It Started with A Dream. It’s Looking like a Home!

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. ~Erma Bombeck

Six years ago we started this dream of ours. Seventeen months ago, I decided to share this dream with family and close friends by writing my first blog. Then, I really got brave and opened the blog up to the world. Scary!

The whole adventure of building this home has been exciting and more overwhelming than we could have ever imagined. It has consumed our lives for the last year. We are ready for the journey of building to be over. We want to continue our dream . . . just dreaming in our own bed in our own bedroom in our own home. That time is almost here!

The Painters worked the week of June 16. They finished up on Monday, June 23. They touched up all stained wood and applied a second coat of paint to all the walls. They also put another coat of paint on the pantry cabinet and laundry doors and drawers. They will come back to do final touch-ups after we move furniture in. They finally painted the exterior of the laundry room door the bronze color to match the windows.
Laundry exterior door painted bronze

Laundry exterior door painted bronze

The plumbers worked the week of June 16, too. After they installed the line for the refrigerator ice maker, Bill decided to get the Kenmore Elite refrigerator we purchased over a year ago out of the box and get it ready so the plumbers could hook it up the next day. Panic quickly set in when he realized that the refrigerator cabinet he made was 3 inches smaller than the refrigerator we purchased.

Big ol refrigerator that didn't fit!

Big ol refrigerator that didn’t fit!

Bill called me and kept apologizing for getting the cabinet size wrong. He felt horrible. He was ready to rip out the cabinet and try and remake it! I took a deep breath and calmly said, “Shut everything down and come up to Jill’s and let’s talk about it.” I’m telling you, the further we get into this construction, nothing surprises me anymore. I’ve found that getting upset doesn’t do much good. That doesn’t mean I don’t get upset here and there. But, this particular time. I did not.

Jill just happened to be home from work and close by when Bill called. As soon as I hung up she asked what was going on. I told her and I said the last thing I wanted was for Bill to re-make a cabinet. We were too far to go back there. Besides, we were both sick of cabinet issues! Jill said she thought we should just see if Sears would let us exchange the refrigerator for one that fit. Deja vu . . . another appliance return! When Bill came up from the house he looked so pitiful. We talked and I said we need to see if Sears will let us exchange the fridge. Besides, I was not that attached to that fridge anyway. Bill had really picked that model with two freezer compartments. I just liked the inside of the fridge section.

Long story short and several hours the next day haggling a deal at Sears, we swapped out the fridge for a smaller Kenmore Elite model, paid a larger than we wanted re-stocking fee, purchased a second small fridge for the laundry room, and scheduled the delivery of the two new refrigerators and pick-up of the other fridge for two days later, Thursday, June 19. Let’s just say Lowe’s gave us a better deal than Sears on our appliance returns. If I had to do it all over, we wouldn’t have purchased any of our appliances a year or two in advance! Thank goodness all the rest of the appliances seem to be okay.

New fridge that fits!

New fridge that fits!

Here’s how one end of the laundry room is shaping up. In the pic below the gas dryer is on the left and washer on the right.

New smaller fridge and upright freezer on the right

New smaller fridge and upright freezer on the right

However, we are swapping them because of the door configuration. We can’t change the door on the washer but Bill was going to change the door for the dryer because I really wanted the washer on the right where it would be next to the pull-out drawer cabinet where I was going to store detergent and softener. But, it makes more sense for the doors to open up so I can move the clothes from the washer to dryer without having doors in the middle.

Old opening configuration of Dryer and Washer

Old opening configuration of Dryer and Washer

New door opening configuration of washer and dryer

New door opening configuration of Washer and Dryer

Bill will eventually change the door openings on both the freezer and small refrigerator. Bummer. Must not have told Sears which way we needed those opening. More jobs for Bill!

Speaking of jobs, shortly after the refrigerator deal, Jill and Jim asked me to get a punch list of everything else that needed to be done to complete our construction. They wanted to help us get a schedule set-up with a move-in date. This was a bit tense time as it meant listing everything that needed to be done, including all those PITA jobs assigned to Bill. Here is just a small section of what that list looks like. Right now it’s five pages long but it has all the subs listed and what needs to be done on the house only. Bill’s keeping what needs to be done in the pole barn in his head.
Punch List

Punch List

It’s an ever-growing and ever-changing list. But, it’s been great to have it as it keeps us all on track. Originally, Bill wanted to know where my name was on the list. That’s why I added my name under that one section. I took over some of the scheduling of subs while Jim was out-of-town the first week. Jim took over the major contractors after he got home. Bill continued to have the day-to-day contact with the subs and answered all questions on-site. And, in-between, tried to work on his long list of PITA jobs. I think Bill needs his own crew. And, some of the things are going to have to wait until after we move in.

Here are some of the things that the plumbers got done.

Vanity faucets installed

Vanity faucets installed

What they can cram into a small space under the kitchen sink: garbage disposal, instant hot/cold dispenser, filtering system, pipes and plugs.

All the stuff under the kitchen sink!

All the stuff under the kitchen sink!

Kitchen faucets installed

Kitchen faucets installed

Shower fixtures

Shower fixtures

And, they installed our toilets! I had read on a forum that as soon as the toilets were installed, contractors start using them instead of the porta-potty. We didn’t want them to do that! Ewww. Heck, Bill and I weren’t going to use them since the septic laterals weren’t installed yet. So, Bill shrink-wrapped the toilet seats! That Bill is so clever.

Shrink-wrapped toilet seats.

Shrink-wrapped toilet seats.

And look what Bill has in the pole barn! They hooked up his toilet and his hot water heater for the radiant heat. They have to wait until electricity is finished in the pole barn to finish the rest of this. Bill will be eventually installing walls around this bathroom.

IMG_4827

All the plumbers have left to do in the house is to install the handheld shower which was on back-order for over a month, install an extended gas line for the gas dryer move, and fix the reverse osmosis filtering system which is leaking and possibly not hooked up properly to the kitchen. We still have very sodium-lased water which we thought the RO system was to eliminate. We are also bringing in a water specialist to see if he can help us.

Friday, June 20, we got excited because six loads of dirt were delivered. We thought that meant our excavator would be coming soon to install the septic laterals and do some grading.

Loads of dirt delivered

Loads of dirt delivered

Sunday, the excavator worked and graded the area in the front of the house and the back patio area and left word that we could call the concrete guy to install the front walkway and back patio. But, no septic laterals. Sad. However, he talked with Bill about drainage pipes we would need to buy for the area between the house and pole barn. And, Bill wanted to buy all the stuff for the pop-ups from the gutter drainage that he was going to install.

The week of June 23 was slow. More hold-ups for work. We needed electrician before any more plumbing could be done. The electrician was swamped. Bill called him on Tuesday that week and he said he couldn’t get to us until possibly the end of the following week but no definite date. Jim said he’d prefer us waiting on the concrete until he was back in town so he and his dad could make sure it was graded properly.

So, I scheduled David to come and install the shower glass door and the shower grab bars. I got his name from Ferguson’s (where we ordered the door). David had previously come out and measured everything and gave Ferguson’s the info about door configuration before we ordered it. David came Thursday, June 26, to install.

Shower glass door

Shower glass door

Shower grab bar

Shower grab bar

Hand-held shower head grab bar assembly

Hand-held shower head grab bar assembly

And, the HVAC guys came that day, too, and installed ductwork in the crawlspace. They said they’d be back the next day or sometime the next week. They left us the contraption that had to be installed on the roof. It was silver in color. Bill wanted to spray paint it to match the roof. And, since he couldn’t find any bronze colored shelf pins at any store we looked at, he bought brass ones and said we could spray those, too, with the same paint. I kept asking Bill is there was anything on the list I could help him with and finally he said I could spray paint. Of course, Bill set everything up and stood and watched me as I painted. It took me less than 10 minutes to spray everything. I told Bill that really didn’t help him.

Roof vents

Roof vents

Shelf pins

Shelf pins

Bill continued to work off of his list and kept finding more and more things that needed to get done. He installed the gas cooktop which he said was a bear!

Cooktop

Cooktop

Cooktop all in!

Cooktop all in!

He installed the trash compactor. Unfortunately, the handle screws are too long that he has to cut them down eventually. It’s always something.

Trash compactor

Trash compactor

He worked so hard to get all the kitchen cabinet doors, slides, drawers, and drawer fronts installed. I was reminded several times a day that big honkin’ drawers are not the easiest things to install correctly and evenly especially with soft close slides. But, he did it!!!!

Big honkin' drawer under wall oven

Big honkin’ drawer under wall oven

Three drawers in the island next to the dishwasher

Three drawers in the island next to the dishwasher

Sink base doors in island

Sink base doors in island

We decided not to put the tilt-out tray in the island sink base cabinet like Bill installed on the laundry sink cabinet below.

IMG_4817

Laundry tilt-out tray

However, Bill had already purchased the trays, so he installed one on each side of door interiors.

Trays mounted on the interior sink doors

Trays mounted on the interior sink doors

When Bill started to make his list for all the drainage pop-ups and drainage pipes he needed to buy, he noticed that the downspouts that the gutter company installed were the wrong size. They had installed 3″ instead of the verbally requested 4″. Bill called the gutter rep and said he’d take half the blame, but he really wanted the 4″ downspouts as the 3″ clog up too much. He asked that they be replaced prior to the concrete being poured. Those finally got installed on Wednesday, July 3.

Bill scheduled our carpenter’s wife Lisa to install our kitchen backsplash tile. They asked us to purchase the tile and the grout and Lisa and Tim would supply the mortar, caulk and labor. They started on the backsplash the afternoon of Friday, June 27. Tim came to help Lisa cut the tile but she did most of the installation.

