Nickel Tour

For about a week now I’ve been knocked out of commission with what turned out to be a nasty case of poison ivy.  A lot of work on the new house has gotten done but not because of anything I’ve done.

By Tuesday I was unable to goto work, choosing instead to work from home in my shorts and easy access calamine lotion.  I had transplanted two trees from the play area earlier in the week and all the mulch was delivered on Monday but after each long day of work I was too swollen and itchy to continue work on the play area.

We had workers come in this past week and wrap up some loose ends and fix some things around the place.  The guys over at Paul Fike Builders made quick and courteous work of our “to do” list.  They are the same guys who finished the carpentry on our porches.  On the docket this week, all of which are now off my “stressing the holy bejesus out of me” list, included items like moving the fireplace thermostat, installing a plug-in the upstairs hallway, flipping the switches in the front hallway, and lo and behold the garage spotlights now work!  A special shout out to Ken for catching me when I fell off the 6′ ladder trying to get access into the attic.  I caught myself like a cat in the ceiling opening but Ken leapt into action and snagged my legs to provide me with support until he and my wife could get the ladder back underfoot.  He also cleaned up the garage attic window without me asking. Nice guy.  Another note, these guys clean up after themselves, take off their shoes or put shoe covers on…..really quality friendly customer service.  More trades should be like these guys.  I highly recommend them for any of your new home or remodeling needs.

It’s good to have many of our electrical anomalies fixed.  The guys figured out the original electricians never connected the wires for the spot lights out at the garage.  Thank god this was a cheap simple fix.  I had visions of rewiring the lights and drilling holes in the house.  In the front hall they quickly switched a pair of switches that were inexplicably wired opposite to what your intuition would think they’d be wired.  Upstairs we added an outlet outside the bathroom wall so our “Mexico” bureau could have two lamps placed on it.  This outlet is why the electrician had to go into the attic (which was preluded by my deft acrobatics on the 6′ ladder).  He was able to pull power from a junction box in the attic (a pull chain light) and drop it down the wall.  Finally it took some time but they were able to relocate the fireplace thermostat from above the tv to a friendlier spot by some light switches near the kitchen.

Wednesday we had the pleasure of hosting our architect over to the house for dinner and some wine.  This was Joe’s first visit to the house since its (relative) completion.  We had just such a wonderful relaxing evening touring the house and property, talking about home building, sustainability, energy efficiency and life in general.  The house is a great work of art in my opinion and the artist seemed pleased with his work.  One interesting thing we talked about was the location of the orchard.  We’re on the fence as its planned location would potentially degrade one of the more interesting view points of the outside of the structure.  I’m stricken with delight by how different the house looks from various angles.  A walk around the outside of the house from several certain vantage points should be requisite of any tour I give but I think most people don’t care that much.  But I delight in this aspect of the tour every time I find myself wandering our land.  We walked the property at dusk which added to the interest and aesthetic beauty of the home.

We hosted several other tours over the weekend as well.  Mr. James (our little guy) handled the last tour so that was a special treat for all involved.  Our three-year old tour guide took the guests on a joyfully random romp around the house including all the spots that mom and dad usually leave off the tour route – basement filled with a hoarders worth of junk and my garage filled with cardboard waiting to be recycled.  I’ve decided maybe he should lead the tour more often.  Guests probably would enjoy them more with him as guide vs. my predictable, methodic route and routine.

As for the play area, I hired my nephew to relocate the remaining two scrub trees, level out the area and spreading playground mulch.  He did  a great job, and the world is much better served with him breaking his fourteen year old back instead of me breaking my thirty something year old back.  His eight hours of work freed me up to work on my golf game Saturday morning.  I impressed myself with an 89 which for me is pretty good.  Win, win for all involved.

Alas though my “to-do” list is still very long.  I picked up the last cabinet for upstairs so the wife is demanding that I complete her wall of cabinets in her studio.  My goal is to have these installed by the end of this Sunday.  This will free up a ton of space in the garage and organize a ton of junk in the house.  I’m a little timid going into it but if I take my time it should be fine.  I did a nice job in my office so this should be fine.  Outside I may take things into my own hands and start caulking all the porch woodwork that was recently put up.  After that we can maybe paint and ultimately I can get my screens up on the porch just in time for the last month of Summer 2012.  We’ll see.

