18 January 2009

Busy winter bees

Bees are supposed to rest in winter - eat the honey they've stored, keep the hive warm by snuggling together and taking turns on the outermost cold spots, and on warm days, taking a quick flight to do one's business, keeping the hive clean. Our beehive hasn't been quite so restful these past few weeks.

Savannah started her classes at the YMCA, I've received a never ending list of books to work on before baby comes, and Kevin has been busy with work and late night grad school classes. On top of this we are still in the midst of some big home renovations.

The fireplace is now completely disassembled and ready for a new chimney (which won't go in until the first day our roof is cleared of all snow and ice) and soapstone woodstove. A few times during the demolition process I couldn't help but wonder if it was a good idea (especially with the film of dust from it settling over everything in the house) but when we got to the fireplace and saw the holes in it and ashes and coal that had escaped and piled up over the years outside of the fireplace and in between the woodbox, then I saw that our chimney sweep was right to question its safety and recommend its demise. I'm looking forward to having the new woodstove in but it may not be until spring since it requires a new chimney, which requires that the roof be cleared of snow and ice. So we wait...

Cleaning up the last of the black monster... I wish we could put the new woodstove in right away but the chimney doesn't meet the current requirements. Our chimney sweep is lining the chimney since its structure is still good and wrapping the new insert in a fireproof blanket and metal sock to help keep it all together. The insert will be secured in multiple places along the existing chimney and will bring us up to code and meet all the requirements of the new woodstove (at 1/3 of the cost of replacing the chimney, which is what other installers wanted to do). Our plan is to keep the black box that encloses the chimney and to wrap it with a diamond mesh that will hold mortar to install a stone veneer finish. Some day it will be beautiful...

In the meantime, the radiant flooring that we are retrofitting the basement with has been pushed back to next week but we've had to clear out everything from the basement to get ready for the process. Now we have two floors worth of furniture stacked on the first floor with the exception of Savannah's bedroom, which will be the next and last room to move. We'll have to put her mattress in our hallway for a few weeks while the hoses are laid, the concrete layer is poured and dried, and then while we figure out how to lay down tile to finish it (something we haven't done before). Savannah won't have a space of her own for a few weeks but she's always a trooper about change as long as she can reach some art supplies and books.

To prepare for the upcoming construction here are some of the things we've done:
  • Removing the bathroom vanity (the new concrete can't be poured with a vanity or toilet in place but it can with a bathtub).
  • Moving all the furniture to the greenhouse or first floor so that it looks like we just moved in this weekend.
  • Painting the ceilings (and soon the family room walls too).
  • Picking out floor tiles and paint colors. (Of course the floor tiles we picked out were discontinued but they were still available at one store in town!)
I'm really looking forward to having the space finished!

Before...

Also, Kevin decided to cut a hole in the wall under the stairs so he could "explore" what was there. There was zero insulation between the studs, which explains all the blue cold spots on the infrared imaging around Savannah's bedroom and the downstairs hallway during our home energy audit. Kevin plans to insulate this area then "finish" it roughly. I plan to cut a larger hole and to reinforce the existing studs so I can remove one to make an attic style door. Then I can use the new found space as much needed storage. It's about 4' x 7' and perfect for storing little used items such as my boxes of holiday decorations and camping equipment.


Kevin decided to cut in the center of the studs but he ran into a lot of nails cutting there.

Here's the 24" x 16" "door that Kevin crawled through to inspect the space and peek behind Savannah's room. The wall there was just bare studs, no insulation. Most likely Kev will nail plywood up to seal off the space and then we'll blow in insulation from Savannah's room to fill it up to the ceiling. The two outside walls are just concrete.

1 comment:

Soapstone Woodstove said...

Nice job! I now need some ideas regarding installation. I am planning on putting the stove in a corner and thought I'd have a raised hearth built, maybe slate or ceramic or possibly brick...I can't really decide. I would also like to do something to the walls directly behind the stove using one of these same materials. I'm not really good at coming up with a design idea, however, and I can't seem to come up with a good source of help in this area.