Friday, May 15, 2009


The night before last, Dave and I closed Lowe's. We ordered all our bath fixtures, a tub for the downstairs bath, and the sink for the upstairs bath. We are going with Moen's "Vestige" pattern for the faucets and other hardware. We are using it in both baths. We feel that it is a fairly classic design in keeping with the house. The finish is chrome. We purchased the toilets and the shower unit for the upstairs bath a while ago. The shower is made from Swantstone and is white. The toilets are also white.

The sink we ordered is the "Retrospect" self-rimming sink from American Standard. We ordered a simple "Villager" bathtub from Kohler. We wanted a cast iron tub. American Standard has a product called Americast but I read some thoughts on that and it was said to dent. We wanted the tub to last forever so went with the cast iron.

We also ordered toilet paper holders, robe hooks, tank levers, and shower massage units with the upstairs shower unit. These things, of course, added to our cost. We forgot to measure for towel bars or would have bought those, too.

Our price at Lowe's was hefty. That night of shopping totaled: $2534.85 without tax. But we have said all along that we wanted to put the money into the house and we would do as much labor as possible to offset that spending. I still feel we are doing it right. Our purchases should arrive early next week, except for the sink, which won't be in until June. That's okay. We probably won't be ready for it before then anyway.

Last night Dave and I went to Carpet Spectrum in Marion, NY. We love this store. Not only is it only a couple minutes from Hardy House, but they have everything you could want in tiles, carpets, and wood flooring. They also carry wallpaper. We decided to purchase 12" x 12" black marble for the upstairs bath countertop, of which we needed approximately 22 square feet for our wrap around counter. We will lay it with thin black grout. The backsplash will be black 4" x 4" ceramic tile with a rounded edge. The front of the counter will have a black bull-nose edge. We went with tile because we know Dave can lay it and a solid surface would have cost us a lot more money and we would have to have it installed. We think we will like this option just as well.

We have looked at and priced some tile options for the ceiling of the shower but have not yet decided on what we will choose.

Cost for tiles, grout, and mastic, including tax: $605.34.

We are looking for a good shape oak dresser of some sort, antique, that we will use as a downstairs bath vanity. We may or may not replace the top of it with white, honed marble. It is my mission to find a piece. We tried Brick House Antique Center, see links, and they had three pieces, one of which would have been great, but Dave felt it needed too much work in the drawers to be useful. I'll keep looking.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Yup. It's been a good week for Hardy House.

The plumber we decided to go with for Hardy House called last night with a quote. It is going to cost us $3,480.00 for labor and materials (we supply the fixtures) to rough plumb our two full baths. As is typical in Hardy House, we have to still do a little work before the plumber can begin. Because a couple of joists will need to be cut (this was not a surprise) we need to do some framing which we hope to have done this week or over the weekend. What plumber are we going with? That would be Dan Blankenberg of Macedon Plumbing & Heating Inc. (315) 986-3480. How did we decide on Dan? We asked around and he came highly recommended. I'm hoping we will be shopping for our fixtures tomorrow night. We expect to be purchasing Moen's Vestige collection for both baths. I was surprised at how limited the options were in bath fixtures. I was hoping there would be thousands. There were only hundreds. That may seem like a lot but when you figure in styles and price ranges and qualities, it really isn't that much. Oh well. I like what we picked out.

This afternoon I also met with Jerry Knibbs (see earlier in this blog for a word about Jerry and his crew). Jerry came out to take some measurements. We want to get on his schedule for around July sometime to do our drywall. Jerry expects to get a quote to us around the end of the week. He is figuring the job will take about 2-2 1/2 weeks to do with three guys hanging the drywall and two to finish up with the finishing. Okay by us.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Here are the pictures of the jig and how to use it.


Dave's my hero. :)

He researched the Internet and came up with the design for a jig. What's a jig? Well, it's really a tool to help you do something else easier.

The jig Dave made is an adjustable measuring tool that makes measuring numerous inconsistant spaces easily and quickly measurable. Did that make sense? I hope so.

Dave ordered the tee-nuts (see picture) online and built the rest in five easy pieces from scrap plywood. Please see the pictures. I hope to work up an article on how he built these at some point in time, but until now, hopefully the pictures can tell the story.

We have a system for using the jig. I use the jig to measure the space and transfer the measurement to a board. By starting in one bay (I call #1) I can add numerous measurements to one long board (writing the corresponding number in each measurement on the board). Doing it this way, the entire board can be cut at one time into multiple stops. The numbers on the cut boards correspond to the bay. I fit the pieces into the bay and Dave follows me around with the nail gun and nails them into place. This system make the process go fairly quickly. By me measuring and marking, Dave can be working on something else until the boards are ready to cut. I don't like using power tools that much, so he does that stuff.

To use the jig:
1. Loosen the nuts (replace pieces if you need a longer or shorter measurement).
2. Fit the jig snugly into the space to be measured and tighten the nuts.
3. Remove the jig.
4. Place the jig on a piece of lumber and mark both ends with a pencil.
5. Number the stop to be cut to match the bay you measured.
6. When enough stops have been marked on a board to fill the board, cut the stops.
7. Nail the stops into place within the bays.