Lisa installing the backsplash tile

Lisa installing the backsplash tile

Finished product

Finished product

IMG_4869

Lisa and Tim finished tiling Friday night as Bill worked on drawer fronts and I installed all the oil-rubbed-bronze window hardware covers and handles throughout the house. Lisa came back Saturday to grout and wipe down the tiles afterwards. Then she came back Sunday and put a sealer on the tiles and caulked everything. We are very happy with the results.

At the beginning of this week we finally got all the subs lined up and committed to work on certain dates so we could make July 12 our official move-in date. We are keeping our fingers crossed that each one shows up next week and gets things done. This week went like clock-work so we hope it all continues.

Monday morning, June 30, I contacted Rick about our bathroom cabinets. The doors needed to be aligned. They just wouldn’t shut correctly. And, the drawers in the hall bath were too close together and not opening without rubbing. Oh, and we found the tops to the window seats that he needed to pick-up. Rick came out that afternoon. He was able to adjust the drawers (still not perfect) but not rubbing. He wasn’t able to fix the doors on either bathroom. He said the doors were about 1/8″ too big. He ended up taking all six doors to our bathroom vanities with him to be cut down. I’ll have to check with him on Monday to see when he’ll have them back. Bill wants to install handles and knobs in the bathrooms this week.

BTW, here are the handles and knobs we bought for our master bath.

Master Bath cabinet hardware

Master Bath cabinet hardware

Poor Bill picked the hottest day we’ve had this summer to install a pole down by the lake. It was in the mid 90s with heat indexes over 100. That was a two maybe three shower day. He dug a hole three feet deep and managed to get that heavy pole in it and pour concrete to set it. He had electric run down by the lake and wanted the electrician to install an outlet on the lower part and a security light on the upper part.

Pole by the lake

Pole by the lake

Bill also decided to call the dumpster people to pick it up and get it out of here. I had already scheduled our residential trash pick-up to start on Thursday the 3rd. So, he worked like crazy to crush all the stuff down with the tractor scoop. A neighbor brought over some junk to load into it. Bill even took apart the grandkids’ old trampoline that bit the dust after blowing away into the woods. All those pieces fit in there. And, Bill also cleaned out all the dirty chicken coop junk and plastic and got rid of that. Bill helps everyone out! It was nice to say goodbye to this big blue container!

Full dumpster

Full dumpster

And, now we can drive two cars up to pole barn without any problems.

IMG_4917

Bill also went and bought drainage pipes and fittings and pop-ups before our excavator came on Tuesday, July 1. Then he laid them out. Look at all those drainage pipes! Cha-ching!

Jim assessing all the drainage pipes

Jim assessing all the drainage pipes

We finally got our septic laterals installed on Tuesday and passed inspection. Yahoo!!!!

Septic laterals installed

Septic laterals installed

Thank goodness he was able to get that part done before a big thunderstorm rolled in that afternoon. The excavator did come back on Wednesday, July 2, and did some grading in the front of the house and buried the drainage pipes.

Buried drainage pipes

Buried drainage pipes

Unfortunately, they ran out of pipes and Bill had to buy more, and then install and bury them. That’s how he spent 4th of July!

Our HVAC guys returned on Wednesday, the 2nd, to finish up. They installed the cold air return registers, but left us all the floor vents to install. That was something I could do!

Cold air returns

Cold air returns

Floor register vents

Floor register vents

Digital thermostat installed

Digital thermostat installed

HVAC system all built and working!

HVAC system all built and working!

Oh, and as if Bill didn’t have enough to do, he worked off and on trying to get the stove exhaust fan installed so the HVAC guys could get it vented. He had such a tough time drilling holes in the tile. The HVAC guys said most people installed the exhaust fan first and had the tile installed around it. We didn’t want that look, but there was a price to pay for doing it that way. Drill drill drill. And, then when Bill got the exhaust fan hung up, it wasn’t level and he had to drill some more. Poor Bill!

Exhaust fan going up

Exhaust fan going up

The last section clamped together

The last section clamped together

Because of the way the cabinet above the exhaust fan is situated, Bill now has to put some moulding around the top of the exhaust fan where it meets the cabinet bottom. Always something you don’t plan on doing.

To prepare for the electricians to come on Thursday, July 3, Bill and I tested every outlet and light switch to see what was working and what wasn’t. We had a problem with almost every room except the bedrooms with how they installed the light switches. Before we ever had electrical rough-in, I had put labels with what I wanted in the order I wanted for switches and stapled them next to the area where they would be installed. Well, they got the switches for the correct items installed; however, the order of the switches were either random or backwards. Very frustrating. For example, when entering the garage from the house, I wanted the first switch to be the interior garage lights, then exterior garage lights, and then the attic lights. What we got was attic lights, exterior lights, interior lights. Don’t mean to sound picky-picky, but we tried to think through how we would live in this house and what lights we’d be using the most and where to put them.

So, I took pictures of every run of light switches, printed them out and marked how I wanted things switched. And, I printed out a separate punch list for the electricians to work off from. Here are two of the light switch issues. The house is dotted with these photos hung up above the switches.

IMG_4889IMG_4890

Bill had to get his pole barn ready for electric, too. He worked really late on Wednesday to prepare for them. He had labels stapled to walls throughout the pole barn. He was so excited at the end of Thursday to finally have lights he could turn on with a switch and half of the pole barn wired and working! Goodbye long extension cords running from the pole barn to the house laundry room door.

Let there be lights in the pole barn

Let there be lights in the pole barn

Electrical box

Electrical box

Label and outlets installed

Label and outlets installed

Conduit galore!

Conduit galore!

I had originally bought two of these LED exterior lights for the new house at Costco before we left Indy. I loved the look of them. We had planned to use them as the front porch lights. However, before we had our electrical rough-in months ago, we decided we wanted to install lights outside the garage, too. I tried to see if I could buy two more of these lights. Costco didn’t carry them anymore and Amazon had them for double what I paid at Costco. But, the biggest kicker was everyone was returning the lights to Costco according to the reviews. There was failure on many of them just after a couple of months. Bill and I decided we didn’t want to risk replacing them on the house before we even moved in. So, we decided to install them on the pole barn. Bill is very happy and keeps teasing how nice they look. I just hope they don’t quit working!

Exterior LED light fixtures on the pole barn

Exterior LED light fixtures on the pole barn

The electricians are returning on Monday, the 7th, with a large crew. We only had two guys on Thursday. They will finish the pole barn and house then and call for our electrical inspection.

Here is what is scheduled for the next two weeks:

  • Monday, July 7, electricians to finish house and pole barn and inspection called in.
  • Tuesday, July 8, plumbers to finish house and pole barn and inspection called in.
  • Wednesday, July 9, carpet installed in the bedrooms.
  • Wednesday or Thursday, July 9-10, colored concrete poured for walkway from garage to front entry and for back patio.
  • Wednesday night pick up cardboard throughout the house and put in burn pile
  • Thursday, July 10, post-construction cleaning crew coming to clean the house, top to bottom. If they don’t finish, they’ll return the next day.
  • Friday, July 11, window cleaning crew to clean windows and glass doors inside and out.
  • By Friday, hopefully final inspection approved and certificate of occupancy received.
  • Saturday-Sunday, July 12-13, move all our furniture and boxes and bins from the storage units to the house.
  • Saturday, July 12, new dining chairs being delivered. Sometime we need to put together our new dining table!
  • Monday, July 14, family room furniture, rug, and king mattress and box springs delivered.
  • Week of July 14, start unpacking and moving things from Jill & Jim’s to new house.
  • Wednesday or Thursday, July 16-17, concrete driveway and walkway from back patio to pole barn poured.

Whew! Lots to do in-between the above, too! We’ll probably move in without a lot of things done only because there is only one Bill. I’ve always known I’ve relied on this guy to do just about every handyman thing there is to be done throughout our married life. I just wish he had a crew of his own.

We eventually will get our garage doors replaced and it’s really okay if it’s done after we move in. And, we had one of our shakes blow off during the last storm. Apparently, someone didn’t install that one very well!

This will more than likely be my last entry until after we move in. Plus, phone calls to get internet service weren’t successful last week. I was told by AT&T that they do service our area (Jill & Jim and Joan & Jim have AT&T service), but there are no more ports available for new customers! Jim has a couple of friends at AT&T and has already contacted them. We’ll wait and see if they can help us out before I research other ways to get the web. I hate to think I’d have to do everything on my phone. Blah!

And, if I may ask, please send all good vibes this way and prayers for our strength through this final stretch!

Thank you to all who have followed us through this journey!

There’s Always Something New for Bill to Do!

It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man. ~Benjamin Franklin

A man grows most tired while standing still. ~Chinese Proverb

A man is a worker. If he is not than he is nothing. ~Joseph Conrad

I’m not sure I or Bill agree about any of the above quotes! Case in point, Bill can work too much and then be miserable. He is exhausted every night and it’s not from standing still. And, now, I think Bill could be lots of things if he wasn’t working.

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m dedicating this blog post to Bill! He has worked so hard this past year, he would really like to have a vacation or at least a day off. But, truth be told, he won’t. At least not until we’ve moved in. He’s a worker bee. 🙂

Since I last posted, in the first two weeks, we didn’t have any contractors except the carpenter for several hours. In that time Bill always found something new to do – whether he planned it or not. He finished trimming out all the closets and put extra supports under every shelf. He installed my built-in ironing board in our closet, too.

