Limington Farmhouse is NOT available for rent!


Posted: March 24th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: bedroom, for rent, fun, heating, kitchen, life, living room, photos | 2 Comments »


UPDATE: House is rented. Thank you so much to everyone who helped us find a great family to take over while we’re gone.

We’re headed out of state for a few years, starting in August 2017, and we’re looking for a few good people to take over the farmhouse while we’re gone. Ideally you love quirky old houses, you’re a little bit handy with maintenance stuff, you need a lot of space, and you’ll appreciate the unique character of this special place.

The house is ca. 1830′s? and has been renovated many times over the years, but still has lots of historic character. It currently has 4 usable bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms (one upstairs and one downstairs) including new washer and dryer, huge, newly renovated eat-in kitchen with new dishwasher, livingroom, and 3 other rooms that are unheated in the winter but are great for storing stuff or summer studio space, etc. We are asking for $1200/month, which doesn’t include utilities. We need to measure the square footage… Best guess is around 2000-2500 SF of usable space. We are happy to leave you as much or as little furniture as you want to use.

We’re located about 45-50 minutes from Portland, 50 minutes from a few different ocean beaches, and about 1 hour from North Conway and hiking in the White Mountains. The nearest posted hiking trails are on Sawyer Mountain, about 5 minutes away, and we’re within 10 minutes of a dozen different swimming and wading spots on the Saco River and assorted lakes, ponds and swimming holes. (Our local swimming options are pretty fantastic!) There is also a little Limington town beach with clean sand, mountain views, docks, picnic tables, clean outhouses and easy parking, on Horne Pond, 9 minutes from here. Season pass is $30 for residents and canoe rental is $1/hour. We’re also close to Dole’s Orchard, with U-Pick berries, apples and fruit throughout the whole summer and fall, as well as 3 or 4 other U-Pick orchards nearby. We’re 10 minutes from the nearest Hannaford grocery in Standish, and 10 minutes from Cornish, which has a very cute downtown filled with small shops, a smaller grocery store, farm supply store, pharmacy, etc. Our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood are Krista’s in Cornish and O.Dan’s in Standish, and every now and then we stop by The Peppermill in Limerick. We love our sweet little neighborhood coffee shop and bakery, Snickerdoodles, 2 minutes from home. There are also plenty of cheap pizza places, and a substantial variety store/grocery/hardware store/gas station about 3 minutes away. In the summertime we’ve got our pick of four different ice cream stands within 10-15 minutes! And we’re a very short walk from the tiny Limington Public Library.

OUTSIDE:
We have 2 acres of green space, including a sweet little patio for BBQ and summer relaxing, a wood-fired sauna(!), a sunny clothesline, a little raised-bed garden, some overgrown pear trees, lots of lawn and a bit of wild jungle, some quaint old stone walls and foundations. We will leave you our mower – we usually do some mowing every weekend to stay on top of it, otherwise the grass can get too tall to mow! Or, we can talk about hiring someone for maintenance if you don’t want to deal with it.
Our driveway just sucks, but you’ll get used to it. We will cover the cost of plowing in the winter.
We have access to a beautiful walking trail via our neighbor’s land – he owns ~50 acres of woods adjacent to our land, and generously allows us free access to his trails. Our usual morning walk is about 1.5 miles / 30 minutes through woods and meadows, and it’s one of our favorite things about living here, although it does require muck boots in the spring, mosquito nets in the summer, blaze orange gear during hunting season, snowshoes, crampons, and/or gaiters in the winter! It’s worth it though, to enjoy the woods and see and feel the seasons coming and going day by day.

poppies!!And more flowers that will keep on blooming every year!
Boxwood, chrysanthemums and azaleas in their new home! Well see how long I can it this all looking this pretty! #limingtonfarmhouse

morning walkmushroom family
tomato seedlings are in!garden helper
the pear treeShiny glowy #morningwalk #laikagram

colors

snowshoe path in the back yardsnowy morning walk

KITCHEN: this is the room that’s been most thoroughly renovated. We stripped it to the studs and re-built everything, including custom cabinets and shelving. Double oven, new dishwasher, older fridge. Nice big vintage hutch for storing dishes etc. Exposed beams on the ceiling, brand-new large bay window, original maple wood flooring which was refinished 4 years ago but is now showing signs of wear in the busy areas. This room is heavily insulated and stays toasty warm in the winter.  New high-efficiency woodstove with a pretty hearth.  A wide, open doorway leads into the livingroom.

