Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Hardy House!Another year is almost at end and 2012 has been a good year at Hardy House. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope it finds you happy and healthy and that you are full of hope.

This is a picture of the old barn at Hardy House and also the sections of fence we put up last year by the shed. We hope to landscape the area in back of the fence to be a nice patio area with an outdoor fireplace. In time, in time...

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!
It has begun! We had a lovely Thanksgiving and now we are starting to get ready for Christmas at Hardy House. Yesterday we purchased our tree from Urtz's Evergreens. Their tree farm is about five minutes from us. It is so convenient and a perk of living in the country, I guess.

The other thing we try to do at Christmas is put a wreath on our old barn. A number of years ago, Dave and I built a (approximately) 6 foot diameter wreath from thin plywood (I think it's 1/2"). To that we lay pine boughs around it. These we cut from an overgrown arborvitae near the house. Once the boughs are laid on it we wind green twine around it to secure the boughs. Then we put a bow on it and hang it on the barn. We don't have the light for it hooked up yet but we do shine a light on it in the evening. I'll try to get a picture of that once we get the light hooked up. I hope you enjoy it.


We knocked out the temporary shower and I couldn't be happier. Do we have more work to do to repair the wall, the floor, etc? You bet. But we also now have a nice, new, workable bathroom. And, I can't tell you what a luxury it is to have a beautiful bathroom once again. It also opened up the front of the house to the back of the house. I'm a lucky girl. Here are some pics of us dismantling the shower. Exciting, eh?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy
Hardy House has stood the test, as expected. Hurricane Sandy hit us with sustained winds of about 40 MPH and gusts to about 60-65 MPH and the house never even shook--not at all. Everything is intact and we are blessed. We are only about 20-25 minutes south of Lake Ontario. They were getting 15-20 foot waves last night. A lot of people don't realize how big the waves can get on the Great Lakes. We hope that others along the eastern seaboard have come through this unscathed. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Downstairs Bath

Check it out! The tile work has been done. Some caulking, some of the fixtures still need some installation and tweaking but it's basically done. The vanity, mirror and lights are installed and artwork hung. Again, caulking still needs completing but it will happen shortly. Curtains will be delivered shortly and we will get the shower curtain rod installed and a few other things need to be installed yet, but it's coming along and it's usable. Yipee!

As a reminder from previous posts, we bought an antique oak dresser and modified it to be a vanity. We bought a piece of stock oak and routed it, etc., then stained it for a back splash. We mounted it to the vanity with steel plates. We purchased the antique oak mirror at an auction never thinking we would put the two together but realized they were perfectly paired. To install the mirror we used a slotted angle at the top which is not visible and then the bottom of the mirror we used chair braces in an antique bronze finish which connected the mirror to the back splash. The lights were from Renovator's Supply that we purchased quite a while ago. It was good to get them from storage and get them installed. I'll add more pictures once the bath is all done. Let me know what you think!

The tiling in the upstairs bath has been completed, too, but I don't have the pic up yet. We are getting there folks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Will the Bathrooms Ever Be Done? Yup!

We had planned to tile both bathrooms this last weekend but if you've been following along, you know nothing ever goes according to plan. However, that being said, we did get all the cement board up in both bathrooms so we CAN do the tiling - probably next weekend.

Downstairs Shower

Upstairs Shower

Earlier in the week we attempted to install the cement board on the angled ceiling in the upstairs bathroom. Even after cutting more and more off, it still didn't fit right, got jammed and we ended up damaging the drywall. It is actually worse than in the pictures. It will get replaced at some point but it's not a showstopper--thank goodness.

The following picture shows how we inserted a base on the floor of the shower so that if something fell on it it wouldn't damage the shower floor. We will keep it there through tiling. Another thing I want to communicate to you is that for the cement board in the downstairs bath, we did NOT countersink the screws. Because of that the screw heads are elevated so the tiles won't be flat. We need to go back and sink the screws. We made sure we did it upstairs. Now we just need to tape, etc. and we'll be ready for tile. I can't wait.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A little pick-me-up

Earlier in the summer my son helped us out by doing some landscaping for us. We didn't have much of a budget but we only had to buy the plants, he did the labor for free. What a great kid. He is in the process of mulching around all our trees and maybe next year we will plant hosta gardens around some of the larger trees. To mulch everything we needed about 10 yards of mulch. We planted hostas, hydrangeas - regular and tree form and also an oak leaf hydrangea, some petunias and I think that was it. My son also pulled a very large, overgrown arborvitae on the corner of the house and pulled up all the weeds and out-of-control ground cover. Here's how it looked after he finished.

Someday in the future we hope to replace the front porch with a wooden porch and steps and a nice railing and columns. I would also like to make it a little bigger. The siding and shutter colors probably will also change. What colors do you think Hardy House should be? Keep in mind there is a big red barn off to the right of the house.

Tell me what you think.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have a working upstairs bathroom!

