We’ve been MIA, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. It’s been kind of a crazy week for the east coast: first an earthquake (which we felt way out in the boonies!) and then Irene (more like a bad thunderstorm in our ‘hood).
We also had some visitors. Bradley’s mom and her sisters were visiting NYC for the weekend until Irene screwed that up. Turns out their hotel was in the evacuation zone. Instead of just evacuating the zone, they decided to evacuate the state. And they hopped over New Jersey, too, just to be on the safe side.
We felt so sorry for them — can you imagine thinking you’re going to see New York Effing City and then you end up in Middle-of-Nowhere Pennsylvania? With two dorky hosts who just moved here and don’t get out much? The best we had to offer them was this: “There are lots of Amish people here. ….and farms.” (Sorry, ladies. We have a Lonely Planet book now and we’re studying up on rural Pennsylvania awesomeness for your next trip.)
Bradley’s mom hung out with us while Irene blew through, and we wasted no time putting her to work:
Yup. We’re the worst hosts ever. Our big project for the day was making 3 cement window sills for the hallway. This is our second time making cement window sills, so we’re total experts now. We’re also total cheapskates, so we reused the wood strips and masonite boards from our last batch. We simply flipped the masonite over so we had a fresh, smooth surface to work with. (Bee tee dubs, you can read all about our first batch of DIY sills we made for our guest bedroom and office here.)
Jackie (aka Bradley’s mom) sanded the old wood strips to get rid of any cement debris left over from the last batch. She’s a pro at the whole DIY thang. She and Bradley’s grandfather basically built an entire house from scratch, so she’s no stranger to power tools. We didn’t feel at all guilty about
the forced labor asking her to help us out.
Everything went way faster this time because we’ve already done it once. After Jackie was done sanding, Bradley assembled the frame and caulked the seams on the inside.
The last time we made sills, we used regular caulk and it didn’t work out all that well. It sort of dissolved because of the water in the cement mix. This time, we used plumber’s caulk — the kind you’d use around a toilet, sink or bathtub. It’s water resistant, so we hoped it would give us sharper edges. The only downside was that the caulk has to set for 4-6 hours before it can come in contact with water. We leaned our molds against the garage wall to dry:
We went upstairs and put Jackie to work sanding the office window sills:
Jackie was a trooper — she worked all day and never complained. (Thanks, Jackie!)
Have we mentioned that the office is plastered and ready to paint? Squee! So exciting! Here’s what it looks like now:
Bradley installed 3 recessed lights down the center of the room. The ceilings are really low, so our options were pretty limited, but right now, we like the look of recessed lighting more than track lighting.
Our plasterer did an amazing job with the trimless windows. Look at these clean lines:
The edges are so crisp I could shave with ‘em. But not until we have curtains up. The neighbors already think I’m a weirdo after they saw me doing an Insanity workout in the living room. It was awkward. For them. I just kept going because I’m 93.7% shameless.
Anyway, here’s how the hallway is looking these days:
Outside the master bedroom:
And down the staircase:
I wanted to give our plasterer a big wet kiss when she finished. It took her 30 hours to do the office, hallway, a few spots in the guest bedroom, the whole area outside the master BR and down the stairs — and that included tall walls, ceilings and 8 trimless windows. It’s basically a third of our house. The whole shebang cost us $600 and saved us a whole lot of time. It would have taken us 6 months to do all of this. Seriously. We only have time for reno work on the weekends, and we’re way slower than her. She’ll be back to do some of our other rooms (and maybe next time we’ll take pictures of her working on her stilts!).
While Jackie sanded the cement sills, Bradley cleaned up the base to set them in. He had to shave a little wood from some of the windows so the sills could slide in easily.
He smeared a little construction adhesive along the base of each window:
He moonlights as a cake icer. Not really. Cakes don’t last long enough around him to get iced. Don’t be fooled by his lithesome 160-pound boyish figure. With the wood shaved, the sills slid right in:
Sorta. Some of them needed a little extra whacking.
After that, he checked to make sure everything was level, and viola:
They look fantastic looking down. The sides needed a little more finagling:
Nothing a little plaster can’t fix:
Bradley put on 3 coats of plaster, and we still need to sand the area smooth, but here’s what it looks like now:
Funny story about the mug: we were in Jamaica when we found out our offer was accepted. It was halfway through our trip, and we had to scramble to fill out forms for our mortgage on our laptop in the hotel lobby where we had wifi access. We had to Skype with our realtor to get things in order. There were a million trips to the lobby to check our email to see if there were any updates. We lay out on the beach all week talking about all the renovation ideas we had for the house that wasn’t ours yet — but we knew it was The One. And there was even talk of starting up a blog to document all of our renovations. That’s what I think about every time I have coffee in that mug, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or that could just be the coffee. I’m a junkie — I get the warm and fuzzies just thinking about coffee.
More updates coming. Hint, they involve this stuff:
All together now: FIIIIINALLY!