Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Plank (and Dry Wall) Progress Report

We've just about finished putting in the cedar planks in the North half of our house. And the dry wall. Whew! Today the crew started to add the tape and joint compound in effort to prep for the primer coat and plaster. Here's a shot of the loft area. That's the ram board on the floor to protect the new hardwood floor.

Another view of the loft. It took some time to cut those planks around all the light fixtures and sky lites.

Here is the little nook. The dry wall and ceiling is in.

Here's a view of the bedroom just below the loft. Yeah--dry wall here, too.

Dry wall in the ceiling way above in the water closet for the kid's bathroom.

Here's the area just above the kid's bath tub/shower area. These planks have been coated with a marine sealant.

A view of the closet wall in our master bedroom going in. We decided to continue the cedar on the inside of the closet, but not white wash it like the ceiling. The wall you see here will actually be inside our closet.

Here's another view of the cedar-lined wall that will be inside of our closet.

Here's just a little peek at the ceiling in our kitchen. More of these planks went in today while I've been at work, so I can't wait to see how they look.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Natural Wool Insulation: Not a Baaaad Option

Just a short note to mention one of our new favorite eco-friendly finds: natural wool insulation. Because our ceiling is covered in cedar T&G planks, we had the option of using wool fibers. While you can purchase natural wool in rolls similar to the traditional fiberglass insulation, using the unrolled wool was nearly half the cost and just as good. Hands down, wool is not only a completely recyclable, renewable resource, but it's one of the best insulators on the planet. In fact, after doing some research on the Internet, we were amazed at its additional perks, especially the ability to prevent condensation, breakdown indoor air pollutants and absorb sound. We ordered our wool from Oregon Shepherd. If you're interested, please check them out at: www.oregonshepherd.com. I copied some info from their site here.

Why Use Wool?

There are many natural insulation products available today, so why would you choose wool, or more specifically, Oregon Shepherd’s wool insulation products.

Since 8,000 BC, sheep have been able to adapt to even the harshest of environments; their wool protects them through hot, cold, damp and dry seasons. Because of their crimped nature, when wool fiber is packed together, it forms millions of tiny air pockets which trap air, and in turn serves to keep warmth in during winter and out in the summer.

The crimp in the wool fiber forces each strand to bump up against each other, as opposed to lining up side by side or laying down flat together. This keeps the tiny air pockets intact, acting as little insulators — the key to being able to keep you both warm and cool.

The unique advantage of wool as an insulator is the NATURE of the fiber.

  • It absorbs and desorbs moisture, it heats and cools as this process takes place. Wool therefore can absorb moisture in your house, preventing condensation.
  • It has plastic memory, not that there is any plastic in wool, but rather that technical description is used to explain the “crimp”; the ability to retain the shape it was in before it left the sheep.
  • The energy required to produce our insulation is less than 10% of that required to produce traditional insulation materials.
  • Wool can absorb and breakdown indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
  • Wool is a sustainable and renewable resource; every year our sheep grow a new crop.
  • Wool is completely recyclable; at the end of its life as insulation it can be remanufactured, reused, or biodegraded.
  • Wool is an excellent absorption medium of sound waves; its inherent qualities provide much more acoustic insulation than traditional insulation in similar applications.
  • While wool is generally fire resistant, our wool is treated with a 100% natural solution of organic materials that provide unequaled fire and vermin resistance. These materials are bonded chemically to the wool fiber, not merely “glued on” as in most other insulation products.

Here's a pic of our bedroom ceiling going in. Because our ceiling rafters are not very big, we were limited on the type of insulation we could use. That is, we had to get the biggest R value (insulation measurement) in the smallest amount of space. We first sprayed a three to four-inch layer of Foam It Green insulation, which has an extremely high R rating. It accomplishes in two inches what traditional fiberglass insulation does in six to eight inches. Then, in the space remaining, we're stuffing in the wool fibers. It's all done by hand and kept in place by the ceiling planks.  

The Ceiling Is Going In....Plank by Plank

Our last big flat bed truck load of materials arrived a couple of weeks ago and included in the mix was our 8-inch western red cedar T&G planks. We opted to go with the cedar because it's renewable, has natural resistance to decay and insects (including termites), and is naturally mildew resistant. Plus, it smells incredible and looks amazing. Because I'd like to stick with a very light, bright, neutral palette, we also decided to white wash them, choosing Benjamin Moore's white Linen diluted 1:1 with water. This pic is an inspiration photo. Since our new space is entirely vaulted, we'll be placing our planks on the ceiling, but they also look pretty cool on the wall.

This plank ceiling looks nice and rustic and appears more gray. It's a nice juxtaposition with the white walls and warm toned farmhouse table.

