Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House


January 16, 2022 It is COLD outside, and none too warm inside either. The apartment stays chilly – with the uninsulated floor, cold basement below and baseboard hot water heat coming from so far away it rarely achieves much over 64 degrees, but luckily we do have some electric heaters when it gets ridiculous. The guys are working in the main house wearing their coats, although we do have an air handler in the basement that routes some heat up through a hole cut in the floor. With the foam insulation it isn’t terrible out there… it gets up to the low 50’s during the day. As long as you are moving around….

Haha. Cold enough for you? The aluminum front doors are so freaking cold they are frosting on the inside. Then in the sun, the frost melts and drips water onto the floor, inside the house. Wait, is this what will happen when we live here?? Hmmm. The door we use all the time by the garage is the same type, but it doesn’t do this. But it turns out these doors are hollow aluminum. No wonder the cold comes right through, Well, we’ll just hope that when the inside of the house is heated this phenomenon will somehow resolve itself…. yeah, wishful thinking? We’re going to have to think about this later….

The ceiling. What to do. Bob really likes the Armstrong grille system, for the acoustical properties, the 3-dimensional look of the slats and the black background. Jason and Todd mocked up some of the red oak engineered hardwood with black spacers behind it, just for kicks. It gave more interest to the hardwood, but still wasn’t what we wanted. Scott is going to call his ceiling rep to try to get us a sample of the grille system. I was able to get them to send me wood samples, but they were just small pieces that told us not very much….

A stone fireplace surround? That’s what we envisioned when we first saw the house interior – a glorious combination of stone, wood and aluminum. Bob and I had the same internal vision, which was awesome! Making it a reality is the struggle. First of all, we changed from the original see-through fireplace which would have been a flat vertical wall of stone, and there are plenty of ideas out there. But most photos of 3-sided fireplaces are all sleek, smooth modern treatments of metal, tile or drywall, and most of them are in commercial spaces like restaurants, hotel lobbies and such. But, these stone treatments are not really what we have in mind either.

Meanwhile, the basement is being insulated. There are thick foam sheets between the stud wall and concrete foundation wall, and now the insulation, then the drywall. The top “pony wall” does not have foundation behind it, so was foamed instead. We are making progress!

Andrew and Hope from Select Cabinetree doing final measurements for our kitchen. The center island will be long… it will abut the center column and be partly under the aluminum I-joist ceiling and partly in the open space. The island will have seating on 3 sides and be a gathering space… no sink or cooktop involved. The messy prep and culinary masterpiece-making will take place on the surrounding countertops, of which there are a lot! This is exciting stuff, but also scary. I’ve already made dozens of choices about how I will work in the kitchen, store utensils, equipment, pantry items and all that, including disposing of trash and recyclables. I also had to pick my appliances, for the cabinetry measurements. Going through the process makes you realize that no matter how much you prepped or researched, it was not enough. Looking at all the kitchen photos on line is a bit counterproductive because it all can look beautiful, but is it functional for a person who likes to bake and cook? I tried to think of myself actually working in the kitchen, reaching for things and walking about, and that really helped me make decisions. But of course it is easy to second guess! (Bob says the kitchen is all me… he is a consumer of food, not a creator! haha)

Proofing the decisions made now will be months, perhaps a year into the future, and it remains difficult to visualize the full first floor space, which is must flow seamlessly throughout, especially with the central stairs yet to be designed…. (what a mysterious business that will be). Well, here’s hoping we get it right! I’ll share the actual kitchen plans in a post soon!

What a view looking down into our living room from the 3rd floor landing! Staging is everywhere. Just had to walk out on it to take this photo of the Y beam – I’ll never be here again! Todd is putting blocking in the ceiling of 2 story entryway – we hope to hang a sculpture or mobile there someday. So many things to think about, it makes the mind spin…..

Tulips are the antidote to the cold, the snow and the frozen-muddy road… and the sky from the tower gives hope that nicer days are coming! And for the Scarlett fans out there, here she is. Ella is the most patient of dogs. ūüôā

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