kitchen

kitchen

kitchen north window

kitchen

Custom-made concrete tiles from Argentina! kitchen

kitchen

kitchen

LIVINGROOM: big windows, big old couch, fresh wallboard, bumpy old wide-plank flooring, ugly old 70′s ceiling. We’re currently finishing up installation of a beautiful glass-paned door from livingroom to front parlor, which lets in lots of sunlight from the front of the house.

finished painting!

livingroom

FRONT PARLOR: this is one of the un-heated rooms. It’s large and pretty, but we don’t use it much in the winter. In the summer it serves as additional living space. Two couches, lots of room to relax.

front parlor

BEDROOM 1: medium-sized. painted gray. recently renovated. has two closets without doors. heated by baseboard radiators. partial wood paneling. trim work has been finished since these photos were taken. no bed provided, but the matching dresser, mirror and armoire can be left for you to use. this room is not on the street, it’s usually quieter, but it’s pretty close to the neighbor’s house and she has chickens, roosters, dogs, and occasional late-night festivities on her deck, so it’s quiet some nights and noisy other times. two windows are north-facing and shaded by trees in summer, so this bedroom has the least bright sunshine.

finished painting!freshly painted

BEDROOM 2: large room with tons of windows. faces the street, gets lots of sunshine, plus street noise. we live on a kinda busy road and hear traffic sounds day and night. It doesn’t bother me much, we’re just used to it as background noise and it’s never woken me up at night or bothered me in the day, but this isn’t the ideal haven if you’re looking for a silent sanctuary. this room is heated by a brand-new high-efficiency heat-exchange pump, it’s a split unit that does heat in the winter and AC in the summer and it has a remote control for thermostat control. there is one closet with a door, and some built-in shelving and drawers. This room currently has a double bed and an elliptical workout machine, which are both available for you to use, or can be removed.

this will be our bedroom!

our bedroomkinda moved in

BEDROOM 3: this is a mirror image of bedroom #2. large room with tons of windows. faces the street, gets tons of sunshine, plus street noise. this room is heated by a brand-new high-efficiency heat-exchange pump, it’s a split unit that does heat in the winter and AC in the summer and it has a remote control for thermostat control. there is one closet without a door, a large storage unit, small bookshelf, a queen-sized bed and box-spring, and a love seat by the window. These can all be left for you, or removed. The floor has been re-painted since these photo were taken.

improved guest room

improved guest room

BEDROOM 4: Medium-sized bedroom. Two big windows, south-facing, plenty of sunshine but not as bright as the street-facing rooms. It has new marmoleum flooring (that’s a natural, tree-based version of linoleum) which is beautifully smooth and clean, feels nice underfoot in both summer and winter. There is a large closet with no door and a small built-in shelf. This room will be mostly left unfurnished. This room has its own thermostat, heated by baseboard radiators.

HEAT:
We use about 3 cords of seasoned firewood (usually around $500-600/yr) plus 500 gallons of oil each winter. Some of the house is freshly insulated and some is old and drafty. We have a great, modern high-efficiency woodstove and a multi-zone oil-burning furnace with hot-water baseboard radiators, and two bedrooms heated and cooled by a brand-new high-efficiency heat pump. We try to be frugal about heat, we keep the thermostat at 58 and keep the woodstove burning all day, which keeps us pretty cozy in the kitchen and livingroom. On the second floor, we turn down the heat in the bedrooms every morning and turn it up at night. Two of the bedrooms have baseboard radiators connected to the furnace; the other two are connected to the heat pump. Each bedroom has its own separate thermostat controls. In the summer, the first floor (especially the kitchen) stays amazingly cool through most of the season. The second floor can get really hot – two of the bedrooms get A/C from the heat pumps, which feels amazing in the dog days of summer. In the other two bedrooms, we get by with a fan in the window. Sometimes it’s sweaty, but luckily, summer nights in Maine are mostly fresh and cool.

