Plaster and Unusual Woodwork

Plaster and Unusual Woodwork

Lots of pics this week. Brian Bellamy is done and the walls in the Guest House look great. (The pile of boards are for floor to ceiling shelves on the south wall…stay tuned.)


Meanwhile, Ed and Darby turned the downstairs into a wood shop and have been building the vanity for the master bath. Should have had them on that weeks ago. The pine counter will whitewashed to match the floors in the bathroom. The undermount sink looks pretty cool.

The guys have also been gluing up the guest kitchen counter and, believe it our not, fabricating what may be the coolest kitchen sink in the world. Yes, it will get a hole in the bottom. And, it too will be under-mounted and finished with epoxy resin inside, cause one wants a sink to be waterproof, right?

The guest house flooring arrived Friday. The width and length of these nicely milled boards is amazing. They must have come from some big ass pines!IMG_6624.jpg

Progress on windows too. We’ve got the custom storms the tall six-footers in the Dining and Red Rooms. And, the new ones arrived for the guest house. Really wish we had made that call before paying someone to paint the crappy old ones. C’est la Renovation.

And finally a landscaping update. In honor of Beth’s upcoming birthday, I installed a peach tree towards the foot of the property.  The grass is starting to come in. And, my roses along the patio are rocking with the cool weather.

The roses and hydrangea struggled a bit with the sun. Sneak preview…we’ve got something very special in mind for shading the patio.


Mexico Not Paying For These Walls

Mexico Not Paying For These Walls

As anticipated, the wallboard went up in the guest house, and Brian Bellamy started his plaster magic. We left the beams exposed on the first floor ceiling and will just paint them as well as the underside of the upstairs floor.



As an aside, we observed that with buttoning up the guest house, for the first time in the 18 months (wow) that we’ve owned LGH, there is no trace of musty smell anywhere .

Fixtures for the guest house bath were delivered to the kitchen porch, so it’s near ready for the plumbers and electricians to finish their work. The master bath, however, is still short one sink. Arrgghhh! To “save time” we ordered drawer towers from FW Webb to be the basis for the vanity. It’s now been months and still no drawers. Worse, their communication has been unbelievably lacking: Were you gonna tell us? I was ready to call up my old buddy Jeff Pope who runs the place, but we decided to punt and will likely just have Ed and Darby build drawers.

Mother Nature, on the other hand, is making good progress. The no longer little rose bushes are working their way up the trellis.  (OK, Mother Nature and Miracle Grow.)


Jimmy Aalto was back this week and slice seeded the lawn. It’s the perfect time of year for starting new grass. It’s also the perfect time of year for post-season sailing. Yesterday was glorious.


Fall Weather and Labor Day Labors

Fall Weather and Labor Day Labors

Cape Cod has been September-like for the last several weeks. Except for the Storm Harvey’s dying gasps that brought rain today, it’s been a period of clear and cool days, blue skies and crisp nights, all a reminder that autumn temperatures are around the corner. So, appropriate it is that after successful plumbing and electrical inspections last week, insulation went into the guest house. Ed brings in specialists to do this work.

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The insulation guys back in with a 20 foot truck set up as a foam factory with long hoses that let them go most anywhere. Decked out in hazmat suits, they spray the dense, closed-cell foam about three inches deep on every outside wall and the underside of the roof. The stuff has a great R-factor and even adds some structural integrity.

So now ready for wallboard and plaster.

Outdoor showering can make you shiver come October. In fact, even by late August, on a dark, damp Monday morning, a 5am shower before the northward drive can be pretty chilly. So, we are pleased that the shower doors went into the master bath this week.

We still await the vanity, and so middle-of-the-night sips of water must come from the tub’s spigot. F.W. Webb has proved a little late on delivery and weak with communication. Just one of many minor aggrivations.

Lastly, early fall is the best time of year for planting grass. In anticipation, Jimmy Aalto came by an prepped some spots for seed. He will also slice seed the lawn to over power weedy patches. While he was here, he filled in the sink hole that developed over the well after a big rain.


Can’t wait to get that dumpster out of there and to recover the shed stuffed full of construction supplies and to have a drawer for a toothbrush and…all little things that remain. We inch ever closer to a new normal, not to say “done” which an old house is never.

Drawers, Delays and Drifters

Drawers, Delays and Drifters

Just a quick one. It was mostly a week of waiting. The master bath still awaits the vanity and shower door. Guest house progress was gated by rough inspections of the electrical work and plumbing which were completed only late in the week. Next step there is the dense foam insulation and then wallboard.

Darby completed the drawers in the closet and gave a little lesson in finish carpentry. I’d wondered how one installs the faceplate neatly and uniformly. Wish there were some in-progress pics, but essentially it goes like this: To ensure uniform spacing, he employs eighth-inch shims on the bottom and one side and scribes the other end for a final cut. Then he tacks the faceplate in place with a couple nails and finally removes the shims and fastens with screws from the back. Voila.