One of the spare bedroom closets

One of the spare bedroom closets

Another spare bedroom closet

Another spare bedroom closet

Built-in ironing board with door closed

Built-in ironing board with door closed

Ironing Board cabinet with door open

Ironing Board cabinet with door open

Shelves to the right; straight ahead will be a mirror

Master closet: my shelves to the right; straight ahead will be a mirror

My area: long hanging clothes to the right; double-hanging rods on the left

My area: long hanging clothes to the right; double-hanging rods on the left

My shoe rack to the right; Bill's corner shelves to the left

My shoe rack to the right; Bill’s corner shelves to the left

Bill's double-hanging rods on the right; Bill's shoe racks and shelves on the left

Bill’s double-hanging rods on the right; Bill’s shoe racks and shelves on the left

Here is our master closet layout with small photos of where they fit into the space.

Master Closet Layout

Master Closet Layout

Our carpenter wanted to finish everything up and the last things on the list were installing the window seats and the fireplace mantel. After several emails and a phone call, I found out that our windows seats were being worked on. We were told that they would be re-made to fit our spaces. Turns out when our sales rep took the seats back to the cabinet makers, they said they would have to totally be made over. The sales rep said that would cost him too much so he brought them back to the local shop and re-worked them himself. (He was a cabinet-maker before becoming a sales rep.)

Last week he brought them out and right away Bill noticed that the drawers on one side of each seat were a different size than the one next to it. When Bill questioned how the sales rep re-worked the seats, he told Bill that he cut down one side on each seat and was having the cabinet-makers make new drawer fronts for the smaller drawers. Needless to say, we were not happy about the looks of the window seats. We had paid lots of money for them and expected them not to look “re-worked.” When we told the sales rep we would not accept the window seats, he said he would have them totally re-made for us. We had already waited 4 weeks to get them back and if we had new ones made it would be at least another 4-6 weeks. I finally asked if we could just have our money refunded and he said yes. So, that’s what we did.

Bill said he could make the window seats at a later time. I told him that we can wait and see what else might work in those spots. My whole idea for the seats was to sit by the window, drink my morning coffee, and watch the birds at the feeders or wildlife by the lake. Maybe a comfy chair with a table will work. I have some ideas, but that will be after we move in.

With the window seats out of the picture, Bill had our carpenter (Tim) install the baseboard around those areas. Tim installed the new built-in microwave. LOVE it!!!!

Built-in microwave above the wall oven

Built-in microwave above the wall oven

Microwave door open

Microwave door open

And, then Bill and Tim built the fireplace mantel. Bill built a prototype first and then he cut the wood. Here’s how it turned out. Excuse the mess.

Fireplace mantel

Fireplace mantel

Family room with fireplace mantel

Family room with fireplace mantel

This past week has been a very busy one at the house. The plumbers showed up early Monday morning and worked every day M-F. They spent a lot of time in the crawl space hooking up all the pipes. When they finally came up from down under, I got some pictures. They installed two reverse-osmosis systems which are tied together. (Bill installed the shelves for the tanks.)

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse Osmosis Systems

They installed the gas water heater.

Water heater

Water heater

And, Friday they trenched and installed gas lines from the house to the pole barn (for Bill’s radiant heat system). Bill always seems to be in the mix of things. He’s the one in the dark shirt helping the plumber get the stuck trencher out of the mud.

Trenching for gas lines

Trenching for gas lines

During the week Bill worked on getting the laundry cabinets doors, drawer slides, drawers, and hardware installed. He also installed the laminate counter-top, laundry sink, and laundry faucet.

Doors on laundry cabinets

Doors on laundry cabinets

Drawers installed in my LARGE pantry cabinet

Drawers installed in the LARGE pantry cabinet

Counter-top, sink and faucet installed

Counter-top, sink and faucet installed

Pantry cabinet with doors and hardware installed

Pantry cabinet with doors and hardware installed

View from the kitchen

View from the kitchen

Sink doors and hardware installed. The blank area will house the ice-maker.

Sink doors and hardware installed. The blank area will house the ice-maker.

He also started installing some of the extras in the kitchen cabinets, like the blind corner cabinet shelving system. He said the Rev-A-Shelf directions were horrible!

Blind corner cabinet shelving

Blind corner cabinet shelving

Thursday, June 12, our granite was finally installed! We’ve never had granite before. I really like the looks of it. I’ve gotten used to what you can and cannot do with granite since I’ve cooked at Jill and Jim’s this past year. I still sometimes forget about softly placing dishes on the counter-top. 🙂 We had them put a sealer on all the granite pieces and we hope it helps to keep it looking nice and stain free as long as we clean it.

We are very happy about how it looks with our cabinets. The kitchen counter-tops are Sierra Ridge. It turned out to be lighter than I thought it would be, but I’m happy it is since the cabinets are dark.

IMG_4721

IMG_4722

IMG_4723

IMG_4748The island granite is Crema Bordeaux.

IMG_4734

This is close-up of island with Blanco Cafe Brown sink:

IMG_4751

Here is how it looks together:

IMG_4763

Master bath with Golden Sand granite and Porcelain rectangular sinks:

IMG_4742

IMG_4741

Second bath with Golden Sand granite and oval sink:

IMG_4743

The gutters were installed Friday.

IMG_4764

IMG_4765

Our carpenter’s wife is going to install our backsplash. Here is the front-runner in our tile selection. Small subway tiles which have a little variation in color. I didn’t want anything too busy.

IMG_4753

IMG_4754

After the granite went in, we were relieved that the mirrors I bought over two years ago at Tuesday Morning in Indy will fit in our master bathroom. I didn’t want to buy new ones. Excuse the dust, cardboard and tag on the mirror. 🙂

IMG_4783

Plumbers will be back most of next week, too, to finish up. The painter is coming back next week to touch-up paint and stain indoors. He also has another coat of bronze trim outside to paint. And, the exterior of the laundry door needs to be painted bronze. HVAC needs to return for venting and hook-up our kitchen chimney exhaust fan. And electricians need to finish up. Ground is still so wet so we don’t know when we’ll get those septic laterals dug. Still a big hold-up for us. After the septic is done, the same excavator will do our final grading and then we can have the concrete poured for walkway, back patio, and driveway.

There is an end in sight! But, depending on weather who knows when that will be!

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

IMG_4457

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

IMG_4440

IMG_4441

IMG_4442

IMG_4443

IMG_4444

IMG_4445

IMG_4447

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.

IMG_4485

IMG_4487

IMG_4486

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

IMG_4459

IMG_4460

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.

IMG_4472

IMG_4473

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.

IMG_4491

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

IMG_4525

IMG_4526

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.

IMG_4547IMG_4548

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

IMG_4560

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!

 

Cabinets Made, Trim Finished, and Floors Installed!

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. ~Earl Nightingale

First for the GREAT news . . . Bill finished making and assembling the cabinets!!! What a long and stressful process. He officially finished them on Sunday, March 30th.

He started building the big pantry cabinet in the laundry room. With Zach’s help on March 25, Bill glued the pieces together and they used all the big clamps Bill had. Zach said he never dreamed they would use that many.

The big pantry cabinet all clamped up.

The big pantry cabinet all clamped up.

Bill moved to putting the wall corner cabinet together later that week. This cabinet has been a lot of work figuring out all the shelves and backs.

The wall corner cabinet

The wall corner cabinet

He finished it on March 28. This is very tall upper cabinet. I think it’s 48 inches.

Wall corner cabinet

Wall corner cabinet

Here is the inspiration photo which spawned the idea for the corner cabinet. The doors for our cabinet will be hinged together like the inspiration cabinet. I spend way too much time on houzz.com!

After this cabinet was done, Bill sanded all the cabinet drawers and stamped them prior to the painters applying a poly finish.

Stacks of drawers

Stacks of drawers

Drawers stamped

Drawers stamped

Drawers all lined up after having a poly spray

Drawers all lined up after having a poly spray

Then Bill finished the last cabinet – the big pantry.

Finishing up the pantry cabinet

Finishing up the pantry cabinet

All done with toe kick!

All done with toe kick!

Now it was up to the painters to get busy staining and painting cabinets. We thought they would show up on Monday, March 24. But they didn’t. Bill had scheduled the hardwood floors to be installed the following Monday – March 31. The painters had to get done in the house so the floors could be laid. The big spraying tent had to be removed in the dining/kitchen area, too. But the painters needed to do more spraying before it came down. Bill called Mark the painter Monday afternoon to tell him he had to be done in the house by Friday. He said they would be there the next day. But, Tuesday came and went and no painters. Grrrrr!

Mark and Shayna finally came on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, March 26-28, and worked long days.

Interior doors drying after a poly spray

Interior doors drying after a poly spray

Mark and Shayna sanding a door

Mark and Shayna sanding a door

Mark & Shayna stacked all the trim pieces in the garage and covered them

Mark & Shayna stacked all the trim pieces in the garage and covered them

Cabinet doors and drawer fronts got another sanding and final spray

Cabinet doors and drawer fronts got another sanding and final spray

Island pieces and the corner cabinet doors all finished

Island pieces and the corner cabinet doors all finished

Interior doors all done. The finish is so soft and smooth.

Interior doors all done. The finish is so soft and smooth.

Microwave/wall oven cabinet sanded and given final spray

Microwave/wall oven cabinet sanded and given final spray

Refrigerator cabinet finished!

Refrigerator cabinet finished!

Island ends still need one more coat of poly on the sides

Island ends still need one more coat of poly on the sides

By late Friday, Mark and Shayna got all the spraying done and everything stacked and put in the bedrooms or garage. Unfortunately, the one thing I wanted done before the hardwood floors were installed – painting the family room – did not get done. Boo!

Bill and I worked down at the house last weekend reorganizing the garage, taking down the spray booth, and sweeping and vacuuming the floors. We stacked all the drawers in the bump-out area of the garage, putting Styrofoam between to protect them. We moved the dishwasher and trash compactor into the utilities area. Bill moved the extra tile boxes in that area, too. Those things were so heavy I couldn’t budge them. I don’t know how Bill picked them up. Then we moved the painter’s saw horses and all his empty cans of stain and paint and buckets and everything else that belonged to him all to one side of the garage. We moved all the laundry cabinets in one area of the garage along with all the laundry cabinet doors. This way Mark and Shayna could work out of the garage – except for the big pantry cabinet, which he said they would paint in the laundry room.

