Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Phases of the Swoon

The makeover of the Roediger House has two distinct phases, and so far the blog has been focused on the first part of this, which was the demolition of the old kitchen and bathrooms and the construction of the addition. For that job, Pete LaRoque has served as the General Contractor, with the charge of bringing into being the design that my architect Sam Binkley worked up. Now, I can keep trying to find ways to describe for you how much I love the new space: the kitchen and master bath are particularly incredible to me. Suffice it to say that it's pretty doggone awesome to now be inhabiting these spaces, enjoying them in the quiet times and reveling in the better ways they accommodate friends for fun times.

Next up: renovation and improvement of the existing or original house. Part of this has begun: replacement of a lot of light fixtures, about which I've already written. Pete's part of the project also involved elements of "renovation," in addition to the addition: things like replacing the HVAC system, putting on a new roof, insulating the attic and crawl space, and painting the exterior of the house. But what happens from here is up to me to schedule and arrange, which means it's likely to be more haphazard.

Essentially, what it boils down to is this: there is a fair amount of plaster repair needed in the south parlour, master bedroom, and dining room downstairs; and in the four rooms and hallway upstairs. After that, I'll have Gary Hudson in to repaint those walls and ceilings. Then, the floors upstairs can be refinished. Beyond that, I need to get shutters and storm windows and tackle landscaping.

In the meantime, I guess the Roediger House blog will become a bit more all-purpose: notes about events and happenings, mostly, and a few other random things here and there. Stay tuned, if you can stand it.

Tuesday Tattler

I'm feeling pretty yawn-y, thanks to a couple of nights of showings of the Roediger Theatre and an early start to today. Last night, there were about 20 folks on hand for The Empire Strikes Back, and Sunday night a few more than that came out for Drop Dead Gorgeous. I love these summer nights and it's fun to hang out and enjoy shows on the big screen. I'm hoping the chocolate fudge with walnuts, and the cinnamon chip cookies, were suitable snacks for the crew. Monica Alonso brought over some of her famous mac-n-cheese, and that cleared out half the audience to run inside and wait for it to be served up hot.

The night began with grilling out: burgers on the grill with Bradley, Trevor, Chris, Shane, Beau, Brian, Stephen, and Danny (Meal No. 11 in the new kitchen). In some ways, we think it's our last hurrah with Trevor, before he moves out to San Diego to undertake a masters program, and probably to fall into habits of grave sin and debauchery. You can see he was visibly moved by the finality of it all. And hey: those burgers were pretty good. And the company for the evening was great.

Preceding Sunday night's film, there was also some grilling out, for Meal No. 10: filet mignon, company mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, and poppy seed rolls. Fudge for dessert, too. It made me mighty happy to have a thick medium-rare steak in the new kitchen. It's been a long time coming.

In the next few hours, the final inspection by the City should occur. Pete had to come and address two issues related to insulation over the new kitchen space; otherwise, we were looking pretty good. Pete and I met Saturday and did a sort of final "walk-through" of our own, noting the things that still need to be addressed or tidied up. Another sign that things are just about done.

Late-Day Update: I prepped enough burgers last night such that there were some leftover but ungrilled, so that became Meal No. 12 this evening.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Latest Meals

I suppose it's the novelty of having this great new kitchen, or maybe it's the part of me that used to be a history teacher, but there is an undeniable need to document the meals cooked. The good thing about a blog is that you guys don't have to read what doesn't interest you. Being able to cook again interests me a great deal, so this is what I'm thinking about with this latest entry.

There's already been a repeated meal: Bama Chicken (No. 7 in the new kitchen). That was last Sunday before I took off for part of the week in Pinehurst, working. Once I got home again, I could get back to trying out recipes, and last night (Friday) was Meal No. 8: grilled parmesan-crusted salmon with a port wine reduction based buerre rouge. It was pretty darned tasty. Tonight was sesame-crusted seared tuna with a ginger cream sauce and stir-fried glass noodles (Meal No. 9). Not as good and way too much trouble for the results.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fan Mail

Dear People,

Seems I'm making, at best, trickling efforts to give you more photos showing the new electrical fixtures here and there. So here's another: the new fan with lights that Jason mounted in the corner of the porch coming up from the parking area. This is a favorite spot for sitting and drinking coffee and watching birds in the side-yard grove; or for grilling; or for hanging out when movie nights get rained out. Needed breezes to be available on command, but also needed enough light to tell me if the meat is grilling properly.

Ray at the Roediger House

Monday, June 15, 2009

Front Porch Sconces

I've already talked about a number of inside light fixtures that have been replaced, but it was also necessary to do this on the porch on either side of those massive front doors. Here is the photo from the online catalogue from which I ordered them, and below is an actual picture now that the fixtures have been mounted. I'm very happy with their look, and what they replaced should probably have never been on this house anyway. They've got a good old-fashioned gaslight look to them and really look snappy at night.

Since Jason Lanier, our electrician, also got sconce lights installed on the upstairs porch balcony, there is a pretty cool nighttime look to the place. It's yet another step in the right direction.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trivia Night No. 2

It was another intense competition around the new eating nook table for the second round of Trivial Pursuit in the new addition. It was a repeat match-up of three teams, with Beau, Bradley, Ray, Shane, and Trevor bringing their best minds and memories to the task at hand. As can probably be discerned from the furrowed brows in this photo, the team of Bradley and Trevor (proud graduates of the social studies education program at Wake Forest) concentrate pretty deeply on the exact number of teams in the NFL after merger with the AFL. Their 38 minutes of contemplation led them to arrive at the right answer: 26.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Starry Night Cinema at the Roediger Theatre

Here's a little bit of fun and a diversion for you: a newly-created website focused just on the outdoor movies nights here at the Roediger House. It goes by the name of Starry Night Cinema, and you can read more about it here:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Railing Reality

Whilst I was away in beautiful New Mexico, where the unusually prolific rains have made things a lovely sage instead of the usual brownish tan, Pete had the bannister installed for the bathroom on the upstairs landing. He says I have expensive tastes, and I guess I'd best not run from that indictment. The end result looks terrific. Still to be done: applying clearcoat and installing one last missing picket (the company shorted him one when it shipped the materials to him).

