Our house still feels very new to us, even though we have now spent three Christmases in it. When we built the house, there were a couple of features we knew we would postpone and do later.
(One was the handicap accessible bathroom. My mother is paralyzed. When they came to visit at our old house, they couldn’t stay because her wheelchair would not fit down the tiny hall to the only bathroom – nor would it fit in there. In designing this home, which we hope is our forever home, we decided to make the downstairs guest bath handicap accessible.That way, in our dotage, we would have one if needed on the first floor – we could bathe the dogs in it easily, and my parents could have a comfortable place to stay. But to do this at the initial building stage would involve ADA guidelines and a lot of expense for something that might get used once every couple of years by my parents….it added a lot to the expense of the house. So we just had them leave an emtpy room, roughed in plumbing wise, and we did it ourselves later. The roll in shower was the key thing we wanted. And over the years, it has been very useful. It is easy to wash the dogs. Being near the laundry room and back door, boys can come in muddy from swimming in the pond or playing in the creek and quickly shower, I can drag all the overwintering plants that are living in the foyer to the shower and water them en massse…etc. To see photos and pics, view the house blog here: This New House.)
The other big project was the wood stove When we lived in the old house, we primarily relied on the wood stove to heat our home. It was necessary in a drafty old house with almost no insulation. The new house has been built with energy star specifications – it is very tight, and overly insulated. But we knew we would still miss our woodstove. As a transplant from Texas, I need heat.
We had an alcove built into the house for the wood stove The man about the place has traveled quite a bit around the world, and liked wood stoves that were on raised hearths – that way you look into the fire when you are seated, and it is easier to load. Someday, when we are aged, we will be glad not to have to bend down and load the wood stove. I wanted round river rock – which is pretty hard to find around here – stacked stone and flagstone are much more the trend right now. But we did find some, and the project is underway.
Building up the hearth – we are using Tennessee flagstone for the floor, hearth top, and the narrow supports. Only the arched surround will be river rock.
It hasn’t been too messy. The work is done in small stages, as things progress. The river rock is the hold up. It was supposed to be in by Christmas, but hasn’t arrived. So the man about the place and the mason are just doing everything else in small bits – Once the river rock arrives, it should go quickly. Cannot wait for that radiant warmth!