Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Blue Skies

December 14, 2021 Every day is a new revelation. We are fairly stunned at how much can be done so quickly, when things get rolling. And the miracles keep on coming…. Remember the hot mess that was the nasty basement sewer pipes exploding all over the place? We could barely stand to think about it… and it was almost a year ago.

We have a new wall from the garage to the basement, btw. Yay. So here are the guys pondering how to excavate the offending old pipes (vintage 1988 when the original house was built). A jackhammer to get them out? No…. Todd to the rescue. Between a very heavy pike found in the garage, and a sledgehammer, Todd steadily chipped the concrete away. Chips flying, I left the scene of the demolition for my own self preservation. And not much later, it was a miracle. Old nasty pipes gone and a tidy trench to receive the new ones, according to our new bathroom design!

Looks amazing, Bob could not believe the photos I was sending him! So, part of what was driving this project was the imminent arrival of the shower stall (oversized and ADA friendly). The door between the basement and the garage came out yet again, and the shower stall moved into position, temporarily. It would be moved out again when the plumber arrived to install the new drains, pipes and all that. Progress!

Upstairs, we were looking at the aluminum stairs, again. The March 2021 photos show a simulation of what we think the stairs were supposed to look like – these are vintage “Ellen cleaning up the chaos” photos (before STJ – Scott, Todd and Jason)… Today, they unmounted the work stairs, and removed the lone aluminum stringer, which was actually “in the way” of a sturdy, safe work stair attachment. We all looked at the stringer (the rest are stored away safely), and the brackets for the treads…. what what was in Nathan’s mind when he designed these? All the brackets were already machined by him (piled into two boxes), but unfortunately the final plans are lost to time… well, we’ll figure it out when the time comes. ūüôā

What to do with the ceiling is a GIANT mystery. 30′ x 26′. That is huge. There are no structural (or faux) beams, it is one BIG expanse 3 stories high. The question: what will be a long-term very stable solution that will not require maintenance, like refinishing (since staging will be required)? What will provide visual interest, texture or an appearance of texture and yet resist cupping, cracking, shrinking and all that? Scott and the guys thought that wide plank engineered flooring might fit the bill, so we ordered a box of red oak to try it out. The idea is that the interlocking flooring planks would also provide strength and stability to the very large ceiling too. The flooring went up extremely easily. We liked the color and the grain pattern…. but it was so very FLAT. We need to think about this, and live with it for a bit. The ceiling will also extend beyond the peak to the other side, being visible through the large open transom windows, as seen in the photo. We were also trying to decide what to do with the horizontal ceiling spaces (keep them as white drywall)?

We are getting into the big decisions now, and it is kind of scary. This is not a normal house (ha), and some of our choices will not be easily changed if we screw it up. No pressure or anything….

Leave a Reply