Instagram @ fortheloveofahouse

Thursday, August 13, 2009

getting our second wind...

It's been a good week at the house. In fact, it's been a good couple of weeks now. Your words of encouragement and support, and the stories of your own renovation nightmares that you left after my last post were very encouraging, and made us realize we were not alone... we are so sorry that most of you can relate, but we thank you for telling us your stories.

After our three month project hiatus since moving in (I had underestimated the physical and emotional impact of moving and unpacking 225+ boxes, and trying to settle in and starting to decorate...), we have gotten our second-wind and are moving forward. All of the contractors that we have hired have brought a respect for the house and us, and a good, positive energy. You might not think that the person you hire to repair shingles on the house can radiate positive energy, or that it would even matter. But he can, and it does!
The kitchen has been repaired, and now we're just waiting on some painting to be done on all of the repairs. We've also been putting in stone steps off of the kitchen mudroom. We are using huge slabs of granite that we removed from the original foundation in the making of the garage under the barn. The stonemason is an artist, and it is so interesting to watch him work. Dan has been his assistant (moving the huge slabs with Big Blue, the tractor) and learning lots, which will come in handy as we have several stone projects planned for the house. We've been getting bids on painting the exterior of the house and staining the barn; and putting in a gravel driveway- it's always surprising (and rather shocking) the huge range of bids you get for any project. And, I'm most excited about windows, as this week we placed our order for windows for the barn room! Right now the barn room is walled off/boarded off from the kitchen, so the fact that the barn room is "in the works" is very exciting!!
Again, thank you for being here on this journey with us!
Here are some photos of the new, beautiful stone steps.....

This photo shows the concrete pad that was poured months ago for the foundation for the steps.

Our stonemason cutting the first piece of granite for the top step.

First/top step being lowered into place by Dan & big Blue! The logs underneath the step are temporary support until the end/side stones are installed- as they will carry the weight and support the steps.

Step two...

Steps three and four! Notice the antique iron boot scraper that we found at an antiques shop here in NH. It will be placed on the second from the top step on the left side.

Side view of the mud room steps. The area between the steps and the porch will one day be my herb garden. The bank of three windows above that area is my kitchen sink. The sides of the steps will be cut stone and a wall of field stones. Eventually we will add field stones under this back porch that you see in this photo, and the front porch.

An expanded view to give you some perspective. The mudroom with the small overhang is to the left of the barn. The door opening in the white Tyvek is our current access to the barn, but will (soon!) be a french door with transom. The solid plywood section to the right of that door will be another french door and transom. A stone fireplace will be built between the two in the barn room. The two small windows you see upstairs in the barn are the windows in the master closet. The larger vertical window between them will be shingled over.
The single window on the garage side will be shingled over, and the area above the garage doors where you see the Tyvek will be two sets of two, two-over-two windows.... got that?!!!
(fyi- the pile of wood boards you see in this photo to the left of the garage are/were the floor boards from the upstairs barn loft. Fired ex-GC had had his son and his teen-age friends rip them up, and put them on the burn pile- that was NEVER, ever the plan, mind you... Luckily Dan was able to save them and they will go back.)
It's hard to tell in this photo, but behind the wood board pile is a stone wall. We will move that stone wall out to the corner of the garage which will give us a terrace off of the barn room accessed from the french doors.

Dan and the stonemason looking for stones in our very own quarry!

The huge granite slabs removed from the barn foundation. I stood in this area to take the "perspective" photo above. I thought it might give you some perspective on the perspective!
Please note the 15/20 tons (that's a large dump truck full) of gravel. This was delivered for Dan's french drain project around the house. Unfortunately, it was delivered to our neighbor's across the street house.... took Dan four hours to bring it home. It's always somethin'!


  1. Wow! What a project! And I gripe about wallpaper removal and end of summer garden maintenance... shame on me!

  2. Oh Joan, I love this post! We built a house out in the country several years ago (not this house) and I loved the entire process. Watching the stone masons is amazing - some truly are incredible artists. We took limestone from our land to build some of the landscaping levels. We used a darker stone from around San Saba for the house - hang in just gets better every time you post!!

  3. Hi, me again! I had to bail on my last comment because the phone rang! I hate it when work gets in the way of blogging ;)
    I wanted to say also that it all looks so great, despite the contractor problems and hard work (and because of it too, of course!) and I can't wait to see what you do with that barn. How great that you can use materials from your own property... with your own tractor! We don't get much of that here in suburbia.

