I also finished the end wall of the laundry room and Scott got the electrical taken care of so that we could finally get a washing machine. No more laundrymat!!!!
New washer and built in shelves
And along with those finishing details, we got the laundry/utility lights wired and installed and got the light at the top of the stairs wired and installed. With a little more electrical tie up, we were able to have actual operating lights everywhere except the kitchen and dining room.
The stairs were the last holdup for getting the rest of the downstairs floor tiled. Because the tile pattern is centered on the front door (right in front of the stairs) and there is already a section of tile there under the wood stove, we had to begin the new tile on that side. With the stair feet locked down, we could finally put down the rest of the cement board.
Dining room and living room prepped for tile
Ultimately, we did tile in 4 phases to account for having to move stuff around on the first floor. First, we did the north 3/4 of the living room. Why 3/4 you ask? Because we still had to be able to get from upstairs to the bathroom and the kitchen while the tile set up, so we left a path without tile on the south side of the room and at the base of the stairs. This stage didn't get grouted immediately because we thought we would finish the dining room and then tile all of that side at one time.
Once that set up, we shuffled stuff around and did the tile in the dining room. Here is where our former plan kinda crapped out. We had to move stuff onto the living room tile to be able to clear out where the dining room tile had to go. Sigh. So we got the dining room done, grouted and sealed, then did the stuff shuffle again.
Jacob was my mortar mixer and gopher while Jeremy cut tiles
The finished dining room floor
We decided to try a blitzkrieg day on Saturday the 3rd - finish all the tile in the main bay was the goal. That included putting cement board down in the kitchen, tiling the entry and south 1/4 of the living room and doing all the tile in the kitchen. Despite our best efforts and a very long day, we still had half the kitchen left when we had to call it a day. We still considered it a success though and we got to have Matt Jolley out to help again which is always fun. I grouted all the new tile and part of the old living room tile (that wasn't covered by stuff) on Sunday and sealed it up on Monday. Woo hoo for finished floor!
Half the kitchen done
South 1/4 under the stairs
Catherine is our expert grout washer!
Weather was a constant concern through this process. The tile saw has to be set up outside which means that the weather has to be above freezing and not super windy. That limited the days that we could lay tile pretty significantly. Because of that, I took a day of vacation on a Thursday to finish laying tile in the kitchen rather than wait for another nice day on the weekend. Doing the other half the kitchen required installing the floor outlets first though, so Scott and Jeremy worked Wednesday night and got those installed. They were even able to place them so that the landed inside of the grey diamonds in the tile pattern! The result looked really nice when it was all grouted and sealed. With a solid day of work, Jeremy and I got the rest of the kitchen tile down. I couldn't do the grout the rest of the living room and the kitchen until Saturday, but I got it done just before bedtime on Saturday evening. Unfortunately, that meant cleaning up the grout lines in the living room without great lighting and while tired. When we looked Sunday morning there were several spots that needed patched so I did that on Sunday. The tile was finally sealed up and ready to have things put on it by Tuesday.
This is where we started - you can see the 2 floor outlets.
Floor outlets inscribed in the diamond
And with that, the downstairs suddenly got to be organized! The couch went to its final home in the living room, the buffet to its home, the piano and dining room table to their homes. The refrigerator is still waiting for the last electrical in the kitchen to get tied up, but finally being able to spread things out has made a huge difference.
We still have to wrap up the tile in the storage/utility area that was left from Christmas, but we're almost done with the floors downstairs. Hopefully that will happen in the next few days. Jeremy has already started cutting trim to finish out the spaces and I am eagerly looking forward to finishing up some other small projects that have been on the back burner while we focused on tile.
These milestones really bring home the length of the journey we've been on. Most of the time, we just put our heads down and keep plugging away at whatever is next on the list. It often seems like an endless list - a never ending treadmill of work on the house - then we get a moment where something goes back to being normal again that has been off for a long time. When we finally set up the couch again and sat down we realized it has been 6 months since we've had a couch to sit on. When we used a light switch to light up the living room instead of a lamp or headlamp, when we did the first load of laundry at home in so long, something started changing. The house felt more like home, more like "normal". We started to feel like our old life was coming back after a long hiatus. It feels good.
There's still plenty to do before the house is actually finished, but these little steps feel pretty huge to us. We've even started talking through the garden for this year! The light at the end of this very long tunnel of house building is getting brighter. Finally.
Another sign of the normal annual cycle of farm life arrived in the middle of January - kids! We had 6 does kid in the span of a week in January in the coldest weather we have ever kidded in. As a result, we lost our first kids - a really nice set of twins from Rosie. They were already frozen when we went to check on the goats. It is so hard to lose any of them. The other kiddings went well and all the mamas and babies are doing well. We had 8 kids from the other 5 does (3 sets of twins and 2 singles) and the cuteness has been irresistible ever since. We will have 2 or 3 more does kidding in another month or so, but for now we're enjoying this round.