25Nov14 –  Well, my bronchitis is hanging in there like an old friend. It’s beginning to affect my mood and desire to work, work, work on our Maple Forest Cottage.  I  just have to listen to my body and slow down and set limits when necessary.  I’m near the end of the saga, but it just won’t let me go, yet.  Steve’s ahead of me in the process & just continues to work away…..

Main floor wood flooring done!

18Nov14 – We’ve finished the main floor wood flooring.  Yeah!  Steve cleaned it all up last night and when I came down it looked so nice.  Closer & closer to feeling like home.

It’s quiet today as tilers are not here and Steve’s working on thermostats.  It was sure exciting when there was a lot going on…..

Moving very big boulders and more… Post 2 of 2

17Nov14 = I’ve taken so many photos this past week that I needed to separate this post into two separate ones….

Moving very big boulders and more… Post 1 of 2

16Nov14 –  I’ve been sick all week with a chest cold/flu that’s gotten the best of me.  But, New England work ethic triumphs again – over to our Maple Forest Cottage I’d go everyday until I just couldn’t do another thing.  Steve’s been really sweet about it all – and he should be:  he’s the one who gifted me with the cold!

Here is a catch up of what’s been happening this past week…

Laying the maple hardwood floor…

10Nov14 – Steve and I have developed a great routine as we lay 2300sf of maple hardwood flooring over our warmboard.  I run around like a crazy woman trying to find the next perfect board and Steve gets to rest before nailing more boards in.  Perfect system.   :- )

It’s time for flooring installation!

04Nov14 – It’s been an unexciting month, visually, concerning our Maple Forest Cottage.  Steve spent a lot of time getting our radiant floor ready for the HVAC people, and then time connecting everything together.  We had heat one week before our first  27 degree night of the season!  It’s working wonderfully well. We’ll be able to work in comfort this late Fall/Winter.

I spent most of the month looking at tile samples, ordering tile samples, returning tile samples, adding borders, subtracting borders, looking at travertine, looking at porcelain tile, etc. etc.  I think I’ve finally got all the bathrooms, basement,  laundry/mud room and outside porch & deck all decided upon and ordered, if not already delivered.  It was quite the learning experience….

Mark & Lewis, our tilers, started work yesterday.  We decided to start in the basement so I might get to organize a real office after the tile is laid in there!  This is the busy season regarding selling real estate in the WNC mountains and working in the back of Steve’s workshop in the garage has not been, ah,  optimal.

Steve & I are laying the maple hardwood flooring ourselves.  All 2300 SF of it.  Honest.          We’re just taking it one day at a time – one section at a time.  But it’s instant gratification – each board that is laid down adds to the beauty of the room.  This is exciting!

Glenn, our cabinet maker has started work on the kitchen cabinets.  We should have them by the beginning of December.  My Christmas present.  It is so much fun fine tuning the Maple Forest Cottage’s kitchen into the kitchen of my dreams.  I’ll have to add our version to the photo gallery below.

I should be posting more regularly again, now that each day there will be progress made with the floors and then…the kitchen!  Can’t wait!  ;- )

See below photo gallery for links to kitchen plans….

Swanberg almost final kitchen 1 of 2

Swanberg final kitchen 2 of 2


Light fixtures and current tile picks

Nov14 – Oh my, I never posted this…

11Oct14 –  Our Library light fixture arrived this week!  And fun looking at kitchen storage ideas….

Light switches, outlets, flooring, and the first 4 vanities!

06Oct14 – Fall has definitely arrived on the mountain.  A little sooner than expected, but the clear blue skies and warmish days are wonderful.  The leaves are just starting to change into their riot of colors. The nights are cold!

The majority of Steve’s time can now be spent on the Maple Forest Cottage since he’s got the road repairs in good form.  Doing the finished electrical work has taken quite a bit of time, but we now have light switches & outlets that work throughout the house!  We’re re-learning which switches go to what lights – planning all that out seems like eons ago.

Shane, the gas man came and hooked up our propane to the main house (no natural gas here on the mountain).  Bit of a job, but with Steve’s help it got connected.

Our maple engineered flooring arrived last week! All 100 boxes. Our kind neighbors, Tom & Marilyn, came over to help us unload – even bringing the appropriate boxes up to the bedroom floor.  We all got a workout – even the truck driver helped.  We now have a de-humidifier running in the kitchen area to make sure we are dry enough to put down the flooring.  We’re already within the recommended 4% difference between the warm board and the maple flooring, so we should begin to lay the floor next week, unless we have to get the warm board running first – then it would be about 4 weeks to get everything in running order. It’s all about acclimating the wood flooring to our environment which includes the warm board.  Steve’s researching how important it is to get the pex tubes in the warm board flowing with warm water before laying the floor.  Time will tell.

Four of our bathroom vanities arrived today:  the 2 on the terrace level, and 2 bedrooms upstairs.  Glen of GLP Custom Cabinetry and Woodworking is a true craftsman – his passion & experience of 30+ years is so evident.  We are thrilled with the results.  The master bath vanity will be delivered later, although it is finished – just not enough room in the truck!

