Water Taps, Bed, Ladder


Will & Makita Go to the Wall

Eek! My kids are wrecking the house! They’re drilling holes in the walls! Well, actually, I asked them too. Will and Ben took turns using our Makita rotary hammer drill to punch a hole through 10″ of concrete, 4″ of insulating foam and another 1/2″ of exterior stucco. It is amazing what the right tool can do.

Now that we’ve got the inner windows installed we have brought up two electric heaters, shown above, to warm the cottage so the bathroom concrete can cure properly. Concrete is very slow to cure below 40°F although I can get it to do so with accelerant – I use Calcium Nitrate. With the lack of sunny days the temperatures had been gradually dropping as the cottage lost heat. The windows help although we’re still losing a bit through the roof as my temperature probes show.


Rectangle of Holes in Kitchen Wall

The first step was to drill a series of holes to define the larger hole. Through that we’ll bring insulated water lines that will supply our home water as well as the water for the spring box refrigeration. The incoming water lines enter under the kitchen sink. All of our wet area is in that north west corner of the house – spring box, kitchen sink, bathroom, coral reef aquarium, etc.


Chiseling Out

Once they completed the outline of holes they connected the dots with a chisel using the Makita in jack hammer mode. We got lucky and didn’t hit any rebar. Luck or planning, either one works. Fortune smiles on the prepared and all that.


Incoming Water Pipes

Presto, magico, a hole to the outdoors and a way in for the water pipes.


Water Line Tap

Our water comes from a spring up higher on the mountain. I knew precisely where the line was buried and fortunately was only off by a foot! Last year I had found it and marked it. Will and Ben dug it up today. Fortunately we don’t get deep frosts due to the early and deep snow cover. I make sure our water lines are protected by putting insulation over them, thus the pink foam on the right of the photo. It is generally not possible to dig down very deeply due to the ledge so our water lines are pretty shallow.

Once we had the water line we tapped into it and added valves so we can shut off the water from the spring, to the cottage or to the old farm house down the hill. Eventually the farm house will become agricultural space – I don’t heat it so I don’t want the pipes freezing. Turning the water off up here on the hill is the easy solution.

Tapping into the line was an exciting moment. And wet. The water in the line was under pressure from the hill head since the spring is a fair bit up hill of us. This mean a shower of very cold water for both Will and I when he cut the line. We knew it was coming – “Ready, ready, cut!”

As he cut I held my hand to try to block the water and to slip the valves on quickly. I had set the valves to open while we attached and that did help but I got a face full of water anyways. Fortunately it was a warm day. That’s why I decided to do this today. Sometime we’ll actually bring the water over to the cottage. It’s good to know the tap line is ready.


Master Bed

We have also completed the bed frame. The cross bars are 2×4’s that have a bit of spring to them so the futon will be comfortable. I like a firm bed but not too firm.

The reason for the design is to allow the mattress to breath. Years ago we built a futon frame with plywood that had dampness issues between the mattress and the plywood. That is accentuated because we keep our home fairly cool. Making good ventilation below the mattress solves this problem.

The bed is a queen sized trapezoid. Our mattress will be too – we’ll cut it to fit the bed. This allows the head of the bed to be wider than the foot of the bed which fits with the way we use the space as well as allowing a larger doorway between the bedroom and the common room. The bedroom is also Holly and my desk space and where we watch the family videos.

On the far side of the bed, to the right, is the east Marvin window, egress and cross ventilation as well as a view down the valley. That window already has it’s granite window sill, one of the pieces we cut from stone we salvaged from the local stone shed junk piles.

Below the bed is storage and the cross bars come out so we can access the storage space. Along the front side of the bed, to the left in the picture, will be clothes cabinets. The cottage is filled with little nooks and crannies for storage. Lots of spaces within it’s small foot print.


Medicine Cabinet Ready to Parge

Speaking of storage, we now have the bathroom medicine cabinet and Holly’s cloth’s closet done. If you ever hear someone complain about lack of storage Holly says to consider that her closet measures 8″ x 30″ x 16″. She jokes that it is a good thing she doesn’t like shoes as much as Imelda Marcos! Holly’s so practical and I would still love her without any shoes at all. Honest!

