Work in progress

Kitchen outer wall

Kitchen inner wall





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Upstairs floor

The upstairs flooring is done. Trim work, tiling, cabinets, and staining is happening this week.

Flooring down

Upstairs half bath

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Looking for water

On Friday the well diggers came and went down 20 feet without finding bedrock. They also didn’t find much surface water, which is surprising as the river is about 400 feet away from where we are drilling.

Looking for water

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Insulation details

With all the remodeling going on we haven’t given up on our super insulated goal. All the downstairs 2×4 walls were furred out to 6.25″ thick. Each bay was filled in with a layer of 0.75″ foil-coated EPS foam board, followed by 2″ foil-faced R-max foam board, followed by 3.5″ high density fiber glass insulation (total: R31). We attempted to maintain the air seal (which is basically perfect on the second floor), by spray foaming the edge of every foam panel and between studs and gaps. The band joists received a similar treatment of layered foam inserts and spray foam.

Foam panel cut-to-fit

We hired out all the fiberglass work including R30 batts under the house. The ceiling bays had twenty inches of blown-in insulation, for a minimum of R60. Most windows were spray foamed into place or tucked with insulation scraps. Lee needs to spray foam the light fixture boxes in the top attic before it’s blown with loose insulation, but otherwise we are nearing the end of the endless insulation.


We also sound insulated with fiberglass batts between the two floors and added rock wool batts to the laundry room, office, bathroom and master bedroom walls. The laundry room is in the center of the house, so we insulated there to reduce the echoiness of the whole house. The office insulation was particularly important, since Lee works from home. Now Sidney and all her friends can practice playing the drums and bagpipes and it won’t disturb him.

Sound deadening

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Paint chips

The whole house has a coat of primer and the ceilings in most rooms were painted today.

Ceiling painted

Tomorrow they will start painting the walls. We are going to paint the upstairs bedrooms and bath ourselves this weekend. We would have done more, but our builder said we would slow down the project. (We aren’t that slow at painting, but then again his guys primed a whole house in 5 hours, including taping.) We also hope to find time to paint Lee’s office. The bright green never grew on us and we want something more Arts and Crafts feeling.

Paint chips

We spent a lot of time agonizing over paint chips. When we had finally settled on colors for each room, Robin pasted them all onto one sheet and we were happy to see that they were (seemingly) cohesive. The picture above may or may not be what our house will look like. Computer screens are notoriously bad at rendering color in a consistent manner.

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Plaster was finished today

Plaster downstairs

Plaster texture

Dining looking into the kitchen

Plaster upstairs

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12 new raspberry canes

A friend gave us some new raspberry canes and we planted them tonight. We had three plants already but they never did anything. Hopefully, with more attention we will be feasting on berries this summer.

Raspberries ready to plant

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Walls galore

I will admit it, I cried just a little when we walked through the house today after the drywall crew had been through. They are supposed to be finished Monday and then the plaster people will start.

Dining room

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I’m still not feeling warm

The insulation is in and drywall starts on Friday.

Fuzzy warm insulation

Why is picking paint colors so hard?


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Starting the new year with a BOOM

If it’s been quiet on the blog there is a reason. This past spring, we finally decided that the house would never be finished at our current pace. There were just too many other demands on our time and too many projects more enjoyable than remodeling. We were fortunate to find a really good builder, one who mostly works on projects far nicer than ours, and set about planning a whole house renovation.

Downstairs overview

The bathroom was gutted and a new layout designed with a separate tub and shower. It was made bigger by incorporating the closet which formerly attached to Lee’s office.


The kitchen grew several feet in each direction, with a new layout and four larger windows. Cabinet construction starts next week.


We stripped off the first 9′ of exterior siding and sheathing was added for shear. This complements the shear upgrades we already added to the second floor.

New trim and kitchen windows

Gutters were finally installed–a long overdue upgrade, given Oregon’s rainy weather.


New windows and door were added to the back. Our builder suggested that we open up the rear first-floor bedroom as a new dining area, a decision which refocuses the best views from the house out into the backyard. We spent the last six years puzzling over the floor plan and never considered this as a solution to our lack of dining space.

New door, windows, and gutters

The whole house has been re-plumbed and the first floor re-wired as well.

Can lights and plumbing

The living room gets two new half-height windows to bring in light without messing up the furniture layout.

Living room

The whole process has been overwhelming, time consuming, and very exciting.

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