Glenlochan -The Beginning

Glenlochan -The Beginning
Glenlochan - The Beginning

Glenlochan Today

Glenlochan Today
Glenlochan Today

Friday, July 26, 2013


Rob's been saying, for several months now, that he can't get very much done during the weeks in VA when he's at the house working  - he has said time and time again that the constant interruptions make it impossible to get his work done.  I disregarded his complaints, chalking them up to either unrealistic expectations on Rob's part (after all, we have learned that EVERYTHING takes longer than we expect it to) or a lack of focus and efficiency.  Well, I'm here to tell you that, after spending a week of my vacation in VA to work on the house, he's 100% right.  I had a list of tasks that I planned to get done that week - ranging from trim painting to room painting to ceiling cut ins to wallpapering and more.  I am horrified to say that, although I should have been able to get all of that and more done in a full week of working full time on the project, I checked merely ONE thing off my list - and my list wasn't even overly ambitious.  Interruption upon interruption upon interruption kept me from my primary purposes that week.  Most of these were necessary interruptions - pauses to answer questions about how I wanted things to look; meetings with the trim carpenter and cabinet maker, unexpected runs to the big box stores to select tile, more paint, drawer hardware; food runs (after all, we do need to eat!); runs to the storage lockers to get tools and supplies, calls on the phone to check on deliveries, to hold deliveries, and to coordinate timing, and on and on and on.

I feel Rob's pain - the general feeling of unproductivity at the end of that week was unsettling.  I had used an entire week of precious vacation time to accomplish ONE item on my list.  I could have done that over a weekend and saved the vacation time.  But, we've resigned ourselves to the fact that this project is a process - a very long process - and each little decision and interruption contributes to the big picture, the end product, the finished project.  So here's a sample of recent progress DESPITE all the interruptions.

Preparation of the master bathroom shower for tiling.  No, tiling has not yet begun...

Tiling the mudroom, laundry, and half bath floors (yes, this project is done!):

 Tiling the bay window in the kitchen with slate:


Installing the upstairs and downstairs arches (we had to return the casings and are currently waiting on the new casings (due on Monday) to finish this project.  Stop to make the phone calls, interrupt work to get packing materials to return the casing, pack the casings carefully; drive to UPS to ship the casings back = total lost work time, 1/2 day; total cost, priceless):

And, preparing the game room fireplace for the stone veneer (check!):

Decent progress in the face of unproductivity.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Miles and Miles of Trim, Oh My

I had a vision and a plan, as I had many times before with this project, that I'd be in a position to get all interior trim painted prior to it being cut and installed.  Well, as visions and plans go, this one was no different - reality intruded and the advance painting was just not going to happen before the trim work was scheduled to be done.  We had a small debate (not quite rising to the level of a great debate) in which Rob insisted that it could be painted afterwards and I insisted it would be SO MUCH easier to paint it prior to installation.  (In fairness, Rob's trying desperately to keep this project on a reasonable timeline, and my weekend warrior work isn't getting the job done.).  Because I wasn't there when the trim was delivered, he kept trying to explain, over the phone, the enormity of my plan.  "There's about a quarter mile of trim in here, Amee, you just don't have time to get it painted ahead of time..."

I stewed for a while and finally was equally adamant that I was NOT going to have to TAPE miles and miles (note my tendency to exaggerate) of trim in order to paint it (which I would have to do once it was installed, since the walls are "mostly" painted).  Ugh.  I could not think of a less efficient way to proceed, I really couldn't, and I despise inefficiency.  Also - I hate taping, the paint results are never as neat and edges as clean as they should be, and I was going to avoid that at all costs.  The remedy?  The EDGES, and only the EDGES of all of the trim would be painted in advance.  That would delay installation by only a few weeks (again - keep in mind that I only have weekends to work on my projects) and would save me countless hours of taping (not to mention, rolls of painters tape). 

When I arrived in VA to paint, I quickly realized that Rob was right - there was a at least a quarter mile of trim - which might as well be miles and miles - here's one small pile of 20 foot sections.
The Adam's casing we had selected to frame the windows and doors came pre-primed, but I have to admit it was not in the best of shape - the primer was okay, but very sloppily applied, and the wood was so rough that I had to sand all the edges (using my now familiar old friend, the palm sander) prior to painting.  That added a few hours to the overall scope and did not make me happy.  After sanding, I carefully had to line the trim up on sawhorses a few pieces at a time, and then proceed to put two coats on both edges of each piece - four edges each piece in case you haven't done the math - that meant, I was painting miles and miles of trim edges TIMES FOUR.