You can always use more closets, but this one is pretty commodious and should reasonably handle our elaborate wardrobes. Like the drawer pulls?

Some Cotuit morning pics from Saturday, just to fill space. The quiet harbor scene between the bottom of our hill and the yacht club greets each morning. It was placid on the water as it’s been most of the summer, so the Saturday races were tedious drifters. (More of the same today, it seems.) Roses by the patio benefited from pruning last week. And, as I’ve trimmed more brush and branches so one can see up the hill, we get ever more frequent comments about how great the house looks.

Getting There

Getting There

Dare I say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel? It was a busy week in the guest house and bath with as many as eight guys working in parallel (not even counting me inspecting…two framers, two finish carpenters, two electricians and two plumbers at one point).

Most of the work was in the guest house. Padding the walls continued. They’ve also strapped the ceiling and framed the wall for the bath.

To mitigate a little spring in the floor upstairs, the guys replaced three 2×6 floor joists with beefy 4x6s making it feel much more solid.

In a minor misstep, we decided to replace the guest house’s seven windows which are now on order. The biggest bummer is having already paid for countless hours of Marcello’s team to paint the old ones. So it goes. An eighth window is already framed in the bath, to be cut in on the blank wall to the left of the back door.


Working around the carpenters, the electricians completed the rough wiring and the plumbers roughed in the plumbing for the bath and kitchen. So, we are ready for those inspections before the foam insulation can be blown in.

In the meantime, plumber Scotty has been installing the Mitsubishi heat pump system to heat and cool the space. It’s impractical to add a separate zone to the main house system and this modern technology seems to be a great solution though it may require some creative landscaping.

Still held up by back-ordered vanity and shower door, the master bath continues to shape up with water for the tub and a mirror and sconces in place. As well, in the closet, Darby installed the 8 drawers he and Ed fabricated last week which now want only for faceplates and pulls. Can’t wait to be fully taking advantage of our clothing storage.

On the decorating front, I had been starting to get anxious about the whereabouts of the late 19th century ship’s clock that had been a gift to very young me from my grandfather’s best friend, Morgie Dada, a longtime hotelier on the Cape. (I guess he was the oldest person I ever known. Born in 1875, we’d still see him every summer up to his death in 1973, just short of a century old.)

So I was relieved to excavate it from a packing box that had been stuffed in a bedroom closet. It now hangs next to the bar, dinging away on its eight bell cycle. Across the room is my reproduction ship’s mercury barometer. Hanging it was straight-forward, but in its moves, it had gotten air pockets in the mercury column which I was able to thwart only after an hour of nervous futzing.

I’ve also been turning attention to the yard and landscaping, the final frontier for LGH. One interesting, minor setback came Friday morning after a Thursday night tempest which brought about six inches of rain in just a few hours. I awoke to find an eight inch depression in the flower garden over the old well we’d discovered and filled in. It tipped over a couple blooming Cosmos (which I salvaged) and sunk a Shasta Daisy. Jimmy Aalto will examine and mitigate this week. I’m not to stressed as that sort of rain is extremely unusual.


No Gut, No Glory

No Gut, No Glory

Gutting goes pretty fast. Putting it back together takes some time. We’re at the stage of rebuilding the guest house. The walls were all very thin with undersized studs. So, this week they carpenters padded out each stud to get code depth. Upstairs, they blew out the existing ceiling to make way for a cathedral. It’s looking dramatic already.

In parallel, the master bath moves ahead slowly, the big hold up being the vanity. So, some finishing touches on the shower which is only wanting a door. The tub is now unwrapped an cool looking. And, we’ve now added a few details like towel hooks.

The closet leading into the bath is complete save for drawers. The guys fabricated the drawers this week in the guest house.


Lastly, apropos of nothing, we had lobster last night and the outside of the house looks great.

Fixtures and Fixes

Fixtures and Fixes

Fixtures arrived this week for the master bath, the last big piece of the main house. Once that’s done, we will really be down to a punch list of little items.

The shower surfaces are Corian. So, the same guys who installed our kitchen counters put in the shower.

The shower is in–came out great–though not yet in operation. The toilet is operational. The tub in place but without water yet. And we have the sink, but are waiting on the vanity.

Now it’s more or less onto the guest house. The gutting is complete. Plumbing and electric are underway.

And they rebuilt the stairs. The old ones had been way steep and narrow. Also note that the floor is built up. There had been a half step up to the once and future kitchen, but it it is now all the same height.


Outside, the painters continued to work on the black trim. They are down to painting the windows we had replaced before we settled on the black scheme. It was raining a little, so luckily the guys could work under cover. IMG_6049.jpg

And, finally, in the details department, lights on the bar!