UTILITIES:
Electricity averages around $60/month. High-speed Internet around 45/month. We don’t use a land-line, just cell phones, but I think there is phone lines coming into the house so you could activate one if you want it.


Kitchen shelves are finished and installed!


Posted: January 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: excitement, kitchen, woodworking | Tags: | No Comments »


kitchen shelves

After a year of steady work, we’ve finally completed this huge shelf. Here it is on the work bench for the first coat of varnish.

kitchen shelf

After the varnish, we painted the shelf back blue to match the color of our kitchen walls, and screwed on the shelf back (it provides important structural support and makes it easier to hang the shelf.) And then both of my parents helped us to haul it up to Limington and hang it up!

kitchen shelf!

When we built the kitchen walls, we put sheets of 3/4″ plywood instead of strapping on top of the rigid foam insulation, under the blue board and plaster, all around the countertop areas where we expected to hang upper cabinets or shelving. So when it came time to hang the shelf, we didn’t have to wonder about where the strapping was, whether the screws would grab into wood or just plaster, whether the wall’s strong enough. We know the plaster is all backed with nice strong wood because we built it ourselves!

new open shelving

finished kitchen cabinets!


Posted: February 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, progress, woodworking | No Comments »


finished kitchen cabinets!

finished kitchen cabinets!

Mike and I just installed the final cabinet in the kitchen! They’re all in now! Let’s celebrate for a minute: we totally made these cabinets ourselves! Every single bit of them! (except the knobs and hinges, which we bought.) My dad helped us a whole lot and made a bunch of the hardest parts like drawers and drawer slides. Thanks Richard! Not only are these beautiful and flawless in their function, I think we picked a pretty great color of green for these. (All those little sticky notes in the pictures? That’s our notes to remind us what goes in which drawers. Since it’s all a little new, we still need help remembering where to put everything.)

finished kitchen cabinets! finished kitchen cabinets!
the skinny cabinet

The last cabinet was the skinniest. This little tiny one goes next to the oven, to hold flat stuff like baking sheets and cutting boards.

The remaining “open” spot is where the dishwasher will go. Someday. We’re not really in a rush to get one, so for the moment we just store the dog food in there, and I think I’ll make a curtain to hang there so it looks prettier in the meantime. If you want to look back at the long long process of planning and building our cabinets, there are lots more posts and pictures!

kitchen: new lights, finished cabinets

Just for fun, let’s look back at the same kitchen view, as it’s changed through the years:

June 20, 2011=
June 20, 2011

drilling the first hole

January 16, 2011

kitchen

December 16, 2010

April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010

March 27, 2010

March 27, 2010

March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010

realtor's photo of the kitchen, 2007

realtor’s photo of the kitchen, sometime before 2008.

Next… on to the upper shelving. We’re going to do open shelves instead of upper cabinets. They’re already on the workbench in the wood shop, but no photos yet, so stay tuned…


more about cabinets


Posted: April 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, woodworking | 1 Comment »


there hasn’t been too much new stuff to post because… we’re STILL working away on the cabinets (here’s the first installment about cabinets). I’m still enjoying it, though it just seems to go on and on and on… Cabinetry demands an insane level of precision, and if anything is off by one thirty-second of an inch, then it’s got to be redone. (that’s 0.03125 inches!) I think Mike is kinda over it, but I’m enjoying the adventure, and I hope Richard is too. Anyway, since we’re spending so much time on this, I thought I’d add more detail about what we’re doing.

cabinet plans cabinet plans

left: cabinet case plans and plywood cut plans for under-sink cabient; right: cabinet face plans for drawers

The cabinet cases are the easiest part. We’re using nice quality birch plywood here, which comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets. We’ve drawn up plans and cut lists so I check the plans and measure out (very carefully) where to make the cuts. Richard got a cool Festool circular saw that runs along a little track, which makes impressively straight, neat, accurate cuts and is very handy and portable. We use about one sheet of plywood per cabinet, depending on dimensions. Richard has built a wonderfully handy “cutting table” just for this purpose; it’s a criss-crossed grid of scrap wood that gets nibbled into by the saw with every cut; it’s big enough to support the 4×8 sheets of plywood but it’s also easily collapsible and can be packed away when we’re done with this project.

cutting table

a grid of scrap wood on top of sawhorses – perfect for cutting up big sheets of plywood. At the far end, our cabinet-making jig is sitting atop the super-flat work surface.