At this point, you might be wondering why, if I was going to go to all this trouble for the edges, I didn't just paint the face of the trim, too, and be done with it.  Well, despite the compromise we had struck, trust me, I considered innocently (or not so innocently) doing just that.  But that would have added days to the project and, the clincher for me, all the trim still had to be cut, the edges mitered and then sanded, and after all that, the touch up would be enormous AND would not look as good as it would if I painted the faces all at once.  So, I stuck with getting the edges done.

Adam's casing, base boards, and crown molding all submitted to my single brush and, although it took a while, I was eventually able to get all edges painted on everything prior to the trim work install.  I did paint the full face of the crown molding - although I always wanted dentil molding, I was cursing it by the end.  Each dentil is a royal pain to paint and I finally stole a cheap kids watercolor paint brush from Val's watercolors to get the job done!

Pretty cool, huh?  Unfortunately, we just learned that they shorted us on baseboards, so another delivery will be made and 1/4 of the baseboards will still need to be edge-painted.  Never a dull moment!

Monday, July 8, 2013

What Does a Soapstone Snafu Have to do with "The Waltons"?

After shutting down the project temporarily for a week of fun in TN and GA for Jake and Ashley's beautiful wedding and surrounding events (congratulations Jake and Ashley!)...

...we hauled butt to VA to be there for a 7 am Monday morning start to the long awaited soapstone counter top installation.  After arriving in VA late Sunday night after a very long drive, we awoke to the sound of rain on Monday morning.  Not just an ordinary small rainstorm, mind you, but a torrential downpour that had already turned our yard cum construction zone into a giant mudpit.  I should have listened to my father, the weather junkie, who had cheerfully had announced while we were in TN that it looked like we were going to get 4 inches of rain in the next few days in VA, but I ignored his wise words.

Despite the monsoon, the installers arrived as scheduled and got to work making the templates for the countertops, setting up a ramp to get the slabs into the house, and otherwise preparing the sink (a separate snafu, now corrected).  Here's the templates they fashioned:

And the raised mounted fireclay farmhouse sink:
And then the first soapstone slab was put on the boards for cutting and I went outside to take a look at our beautiful soapstone.  And I looked.... and looked....and looked again, knowing something wasn't right but taking a few moment to process the fact that the slab I was looking at did not at all resemble the slabs we had reserved months ago.  Calling an immediate halt to the installation, I was not all.  The slabs that arrived were so...ordinary.  The slabs we had selected so many months ago were so unique.  Long story short, our slabs were long gone - the quarry had held the wrong slabs for us and some other lucky families somewhere are enjoying the counters we thought would be installed in Glenlochan.  I only hope they went to good homes and are well loved.

We spent the rest of our second week of vacation (along with doing a lot of work on the house) looking at many pictures of slabs that we did not like.  We finally determined that we were going to have to give up a day of work on the project and drive three hours to the quarry to select new slabs in person (never mind that we had passed RIGHT BY this area on Sunday in our quest to get from TN to VA...ugh).  We've certainly logged a lot of drive hours this past year.  And, that is how we spent the last day of our two week vacation - making an unscheduled visit to the soapstone quarry.  Fortunately, it was a beautiful drive in the mountains of VA and the quarry was an interesting place:

And, some very interesting things can be sculpted from soapstone:

After looking at all the available slabs, we briefly considered this one:

The quartz vein at the bottom was interesting, but we decided it was a little bit overboard, so we ultimately decided upon slabs from a new quarry they were mining with beautiful black veining and an overall uniform look:

The pictures don't do the slabs justice, but we are excited to see how they will look once installed late next week.  So, the soapstone snafu was finally resolved and really had nothing to do with "The Waltons"....except that it did.  Who knew that the Walton's Mountain Museum and General Store existed, let alone that they were just a stone's throw from the quarry?  Rob and I are both fans of The Waltons although I'm a latecomer to the Walton's fan base, literally in the last three years.  We would have been stupid NOT to take a slight detour to check it out!  The museum was not open, but that didn't stop us from snapping a few pictures of the Walton's replica house:

The general store was open, however, and I snagged a few Walton's recipes, including apple cake and green fried tomatoes - cannot wait to try them out.
We made it back to Urbanna that evening (after a brief detour to see Joe and Tereasa's great new place in Richmond) in time for the Fourth of July festivities Friday night - a boat parade and then awesome fireworks.  We were pleased and surprised to discover that we have a front row seat to the fireworks on our second story balcony!  A great ending to an unforgettable (some might say "epic") two week vacation.