Hidden Bend Retreat, Romney West Virginia

Romney, WV

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Siding Started

Donna and I have started putting up the board and batten siding on the guesthouse- good news is that we're still talking to each other after two full days of work. Here are some pictures. First one shows the end of the building while the post jack style scaffolding was in place- the scaffolding was borrowed from the people that did the framing on the house.

Donna checking out the siding install

Next picture shows the end after the soffit and the trim was completed and the scaffolding was taken down.

One end completed!

Here's a shot of the back, we finished about 2/3's of the back and hope to finish more tomorrow.

Siding on back nearly done
Painters are due back either tomorrow or on Thursday and hopefully will be finished this week. We were notified the wood for the flooring is ready as well so will try to get it delivered late on Friday or on Monday so it can set in the house a day or two before we have it installed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Patti & the Pacas

Patti and Zach were there this weekend for a visit, was nice to have them in town. Next time, they'll be able to use the guesthouse we hope.

Here's a picture of Patti on the deck taking a look at some of the alpacas as they grazed in the back yard- second shot is one of Pepe as he hangs around too.

Patti watching Delorean and Hershey


Patti treated us to a trip on the Potomac Eagle train ride- fall colors were nice but we may have been a week early for the best color?We saw a couple of bald eagles but didn't get any pictures this time.

Drywall Complete, Doors Going Up!

PeeWee Sites and his crew finished up the drywall in the guesthouse and everything looks good. Donna and I have started installing the interior doors and will get all the window casing in place this week. Plan is to hand the house back to PeeWee for painting next week. We've decided to go with a professional on the painting both for speed and sure it will look nicer. We won't install the baseboards until the floors are in but they will paint them so they will be ready to use with just a bit of touch up after they go on.

The wood for the exterior board and batten siding arrived yesterday as well so there is no shortage of material now to keep us busy. Hope to have a few nice days next week to start the siding. First step will be to install a pump type jack for a walkboard that will let us do the ends of the house without having to use so many ladders- should be interesting?

Here's a picture of one of the bedrooms, main door on the left and a louvered door on the right for the closet- Will put the casing around the closet doors today.

Front bedroom doors installed

Nice from the HVAC company will most likely be back today or tomorrow to try and finish up- would be nice to have the heat as it has turned cold here- low 30's in the mornings now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Nick spent a few hours today working in the crawlspace to set the HVAC unit in place and to run the ductwork. Plan is to come back next week and set the outside unit, finish up the ducting and fire everything up.

HVAC in crawlspace
One other exciting bit of news, the power company hooked up the house power yesterday so we have one outlet up and running, no more generator!

Front Porch Poured

Dan and Jacob from Dan's Concrete Finishing poured the front concrete porch this morning. They placed rebar throughout the 8'x36' porch for strength, then did the pour and finish. We removed the forms later in the day and it looks great. Should be ready for use today.

Rebar in place

Pour started

First finishing step

Troweling the porch

Almost done

Insulation & Drywall Progress

More progress on the insulation and drywall. The drywall for the attic was blown in on Monday- this is about 10" thick and provides R-38 coverage. Here are a couple of pictures.

Insulation trailer with blower

Insulation hopper

Insulation being blown in to attic

A lot of progress on the drywall as well. The second coat of mud was applied. One more final coat to go along with texturing on the ceilings.

Stacy on stilts

Living/Dining area

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Insulation & Drywall

The insulation for the interior walls was installed last week and yesterday, the drywall team arrived to hang the drywall. Pretty amazing to watch the installers work- there were two of them and they did the entire house including the ceilings in one day. The only glitch was they thought the electric had been installed so didn't bring a generator to power their screw guns.

Not surprisingly, neither of my two generators would start without about an hour or two of carb cleaning and replacing the old gas. Modern gas with ethanol is a killer for small engines, especially when they don't get regular use. PeeWee Sites, the owner of the drywall company helped me take the engine apart and get it going, a real small town approach that was appreciated. He knew what he was doing and I learned a few things and hopefully will be able to get my log splitter running now.

Back to the house, here's a picture after the insulation was up and the drywall was started. The insulators are due back today to blow in the ceiling insulation, this will be R38 and the builders have been kidding us that we should be able to heat with candles, lol. They will also finish up in the crawlspace ceiling so the house will be entirely surrounded by insulation. The HVAC guys were here last week as well and installed the air handler unit in the crawlspace, completed the cold air return (you can see these in the second picture below), and cut the holes in the floors for all the registers. They will be back this week to set the outside unit and to complete the ducting in the crawlspace to distribute the heat. Hopefully, we'll have the electric turned on soon- power company is saying that should be done this week which will make things a bit easier.

Insulation completed and drywall going up

This is looking from the front door through the living/dining area.

Here's a shot back towards the hall and bedrooms.