Richard also built a super-flat work surface that we use to do our joinery. The level of precision required for cabinets makes you realize that there is no truly flat surface anywhere in the workshop! The poured concrete floor is wavy, the tables are all slanted, nothing’s truly, entirely flat when you really need it to be perfect! We also made up some right-angle jigs that we use for clamping the cut pieces together at a (hopefully) perfect right angle while we join them. So, once the pieces are neatly cut, we move onto the flat surface and start cutting the biscuit slots with our new biscuit joiner. It’s a nifty little device that cuts little slots into the edges of the plywood, then you use flat little discs of compressed wood fiber to fit the pieces neatly together. It’s a super easy quick joint, though we’ve discovered it’s not the most precise method of joinery, and because it requires wood glue to hold the joint, it’s unfortunately impossible to back up and make adjustments if something doesn’t come out quite perfect. So we only use the biscuit joiner for the rougher work on the cabinet case. We also use pocket screws, in addition to the biscuit joints, which basically act as clamps to hold the joints steady while the glue dries, and just adds additional strength to the joints. For a 31.5″ long joint, we use about four biscuit slots and three pocket screws. This is my only photo (I’ve already posted this one previously, sorry!) showing the assembly of the cabinet cases:

cabinet making

cabinet sides are clamped to a right-angle jig while we glue the biscuit joints and screw in the pocket screws

The most challenging part of the cases is attempting to get everything put together at right angles. It turns out the plywood, while less prone to warping than solid wood (because of the alternating layers of wood with criss-crossed grain direction), still does warp, and that makes it pretty hard to get everything square, when each supposedly flat sheets has its own twisty, warpy, independent will! But we do the best we can.

Once the cabinet case is all done, then comes the face frame. This part requires more precision; for the cabinets with doors it’s got to be quite precise, so that the doors can swing open and shut without jamming or catching; and for the cabinets with drawers it has to be even more exact! We use solid beech wood for the face frames, .75″ thick by 1.5″ wide. Richard found that the 1.5″ stock available at the lumber store was awfully twisted and warpy, so we ended up buying 4″ wide boards (which just happened to be significantly straighter) and slicing every board in half on the band saw, then hand-planing them down to the perfect thickness. I’m learning how to use a plane and I think I’m getting better at it! It’s very easy to make things quite crooked with a hand plane; making them not-crooked is the challenge. We use a coarser plane first, then a finer plane for fine adjustments, a pair of calipers to make sure the thickness is correct (to within a sixteenth of an inch) and a little square to make sure the planed edges are square and flat.

building cabinets

hand-planing the cabinet face stock

Next step is using the mitre saw to cut these pieces to length. This has been problematic; our miter saw is supposed to be able to cut a perfect right-angle but the results have been unpredictable and we’ve struggled a lot to try and get the saw working with the level of precision we need. This weekend Richard just built another new jig that we hope will let us hand-plane the ends of the wood to achieve a perfectly square end.

Here are all the pieces of a cabinet face, some finished and some un-trimmed.

building cabinets

cabinet face under construction

Once the pieces are cut to size, we use a pocket-screw jig to pre-drill the screw holes. It’s a special kind of technique that screws the pieces together at an angle, going in from the backside. As long as your pieces are cut quite square, it’s a very easy joint to make. The result is a beautifully perfect joint without any screw heads or holes visible from the exterior!

building cabinets

pocket screw jig

building cabinets

angled holes for pocket screws

Here’s a finished cabinet face!

building cabinets

Again, we use pocket screws to attach the finished face frame to the cabinet case. Then comes the drawers and drawer slides! So far, Richard has been working on the drawer construction while we work on the other stuff. He’s been using a pinned rabbet joint with beautiful wooden pegs to construct the drawers. Then the drawer slides – I think this is the most difficult part of all! However crooked or out-of-alignment the cabinet construction is, Richard has to make up the difference by custom-fitting each drawer slide to compensate for the irregularity. We could’ve saved a lot of time by using metal hardware for the drawer slides, but we thought it would be a fun challenge, and a beautiful result, to do this with all wood, no hardware.

