Bonafide Farm

Daily Commute

February 24th, 2010 § 1


February 24, 6:34 p.m.

Took a different way home tonight, along a dirt road still thick with ice and snow. I realize now that my paint color selection for the house was heavily influenced by the evening winter blues around these mountains.

First floor tour

February 24th, 2010 § 0


I carefully picked my way across the snow and mud minefield of my front yard last week and opened the the front door to the most heartwarming sight. A thick ray of sun spread across the back wall of the house, stretching from the kitchen and across the fireplace. I smiled because I knew this meant the sun was back to a position I last remember seeing it in during the summer months, its angle changed to now enter the kitchen window as it sets.

Another positive change was that when I opened the door that day, for the first time I walked into a warm house! It created such an incredible difference in the feel of the house—like with that little bit of heat that had been turned on to cure the drywall mud, the home had come to life. And what an extra blessing that heat is, as I found out from my doctor yesterday that the reason my feet have been so painful this winter is that I actually cold damaged them while working and standing around the site all winter. Spring can’t come soon enough, cry my toes!

So without further ado, I present the first floor tour. Photos were taken last weekend, after drywall was sanded and the first coat of primer was on the walls.


In the foyer, entry to the studio to the right. Tiny powder room tucked in the ell of the stairs.


In the studio, looking back toward the entry way. Secret storage cubby under the stairs.


In the library. Testing paint colors. Which I did all last week and both weekend days. Gah! If you ever want to see my head spin around on my neck while I foam at the mouth, just wave a Benjamin Moore Fan deck in front of my face. Aversion therapy works—I’ve officially been cured of my lifelong obsession with paint chips.


Leaving the library through the pocket doors looking into main living space. Foyer and foyer closet to left, fireplace to right, kitchen beyond.


Kitchen with French door onto screen porch to right. Stove hood vent pipe on right wall, cutout in left wall to recess refrigerator, and entry to tiny hall to the “guest suite” on left.


Guest room with beautiful field/mountain/tree view for all those friends who are hankering for a rural retreat!


Guest bath directly across from guest room. Playing with tile patterns for the shower surround.


Laundry room. Stackable washer and dryer to go back in this spot. Electrical panel.


From the end of the kitchen, back through house. Opening in right side hallway for a tiny pantry storage space. Just big enough for cans!

And that concludes the first floor tour.


Lots of big stuff going on now at the house. The ceilings were painted, and the paint’s on site for the first coat of color to go on tomorrow. Because of the floor finish I chose (a one-coat wax/oil that doesn’t require aggressive sanding) my builder wanted to get the first coat of paint on to help minimize potential damage to the installed floor. Hardwood flooring should be dropped in the next few days to give it time to acclimate to the house before install. The tile shower surrounds were supposed to be done today…but they weren’t for some reason. And so we keep trucking along.

Daily Commute

February 20th, 2010 § 0


February 17, 6:29 p.m. Leaving the house after sunset.

For all the hassle and frustration our record snowy winter has brought, it has also brought the most beautiful winter scenery in many years of memory. I suspect that I am seeing the rural landscape with new eyes after living in a city for the past five years, but in some way I feel this winter has been extraordinary. The snow has given me a new appreciation for a color palette I didn’t until now find appealing: gray lavender winter sunsets reflecting off icy blue white, a landscape that glows without heat.

A portrait and a second-floor tour

February 14th, 2010 § 0


I realize it’s been a while since I’ve shown an overview portrait of the house. So here’s one, actually taken from the road as I approached the house yesterday.

Now that drywall is up and we’re in the process of taping, mudding and sanding, its much easier to envision the final rooms. So I thought it was a good time for a big tour. I am starting with the second floor simply because there are still a lot of scaffolds downstairs and those aren’t so pretty. So up the stairs we go!


Below is the room at the top of the stairs, which has no real purpose yet. But it has beautiful mountain view out across the back pasture from the windows, so I think it would be a nice sitting or office area. The photo’s not quite from the right angle as one would come up the stairs. Instead, it shows the master bath door at the far left, then the stairs, and the door into the master bedroom.


Walking into the master bath:


These gaping unfinished holes are in the kneewalls all over the second floor. In trying to wring every bit of space out of this small house, I wanted to make these otherwise sacrificed spaces productive. The kneewall cubbies also provided the paths along which to run the HVAC ducts. My dad has offered to build custom shelves and cupboards for these spaces, but they may remain in this rough state for a while!


