Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the stairs

I love our stairs.  Really and truly.  
Initially we had considered a ship's ladder to get upstairs (in hindsight I am shaking my head in disbelief)...

yum yum farm house kitchen loft
image from dwell
I still think that for older kids this would be fantastic!
and then we thought we could do skinny stairs...

image from Mister Step
and eventually we realized we could do full sized stairs (yay!).  The full width is so much more practical, and I am thrilled that we have room for them.

no they're not crooked, that's just my photography skills
They are clad in white birch ply, with maple stair nosing.  The posts and rails are hemlock, and the railing panels are birch (although I don't know what species).  The different woods work together beautifully and just blend into blond loveliness.
exposed lag bolts 
sure doesn't look like three wood species
The round edge was trimmed off the stair nosing in favour of a square edge, and the risers are kicked back at an angle.

the landing.. ignore the green tape on the left (that railing is the last thing still to be oiled!)
Our finishing carpenter James Ball once again worked his magic, and turned our homely looking staircase into a work of art.  I think it turned out pretty darn stunning.

the stair nosing before - stock Maple

the stair nosing after
I could not be happier.  They are lovely, soft, warm, and unlike any staircase we have had before.  Perfection.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the evolution of a floor

I remember the day the concrete was poured.  So clean, and so pristine.

Very quickly, it got very dirty.  It had coffee stains, and drywall dust.  Paint drips and glue splatters.  Insulation and mud.  It really could get no dirtier.

Getting the floors ready to be sealed was a daunting task.  We swept, and vacuumed, then we scraped the whole floor with teeny tiny window scrapers.  Our hands were sore for days after (well, mine was anyway.. I'm sure my big strong husband would never admit to it).  But it meant the really hard work was done...we were over the hump! 

Then we washed the floor really well (with a  handy machine from Planet Clean), and so it was finally ready to be sealed!

We used VOCOMP-20 by W.R. Meadows purchased through National Concrete.  Very low VOC.  Virtually no odor.  Rolled on easily (we did two coats).  Love it.

And finally three coats of wax.. again from Planet Clean Janitorial Supply.  They carry a fantastic line of cleaning products from M-Chem, and we chose Satin Finish because it is very low VOC, and super easy to apply.  It wipes on with a flat wax mop and doesn't need to be buffed.  There are completely natural products around.. like this one.  I would love to try some (and there's a sales rep in Lumby) but there isn't going to be enough in stock until spring.

I could not be happier with the results.  It has a nice glow, and isn't too shiny.  It's very easy to clean and with any luck it will be easy to maintain as well.  It is unrecognizable as the floor from 3 weeks ago.. and I am so glad it is done.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

favourite things

With joy I can say that the kids are settling in.  Little boy loves the wood stove.  I caught him warming his belly 3 inches from the glass last night.  Yikes.

Little girl has a very large crafting table, and she produces an astonishing amount of artwork.  Every.  Day.  We need a system.

They are both loving the warm concrete floors.  No major injuries yet (thank goodness) although I have visions of head vs. floor collisions.  And we're down one bowl.

Curious George for two

tea, dahling?
All in all, things are going swimmingly.  Sharing one room is going as well as expected, and last night was the first since move in that no-one stumbled out of the bedroom in the dark of the night.  Bunk beds are highly anticipated and much discussed.  I have so many plans and ideas for their room and play space to make them absolutely fantastic!  It is hard for me to slow down.. and the list of projects yet to be accomplished in our home is long and involved.  Inside.  Outside.  Animals.  Compost.  Furniture.  Garden.  Canning.  Outbuildings.  Driveway... ouff.  I need a cup of coffee.  Have a great weekend!

loft railing

The loft and stairwell railing was hard for us to imagine.  We had ordered some polycarbonate panels early on for this purpose, but we had no idea how to achieve the look we were picturing in our heads.  Enter James of James Ball Construction.  Problem solved.

we used domestic hemlock posts and rails from Cajun Mouldings
James did such an amazing job, and was incredibly detail oriented and precise.  He met our wish for a minimal aesthetic by cutting a dado inside the posts, rail and shoe.  The polycarbonate slotted in and is really sturdy.   I was worried that the panels would need cross-bracing... but as it turns out they didn't, and that made me really really happy.

We wanted the posts to overhang the drywall and have exposed bolts.  I think it looks great, and I will post more pictures when we finish oiling it.  I love that I can see the kids up there, and that the railing is over-height so it feels really safe for the little guys.  The  polycarbonate looks "reeded" so it doesn't show any fingerprints (yay!) and it lets all the lovely light stream through.