If We Knew Then What We Know Now

A house is made of walls and beams, but a home is built with hopes and dreams.

Oh, my goodness! This house is taking longer and longer to finish! Bill and I have said more than once . . . “Maybe we should have just gone up the road and contracted with that builder who could build a little shack in 60 days!” Well, yes, we could have had a house like that. And, we probably would have been moved in by now. But, would it have been the dream home we envisioned? Never! And, so, we keep plugging along hoping to see the light at the end of the house-building tunnel sooner than later.

General construction and scheduling frustrations are enough to put one over the edge. You can just imagine what we felt like the last couple of weeks when adding the following to the mix.

  • Ran out of trim material
  • Storms and torrential rain soaked the already wet ground
  • Microwave trim kit we special ordered along with our microwave over 2 years ago was the wrong kit and both have been discontinued
  • Granite delivery delayed for 4 weeks

Let’s talk about what did get done. The painters have worked a lot. On good weather days they painted the exterior lap siding and caulked and caulked and caulked and painted some more.

Siding painted - trim not painted

Siding painted – trim not painted

Back of house painted

Back of house painted

On bad weather days, the painters worked indoors putting second coats of paint on bedroom walls and patching up nail holes on any of the trim that the carpenters had installed. And, they did more staining and polying. That came later.

Wednesday, May 7, Bill and the carpenters worked all afternoon and into the early night installing the kitchen cabinets and island.

Night view of cabinets/island without doors and drawers

Night view of cabinets/island without doors and drawers looking from the family room

Cabinets/island from dining area view

Cabinets/island from dining area view

Close-up of exhaust fan cabinet

Close-up of exhaust fan cabinet

Close-up of cooktop cabinet in the middle flanked by dish drawers

Close-up of cooktop cabinet in the middle flanked by dish drawers

Upper cabinets above cooktop

Upper cabinets above cook-top

Side view of island without trim or book shelf

Side view of island without trim or book shelf

Here I am feeling how the space feels. I loved it!

Here I am seeing how the space feels. I loved it!

The carpenters said they would come back on Saturday to install the tongue-and-groove on the porch ceiling and install the beams in the family room. And, Tim (carpenter) suggested that if Bill could get the 12 sheets of plywood purchased, stained and polyed, they would work on our closets the following week.

Bill bought the plywood the next day and was determined he was going to stain and poly it himself. He spent a couple of hours building two platforms to hold the plywood while it dried. He started staining on Friday, May 9. Big big job! Unfortunately, the first batch of plywood Bill bought and loaded and unloaded from his trailer he found wasn’t the right plywood for the job. So, he took 11 pieces of the plywood back (one of them he had already stained) and spent the bigger bucks to get the better stuff. Of course, that meant loading and unloading the wrong stuff and loading and unloading the right stuff. The man is totally exhausted every night.

Staining away

Staining away

Stacks of plywood needing staining and polyed on both sides

Stacks of plywood needing staining and poly on both sides

Bill soon found out this was going to take a long time to finish this job by himself.

Saturday, the carpenters showed up and installed the porch ceiling.

Installing the tongue-and-groove porch ceiling

Installing the tongue-and-groove porch ceiling

We decided to put trim around the edges because the soffit was wavy (metal)

We decided to put trim around the edges because the soffit was wavy (metal)

Finished porch ceiling

Finished porch ceiling

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Tim and Mike started on the beams in the family room.

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The farther they got, they knew they didn’t have enough material to finish the ceiling beams. They inventoried what was left and this is the last beam they could install.

Last beam before running out of material

Last beam before running out of material

Originally, we had planned to run beams along the green area to enclose it. It was supposed to be like a coffer vaulted ceiling. However, after seeing how the beams looked as is, we all agreed not to enclose that part of the vault. It would have been too weighty and dark. The guys did some figuring and came up with the amount of material we needed to finish the ceiling beams. Bill called Fehrenbacher on Monday and got it ordered.

