Friday, July 20, 2012

We Fall Into Patterns Quickly

We've always loved the tile in the limestone farmhouse at Schact Farm. As soon as we started this project we knew that we wanted the same tile and pattern in our own house. Our thinking was that if the slate can handle the mess of an animal farm, then surely it can withstand our mess?

The slate was a deal at less than $2.50 sq ft. We ordered it from Penn Big Bed Slate Co. and had it shipped to Bender Lumber, who very kindly delivered it for free to our house (did I mention they didn't make a penny off of this transaction? Great business).

Here's what we were going for:

Clear natural cleft slate floor detail 

We really love this tile and pattern. Maybe as much as you can "love" something that doesn't live and breath .

Anyways, whatever you call our feelings towards this tile, it's good that we felt that way because boy was it about to test our commitment level.

First, this stuff is heavy. I mean, it's natural stone! Carrying it in from the pallet in the driveway was the first task. You can see there's about 6 different size tiles in the 10 sq. ft. pattern.

We thought we could just buy 1/8" spacers and call it a day. They didn't work.

Then we bought 3/16" and 1/4" spacers. Whaddya know, neither of those worked.

So we scoured Bloomington for 3/8" spacers. Found some, tried em', but they SUCKED. They don't make the kind specifically designed for offset patterns in that size, and the little cross-shaped ones just kept falling over. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I forgot to mention that Big Penn was closed for the weekend and that they don't send you any instructions with the tile (I had to call and have the pattern faxed to me). So, we turned to the only thing we knew that could help us in our time of need: Google. What were the two first answers to "slate tile and spacers"?

"Due to slight variations in tile size use of tile spacers is not recommended with slate tile." 

"Throw away your plastic tile spacers when laying slate."

(sigh). As soon as I read this, it reminded me of the same moment I had about 3 years ago when I Googled something like, "raising two puppies". The first responses that came up were "Absolutely avoid getting two puppies at once" and "Expert breeders are careful about placing two puppies together in one home, because they know how much work it is to raise both of them". Whoopsadaisy.

So, on to plan B. We ended up deciding to use chalk lines in the whole mudroom to make sure the pattern stayed straight and uniform, and then eyeballed laying out the tile. Our friend (and tile expert) Chris recommended laying out the whole room before officially buttering up the tile, so that's what Will and Guff spent a whole day doing:

Looks pretty good for no spacers, huh? 

The next job was to cut all the edge pieces, which Will did (I did my duty and asked him to wear safety goggles, but the most you can do is lead the horse to water...). The tile saw was loaned to us by Chris, who says that it is the "Cadillac" of saws and is envied by every tiler he knows. After using it, Will concurred about it's awesome-ness.

Once everything was cut and in place, Will and friends spent the next 3 days "back buttering" the tile after work. Thanks to Mandy, David, and Josh for the help!

Before sealing and grouting, we needed to clean it. Easy, right? WRONG. Two 300+ sq ft. scrub downs and some heavy acid cleaner spot checking later, we were finally ready to seal.

The most exciting part of the process was grouting, which we totally left up to the amazing grouting prowess of Mandy Corey (aka the most badass woman I know in Southern Indiana). Can you believe we finished in just 2.5 hours?

We cleaned and sealed it again (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Rose for the help!), and...VOILA! Check out our brand-spankin' new slate floors!!

 Joaquin especially likes it.

Sooooo glad to have this part of the project done. It was a grueling two weeks of work. Thank God we were finally able to move the washer and dryer out of the kitchen!

Now on to the upstairs...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dry Spell

We've got drywall folks.

Here's the loot, in all its glory.

 The boys spent a Saturday hanging it. This is the ceiling downstairs:

The most exciting part of drywalling for Will was finally being able to take the door off that separated the old part of the house from the new part of the house.

Remember this?

Sorry door, you are no more. It kinda looks dead the way it's just laying there.

Now we can see all the way through the house.  It was weird and exciting to have to start changing our mentality to thinking of the addition as part of our living space. It's just that it's been there sooooooo long, but has always been partitioned off.

 Here's the addition all drywalled:

And the stairwell:

The beanette's nursery hallway:

And our bedroom:

Drywalling is very tedious work, and yes, we are doing it ourselves (it's totally appropriate to call us crazy at this point). We managed to finish all the mudding and sanding in the mudroom, but are still trudging away upstairs. Thankfully though, we were able to paint the mudroom (Benjamin Moore HC-115 Georgian Green) last weekend with help from my dad and Travis and Ashlee:

Our next big task is tiling. Our friend Chris Elam (who drew up the plans for our house and also owns Sycamore Tile Works with his wife Emily...seriously, check them out and order some sweet house numbers as gifts for holidays and weddings!) lended his help and expertise to get us started. Will, Tim, and Chris were able to lay all the cement backerboard in just a few encouraging quick win after several weeks of drywalling with several more in sight:

Ummm, did I mention that neither of us have ever tiled before? Ever? 

This should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


10 weeks and counting.

And that's if all goes as we hope.

I'm 30 weeks this week and things are getting REAL folks. For REAL. Like, I can see her punch through my belly real (not to be confused with this kind of punching).

I've resolved myself to the reality that we likely won't have a pinterest-worthy nursery (ahem, hallway) by the time our sweet babe comes. Or a bathroom that doesn't require traversing a set of stairs to get to. And who knows what else I'm not thinking about (trim? light fixtures? air vents?). I know, I know, it's so hard being middle-class!

But I've also heard that you really only need a few things when baby arrives: boobs, a bed, diapers, and clothes. I think we can manage that. And in a way,  the simplistic approach feels kind of liberating.

I'm hoping to help as much as I can these next few weeks before my big ole baby belly becomes a liability (images of smeared paint swim in my head from a belly that just doesn't leave enough room b/w it and a freshly painted wall).

Yes, pregnant ladies can help with home projects. And we can take walks, stand and not use a chair, garden...pretty much all the normal stuff. Maybe I won't be able to trim my toenails soon, and DO NOT get between me and the nearest bathroom. But mud and paint and tile, I can.

I think I can confidently say that we will have painted walls and finished floors by the time she arrives. And I'll eat those words if she decides to make a surprise early appearance.

To be honest, I'm looking forward to being able to tell my children one day about this crazy adventure in our lives. I guess it's our version of "I used to walk 5 miles in the snow to get to school every day..."