building cabinets building cabinets

left: screwing the cabinet face onto the case. right: Richard adjusts the fit of a drawer.

building cabinets

all-wood drawer sliders and homemade drawer stop mechanism

It means the sides of the drawers are clean looking, without metal slider tracks down the side, and it also means we maximize the usable drawer space – no storage area is lost to metal runners. It also means the runners have to be totally perfect to ensure the drawers slide smoothly – nothing worse than a drawer that gets stuck half-way open or shut. We apply a special wax on the wooden runners to make them slide nicely, and the finished function is absolutely great, even with a heavy drawer filled with silverware! Once the slides are all set, Richard planes down the drawer faces to fit perfectly. They’re cut slightly oversized to allow us to trim them to compensate for any slight imperfections in the construction of the cabinet face frame. Then, when all the woodworking is finally done, we sand the faces and give them two coats of primer and three coats of green paint, then tidy little wooden knobs. Here’s our finished drawers in use in the kitchen:

beautiful homemade drawers!

beautiful pinned rabbet joints. homemade drawers, hard at work in the kitchen!

The whole project has been kind of huge and exciting – it would have been a lot easier to buy ready-made cabinets, but I think we’ve saved some real money by doing it ourselves, and the result is SO beautiful, I am so totally delighted with the results and overflowing with pride every time I stop to take a good look at our cabinets! I feel like they really look so special and so much nicer than the average, and so perfect for us and our kitchen! So, how much more do we have left to go? We’ve got four cabinets completed and installed in the kitchen, two with doors and two with drawers. We’ve got another cabinet box and face complete on the workbench but lacking the drawers. Once we finish that one, we’ll need to do two more cabinets and that’s it! Then we can start working on the upper shelves, which Richard promises will be much easier! Here’s hoping it’s true! I can’t wait…


new ventilation system in the workshop


Posted: April 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: woodworking | Tags: , , , | No Comments »


a new ventilation system richard's workshop

the new dust-collection contraption

We’ve been spending so much time in Richard’s workshop in Gorham, building the cabinets, sawing and sanding away and generating great clouds of sawdust; Mike’s asthma seems to bother him out in the workshop and Richard’s gotten a cough out there too. So Rich decided it was past time to start installing a big ventilation system for the workshop. His plans for his beautiful workshop have always included installing a full-shop ventilation system with vent pipes running under the floor; the ultimate plan is to build a wood floor above the (current) poured-concrete floor and have the pipes running under the wooden floorboards and attaching to every stationary machine in the shop to gather up all the dust they generate. So his first step was to pick out a ventilation system, buy it and put it together! Richard spent all the cash and did all the work, we just hung around working on cabinets and occasionally helped him fit some of the tubing together. Eventually there will be a box built around the dust-collector, to reduce the noise. Anyway, all this is only tangentially relevant to our house renovation, but it is related since we do all of our woodworking in Richard’s workshop, with his help! Hopefully we’ll get to help out with building up the new floor in the shop, whenever that stage comes.


kitchen progress


Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, photos, progress, woodworking | No Comments »


here are some newer photos of the kitchen becoming more kitcheny and inhabited.

kitchen progress

feels like things have been moving slowly here, but we have been plugging away on the cabinets, bit by bit. Actually Richard is putting in a lot of hours on the cabinets – he’s building the drawers and we’re supposed to be doing the cabinet cases but we’ve fallen behind a bit. Tomorrow I will hopefully put in some good long hours in the workshop and get caught up!

cabinet on the workbench cabinet plans

working on cabinets

for the first set of drawers, Richard experimented with different construction techniques, each of these drawers is a bit different! We weren’t sure whether it would work to use wooden runners and forego the metal hardware. The benefit of runners is that they make your drawers move smoothly and easily (even if the drawer construction is a bit imprecise or imperfect); the drawbacks are that they’re kind of ugly, they’re kind of expensive and they reduce the size of the drawer. We talked it over and we really just love the simplicity and integrity of all-wood construction, without the ugly modern metal hardware, and since we’ve got Richard’s expert skills and we’re not mass-producing this stuff, we can attempt to make all of our drawers so tidy and perfect that they will slide easily on wooden runners without wheels. You can put a bit of special wax on the wooden runners to help the drawers slide more easily.

two new cabinets!

