Monday, November 10, 2014

Interior Details - Part 3

We are so close now.  We got our Certificate of Occupancy from the Municipality almost 2 weeks ago.  Since then, there has been a pretty constant push to finish.  There was a little tension on the job site between what I would call the "40+ hour folks" and the small crew that seemed to think 28 hours a week was enough.  I have been frustrated and disappointed by that aspect of the build, and have said so many times over the last couple months to our contractor, but nothing changed.  Oh well, moving on.

Meanwhile, things did get done.  There is now only a one-page list of little items that need to be completed. Our foreman checks on those items every day and our hard-working painter will be around for another week or two doing touch ups and finishing out the garage.

The appraiser guy came by today for more photos.  I hope it is done enough that we can finalize our long-term mortgage.

Here are a few photos from today:

I am kind of in love with my kitchen, despite its missing parts (a little paint on the hood, lighting in the stained glass cabinet, a dish hutch, and two tall china cabinets to complete the archway - all coming soon).  We cleaned it all up last night for the the appaiser guy, so most of my pics are of the kitchen. 

That is November sun shining in the windows at about 10:30am!  I was loving that today.


Living room (bad iPhone pic) - I am pretty pleased with the way the fireplace came together.  I am looking forward to a getting a fire going in it the night we move in.

 Southwest corner of the living room at about 3:30pm this afternoon.

 Master bath vanity all ready for us to move in.

Kids' bath vanity - custom color chosen by our kids.  All three kids looked at the Sherwin-Williams fan deck and agreed on this color and I said "Ok, let's do it!"  I couldn't believe they picked a color together so quickly.  It is fun splash of color in our mostly-white house.

I am so ready, except there is much packing to be done at the current house.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will able and ready to move in this coming weekend. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Interior Details - Part 2

Our project manager has been making a big push to get the house ready for final inspections so we can get a Certificate of Occupancy from the Muni this month.  Once we have it, we will be able to finalize our mortgage and maybe actually move in.

So, the build site has had a lot of people popping in for a bit of work over the last few weeks.

Finish work - We have had 3 different finishing crews on site, all amazing craftsman. Bath and Laundry cabinets are are in.

The stair handrail is almost done.  It needs paint and a piece of Cherry on top to finish it off.  It should go in on Monday or Tuesday.

Doors and Windows are all beautifully trimmed out.  Actual doors will be hung this week or the next and hardware installed. The shiplap wainscot is almost done, and the tongue-groove ceiling is done in the main living areas.

Cabinetry - my kitchen cabinets are half in.   The island will get a butcher block top in a few days.  The cabinets were designed by me and were beautifully built by a local cabinet maker, as was my bath vanity.

Dan built our guest bath vanity.

The laundry and kids bath cabinets are from a manufacturer with custom paint colors.

Painting - We had a very hard working solo painter who finished up the exterior last month and has been bouncing around the inside and pushing along the finish carpenters.  Last week, as soon as they put up trim, he was behind them filling holes and sanding.  Thankfully, he has had some help this week and the last.

Tile work...still needs some baseboard tile and grout, bathroom windows and niches are not quite done, and there a few spots that just need grout.  Despite that list, I am happy with the progress.

The plumbers have started installing the fixtures.

The electrician has been busy too and should be ready for an inspection mid-week.

Dirt work - mailbox is going in on Monday and maybe some more gravel for additional parking.  We will do some additional landscaping in the spring, but it will be fine for this winter.

Last weekend, I just wanted something to be done, anything.  I am still waiting, but things are getting close.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Exterior Details - Part 4

The exterior is nearly complete!  Over the last month, painting was finished, gutters attached, exterior lighting installed, front steps and deck steps were added, boardwalk framework was placed. The last items include: the cedar planking on the boardwalk between the garage and house (which will be completed closer to the end to keep it in good shape), installing the doorbell button and house numbers, washing the windows and garage doors, and some dirt work.

We have had only one minor disappointment relative to the exterior.  For the last several months, I have asked about having the garage doors and the jam of the blue doors painted Slate like the windows.  There was much debate about which painter would get the job. The other day I was informed it was now too late in the season to paint the aluminum doors.  I decided it was in my best interested to just bite my tongue about asking about it for months, since it is minor and can be done next summer. That said, I can still vent about it here. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014


Apparently, I am still learning how to communicate well, verbally at least.