  4. Hi Joan, those steps look wonderful. And the fact that your stonemason is an artist makes the entire process so memorable. Those steps will mean alot to you in years to come. Functional AND spiritual. The best kind of things are a combination of the two, wouldn't you say?
    Best to you!

  5. Hi Joan,

    Wow, you've been busy. I love everything you are doing. I love the idea you have for your herb garden. I can just picture it. It will be so beautiful when you are done. Keep us all posted.


  6. Hi!

    I have been lurking around in my spare time. Your blog is lovely and inspiring - which is always a positive when one is in the middle of a relentless, seemingly endless renovation. I have been tracking our efforts to rebuild our 1919 Arts and Crafts story and a half for the past year. There are days when it feels as if it will never end. And we are the GC - so there is no one to fire:) Or even scream at. It has its positives and its negatives:)

    Mary from

  7. What great steps -- we just put brick ones on for our breakfast room -- got rid of the wood trailer stairs that we put there when the room was built -- the brick is so much better -- although we are $$$ poorer because of them -- but they are perfection! (And it truly looks now as if the breakfast room is an enclosed porch and those are the original porch stairs)

  8. I love that you are working so very hard on your home.

    Sometimes I get discouraged when new home owners post pictures of a room they have "redone" and all they have done is paint and put out a new rug. For me, doing a room involves rewiring to new electrical, replacing outlets and lights with pushbutton switches, steaming wallpaper off, repairing plaster, sanding down walls, painting, repairing wood windows, repairing window sills, refinishing wood floors, replacing / repairing antique light fixtures, etc.

    The baby's room has been going on for nearly 3 years!!! And he is 2 and his crib is still in the living room!

  9. Hi Joan, The steps are beautiful and I just love that they came from your very own property. I also just love all the information on what's what and where is where. You've done so much beautiful work - what great vision! And your herb garden sounds absolutely scrumptious. Oh, and the gravel is just classic - 'of course' it was delivered to the neighbors house. Of course it was --- that's our new favorite response to things like that ; ) In fact, we just said it a few days ago when they delivered our sand! ; )

  10. My goodness, those steps are handsome. I'm glad you are moving forward and have found good people to work on your house. It makes all the difference!

  11. Hi Joan and Dan: Love the steps, the idea of the herb garden, the stone walls....I love it all! Your home is a true New England home! Great post. Cindy

  12. Hi Joan - It's so interesting to see how the granite steps are installed. I love to learn about how things that we take for granted every day are built! Have a great weekend!


  13. Oooh la la! Now if I could just get my hands on just one of those boulders for my yard! They are an arm and a leg here!

    Love the work going on at ye ole' homestead! Those steps are amazing...the barn will be out of this world when the windows are in! It will be like a family/great room right??

    Cannot believe the guy was going to burn original floor boards! What a pill!

    I can smell the

  14. Does your stone mason do work in CT? I would love to have a patio made from the huge stones already on my property.

  15. WOW! I just can't begin to imagine all the hard work you're putting into this beautiful home. I really admire everything you're doing. (And if you'd like to post more pics of the stonemason sans shirt, don't let me stop you.) The steps look tremendous; wonderful that you can get the stone right from your own property. "We will move that stone wall out to the corner of the garage" - you say that like it's an easy thing - lol! I feel like a slug for not getting the bathroom paint touchups done yet. I'll do 'em today, just cuz you've motivated me! Thanks, Joan!

  16. I´ve found you in Janet´s The Gardener Cottage blog and have been having a look at your blog. It´s great the work you are doing renovating that house, and the blue tractor... and the walk around...and everything. I´ll keep coming back to visit your blog to see what else you have to tell.
    We also renovated hour house but sadly I don´t have pictures of that time, but I do have pictures of the house now and I know you will like my house if you have a look at my blog.
    Congratulations from Chile, southamerica.
    María Cecilia

  17. Hi Joan,

    The progress on your home looks amazing, am loving those granite steps. Always enjoy reading what you've been up to. Keep up the good work.

    Take Care and have a wonderful day.

    Love Janine

    Tasmania, Australia

    p.s. I've left a message on the previous post - was hoping I wasn't too late in leaving a comment!

  18. Joan good luck with the rest of the build, I love your ideas. Cant wait to see more pictures... Julie in Holland.. :)

  19. I reckon it would be interesting watching your stonemason at work - he's hot! lol


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive it and read it. joan