Garage all ready for the painters

Garage all ready for the painters

After we had the garage organized we moved into the house. We picked up all the cardboard that the painters used and either trashed or saved it depending on the condition. Then I started sweeping. This is my least favorite thing to do since it kills my back. I popped some Extra Strength Tylenol and swept. Bill followed behind and vacuumed. Bill spent many more hours vacuuming than I did sweeping. This was the same scene as when we cleaned up after drywall – just not has much dust. See the area where Bill is standing. That is poly residue. Bill says our floor is now sealed! Seeing how much poly saturated the sub floor was reassurance that the spray booth was a good thing. I can’t imagine what our walls and windows and doors would have looked like if they had not used the booth!

Bill vacuuming

Bill vacuuming

Mark suggested that we leave the two large kitchen cabinets in the family room and ask the hardwood floor installers if they could move them from one area to another after they installed a section.

Big kitchen cabinets

Big kitchen cabinets

Bright and early Monday, March 31, the hardwood floor installers came and set up shop with their saw in the garage. Hmmmm. I guess Mark and Shayna wouldn’t be able to work on cabinets in there with all that sawdust. One of the guys finished installing the tile in the laundry room (they had run out of tile several weeks ago). I didn’t take a picture of the finished floor.

First row of hardwoods installed

First row of hardwoods going in

Mark and Shayna arrived and since it was a warm sunny day Mark told Bill he thought he’d spray the painted cabinets outdoors. It was a warm sunny day but it was also windy! Bill told Mark that he didn’t think it would be a good idea in case the paint would get all over the cars and our house and pole barn. So, instead Mark and Shayna worked Monday and Tuesday caulking the exterior of the house.

Caulking the exterior

Caulking the exterior

In the meantime, the floors were going in nicely.

Main hallway

Main hallway looking toward the family room

Master bedroom hallway looking toward the main hallway

Master bedroom hallway looking toward the main hallway

By noon on Tuesday, April 1, the installers had a good part done and said they would be finished Wednesday morning.

Installers taking a lunch break. Looking toward the family room from the kitchen/dining area

Installers taking a lunch break. Looking toward the family room from the kitchen/dining area

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen and the laundry room through the doorway

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen and the laundry room through the doorway

Tuesday Mark told Bill that since it was going to rain the next two days, they would be back on Friday. Meanwhile the floor guys came Wednesday and finished up.

Family room floors installed

Family room floors installed

Dining area done

Dining area done

Wednesday afternoon, Bill started covering the floors with leftover housewrap and cardboard. He used hardboard panels in areas of high traffic. A friend of mine had used the hardboard panels when he was renovating his kitchen. He suggested they worked well when trying to move in appliances without scratching up the floors. Thanks, Keith, for the idea. Bill and I worked on covering the floors all day Thursday.

Covering the floors

Covering the floors with housewrap (blue) and cardboard boxes

Those moving boxes sure came in handy!

Those moving boxes sure came in handy!

Hardboard panels lined the kitchen walls

Hardboard panels lined the kitchen walls

Hardboard panels line the high traffic areas

Hardboard panels line the high traffic areas

Laundry floor covered

Laundry floor covered

Used every box we had!

Used every box we had!

Bill swept the sawdust out of the garage and text Mark that we were ready for them to paint the family room and paint and stain the rest of the cabinets. Mark said they’d be here the next day (Friday).

Bill got a call earlier in the week from our electrician and he said he would be out one day to install our meter. Bill was going out-of-town on Friday so he asked me to check on the contractors the next day.

We had storms all day Thursday and by 5:00 pm, this is what Jill and Jim’s driveway looked like.

Flooded driveway

Flooded driveway

This is going toward Jill and Jim’s house. Our property is to the right of the their driveway. Thank goodness all of our houses are situated up from this area. And, the good news is we didn’t have any leaks in the house from the 7-9 inches of rain we got between Thursday and Friday.

I went down to the house around 9:30 that morning and no painters! I left a note in the garage to call me if the electrician came. I never got a phone call and when I came down before picking the grandkids up from the bus stop, I saw this:

Big 'ol electric meter installed!

Big ‘ol electric meter installed!

Here are the inside electric panels in the laundry room. There are two outlets coming out from them I guess we will eventually be able to use when the power is turned on. We have a cabinet that will set below these panels. We were going to put a TV on that cabinet as my computer area is right across from it. We’re hoping the TV will hide those ugly panels.

Electric panels

Electric panels

I went into the garage and found my note had fallen behind one of the cabinets. I guess Bill will have to call the electrician to find out what’s up. And no surprise, the painters never showed up.

Timeline of what’s to come:

•Mark and Shayna need to finish the cabinets and paint the family room before we can bring in the trim carpenter. I figure the painters have two weeks of work left – if they show up most week days. After that, they can move to the exterior of the house and start painting.

•Jim said Allen is supposed to be here this week to install our septic.

•Our bathroom vanities, bathroom storage cabinets, and window seats are being delivered Monday, April 7.

•After the cabinets are painted and stained, Bill will install all the slides and the Rev-A-Shelf items.

•After exterior of house is painted, the gutters will be installed.

•Once the trim carpenter installs all the cabinets, vanities, window seats, interior doors, baseboards, and all the interior trim and beams, we can bring in granite people.

•I guess Bill will install all the door handles – another PITA job.

•After granite (which includes our sinks and bathroom vanities) is installed, plumber can come and hook everything up and install stuff. Lots of plumbing to be installed in the pole barn, too!

•Electrician and gas will be hooked up. Run electric to pole barn.

•HVAC and digging for geothermal will be installed.

•Electrican will install all our light fixtures and fans (not sure when that happens).

•Concrete for back patio and driveway laid (not sure when that happens).

•Glass shower door is installed.

•We’ll work on closet systems.

•Painters come back and put another coat of paint on everything inside and do any staining touch-ups.

•Carpet is installed.

•Final grading and Landscaping.

•Final clean (top to bottom).

•Move in.

Whew! There is still a lot to happen before moving in. We hope to be in sometime in May. Time will tell.

 

 

 

 

Building During Winter Months . . . Brrrrr!

funny-picture-winter-favorite-thing-seasonMost people who really know me, know that I’m not a fan of winter. And, this winter . . . yeah, I’m ready for warmer weather. But, looking at one positive, when the temperature is below freezing, the ground is solid and we don’t have to worry about all the mud that is everywhere around the construction site and the mud that finds its way into the house, on our clothes, on our shoes, and then tracked into our car and truck.

Sorry for the delay in writing a blog post. What with the holidays, snow, Arctic cold temperatures, flu, and winter blues, I just didn’t have the energy or excitement I usually do to write the last several weeks. But, I’ve been getting phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, and emails from family and friends asking what was going on with us and the house. Okay – I’ll try and get out of my winter funk and get you caught up.

Remember that mold problem in the crawl space? Well, Todd got most of the sealing done the week before Christmas. We have not seen or heard from him since then! Bye bye, Todd. Will we ever see you again? 😕 Since the manual application of spraying Borax and scrubbing it over the mold was taking so long and Todd was gone, Bill did some research and decided to rent this from Home Depot the weekend after Christmas.

Mold Fogger

Mold Fogger

It took several hours to fog four gallons of the Mold Control liquid under the house. By fogging the liquid, it reaches all the nooks and crannies, sticks and when it dries, it is supposed to destroy the mold and prevent it from coming back. I hope so.

December 30, we received a big delivery of drywall.

Drywall delivery!

Drywall delivery!

Crane picking up the drywall

Crane picking up the drywall

New Year’s Eve day, we had three different crews working on the house: drywall hanging crew, stone crew, and insulation crew.

The insulation guys sprayed foam around the seal plate in the crawl space. I didn’t get a picture of the insulation crew but they looked like this after crawling out.

Insulation guy

Insulation guy

The stone guys started on our chimney first. They used scaffolding and worked as a good team. They actually worked New Year’s Day, too, because snow and cold temps were predicted for the rest of the week.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The stone crew is one of our favorite bunch of guys. They are friendly, love to show you their work, very appreciative when I tell them what a great job they are doing and how well I like it, and fun to be around. I think they like us, too. They always wave when I drive out of Jill and Jim’s driveway. But, they probably like us the most because we decided to add more stone to the house! 😀 More on that later.

Then, there was the drywall hanging crew. Definitely the hardest crew to get along with so far and the messiest. Granted the house was cold inside. We couldn’t do anything to heat it until they installed the sheets of drywall on the ceiling and then we could have the insulation crew come back and blow the insulation into the attic. If we turned on the portable electric furnace without the ceilings installed and insulation, the heat would have gone right up through the roof. So, the drywall crew complained and complained to Bill about lots of things. They only worked December 31st the first week.

Bill decided to put a pipe running diagonally above the fireplace mantel area if he ever wanted to run cables/wires up there. He needed to get it done before the drywallers got to that area. It was at that time that Bill noticed that we had a big dent in the pipe going up from our wood burning fireplace.

Big 'ol dent

Big ‘ol dent

Bill said the fireplace installers had to have done it. He sent pictures to the fireplace guy and to our HVAC guy to see how it could be fixed and if the dent would pose a leaking problem. Turned out Jason, the HVAC guy, provided Bill with some stainless steel and he clamped it over the pipe. And, the fireplace people gave us a $50 credit. All done before the drywallers hung the sheets around the fireplace surround.