Judy and Paprika celebrating our new cabinets!

Here’s the first set of drawers, installed next to the beautiful sink cabinet! We did load up those drawers with heavy silverware and dishes and they still slide quite nicely. In this picture we had mis-matching drawer knobs on the drawers; we’ve since changed them all to the smaller size which looks much better! I ought to post a more recent photo here but the kitchen is a total mess at the moment so it’ll have to wait. Now that we’ve got the stove and sink installed and everything, I am so absolutely chuffed that I can finally COOK again, for real! It’s been almost a year since I had my own kitchen to cook in!! So I’ve been baking a bit, and really obsessed with making fruit smoothies every morning (I know that doesn’t sound like cooking, but when you have no countertops to cut on or sink to rinse fruits and clean up, it’s just not that easy to chop up fruits every morning!), and on a total pizza-making kick. We got a bread machine at a yardsale last year and I finally dusted it off and tried it out, it makes up some delicious pizza dough for me to play with. In general I feel like I’m just wildly appreciative of some really basic kitchen pleasures and amenities that one would ordinarily take for granted.

super spicy ginger valentine cookies morning smoothies, part 1

homemade pizza!

hooray for cooking again


cabinets


Posted: January 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, progress, woodworking | 4 Comments »


We had a tough time deciding what to do for cabinets. Thought about rescuing/restoring the old ones we found in one of the ruined apartments in our ell, but those were in bad shape, and kind of cheap and depressing to begin with. I did a bit of shopping around to mass-market cabinet places, home depot etc, and found absolutely all of the new cabinets to be really ugly and way too expensive. So, because we’re crazy, we decided to BUILD OUR OWN CABINETS instead! As if we didn’t have enough projects to work on.

building kitchen cabinets

starting the kitchen cabinets in my dad’s workshop

My dad is a very handy carpenter and has a nicely fitted-out woodworking shop that is just perfect for such a project. We set to reading all kinds of books and articles about cabinetry. Richard has a very organized collection of woodworking magazines that have advice and project directions and everything, and Mike got us some exhaustively detailed DIY cabinetry books. It was all kind of dizzying and overwhelming to me, but Richard is really in his element here, and he managed to sort out all the options and explain most of it to us. We now know the difference between dadoes and rabbets, pocket screws and biscuit joints, plywood and laminates, shaker style cabinets, colonial, modern, european, etc etc! Richard got to buy some fun new tools for his shop, and jumped right in to experimenting with different materials and joinery. We figured out what seemed like the easiest and most attractive construction, a super-simple shaker style cabinet with pocket screws and biscuit joints.

cabinet making

Richard and Mike at work on the first cabinet

It took us about a full weekend’s worth of work to get the first one, the under-sink cabinet put together. A lot of setting up workstations and jigs, drawing plans, spatial thinking and painstaking carefulness. I never could attain this degree of carefulness on my own, but that’s where Richard is helpful, he’s absoultely meticulous, as a carpenter should be.

cabinet plans cabinet making

cabinet plans, clamping everything

This project has honestly been one of the funnest parts of the whole house so far, it’s really exciting so far and it’s been so great to spend time in the shop with Richard, learning new stuff and making this amazingly beautiful and tidy thing. Hopefully it will be just as fun to finish the cabinets – we’ve only just begun, lots more work to go!

cabinet building!

mike drills in pocket screws for our first cabinet! This is the under sink cabinet on the workbench in my dad’s woodshop.


kitchen walls


Posted: January 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: excitement, kitchen, progress | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »


