Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Absolute Black, Polished

February 16, 2022 Boston Granite Exchange is an enormous indoor warehouse in Haverhill, MA with hundreds of enormous slabs of granite, marble, quartz and soapstone – really quite overwhelming. Bob and I visited to discover how little we knew about stone countertops, ha. We think we want natural stone instead of quartz, and want granite in some kind of black, even though it seems that white quartz is in and dark granite is out…. but that’s too bad because it’s what fits the house, goes with the cherry cabinets, and it’s what we like. NH is the granite state, and we are the black sheep, after all!

Everything is huge. If you make an appointment in advance, they will use a crane to bring out the slabs you have selected for your inspection. We are novices at this, but got a quick tutorial from them on the colored dot coding (price bands) and the surfaces – polished, or leathered and honed which are similar. Absolute Black granite has a uniform tight pattern, and is very popular. Polished is insanely reflective, and the honed is also fairly shiny too. Check out Bob (reflected in Absolute Black) texting the kids on his phone (instead of paying attention, haha!)

Black Pearl, Umatuba, Cambrian Black, and lots more, some with greens, golds and blues within the black. Cambrian Black was available in polished and leathered/honed, and I liked the honed look and feel of the crystalline structure within the stone, plus it had flecks of mica in it (which is all around our house, laying randomly on the ground). I thought that might pick up the color of the aluminum ceiling in the kitchen…. Apparently it is only found and quarried in Quebec province in Canada. Bob was not as excited about it, and he preferred polished stone. Feedback from Scott, and the BGE folks, is that polished shows every fingerprint or smear, and is so reflective in the sun that you almost lose the color of the stone. Well, we didn’t come to any conclusions but we certainly learned a lot! We did take home a lot of notes, at least.

Back at the house, the Armstrong rep visited to talk to Scott, Bob and I about the grille ceiling product that Bob is super interested in. I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed it on this blog before, since we’ve been indecisive about the ceiling for what seems like forever. The system on the left also fits the bill, but it is also intended to be suspended, not really for an angled ceiling. The rep gave us some stunningly expensive estimates.

It is dang cold outside, and inside too. The front glass doors frost on the inside… The apartment and garages are heated with an oil-fired boiler, with two 250 gallon storage tanks (inside). So when the oil company delivers, it is usually a good chunk of change. They do give a discount for over 400 gallons, woot. See the hole cut in the floor by the fireplace? The guys rigged up a flexible duct and vent from the old air handler down in the basement, so there’ll be some heat upstairs while they are working. 🙂

The top photos are of the guest bedroom and the “waiting room” outside the bedroom. They just go up, level by level, hanging drywall. It is awesome. And look how fabulous the funky pointed ceiling is over the stairs. Talk about crazy angles and triangles. I complimented Jessie on it, as he did all the measuring. He told me I owed him way more than a beer for this one!!

So, as the drywall installation inched closer and closer to the tower, the leaks had to be completely stopped, obviously. Scott brought in a lift, which turned out to be an unsuccessful effort due to the uneven frozen ground, which limits the functionality of the lift. Todd and Jason climbed around up there and performed some magic with 3M tape and other sealing substances and think they have fixed the problem, until it can be permanently solved in the spring/summer. I was going to throw out that cheap kinked 100′ hose, and glad I kept it around, as we attached all the hoses I had together, fed it up through the house, in and out of windows and finally up to the deck/porch level, where the guys ran water on their fix to successfully test it! McGuyver is alive and well, and he learned it all from the Downer brothers. 🙂

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