Tile! Or: Small Projects Make Me Feel Like I Can Actually Finish Things!

I'm sure you are all looking forward to a "finished refrigerator shelf system," or a "finished siding" montage. But no! Instead, it's a brand NEW project!
A few weeks ago, I was discussing my plans for a corned of the kitchen - the laundry area, to be precise. I've always thought the area under a washer/dryer should be tiled; tile is hardy, sturdy, and washable. It doesn't scratch, and it doesn't bubble and warp when it gets wet. It's also a lot better looking than fake wood floors or linoleum. Anyway, I was discussing how I'd like to build a lovely tiled area back there. It made sense, because the eventual plan is to tile the kitchen with pennies, but there will be shelves across that wall, which means either we lay pennies on both sides, or we keep the fake wood. Or, we make it its own space, and tile it!
The best part of the whole plan is that it really isn't a lot of work. Friday, we removed the old flooring, down to the ancient tile I didn't realize was there.


Wood Floors

I love wood floors. I really do. Carpet can be soft and padded, and tile can be very beautiful, but wood is far more than that. It's smooth and comforting, warm and comfortable. The wood in my house is ancient, at least as far as my part of the world is concerned. It has been worn smooth by countless footsteps, all the edges softened and all the splinters worn away by the best sandpaper of all: human skin. Ok, that may seem a little disturbing, but if you think about it, it's true; the best violins have been caressed by human hands, the softest jeans are the ones that you've nearly worn through, and the most comfortable shoes in the world have been wrapped around your feet for years.

When carpet wears, it gets thin and gray. It gets used up. Tile doesn't really wear much; I suppose there are comfortable, worn paths in England or Italy, where those tiles were in use for thousands of years... but rock tends to be pretty stable. Wood, though, is soft. Even the hardest woods will be worn down over time. But, unlike carpet (or clothes), when it's worn, it's still just as functional. All those hands and feet and bottoms sliding over baseball bats, floors, and chairs smooth every bump to perfection.


Of Shelves and Structures

Recently, I've worked on a lot of little things, but nothing I can point at and say, "Look at this amazing finished project! I've made huge changes, but most of those changes are "make a bigger mess," rather than "make a smaller mess." Still, we have gotten a few things done, here and there. You will see a difference in my "to do" list - including some parts that were rather unexpected.

The biggest section that's been marked off my list is my security section; I wasn't planning on working on any of that for months, if not a year. However, I got a good deal on equipment, so I went ahead and installed it. I don't have all the automation in place that I will want, but the important pieces like window or door intrusion, and smoke/fire alarms, work just fine. I need to learn more about the system so I can hack in some of my own devices... but, that can wait.
Meanwhile, I've also been working on some hard-core remodeling. I've decided to tackle the Kitchen - a bit early, I know, but we are so low on kitchen storage that it just needed done. Plus, this is a "stand alone" improvement; unlike moving sinks, installing floors, or repainting all the things, all this required was making a huge mess.


Rot & Relief

The last month has really been a roller coaster ride. Our insurance deadline is today, and after countless days and nights of work, I sent in the pictures of all our hard labor and waited. After three hours of very tense silence, I finally got the email back - the improvements pass inspection, and our insurance is saved! Huzzah! That is an amazing load off my chest. We still have a lot of work to do, getting all the trim painted, getting the last bits finished - but I don't have a looming deadline hanging over me. No longer will I feel guilty for going to bed at 11:00 at night, instead of staying up until midnight - or later. Nor will I feel guilty for taking off a whole day! God really, really came through for us - as did all our friends!

Let me just take a moment to mark something off my todo list:
Roof: repaired. Done.


All that being said, now we can take a deep breath before we get back to work! I think the first "next task" is getting rid of the rotting supports, and replacing them with something a little more stable. I've been trying to think of a good way to do that, and I may have come up with a way.


Much awaited Pictures post

Hi, I'm the unofficial-official photographer of Brass Peregrine. My posts will usually just be filled with Pictures and descriptions. So shall we get on with the pictures??
This is the Brass Peregrine

Isn't she gorgeous!  This picture was taken on June 11, 2013; to open up my fist post of pictures I wanted to start with what this beautiful house looks like from the front.


Paints and Projects

It's been a bit since I last posted; more than a month, actually! Since then, we've gotten a lot of stuff done - we put on the first layer of primer (on a small part of the house), scraped paint off a lot more of the house, dug up broken sidewalk, cut wayward branches, emptied a pond, paved a temporary driveway, trimmed back our impressive rose hedges, rewired some phone lines, tore siding off one side of the house to replace it, removed cable, moved our kitchen sink, tore out the horrifically ugly shower, and... well, as they say, so much more. I have neither the time or the patience to describe all of what we accomplished, but here are a few highlights:


Getting Ideas Out of My Head

There are a lot of things to do in this house, and we've only just begun to scrape the surface of what needs doing. But, as with all my projects, I've started with a huge pile of notes. Notes help focus my thinking - when I have a project bouncing around in my head, I can't stop thinking about it until I write it down. Sometimes, it means that I just stop thinking about that project, either because I've written a complete plan, or because it's no longer worrying me. Other times, I keep thinking about it, and return again and again to my notes, eventually ending up with sometime amazing. Often, I'll just delete (or throw away) my notes, because whatever was worrying me at the time was really not all that important - but I didn't realize that until I wrote it all down.


It's the Little Things

Well. Today, very little happened, but quite a few things happened. The biggest progress move is - Andrew's switchplates arrived! He'll be busy for awhile replacing every ugly plastered switchplate in the house with the new brass covers. The biggest personal move is: we finally have internet. AT&T just had issues with the house being so old, and having not been occupied for so long. Andrew had a choice of putting DSL through the Library (current boys' bedroom) or the room directly above - his room. He made the best long-term move and put it upstairs. Of course, this means that until he can make the wireless router downstairs connect, there is no direct internet for the PCs on the first floor. Also of course, in the long-term, this won't be an issue as he will feed the network cable down from his room through the alcove into the downstairs. Networking IS a priority to make this place 21st century.


Welcome to Brass Peregrine!

A blog dedicated to documenting the renovation of our beautiful Victorian home

As manner of introduction, I'll start with a short biography of my wife and I.

My name is Andrew. I grew up in Kansas in a sprawling pier-and-beam house; it was ugly, badly laid out, and wonderful. My parents (with help from myself and my siblings, as we grew older) renovated the entire building - not just paint and plaster, mind you, but moving entire kitchens, restoring wood floors, and even building on a complete addition in later years. I helped my dad with plumbing, my mom with gardening, and my siblings with staying out of trouble (ha!). I held up drywall as it was attached to the ceiling, helped lay shingles when we re-roofed, and crawled around under the house when we ran a new sewer line. It was, all in all, an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.

My wife, Lindsay, grew up in a few different houses; her dad, like mine, liked to work with his hands. Lindsay wasn't as involved as I, perhaps, but she experienced first hand what it was to make a house your own. She can't stand to visit her old neighborhood because of how the house looks today. She lived in Ohio, in a city where the average age of homes in the area was older than the average age of the inhabitants by a few decades, and gained a fondness for older homes. We met in college, got married, and now have two wonderful boys that keep us on our toes every waking moment, and quite a few sleeping moments as well.