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!

 

Troubles Turned to Blessings in Disguise!

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures. ~Joseph Addison

I’ll apologize right off the bat for waiting a whole month between blog posts. But, to be honest with you, there wasn’t a lot to blog about until recently. Now things are moving again in the right direction.

When I last posted we were waiting for the painter to get done with the interior painting and staining and cabinets. Well, we continued to wait. The painter is cheap and good at what he does, but he sure tries our patience as far as showing up for work.

Early Monday, April 7, we received delivery of the cabinetry that we ordered for our bathrooms and window seats for the family room. We peaked inside to see what the colors looked like; however, we left the cabinets in their wrapping for three weeks until the trim carpenters opened them up.

The painters showed up Monday and Tuesday that week for a couple of hours each day. Then, they came Wednesday and Thursday early in the morning to spray the laundry cabinet doors and drawer fronts. They were gone those two mornings before we got down there. Shayna worked Monday and Tuesday, April 14-15, applying poly on kitchen cabinets and painted one coat of paint on the laundry cabinets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometime during the April 12-13 weekend, we discovered that our pretty mahogany-stained garage doors weren’t as pretty as they were before. Looking really close, it looked like paint over-spray all over them! Nooooooo!

This is how they looked when they installed them.

close-up of garage door

close-up of garage door

This is how they looked a couple of weeks ago:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two possible suspects for over-spray: subs who installed the Hardie Board (they sprayed primer paint on the ends of each cut); or our painter who sprayed our laundry cabinets outdoors. Either way, we weren’t happy about what they looked like. Those doors were an expensive upgrade. Bill wanted to see if he could get the paint off of them. More on that later.

We were really anxious to get done with the interior of the house so we could bring in the trim carpenter. We were being held up on the interior waiting for the painter to finish and were being held up on the exterior work because of weather. The painters did not show up the rest of the week or the next week! Promises were made by the painter over and over again, but they would always be a no-show.

Jim called our trim carpenter on Saturday, April 19, to see if he was going to be able to fit us in his schedule. He made an appointment to meet with Bill and me on Monday, April 21, to do a walk-thru. I printed out all the pictures of how we wanted our trim to look with examples of beams, mantel, headband, etc., in addition to a list of all the wood materials (and doors) we had received from Fehrenbacher Wood Specialities.  I also had printed all the cabinet layouts. During the meeting Mr. Carpenter kept shaking his head and saying, “I’m not sure if I can fit you in or not. The timing is really bad for me right now.” He even said maybe he could get a crew in and bang out all the trim and then come back later (a long time later) to install the cabinets. The months June and July were mentioned!!!! Are you kidding me?  He said he’d go back home and look at his schedule and see if he could squeeze us in. Early the next morning, he called me and said he was so sorry but he knew we were in a hurry to get the carpentry work done now and there was no way he could take on the job.

There was no time to mope around so Bill, Jim and I moved on getting another trim carpenter right away. I went through our bid construction binder and found we had only received one estimate (Mr. Carpenter) when we sent the bids out in the fall. Bill looked through our spreadsheet of contacts who we sent bids to in the fall and came up with two names. Neither one had sent in estimates then. He text Jim and he immediately set up appointments with both of them to come out and do walk-thrus: Mr. Carpenter #2 was scheduled for the next day (April 23) and Mr. Carpenter #3 was scheduled for that Friday (April 25).

Bill and I really liked Carpenter #2 and his son who came with him. They were not intimidated by our stained trim package. Not many people are using stained trim or doors these days. Everyone is going painted white. He said he could help us design and build our closet systems, too. He and Bill talked about mitering the baseboards for all the corners and he said it was no problem. Carpenter #2 said he would send us an estimate and schedule in a couple of days. In the meantime I found Carpenter #2 had a Facebook page for his business and I was impressed by what I saw.

Carpenter #3 came after he got off work Friday evening. He works full-time for a construction company (mainly commercial work) but does carpentry work on the side. In fact, Jim said he was the handyman in their old neighborhood and everyone loved him. Jim had never met him. As soon as he arrived, he got out of his truck, introduced himself, and immediately asked how we liked our garage doors. I said that we loved them until we got the paint over-spray. He went up to the doors and looked around. He told us that he had five of the same doors on his new house he just got done building up the road from us and they had to all be replaced because the finish was cracking! He started pointing out that ours were cracking, too. Told you there was more to our garage door story. And, there is still more . . . Later. 🙂

Carpenter #3 was younger than #1 or #2 but was knowledgeable. He looked at our door frames and questioned why they were broken down (easier for painter to stain but more for carpenter to install) and had his own idea of installing baseboard corners. Bill told him they had to be mitered PERIOD. He said he would drop by our estimate over the weekend and give us his schedule of when they could do the job. Before leaving, Bill gave him a piece of our wood so he could practice cutting miters for the baseboard. You got to love Bill!

Bill and I decided if the price and schedule were right, we’d go with Carpenter #2. Famous last words! Sunday afternoon Jim got a call from Carpenter #3. His price was low. Two thousand lower than Carpenter #1’s initial estimate (which would have gone up a couple Ks after our walk-thru if he had taken the job). And, he and his brother and another guy could start working Wednesday afternoon after they got off work. He said they would work Wednesday-Friday evenings, all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

Bill called Carpenter #2 and asked if he had an estimate for us. He emailed me his detailed estimate later that afternoon. It was almost double the price of Carpenter #3 (and $3K more than #1’s initial bid) and he didn’t give us dates of when they could start.