We took a big plunge and decided to hire a few contractors to help us get the kitchen up and running. We still want to try and do most everything ourselves, but it felt like a week or two of hired help could help us get a huge kick-start on the kitchen, just to get to the point where we can survive through the winter in here. Consulted our budget (ie. how much money we can borrow from my parents) and decided we could (just barely) afford to hire some help from a carpenter and a plasterer, to get the kitchen walls finished up quickly so we can move on to installing cabinets, counter, sink, all the good stuff! My dad had recently bumped into on old acquaintance named Lynn, a master carpenter who happened to be looking for new projects. And my sister Alicia recommended a plasterer friend, Laura, who had done some good work in their house and could help us whip up some kitchen walls. So we made some phone calls and… Voilà! December began with a house full of skilled tradesmen working away in our house. Lynn and Laura working on the kitchen while Nate and his helper worked away on the bathroom plumbing and basement drainpipes. We can’t afford to have them do a whole lot of work, but they can quickly get a lot of basics finished and get us further along the road! It was weird and fun to spend a few weeks with a crowd of workers in the house, we had to try and stay out of their way so they could work, and I was almost constantly employed in answering zillions of questions about “will you want to put some molding here” or “how do you want this wall to meet the ceiling” or “where should this pipe run” or “can I rip this out” or “should we plaster over this or go around it” etc etc! There were so many questions that we hadn’t thought about – it’s like a full time job just figuring out how to orchestrate and direct the contractors. At night when everybody had gone home, we’d drag two chairs into the empty kitchen and sit by the woodstove eating dinner on our laps, then in the morning we’d have to wake up super early to clear away everything from the kitchen again, drag the chairs and everything out of the worksite and start up the woodstove so it would start to get warm by the time everyone turned up for work. Then once it started snowing we had to clear and sand the driveway every morning so the work vans could get up the driveway. Mike had to stay in the bedroom to work most days, since his workday is filled with conference calls, can’t really do that in the middle of a construction site. The puppy made friends with all of the contractors and clambered all over them while they worked and tried to steal their lunches every day, but had to be locked up in the bedroom with Mike most of the time, or else she certainly would have chopped off the end of her pretty little nosy snout by getting it too close to a sawzall or a drill.

Lynn’s work in the kitchen was mostly getting everything totally finalized and prepared for hanging wallboard – in an old house, no walls are straight, no two wall segments line up quite properly, no doorway is straight, no two pieces of wood are on the same plane. There’s an infinite amount of little discrepancies to be evened out and tidied up. With a plane and impressive speed and skill, Lynn straightened out our doorways, replaced missing studs, missing bits of strapping, made walls level and plane and square, furred-out short bits and sawed off other bits, took out old broken wood and replaced it with new strong wood. We’d done our best to do the pre-wallboard preparation ourselves, but it was remarkable to see how many things we’d missed!

kitchen ceiling

1-inch insulation and strapping on the ceiling, all ready to hang blueboard.

Then Laura and Rick hung blueboard all over. Blueboard is a special wallboard that’s intended for plastering over. Here’s what the kitchen looked like with all the wallboard up – what a dramatic difference!

kitchen with blueboard

all done with insulating, now the blueboard is up, and all is ready to plaster!

Work got slowed down with Christmas and then a big snowstorm. Just before New Years, Laura and Rick started to put up the plaster, and finished up in the first week of the new year. The plaster is kind of a mysterious and magical thing. It starts as soup and ends up as rock-hard walls. They had a bit of a struggle to work on the ceiling and walls above our woodstove, as it’s blazing hot and dry up there, and the plaster needs to complete a chemical hardening process before all the water evaporates out of it. We had to spritz the walls lightly with a spray bottle for an hour or two after they finished, to make sure it didn’t dry out too quickly.

plaster in kitchen!

all done with plaster!

Laura grew up learning plastering from her father and her grandfather, who were plasterers too. She said when she was just little, she would do the bottom of the walls while her father and grandfather worked on the top part. These days plastering is much less common, most people just do wallboard now, but it works really well for an old, crooked house – it fits with the history of the house, and works nicely up against the exposed beams and it helps to fill in some odd gaps and smooth over some of the irregularities.

Back when we were in the destruction and gutting phase, we found this beautiful huge beam when we ripped out the old wall by the chimney. We’d originally imagined having cabinets along this wall, but then it seemed like a shame to cover up this amazing beam, so in the end we took a few days trying to figure out whether it made sense to do some carpentry and plaster magic to keep it exposed, or just cover it over for the sake of getting work done more quickly. In the end we decided to take the time to expose it and we are really happy with how it looks now!!

kitchen beam

before and after.

plaster in kitchen!