House construction has changed over the years. Back when Hardy House was built, balloon construction was an acceptable building practice. In balloon construction, studs are just sort of sistered together in one long vertical line up a wall, even if it is two stories or more high. There is no horizontal bracing like there is in today's construction.

If a fire should occur in a balloon-framed house, the fire has easy access all the way to the roof. Nothing is in the way to stop it. Basically, there is a clear chute from the basement to the roof where fire can easily climb and spread through the attic and down. It's a very scary scenario when you think about it.

Today's code requires that construction include fire stops. We are adding fire stops to Hardy House. This means that every single bay between every single stud requires a tight fitting piece of wood to block the spread of flames. This is adding time but I tell myself that the safety factor far outweighs my inconvenience or time. Fire stops must be added to both floors.

This could seem like it is an overwhelming task, especially since all the studs (because of sistering studs, etc.) are not evenly spaced. That means every single bay must be individually measured and each piece of wood cut. But then, I have Dave. Everyone should have a Dave. His mind is just working all the time.

Read on for Dave's solution to this problem.


When Jerry Knibbs and his crew did construction in Hardy House, we asked that he build out 2". We did this so that we could accommodate 6" R21 wall insulation. Therefore, the ledgers built come out 2" from the studs.

As is typical for us--we change our minds. This is not a great thing to do as it costs money and adds time. But we did it anyway. We have decided to use sprayed-in polyurethane foam insulation, which will have a depth of approximately 3". This means we didn't have to build out the walls. Hindsight is lovely, isn't it?

Because the ledgers have been built out 2" we now are building out ALL the studs 2". The house will be stronger for it but it certainly takes a lot of time. We almost have the first floor completed and hope to finish that today. We also are adding framing around the windows to accommodate a little larger window when we replace those - down the road a bit.

This picture shows Dave working on building out the studs.


We are so happy we were able to selvage our upstairs floors. See a later post about that experience, flies included.

This picture is a section of our refinished floors upstairs. Dave sanded and applied two coats of clear poly which brought out the red in the pine. We love the floors but realize they might not be to everyone's liking because of the knots. We don't mind. The boards are variable width and original to the house. Although we used a glossy poly on the floors we will probably finish them further with a satin poly.

To protect the floors we have put down rosin paper and have specifically NOT finished the floors completely because of work still to be done on the second floor. We will add the finish coats when the rest of the work has been completed.


I realize I said more "stuff" was coming - like pictures. So here are some more.

The Shower
Back in an earlier post I told you how Dave likes to keep things around and then all of a sudden he has found a use for them - and I only think he's a packrat of useless materials. Nope. He really does find needs for things.

As earlier stated, we had quite a fiasco with our shower situation. Well, before we could shower indoors at all, we had to rig up an indoor shower. You see, when you remodel an old home to this extent, sometimes you have to build temporary things. We had to build a temporary shower. And, once again, we were able to reuse old shower parts to do so.

This first picture (above) shows Dave building in a temporary area to hold our temporary indoor shower. This spot essentially closed us off from the front of the house where all the remodeling was taking place. To the right of Dave is drywall that backs to our kitchen cupboards and to the left is the old door to the second floor, which no longer exists. Just ahead of Dave is the entry to the dining room which also no longer exists.

The next pictures show where Dave built a box to hold the old bathroom fan (he wired a switch on the outside of the shower area to turn it off and on) and also the reused plumbing knobs and again we used that wonderful Pex to hook them up. We also reused the shower head. What we did have to purchase was the shower stall. But Dave and I were able to install that with no problems. We had to spend a little more than we wanted to for this but when it is something you must have and you must use it every day, I guess it was worth the cost. It sure beats bathing outside in the winter.

Two-piece shower unit from Home Depot: $339.00
One PVC shower drain from Home Depot: $6.28
Other miscellaneous items from Home Depot: $189.21
These items included drywall, couplings, PVC piping, caulk, etc.

We plan to be able to reuse the shower in the barn after the home renovation is complete.

Oh yes - I did my part. I found some old peach-colored paint and painted everything I could reach in the temporary shower area - even the floor. It really did make a difference and kept the humidity from damaging the drywall. I was also able to add a small stand to hold towels and even a candle. Dave hung our old towel bars, as well, so our towels would dry. It took a bit of time but was worth it.


Spring is in full swing at Hardy House. Today is Sunday, May 10, 2009 and it is Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.

It is beautiful here this morning. The morning sun is hiding at the moment but a short time ago it was out and every tree seemed to reverberate light. I love the mornings here and look eagerly to the day our front porch is once again habitable for morning coffee. The porch faces east and the sunrise.

The daffodils are past and the tulips have seen their prime. The asparagus is producing and the pear and apple trees are in full bloom. The lilacs have begun to blossom. The sorghum and English walnut trees have begun their leaf growth while the maples are heavy with young leaves. The grass is ready for a second cutting and the field has been plowed twice in getting it ready for a corn planting.

I love Spring. Sometimes I think this is New York State at its finest. But then I say that in the Summer and Fall, too.