The fixed pipe

The fixed pipe

The next week the drywallers worked on Monday (Jan. 7) and finished hanging the drywall in the house and the garage on Tuesday (Jan. 8). It was a big ‘ol mess in the house.

Big mess in the house after drywall hangers left

Big mess in the house after drywall hangers left. That’s Bill picking up some scraps.

However, we had asked that the drywall company clean up all the scraps and remove from the house. And, we agreed to a price. Best $200 we could have spent. The owner of the company ended up doing the clean-up on Wednesday, Jan. 9. He even recycled all the drywall scraps and took them away in his truck. That was a good thing. Otherwise, I think our dumpster would have had to be emptied after that! The way it is, we still have not had to pay to empty it yet.

It was exciting to see the rooms with walls up.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The stone guys have worked as many days as they could, weather permitting. It was interesting to see how they tented the area in the winter and used a bullet heater inside of it to set up the mortar.

Mudding the front of the house

Mudding the front of the house

Mud

Mud

The tented stone area

The tented stone area

It was so warm in the make-shift tent that they didn’t wear coats – and it was really cold outside!

Mud applied and installing the stone

Mud applied and installing the stone

Bill said it was really interesting to watch how they applied the mortar. They used bags with tips – much like ones you would use to decorate a cake!

Front section of the garage done. The ledge cap wasn't installed yet

Front section of the garage done. The ledge cap wasn’t installed yet

Front of the house with the tents

Front of the house with the tents

Friday, January 10, Bill scheduled the insulation guys to come back and blow the insulation into the attic. After that, he hooked up the portable furnace and turned it on.

Portable furnace

Portable furnace

What with those horrible Arctic temps that came through it was still hard to keep the house totally warm because we still didn’t have our garage doors! Bill had large pieces of plastic and foam insulation blocking the garage door areas. He even made a make-shift door on one side to try to keep as much heat in as possible. That Bill, he’s always trying to make things work. Wished I had a picture of that door – it was pretty ingenious! Unfortunately, that was when I was sick and I didn’t get out of the house for about 10 days except to drive down the driveway and pick up the kids from the bus stop.

Now the reason we didn’t have garage doors was because we decided to upgrade. Yep, we did! And, they had to be special ordered. Bill and I were going to keep it a secret from our builder (Jim) and Jill until they were installed. However, Jim, being the ever diligent builder – called our exterior materials rep and asked why we didn’t have doors yet. 😳 There went that surprise! Well, I think it was still a surprise, just not the one we wanted! 🙂

Tuesday, January 14, the garage doors were installed. I was holding my breath that what we picked out would match with the stone and compliment the mahogany front door. Well, they did not disappoint! We love them. We went with steel insulated fiberglass mahogany stained carriage doors with windows that mimic the grids in our front windows.

Garage doors

Garage doors

close-up of garage door

close-up of garage door

So, when the garage doors were being installed Bill and I talked that it would look strange not having the stone go all the way along the garage door side of the house. It was going to be where everyone pulled up and would see. So, we asked Rick to give us a price of what it would cost to stone the garage side. Gulp! Another upgrade. Rick said they had an extra pallet of stone so we should have enough to do it. So, we said yes!

Then . . . driving up Jill and Jim’s driveway after picking the kids up from the bus, I’m looking at the west side of the house thinking – well, this side is going to look strange not having stone on it. Who puts stone on one side of their house and not the other? Bill said he would! I said I didn’t want to. Now, don’t you think it would look better to having matching sides? Doesn’t the west side look like it needs stone?

West side of house needs stone!

West side of house needs stone!

So, Bill called Rick that evening and said verbatim, “My wife wants stone installed on the west side of the house!” 😀 So, Rick had to order more stone! We are waiting for the stone to come in to finish the exterior. But, here is what it looks like so far.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a different crew who did the taping and mudding of the drywall. Turns out they were as grumpy as the first crew! They would work one day or two a week and then not come back until the following week. They said they had to leave the mud dry so they could sand it off.

The tub in the hall bathroom has mud all over it. Yuck!

The tub in the hall bathroom has mud all over it. Yuck!

Master shower

Master shower

Family room taped and mudded

Family room taped and mudded

Kitchen

Kitchen – not sure why our well tank is inside

Dining area

Dining area

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

Since our siding guys were backed up for about a month, we didn’t get started on the siding until mid January. The siding was delivered into our garage on Thursday, January 16. This has posed a big problem for the drywallers! And, when I went down to see the siding and trim, I noticed that the shakes that we ordered for our gables were wrong.

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Wrong shakes

Wrong shakes

The shakes we got were single 7 inch rough split with a straight edge. What we wanted are double 9 inch rough split with staggered edge. They reordered the shakes the following week. Not sure how long those will take to get in.

So, the siding guys started on Friday, January 17. They started by installing the fascia and soffits.

Soffits and Fascia

Soffits and Fascia

Since the siding guys were also going to build our columns for the front porch, Bill and I had to decide the size and where we wanted them installed on the porch. We originally had purchased stone caps for the columns the same size as Jill and Jim’s. Turns out that was way too big for our porch.

Jill and Jim's columns

Jill and Jim’s columns

So, over the weekend, Bill measured Jim and Joan’s columns on their house and we decided we needed something smaller than both of theirs! Bill got out two of our moving boxes and we placed them on the porch to get a size perspective. Turns out I didn’t want the stone to go up as far on our columns as Jill and Jim’s.

Using moving boxes to size our columns

Using moving boxes to size our columns

This is the size we decided on - 20 inch width and 18 inch depth.

This is the size we decided on – 20 inch width and 18 inch depth.

The top of the stone on the column will be the same height as the stone on the house. I wanted to make sure the columns did not block our exterior lights which will be mounted on each side of the sidelites of the door. Oh, and by the way, even though you cannot see in this picture, the color I picked for the concrete on the front porch matches the stone wonderfully! I was so happy!

Monday, January 20, we went over with the crew leader what all our exterior trim was supposed to look like before the guys started installing it that day. That evening Bill asked Jim about the flashing that was supposed to be installed behind the trim. Apparently, the guys didn’t install it. Yikes! Jim contacted the material sales guy and he contacted the siding crew. Unfortunately, Tuesday, Jan. 21, they had to rip off all the trim they had installed the day before and install the flashing.

The drywallers only worked one day last week. Bill called the owner and he said they were trying to stall their work until they could get into the garage. He said there was no way they could work around all that siding since the guys preferred to wear stilts instead of using scaffolding. And, there was no way we could manually move 7000 lbs of siding! We are anxious for the drywallers to get done as our trim and interior door package is already a week delayed in delivery. All of that needs to be stored in our house. And, I got an email that our bathroom vanities, storage cabinet and window seats are ready. At least they said they could hold them for us. What a mess working around everyone’s schedules.

So, the siding guys worked this weekend – mainly because they couldn’t work several days last week because of the weather and because we have really COLD temps coming tomorrow through Wednesday. They have gotten a lot done in those two days. I hope enough of the siding is out of the garage that the drywallers can finish this week. Here are some pictures of the siding. Now, keep in mind that the color of the lap siding is a primed colored siding. We are going to have our painter paint the siding and trim. I’ve told everyone that the siding color now reminds me of baby poop! 😯 And, I just know that when anyone rides down the road and looks at it, they will say, “What were those people thinking!” 😦

Trim around the windows

Trim around the windows

Trim around the garage doors

Trim around the garage doors

Siding on the back

Siding on the back

Back siding

Back siding

Garage side siding finished

Garage side siding finished

View of the back and garage side with siding

View of the back and garage side with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Front siding going up fast

Front siding going up fast

See, I just know you guys are saying, “What were they thinking!” as you drive past. Oh well, sometime this spring the house will be the colors I want it to be – the siding I want the same color as the fascia and soffit. And, the trim will be bronze – close to the bronze window color as possible.

Poor Bill continues to work on the cabinets when he can. He made a trip back to Indy two weeks ago and bought more mahogany plywood and got the rest of the hinges for all the cabinet doors. We are finding we lack a lot of material resources down here that Indy has. Oh well, it gave Bill a chance to go out to lunch with some of his work buddies and shop at some of the stores there. And, he got home before one of their big snows!

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

First time he ever made one with glass inserts. He's really talented.

First time he ever made one with glass inserts. He’s really talented.

And, in-between all of what has gone on in the last month, Bill and I went furniture shopping! Several times. As soon as the drywallers are done, the painter will start. And, I had not picked out any colors for the interior of the house. None! And, didn’t know where to start. I don’t think I’m going to reveal the furniture we bought until the house is done. But, I will say, Jennifer at Dean Bosler’s Furniture is the best sales woman and interior designer we could have worked with. The woman read my mind and a ton more that wasn’t in my mind. We ended up buying new furniture for the family room, a chest for the entry way, and a mattress and box spring for our “new to us” king bed. And, she picked out a paint color for the family room. Funny thing, it is the same strip that I picked out at the Benjamin Moore paint store as one of my favorites over a month before we went furniture shopping. How spooky is that?

Our painter wants to use Behr paint at Home Depot. I found out they can match any paint colors for me. So, the last several days, I’ve been creating digital mood boards using Keynote software. I place our furniture on a blank slide and color the background with paint colors. I think I’ve come up with a plan for the house. I’ve made a mood board for every room in the house. Here’s what our hall bath mood board looks like. The vanity color is showing up in the mood board with an orange tone – which it is not. It’s really called a Brandywine stain with black dye toner.

Hall Bath Mood Board

Hall Bath Mood Board

That’s about everything that’s gone on the last month.

