Saturday, March 28, 2009

March goes out Like a Lion

On Thursday we had one of our great spring snowstorms, with a foot of snow falling through the day. We closed the office at noon. I had the morning off due to a late cancellation of a Hearing I was to attend, which worked out well in view of the storm. I scheduled a meeting with Doug to do a walk through on the heating system. The air handlers/exchangers finally got up and running and we went through the house to review any troubleshooting I might have to do and went over the controls for the handlers. He was impressed with them, indicating that they can turn over the air in the house every couple of hours, and they work pretty well getting the varnish smell that is still present out of the house. The filters on the units are very thorough and will keep the air inside "super clean" as they cycle in from outside. They are very efficient as well, and the heat loss is minimal.
I had to drive to the office after that, and although it was blizzard conditions it didn't take that long because most people were smart enough to get off the roads by then. Unfortunately, I had a report deadline and had to get in to review a file and get it done. The office was already closed by the time I was done and the roads were empty for the return trip, so even though there was already 8-9 inches of snow on the ground the trip was easy. I even drove back to the new house to drop off some lights I had loaded in the landcruiser. They filled the cargo area and I wanted to clear them out. Move in should be coming up.
Today, we went furniture shopping to price a bedroom set and a few other pieces. Tomorrow we have to go and take some measurements to be sure everything will fit.

Our next door neighbor had the opportunity to get out the snowblower and for the first time all season really needed it, sort of. He did the sidewalks up and down the street and did the drive across the street as they were out of town. Fortunately for me, all the snow has melted from the paved surfaces already and I didn't have to bother.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

High dynamic range

A processing technique increases the Dynamic range visible in photos. That can give some dramatic results. Compare this photo with the last post.
I'll have to work on photos that can optimize the effect.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Walkin' on the Stained Floors

Today we could walk on the floors, but in our socks. I have a feeling Lori's going to make me do that from now on anyways. They look good, with another coat of tung oil to go.

Of course, no socks for the dogs so they had to wait outside. We did some dust cleanup as there was more sawdust blown around, and then I took the dogs for a hike out to the back 40, yards that is.

The powder room turned out well. We lined the wall to the level of the vanity with slate, and the floor as well. It's honed, which brings out cool patterns in the stone. The colors match the sink, which is a half boulder of I don't know what, but it has nifty color hues on the inside.

The paint color isn't as peachy as this looks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Floors Stained

The wood floors are finally getting stained and are looking good so far. Lori and I went out this morning and they were putting on a coat of finish, and unfortunately we couldn't walk and check them out up close.
We ordered these floors from Carlisle a couple years ago now, believe it or not. They were held in the warehouse for a year, waiting for the concrete floor, sleepers and heating to get put in, not in that order. We selected eastern white pine for the very wide planks, and the hit or miss distressing to get a rustic look. While the unfinished floors looked like what we wanted and anticipated, we've been anxious that they were going to turn out with the stain as we had hoped.
Once the floors were delivered, they were installed but we didn't finish them due to all the additional work that had to be done on the house. The concern was that the finish would be damaged with all the activity, dirt, and scaffolding that would be set up and rolled over the top. So the floors were covered with hard cardboard mats to protect them. Once those were pulled off, there were a lot of marks, pits and scrapes evident. It probably was the right call to hold off on the finish, or refinishing with sanding would have been required. The cleaning process involved a lot of vacuuming, some scrubbing and even sanding (which put a lot of new sawdust floating around and settling on everything all over again). The floors are not supposed to be sanded to preserve the look of the saw cuts, knots etc that will come out with the stain, and the floor installers did a great job being careful with that. The clean up looked great.
Picking the stain was no easy task either. Most of the stain in the woodwork of the custom cabinets, doors and baseboards is fruitwood, but we wanted a lighter ceiling stain for the great room and the fireplace columns. The ceiling is pine tongue in groove wood, but a 25% dilution of the fruitwood so that it matched the coloring but lighter. The floors are also pine, but a different type and different milling, and even a 25% dilution was too dark as it sucked it right up, and a sealer went over the top of the stain, tung oil. We wanted the floors to match the ceiling coloration. We decided on a 15% dilution.
Clean up took a couple days earlier this week, stain on Thursday, and coating with the tung oil the last 3 days, Thursday, Friday, and today, with 1 more coat to go.

From what we could see, it's turned out great. The boards are a lighter shade of the fruitwood but the rough cut aspects soaked up more stain and gave the variability that we were hoping for.

The study really looks warm and comfy. I can't wait to add the desk and a big cushy reading chair and ottoman.

The lighting in the foyer gives a better view of the coloring. We wanted lighter to match the ceiling, with the added benefit that it will show less dust, and dog hair, we hope.

The dining room likewise looks very warm and comfortable, with the right touch of rustic but nice finishes with the woodwork.

The kitchen didn't offer a good vantage, but looks good from what we could see.

The driveways were done a while ago, but I didn't really have a good shot up. The finisher who did the basement stain will also do the front porch outside. He offered to do all the driveway for cost, as an advertisement in the area. We are tempted, but it still is a big cost even if it is a deal.

The middle island will have flowers and a strategic tree or two to block out some of the houses across the way.

Getting the paper in the morning should be enough of a daily walk for the dogs.

Starting the drive to work with this view will be a bonus.

Mom has enjoyed the great weather we've been having. Most of the week has had temperatures in the 70's. Pretty soon we won't have the grassy back yard and trees to enjoy, at least until we can get that all started up in the new back yard.

Friday, March 06, 2009

25 jobs

The big deal on the news was 25 police academy jobs saved with the "stimulus" bill. 5 million more to go. Hope the pace is better than 30 billion bucks per job