Trip was to pick out doorbell button (really down to details now), try out mattresses, pick a new lunch spot, measure hanging length of mudroom stair lamp, drop off kitchen TV and mount at Greggs, see the freshly graded yard and stonework, and other general progress in the house. Oh, and ride the elevator! John got the first ride.
Biggest change this week is the final grading of the site. Chris Martin scraped the northern yard of all the weeds and spread the topsoil mound that Phil Callan had left at original site clearing. Not much more than a veneer of topsoil. We will be bringing in much more for a real base to grow the no-mow fescue. Gregg brought in more driveway base and framed out the front drive that the truck is sitting on.
Schoolhouse Lighting lamps look great installed. Realizing height of lamp is not only consideration. Lights were centered on island so a little close when working on the island. At home lamps are much lower but set over raised rear part of island so not near work area.
Computer desk that Harry Meyer built for computer room. More for my review at this stage. Will be removed from wall cleats and finished with polyurethane. Much better solution than trying to buy something given orientation of door and need to have that 45 degree end.
And tested a lot of beds at Sleepy’s. Our crew are great mattress testers! Any excuse to nap.
Family was on extended tour of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana so TR came up late on Friday night and stayed until Sunday afternoon. Criss-crossed the Berkshires from Richmond to Williamstown and several loops of Richmond, GB and Lenox. Beautiful weather with only a few passing clouds.
Saturday hit Fosters Hardware for doorstops, Bikeand Board for bicycle chain oil, Lamplighter for wall scone ideas, 20 Railroad for dinner, SoMa for ice cream, Caffe Pomo D’Oro for breakfast, Hancock Shaker Village for parlor wall storage ideas, Bartletts for cinnamon donuts, Richmond Post Office to discuss mailbox install, Mickey’s house on Stockbridge Bowl, Harrison Gallery for the John MacDonald artist reception and Berkshire Mall to hit Best Buy for TV dimensions. That and some quiet hang out time at the property.
This is a John MacDonald print I bought. His new paintings were impressive but the price point is not doable at this point in project. These are digital woodcuts. He paints white on black paper. Then scanned. Then colors are attributed digitally to background and to all the strokes of the original artwork. Much more definition than his earlier woodcuts of several years ago.
Third print. This one was not in stock so I will pickup on a future visit.
Had been awhile since we had been up. Mom Dad and I went up early on Saturday. Kim stayed behind prepping for Katie’s Sat night gathering at our house for her friends. We first stopped at Foster’s in GB to order 45 Top Knobs bin pulls M360, and 36 shaker knobs M376 all in brushed satin nickel. Then up to Richmond. Below see the beautiful powder room vanity that Harry made from David Potter’s design. Handy to have a wood shop set up in the basement. Kim picked this Finnish soapstone (look and feel of granite) at Akdo in Bridgeport. Al Doyle found a piece at a Connecticut fabricator and made this top out of it. Lower right we have two of Harry’s decorative windows in with four more to go. Four frames await the separate glass window panels.
Starting to have some rooms with finish paint. John’s Stratton Blue and Computer Room Quincy Tan are done and look stellar. Another pop was the upstairs hall bath below right which has its tile (Lanca) installed. Vanity and top are in. Just needs its final coat of Saybrook Sage and a glass shower surround.
Another example of the level of extra hand work necessary to pull together finished walls and builtins. Not just stuffing boxes in walls. Here we had Great Northern build an armoire closet to the left and two upper cabinets. A corner cabinet would have only given us some cubby shelves and would have cost $900 or so. Instead, Gregg’s guys added a panel to the corner, added moulding treatment to match the living room panel and staircase panel. Nice to have this repeat through the lower level (see panels in sitting room between master and sitting room). Harry built the cherry seat and tapered legs. All will be white except for poly on the cherry to make it “pop”. Lower right is the media area in living room. This took a lot of handwork and rejiggering of wiring in this area. Niles keypad, fireplace switch, outlets needed to be recessed in the side panels which Gregg’s guys had to add on to the upper and lower cabs.