It often feels like we are requesting a certain, very specific thing, but the person listening seems to hear something different, or maybe has their own idea already in their head.

We had an issue with the trim/woodwork package we requested.  Way back in April or May, our project manager put up sample pieces of wood to simulate the trim sizes we had suggested.  These were squared off pieces of wood, just like I wanted and to the size I requested.  The thickness, was yet to be determined.

So, notes were taken, we got a vague invoice for a deposit on the "trim package as requested by" our project manager.  We paid it. Then the trim was dropped off.  A giant pile of milled wood, primed and ready for installation.

They installed the trim around and window and with a little back and forth I got it the way I wanted it, but I wasn't excited about it for some reason.   That evening, Dan went by to look at it.  He came home and said "I don't like the rollover."

I felt like hitting my forehead.  That was what was bothering me!  They had put on a 1/8" rollover on every corner of the wood.  I wanted actual corners, like the sample I had approved, like my custom-ordered windows, doors, and cabinetry.  What we had, looked like painted basic lumber next to the square window sticking.

I felt sick.  There was a pile of wood ready to go sitting in our new garage.  What could I do about it now?

I didn't sleep well that night.

I called my contractor and met everyone the next morning. They had finished installing the garage window trim.  Everyone was weirdly nice, but they did try to convince me to keep it, as this is how they do it 90% of time. I gently reminded my contractor that I rarely do anything standard and it would have been nice to approve a piece before they milled it all.

Since I never approved anything but the sample mock-up way back when and everything I had selected up to this point had square corners, We had a point about the roll over. Dan and I said they could leave the garage windows as installed, but the we wanted the pile re-milled. They loaded it up and took it back the shop.  I stopped by the shop later and saw a piece that had been through the sander 3 times.  It looked better and I wanted to compromise, so I agreed to it.

I started driving home but still felt bad about it. I called Dan and decided to go back and get a sample for him to look at.  Talking again to the four guys there, I admitted I felt like I was compromising and finally said, I just want square edges that could be knocked down with sand paper.

Paul, the mill owner said he could take 1/8" of the total thickness to get me what I wanted.


I left feeling much better.

What is amazing still, is the level of detail that is needed for all of this.  I thought it was clear.  There was a physical example of what I wanted, but I should have put it in writing myself.

I am thankful that we have a contractor who wants to work as a team with us, wants us to be happy with the finished house and hires people who take real pride in their workmanship.

I am still refining my verbal communication skills. There is something about being the only woman in a room that makes me hesitant sometimes, but I am so glad I am finding the confidence to speak up when things don't meet my expectations.  If I didn't, I would have to look at it forever and always feel a little regret for not asking for what I really wanted.

I really should have built a practice house.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


My real house feels like total chaos.  No one seems to mind, except me. Note the two kids reading blissfully. The third one is on the computer, completely unaware of his surroundings.

After another busy summer day, I couldn't get myself to deal with it (the kitchen and table look worse), so I took a walk to see today's progress. Three different crews were at the house today.  

The gables got another coat of red paint.

Our framers finished a little porch off the back of the garage.

The drywall crew finished taping and began mudding the house.

I seriously wanted to sit there and live in the daydream of that empty house.  

After a while, I headed home to half packed boxes; abandoned art, science and sewing projects; piles of fabric, tile, countertop, and paint samples; boxes of door sets and lighting fixtures; dishes for days; and a dinner to start.  

I am so grateful that we get to build this house.  It is so awesome and the crews are wonderful. So far the stress has almost nothing to do with the execution of the design.  Our framing crew is amazing and will be doing most of the finishing work, as well. It is just the coordinating of choices and making decisions, going through invoices, documenting everything and, of course, the ever-present budget that are taking over my life.  It is summer and I feel more stressed out because I am busy missing it.

I keep telling myself that within 6 months, all this stress will fade into memory.  

I can barely wait.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

June/July Interior Update

Because we are installing in-floor radiant heat, so the crew came in and screwed down plywood sleepers for the hardwood to be nailed to in most of the house. Only the entry, mudroom, laundry and baths will have brick or tile, so no sleepers there.    Then the maze of radiant heat tubing was installed followed by gypcrete.  

The Renaissance Rumford fireplace has been installed and gypcrete poured.

Sheetrock began at the end of June.  It seemed like a big puzzle.  They went through and put up all the full size sheets they could and then went back and filled in the missing pieces.

Living Room - SW corner of house

view from Dining Room to Kitchen - SE corner