Friday, December 25, 2015

Inside The Looney Bin Part 2: The Upstairs

     Lord, I need a time manager. Someone to say "HEY ! It's been like 2 weeks since your last blog post, get off your arse and write something." Of course, I must play the school card. I just finished the first semester of my senior year at UIUC and I'll admit it; my course load kicked my butt. Five very challenging classes, but finals are over and I'm home till Jan. 20.  Only five more classes to go and I'll graduate in May. It only took 40 years. I'll save that story until I'm closer to pomp and circumstance day.

So, let's go upstairs. We managed to squeeze in three small rooms above the great room downstairs. There is a very small office for me, about 64 SF, with one window. Limited floor space but lots of vertical space for future shelves and maybe even a small loft bed  extending over the doorway,for a grandchild. Please note my temporary desk made from a hollow door we yanked from the old decrepit house. Keith cut it to fit the curve of the wall. Handy guy, my guy.

See that stack of texts, left side, top shelf of short metal shelf rack? Yeah, ten required novels for my American Literature 451 class next semester.  We'll be reading books written from 1914-1945; Faulkner, Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Eliot, etc...After my winter break, it's unlikely I'll get much else done but reading and driving, reading and driving. The university is 1.5 hours from The Poor Farm, one way (up hill both ways.)  Oh well, you can't be much of a writer if you're not a reader, can you?
Heading down the steps from my office, across the landing and up on the other side, we have our small library which will contain books other than my textbooks. It's not yet painted and the floors are unfinished and the room is serving as our closet, so you'll have to use your imagination.
On the other side of the library wall is our bedroom which is also petite on floor space, but ripe with vertical possibilities. It has been painted, floors finished and soon Keith's desk will move into the library and our hanging clothes will move into the bedroom. We'll build a small closet in the space where the desk is now.

     The tall black pipe is part of our rocket mass setup, venting whatever heat has not been absorbed by our concrete floors below, up and out the roof. The hole in the ceiling above our bed is to the opening where all the grain used to be blown into the grain bin. Eventually it will be a skylight. Now, it's just bolted closes and stuffed with a big piece of foam covered in plastic to reduce heat loss.

     Yes, interior designers, I am aware that my horse pic is off center. It's super heavy, made of sculpted plaster and had to be hung on a wall stud. I'll balance it out with some other piece of wall art soon. The bed is a Sears catalog item my Chicago grandparents bought in 1919. I gave it a new coat of bronze spray paint before moving it in here.
     Meanwhile, back in the kitchen; progress continues on our "custom" counter top. It took awhile to figure out how to make the curved frame which will hold our concrete counter top but Keith did a great job with it.
     But, just as we were getting ready to drop our $15 Restore composite molded sink into the cutout space...we noticed a large crack in the bottom. We considered repairing it but if it leaked we'd have to chip out all the concrete in the counter to replace it, and no way did we want to do that. So we shopped for another used sink but when we couldn't find one we decided to use the stainless steel sink in the decrepit house, but dang, if it wasn't rusted out on the bottom. A new sink was not in our budget so we called our wood guy, the one with 7 buildings filled with stuff who supplied us with our floor joists, upstairs shiplap flooring and beams. It took about 30 minutes of searching through his "inventory" but buried deep we found this gem below.

     Circa 1940, it's a Crane cast iron sink. The sucker was super heavy, about 70 pounds, but once cleaned up we knew we'd scored well. Only $25 and I've seen similar models on EBAY for several hundred. It took real effort to get it in its new home but now we're ready for the concrete countertop pour. Hopefully, tomorrow or the next day.

Just one more thing. For Christmas our daughter Raven gifted us with this stunning photo frame filled with our four beautiful grandchildren, ages 14 to 4 months, which just happens to fit perfectly in the space between our two kitchen windows. Coincidence? I think not.















  1. It is all coming together beautifully - I just love that "new" sink and your grandparents bed.

  2. We do too Susan. Maybe it's because at 56 I'm closer to "antique" each year, or maybe it's because I miss those past generations and their work ethics. Or maybe...we're just too cheap to drop $200 for sink that is prettier than we are.

  3. Love the sink Donna. It has character and a story.

  4. Your progress has left me speechless. I must lay down and collect my thoughts. HAPPY NEW YEAR.


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