to get a similar look here. I'm trying.

Here is my crappy MS Paint rendition of what the right column will look like. It will have a base that is 3' high, then a ledge, then about a 4' tapered section, finally a cap on top. Look familiar? Hope so. I hope to start working on it this week.

Oh, and an updated picture of the sunroom stairs:


I just need to add some doors and apply some finish...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas at Hillsdale

All I want for Christmas is a completed house...

The Cheshire house:

When it smiles, it disappears...