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House Update

We have been fielding a lot of questions about our house remodel recently and thought we would give both a written and visual account of the progress that we have made.

Bath tub in unfinished room
We almost have a bathroom

A few days ago, the geothermal heating and cooling unit, long slumbering in the basement, was prodded to life. It has now been quietly humming along, keeping the basement a toasty 76 degrees. Since the ductwork hasn't been hooked up yet, the house is being heated by osmosis, rising slowly into the upstairs.  Since the insulation has also been added, the house has taken on a general warmth that while not yet that of a home, is still much more welcoming than the empty skeleton we made of her last fall.

The insulation, pretty cool in and of itself, is a wet cellulose that has a little glue and water mixed into it.  The mix makes it stick together and fills the spaces between the studs fully and evenly. Our neighbor, Bill Crall, stopped by yesterday and was pretty impressed by the insulation, commenting on it at length. The conversation itself was impressive as Bill is generally averse to praising anything done by anyone else, although getting him to talk at length is nothing new.

As I think about it, almost everything that we have done lately has been about making the house warmer and not much about making it prettier.  The dry wallers are changing that slowly, causing the rooms to take shape and the house to reach for it's final form.

This week and next are big steps in the remodel process.  The french doors went in today and the insulation will be finished, the drywall hung, and the HVAC will be in place. The initial electric will be set and hopefully the flooring we made from trees from the farm will be moved into the house to begin to acclimatize.

French doors
The french doors into the 3-season porch are in!

To me his is a fascinating idea, that the wood harvested from dead trees on our farm two years ago is still moving, stretching and shrinking.  That it needs to get used to it's new home before we lay it on the floor and nail it in place makes me realize how much an old house really is a living thing that shrinks, grows and stretches with both the seasons and time.

The initial red and blue we chose are a bit too zealous

On the prettiness front, we are in the process of choosing a color for our new siding and are trying to choose between red and blue (but maybe being here in the political climate of Iowa we should choose purple?).  We have painted on a couple of the choices and have realized that our house now looks a bit like a flag.  We may have to post pictures and take votes on our various color options.

Of note as well, I had to evict an squatter from the house last week, though he didn't go without making a stink about it.  A skunk found his way under the porch through a hole in it's floor.  I had laid a metal plate over the hole, but apparently Mr. Skunk remembered where it was and made short work of sliding the plate out of the way.  The first day, the noise of us working must have kept him awake, so he left around noon and I made use of some scrap plywood and screws to make the eviction permanent (hopefully).

The skunk hole

Which is all to say that the house is coming along, perhaps not quite as quickly to hit the April 1st move-in date Beth has her heart set on, but soon there after. So please get in touch about when this summer you plan to visit. We will have a spare bedroom with your name on it.

Much love,

John and Beth

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The house is really coming along! We are so thrilled with your progress in this new life of yours. And that bathtub is looking mighty therapeutic!

Keep writing about your neighbors....they are part of the landscape too. I highly recommend reading Wendell Berry, "A Place on Earth". Such a loving tribute to the land and its people. One of my favorite books!

As for exterior color...why not red and blue (w/ white trim). Break up the house into sections. A modernist Iowa farmstead. That'll keep 'em talking!

Hugs and kisses to all and please give Rosie a special nose nuzzle for me.



sasha stiles
sasha stiles
Mar 06, 2020

coming august


sasha stiles
sasha stiles
Mar 06, 2020


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