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We eliminated the middle rail in the shutters which gives them a more vertical proportion.  They are wider than a traditional shutter in lieu of the window sizes.  Different types of mahogany used for the frame and the louvers.  Stainless steel staples connect the louvers to the operating rod.  Almost all assembled.  Should be painted by middle of next week, and installed the following week.  Hardware TBD – ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Its just 40 steps right, so easy.?!

The last (official) step: Inspections (are a pain)  

Final Plumbing Lines Inspection

FInal Gas Inspection

Final HVAC Inspection (same inspector as the gas)

Final Building Inspection

Final Bank Inspection

Final Inspection from the HDLC (Historic District)

 

Shutters are being fabricated as we speak. I believe all the parts and pieces were cut last week, and this week is assembly and finishing.  They will be traditional wood louvered shutters.  You may ask: why traditional with a modern house ?

Answer: no one has improved on the louvered shutter! I tried to consider better options, but couldn’t think of anything – at least not anything close to affordable.

We explored some colors this weekend, and could not solicit your input as we needed an answer this morning.  In the image below there are three colors.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose, we went the pluralist route – all three! Cayenne on the main house, electric lime on one of the tall windows, and indulgent (the light purple) on the Studio.

 

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Amidst the hectic stuff, the hexagon shelves along the staircase edge are being constructed.  These technically don’t meet code, though they “eventually” will by adding drawers and backs.  In the meantime we’ll adhere some plywood to them to prevent small dogs from jumping to their injury. Image

 

 

 

 

 

Since May 31st (apparently) lots has happened. The cardboard on the floors for protection, and the boxes for all the fixture, have turned the house into a cardboard jungle.  Not so photogenic.  Here’s whats happened:

 

 

 

Interior Door + Knobs

 

Kitchen Cabinets (pains of this process omitted)

 

Closet Rods

 

Door Lock Repair (by Sarah the locksmith, better than the locksmith on Magazine St. or the “window guy”)

 

Guardrail wires (started, to be completed this week)

 

Fans, Lights, outlets, switches (just a few little missing pieces, a couple hours work)

 

Plumbing (some fixtures installed, one more good day of work left)

 

 

 

To be Done This Week:

Finally repair leaky fixed windows? (pray to your deities)

 

Handrails (interior and exterior in IPE wood by my friend Sunshine)

 

Hexagon Shelving/Guardrail (along edge of stair upstairs, also by Sunshine)

 

Plumbing Fixtures, Range, Microwave, and Dishwasher install (and inspection)

 

Refrigerator (Tuesday)

 

Electrical (punchlist + inspection)

 

HVAC (inspection)

Get Home Owner’s Insurance

 

City Building Inspection (Friday? Hopefully!)

 

Bank Inspection (Friday or Monday?)

 

Security System (by me!)

 

 

 

Next Week:

 

Turn on power + A/C

 

Move In!

 

Buff rusted railings + reinstall at exterior deck (this could take longer unfortunately, we’ll see though…)

 

 

 

Later:

 

Fence (late July install)

 

Shutters (early August install)

 

Furniture (huh…)

 

TV + Internet (huh…)

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We should’ve done the tile awhile ago. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow the price tag. The cabinets came with the wrong doors, those will be swapped out in two weeks. Until then, it’s colonial contempo. Anyways, here’s a few shots.
We also refinished the deck awhile ago, shown in the last photo. I don’t like it. Too shiny. Don’t get attached to the red in the bathrooms, that’s just the “red guard” waterproofing. The niches and the shower curb will be finished next week with azul limestone.
I think we’re about 4 weeks from completion. Or at least temporary completion. Items likely to be postponed are the shutters and attic staircase. Closets will also take some time. But move in date around late June ( cross all fingers and email your representatives).

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All that’s left on the flooring is a few minor issues like filler or putty in overlooked locations. The undo button worked. Next!….

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The tung oil finish is messy, it really brings out the different colors in the wood, and seems to offer no benefits (in retrospect) over polyurethane.  The breathability (which tung oil had) that might prevent water from remaining trapped in the ground level flooring I think is ultimately negligible.  Meanwhile, it offers no resistance to denting or surface impact. This old wood seems a little too fragile (at least the upstairs batch) to remain uncovered.  New plan: resand floor once, fill gaps properly (see aside below), and apply 3 coats of matte polyurethane.  Yikes!