Walls nearly done

The two people that did the drywall were very impressive. One was a woman only about 5' tall but she was the main helper and used the screw gun on all the panels as they went up. I learned a lot from watching them, for the most part, they would cut a large panel to fit an area, then tack it up with drywall nails covering all the boxes for fixtures, doors, windows, or anything else. After the panel was tacked up, he used a router type rotary tool with a spiral cutting bit to plunge through the panel, the run it around the fixture using the box as the template for the hole. After the piece was cut out, a couple of taps with a hammer and there was a perfect fit for the drywall around the box. No measuring or being off by a bit- as long as the first plunge was inside the box to be cutout, he could then find the edges to use as the guide. Then they would put in the screws to hold the panel in place.

They also used large panels of drywall cutting out doors and windows but eliminating a lot of the seams that would have remained if the areas had been pieced- this should make the finish process much easier and less time consuming. This resulted in a lot of waste from the large 4'x12' sheets of drywall but will result in a better finish. The finishers will be here today to put on the first coat of drywall tape and mud. Think it will take about 3 coats to finish it all up and if the weather allows the mud to dry quickly, should be done by the end of the week.

Next up after the walls are completed will be painting all the ceilings and walls and installing the doors and trim. Once that is done, we'll get the flooring started. I've talked with the hardwood floor installer and he's ready to go- the flooring is being milled at the sawmill and will hopefully be ready sometime late this week or early next. We found some remnant pieces of vinyl flooring last weekend to use in the two bathrooms and the utility room so will put that down once the painting is completed.

We still don't have the board and batten siding for the house- our sawmill has been having some trouble getting the white pine needed for the siding from his supplier but should be on track for this week as well. The siding can go up when ever there are nice days to work outside and it won't hurt the house to not be covered right away.

More after the drywall finishing starts and the porch concrete is poured on Wednesday.

Guesthouse Progress, Driveway and Temporary Stairs

Haven't posted for a few days but there has been a lot of progress on the guesthouse. After the grading was finished, we had a load of gravel delivered to make a driveway next to the house and repair some of the areas in our existing driveways after the utility trenches were finished.

Here's a shot of me working to smooth out the gravel.

Dave working on the driveway

And here's a picture of the temp stairs we added to the back of the house. Eventually we plan to put a deck here and will use the stairs to reach the deck. Wanted to get these in place because we will be pouring the concrete for the front porch this week so need an alternative way in and out of the house while the concrete sets up. I also added some mulch to make a path from the driveway as we've had a lot! of rain the last few days.

Temporary stairs for back door

Next post about the interior work that was done last week.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Guesthouse Trenching and Grading Completed

Danny and Josh from Parks Excavators arrived on Friday and were able to get the outside work finished so the Guesthouse is ready for it's rough-in inspection on Monday. They dug the trench for the water connection to our existing well. Here are a couple of pictures, the run was about 250'.

Well Trench

Almost to the driveway near well

These next pictures show the trench for the electric line that will run to the closest pole. The gray conduit was laid in the hole and a rope was put through the conduit so the electric company will be able to pull the actual wire for the service entrance from the pole to the house. Hoping this will take place next week but might be in the following week.

From electric pole to house

Electric trench

Here are some shots after the final grading was completed. They took the front yard area down about 18" or so and it really made a difference. House sits about level with the road grade and you don't have the high swales to climb when you walk to the house. All the trenches are closed except for a small area down by the well where the plumbers will make the main water connection.

Front view from road
From driveway

Back of house- crawlspace entrance on left

All in all, a big day of progress. I was really impressed with the excavators, they really knew how to use their equipment and it was amazing how smooth/complete they were able to do the yard using only the heavy equipment. They did bring in a bulldozer to make the work of cutting down the front yard much easier.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chicken and Bread from the Oven

We cooked pizza on Sunday evening, the used the residual heat on Monday morning to cook a beer can chicken and some bread. Here's the chicken.

Almost done!
Ready to go

Here's the bread, these are peasant type loaves with garlic and herbs for extra flavor. The bread recipe is really simple and uses mainly white flour but has a half cup each of rye and whole wheat flour added.

Ready to bake

Fresh from the oven

The oven was still nearly 500 degrees on Monday morning and it was still at 225 degrees on Tuesday afternoon- would have been a good chance to have cooked a brisket if we'd had one on hand to replace the brisket disaster of a few weeks back.

Electric and Plumbing Progress

The rough-in electric on the guesthouse is completed and the plumbing rough-in is well under way. Not a lot of pictures but here are a couple of the tubs and showers after they have been set and plumbed.

Here's the main electrical panel.

Today, we have a few odds and ends to finish up to get ready for the contractor to dig the two trenches to connect water and electric and general clean up so the final grading of the site can be finished. Hope to have that done on Thursday or Friday. Plumbers will be back to finish on Thursday and if all goes well, we'll be getting the rough in inspection on Friday or Monday of next week.