Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Front door handle idea

A friend runs a glass studio. We've always admired the leftover blocks of glass. We're devising a plan to use a piece like this for a front door handle.

Ceiling fan and stove pipe.

The ceiling fan was installed and tested, it works great even with 100v Japanese power. It's actually very powerful and nearly silent.
A double wall aluminum stove pipe was put together. It looks awesome.
We can't wait for the wood-stove and a toasty fire. The stove won't come for a few more weeks though.

Bucket Brigade

A cement truck dropped a load.
We all pitched in to help relay bucket-loads through the house for the bathroom floor.
We now have some front steps and a nice wide walkway from the street.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Making Progress

The wallpaper crew arrived to work on the ceiling.
They have some special tools, to cut and glue the paper.
It was interesting to watch them work.
They were able to install about half of the ceiling in the highest parts of the house. I think it will be a three or four day job to complete all of the rooms.
Meanwhile, Yoko and I continue to plaster and sand.
It's very messy and tiring work, but it's coming along. 
It finally feels like the house is getting finished.
Here is another look at the bathroom. Next week we hope to begin tiling.
We bought a mailbox. We're thinking of putting it here. but we have to wait until the front steps are installed so we know the correct height. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mid January Update

We're on the second week of 'putty'. The third coat is on in most rooms, sanding, sealing and priming has began.
The final skim coat of cement is being spread on the bathroom walls in preparation for tiling.
The entryway closet is getting shelving installed.
The hot and cold water lines have been run in the basement, with color coded insulated piping.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


In Japan they call the stage of drywall mudding "Putty". We've been looking forward to this as it is one of the parts of the construction we wanted to DIY. The builder thought this was a good idea, but needed the work done more quickly than we could get it done. So we began the work with an older Japanese man who is a professional. He showed us the proper Japanese technique which is slightly different than in the States...They like to use mesh tape first and the initial coat is done with a sandy mix that has fiberglass in it. We will be doing this for this next week or so in our free time.

Basement plumbing

There has been a lot of plumbing work going on below us in the basement.

Stairs (one more look)

Here is a shot of the staircase with the sheetrock installed.

Bathroom cabinet

We bought a bathroom sink and cabinet from IKEA in the States. The builder asked us to put the cabinet together so he could plan the plumbing and mounting for it.
It's always impressive how well thought out the hardware and instructions are on IKEA's products. It was very easy to build and sturdy.


Our tub has been put into place over the past few days.

Because the tub is uninsulated, we asked the builder to put spray insulation around it. 
 It looks pretty funny, but will make a big difference keeping our bath water hot!
Here it is in place with the cinder block surround finished.

Front Entrance

Soon we will have a concrete walkway with three steps leading from the street all the way into our house. Here's a look at the recent progress of our entrance.
Several truck loads of gravel were dropped off to build up the entrance.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ceiling trim

Here is a view of how the ceiling meets the wall.
As around the floor we didn't want to have any extra trim. so there's a small strip of plastic which creates a thin gap.

Some holes and pipes

The plumbing in our house has progressed a little.

Here is the outlet pipe for the second floor toilet. Also some access holes for water, and sewer lines...
This is the drain for the first floor toilet.
This is the water line for the washing machine
This is the vent hole for the range hood.
The range hood arrived a few days ago, but it was damaged during shipping and will need to be replaced.

More steps

More progress on the steps...
We're still undecided on whether to paint, oil or just seal the wood for the steps.
We really like the look of the natural wood, so we're leaning towards just sealing the wood with a varnish of some kind.
We put a 3mm bevel on the edge of the steps, you could still bust your head pretty good on these, but they're a little safer and certainly more comfortable for one's feet.
 Here are the 'biscuits' that hold the risers and treads together.
In action...
A step that's being glued and clamped.
Several more steps ready for installation.