Tag Archives: projects

All I wanted for Christmas…

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Was for the Barn Mahal bar to be finished. Seeing that we came home and discovered its beginning framework in place in mid November….

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I didn’t think that would be too much to ask. But alas, our builder didn’t agree.

Oh, he’s sent updates via text messages.

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Like the layout of the rough unfinished boards on his shop floor.

I thought the 3 graduating colors would be interesting…

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Until he sent the next update of those boards being sanded and glued. Bye bye color.

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He assures me work is progressing steadily and that he hasn’t forgotten us, but it seems the only way I’ll be bellying up for a toddy will be like this:

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Cheers!

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Ka-Ching!!

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That’s the sound my checkbook made when we drove down to the design studio to purchase the custom made bar chairs my husband had his heart set on.

We met the two very pleasant Lithuanian immigrants who own the business and found they do interesting work.

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Their furniture is starting to catch on and has been written up in numerous magazines.

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Maine restaurants and businesses have contracted large orders….

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And its only thanks to Covid that they considered a small order like ours.

These are the 30 inch swivel pub chairs my husband fell in love with.

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Made from 120 year old reclaimed barn boards and strong enough to seat an African elephant, they’re remarkably comfortable as well.

The designers explained it would take 6 weeks to make our 6 chairs because they just had to lay off most of their people due to the virus. A huge order from L.L. Bean had been cancelled, which while bad news for them… was great news for us.

They were even kind enough to let us take a sample chair home for a test run.

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We sidled it up next to the (still unfinished since the contractor seems to have taken a powder) bar and the height was perfect.

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I’m hoping to match the front facing of the bar to one of the medium shades on the chair.

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If the builder ever decides to return.

A few days later when we brought the chair back, I decided I needed some matching shelves for my liquor bottles.

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They’ll look like these. The wood will match the chairs… which pleases me, and the brackets will be made from old railroad spikes… which pleases the husband.

Two shelves on either side of the bar window for a total of four. What the hell. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Ka-Ching!

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A bar is born!

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We came home from the grocery store yesterday and found this:

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The contractor had been at work in the barn and started the bar!

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My husband was thrilled… but had to check the measurements to be sure.

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Can you picture me standing back there mixing margaritas?

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I’ve been battling for a nicely stained finish but the husband is trying to cheap out and go natural. I fear neither of us will be fully satisfied… but at least we’ll have someplace sturdy to belly up to soon.

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On second thought, don’t. Some things are simply too frightening to contemplate.

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Operation clean out has begun.

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The construction and finish work on the Barn Mahal was finally done, so it was time for a major clear out.

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Giant piece of paint covered glass from the kitchen porch he replaced 5 years ago… which he’ll never use again but must be saved?

Check.

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The large wagon wheel frames my girlfriend gave me that I wanted to use as barn decoration?

Check.

But make no mistake, clear out does not mean throw out.

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It means stuffing things in every possible nook and cranny he can find.

Over the cars in the garage? Yes.

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In the newly remodeled and previously almost empty baby barn?

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Of course.

In the tiny room on the side of the wood shed?

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Naturally.

In the wood shed itself?

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Why not.

Those frameless doors he picked up at the dump because they’re free and he could?

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In between the motorcycles and covered with a dirty towel is the perfect spot.

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And lastly, things migrated upstairs in the barn itself.

Because, you know…. there’s soooo much room up there.

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And people wonder why I drink.

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The transformation has begun.

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The pool table was uncovered, brushed and racked.

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A hat and coat rack was hung by the door.

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And a few vintage WWII propaganda posters from 1943 I’ve been meaning to frame were framed and displayed.

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It was during this time we decided the ugly bracing pole in the middle of the room… which was never supposed to be there but was deemed necessary when we noticed the top floor bounced when we walked on it during the original construction…. needed to be spruced up.

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The (now lovely) wood walls and trimmed windows demanded it.

I expected to blog about the normal nightmare of measuring and cutting and cursing but things went remarkably well.

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Maybe we’re finally getting the hang of it.

So…. the before.

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And the after.

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Please don’t ask why he put my porch barrels on the loveseat. I have no reasonable explanation for that.

The end is in sight. I think…

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A few more windows needed trimming…

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Which meant a lot more measuring, cutting and cursing…

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Why the cursing?

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Because the last window was not what you… or any semi sober person… would call square.

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Oops.

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Cover the gap with quarter round, trim…. then call it good and move on to the porch door.

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Yes, the porch is my domain … so the porch door has a seasonally appropriate wreath. Man cave be damned.

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Trimming this slapped together frame for a door that came from the dump proved challenging.

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And yes, the language got as colorful as the wreath.

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But it was only when the husband looked down…

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And realized the floor moulding should meet the vertical door trim… not the other way around… that he knew he had some tinkering to do.

