Kitchen Light Fixture Rough In

Day #194

January 23, 2021 – I was off to the cottage at some point after 8:00 AM. My Lowe’s receipt puts me at the Mechanicsburg Lowe’s at 8:57 AM.  I know I was there earlier and it took me a while to shop for what I needed. I got a new 8 foot step ladder to work in the new kitchen area and a bunch of ceiling boxes to rough in the kitchen light fixtures.

On the way west, I stopped at the Duncannon Sheetz to get a coffee refill. That was at 9:30 AM.

Continuing on the way to the Cot-Taj-Mahal I stopped at the Lewistown Sheetz for a bathroom break. I know it’s taking forever to get there! 

When I arrived I fired up the three (3) electric heaters and started to heat the place up. I worked all day on the kitchen light fixture rough in. It went pretty well. I cut a couple of pieces of the 1″ green insulation board to close off the attic access hole. Of course I had to draw a face on it. LOL…

Around 4:30 PM I started cleaning up and getting ready to go home. I shut off and unplugged all the heaters. Don’t want a fire!

Three Way Switch Rough In

Day #193

January 17, 2021 – I got off to the cottage right around the same time today, 8:00 AM. Driving straight into Lewistown I stopped at the Sheetz to a get a breakfast sandwich and a coffee refill. I’m working on the three way switch rough in today. These switches will work the lights from both sides of the kitchen. Sitting in the parking lot I made a mental inventory of the materials I needed. Lowe’s was the next stop.

At Lowe’s I got a couple of four gang switch boxes, 250 feet of 12/3 wire and a 25 foot fish tape. I hoped to get a half gallon of Colonial Maple stain to start the kitchen floor. There was none to be found. I got a floor applicator and a bamboo pole to screw into it. I’ll have to get the stain later.

After Lowe’s I went to Bossert’s Hardware to see if they have the stain but they were not open. Off to the cottage.

Four Gang Switch Boxes

I worked on the three way switch wiring between the coffee station and the television wing wall. The four gang switch boxes are installed first.

Three Way Switch Rough In
4 gang switch box at the television wing wall.
4 Gang Switch Box
4 gang switch box at the coffee station.

Three Way Switch Wiring

It took a little time to run the wires but I got them it roughed in. Drilled a bunch of 3/4 inch holes to pull the wire through.

Three Way Switch Rough In



Between installing the switch boxes I had to go out to the outhouse. Always worried about the splash 😥🙄😯but it worked out good. LOL 😁😅


Opening up the outhouse.

After I put my tools away, I vacuumed up the sawdust from the hole drilling operation and then left for home at 4:30 PM. Good day at the Cot-Taj-Mahal!

Permanent Electric Service Rough In

Day #192

January 16, 2021 – Welcome back after the holidays! I left the house around 8:00 AM bound for the cottage. I’m planning on working on the permanent electric service today. It was a very calming drive. I stopped at the Mifflintown Sheetz to gas up the truck and get a coffee refill. 

Conduit Round Up

Before I could start the work on the permanent electric service I had to get some 2″ pvc conduit and fittings. Well Lowe’s did not have any conduit. Bossert’s Hardware did not have any conduit. River Valley Hardware And The Cookie Jar did not have and conduit. Finally I made my way out to Nolt’s Farm Store, two miles outside of McVeytown on Route 22 west. Thankfully they had some conduit. Now back to the cottage.

As you may remember we had the previous 100 AMP electric service disconnected and installed a temporary service. This was necessary to allow the roof framing above the kitchen to be removed and replaced.

Permanent Service Rough In

I hung the new 200 AMP meter base on the outside of the cottage. It is mounts on an Arlington Meter Mount Block that purchased from Gordon Electric. The mounting block has a channel along its edges that allows the siding to finish off inside it. This makes for a very clean “no caulk” finish.

Permanent Electric Service
200 AMP meter base installed on exterior wall.
Arlington Meter Base Mount Panel
Arlington Meter Base Mount Panel

The conduit from the meter base runs down and then under the cottage towards the “Chokey” in between the kitchen and dining room. It turns up, passes through the floor , into the wall above and then connects to the electric panel.

Permanent Electric Rough In
Conduit run under the cottage.


Hole for Electric Conduit
Permanent Electric Service Rough In – Hole in the floor inside the Chokey wall.


Conduit To Panel
Conduit passing through the floor to the electric panel.
Electric Inside the Chokey
Conduit inside the wall of the Chokey, panel cutout and the panel itself.
Kitchen Interior
Inside shot of the Living Room and Kitchen. Note the electric panel installed in the Chokey wall.

The permanent electric service rough in went very well. At the end of the day I had the meter base mounted everything below the base complete. I just need to run some EMT conduit up through the soffit and put on the weather head and the service entrance hardware. I’m in good shape. I’ll be back tomorrow to rough in some three way light switches.

Cleaning Up The Kitchen ?

Day #191

December 28, 2020 – For the life of me, I cannot remember why I drove back down to the cottage on this day. The photos show that the only thing I accomplished was the cleaning up of the kitchen and deicing the grill.

The Juniata River was still cold! The front yard was cold! The back yard was cold!

Even the barbeque grill was cold! In fact, I had to use a bit of table salt and a hammer to remove the iceberg that formed around the gas hose.

But the kitchen cleaned up nicely.

The cleaning up of the kitchen is done and this is my last blog for 2020. I hope that everyone has a very happy New Year! I’ll be back in 2021!

PS: – Later I realized that I took down my scaffolding and moved it out of the weather.

Winter Check In on the Cot-Taj-Mahal

Winter Check In

Day #190

December 27, 2020 – This morning Robrandi and I traveled to McVeytown to do a Winter check in on the Cot-Taj-Mahal. This was just a “down and back trip”. It was cold and blustery with lots of frozen puddles in the yard.

