Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Watch that thermometer

Since we blew in all that insulation - wonder how we are doing? Today was the first day the furnace came on for the radiant heat zones! Impressive. We haven't had extremely cold weather, but it has gotten into the high 20s at night and we are cozy here in the berm.

All it takes is a bit of sun during the day and those thermostats jump right up to the 80 mark. I can see where we may be running around in shorts if we have a sunny week this winter. But - no complaints from me.

We do notice that when the temp does begin to drop, it slows down as it approaches around 68 degrees and then stays fairly stable for 6 - 8 hours. There is one more bit of insulation to install which will wait until next Spring. We need to put the styrofoam from the outside walls out and cover it with stone. I believe it goes out 6 - 8 feet. It is quite a process, but looks to be well worth the effort. I will update occassionally as the weather chills.

We can cook

Goodbye soup and microwave pizzas -- The range is in place and the cabinet knobs all mounted. I discovered that the bottom drawer in our dual fuel range (gas top and electric oven) is actually a warming drawer! That will take some testing. The only thing left in the kitchen is the countertops and backsplash area. We are still planning on slate (mottled purple) for this. I do like the combination. There are a few more pictures here in the Gallery.

You can see the brown tile on the alcove shot - it seems to blend very nicely with the hickory and black appliances. I believe we have a winner there.

Most of our dishes are now unpacked and loaded. I still have all the sideboard things, but we won't be unpacking those until the dining room floor is done.

So - moving on.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Warm and cozy

The attic insulation is done! We ended up with about 18 inches of blown in cellulose insulation.
We chose loose-fill cellulose for several reasons. In reading, it seems that it out performs fiberglass batts. But, even better, cellulose contains more than 75% recycled material, primarily newsprint. So, it not only saves energy, it helps the environmental waste disposal challenges.
Rented a blower and Ken (contractor) and Dave broke up the bundles into the hopper while they snaked a long tube to Jason (works for Ken) in the attic. Jason was dressed in a paper coverall and all wore masks. The material looks a lot like the padding in those envelopes for pictures. And it goes pretty much everywhere. Especially when the hose plugs and then pops off the hopper - blowing the garage in the process.
You can read more about this type of insulation at the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (

The good news - the furnace has not come on today (temps are in the high 30s) and we seem to have the "excess" all swept up - at least what we can see.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More plumbing

OK, two blogs in 3 days - not bad. When I got home from work today, the kitchen sink, dishwasher, bathroom sink and commode in the second bath were all in working order. Of course, we forgot to buy a seat for the new toilet which makes it a bit tedious to use, but.....

I really like the sink - it is huge. To demonstrate, I washed some dishes in a medium sized washpan and placed the draining rack beside it - check this out. I can make the mother-of-all-salads in this baby.

All the cabinet hardware is now in and should be mounted soon. Finally, I hope to hear that the kitchen tile is ready for pickup this week. I am anxious to get that range in place.

Click for more pictures of these new items in the Gallery (as usual).

Oh yes - if the rain slows down (we are under deluge again), they should blow in the attic insulation on Thursday. We are following passive solar recommendations and using blown cellulose (15 inches). That should slow down the propane burning.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Moved in - Update

November 11 - Veteran's Day and an update from the BettsBerm. We have been very busy the last two weeks - moved into the berm (short video of trailer), and therefore lost our internet connectivity. But, as of Friday we are back online and in contact with the world.

What has happened since our last posting - this will be a long one.
Outside - the siding is all in place except for one gable end - a pretty light gray which blends very well with the metal roof and the back garage. I will get some good shots later this week after the forecast rain. Today, Dave finished off the driveway with gravel and stone. That should make it cleaner and as soon as the siding is out of the garage, I will be able to park inside.

The kitchen - cabinets are in place and beautiful. Mid-Maine Furniture did a fantastic job - they are variegated hickory and the wood patterns are intriguing. I have posted some pictures in the Gallery. I also have the hardware now and later next week it should be mounted. I had to order the drawer pulls since I chose the old fashioned cupped pulls. The dishwasher is unpacked and the farmers sink in place for the plumber Monday. Tomorrow Dave and I hope to mount the oven hood although it won't be functional yet. The range needs to be connected by the propane company (electric oven and gas burners). We need to make a template for the slate countertops and get those ordered. We picked out the slab of slate when we got the sink.

The bathrooms - we have been soaking in the soaker-tub every night and the sink is in place (also awaiting the plumber). Dave has tiled the vanity top and the floor of the shower bath. That one is dark green slate with winter gray grout. We are searching for a slate sealer that won't yellow or hurt the stone but give it a little shine. Know of anything?

It's warm! The radiant heat is very comfortable and slowly drying out the dampness leftover from so much plaster and tiling. We are not holding the daily solar gain though and the furnace is running often. Of course, that will be helped when we finally get the insulation in the ceiling. We are also thinking of making use of some quilted window coverings in the evenings to hold heat inside. I am doing some research on those.

Next decisions: door styles, floors in living room, study and bedrooms, and the wall between the back splash and cupboards in the kitchen.

Guess that is it for tonight - please check out the Gallery. I will try to be more prompt on future pictures and postings.
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