Today is Bill’s birthday. What does Bill do on his birthday? He works on cabinets in the pole barn! Bill did tell me this morning that he cannot wait until this house is built. He isn’t enjoying all the PITA jobs that goes along with this custom build. He said it was even worse than working! I feel bad for him. He seems to make at least 5-6 trips to Menards or Lowes every week. One day he made 3 trips to Menards. We don’t live close to Menards. He said maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he weren’t trying to build the cabinets at the same time. Every time he gets started on the cabinets, one of the contractors needs something and then that usually involves phone calls or trips to the big box store or somewhere else. We are all hoping that once the drywallers, siding guys, and stone guys get done, Bill will get a break. God bless him!

Until we meet again! Stay warm and safe. Think SPRING!

Deck the Halls with Wires and Sawdust, Fa La La La La, La La La La!

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la!

Not only is this the season to be jolly, it’s the season to be BUSY! We’ve had some ups and downs, but we are getting a lot done on the house.

When I last posted, we were supposed to have the HVAC contractors, siding guys, and the cabinet guy come the next week. Only one person (Rick from Lensing for the cabinets) showed up on Monday, November 25. He measured and looked like everything was going to work out just great . . . until he left. 😯 Key the drama button. Duh duh duh duh! I got back up to Jill’s house and Bill asked me if I told Rick that we were going to have stone all the way back to the wall on each side of the fireplace. Uh, No!!!! I forgot to tell him that! 😡 I quickly gave Rick a call. Rick had done Jill and Jim’s window seat on one side of their fireplace and kid’s computer desks on the other side. He was going on the basis of how they stopped their stone just around the edge of the fireplace since they had cabinets on each side. We estimated how thick the stone would be and made the window seats shorter than he measured. He was going to draw up plans and send to me for approval before he ordered them. Here is a snapshot of the window seats. I decided to go with drawers instead of doors as I thought we’d use the drawers to store blankets, throws, etc.

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

Tuesday, Nov. 26, the siding guys showed up. The siding had not been delivered yet. That was a blessing in disguise. Turns out the siding guys said they could not install our siding until our electricity was installed. Really? Did no one ever mention that the electricity needed to be installed prior to the siding installed? At one time we were going to have the electricians come right after plumbing but that didn’t happen. The siding guys said that since we were installing flood lights on our fascia, the electricity would have to be run before they could install siding. Jim questioned why they couldn’t start at the bottom of the house and work their way up; but, they said they preferred to wait until all electricity was run. Some things are just meant to be. I believe that is what happened in this case. The siding guys did a few preliminary installs on the corners of the house and called Benthall Brothers (our Hardie cement board distributor) to hold off delivering the siding. And, then they left.

Jim called our electrician to see what his schedule looked like and when he could pencil us in. Fred (electrician) said he was on a big job and had a couple more scheduled after that but probably could not get to us for a couple of weeks – around the second week of December. 😦 Yikes! Everyone was beating their heads thinking we really should have scheduled the electrician before now because we couldn’t move forward until that part was done. But, Bill and I found out there was still lots we could do before he arrived. It was Thanksgiving that week, and I had some Christmas shopping to do, people!

The HVAC guys came back to finish up their rough-in work on Wednesday, Nov. 28. I don’t have many photos of that. Not much to look at but some vents and tubing for the exhaust fans in the bathrooms. What I did take pictures of was the venting done for the kitchen chimney range exhaust fan. Our exhaust fan looks like this.

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

So, the HVAC guys decided to vent the exhaust fan down, through the crawl space, and out the side of the house. They said they didn’t want to go all the way up through the roof. So, this is how they roughed in the venting.

Venting the range hood

Venting the range hood

Closer view

Closer view

I kept telling Bill I just didn’t think the venting made sense to me the way it looked. He said something was off. We had a 17″ tall cabinet going above the vented area.  We didn’t think things were right. We decided to wait until after Thanksgiving and see if Bill could figure out if the venting was correct or not.

In the meantime, Bill said for me to be thinking where we might want electrical outlets and switches for our lights and fans. He wanted us to do our own walk-thru and mark where we wanted things placed before our walk-through with Fred the electrician. OMG, making all those decisions was a long and hard process. Yes, we had an electrical floor plan – but that was where light fixtures, can lights, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and exterior lights would be installed. So, I got out my floor plan from my 3D software which had furniture placed in it to decide where I might want those outlets and cables for digital phone and TV and where I wanted CAT5 cables run for Internet. Bill & I worked on this project several days marking up the house and stapling labels on the studs.

On Tuesday morning, December 3, the fireplace installers arrived. It was great to see the fireplace inside the frame.

Fireplace installation

Fireplace installation

Fireplace inside the frame

Fireplace inside the frame

While the fireplace was being installed we had a planned walk-through meeting with Mark from Wood Specialities by Fehrenbacher. Mark has worked with us for well over a year in creating a custom baseboard, selecting wood trim for our windows and doors, selecting a design for our wooden interior doors, and headband and beam design for the family room ceiling. He gave us some ideas about transitioning from the 9 ft ceiling entry to the vaulted section of the family room. And, we were able to discuss material for a double mantle for the fireplace. He measured everything in the whole house. He said he’d send us a new quote for everything within a week or so. He did ask if we had picked out a stain color yet. I told him I was waiting for our front door to be installed so I could see the color. I wanted the stain color to match our front door and the cabinetry throughout the house. Mark said once we picked out the stain color, he would need some of it to put on the interior door sections that might expand – prior to the painter doing the staining.

Bill called our painter Mark and asked him about stain and how we went about picking out a color. He said he liked using Zar wood stain and asked that we go pick out a color at the Newburgh Benjamin Moore store. We put that on our to-do list.

Our front door had been delivered, but we were waiting on the framing crew to stop by and install it. You couldn’t see what the door looked like because it was totally boxed up. I think it was late the next evening that framer Greg and his crew came and installed our front door and the pocket door mechanism for the master closet.

Pocket Door Mechanism

Pocket Door Mechanism

Front Door Interior View (still has cardboard on it to protect it)

Front Door Interior View (still has cardboard on it to protect it)

Exterior view of the front door (has plastic on the center section)

Exterior view of the front door (has plastic on the center section)

Earlier in the week, Bill got back to looking at the venting for the range fan. He ended up getting the fan out of the box, going through the installation guide, and temporarily tacked it up to where it should be installed to see if the venting the HVAC guys would work. Here’s what he found out.

Range Fan and strange venting

Range Fan and strange venting

The venting wasn’t going to work as it. It needed to go up a lot higher. Bill text Jason the HVAC guy along with the photo above and asked if he would please come by to discuss how it could be changed. And, he said it needed to be changed before insulation was put in. More on this later.

And, while we are talking about HVAC, Jason had asked us a couple of weeks ago if we wanted to take the federal tax credit for the geothermal unit in 2013 or in 2014. The Federal credit was 30% of the cost (with no upper limit) and that included installation of it all, too. Bill and I decided since 2013 would be our craziest year for taxes (Bill retiring, both of us going on Social Security, taking out monthly retirement allocations, Medicare, selling a house, and building a new one), we thought it would be best to use the tax credit for this year. However, to do that, we had to be billed for the geothermal unit and pay for it in 2013! It was December and we had to send in our December construction draw to the bank by December 5 to get money to pay contractors by the 10th. Bill made all the phone calls and did the leg work and got an invoice for everything just in time to turn it in to the bank! Whew!

Then the weather took a dive. Thursday afternoon, December 5, we went from freezing rain to ice to snow. Friday, December 6, it snowed all day. We ended up with over 7 inches of snow. See, it was a huge blessing that the siding was not delivered. That would have been a mess!

Snow storm

Snow storm

Jill & Jim's driveway

Jill & Jim’s driveway

Needless to say we had nothing going on down at the construction site until the following week. During the snow hiatus, Bill was able to work on the cabinets a couple of days. He finished all the drawers and drilled the holes for the handles.

Cabinet drawers

Cabinet drawers

Fred the electrician called and we scheduled our walk through with him for Monday, December 9. He was impressed with all our work we did marking what and where we wanted outlets. He made his markings on the studs as we went from room to room. Oh, and I decided to make the exercise area in the laundry room my computer area instead. 🙂 I made sure we had lots of outlets and cabling for that area. Fred said they would be back on Tuesday or Wednesday to install it all.

In the meantime, Bill had made arrangements with the drywall guy Bart and Les the insulation contractor since they were next up after the electrician in the interior. Bart had to install some drywall on a couple of walls between the kitchen and garage and the laundry room and garage before Les could install foam insulation in those areas. Bart made arrangements to have some drywall sheets delivered. The drywall was delivered on Monday, Dec. 9. Bill called Bart and he said he’d be out as soon as he could.

Jim called the siding guy and told him that the electric had been roughed in. He said they were working on a job and had one or two jobs afterwards. He said it might be Christmas week or after before they would get to us. Then we talked about the possibility of getting the front porch poured before the siding was installed. Jim called the concrete guy to find out his schedule. He said that in the winter they prefer not to “blanket” colored concrete as the finish doesn’t come out as well. So, he said that if the temperatures didn’t get below 26 degrees for 4 days in a row after pouring the concrete, he could pour it for us. So, Jim told us to keep an eye on our weather app.

So, no one showed up on Tuesday, December 10.

The electrical crew arrived on Wednesday the 11th. They were by far the messiest crew we cleaned up after; however, they were the quickest! They installed it all in less than a day! Bill called me when Fred said he couldn’t really install as many can lights above our island as was on the electrical plan. He said they would be too close together. Bill wanted me to come down and “approve” the change. It was a good thing I went down there. I found a couple of things that were not installed correctly. The fewer cans above the island was fine. However, I noticed that where the guys had installed the switches for the lights by each window seat were so low that I would lean on the switch with my back. I asked that they be moved up. And, I also noticed that the vanity lights connections looked too low. I asked Bill if Fred had gone by our spec document for the installation location for the vanities. He said he didn’t know. I grabbed the document which we kept in the house and checked to see where the lights were to be installed. We have tall mirrors for the bathrooms and Bill and I had measured cabinets, granite, backsplash and mirror months ago to determine height of the lights. We talked to Fred and he brought his tape measure and sure enough the lights were about 6 inches too low. Fred had everything fixed before they left.

