Saturday, December 20, 2008

Granite chosen at last

Our declaration as we jumped into the car for Saturday's trip to Jacksonville was, "We will not leave there until we have chosen our granite!" This one is called "African Tapestry." After a dizzying look at all the gorgeous stones, we decided that they would all look beautiful. Let's hope it works out.

The stone has a gray-beige background with serene swirls which are more subtle than shown in the pictures.

It is a relief to have one more decision behind us. What painful pleasure to equip our home with the bare necessities, or luxurious necessities as in this case.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend work

After a morning's trip to view granite in Orlando, we returned to the building site to several small jobs. We stained some wood, chain saw milled a few planks of the pine that was lightning struck, burned some brush piles, and attempted hanging an interior door. After lots of tedious leveling, we decided we needed longer nails to secure the frame. We also decided that we have a lot to learn about hanging doors.

We filled some cracks in the "accent wall" that we're painting. It's looking nice.

And the cabinets are almost in. They're carefully connected to the wall, to the floor and to each other, leveled and leveled again, ready for the granite installer to make a template this week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Laying out the kitchen

We're laying out the kitchen and getting everything level. The two cabinets shown backwards form the base of an island. We're building a 1-1/2" base for the cabinets in order to raise the finish counter top higher than standard for those of us who are 6' tall. We've bought the dishwasher, selected the refrigerator, and are still researching ovens--Consumer Reports better steer us in the right direction.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wall tile is up

The wall tile is up around the tub and on the wall behind the toilet and sink. Remy decided to use the basket weave that will be on the floor also on the front of the tub, "This way it will look like the tub runs out like a wave onto the floor." Remy stood back at the end of the day and exclaimed, "When we were talking about how to lay the tiles at the beginning, I didn't know that it would look this great!"

We'll finish the floor and grouting next week.

Boys in action

The boys lay some wall tile.

Remy takes a break to make a wire puzzle he remembers from his childhood. After some failed attempts, he gave the boys the solution.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The final shiplap board is up!

Here we are, putting up the final shiplap board on the house exterior. Granddad Kiker, with golden hammer in hand, proceeds with the ceremonial nailing. Yeehaw!

Bathroom tiling begins

The tiling in the bathroom is going full guns. We've got a hand-made 4x4 below the chair rail, and a subway tile laid in a brick pattern above.
Notice that in the modern day and age, tiling is done with one hand while the other receives calls on the cell phone (which rings constantly).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bathroom prep

We got the bathroom ready for tiling. Framing is complete and backer board is in place. Let the magic begin!

Remy uses his truck as a portable saw table outside the bathroom door.

As always, two boys are eager to assist. After studying the expert, they got to try some installation themselves. It's fun to build a house.

Thanksgiving 2008

We took a week off for the annual Kiker family Thanksgiving. There was lots of food, lots of football, and best of all, Grandmommy Kiker baked eleven pies!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finishing the wood

The exterior ship lap wood has been treated with borate solution. The smooth side has been doused with Chevron Shingle Oil, while the rough side is raw and awaits it's coat of stain.
Our hero of the day, Andy Knott, came out to spray the wood inside and out. Inside we decided to use a clear oil-based exterior deck sealer.
Just a bit of touching up, staining the fascia boards, and we can put this stage behind us.

Protect the tiles

We papered the floors, and touched up the final bits of sanding and bleaching, in preparation for finishing the wood with sealer.
Remy has some ideas for the bathroom. Here is the current favorite, his basket weave using subway tiles.
Since it's Friday, we had a fire and cooked some vittles. Mr Jones came by to make sure we're doing a good job on the house. He is our best concrete man who laid our slab and connected us into all the good subs in our community. Every time he looks around the building site, he says, "This is a strong house! There isn't any other house this strong for miles around. I've been building for 39 years, and this is the nicest house I've ever seen!" Thank you, Mr Jones, for your many blessings.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The mariner's star taking shape

Remy designed the mariner's star for the center of the screen porch to greet people as they enter the house.

He carefully hand-cut letters for north-south-west-east and then fitted the floor tiles around the letters.

We brought out the compass and aligned the star according to magnetic coordinates. Remy says that if he ever visits our house and sees a rug covering the star, he will leave and never return.

Boys' bedroom floor

The floors are almost complete with grouting in process.

The boys' room received special attention.
Here's the plan sketched on a tile. This layout was a first for Remy. He enjoyed the opportunity to try a new design. We will be his guinea pigs anytime!

Here's the result. We're delighted. It's like a big game board.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The boys take a break to go exploring.

They return with a stash of bones, found at Badger Field, near Bull's Eye Field.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still working on siding

The exterior ship lap siding is going up. Here is the south side completed, and the west end half way through. We will soon have the house stained blue-grey to match the cuploa.

Same tile through whole house

We're using the same tiles throughout the whole house. Here are the tiles for the porch, all cut and ready for application.

Remy gives a different look to each room by cutting and shifting the layout. He keeps saying, "Just wait till it's grouted and cleaned up!"

Below is the living area with a signature river-flow pattern where Remy takes one corner off each tile. He came up with this pattern, dreaming one day, "There must be something different that I could do to a tile to make an interesting design. Hey...why not take off just one corner and leave the other three square...what would that do?" Here's your answer: it does something amazing.

A border frames the living area. The threshold between rooms marks the change in pattern from one space to another. Magic!

Tiles in the kitchen

Remy has been hard at work, applying his creative juices to the project. We're having a great time seeing the floors take shape. I bought a few pre-made mosiac borders which Remy dismissed saying, "I like to cut the tiles myself, then we know it is special, just for you. When someone asks you where you can buy this tile, you say, 'No where!'."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tiling to Latin Rhythms

Cuba's leading artist at work.

Lots of cutting

After weeks of a nail biting search for tilers, we finally made a selection. He starts today!

Our tiler generously offered to create some unique designs for us. His signature layout involves many cuts, but he says it keeps his day interesting, and he likes to see his customers smiling. Plus, he plays soccer with kids. We'll keep him!

Tiling prep

We spent the weekend clearing everything out of the house,
and cleaning up the concrete.

The floor is primed, ready for the underlay which protects the tile from cracking if the slab does.

The tiles are here!

Framing laundry closet in bathroom

We framed out the laundry closet in the bathroom. We'll have a stacking washer and dryer here.