Well the shower still isn't working but that's okay for now. It's being worked on. Here are a few pictures of the upstairs bathroom. The sink and toilet are working. A mess still, yes, but I can work around it.

Dave insisted on the toilets that we installed - super water savers or something. I feel they were way overpriced and I don't particularly like the style for these baths but during a remodel you need to compromise so that's what we did.

The shower shows the plywood screwed up. That has since been overlayed with the Swanstone. We were petrified we might break it installing it but we didn't. It was a bear to install - very heavy.

This week we have been putting up cement board at the tops of the showers so that we can tile. We are planning the tiling for next weekend. Can't wait! Once the tiling is done we can get the plumber back to hook up the showers. What a grand day that will be!

More on the downstairs bath...

Here are a couple more pics of the bathroom vanity - installed. We still have to modify the drawers but have figured out a way to waste as little as possible. We are really happy with the way this turned out. It was a lot of work but we like that we could selvage an old piece of furniture AND get a unique vanity.

We also have an antique oak mirror that we will install over the sink.

The toilet seat is still not on yet - I'm not sure why, otherwise we would be using this bathroom as the water is connected.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Website Launch!

It's official! My new website has been launched. Please take a look - you can link back here from the Blog link -

You can also LIKE me on Facebook (Twitter will come a little later). (FB=Betsy Alderman Lewis)


It's been a really hot summer and a lot has been going on.

I've said this before and I'll say it again - during a remodeling project like this, life often takes priority and this summer has been no exception.

I am sorry to say that my beautiful mother passed away on July 17, 2012 after a valiant battle with breast cancer. She was the strongest, bravest person I have ever met. May you rest in peace, mom. I will love you forever.

About the same time my mom went into hospice we moved my dad into a dementia care unit at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. He is being well cared for and I see him regularly. That being said, a couple of nights ago he fell and broke his hip. He also has pneumonia. We expect he will have surgery in the next few days. I also have great love for my father.

I have several pics and comments to post about our remodel and, well, I will get to them as soon as I can.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Steady She Goes 2!

There is such a difference in the height of the floor that we have to shim some of the feet of the dresser. Yup. Three of the four feet needed shims and they are different heights, too. We are staining them to match the dresser pretty well. 

In this picture you can get an idea of the difference in height by the shims that have been glued to the bottom of the feet. These have not yet been stained.

Steady She Goes!

The original oak dresser, at one time, had casters on the legs. The remains of those were still there. There were little round metal holders for the casters on the feet of the dresser. 

As stated in another post, the bathroom floor has about a two inch differentiation in heights from one end to the other, which makes for an uneven vanity. 

The first thing Dave did was plugged the holes in the feet of the dresser with doweling. That's done and the doweling has been trimmed even with the feet. He is also going to put feet into these dowels. I'm not sure why we can't just have the feet on the floor as they are, but I'm not the boss in this department so I'll let him run that show.

Here's what this looks like right now.

Why Can't It Just Work the First Time???

So here we go again...

I loved how the finish on the modified oak dresser looked after I put it on and how good it was going to look as our downstairs bath vanity. Not only that, I was thrilled that it was one more job that was getting completed.

Everything was going along according to plan but then...

Dave attempted to install the backsplash and when he removed some blue, low-stick masking tape from it, the entire finish came off! 

Before I began the finish on the top of the vanity, we cleaned it well and believed there was NO wax on the surface. I guess we were wrong. 

So, Dave sanded down the entire surface and now we have a clean top to work with - again.

Here's what it looks like now. We decided to get it installed and then I'll work on the finish again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Progress is Being Made

We got the downstairs bath floor in! Yipee!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 20th wedding anniversary. We have had many adventures and with Hardy House, the adventures continue!

Tonight we are cutting out the linoleum for the downstairs bath. What better thing to do on your anniversary, right?

Friday, May 11, 2012

What Dave's Up To

While I was priming the plywood walls, Dave was busy trying to get the toilet base fixed for the downstairs bathroom. The floor where the toilet goes rises 2.25 inches from the opposite end! Yup!

One picture shows Dave cutting some trim for the toilet base. Another picture shows the toilet base with a plastic wedge at the bottom. Dave cut the wedge from some vinyl trim stock that we had leftover from installing new windows in our garage at our last home.

I'm sure this will make more sense when it's been installed.

Isn't This Exciting?

Well kind of...

This is a cut piece of plywood (1 of 2) that I have primed (each side and edges) with one coat of primer. They are the end walls for the shower surround in the upstairs bath. Once these are up the surround can go up (I think) and then we also install backer board above for the tile work we plan on doing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Fun Part

We decided that the top of the dresser needed a little waterproofing so yesterday we went to Lowe's and purchased a brush and some polyurethane and it was my job to put a coat on. I put one coat on this morning and another one this evening after sanding very lightly with 220 grit sandpaper. I plan to add another coat tomorrow morning. Then we let it sit for 24 hours and voila! The top is done. I also added a coat to the backsplash and will also do another one tomorrow.