And, we were wired!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next day the temperatures dipped all day to single digits. Bill and I went down to the house to double-check if all the electrical outlets and switches were correct and in the right location, but it was too cold to do it. So, Bill and I spent the day running errands for the new house. We went to Benthall Brothers to pick out our garage doors; stopped by Fehrenbacher’s to drop off the signed contract and pick up some sample poplar pieces for staining samples; went to the Benjamin Moore paint store with all our samples to match and picked a stain color; and then went to an electrical supply store to buy wiring for Bill to hook up a large portable furnace to use in our house. I guess it was a good day to get all that done. We figured we wouldn’t have any contractor show up on that day!

Friday the 13th Bart came and put up the drywall. And Jason’s crew came and looked at the range exhaust fan venting issue. Turns out they moved it over one stud and went up a lot further. Now, that will work!

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

Oh, I forgot to say that when the well guys came several weeks ago they said that there was a little white mold developing in our crawl space. YIKES! 😯 They said we probably needed to get that vapor barrier installed ASAP. Of course, the hold-up was waiting until the electric was run. Not that it was done, that barrier needed to get down. But, it was cold and nasty out. This was one PITA job Bill didn’t want to do. I didn’t want him to do it either. I told him to call a company does that and have them install it. We both checked out companies on the Internet and Bill sent an email to one to inquire what it would cost. They called. They said it would cost approximately $2K. Bill said he didn’t want to pay that much. Ugh!

Jim said he knew a recent college grad who worked construction while he was off from school. He asked if Bill wanted him to call and see if he would be interested in working for us. YES!!! Do not stop. Do not pass Go. Just call him right away! And, so he did. Todd said he’d be interested in working for us for several days. He started working last week. He cleaned up the garage and cleaned and vacuumed the house in preparation for the insulation crew on Tuesday and Wednesday for a couple of hours. They were coming Thursday, December 19.

We found out Monday that the temps were going to be soaring up into the 40s, 50s and even the 60s that week. Jim said it looked like they could pour the front porch! But, wait. We hadn’t picked out a color yet for the colored concrete. Where and how were we supposed to get that information? Jim said he’d get a brochure from Tony the concrete guy. Monday evening Jim brought home the brochure. He said if we could make a decision of what color by early Tuesday, he would call Tony and they could hopefully pour the concrete on Wednesday or Thursday. Bill looked at the brochure and picked Colonial Red. I said, “No Way!” The color decision was up to me.

I had a doctor’s appointment early Tuesday morning so I made arrangements to stop by the stone place so I could match up a concrete with our stone selection. With Rick the stone guy’s advice, I went with a lighter color than I originally wanted. He said from experience he said the darker colors show dirt and scratches more. So, I picked Sandstone for the colored concrete. I called Bill and he text Jim the color and said we wanted a smooth finish. Bill also asked if Tony could add some grit to the sealer so the concrete wouldn’t be as slippery when wet. He said he could!

Earlier in the week Bill and I went through the house to see about all the electrical stuff. We found a couple of outlets missing. And I decided to change the under-cabinet outlet wiring in the corner of the kitchen cabinets to a wall outlet. After doing some reading I found that for the appliances that people like to keep plugged in all the time (i.e., coffee pot) having the cords hanging down wasn’t a preference. So, the only appliance that Bill and I keep plugged in is the coffee pot and we had planned on keeping it in the corner. And, I discovered I had made a mistake and had the master bathroom outlets on each side of the vanity placed wrong. The hand towels would cover up the outlet. We wanted those moved. Bill called Fred and gave him a list of things and he said they’d be back out later in the week. The electrical crew came back on Wednesday and had everything done in 20 minutes! I’m telling you, these guys are fast!

Undercabinet wiring changed to outlet in kitchen corner cabinet area

Under-cabinet wiring changed to outlet in kitchen corner cabinet area

We did mess up on our labeling for the new computer area in the multi-purpose laundry room. Originally we thought we’d put two can lights above the area and had that on our label. But, when we were going room to room, I decided to move a nicer ceiling light I had originally purchased for the hall bathroom to our master closet. The master closet originally was going to have a flush mounted ceiling light just like the three in the laundry room. So, we decided we would just put that flush mounted light above the computer area. However, before the electrician’s came to install, we scratched out can lights and changed to ceiling light on the label, but forgot to scratch out the #2. So, the electricians ran two ceiling lights above the computer area. Instead of having them remove one of them, I decided to buy two smaller versions of the mounted ceiling lights – they were cheap at Menards. That way we have a spare light if anything breaks. 🙂

We had a full house at the site on Thursday, December 19. Les came with his insulation crew.

Netting with fiberglass blown in on all exterior walls and under the attic floor

Netting with fiberglass blown in on all exterior walls and under the attic floor

Spray foam up in the vaulted area of the family room

Spray foam up in the vaulted area of the family room and along the walls where the drywall was tacked up

Workers spraying 2" of the foam on all exterior walls prior to installing the netting and blowing in the fiberglass insulation

Workers spraying 2″ of the foam on all exterior walls prior to installing the netting and blowing in the fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

Tony and his crew came on Thursday, too, and poured the front porch.

Tony setting up for the concrete

Tony setting up for the concrete

Porch poured

Porch poured

Close-up of front porch

Close-up of front porch

I hope the color is going to be okay. He said we really won’t know the final color until the concrete is sealed. He said they cannot seal it for at least seven days. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it will all match.

Bill called Todd in the afternoon since he had not shown up yet. There was a communication error. Todd thought Bill was supposed to call him when he wanted him to come out. So, Todd worked really late Thursday night in the crawl space. He also worked most of the day Friday, too. He is just about done installing the vapor barrier. Bill said he is doing a great job. He is supposed to come back today and clean all the mold with Borax and then he will be done. All the snow and ice melting last week from the high temps and 4 inches of rain over the weekend has caused a muddy mess down at the construction site.

Bill spent the weekend putting up blocking for anything we might hang – pictures, cabinets, TVs, grab bars, towel racks, etc.

IMG_3191

IMG_3194IMG_3192

With the holidays approaching we are not sure if anyone will be working this week or next. I guess we will see what Santa brings our way.

We Are Thankful!

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. ~Colin Powell

Our dream home is becoming a reality! And, boy is it taking a lot of sweat, determination and hard work!

This is a time to be thankful! We are thankful to everyone who is making this dream happen for Bill and me. We are thankful for God providing us with the means to find and purchase this lovely piece of land to share with our family. We are thankful for our son Bryan who is encouraging us from afar in this venture even though he won’t be living close by. We are thankful for Jill and Jim for giving us a place to live while we are building. We are thankful for Jim who is spearheading the construction of our home and finding all those little things that we might not even think of because we don’t have that knowledge to find those things! We are thankful for Jill who is handling the financial side of the construction by keeping up with the bills and software! We are also thankful to Jill for helping us envision how things will look and honestly telling us if something doesn’t look right. We are thankful for Jim, Sr. and Joan for letting us use their construction company for this endeavor. We are thankful for Jim, Sr.’s advise and expertise in structural engineering. We are thankful for having great subcontractors so far! And, lastly, I am thankful for Bill – who has worked over and above on this project by doing all the PITA jobs, keeping contact with all the subs via email and phone, cleaning the construction site, burning the excess wood, and working on the cabinets when he has time in-between all the other jobs.

We’ve had a lot of progress since I last posted. The framers thought they were going to finish on Wednesday, Nov. 13, so Bill scheduled the roofer to come on Friday, Nov. 15. Well, the framers worked long hours into the dark several days but didn’t finish until Friday afternoon. We had a full house on Friday with the 5-man framing crew, a large roofing crew, and the roofing material company delivering the shingles. In addition, the HVAC and insulation guys came out to do walk-thru’s. And, of course, each of these people drove their own cars or trucks. They were parked all along our driveway and Jill and Jim’s driveway. Here are some pictures of the exterior framing.

Framing the back roof line

Framing the back roof line

Framing the west side of the house

Framing the west side of the house

This shows how high the hip roof goes from the front

This shows how high the hip roof goes from the front

Looking up toward the roof from inside the family room, I was amazed how much space was above the kitchen and laundry room. This space would haunt me later. 😡

Attic space above kitchen and laundry

Attic space above kitchen and laundry

Roof line looking toward the front door

Roof line looking toward the front door

I loved when the framers put the sheet rock on the roof. Finally, I thought the exterior of the house looked like the elevation drawings of the house that Jim drew up for us. This is what the guys got done by the end of Wednesday, Nov. 13.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was suggested we install some weather-stripping prior to the framers installing the windows. Alrighty then, who installs that? Hmmmmmm. While the framers finished the roof, Bill worked on his next PITA job – installing the weather-stripping. Bill did say it wasn’t that bad of a job.

Bill showing off his work.

Bill showing off his work.

Weather stripping close up

Weather stripping close up

Thursday, Nov. 14, the framers installed our windows. Those went in really quick.

Windows going in

Windows going in

West wall

West wall

Close up of triple window in front bedroom

Close up of triple window in front bedroom

Rear of home

Rear of home

Preparing for the triple garage window

Preparing for the triple garage window

We had to go over with Greg (the framer) the height we wanted our vault to go in the family room and bedroom. Greg put up a board in the master bedroom to get my approval. The height on the flat center turned out to be about 10-1/2 ft high. Perfect! The vault would go up 18 inches from the 9 foot ceiling.

