Continuing from last week, we’ve been trying to button up the Cocktail Room before guests arrive next weekend. At that point, it will be just a living room because the wet bar will not be in place, though we do expect to have some cocktails there…around a fire, we still hope. But making the chimney safe has been more of a challenge than anticipated.

In retrospect, we probably should have removed and rebuilt in toto, though it looks like we will be OK. You can get a sense for the condition of the old brickwork from where the masons went through the wall on the second floor where they had to seal up an old “thimble” into which a woodstove must have once connected.

Modern code would have an airspace all around the chimney, but this high up it should not be a problem. Lower down, though, where the firebox and chimney are hotter, there’s more concern with heat as well as structural integrity. So it’s been critical to coat all sides of the chimney with new masonry. Luckily there are closets on either side that provide ingress (after pulling out some shelves and walls).

This access also allowed removal of some wood touching brick and pouring in vermiculite around the firebox to insulate from the walls. Above the firebox will be a stainless flue wrapped in insulation. (Golden Flue was not an option because it goes in under pressure and could blow bricks out. I’ve also heard some questions about its longevity.)  Fingers crossed all this can happen and the walls can go back early this week.

In other excitement, new windows went in upstairs this week. They and the French doors below are extremely tight, as we were able to determine the other night when the temps got to 5 degrees F. (The record December low for Cape Cod is 0%.)

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The windows along that wall  around the side went in quite neatly without tearing up a lot of wall.

The unusual cold caused some issues in the to-be bathroom in the as-yet-unheated guest house. It’s behind the mudroom and pipes for the washing machine and wet bar run through the room. Luckily the pipes are crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) which doesn’t crack when frozen. The HVAC guys were here yesterday ran a little temporary heat under the (temporary) floor. Also vented the dryer to the outside. How novel.

Finally, the pantry is officially in action and ready to be loaded. It’s so great to have some storage space. We will likely leave the shelves natural and have painted the floor with the Shaker Beige from dining room and front hall. Stay tuned for more Shaker Beigh in the future. And, stay tuned for a Chistmas edition of the blog, probalby next Saturday morn.

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