Beautiful six-foot bathtub—a requirement for this long-legged homeowner! To the left of the door is where the sink vanity will go, which will cleverly conceal the HVAC duct in its base. Figuring out how to run the HVAC for this house was a fun puzzle—pretty challenging but I think it worked out well. A cast iron tub of this size wasn’t in the budget, so I asked my builder to insulate the base of the tub. I love cast iron for its ability to hold heat in the bathwater, but I will have to see if this works. If it fails, I also asked the electrician to run a box so we could jury rig a heater into the space under the tub. My greatest source of after-work relaxation is a long bath with the New Yorker and a glass of whiskey, so getting this tub right was a big deal!

Heading back out through the purpose-less room and into the master bedroom:


The big front gable in the photo above was a great source of angst from the beginning. The framers had trouble with hip rafters, and then last week when the drywall went on their ineptitude leapt into plain sight. If you look closely, you see four planes coming together at the edges of that dormer. That’s a tricky bit of framing to get perfect even for an experienced builder. After we conveyed how unacceptable his work was, my builder spent a day correcting the framing. Even though the planes don’t align as I envisioned, I think it’s fine. Just one more mark of character…which is what I am trying to tell myself about everything that’s not done quite how I imagined.

I wasn’t originally planning on putting my bed there, but that spot seems to be calling to me…More kneewall storage visible, this to be covered with a door.


Through the door in the photo of the bedroom and you’re in the master closet, which I envision as the mother of all closets to make up for the many years I’ve lived without adequate clothes storage. It’s twenty feet deep. More kneewall storage and a nice little puttin’-on-shoes window seat.

Coming out of the closet…

The skylight is still covered with snow, otherwise there would be even more light in this room. The skylight wasn’t originally in the plan, and I was worried about it being dark as this room spans the whole (admitedly small) width of the house. But now I realize it probably wouldn’t have been.  Oh well. I stayed in a flat in London with a skylight right over the bed, and it made quite an impression on me. I loved how connected I felt to the sky. The sound of the rain was divine, so why not enjoy that again by putting a skylight in my own house?

Coming out of the bedroom back into the purposeless room:


The access panel in the wall to the left of the photo allows us to get under the master bathtub in case anything goes wrong with the insulation (e.g., mold) or to add a heater.

And with that shot of the stairs, the second floor tour concludes! Stay tuned for the first floor someday! In the meantime I am challenged to come up with a whole house of paint colors, as primer may go on as early as next week. But who knows…there’s another snowstorm expected tomorrow!

Daily Commute

February 9th, 2010 § 0

This twenty-mile adventure loop was worthy of a few shots. The tree damage is incredible—it looks like a hurricane has been through and we won’t even know the extent of the damage until spring. But when the sun shines, man, it’s pretty out here.

February 7, 2:08 p.m. Driving up to the house to plow the driveway with the tractor. Again.

Will it ever stop?

February 9th, 2010 § 0


Last week’s post detailed the 10 inches of snow we got last Saturday. In the intervening week, we got a little storm that brought a measly four or so inches on Tuesday night. And then Friday it started snowing and, just like in December, it just. didn’t. stop. For two days. Only this time around we had the pleasure of losing power for the past two days. Umm…nothing like inside winter camping to send visions of seed packets and swimming pools through my head. I have no way of measuring the total accumulation this time around, what with the remnants of two storms still on the ground. But here’s a good way to tell—arriving at my house this afternoon I went to walk into the field to take a photo and foundered into snow that came over my knees. And I am not short. The photo above pretty much sums up the story of the ten-mile drive up to the house on Sunday to plow out the driveway for the drywall crew.


Last week was also a bit of a bust in the house department as well. We’re already well off of the projected completion schedule handed out just weeks ago. Plus I found a major problem with the framing in the master bedroom. Well, I should say we knew it was there all along as the framers did such a crappy job on that gable, but we were assured that it would all be solved with drywall. Right. Well, not surprisingly, drywall went on and not only did the corners of the gable not line up, the horizontal edge was four inches off level. A hasty diatribe went out to my builder via e-mail, and now it’s in his court to fix. Stay tuned.

In so many ways this winter—and building this house—feels like one step forward, two steps back. Make a bit of progress, only to have to fight yet another quality control battle. Get something seemingly squared away, only to have the quicksand shift again under foot and back to the drawing board. It’s like shoveling snow for two days straight only to have another storm wipe out all the effect of the effort. And do I even need to mention it’s snowing again tonight? For those keeping score at home, that’s four storms—two with 10+ inches of accumulation—in the past ten days. I think we’re all a bit worn out.

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