Monday, December 15, 2014


Inspiration: Hudson Octagon
Varnishing and Sealing
Back Stairway finish plaster
 Years ago we made the trek to see this delightful octagon and make measurements. The size was just about perfect for or site. We didn't follow the floor plan however as most early octagons have less that desirable arrangements of rooms.

Believe it or not, this simple drawing was the plan we worked off of. (sorry to those of you who want a blue print or framing plan) We adjusted the plan many times in the process and were pleased to have this flexibility Generally speaking, however, this is the first floor room arrangement. It includes a living room, dining room, central hallway, library, kitchen accessible easily to all rooms, pantry and bathroom.

When plastered the 10 foot wide cupola will be a remarkable space, reached by a spiral stair.Window casings to the right in an upstairs bedroom feature recycled woodwork trim from an 1870's cottage. Jim

Large Bedroom with Trim

Cupola ceiling

I do not know if there was a fire lit under us, or that things just came together. Jim was insistent that we use up as much plasterboard as we could. And we did! First floor, minus entryway closet is all plastered. Just the greenhouse and one closet needs plastering in the second floor. And of course the cupola! I did finish laying the oak flooring in the rose bedroom closet. Lots of cuts and notches. After Christmas I imagine January will be filled with a little plastering and lots of floors. It will be nice to take a little break for a week and then go right back at things. Sam

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Few Stones

 Just a few stones are left to move. With the glorious fall much has been accomplished. I find the stonework mesmerizing. It adds a nice touch. Hopefully we will be able to get a few gutters up before it turns too terribly cold. Sam

With the laying of the last landscape stones, the exterior is finally complete...with the exception of the gutters.  The last two chimneys were punched through the roof in the last several weeks as well. Planting of the terraces will have to wait until spring. It has been a glorious fall with dry weather allowing all this to get accomplished. Now, we turn our attention inward and with any luck should have the major work there done by spring.

The conservatory at the rear of the house is particularly nice from this view. Sam has already filled it with rescued plants. Two of the three chimneys are also visible from this angle. Jim

Saturday, September 27, 2014


We have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and poking around our stone piles. Jim has been deftly maneuvering the ancient loader while I have been commanding the pry bar and shovel. The first terrace was all manhandled into place. The next terraces are of an increased size. John from down the street stopped up and assisted us to work the second row of larger stones which we had placed on the walls. He figured that it was going to take us five years to get the landscaping done. Hopefully we can take advantage of the continued good weather, for the next few days to speed the pace up. Sam

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clean Windows

 Jim is too tired to write anything tonight. My turn.

The fine things are in the minor details. This photo tells everything. If one can see it then there is no reason to read further. For those without a magnifying glass, here is what we have been up to. I have been laying a retaining wall, for the eventual patio. Note the steps to the right. Jim put up the conservatory, and I had the immense pleasure of priming and painting. Can you tell? The windows are clean!! The neighbor lady is immensely pleased. Until the next post. Sam

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Starting to Cut Stone

Future floor layout
Hitching Post circa 1888
Little by little we make progress. We have started to cut the stone for the floors; pink limestone squares with a border of white marble and black slate. All but the marble are from recycled materials. We have also installed the stone hitching post in front of the house, a gift from my favorite cousin. Lastly, the conservatory at the south end of the house is beginning to be assembled. It will add a spectacular small space to take in the sun in the winter months. Inside, some of the finish woodwork is going in on the rainy days. Progress is slow but consistent. Jim.

(Sam is too tired to write!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The process has been delightful

The process has been delightful. Wonderful really. Years ago, in my wildest dreams I never would have imagined that this much work could result in such a beautiful and fulfilling outcome. Compared with what general society produces with an equally measurable amount of time and efforts, why would anything other than such beauty be produced? I was at the local mall lately and noticed something. America suffers from much disease, boredom being chief. Among the many other medical ailments one can notice from the wide ranging individuals wandering the mall, I do not think physical work is one of the problems confronted. It may do them some good. As it has done for me. This process isn't easy but it is delightful. And there is something delightful to observe at the end of the day. Wonderful really. Sam

Hard to believe it is June already. Day to day things seem to go at a snail's pace but a glance back to see where we were just a month ago provides a different view. Sam is a real trooper and when my energy flags. he seems to double his efforts. We are waiting patiently for the weather to settle down so that we have a stretch of at least three consecutive days and can uncover the conservatory floor and erect the superstructure and get a roof on before rain threatens. That will finish the outside structure, save the underside of the front porch roof. Rainy days result in more interior work like the paneling shown above. I have been a bit surprised to find that the house has turned out to be more dramatic than even I had imagined! Jim

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pretty charming to be sure

Dining room
Pretty charming to be sure. A lot of work, which explained in detail might bore. So all I can say is that it is nice to see these two rooms transform.Sam

Once the woodwork is up and the walls painted this will be even more impressive! The rooms are human-scale and will be quite charming, but we have a VERY busy summer ahead to get everything together! Jim

Large upstairs bedroom

Thursday, March 13, 2014


It has been a long winter…as I am sure everyone in America knows! Work continued inside but at a slower pace as the snow and cold made every chore more difficult. We have four rooms that have the finish plaster on and several others that have the first coat. Sam is waiting for me to get the chimneys completed and through the roof so he can plaster the rooms they are in. As you can see, the process is partly done. The firebox and smokeshelf needed for both fireplaces are completed. Now we will set the flues. The marble fireplace, still without its installed mantle is particularly handsome. It is made of pink marble and yellow onyx.  The wooden mantle still needs its stone trim before it can be installed. With spring not far off we will soon have to turn our attention to finishing the exterior before the heat of summer sends us indoors again!   Jim

Yeah, what he said! It has been a week of moderately intense plastering. Good to get some white on the walls. I enjoy sloshing through the puddles outside and imagining green leaves on the trees. Am also particularly blown away by how spectacular the marble fireplace is turning out. How does Jim know how to do that? Sam

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Warming Temps

Just a few shots of the work so far. A wide array of occupations. And starting to see how the rooms and house is coming together. Am pleased with the change in weather. Hope to progress and get a lot more done before we must turn outside again. Sam

Jim has nothing to say; a nice change.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I'm done. I dont want to write anything. What do I have to say? All I do is work. Work. Work. Work. I posted this picture of Jim's work. What did I do? Just plastered. Rubbing white stuff over the blueboard that hardened up to create a space. What is a space? Just a place to store stuff. Stuff that one thinks is interesting and hopefully beautiful. Beauty. Why is it important? Because it pleases the eye. Well take a look. Do you see anything pleasing to the eye? Maybe your eye has been deceived. Look again. Still don't see anything, then maybe it is because there isn't white stuff smeared all over the blueboard. Oh, and Jim's work, it looks ok as well I guess. Sam

Sam has been a little distracted of late. I think he has breathed in a little too much plaster dust. It is either that or the anticipation of taking a break from the tasks at hand by attending a couple of classes in the coming months I have no choice but to keep working. The oak spiral staircase to the second floor is in...finally. It is a task I am glad to be shed of. I also have all of the black cherry woodwork roughed out for the upstairs two bed rooms on the south side where Sam has finished plastering.Next is the bathroom tile floors and the building of the two brick fireplaces in the living and dining rooms. Then it will be spring and I will be taking a break!!! Jim