Since the carpenters couldn’t finish the beams, they installed crown molding on the kitchen cabinets.

Crown on the cabinets

Crown on the cabinets

Sunday, May 11, Bill started installing cabinet doors. The large cabinet to the right below is the refrigerator cabinet.

First cabinet doors installed

First cabinet doors installed

Then, he installed cabinet doors on the double-deckers. The top ones will have glass in them.

Second cabinet doors

Second cabinet doors

Monday, May 12, we had a full crew – geothermal drilling crew, painters, granite measuring, and garage door rep. Bill decided to ask the painters if they could finish up the staining and polying of the plywood and told them more trim would be coming in a couple of days and he wanted them to stain and poly it, too. Cha-ching! More money for materials and more money for labor. I was happy that Bill relinquished control of the staining since he had his hands full with cabinets and other stuff.

There was a big storm that hit the area on Friday, May 9. The worst of it hit south of us. Unfortunately, the geothermal guys’ shop got hit and they didn’t realize that their battery charger for their machinery wasn’t working until they came out to start digging. They spent a lot of time waiting for batteries to charge.

Geothermal diggers

Geothermal diggers

They worked sporadically Monday through Thursday that week and they made a big mess with all the mud.

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Mud was everywhere since they had to go across our rock driveway. What a mess! But, thank goodness, they were able to get the loops drilled with no other issues.

The granite guy came late morning and got everything measured for the kitchen counter-tops, island, and both bathroom vanities. It was all quite interesting how it is all done digitally. I got a call from our granite salesman two days later and said we actually saved almost $800 from our original estimate because after measuring we needed less. YAY!!!! But, the bad news was we have to wait until June 12 before they install the granite. That is holding up getting the plumbers here. They can’t come until after granite and sinks are installed. Ugghhh!

Granite measuring

Granite measuring

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The garage door rep showed up along with the customer service rep from the company from which we purchased the doors. They determined it was a factory-finish default and they would replace our doors. I hope the next doors don’t start cracking and peeling.

The painters worked everyday the week of May 12. They kept busy with staining and polying in-between rain showers. They worked indoors painting or patching. Bill picked up the trim material mid-week and they started staining that, too.

Tuesday, the carpenters returned and since there was no finished material yet, they installed all our door hardware.

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Front door hardware

Front door hardware

The electrician called Bill early Wednesday, May 14, to tell Bill they could come and work that day. The crew (7 guys) was at our house by 9:00. Thank goodness, Bill and I had opened and inventoried all our light fixtures, ceiling fans, outdoor lights, and flood lights, on Sunday. However, we didn’t have light bulbs yet as I had just ordered LED bulbs from homedepot.com the day before. They had the cheapest price. LED bulbs are not cheap. Try buying a whole house full of them! They will pay for themselves in the long run in energy savings and won’t have to be replace for a very long time.

Fan installed in one of the bedrooms

Fan installed in one of the bedrooms

Vanity lights in hall bathroom

Vanity lights in hall bathroom

Vanities installed in master bath

Vanities installed in master bath

Fan installed in Family Room

Fan installed in Family Room

Entry way ceiling light and sconces

Entry way ceiling light and sconces

Chandelier in dining area

Chandelier in dining area

Under cabinet outlets installed

Under cabinet outlets installed

Lights in the laundry room

Lights in the laundry room

Exterior lights (front porch and on each side of garage doors)

Exterior lights (front porch and on each side of garage doors)

Let there be light!!!

They used the bulbs we bought for the outdoor lights for the chandelier (we will replace with LED)

They used the bulbs we bought for the outdoor lights for the chandelier (we will replace with LED)

Can lights in kitchen

Can lights in kitchen

They installed all the outlets and light switches throughout the house. Also have electrical outlets on each side of island, next to the sit-down area of our vanity, and each side of the fireplace (where the mantle will be).