We reviewed the kitchen cabinets & island design and measurements  to make sure we’re all on the same page.  Only minor tweaks here & there. He’ll be starting the kitchen this week.  OMG – after looking at the photos of the Maple Forest Cottage kitchen for about 20 years I can’t believe I’ll see the cabinets in my own kitchen in a matter of weeks.  Dreams really do come true….



Time to check-in and Electrical can be boring….

18Sep14 – Wow – It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Rest assured, that means not much worth blogging about has been happening.

Steve’s been spending a tremendous amount of time as Board VP dealing with road repair on the mountain.  Things are happening fast & efficiently, but that’s because he’s spending so much time organizing it behind the scenes.  We both decided that this will take priority for the next few weeks and then we can focus more on our Maple Forest Cottage a bit later. So much for a C.O. for the holidays.  Oh well, what’s an additional month or two in the grand “I finally get to move into my dream home” saga?!

So, in between getting quotes, renting big equipment, finding the best deal, supervising road work and actually doing some hands-on himself, Steve’s been putting in over 100 electrical outlets & switches in the house.  We are wired for Broadway!  Electrical/Audio/Visual is a love of Steve’s.  I just stand back and shake my head at the complexity of it all.  When all is done, we’ll be able to set different “moods” for each room at the touch of a remote control/ or our phones.  Our Maple Forest Cottage is going to be a very smart home indeed!

We’re going all LED lighting in the house and we’ve learned that not all LED bulbs are created equal – especially when dealing with dimmers, of which we have a plethora!  We learned the hard way, don’t put almost all of your bulbs in their temporary key-less fixtures and then turn on the breakers.  The first set all buzzed and hummed to the point of distraction.  We re-packaged them to the best of our ability and brought them back to the big box store and the poor customer service employee had to individually tag each one of the 40 bulbs so they could be returned to the vendor.  I’m glad he had a good sense of humor (and shared when all was done, that he had to return those same bulbs himself!).  So, Cree LED’s:  try one first to see how it works for you.

I tweaked the color of the master bedroom because all the light coming in from the main arched window was causing the taupe walls to look light tan.  Definitely not ok.  Since Steve is very particular about his walls, I picked the right moment to approach him on this and got the reluctant go ahead.  I can deal with reluctance – I got my yes.  So now I have a slightly darker, definitely t-a-u-p-e  wall color to wake up to and go to sleep with everyday.  Phew – – that was a good move.

Laying the Ti-Proboard on the main deck. And Jane’s perch

01Sep14 – Happy Labor Day!  How did it get to be September so fast?!

Steve spent the weekend attaching the Ti-Proboard to the main deck floor joists.  TI-Proboard is a composite sub floor panel that is unaffected by expansion, contraction or exterior weather conditions.  It enables you to tile a raised deck.  We ran out of panels (a miscalculation somewhere) and will special order more from Home Depot tonight. Wow – the demi-lune part of the deck looks huge!  Steve power screwed about 900 special screws to secure the panels to the floor joists!  I think he is glad we ran out of panels today…..

I spent the weekend designing and constructing my “perch”  amongst the trees on our side yard.  The space was calling to me to be used as a look-out from the mountain side.  It started as a simple path to a small patch, just a little leveling, and then the stone masons said they would make me a stone slab bench so I could sit and just gaze out at the valley and mountains.

Then I decided it would be a nice detail to round-out the base of the perch area, since the Maple Forest Cottage has many arches in it’s design.  This extension, of course, would be just that much further down the steep slope.  Well, Steve smiled at me and said, “Now you’re going to have to build a retaining wall.”  And, yes, unfortunately, he was absolutely right.  So now I’ve dug down the mountain far enough that I’ll indeed need about a 3′ stone retaining wall (I was getting excited about the idea of space for a chimenea!)  My little project just got a lot more complicated!  So, from the stone pile in our driveway about 100′ away I start picking out stones for my wall.  Now, I have to be able to carry these stones, one at a time, two if I’m lucky, the whole distance by myself, across the driveway, down the dirt path to the basement area, where I walk over, that is on-top-of, the makeshift dirt birm that holds out rain water out (there was a puddle from the previous night’s rain right in the middle of my path), up the steep side yard and over to the perch area where I decide where each rock is going to fit in the grand scheme of this project. Both Steve and I worked until dark (Fri – Sun) – he because of the immensity of his project, me because I had to take periodic rests each day, because of the immensity of my project.

Today Steve continued on the deck (he’s watching me & smiling through all my travails) and I’m ready to do some back filling.  There’s not enough dirt left from where I dug it out in the perch area, so Steve puts air in the leaky wheelbarrow tire and I take about 14 shovel fulls per trip via wheelbarrow down the same trail as before.  Now this is clay dirt and weighs a ton so from the driveway down the dirt path to the basement area, I have to hold tight so I won’t have a runaway wheelbarrow, and from the end of the basement area I have to make a running start up the mountain so I have enough momentum to take me, the wheelbarrow, the dirt & the bucket up to the perch.  Then I partially fill a 5 gal bucket and walk it over to the perch to dump it out.  After the third bucket, I can maneuver the wheelbarrow with the rest of the dirt into the perch area and release the rest of the dirt.  This took me a couple of hours.  And I’m only maybe 20″ high into my 36″ retaining wall – which means I get to do this a second time!  Ugh.  I sure am glad I like to dig in the dirt…..