Historically speaking, this kind of exposed beams are not at all authentic, it has a fun old-timey look but the original house never would’ve had its beams showing like this. We think it looks cool anyway!

painting the ceiling priming the kitchen walls

priming the kitchen walls

So… early January and we’re ready to paint the walls! This felt like such a huge exciting milestone and we were SO pumped to get started!! but turned into a huge job because the fresh plaster absorbs a TON of paint. It took something like six gallons of primer to cover the whole kitchen. I also had to tape off and mask off ALL of those precious exposed beams, a hellishly tedious process that involved balancing on top of a ladder, sweating in the heat and weirdly contorted to reach the beams overhead, carefully taping along the edges of every beam while wood splinters fall down in my eyes.

painting the kitchen

taping the ceiling for painting is really annoying

color deliberations

color deliberations, part one

We went through some lengthy indecision about colors, we tested EIGHT different color swatches and ended up liking this light-blue color.

painting the kitchen

benjamin moore, yarmouth blue

judy helps with painting

judy helps with painting


kitchen inspiration


Posted: November 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: dreams, fun, kitchen | Tags: | No Comments »


we’ve been thinking hard about how to put the kitchen together… we realized that we both really aren’t into the look of a bank of store-bought cabinets, thinking about open shelving instead, not sure what to do under the counter. So anyway we came across this photo that we both love. Of course our kitchen doesn’t have brick walls, and luckily we do have big windows and lots of light, but anyway, i just dig the open shelves and the way a large open kitchen space becomes cozy and simultaneously tidily organized and informal. They have an island too, just like we’re going to. No idea where this image came from. Anyway now I want all those orange (red?) pots and pans!

hobbit kitchen


Weekend progress


Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: kitchen, slow progress | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »


stormy skies over Limington

it’s starting to feel like spring!

What else is new? I think we’ve finished removing all the lath from the kitchen! We had to break it and saw it away from the walls so we can get in there to run electrical wiring and insulate. It’s perfect for use as kindling in the woodstove; I sorted and boxed it up neatly to pack it away til the fall. Did lots of clean-up and organizing that’s made the place feel more civilized and house-like; our work spaces had gotten completely chaotic with all the destruction and debris and activity and no place to store things. I got a cheapo wire shelving unit to help hold some clutter, and we dragged in a work bench from the ell to use for storage and work space in the dining room which has become our de facto workshop room. We dismantled the cabinets from one of the apartments in the ell, we will clean those up and refinish them and use them for our new kitchen. Dragged the counter tops and sink off to the dump. Found a rickety set of four bar stools at the dump and brought them home. It was a good week for free stuff; we also found a cool wooden crate (dated 1905) in the dump, found a sweet little old wooden chair by the side of the road with a “free” sign, and on craigslist we found a free working electric organ! It’s a really kitschy 1970′s looking thing, it’s no piano but it is pretty hilarious to look at and fun to play with- we plugged it in and it really plays!

boxes of kindling we got a free organ

kindling boxes, our new electric organ!

We also stopped by Pete’s Place salvage yard in Hollis and got a few extra storage crates, they’re beautiful old wooden soda crates, and a vintage wire card rack for me to sell my cards at craft fairs. It’s pretty fun having a pickup truck and a whole empty house to fill up!!

pete's place salvage in Hollis

pete’s place salvage in Hollis

Pulled up the carpeting in the area that will become our new bathroom, and knocked out some of the back wall there. Mike mowed the lawn for the first time! And stapled down most of the invisible dog fence line that runs around the property perimeter. Now we need to start the tedious process of training the beasts to understand and respect it. And… I did some more work on the kitchen planning. I’ve been working on some floor plans but I felt like we needed to see a sketch of what the room will actually look like… it’s a hack job but this is what I’ve got so far. Don’t laugh!

kitchen rendering

And… the rhubarb patch is starting to look pretty impressive! Time for pie, really soon.

mike & rhubarb old tractor

rhubarb and blackflies, mike & dogs in the back yard


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