Light switches

Light switches

Outlets on side of island

Outlets on side of island

Outlet for my sit-down vanity

Outlet for my sit-down vanity

They wired up the wall oven and placed it in the cabinet. The carpenters later had to notch out an area on each side to fully install it.

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Even though these guys are so fast and efficient, we forgot how messy they were. They would rip open a box and throw it on the floor. They would cut pieces of wiring and throw the rest on the floor. And, remember all that mud outside? Yep, they drug it inside. I was so upset how it all looked after they were gone, I didn’t take any pictures of the inside mess.

The next morning after Bill moved a lot of the light fixture boxes out to the garage, here is what the garage looked like.

Mud mud mud

Mud mud mud

Boxes and boxes and boxes

Boxes and boxes and boxes and mud

I spent hours Thursday, May 15, tearing down cardboard boxes, separating trash from burn piles. Bill was emptying trash, burning, and trying to get the pole barn back in order. I swept mud and trash inside until my knee and back gave out again. Bill worked for hours afterwards sweeping and vacuuming the garage and inside the house. The next day I helped Bill stack trim in the garage and do more straightening up of the house before the carpenters came the next day.

Bill sweeping garage

Bill sweeping garage

Saturday, May 17, the carpenters came to finish up the beams, install the microwave and microwave trim kit, and do other things on the punch list.

Finished ceiling beams

Finished ceiling beams in Family Room

How the beams come down the vault

How the beams come down the vault

Trimmed out the island

Trimmed out the island

More island trim

More island trim

Trimmed out the garage windows

Trimmed out the garage windows

Trimmed the entry doorway from the garage to house

Trimmed the entry doorway from the garage to house

Installed the last door!

Installed the last door!

Installed the large beam that separates the family room from kitchen/dining

Installed the large beam that separates the family room from kitchen/dining

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Trimmed the garage attic drop-down stairs

Trimmed the garage attic drop-down stairs

Trimmed out the utility area in the garage

Trimmed out the utility area in the garage

While the carpenters were finishing up the trim items, Bill and I went for a Craig’s List find. I never really liked that oak antique desk that I originally bought to put in the entry and then decided to put in my computer area. The painters had stripped it but hadn’t painted it yet. Remember this?

Antique desk

Antique desk

Well, the Craig’s List find was a desk I LOVE and it’s going right inside the garage entry door. It will be the drop-off area. Drop off mail, purse, charging station for electronics, and house a land-line, if we decide to have one.

Craig's List desk

Craig’s List desk

It is a very heavy piece of furniture and looks good in its new home. In fact, it is the first piece of furniture we’ve already moved into the house.

New desk finds a home

New desk finds a home

So, the carpenters and Bill were trying to install the microwave trim kit and when they opened it all up, they found that it did not fit the microwave. The size was all wrong. Geesh! So, Bill asked me to find the receipt for it and he boxed the trim kit back up and we went to Lowe’s to see how we could handle returning an item we purchased over two years ago!

Turns out they discontinued that trim kit and so Lowe’s could not get us one. All of the Bosch appliances we ordered were special orders. Customer service didn’t know what to do for us. Finally, they called a sales rep from his dinner break and he came back and worked with us for a couple of hours. At one point, I found a trim kit online, but Lowe’s said if we didn’t buy something else from them, they would not refund us for the special order. Apparently, there is a 90 day limit on special orders. Read the fine print. I didn’t. Good to know.

We ended up ordering a true built-in Bosch microwave the next day after we went home and measured to make sure it would fit. It has a door that pulls down instead of from side to side. And, Lowe’s did us well. They credited us the full amount for returning the convection microwave and trim kit – which they will have to sell on clearance. And, they threw in a 3-year warranty. We had originally purchased a 4-year warranty which was non-refundable.

New microwave

New microwave

I did a little magic with my computer and plucked in a pix of the microwave where it will eventually be installed. It is due to be delivered in another week.

What microwave and wall oven will look like

What microwave and wall oven will look like

And, you can see from the above picture Bill has been busy getting doors installed on the cabinets.

