Shangri La

Shangri La

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Millrun-grade red oak hardwood flooring, soon to grace our humble abode...
The final trip of 2012 was devoted largely to enjoying the cabin a final time before winter, though we did manage to finish the wall priming everywhere except the kitchen. What I remember most from that trip: Spending every night huddled around our little fire pit in the front yard, looking every bit the vacationing flatlanders to our incredulous neighbors, who (I'm sure) couldn't understand why you'd sit outdoors in 35 degrees when it was perfectly warm inside. What can I say? I like what I like.

We've only been up once this winter, staying at the Putney Inn and doing a little Geocaching make the trip worthwhile. The staff at the Putney Inn was wonderful - they took a shine to The Boy and allowed him to help man (boy?) the front desk while we enjoyed an excellent dinner in the restaurant. And we got 6 geocaches, elevating our total to 230. No surprises at Shangri-La: Everything was as we left it in November, though we were surprised not to find mice carcasses everywhere given that the poison we left out had clearly been investigated.

And so, with the Vernal Equinox right around the corner, we're looking to 2013. We are so close to being finished we can almost taste it: Floors, spiral stair, trimwork, basement insulation and kitchen. We're excited, and so are our neighbors, who have watched our primary residence descend into a hovel as every dime goes north. 1 more year, my patient friends. 2 at most.

Floors are the first priority. We'll lay the tile in the kitchen and entry, and then move on to hardwood downstairs and up. We're likely to finish up with the Spiral Stair and tackle the insulation and kitchen next year, but we'll see. It's at least theoretically possible that we could finish it all this year.

Materials, anyway, are accumulating: There's a full-size refrigerator in the garage that I got free while delivering some Craigslist-ed tools to a guy who wanted to get it out of his garage; he had just remodeled the kitchen and he traded it to me for the equivalent of $50 to avoid having sell/dispose of it. Then we purchased a nice flat-top electric stove that was the victim of another remodel and saved ourselves about $600 over buying the same new. Both will go up after the tile is installed in the kitchen.

This morning we dropped $2k on Red Oak millrun-grade solid wood flooring and underlayment to finally cover the dirty sub-flooring we've been walking on for the last two years. We originally wanted bamboo, but its apparent propensity to scratching and tempermentality in the face of temp/moisture fluctuations made us reconsider. Engineered flooring would have been cheaper, but its appearance (you can always tell) and limited ability to refinish put us off. I want to do this once, and so it needs to last as long as we own the place.

I really liked the look of Hickory, but understood that its hardness makes it difficult to install. Pine was temptings in terms of price and 'rusticity', but we were concerned that it might be too much: Pine floors, pine ceilings, pine lofts and pine trimwork. In the end we went with 'millrun' red oak - a grade between 'rustic' (lots of knots, imperfections, and color variations) and the premium grades that cost a whole lot more and looked too refined for a 'cabin'. We ended up going prefinished for convenience sake, though unfinished might have been a little less even after hiring someone to do the finishing (which I just didn't want to tackle).

So we should have about 30 50-lb boxes of flooring in the basement next weekend waiting for the first trip up. In the meantime, we're looking at tile options...

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