Christmas has come and gone…

The pressure was on the week before Christmas cause all three of my kids were coming home and the house was all torn up as usual.  The goal was to have my son’s room finished by Thanksgiving.  That date came and went.  And still we were pushing time to get it finished before Christmas.   So much has happened though.  Where do I begin?  I guess the deck, since that is the biggest thing going on so far.  One warm day they decided to tear the whole wall down of windows in the back to prepare for the 8 floor sliders to go in.  They framed the opening then boarded it all up with plywood just in time for a deep freeze.


Gorgeous day to tear down the windows



view from the upstairs landing, just recently refinished with hard wood


View from outside


The deck looks great, they will not put the final floor on until everything else finished, which makes sense since they dont want it getting messed up.  I agreed to save money and paint all the boards and trim before it went up.  I laid it all out in the garage and its a miracle I didn’t break a leg maneuvering in there.


After they had the deck framed and the wall of windows out, they started on the overhang.  It just looks so cool and Stonegate Construction is amazing.  I cannot say enough about them, they are fantastic and worth every penny. They really nailed the vision we had for the back.




8 foot sliders in, with trapezoid windows in!


new sliders installed in dining room and office

We finally gutted the rest of the kitchen, no more pink countertops!  What totally grossed me out was the mouse trap under the stove and just the amount of mouse poop under the counters and appliances, so disgusting. After talking to all the contractors, they suggested we rip all the drywall down in the kitchen to studs to see what is behind and fix all the lighting.  The drywall looks old and bumpy anyway.  My son is starting that project now that he is home from school.


kitchen gutted


That dirt is mouse poop


This was under the stove


Tearing down all the drywall now in the kitchen!

Meanwhile, we decided to rip out all the Bruce Hardwood from the upstairs landing and loft.  It was pretty  beat and I didnt like how the grooves felt on your feet.  I had to get rid of that old railing up there anyway, it was not in code and the slats were too wide I didn’t need my future grandchild to fall thru so we took it down with the floor.  Someone recommended I go to Hayes Stairs in Purcellville.  I went and looked at their various railings and pickets and had an idea what I wanted.  They referred me to a carpenter  Steve Dant.  Turns out he is good friends with my Stonegate Contractors, they love each other and all went to school together.  The logistics were such that my hard wood had to go in, then Steve come and put the Newels and banister in, drill the holes for the pickets, then Hardwood people again come in,  stain the floor and the banister, then poly it 3 times.  All in between Stonegate cutting and making dust.  Not only that, but we decided to have Omar’s Hardwood take up all the tile in the kitchen and foyer.  That tile was glued on to a piece of plyood that was also glued down and nailed.  We were never going to get that stuff up.  The day they came to stain and poly they also started on it, four guys.  At first, they tried to crowbar it up.  then they decided just to beat it all up with hammers.  Oh My Gosh the dust was everywhere.  I told them to wear masks and goggles but they didn’t speak english very well.  It was like smoke in there.  They had to wait for it all to settle before they stained.  The next day, they worked on the plywood underneath.  They decided after that long day they should not poly that day.  Well that threw off my whole schedule…I had to push back the carpet in my sons room, the countertop install in the bathroom and the shower door install. And everyone was coming home for  Christmas break!  Megan slept in the apartment on a blow up mattress that kept deflating all night. It was close quarters. The Thursday before Christmas, we just finished my sons room and moved his things over from the apartment.  Then we ran out and bought a new bed for my mom to sleep on for the holidays! Better late than never!  I would show you a pic of my sons new room and bath but its already lived in and a mess.  Oh well.


upstairs railing ready for staining


new railing finished!


Busting up the tile into little pieces


The plywood under the tile piled up into the trailer

Mark and I decided to save money by doing our own trim in the upstairs where the new windows went in.  How hard could it be?  We kept saying we should be on Renovation Reality show the dumb stuff we did.  But it doesn’t look bad.  Considering the whole house seems out of plumb and all the new windows had different kinds of jambs installed. Every window had its own challenge.  But we got thru.  ………………………

We learned a valuable lesson about water heaters and well water.  If you do not exercise your hot water heater, it gets a rotten egg smell of sulfur in it with well water.  Then you have to drain it and shock it with bleach or peroxide. And that still might not work.  We had the heater off on the main side of the house cause our kids were at school.  Turned out saving money by turning off the water heater was a wrong decision.  We decided to bite the bullet and have all new propane pipe run in the crawlspace to accommodate my future gas stove, a gas line to the grill outside, and a tankless water heater.  With tankless, we will not have that rotten egg smell. That tankless water heater is amazing.

The wall of mirrors finally came down.  We pretty much crowbarred a piece of it and ripped it down best we could without cutting ourselves.  We loaded it into the trailer and hauled it to the dump.  Mark sliced his jeans open but luckily didnt cut his leg.  The wall is destroyed with old glue, I think we are going to have to replace that drywall as well.


wall of mirrors


wall of mirrors now

The new fireplace is killing us.  Its a Napolean NZ600-1.  I am on a first name basis with the customer service rep at Napolean.  I call daily with questions about how this thing has to be framed and set and pipes run and clearances, etc etc.  I actually pulled the permit myself, though big deal I have to do all the planning and installing myself the county just gives their blessing at the end.  I had to coordinate with the stone mason as to how much framing he needed to put a hearth stone in, plus what he was expecting from the framer before he comes in and stones it.  The chimney part was a miracle as well.  We replaced a superior fire place, which is not in business anymore but were bought out by a company in Tennessee.  We needed a 12 inch piece of pipe from the old pipe that ran from the room down.  My fireplace installer said he could not find it anywhere.  If we could not find the right piece to connect the old pipe to the new fireplace we were going to have to run all new pipe from the roof down which was very pricey.  I kept praying I could find it.  The old pipe had a number on it and I googled that and it looked like it was the same measurement as the kind of pipe needed in the new unit.  I ordered it and I was so thankful that it was perfect fit!  The chimney guy came right out and hooked it up.  But that was just the Beginning.   We had to find someone to frame the thing.  My usual contractor wanted me to draw something up to scale.  I am not an architect for heaven’s sake!  One day when I was in TW Perry, I ran into a former carpenters or ours.  He built our basement and our built in bookshelves years ago. I asked him to come frame the fireplace, I can just point and he build it.  He was familiar with building bookcases on the right side we wanted. What a blessing I ran into him again, he sent a crew out the next week and framed that baby up and designed the bookshelves on the other side. Then the week between Christmas and New Years, they covered it with hardiplank and drywall.  We are still deciding whether to stone all the way to the ceiling, its so pricey.  We just are not sure what we would put in its place, shiplap maybe?


just the beginning setting base for fireplace


Took 5 of us to get that firplace onto the base


The monster with chimney part in place!


framing begins


I had to rent 3 sections of scaffolding, Luckily my son was there to go get it!


Ready for stone!

So much to be done still and I am a slave to this house.  My real estate business has been lagging behind and I wake up at night sometimes worried about getting behind, not keeping up with contacts and yet getting everything finished in this house so we can move my mom up here and get her house sold.  During those times I realize the only contact that matters is keeping close to the Lord and keep asking his guidance.  As long as I have peace in Him, everything else will fall into place.



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