I blame instagram for my lethargy with this blog…but here’s why I continue: people find it and they call me. no one has ever called the office and said “i found your mcelroyarch.com website”…but very often people say they found me via the blog. the following content is from December – January (!!) our first snowfall at the cabin the first weekend in december…it certainly was the tip of the iceberg. something that bugged us a bit was walking in the front door there was a view straight into the bathroom, and a vast open space for … doing a pirouette? maybe, but we decided to add a closet that would do triple-duty: create a defined entrance, block the bathroom door, and provide storage since we removed the only 2 closets in the house 🙂 there’s Scott pulling up the carpet to reveal this:the stickiest-ever vinyl floor tiles, beneath which was the original layer of most likely asbestos 8×8 tile in appropriate forest green. ambitiously we thought we could scrape it up with ease: not so fast, because it was stuck beyond fast. I asked around and everyone said ‘just go right over it’, so we did. the time-stamp on these is about 8pm. fun! tbh this was the first wall either of us had ever built, in tilt-up fashion. the Jim Beam helped us celebrate afterward. why is the 2-stud header over the door stacked horizontally? I saw it that way in a frame-construction book. even dad in NY questioned it. but it only has to hold up bi-fold doors, who cares? don’t try this at home, it’s not an instruction guide! even after framing it was super wobbly, with no shear to steady it. a view from within the ‘hallway’ looking out toward the great room, new closet on the right. the following weekend I set out to add insulation to the empty gables, and make an attempt at sanding some of the darker stained paneling, to bring it down to a lighter base level. (ha…) the photo above is showing not only the gable was devoid of insulation, but so was about 3/4 of this bedroom wall – so far, the only part of the house walls without any. mom says the builder probably ran out and didn’t feel like buying any more. “new” owens-corning R-8 is what there is. we never do less than R-13 in walls now, even in balmy SF. photo on left shows my attempt at sanding….what a freakin mess with splotchy results…this wasn’t going to be easy*. on the right is the flooring in the bedroom. below, a corner in the living room, with red border! cool! johns-manville formaldehyde-free insulation in every wall we opened, even interior walls between the bedrooms and the bathroom. having only a single stud wall between these rooms doesn’t provide much privacy and the insulation helps. a lot of our clients insulate their entire house. next, drywall was hung. many years in the architecture business and I’d never noticed that drywall was hung horizontally, even though I’ve been on job sites at every phase. my friend Adrian gave me a few reasons why, I also looked it up, and there are conflicting views as to why / why not. but when I hung the drywall the week before on the new closet, I put it up vertically: we took down the upper cabinets in the kitchen (see the difference in color of the paneling; the original unstained (by actual stain or bacon grease?) paneling is much lighter). we’ll be putting backsplash tile here so we need to put in sheetrock, and a new fan over the stove will duct through the wall and roof. I kinda dig the vintage switchplates with their grooves, and we’ll be keeping them – I’ve seen them on ebay so I can get more. made in california. lastly, the I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-colored exterior: we’ll be painting over this in the coming months. considering area-inspired colors such as this forest green that looks like the walls of pines around us. stay tuned, more to come! and sooner, I promise.
*update on the paneling decision: we’re going to keep it but paint it. sanding it down to a lighter shade is just not an option. painting it will brighten the interior. we’ll still have an entirely wood ceiling, and wood floors eventually – to bring in the woodsy element.