Pretty, eh? Love the grain.

Here's another picture, pre poly, that shows the grain.


We brought the dresser into the bathroom and placed it where it is to go. We also brought the toilet in to see how much room we had between drawers and the toilet. We did okay. Dave is going to modify the bottom two drawers around the plumbing so we don't loose the valuable storage space they offer.

I can't wait!
A Vanity Mock Up

Here's an idea of what we hope to accomplish in the downstairs bath as far as the vanity is concerned. As stated, the dresser came from the Brick House Antique Center, we made the backsplash out of a piece of oak we bought at Lowe's, and the mirror is an antique we bought at an auction. The mirror is incredibly heavy and has its original mirror.

What do you think?

Downstairs Bath Vanity

Quite a long time ago we purchased an antique oak dresser from Brick House Antique Center here in Palmyra. We decided we would like to make a vanity out of it for our downstairs bath. So, like most things for this project, we bought it and it sat in the barn forever. Now that the plumbing was nearing, we needed to get that dresser out and get it in shape for a sink and plumbing.

Here are the drawers, removed.

Here is the sticker I found on the back of the dresser for the Atlas Furniture Co. and that this particular model was in Golden Oak. I did a quick look online and found an ad for this manufacturer in 1906 and that the company was from Jamestown, NY. So this piece did not really travel very far. Jamestown is south of Buffalo. Palmyra, where we are, is about two hours east of Buffalo.

Dave used the template that came with the sink (an American Standard) to draw a circle on the top of the dresser so he could cut out the top. He used a jig saw and then brought out the big gun - the sawsall. The grain in this dresser is really pretty. I'm thinking that maybe we can make some sort of shelf out of the piece we removed from the top.

Shop Dog

Shop dog, Emma extraordinaire, is still with us and she's diggin' life. The picture with her licking her lips is just after we took a piece of wood out of her mouth that she was chewing on. She loves hanging out with us.
Downstairs Bath Floor #2

This is the plywood we laid down over the old floor and leveling shims. Each itty, bitty x on that floor was supposed to have a screw. I think that's crazy but what do I know. Now this should have been a simple job, right?


Way back when we found out we had powder post beetles. They're nasty little things, like termites that can destroy your home. We got rid of them but quite a bit of damage was done to the joists in the basement. All of that had been repaired.

A week or two ago, when Dave began to screw down this plywood, I heard a whole lot of cussin' happen' from that bathroom. What was happening?

Every time he tried to screw in a screw, the screw turned into nothing. What had happened is that the wood he was trying to screw into, was too powdery to take the screw. Dave had to place additional boards in the basement rafters to have something for the screws to screw into. Needless to say, this job took way longer than it should have.

Note: the hole in the floor is for the toilet.
Downstairs Bath Floor

In this picture you can see the old floor that has been primed. In the front you can see diagonal strips or shims to level out the floor. Kind of a pain to do, but it worked.

Rub a Dub Dub, Three Times a Tub!

As a follower of Hardy House, you have come to know that nothing is ever easy or cheap. This holds true for our downstairs tub.

Originally, we purchased a four-foot tub as we thought that was as large a tub that could fit in the space. Then our contractor said he could create the space to accommodate a normal size tub. Great! (So now we have a never used four-foot tub in the barn - available for sale if anyone would like it.)

Next, we purchased a cast-iron tub like the one in the picture, to fit the space. Then it sat in the barn for 2-3 years, waiting for us to get to a point where we could set it in the bathroom. That day arrived about a month ago.

The ground was wet and we built an elaborate system of plywood and ramps to get the darn tub in the house. But Dave and I and my son did it! Yay!


After a lot of effort setting the tub in place, Dave went to clean the interior. What we found were spider web-like cracks throughout the porcelain. We were upset to say the very least. I felt so bad for Dave, too.

So once we got over being upset, we ordered another tub just like the one that was cracked. Note: when you save a tub for a couple years in a barn, no one is going to take it back. The old tub will now be recycled.

We bit our lips and spent another $300 for another tub which we had delivered into the house. Dave and I then lifted it to a dolly to get it into the bathroom.

But there's more to the story...

I have to take my mom to the doctor so I'll get back to this as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading!

Hardy House Blog is BACK!

Yup. It's been a long while. What can I say? Dave, I think, burned out. It happens when you take on a project like this, I suppose.

We've been living in Hardy House in an unfinished state for quite a while and we are slowly getting to a better spot. Over the last two years we have seen the kids get married, and two new grandchildren enter life. My parents have been unwell and that is still a priority with us. I have had job retraining and switched jobs. Yes, dear followers, life does go on.

But, Dave is back. Yipee! he said he's sick of having house stuff to look forward to every weekend and now just wants it done.

Good news came this past Saturday. Our plumber called and said he can fit us in in less than two weeks. Now the bathrooms are going to get finished.


Be back with some pics in a bit.