I love this ceiling, too. And for awhile, considered going very dark with our wood floors.

This plank looks a bit more rustic and is a nice match with the material used on the bath tub, which is from Waterworks.

Another pretty ceiling. I'm loving this color palette. So relaxing.

Now, back to our reno. Here is a shot of the ceiling planks going in our son's new bedroom.  That lower window is the transom, which goes above the pocket french doors leading to the kids' bathroom. My plan was to allow for as much natural light to bounce around in here as possible. Hence, the decision to white wash the ceiling and install as many skylites as possible. This room used to be a cave.

Here's a look at the area just above our son's sleeping nook. More planks. And that little square cut-out is actually a "secret" hatch that offers a short cut up into our upstairs loft area. With this angle, you're getting a sneak peek at the built-in bed we've started to craft using the front door from our "old" house. We kept the door knocker and peep hole just for fun. To create the structure of the bottom of this bed nook, we're planning to use the lower half of our old kitchen island. It has some nice built-in cabinetry and shelves for storage, so fingers crossed this works out. You'll notice we sanded the door lightly and I'm thinking of painting it, but the worn look is just so interesting, we might just keep it. What do you think? The texture reminds me a little bit of an old leather bomber jacket.  

Ah, our old bathroom got just a tidbit of the ceiling planks when we installed the "loft" just above it. It adds some architectural interest that this room lacked before. What you don't see are the vapor barrier under these planks and the sound-proofing insulation. That should keep it a little quieter down here when kids are upstairs running around. And we still have to coat these planks with a marine sealant since they are right above our shower.

Here's another snippet of the ceiling just outside the bathroom. This little nook used to be the entrance into the second bedroom, but we closed it off to use the space for our new stackable washer/dryer. Again, we included soundproof insulation in this space to keep things quiet.

After our ceiling is installed, we'll be adding 4X4 beams at four foot intervals. I've been flummoxed by what color the beams should be: natural, white, gray, stained or a more brown color wash? I would have loved to use old, reclaimed wood, but these beams were way too pricey. I do like the look of these beams shown above and below. How do you think they'd look with our white-washed cedar planks? 

Love this color palette.

Love these beams. Wonder if we can achieve this look by painting our beams. The new wood is far too orange-yellow, so perhaps a stain or paint would work to get this weathered, time-worn wood tone. While we're busily white-washing more planks in the driveway this weekend (we only have a few hundred left to go!), we'll also try experimenting with some color options for the 4x4s. I'll report back later.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Escondido and Solana Beach, Calif Shopping Inspiration

It was my stepdaughter's graduation from high school this past Friday, so we sent the dogs to the Pooch Hotel (for a luxurious stay in the presidential suite—a stay we won at our elementary school auction) and we spent the weekend in San Diego County. I think our dog's hotel room was nicer than ours--but no matter. I got to shop at some fabulous shabby antique shops, such as the Urban Barn in Escondido, Calif. The prices were pretty reasonable. And I got so many great ideas! Take a look. This pic above shows how great old reclaimed wood looks next to a white chandelier and a mirror.

The pillows piled a top this cute dresser were made with Rachel Ashwell fabric. Pretty. And the dresser is just a pretty gray color I'd like to duplicate somewhere in our home decor.

There is so much crammed into a small space, you have to stand and stare for awhile to take it all in.

This shot just shows you the size of this place. Out the back is the outdoor/garden area.

Who knew an old ladder hung from the ceiling could look so interesting. Where could I put this? Hmmm.

Good ol' drop cloth curtains. They are heavy, made of cotton and just have a lovely shabby look.

Another vignette in there somewhere.

One of the back rooms at the Urban Barn. I took this shot because I loved the ruffles on those curtains. Not sure if these are drop cloth, too or just linen. But so pretty.

I was loving this old cast iron bath tub. But don't have any place for that.

If you're interested to check it out, the Urban Barn is located at 155 W. Crest in Escondido 92025. (760) 743-7225.

We spent Sunday morning (quickly) walking down Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, Calif.  It's a design district and is chock full of decor and vintage shops. I love to get ideas just from looking at the design of the quaint store fronts, such as this one at House Vintage. Some of the shops—including this cute one—are closed on Sundays. But I liked taking a peek from the outside anyway.

How cute is that door?

My daughter is into mermaid's right now. So, we had to take a pic of the mermaid sign.

Interesting signs (and one with yet more mermaids) and assorted junk.

There are a few garden shops as well. I love the layering of the plants as shown here. And that fountain planter in the background.

I like the rocks and drought tolerant plants shown here layered on the slope.

And here...

And somebody got really creative with some drift wood to build this horse.