The flooring guys are used to doing a crappy job, I guess, of filling the gaps between floor boards.  I had always heard that people use sawdust from the sanding process, and mix it with glue and fill the gaps.  These guys merely mixed the sawdust with the oil finish, somehow thinking that would harden and stick.  I could remove it, obviously, with my car key.  It was horrible.  I had them remove all of that yesterday, and reinstall with “wood flour cement.”  I guess the sawdust is considered “wood flour”, and this product is the cement.  You mix the two.  Its not so easy to find, and is only sold to flooring installers because it’s highly flammable.  However, it hardens quickly and is apparently the best approach.  I hope it works out! Pictures to come once I see that this plan is back on track.  Here are the interim pics that I hope to physically photoshop-ishly undo.

 

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Here’s a sneak peek.  The old finish is gone, and the color is….. yellow! In the middle of the floor you can see the test swatch we did of the tung oil (detail view shown as well).  These flooring guys decided to test the most obvious spot! Well, I guess that committed me to the oil finish – I was leaning that way so….

Upstairs, we received the remaining flooring today, gotta make sure they dont nail it down before its had a chance to acclimate (i.e. dry out after sitting in a humid southern warehouse for how knows long…)Image Image

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We’re installing reclaimed flooring.  There is reclaimed lumber that is re-milled into flooring, and then there is reclaimed flooring.  In this case, we’re dealing with reclaimed flooring.  The benefit of reclaimed flooring is that back in the day they were willing to waste more wood, so the flooring was often “quarter-sawn” which yields a more consistent grain pattern.  The grain pattern is an aesthetic preference sometimes, but it also helps to keep the grain perpendicular to the load (your load), which makes it dent and wear less easily. In the case of reclaimed lumber remilled, they usually do a flatsawn cut.  This was the case for the attic flooring, which looks nice, but much more patterned.  Its also usually yellower (in the case of pine), because the wood hasn’t been as oxidized all the way through.

The ground floor was about 900 sf of flooring and was salvaged from a house uptown in New Orleans.  A local word worker with a warehouse on the west bank agreed to put new “tongues + grooves” on it.  This insured a better fit of the boards, and ultimately yielded a narrower board.   All said and done it was $3.75 a square foot, plus about $150 in delivery.  Buying new wood of this quality, or similar reclaimed stuff through a larger company easliy could’ve been $8-10/sf.  He only had enough for the ground floor, so I sourced the upstairs floor from a guy in Alabama.

The upstairs floor was closer to $2.75 a square foot.  This was also old flooring, similar quality, but it wasn’t cleaned or re-milled.  The boards are very rough, with lots of old paint on them.  Here are photos of the process so far.  The Alabama guy did not send me as much flooring as I paid for (its still a bit scary), but he says he will send another 300 sf on Monday at no charge.  Hopefully that all works out.  Next week we will finish installing, and then we will sand the floors, and refinish.  Im debating between a

polyurethane finish

waterproofish hard coating over then top of the floor

standard / cheap

durable

a bit too shiny

or tung-oil finish (from the Tung tree in China)

penetrates the wood to saturate and preserve it

old-fashioned

a bit more expensive

less durable but easier to touch up and repair, very pretty and rich in appearance

Neither should change the color of the wood, which will be lighter and less-brown than shown in the photos, and less covered with paint (!) in the case of the upstairs.

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In other aspects, the appliances get delivered on Friday, and the cabinets shouldn’t be too far behind that!

 

(Elephant in the Room) The windows are leaking. The weatherstripping isn’t on yet, but a number of things are problematic, I can only hope that the window guy will live up to his responsibilities (and soon!). Ill give a detailed rant about that if it doesn’t work out, for now I can’t stir myself to think on it – However, I did include two photos

below that reveal the issue.  The windows swing in.  This means there can be no stool (sill) that acts as a back-stop to prevent water from being blown in under the window sash, and in the house.  The silicone sweeper seal is meant to prevent this front happening, but it bends the wrong way as it swings closed.  In other words, I close the window, and the seal is bent backwards, and doesn’t prevent water from trickling over the sill inside.  I included a diagram below (which is of a door, but very similar circumstance) in case you’re interested.  ImageImage