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Since last week was a beautiful sunny week, the painters worked Monday and Tuesday and finished up spraying poly on all the plywood. And, they started painting the trim the bronze color. It is finally looking how I had envisioned it!

Bronze trim around the windows

Bronze trim around the windows

View from the road

View from the road

Close-up of front window trim

Close-up of front window trim

Front door trim painted

Front door trim and columns painted

Part of the back trim painted

Part of the back trim painted

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Trim around the garage doors painted bronze

Trim around the garage doors painted bronze

We asked Jim to call the excavator about digging the septic laterals. He said the ground was still too wet. Really???? He said if the rain held off until after Tuesday, May 27, he should be able to dig. Keeping our fingers crossed that it will happen. But, the forecast shows rain every day this week.

Thursday, May 22, our shower door was delivered. The installer was supposed to have called me Friday. I guess I’ll get in touch with him this week.

Shower door

Shower door

Tim the carpenter came Thursday afternoon and started installing closet systems. The guy is fast.

Double-door closet

Double-door closet in spare bedroom

Bedroom closet

Bedroom closet

 

Coat closet

Coat closet

Linen closet

Linen closet

Of course, you might know, they ran out of material for cleats for shelving. Bill spent Friday and Saturday cutting down extra trim pieces Jim and Joan had that they offered to us. Bill sanded off the stain, re-stained and polyed the pieces. Tim was supposed to come sometime this weekend to start on the master closet. He showed up sometime today and we didn’t know it until Bill discovered these cleats installed.

Where Bill's shoe racks will be

Where Bill’s shoe racks will be

My shoe racks and double-hanging rods will be

My shoe racks and double-hanging rods will be

Shelves will be and fold-up ironing board

Shelves will be and fold-up ironing board

Bill says he is going to trim the closet systems. And, he is adding extra support under every shelf. He finished one this weekend.

Bedroom closed trimmed out

Bedroom closet trimmed out

Bill had to buy more material for our fireplace mantle. He’s in the process of sanding the boards, then stain and then poly. Never ending! I think we finally came up with a mantel that I liked. 🙂

Of course, Bill continues to do PITA jobs. We’ve had squeaks in one of the front bedrooms for months. Bill had screwed all the subfloors after the framers nailed them down back in the fall. Last week Bill got under the crawl space to see if he could fix the problem. He put up blocking, put shims between the rafters and subfloor, and glued it all. Then he took out the screws that were in there and put in longer screws. He thinks he fixed it!!!!

Bill trying to fix squeaks in bedroom floor

Bill trying to fix squeaks in bedroom floor

And, we have AC now! The HVAC guys came Friday and flushed the geothermal loops with water and installed our temporary controller. Duct system isn’t finished yet, but air is running and it’s cool.

Temporary HVAC controller

Temporary HVAC controller

Our list is going down. Just some major things still need to be done before we could move in. Bill still doesn’t have his electric in the pole barn yet. Hoping for late June. But, we’ll see.

I’ll be glad when this weed filled pile of dirt is gone.

Big 'ol pile of weed covered dirt!

Big ‘ol pile of weed covered dirt!

 

4 thoughts on “If We Knew Then What We Know Now

  1. Sandy—this is so exciting to see how much work has been done! You are really getting there! And EVERYTHING is simply gorgeous! Love love love!

    • Thanks, Kathy! Yes, lots got done the last three weeks to really put those finishing touches on the house. Can’t wait to live in it!!!

  2. Love that ceiling above front door! And those cabinets..my oh my can’t wait to see in person. Favorite is that big room with the beams..beautiful! Not long now

    • All of the things you mentioned are my favorites, too. The cabinets came out better than I ever imagine. So so special because Bill made them. I dreamed about those family room beams for so long. Those carpenters are the best! You show them a picture and they deliver. I pinch myself every time I walk in the house. And, it’s so much better in person versus pictures. Can’t wait to share with you!

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