Board where the flat part of the vaulted ceiling would go in the master bedroom.

Board where the flat part of the vaulted ceiling would go in the master bedroom.

And, this is what the shape will look like. Imagine drywall up there. We wanted some extra height in the master bedroom as we have a large wooden canopy king bed going in there without it feeling dwarfed. Time will tell!

Master Bedroom vaulted ceiling with flat center

Master Bedroom vaulted ceiling with flat center

The other things on the framer’s list to complete on Thursday was the Family Room ceiling, the master walk-in shower bench, and building the fireplace structure.

Family Room vaulted ceiling

Family Room vaulted ceiling

The Family Room flat section goes up to about 14-1/2 feet.

Master bathroom shower bench

Master bathroom shower bench

This is my favorite photo of the unfinished house so far. It’s the fireplace flanked by two eventual window seats and the vaulted with flat ceiling. I can’t wait to see how this will turn out cause I already like the shape it’s taking on.

Fireplace structure

Fireplace structure

Friday, Nov. 15, the roofers and framers were hammering away in the very early morning.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bill picked up all the excess wood that he couldn’t use and burned away.

Lots to burn

Lots to burn

By the end of Friday we had the framing and roofing completed . . . or so we thought! 😕

Saturday afternoon, Nov. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 17, Bill and I swept and vacuumed the interior of the house. We had to lay out, measure, and mark all the cabinets and appliances on the floor before the plumbers and HVAC guys came on Monday morning. It was a lot of work but also exciting to see if everything would fit the way we thought it should. Bill had built our cabinets prior to the house being framed, so we had to make sure everything was going to fit!

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen

Looking from the family room toward the dining area on the left and kitchen to the right

Looking from the family room toward the dining area on the left and kitchen to the right

Looking toward the front door

Looking toward the front door

Looking from the family room to the hall closet on the right of the entryway

Looking from the family room to the hall closet on the right of the entryway

Looking through the wall that separates the family room and the master bedroom

Looking through the wall that separates the family room and the master bedroom

Let me back up a little here. Thursday, Rick from Lensing (where we are getting our bathroom vanities/cabinetry) came to measure. The framing wasn’t all complete (one of the walls for the window seat wasn’t done yet), but he came anyway. I wasn’t there. He told Bill that in our hall bath we would have to go with 18 inch depth cabinetry as there was not enough room for the 22 inch for which we had originally planned. 😯 Bill and I re-measured the bathroom during the weekend to see if it was framed correctly. We came up with the same measurements that were on our plan. How could this have happened? We knew the bathroom was going to be tight but I had 22 inch deep vanities in my 3D software and they fit and Jim had 22 inch standard vanities in his drawings. Something was off. The master bedroom closet was right behind this bathroom. I was willing to give up three to four inches if that wall could be moved. But, looking up, it appeared that the ceiling joists were laying right on the top of that wall. We figured it could not be moved without a lot of difficulty. Crud!

I didn’t know what to do. I really didn’t want 18 inch deep cabinets. Jill said maybe we could go with a standalone furniture-like vanity if they came in that depth. Jill said she would talk to Jim and have him look at the bathroom and see if he could see what options we might have. In the meantime, Bill and I went out to Lowe’s Saturday evening and looked at 18 inch depth cabinets. There weren’t many but I thought if that is what we had to do, then that would be what we would have built. However, I would have to get rid of the full-size cabinet next to the vanity. It would close in the bathroom too much.

Sunday, Jim walked through the house to see if everything was framed correctly. Jim, Sr. came over and we gave him his first tour of the house. Jim, Sr. made a comment that our beam that separates the kitchen/dining area from the family room was one big beam! And, I kept looking up at all that space up there, saying that I guess we should have thought about that space before. You could stand up in that space. I verbalized to both Jims and Bill that maybe we should have put a room up there. I had mentioned the space to Jill earlier, too. Even if we gave up part of the laundry room to build a staircase up there, she asked if I would really want to go up there without a window? Jim said if we wanted to do something with the space, now was the time. My head was spinning.

Should we make attic into a bonus room?

Should we make attic into a bonus room?

Jim and Bill climbed up the attic stairs and walked up in the area above the kitchen and laundry. Jim finally said, yes there would be enough room to make about a 14×14 room with slanted walls. He then asked if we wanted to spend about $15-20K to make it happen. And, I still wouldn’t have a window! Finally, I said, it’s not worth it. I also said that soon the drywall would be up and I wouldn’t look up at it and wonder. Besides, Bill and I said . . . this house would have no stairs. And, I wasn’t willing to give up my laundry room.

Once that was decided, we moved along. We had to see about that hall bathroom. The guys got to re-measuring the room and found that it was framed correctly. However, Jim discovered that the bathroom door had been placed in the wrong place. Jim said we had a couple of options. If we wanted to leave the door where it was and move the wall back into part of the closet space, we would have to check with the framer to see if the wall could be moved. Or, the easier thing would be to check with the plumber to see how deep the tub enclosure was going to be so we would know how many inches to have the framers move the door over. Bill decided to check with the plumber the next day.

Jim, Sr. said we really needed more support for that big old beam by the entry door from the garage. He said we didn’t want it to eventually sag. Bill discovered that the wall to divide the dining area from the family room was only 10 inches and it was supposed to be 2 ft 2 inches. Jim looked at the fireplace structure and asked Bill why the one support was so high up and then when Bill got out the instructions, they discovered a section had not been built. Bill said he would call Greg the framer later in the week to update him once we knew what we were going to do in that bathroom. Honestly, we decided that if these were the only things that were wrong in the whole house, we were in good shape. The framers had done an awesome job and we were pleased. And, Greg had told us he would be working close by and would come back and install the exterior doors as soon as they came in. These extras could be a “rainy day” for them.

Monday, Nov. 18, the plumbers and the HVAC guy came. The HVAC left aluminum pieces to where he thought vents should go. Bill and I had to go through the house and move the vents to where we wanted them to be installed when they came back. Thank goodness I had already placed my furniture in our 3D house planning software so I knew where I could move the vents.

Vent in the entry way

Vent in the entry way

Vent in the front bedroom

Vent in the front bedroom

I told Bill I wanted the vents by the window seats to be installed in the toe-kick of the window seats. Bill had never seen that before. I showed him this picture and said that is what I wanted. He will tell the HVAC guys when they return Monday, the 25th.

Vents in the window seat toe-kick

Vents in the window seat toe-kick

The plumbers did all their rough-in work last week. And, they installed the tub enclosure in the hall bath. Turned out the tub enclosure was an inch deeper than we thought it would be. Which made things even more challenging. If we moved the bathroom door, it would only give us an extra inch. Things weren’t working in our favor. So, we decided to make the bathroom door a 28 inch door instead of a 30 inch door. Our master bathroom door is 36 inches. That’s the one that is most important. The bathroom we are using in Jill’s bonus area has a 28 inch door and it works fine for us. So, by going with a smaller door and probably use a slightly less wide trim inside the bathroom, we can have a 20 inch deep vanity. I called the granite place to make sure the sink we purchased will fit with the smaller depth cabinet. It will. Whew! In addition to the tub enclosure being deeper, the framer was going to have to either move the wall back from the adjoining linen closet (so we had a wall to attach drywall) or make a fake wall right behind it. Again, we saw problems with moving the closet wall because it was supporting ceiling joists.  Here’s what we changed the cabinets in the hall bath to look like:

Hall bath cabinetry

Hall bath cabinetry

Here are photos of the plumbing work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The well guys came back out this past week, too, and trenched and installed pipe from the well to the house. The framers ended up coming back out and fixed all our tweaks and did it in two hours. And, they installed our exterior laundry room door, too! Yay, Framers!!!!

Laundry room exterior door installed

Laundry room exterior door installed

Extra support for the big old beam

Extra support for the big old beam

Door frame changed in hall bath

Door frame changed in hall bath

Installed a fake wall behind the linen closet wall so they could hang drywall.

Installed a fake wall behind the linen closet wall so they could hang drywall.

Extended the window seat dividing wall to 2 ft 2 in

Extended the window seat dividing wall to 2 ft 2 in

Built the extra frame for the fireplace. It will be added to the structure after the fireplace is installed

Built the extra frame for the fireplace. It will be added to the structure after the fireplace is installed

Yesterday, I ended up sweeping up all the piles the plumbers left throughout the house like below.

Piles left by the plumbers

Piles left by the plumbers

Monday the HVAC guys are supposed to be back to make any exterior openings they need to do. Because either Monday or Tuesday, the Hardie Board siding is being installed. Monday, I have Rick from Lensing coming back to do final measuring for the bathrooms and window seats so we can place the order. We’ve decided to go with the brandywine finish for the cabinets as it matches the mahogany Bill is using for the kitchen cabinets.

The front door and the fireplace both got delayed. They were supposed to be installed this past week, but now both will supposedly be installed the week after Thanksgiving.

I’ve spent some time looking at materials for the kitchen backsplash. We are getting closer to making that decision. I’m leaning toward glossy tan subway tiles. We also got our granite samples and they match real well with the cabinets and tile we picked out for the two bathrooms. And, I had to purchase another two light fixtures. I wanted to have a light for each of the window seats. I order two more of the same sconces I had already purchased. Two will be in the interior of the entry way and the other two will be in the window seats.

Entry Sconces and Window Seat Sconces

Entry Sconces and Window Seat Sconces

And, I’m thinking I may just change the spot for the exercise bikes in the laundry room to my computer area. 😆 I’ll probably be on the computer way more than I’ll be on that bike. And, the view is so nice and I’d have my own space.

Future computer area

Future computer area

We are taking each day as it comes and doing what we can to make decisions and adjustments. So far it’s all been GOOD!