From Oil to Gas or How we waited to heat the house until the day it snowed.

When we bought the house we knew the heating system would need a complete overhaul.  The furnace was original to the house and was at one point converted from coal to oil.  The furnace worked but we didn’t know for how much longer.  We decided not to risk a heatless winter and made the decision to replace the system early on.  We would have started the project sooner but we were caught up on whether to install a geothermal system or just go with straight up gas.

We decided against the geothermal and submitted our application to PECO. We were told it could take up to 14 weeks to get service, that brought us into November. And, sure enough November came and it was cold. Really cold. So cold that my husband and I decided to fill the oil tank in the house halfway to make sure we didn’t end up with frozen pipes. The oil company came on Thursday and Friday PECO called to tell us that Monday was the magic day.  I still think had we not had oil delivered, PECO may not have gotten to us quite yet!

The street was closed and in two days we had gas service to the house.  Now the HVAC crew could come in and install the boiler and hot water heater.  The furnace is tiny!  Look at that thing.  It’s easily a third of the size of our old one and was easily wheeled in on a dolly by one man.  One.  The old one was a beast.


And the new one – much cuter!


So, we have heat and central air now.  We also had nearly 3/4 of a tank of oil just sitting, unused.  Thankfully one of the men on the HVAC crew offered to do a little weekend work for us.  He would move the oil into our current house’s tank in exchange for what was leftover.  Done!

And, last Saturday our oil was moved from one house to another with this pump on his truck.  It took 30 minutes and now we have a full tank at our current house and the gentleman helping us went home with 50 gallons of his own.


And, now this is gone.  We haven’t had a house with gas since 2000.  Very very exciting.


Week 9

Week IX started with tile and ended with tile. As you recall, we were less than thrilled with the way the cap molding met the medicine cabinets.


We decided to run the subway tile up just above the medicine cabinets and cap it off there just on the sink wall.  Here is a sneak peek of that.


The floor was the other focus this week.  The existing oak floors were patched and sanded.  Two of the 3 coats of poly were put on.  It’s a water-based poly so the dry time is significantly less than an oil-based poly.  We chose to match the existing floors in the house color-wise and opted out of staining and instead chose to leave them natural.



I prefer darker floors but being that the entire house had just been sanded and redone prior to list, it just did not make sense to redo them again.  In fact, the front hallway looks like it may not tolerate being sanded again.  We may reassess with Phase II, though the lighter floors are growing on me.

Last week a huge delivery of wood was loaded into our garage.  The carpenters have made their way through about half the wood and the other half is pictured below.  Apparently all that wood will eventually transform into closet shelving.


And, on the garden front we are nearly done finalizing plant selections.  The fence is scheduled for the week of December 9th and hopefully in January we can start to add some structure and privacy to the backyard. IMG_0711

This weekend we are cleaning and moving what we can carry over to the house in anticipation of moving in – finally!  Our goal is to be in and sleeping there before Christmas.  December is probably ranked as the no. 1 worst month to move, but poor timing or not, we are going to try to get in.  If you look closely at the garage picture you can see all our Christmas decorations in boxes.  We moved them over in the summer thinking we would be in the house by this point, and there is no way I am moving them back.

Fine Paints of Europe

I like shiny things and shiny front doors are no exception.

Fine Paints of Europe is a Vermont-based paint company started in the late 1980s.  They initially carved out a niche selling mostly to restorers of historic properties. The company has grown considerably since then.  The price point is higher but not completely out of reach for a door project or even a room or two. Their Hollandlac Brilliant, an oil-based ultra high-gloss enamel, is just stunning.  Here are some some examples I plucked right off their website.

Doors Paint Gallery Photos

Doors Paint Gallery Photos

Doors Paint Gallery Photos

Doors Paint Gallery Photos

And, a couple more . . .


Apparently the secret is in the prep work and probably in just about every additional step as well! As anyone who has painted before, the higher the sheen, the more obvious the imperfections.

Our front door need some love and attention.  It is a dingy white with a big ole American eagle door knocker.  I am leaning toward the classic, shiny black door or maybe not.  The brick will eventually be painted, so I am starting from scratch with color.  In any case, the Hollandlac paint would be stunning with its mirror finish.


Now that we have a gas line to the house, I am thinking of swapping out the light above the door for two of these:


And, the storm door could use an upgrade as well . . .


Ferguson & Shamamiam

In house news:  the bathroom tile is being reworked, the floors are nearly down in the bedroom and the window restoration is completed.  A Week 9 update to come.

At a Tile Impasse

The subway in the bathroom is trimmed out in cap molding.  The molding looks great on the wall without the medicine cabinets, meanwhile the wall with the cabinets is proving to be more complicated.

The molding just doesn’t look quite right when it runs up to the medicine cabinets.  Additionally the cuts on either side of the cabinet are not the same size as you can see in the pictures below.

cap molding bcap molding a

I met with our contractor at the house this morning to brainstorm alternatives.

Option A:

Use the cap molding to trim out the medicine cabinets.  This would avoid that awkward tile meets cabinet cut and it would look more polished.

cap molding 1


cap molding 2

Option B:

Run the subway tile up to the celiling on just the sink wall. 

Like every old house the walls are not level and there will be some strange cuts where the ceiling meets the wall.  And, crown molding is not an option.

Option C:

Run the subway tile up just above the medicine cabinets and trim it off with the cap molding about 2 or 3 tile layers above.

Back to the house to mull over this some more.  This is heady stuff, people!