Another neat item was the installation of the Cablerail. This product is a break the budget item but it is a very high quality product, all stainless or aluminum that will not rust. Any normal railing would block the view and be much more of a distraction. The horizontal cable is really taut. Gregg’s guys have used this product many times and are experts at installation. Install was a little tricky with the fiberglass columns. They had to drill through each column and use a wire capture mount that then got a cap. Then on the 90 degree face drill through to continue with the railing. Lots of little white caps everywhere.
Lot of tile progress in the master bath. All Durango (travertine). Floor is in. Countertop is in. Shower floor is in and walls are going in. Al Doyle has installed the black granite surrounds and hearths for both living room and parlor fireplaces.
After the visit, we went by the Rubin house on Stockbridge Bowl. They are in process of moving in. Looks great. Since we were close to Lenox we went by a restaurant that Gail Mullin had recommended called Alta. Wine bar and restaurant. I spoke to the gentlemen greeting arrivals and learned that he was the owner. Another of the many French men married to American women who come to Berkshires to open a restaurant. Aurelian Telle used to be a chef at Wheatleigh. Beet, arugala, apple, roquefort salad was worth coming back for as was the personality of the owner.
Finish looking like July 4th to me. No real rush.
Spring time means back to work cleaning up the woods. John, Charles and I were up early and drove up to Richmond on Sunday. Checked the weather and it was supposed to be 85 in Westchester and 75 in Richmond. But it turned out to be 83 in Richmond so was a hot day to be pulling logs and branches out of the woods. Charles was the most active worker employing his strength to push over dead tree trunks and drag big limbs out of the woods. We made several large piles for future wood chipping. We had been waiting on the interior doors with glass to be delivered. See below.
Kitchen detailing is a wrap. Harry did a stellar job piecing together all the trim pieces around the cabinets. Just waiting on Kim’s knob choice. Tob Knobs matte brushed nickel finish. Deciding between two. Ordered 125 wooden knobs from Kevin and Dale at Foster’s Hardware on Bridge Street in GB.
Double oven went in. Thin profile vent above range top went in. Induction cooktop is the only remaining appliance to go in.
Another long awaited item was the punching out of the window openings in the light well. Each of these gets a custom made frame and window made by Harry. Harry has prepared black painted drywall and thick insulation pieces so that when you look at the windows you don’t see attic structure and the windows are back insulated to save heat loss. Of course, if we finished the attic we could open the backs of these windows to let more light into the attic hallway and east storage room which would make a great art studio with light then on 4 sides. Below is the stack of six window sashes.
Bit of tile got done. This is the mudroom where we wanted a less finished look. And wanted a stone look. This is porcelain. Little darker than expected but looks great. Laundry room floor is in with so called “green” tile. Manufacturer recycles material. Product happens to be sage green and matches really well with Ben Moore Saybrook Sage. Gregg’s guys had punched a hole in the laundry room wall for the laundry chute . In upstairs side hall there is a window bench and a vertical cabinet. Top half is for storage and bottom half is the laundry chute drop.
This is view of interior of kitchen pantry with chute in the corner. The laundry chute door is in the laundry room behind this wall. There will be open storage cab to the left of this chute with shelves going to the ceiling. With the chute, the window and space for a refrigerator there is not a lot of storage space. But will make the room seem a little less crowded and we generated a bunch of wall storage in the sidehall coat closet. It was deep enough to have 54 inches wide floor to ceiling shelving behind the closet rod. So deep storage items, pots, paper towels, can go there and foodstuffs can go in the pantry.
Took John Kim and Mom and Dad to Richmond. They were back from 3 months in Florida and got to see a lot of progress. Gregg has a large crew on site including his crew, Tammy and kids dropping off our mudroom tile. Harry Meyer was doing the finish work in the kitchen and we are very much looking forward to his making our vanity, mudroom bench and other items that will have a real bang. Chris, Jim W. and Jim J., and Sanjiban Sellew were on site as well. The builtins are a real handfull. Guys are making bases for the lower builtins that will be covered in baseboard moulding. David Potter came by and we discussed the Parlor cabinet wall that will likely be a later summer addition.
