Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

It's my birthday today, and I have the great pleasure of spending it in the airport... Somehow it seems like every time I fly, there are storms raging across the country. I was in Milwaukee yesterday for work and a little visit to my college roomate, Lynne. Usually I fly a direct flight there, but I was late scheduling it, and couldn't very well justify the $500 difference. So today I'll probably spend 12 hours in airports and on airplanes.

I have a little house project that I've been obsessing about lately. That's usually how my projects go - I get really obsessed and learn everything I possibly can over the internet and talking to people... and I can never really get satisfied until I try to do it. Although Jim will tell you that I only get about 80% done before I get obsessed with the next thing. Hence I have things like mostly complete bathrooms without crown molding to cover the gap between the walls and the ceiling. Or there is also a quilt I started late last year - that's totally pieced, but not done with the quilting and binding. And then there is the tv stand that I was hell bent on making that was going to use an inexpensive IKEA console and a motorized telescoping lift to take the tv up and down through the top of the console to hide it out of sight when we weren't watching it. Ya.... finally I finished putting all the drawers together because I realized that the contraption wouldn't get made any time soon, and I was tired of IKEA flat box components all over my dining room.

Right now my current obsession is pellet stoves. For those not living in New England and unfamiliar with old drafty houses, we spend about 6 months of the year paying astonomical prices for oil to heat our house to a slightly uncomfortable 65. You get kinda used to it, but you have to wear lots of fleece and wool socks and hide under lap blankets. I hate the cold. And even more I hate paying $500 a month for oil. So when my last bill was at $3.50 a gallon, I had had enough, and started on a search to make changes. I covered all my windows with plastic - only helps a little. I looked at a bunch of websites for replacement windows - too much money right now. (Note that I have a internal conflict with replacing my windows. Some of the ones that I have are the old polished glass, and I'd hate to lose that charater.... but they are also really pretty crappy & energy inefficient at this point - and I have worked on reglazing and repairing 2, to only mediocre success) Anyway, I came to the conclusion that at a somewhat reasonable price point, we'd be able to buy a pellet stove and it should pay for itself in two winter seasons.

The model we chose is the Lopi Leydon in the "oxford" brown porcelain enamel. It's pretty. One of my friends called it room jewlery. I just can't wait to have warmth in the house again.

There are a ton of requirements on the venting, so it's probably going to create some weird piping situation on the back of the house. But that's in the area that I eventually want to add a mudroom (wish list dream-sometime in the future kind of thing...) and switch the doorway etc, so one day it might look ok. It will come out of the dining room between the back door to the kitchen and the window and go up to the roof line. Anyway, you can't see it from the street.

The stove just came in this week. And in an effort to NOT make this a 90% done job, we're actually going to have the stove shop do the installation. So that is supposed to happen sometime mid February.

Our responsibilities in this process will be to pick the stove up (save myself sales tax, since we bought it in New Hampshire) and have it in the room. We also have to get the appropriate permit & inspection from the town.

The other thing we have to do is put together a fire proof floor pad. As you can imagine, the ones available through retail are kind of hideous, and getting one made out of a stone slab is kind of out of the price range I want to spend after shelling out all the money for the stove. So first I went hunting around on the internet for Victorian hearths to see what kind of look might be appropriate. I found this website with some pretty cool tile jobs (I especially like the Victorian Kerbed Hearths) But of course, these are out of the UK, and buying the beautiful kerb tiles would probably cost more than a stone slab. But it is still good inspiration. I also like the herringbone look.

So I went hunting around in the basement and found several boxes of the left-over subway tiles from the kitchen and bathroom (word of advice - 30% extra is more than you need). Hopefully when I get home this weekend (this flight just got delayed again) Jim & I can head to Homer and get the rest of the supplies - plywood, 2x4s, and some cement board. The only 10% danger I foresee is that I don't have edge tiles... which means either ordering them or buying what Homer has in stock (which is never really a good option)


Gabriella said...

Hi Tiff! So glad you're here and documenting your work. I can't wait to read more and see what you're up to.

Gabriella said...


LynneMarie said...

Hey... I feel so special to be mentioned in your BLOG! I, too, am glad you are documenting your renovations. It gives me something to enjoy vicariously.