and then there were steps...

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This is how the house and barn looked when we first found the property- the ramp on the right was the livestock entrance!

This is what the house and barn looked like at the end of Phase I
 (the farmhouse renovation and the addition of the garage.)

This is where we were just last week when I showed you the new curved stone wall that meets the tiered stone retaining wall (there is still one tier to go) coming off of the garage that will enclose the gravel terrace accessed from the pair of barn room french doors. 
(note the color of the stucco on the chimney)

And, here we are today with the addition of the granite steps!  Each step is one slab of hand-cut granite that was removed from the foundation of the barn when we made the garage.  The back of the house is very long and rectangular, so I love how the curvature of the steps softens the landscape.

This hillside has been difficult to traverse because it is so steep.   The addition of the granite steps solved that problem.   I love when something functional is also beautiful!  The dirt you see in this photo will all be grass (Dan is literally laying sod as I type!)

The large jardiniere is one of a pair and I will plant tall grasses in them for movement in the wind.  I can not tell you how much fun I had working with the excavator men laying each stone step, sometimes moving a step ten times at 1/2-inch increments to get it just right.  Working with stone is tedious, but the "stone whisperers"  both seem to get my vision.  They told us that they have several jobs lined up, but they're not "fun" jobs like ours! 

My initial design for the chimney had the chimney going a light gray.  As you can see from the third photo above, the black mortar was mixing way too black.  Coat after coat the masons lessened the black from the mixture, and it was starting to lighten up but was also starting to go brown.  I didn't want brown, so I decided to take this as a sign and went a totally different route-  going with a a natural stucco.  I am so happy with the result, we absolutely adore the look. 
I have found over and over again in renovating  that when something keeps going wrong that it is usually a sign from the Renovation gods that you need to re-think it!   This new color is so natural and already looks like it has patina.  The dark gray looked like I was trying to hide the chimney, and that would be like trying to hide an elephant!  The natural stucco gives the chimney a  presence and weight that the barn needed for balance with the rest of the structure.

We are really pleased with the character that the stone wall gives to the back of the house.

And, speaking of steps (in the form of floor boards;) here are the barn floor boards being stained and sealed with three coats of tung oil.   The floors are Eastern White pine which is what is in the farmhouse.

Unfortunately, we didn't keep a record (nor did the original installer) of the formula for the stain of the floors in the farmhouse that we want to match.  We spent several weeks working with this new lumber yard perfecting the stain.  For those of you who contacted me about my floor stain, I should have the formula within the week and will add it "My Paint Colors" on my sidebar.

The floor boards should be delivered by the end of the week.  Then they have to sit in the barn and acclimate for 10 days...... 10 very long days!  We're getting close to completion, but we're at the point where it feels like everything is moving in sloooooooooow motion.
This is a lesson in patience!