It has been almost one month to the day since our last visit. The Juniata River looked cold! The front yard looked cold! The back yard looked cold! The inside looks good, everything, just as we left it. It was also cold!

Exterior Siding Demolition

Exterior Siding Demolition

Day #189

November 28, 2020 – Back outside today and working on exterior siding demolition. This will complete the removal of the remaining fiberboard siding. After the siding removal is complete I can finish the building wrap installation.

There was some exterior siding demolition at the location of the temporary electric drop on the south east corner. After that was complete, I moved over to the closet bump out. Finishing the building wrap on the closet I moved to the west end by the fire pit.

At the west end I had to work off of my scaffolding set up to reach the top of the gable end. Today’s exterior siding demolition was pretty straight forward. I didn’t have any surprises and I finished up the west end right around 4:15 PM.

Technically, I have one very small section of siding left to remove. It is on the east side where the pump house meets the cottage wall. It’s about 2′ × 3′ in size. This will be removed in the future when we install the new siding. So, for all intents and purposes the exterior siding demolition is complete!

The gallery below has ten images showing the outside of the cottage.

We probably won’t make it back down until sometime after Christmas. It’s just too busy around the holidays. Until next time…. take it easy!

Trim in the Living Room Continued.

Day #188

November 27, 2020 – I continued the trim installation in the living room. First up was the casement around the big eight foot picture window. It trimmed out very nicely. Right after I finished it up a bird flew in the open doorway and took a dump on the new window sill. This is just my luck. So now I’m chasing a bird around the house!

After I got the bird out of the house I took a small break for lunch at the lookout. I had a sammy, a pretzel, an apple and a bottle of water. LOL! It was a little chilly and overcast today but it’s still great to be able to sit by the river and watch the water flow.

When I came back, I continued in the living room trim, working my way around to the railroad side, finishing the window near the wood stove. Everything looks good!

Window and door trim.
Picture window and sliding door trim.

We are supposed to have a little better weather tomorrow so I’ll let the trim go for a day or so. I am planning on going back outside to remove the rest of the old siding. That will let me complete the building wrap installation.

Molding, Casement and Trim – Living Room

Day #187

November 23, 2020 – This morning I made the return trip to Burnham. I dropped off the pallet jack at the Penn Equipment rental yard. Earlier, I decided to go to back to the Cot-Taj-Mahal to start the molding, casement and trim in the Living Room.

This work consists of wood base around the perimeter of the floor, corner moldings in each corner and door and window casement. Before the renovation is all said and done all the windows, doors and rooms will have new trim.

Since it was a Monday I did not stay long. I think I left for home around 1:00PM. On the highway I came up on this truck with a big old black bear laying in the truck bed. I’m so busy with the renovation that I forget everything else that’s going on around me. It was surprising to find out that it was bear hunting season in Pennsylvania. I did not know.

Looks like a pretty big one too.

New Hearth Pad Arrives.

Day #185 & 186

November 18, 2020 – On Wednesday we received a call from AES Hearth & Patio. They received our new hearth pad and it was ready for pick up. Okay, hopefully it won’t have any damage this time.

I drove over to their Camp Hill store on the Carlisle Pike. It was in fact, a new hearth pad with no damage so I was good to go.

November 21, 2020 – On Saturday morning we left the house bright and early at 6:00 AM, bound for the Cot-Taj-Mahal with the new hearth pad. If you can remember the wood stove is sitting outside on the porch. I unloaded it from my truck using a pallet jack that I rented from Penn Equipment in Burnham, PA. After we place the new hearth pad on the floor we can move the wood stove inside and put it on the pad. To do that we need to rent the pallet jack again so out first stop was Penn Equipment.

With the pallet jack in the back of the truck we drove the rest of the way to the Cot-Taj-Mahal.


At the cottage, we unboxed the hearth pad and placed it on the floor. I used the pallet jack to bring in the wood stove.

New Hearth Pad
New hearth pad in place.
Pallet Jack
Pallet jack and plywood ramp at the sliding door.

After removing the fire brick from the inside of the stove, I installed the ash pan and the Queen Ann’s legs. At this point I pondered about how we were going to stand it upright without breaking the cast iron legs. At 350 lbs, the stove is just a wee bit heavy for Robrandi and I to be lifting.

Stove Assembly
Install the ash pan and cast iron legs.

After some engineering reflection I built a wood frame that we used to roll the stove upright. The frame was slightly taller that the Queen Ann’s legs. This kept the weight of the stove off the cast iron legs as we righted it. All good…. For some reason I don’t have any pictures of this contraption. I think we were to stressed at this point.

Hearth Pad & Stove
New hearth pad and wood stove.

Hearth Pad & Wood Stove

Moving ever so slowly we positioned the stove on top of the hearth pad. There you have it. The whole thing is centered on the accent wall and it looks great! All we need to do now is install the stove pipe and it will be ready to fire up.

After setting the wood stove it was too late in the day to return the pallet jack. Penn Equipment is closed on Sunday so this means that I’ll be making a return trip on Monday, at least to Burnham, to make the return. Rather than stay the night, we decided to just head back and spend Sunday at home.

Winterization for 2020

Day # 184

November 17. 2020 – Just a very short post today. I traveled to the Cot-Taj-Mahal this morning to perform the 2020 winterization. This includes draining down the water, and winterizing the toilet and drain traps.

Everything went as expected. I used the shop vacuum to suck all the water out of the pipes and I loaded up the toilet and drain traps with anti-freeze . Winterization complete… We should be good for the winter.

Sometime next season I will be replacing the existing CPVC water pipe with much more temperature tolerant PEX water piping. I think I’ll still have to drain but I won’t have such a risk of a pipe burst if a little water gets left in the system over the winter.

We’ll see…