Yesterday we loaded up to go see progress. Zac took pictures, so while he is uploading those, here are my thoughts:

1) I'm thrilled with how the woodwork is turning out. John, true to his word, salvaged as much of the old as possible and has done a wonderful job re-building what was beyond repair. The old cabinetry is sanded down and and installed and ready to be varnished. As you should be able to see from the photos, it looks smooth, tight and even. I'm pleased. It's deeply emotional (don't laugh at me!) for me to see the old cabinetry in, looking like "my trailer" again. Relief flooding me.

2) Adding the trash cabinet created some problems. Even with the heater removed, there was less space than expected. This is a situation where we should have communicated better. I would have forfeited a bank of drawers- or the trash cabinet itself. John pushed the woodwork down toward the door (expected)-- and back into the bedroom- not expected, not gonna work. It pushed the bathroom, which is a metal box, if you recall, back about 5 inches, which somehow made the back bedroom 6 inches shorter on that side. This made the bedroom feel much smaller and, worse, also limited options as a twin mattress would not fit longwise on the wall. I could not live with that. Things were grim as John had already wood screwed and glued everything in. Bear in mind that the pocket door sandwiched between the kitchen and bathroom/ bedroom was also tied in. We worked together for a compromise. He will push it back 5 inches by shortening the depth of the cabinet above the "stove". I'm fine with this, and I think having the room in the bedroom is worth it. John very accommodating on making this change- he really wants me to be happy, and I really appreciate that.

3) Speaking of the "stove", which is now the range, that also is more complicated than expected. It's bigger than the stove was, and building in a cabinet problematic. If we build a full size cabinet to fit the range, the depth & width, it would make the passage very narrow and crowded, feeling claustrophobic. John had built in a rounded half base/ cabinet but no storage, with the range kinda floating out... Not very good looking, even though his curve on it was beautiful and mirrored the curve of cabinet above. Well, due to the bedroom issue, we are cutting back that wall cabinet, making it 5 inches shallower anyway. This solves some of the problem as the front of the range now is not cramped under the cabinet- the front burner will be free and not cramped 18 inches under, which makes me feel better about boiling a larger pot of water. John is going to remove the wire towel rack that juts out an inch or so. We will cut into the corner of the countertop and inset it about 2 inches, so the left knob still works, but the whole range is nestled in as much as possible. Not ideal, but I think it will blend ok once the stainless counter is in. It may still "float" out a bit, depends how it fits, and what seems lesser issue- tight corridor, or small "float".

4) Decisions had to be made regarding finishing the wood. John used birch as much as possible, but there were some places where the veneer would not bend, even with the steamer. Apparently veneer is thinner now than it use to be? Also, some places where strength deemed worth using some stronger support wood. John wanted to know if I wanted a stain on the wood, followed by the marine spar varnish. Alternately, no stain, straight to the varnish. I went with just the varnish. All the wood will blend better, it will be a little lighter, but I hope it will age and caramelize better over time. I really like Birchwood Beauties website- he updates even less than I do!- but he says "three coats exterior grade marine spar varnish with sanding in between each coat. Finish is then waxed to high gloss." Sounds excellent to me.

5) The metal interior frames for the windows look great. John did a swirl finish on them. I like it!

6) Yeah, we are not gonna be done next week lol! Probably 2 more weeks, maybe 3.

Hot off the press...

Lookie, lookie, lookie!!! Wow! Right??? Going Sat to check it out, so hold tight for lots of pics to come this week-end!

I went down to see the Spartan a few days before Christmas! You can see some of the support skeleton is in. Don't worry about where you see some "sagging"- there will be cross- skeleton beams that will shore that up and add strength. 

I'm sorry I'm such a poor photographer. But you can see how nicely insulated it's going to be. The framework will be strong- and I think we are going with the 1/8th wood, so it will need that great foundation. I'm happy with that- 1/8 is what I believe it originally was. Also- keeping it light:) 

Another little detail to notice is in the gallery below- the powder coated screws, which will never rust. John calls 'em "forever" screws. 

The fans will be framed out... A lot of detail work ahead, but things are taking shape! 
I had my doubts, but these look VERY good. So good, I'm spending another $350 for the remaining 2 vents so they will all match. Nerd alert detail: John found the spray rubber that matches the original factory internal finish. Oddly satisfying:) 
Cold, cold, cold rainy day, but a trip down to see the progress on the Spartan warmed my mood!