The photo above is the pink foam form so that I could install the electrical outlets and switches for the bathroom. They are inside the medicine cabinet and as far as possible from water – I don’t like mixing the two even when using ground fault interrupts. Once I had the boxes in place in the foam we parged over a stucco coat to create a wall that divides the space between the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and Holly’s closet on the bedroom side of the wall.

On the shelf to the lower left can be seen the gorgeous chunk of polished green counter top material I found that will go on the shelf outside the medicine cabinet. I found several of these, along with some spectacular burgundy and large flake black in the junk granite – all saved out for shelves and counters.


Ben on Loft Ladder

In addition to fun in the water we also got the kids’ loft ladder bolted up to the wall today. Ben, my master concrete mixer, is shown above climbing the ladder for the first time. The first step is a lu-lu. It’s intentionally high so that toddlers won’t climb up into the loft. Safety through design. By the time the little monkeys figure out about pushing something over to stand on they’ll be ready to take to the trees.

The kids’ loft is plywood on the 2×4 scaffolding for this year as we ran out of time to pour the front room ceiling and kids’ loft floor. That is a project for next year when the weather is warm and we can move out of the cottage for a few weeks of concrete work. The season is closing on concrete here on Sugar Mountain…

Outdoors: 35°F/25°F Overcast
Farm House: 61°F/58°F
Tiny Cottage: 46°F/43°F Water line tapped, Kitchen wall drilled, Loft ladder up, jacuzzi plumbing done, bottle wall smoothed, shower walls smoothed, sump walls smoothed.
Between Big Window Panes: 36°F/33°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Water Taps, Bed, Ladder

  1. Awesome updates, thanks for sharing! I realize I’m missing something- given that you’ll have a springbox cooler, are you going without electricity in the cottage?

  2. valereee says:

    46 degrees and there’s Ben in his bare feet making me cold just looking at him! (That’s what my mom always used to say just before she told me to put on more clothing. I’d say, “But I’m not cold!” and she’d say, “Well I am! Put on a sweater!”)

    I was looking at your floor plan, trying to figure it out, and my eyes just aren’t good enough to read the print to try to identify what the various areas were. I tried grabbing it and zooming in but lost detail. Would it be possible to post a larger scan?

  3. pablo says:

    Did I miss something? Why didn’t you pour around a pipe in order to leave the opening just where you needed it for water/electric rather than drill it out?

  4. Sarah, we’ll have electricity but since we already have the cold water of the spring overflow I figure I should start my refrigeration with that. I’m designing a spring box that will use a Peltier device (think backwards solar collector and solid-state heat pump) that could also works with our hot water for preheat.

    Valereee, Holly says the exact same thing. :)

    Pablo, I had planned to bring the water in a different wall so I left hollow cores there but then I made the bathtub bigger. After much thought I realized the kitchen wall is perfect, except that it is 10″ of concrete. Fortunately that is but a small one-time problem. :)

  5. Betty and several others wrote via email:
    So, does all this update stuff mean you will or will not be in by Christmas. Fortunately, Christmas is really a season of 12 days if you get technical: there, i’ve given you an additional 11 days to get in “by Christmas”…so many loopholes.

    We’ll sleep there tonight, Christmas Eve. Some of the updates got compressed as I haven’t had time to write some things up. I’ve got a backlog of photos and projects to write about.

    Also, our family celebrates Christmas the whole month, starting with the 1st and the Advent Calendar. It goes until New Years. Long time family tradition of a gradual build up. We don’t have the Christmas Day mad unwrapping of all presents I read about but rather spread it over many days. That gives me wiggle room as to timing. :)

    I want to sleep in the cottage tonight so I’m finishing up my concrete for the year. There are still things to do but today we’ll finish all the concrete work we’re doing inside for the year except for one tiny thing that I’ll do in a week or two. Just a simple patch work.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice – may the sun return soon!

    -WalterJ

  6. Subli says:

    That’s amazing you can do your house projects all yourself. Are you remodeling everything in there?

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