You can see below that the kitchen is really coming along. Honed black granite countertops are all in and seamed. We wanted the muted look rather than the shiny jet black look. Harry and Gregg expertly located the refrig cabinet to give the frig door room to open to allow all the vegetable bins and ice bin to be removed. Harry also recrafted the below right upper cabinet above the desktop. Superior made the cabinet with the incorrect bottom and it needed to be redone to allow a TV to fit underneath stowed. It will be on a swing arm. The blue tape is the stopgap for opening drawers and doors. After this visit we went to GB to Foster’s Hardware where they had a big selection of knobs and pulls. Looking for a satin finish stainless look to match the appliances. Bin pulls on drawers and knobs on doors. In the bedrooms we will use painted wooden knobs on doors and two painted knobs on wide drawers.
Took Mom and Dad up to the insulated attic. Also got to show the crew the upstairs of the garage now that a rough staircase is in. John’s room below with lower cabs and bases in. In the parlor the floor is finally in and the guys are 2/3rds done on the mantle. Al Doyle is fabricating the honed granite stonework for the fireplace surround and the hearth.
Here is Mom up in the attic. Below right is another Well-Kamp project on Stockbridge Bowl. Modern, tile walls in very modern tile with intricate surface pattern, high gloss cabinets, monumental stone fireplace wall and matching finish on outside wall. Felt like a high finish commercial installation. I am sure that the furnishings will be spectacular. John was wowed by the whirlpool tub filler in the ceiling! Pretty impressive.
And the really neat item. The finished stair railing with balusters. Very very neat.
TR had wanted to go up but did not want to be away. But John was game to go so at 11:30 he Kim and I headed up in our trusty Prius. We hit Four Brothers in GB for lunch picked up the Corian samples at Gregg’s and then to the house. It was a quiet trip up and a beautiful blue sky day after a grey winter. This photo shows the masonite and strapping wall treatment. This will be painted white along with the wall. Larger rectangle can hold a painting. Fireplace surround and hearth to get similar honed granite to the kitchen counter. Did not make sense to use exact stone as kitchen counter is 1.5″ thick and fireplace material only needs to be 3/4″. Al Doyle would have had to burn up several diamond blades to cut away the excess material. Material is hard stuff.
Highlight of the visit was seeing the 11 foot black granite honed matte finish countertop. Al Doyle and crew of Berkshire Stone Works did a beautiful job. Need to pick drawer pulls and knobs. Two pieces of countertop at sink and drop in range need to be joined.
Last visit we had no builtins on site. This visit it seemed like a 100. Also seemed that house was close to finishing but it will take a while to install all these builtins. To economize we ordered standard cabs that can be installed in framed openings and then tied together visually with molding. But leveling, attaching to wall will take awhile. Could take a couple guys couple weeks to finish. Followed by lots of moulding, then trim paint, then floor finishing then final paint then done. To add to the dozens of cabinets Gregg had received the shipment for the closet systems from Proclosets.com came as well. These are the white melamine shelves and hanging rod storage systems. These systems are designed and ordered online and those specs are fed to automated machinery that cuts all the parts. There must have been forty boxes from Proclosets. Looked like quite the puzzle to put together.
Passed on the huge builtin refrigerator and picked the largest conventional frig we could find. Big savings. Plan was to buy simple frig for kitchen pantry for beverages, excess storage. Combination still much less cost then a SubZero built in. But for now as an economy move, and yes it is possible to live with one frig , we sent the second frig back. We went with full depth rather than the counter depth that costs several cubic feet. Gregg narrowed the wall behind the frig so that it sets further back.
Master vanity is made up of seven pieces. Two end drawer units in white, two cherry vanities and four four inch cherry veneer spacers. Will get a Durango stone top to match the floor. Shaker beige walls (Ben Moore HC series)
Wrapped up a new comprehensive insurance policy with Jeff Pitcher of AJ Benet that will add the Richmond house. Builder’s Risk policy expires April 15. Tim M was kind enough to arrange for an extension but it was more efficient to wrap the house into one policy now. Pitcher said that it would cost more to insure the Suburban in Mass than New York. So in this insurer’s (not Jeff, the carrier) infinite wisdom, a truck that would be stored in Mass with limited weekend use in an area with virtually no traffic, should cost more to insure with that set of facts then driving around Westchester, NY on a daily basis. Hmmm.