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's a Taos-Up

Hi there. I'm in Taos, New Mexico, enjoying a chance to be here again and to work with teachers in a local school. Taos is a rather cool little artists' hamlet surrounded by beautiful scenery, dotted with cool restaurants and libations locales, and home to a lot of neat people. But I sure missing being at home. It was a pretty long travel day Sunday to get here: three flights and almost three hours in a rental car from Albuquerque to Taos, although I like the driving part because of all the great views.

Saturday night was Screening #2 in this third season of Starry Night Cinema at the Roediger Theatre. The film was Alfred Hitchcock's "North By Northwest," which is always a great film to see. This was a much smaller gathering--must've chosen an awful time for many people--but the weather was about as perfect as it could be and it was still a terrific night. More movie nights to come this summer...just have to work them around the traveling that I've got coming up.

I don't have confirmation on it yet, but I think the plan was for Pete and Robert to come on Sunday and seal the counterflashing on the chimney so there won't be any more leaking up there. (I left for the airport Sunday morning at 6 am.) Today I understand Pete was back to finish installing the supply lines for the pedestal tub in the landing bathroom and to fix the toilet that cracked last week. If I understood correctly, the bannister to go around that bathroom's sunken entry and steps should be installed tomorrow morning, so I'll enjoy seeing that when I return home late Thursday night.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday's Fun Stuff

Can you tell I like my kitchen? This shot was from this morning. The grapes had been washed and drained overnight and this seemed picture-perfect.

Wow. My belly is full. Just had Meal #6 tonight for a small dinner gathering of four. Tonight's menu: center cut pork loin with a ginger shiitake cream sauce, stewed tomatoes, green beans with a dijon vinaigrette, company mashed potatoes, and fresh-made golden potato bread. Dessert was a dense chocolate cake that came out as a disaster, but man-o-man the flavor was still intense.

But wait, you careful readers say: when was Meal #5? That was back on Tuesday...I think I forgot to blog about it. Main dish was spaghetti carbonara. That meal was tasty but problematic...didn't come out structurally like it should. But hey: when getting to cook in as cool a kitchen as this, who am I to fret? Tuesday's meal also involved my first huge disaster with a pot boiling over, and gracious it was a mess on that beautiful new cooktop. The ceramic cooktop cleaner took it right off, though. I was in the midst of all that prep for dinner, else I'd've given you poor souls a before and after shot of it.

As noted earlier this week, the electricians did a lot of installation of new fixtures in the existing house. Here's a shot looking from the second floor hallway back towards the stairwell. There's a new center light where a yucky unuseful fan used to be, and on the left you can see one of the four new sconces up there.

More HVAC Problems: Let's see: Barnette Heating & A/C, Inc. of Mocksville, NC was back yet again today to try to figure out why the system is still not quite operating as it should. One problem they had to resolve: the outside unit was running constantly even when the cooling system was not activated. They ended up finding that one wire had been misdirected or wrongly connected. While hanging around for them to get all this done, I managed to make cookies: milk chocolate oatmeal, the third round of cookie-making in the new kitchen.

The kitchen remains awesome but I'm going to abandon it now to go watch episode 7 of the first season of "True Blood." I'm going to leave dinner clean-up for later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm Just A-Lighted to Meet You

It took a two full days of work by Jason Lanier and his fellow electrician Cory, but the long list of electrical needs and wants for the existing house have now been tackled. And I'm very pleased with the results. This is not the best most glorious picture to share, but I wanted to at least get one shot up this evening. This is the new fixture in the bedroom, replacing a cheap $15 flush-mount fixture that was installed by the folks who had the house before. I like this one even though its size and lower hang are taking some getting used to. It reminds me very much of the kind of lights that were installed during the renovation of The Mimslyn Inn (1931) in Luray, VA. It's pretty cool.

Also taken care of by the electricians: new front porch sconces, an outdoor ceiling fan in the corner of the porch where I do my grilling, new light fixtures for the South Parlour and the dining room, a stairwell light to replace a filthy ceiling fan I never used, four new sconces in the upstairs hallway, new balcony sconces and an outdoor outlet for the balcony, and a couple of outlets here and there. They guys worked long and hard but I think my Monster Chip cookies were appreciated.

Mighty heavy downpours this evening. Looks like the water from the neighboring lot is getting channeled away properly but I've still got to do something about the front yard and the backed-up drain there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meal No. 5: Spaghetti Carbonara

What has long been a favorite meal when good friends from my Leesville Road Middle School teaching days got together showed up as one of the early meals in the new Roediger House kitchen: spaghetti carbonara. Delicious stuff, that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Movie Night - Rescheduled

After making a Sunday afternoon check of the Monday night forecast, it seemed like it would be safe to reschedule the rained-out showing of The Transporter. That happened last night and there was a terrific turn-out. I think folks had a good time. The air was a bit close--it felt pretty humid--but the large array of citronella candles seemed to keep the pesky beasts away. The opening cartoon was Baby Bottleneck, a Looney Tunes classic, and the trailer was 10 Things I Hate about Commandments. The movie itself was a fun flick that flew by. There was the usual supply of roasted peanuts in the shell, and a couple of platters of Monster Chip cookies, which were delicious (if I may say so).