getting our second wind...

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It's been a good week at the house. In fact, it's been a good couple of weeks now. Your words of encouragement and support, and the stories of your own renovation nightmares that you left after my last post were very encouraging, and made us realize we were not alone... we are so sorry that most of you can relate, but we thank you for telling us your stories.

After our three month project hiatus since moving in (I had underestimated the physical and emotional impact of moving and unpacking 225+ boxes, and trying to settle in and starting to decorate...), we have gotten our second-wind and are moving forward. All of the contractors that we have hired have brought a respect for the house and us, and a good, positive energy. You might not think that the person you hire to repair shingles on the house can radiate positive energy, or that it would even matter. But he can, and it does!
The kitchen has been repaired, and now we're just waiting on some painting to be done on all of the repairs. We've also been putting in stone steps off of the kitchen mudroom. We are using huge slabs of granite that we removed from the original foundation in the making of the garage under the barn. The stonemason is an artist, and it is so interesting to watch him work. Dan has been his assistant (moving the huge slabs with Big Blue, the tractor) and learning lots, which will come in handy as we have several stone projects planned for the house. We've been getting bids on painting the exterior of the house and staining the barn; and putting in a gravel driveway- it's always surprising (and rather shocking) the huge range of bids you get for any project. And, I'm most excited about windows, as this week we placed our order for windows for the barn room! Right now the barn room is walled off/boarded off from the kitchen, so the fact that the barn room is "in the works" is very exciting!!
Again, thank you for being here on this journey with us!
Here are some photos of the new, beautiful stone steps.....

This photo shows the concrete pad that was poured months ago for the foundation for the steps.

Our stonemason cutting the first piece of granite for the top step.

First/top step being lowered into place by Dan & big Blue! The logs underneath the step are temporary support until the end/side stones are installed- as they will carry the weight and support the steps.

Step two...

Steps three and four! Notice the antique iron boot scraper that we found at an antiques shop here in NH. It will be placed on the second from the top step on the left side.

Side view of the mud room steps. The area between the steps and the porch will one day be my herb garden. The bank of three windows above that area is my kitchen sink. The sides of the steps will be cut stone and a wall of field stones. Eventually we will add field stones under this back porch that you see in this photo, and the front porch.

An expanded view to give you some perspective. The mudroom with the small overhang is to the left of the barn. The door opening in the white Tyvek is our current access to the barn, but will (soon!) be a french door with transom. The solid plywood section to the right of that door will be another french door and transom. A stone fireplace will be built between the two in the barn room. The two small windows you see upstairs in the barn are the windows in the master closet. The larger vertical window between them will be shingled over.
The single window on the garage side will be shingled over, and the area above the garage doors where you see the Tyvek will be two sets of two, two-over-two windows.... got that?!!!
(fyi- the pile of wood boards you see in this photo to the left of the garage are/were the floor boards from the upstairs barn loft. Fired ex-GC had had his son and his teen-age friends rip them up, and put them on the burn pile- that was NEVER, ever the plan, mind you... Luckily Dan was able to save them and they will go back.)
It's hard to tell in this photo, but behind the wood board pile is a stone wall. We will move that stone wall out to the corner of the garage which will give us a terrace off of the barn room accessed from the french doors.

Dan and the stonemason looking for stones in our very own quarry!

The huge granite slabs removed from the barn foundation. I stood in this area to take the "perspective" photo above. I thought it might give you some perspective on the perspective!
Please note the 15/20 tons (that's a large dump truck full) of gravel. This was delivered for Dan's french drain project around the house. Unfortunately, it was delivered to our neighbor's across the street house.... took Dan four hours to bring it home. It's always somethin'!