Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pumpkins and our porch floor

It's Halloween night here and we await the little gobblins of the neighbourhood. Being our first Halloween in the 'hood, we're not sure what to expect. Without subdivision masses nearby, we may have a few hundred mini candy bars and such not to feast on for the next few months!

Monday, the crew from Lafarge arrived and began preparing the base for our porch floor and main entry door step. We decided to go with stamped concrete so that it would have natural cobblestone or slate look, but without the uneven ground that stone usually offers. It's close to the same price as installing a deck, only we won't have to replace it in 10 years or less and we won't have much maintenance.

On Tuesday morning after our first snowfall, the crew poured the concrete and trowelled it smooth as you can see here above. They ran into a brief snag when the snow began running off the roof like rainwater as it melted and splashing back onto the wet concrete. Fortunately, I had some extra plastic they could use to create a barrier.

Then they applied a powder they call a "release agent" which enables them to apply a stamped pattern without pulling the concrete apart. It also colours the crevices of the concrete to give it depth.

Here's one of the stamp pads they used yesterday.

Here's a glimpse of the pattern on the porch floor before they seal it.

A wide angle view of the porch floor before it is sealed or landscaped.

And a view of the front entry before sealing and landscaping. I'm thrilled it's done before Spring! It will make the house feel so much more finished.

This week we'll be applying flashing over the exposed rigid pink insulation that wraps around our foundation. We hope to finish spraying the drywall with plaster.

And, Charles and Phil are back in town, so we're hoping to make a big dent in plaster the straw walls. The countdown in on... Can we move in before the end of November??

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ah, at last. A night at home. Work has been incredibly intense for a couple of months now, sucking up all free time, but we're beginning to get back at it. Fortunately, I also seem to be moving into a "nesting" phase with more energy than I'd had earlier in my pregnancy.

We've had two friends - Charles and Phil - working on interior plaster work for more than a month, though they've both been away for the past two weeks. We decided that we couldn't handle this alone and they have been a great boost. They finished the earth plaster first and have been working on lime plaster in recent times. At top and to the right, you can see their work in the east gable end. It's amazing to me how the house has brightened up with the lime plaster. I love it. In contrast, here you can see the west gable end with the earth plaster still.

Dave and I, with my Dad and Mom in the lead, have been focussed on applying plaster to all of the interior drywall to give it a textured effect that blends it in with the style of the house more. We're more than half-way complete. Two more days of work (and most of it spent on covering wood beams, ceilings and floors to protect them from plaster drips and spray) and we'll have all of the drywall complete. Here are a few photos of the plaster before it was completely dry.

I'll share more once we've finished next week.

Here's a photo of the kitchen entry door that Charles plastered. We've put in a decorative arch to provide an interesting niche for a piece of art.

The great news of the week is that we found a company to install our porch patio on the north side and a small stamped concrete doorstep on the east side by the arch door. The better news is that they believe they'll be able to install it this week since the weather is so warm, as opposed to next Spring! A few pics of the outside.

Next up: sand and oil the loft floor, and acid stain the main floor!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hampton EnviroFair

I know, I know...I've been totally delinquent in posting updates! I will *soon* post some new photos and details. In the mean time, I'm putting together a presentation for the Hampton EnviroFair on our straw bale building experience. It's happening this Saturday, October 13th at Hampton High School. Check out the Town of Hampton website for details on presentation times and other activities at the fair:

Other activities at the EnviroFair:

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