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But viola!

Adjustments were made and everything that needed to be trimmed was finally trimmed.

Is this the end of the Barn Mahal interior construction?

Only time will tell.

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Barn, Belgian beer and Brussel sprouts.

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We were back in the barn this weekend and ran the new heat pump for the first time. It’s a big space so it took a while to warm up… but the building held the set temperature all day, which means all our stuff and seal each and every god damn gap insulation work…

Worked.

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But there were still a few more windows to trim and that’s when things went downhill.

There was sputtering, mumbling, cursing and okay…. small pieces of wood may or may not have been flung across the room.

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When the wood started flying? I knew it was time for a distraction… so I trudged down to our crap filled underground nightmare basement and retrieved a treasure we purchased a few years ago.

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A neon bar sign from the Ommegang brewery in New York. We stumbled on them when we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and fell in love with their Belgians.

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https://www.ommegang.com/

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If you’re ever in the area, check out their tasting room in the old barn… and if you’re visiting this time of year? Try my favorite.

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There’s a tavern in Brussels famous for it’s pigeon racing?

Sounds like my kind of place.

And speaking of Brussels…

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When you live across the street from an organic vegetable farmer?

You never know what will show up on your doorstep in the morning.

👍

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Why does he make everything twice as difficult as it has to be?

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We have a barn that really isn’t a barn. What started out as storage space for motorcycles and lawn mowers has morphed into a custom built man cave… and now that the man cave has a heat pump? The upstairs has to be temporarily blocked off for winter before the staircase turns into a chimney.

This should have been a simple project.

I told the husband – cut a piece of insulation foam. The heat pump installer told the husband – cut a piece of insulation foam. The friend that helps him now and then told the husband – cut a piece of insulation foam.

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Which is why the husband made a hinged door out of zip siding.

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Did I mention the husband doesn’t like to be told what to do?

After a laborious day of cursing and figuring and adjusting and fitting and more cursing….

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The husband came home to cut a piece of insulation foam.

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Which he wanted to attach to that hinged door of zip siding.

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This involved more measuring and cutting ..

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And fitting and pushing and removing and more measuring and cutting.

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Please note the non OSHA approved chunk of wood dismantling the saw’s safety feature.

More fitting.

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More measuring and cutting.

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More fitting.

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Halfway through the process, Mike Pence stopped by to say hello.

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And finally after I helped him measure, cut and fit for 3 hours to no avail… I snuck out.

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For the sake of my sanity…. as well as our marriage.

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And on the 3,037th day….

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There was heat.

Yes, that’s really how long we’ve been working on the big barn. Saying we don’t like to rush things is a bit of an understatement.

But last week, this happened:

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The son of our soon to be ex friends came over to install a heat pump. It’s his business, and while I’m still cursing our rat bastard friends for giving us the free pool table that’s cost us thousands… their son is a great guy.

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Of course he might have been cursing them as well because drilling a hole through a building my husband built isn’t as easy as it should be.

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What should have taken mere minutes turned into a bit of an ordeal. And when that happens…

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You grab a hammer.

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After the hole was finally cut, it was just a matter of mounting the unit.

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With my husband… the man who has never lined up anything perfectly straight in his life…. standing back and saying, nope. It needs to go up a little on the left.

I believe my jaw dropped open at that point.

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Outside, the electrician connected power to the box… next to all the scrap wood that had to be hauled from under the barn to run the cable.

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And the rest of the crew installed the compressor thingamagig.

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Which is ugly as all get out but thankfully is on the one barn wall we can’t see from our house.

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I was glad to see they used great stuff. Because I’m sure awful stuff is more readily available, not to mention cheaper.

So…

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The big barn now has a heat pump. And future bar patrons can be assured of proper ambient drinking temperature.

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Cost of that free pool table so far?

$7,764. And no, he’s not done yet. The open stairwell still needs to be sealed off to prevent heat loss.

Free.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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Oh no, not again.

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I walked into the barn this morning to find my husband working on a template.

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And yes, I cringed.

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Having finished one side of the strapping on the ceiling and running out of that particular wood, he decided it was time to trim the windows.

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And while I applauded the fact he was actually going to corner them properly, I knew it wouldn’t be smooth sailing.

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One day.

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One entire day to frame two windows … because he added quarter round.

Why did he add quarter round you ask?

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Because when he first built this barn to be a… you know, barn? …there were giant gaps around the windows and nothing was air tight. Who was going to complain…. the lawn mowers?

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But now that’s it morphed into a palatial man cave, gaps must be sealed.

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And live ordinance moved.

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Framing on the outside, quarter round on the inside, and extra quarter round on the top corners…. all because he didn’t install the windows correctly the first time.

Jesus wept.

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But two windows were framed…

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And the giant bullet is back home.

To be continued…. unfortunately.

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