Okay, I’m done for tonight.  Sorry I’ve been so lax with my blog entries, the poison ivy really knocked me out but now we’re back in business.

Daphne loves her 10″ window sills. All houses should have window sills this deep!

Something dug up our lilac bushes. I have no idea, I suspect a skunk. We replanted and watered and spread that pepper like stuff from the garden center to detour animals.


Here are the cabinet latches they installed on the hall closet doors. They work well and are simple.



Upstairs hall looks a lot different now with the doors installed. The goal here is to have a gallery wall with hidden closet storage behind. I have to pick up some wood knobs for the doors.

1 thought on “Nickel Tour

  1. Hi, Chris, I started following your blogrecently after googling ‘oil rubbed bronze door hardware,’ stumbling upon one of your photos, and then remedially reading everything you have posted on ‘nine apple trees’ – what a gorgeous home! You and your wife should be extremely proud! Having read your blog and assuming your character rings true to your word, I have determined that you are an insightful, passionate, gifted, NOT inherently lazy (who could call himself that with all he has going on?!?), and decidedly hilarious guy. Rest assured I am not some cyber-stalker – I have never followed a blog before in my life – but in many ways, your building saga parallels what is going on in hubs’ and my life and provides a formof therapy (free) that is invaluable. And I haven’t underestimated that misery loves company, either. On the off-chance you may be wondering, here’s a bit about us….We live in Augusta, Georgia and since you golf, Iimagine you know a teensy bit about our city.I am a native and hubs, also a golfer, is an import from Virginia. We are in our mid-50’s (can’t imagine how THAT ever happened) and have no two-legged children (natural selection at work) but adore our five spoiled rotten cats and a dog – all rescues and evidence of my penchant for over-compensation. We started on our ‘little’ dream vacation lake house project years ago (see – now doesn’t that make YOU feel better?) with a top-notch architect and builder and got as far as erecting the exterior shell before the economy went poof. Put the project on hold for what seemed like an eternity but in the last year, being similarly hare-brained, hubs and I figured we finally would get around to finishing the thing ourselves through sweat equity and by acting as our own contractor. Heck, we have rolled up our sleeves before and renovated everything we have ever lived in AND rehabbed several commercial properties to boot, so really, how bad could that be? And, as if you already didn’t think we are crazy enough, to give ouselves a bit of an incentive, last year we invited my out-of-town in laws and hubs’ extended family for Christmas at the lake. Thankfully, we didn’t specify which year although I suspect they are holding us to this one. It will take another miracle on a biblical scale for THAT to happen, I am afraid. Anyhoo, I am including a few pics of the house so you can see what we are up to. Ours is a ‘farmhouse meets the Hamptons’ style (my own description) with weathered cedar shake, board and batten, fieldstone columns/foundation cladding, and a galvanized standing seam roof. Our latest progress report is that we FINALLY installed the non-structural, interior, nearly 200 year old, reclaimed 12″ X 8″ heart pine beams that we snagged for a reasonable sum from a ginormous cotton warehouse being demolished here in town. (Actually, there are row after row of warehouses being taken down which were built in the early 1800’s by a Whitney of cotton gin fame and the beams were the exact dimensions, including the 25′ length, that we needed — God has a plan.) Those puppies weigh a ton apiece and were expertly massaged into place 28′ in the air by our incredibly talented carpenter and his crew. God bless them – the result is a Piece of Art. (Did I mention that we never do anything the easy way?) Alas and boo, at the moment, we are mourning the temporary (I sure hope) diversion ofcarpenter and crew to the Augusta National since he won thetrim bid there for the sprawling hospitality complex that is going up in what used to be the Gate 10 parking lot. Aaarrrghhh. Anyway, all of the above is, other than for catharsis’ sake,to say that I sure hope you appreciate that you are not alone in the Deranged Builder Mental Ward of Life and that your musings about your own experience transcend your acreage in Ohio. Know that they have reached at least one nutty wife in Georgia. Please keep writing. You crack me up and give me hope! Btw, I think I share your wife’s birthday!? Pat PS…Our lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineerswhogenerates hydro-electric powerthrough thedam — our lake levels vary all the time and lately, they have averaged several zillion feet below full pool, as evidenced in the pics.Over this we have absolutely NO CONTROL. Maddening.


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