After much consideration (and reassurance from Jim that all their old neighbors raved about his work) we decided to go with Carpenter #3. This is where Blessings in Disguise comes into play as you’ll see in the upcoming photos.

Now, all we had to do was get that painter back out to finish the inside BEFORE the trim carpenter came on Weds. We devised a punch list for Mark and gave him a deadline. One of the items was to repaint one of the upper walls in the family room which we thought was painted the wrong color. See what you think.

Same or Different?

Same or Different?

Mark worked Monday and Tuesday, April 28-29, long days. Turns out the walls above are painted the same color. He even applied paint to both of the walls again to show Bill. Apparently, the light causes an optical illusion. Bill said Mark even exceeded his expectations of getting interior stuff finished. He applied poly to the stained screen frames, he stained and applied poly to the rest of the windows and the sliding glass door. He painted the laundry cabinets and toe kicks which were missed the first go-around.

Laundry Cabinet Toe-kicks

Laundry Cabinet Toe-kicks

During the last couple weeks of April, Bill worked in his workshop re-arranging and organizing it in preparation for the electrician and plumber. We bought new storage cabinets.

New Workshop Storage Cabinets

New Workshop Storage Cabinets

Putting one of the big cabinets together.

Putting one of the big cabinets together.

Bill had bought several boxes of discontinued hardwood flooring at Lowe’s over a year ago for $5 a box. He finally put them to good use and installed new tops on some of his cabinets.

Updated cabinets with new tops

Updated cabinets with new tops

Big cabinet all ready filled up!

Big cabinet already filled up!

Bill decided to sand and poly his work bench, too! He built this years ago at our last house.

Cleaned up the work bench

Cleaned up the work bench

Vectren came out and installed our permanent electric mid April. We still have the temporary post, too, which the trim carpenter is using. After he’s done, that will be removed. They ran our electric and gas lines to the house, too.

Tearing up the road to bring gas across from the other side of the road

Tearing up the road to bring gas across from the other side of the road

There's the lines

There are the lines

They ran the lines up the yard to the left of the driveway and then under the driveway by the garage to final hookup to house.

They ran the lines up the yard to the left of the driveway and then under the driveway by the garage to final hookup to house.

Permanent electric installed

Permanent electric installed

We're all set

We’re all set

Wednesday, April 30, we had our HVAC installed. They said they’d be back to dig the geothermal when the ground wasn’t so wet and we had electric hooked up the our new HVAC unit.

HVAC installed

HVAC installation

And, the trim carpenters started that same day. Tim Baker is Mr. Carpenter #3. OMG! He is like an energizer bunny. Tim arrived around 1:30 that day and started working on baseboards. Guess what? He sure did a great job mitering those corners!

Mitered baseboard corners

Mitered baseboard corners

Linen closet baseboards

Linen closet baseboards

Soon Tim’s brother (Mike) arrived and Tim put him on installing the interior doors.

First door installed

First door installed

Then Neal arrived and Tim put him on installing cabinets.

Neal checking out the first cabinet - the upper corner cabinet

Neal checking out the first cabinet – the upper corner cabinet

Bill was there to help with the cabinets.

Bill helping Neal installed cabinets

Bill helping Neal install cabinets

Tim asked if I would come down to approve the window trim he did on the first window before he continued. I was ecstatic when I saw it! He said he figured I liked it by the look on my face.

Sample of window trim and sill

Sample of window trim and sill

The guys worked until about 8:00 pm that evening and returned the next day with a fourth guy. They took off Friday, worked all day Saturday and took off Sunday. They got a lot done, but still a lot more to do.

Three upper kitchen cabinets installed

Three upper kitchen cabinets installed

I’ll never be able to reach anything on those top upper cabinets. Jill took a picture of me reaching up, but the photo was blurred. I could only reach up to the bottom two levels of the corner cabinet. 🙂 To show you how tall these are, here is a picture of Bill reaching up. He can reach three levels!

Bill reaching up to wall cabinet.

Bill reaching up to wall cabinet.

 

Close-up of window sills

Close-up of window sills

Close-up of window top casing trim

Close-up of window top casing trim

Door trimed out with upper casings the same as the window trim and we have plinth blocks on the lower part of side casings

Door trimmed out with upper casings the same as the window trim and we have plinth blocks on the lower part of side casings

Headband installed in most of the areas

Headband installed in most of the areas

Double closet doors in one of the bedrooms (garage entry door still to be installed)

Double closet doors in one of the bedrooms (garage entry door still to be installed)

Sample of window, door and headband

Sample of window, closet door and headband

Front door trimmed out

Front door trimmed out

Drop down beam in master bedroom hallway

Drop down beam in master bedroom hallway

Laundry cabinets being installed

Laundry cabinets being installed

Laundry cabinets ready for doors

Laundry cabinets ready for doors

Master bathroom vanities going in

Master bathroom vanities going in

Master bathroom with desk area in-between vanities

Master bathroom with desk area in-between vanities

These vanities were such a tight fit and our 5″ baseboards wouldn’t fit under the toe-kick. So, Tim “ripped” the bottom part off the baseboard in the whole bathroom to match all around. I’m not sure if you can see or not, but we also had electric run so I could have a plug on the side of the right vanity. The electric was in the wrong place, but Tim cut the drywall and moved it over. That part will be covered up with granite backsplash. These guys were great at coming up with solutions that worked and still looked good.

The hall bath was a bear to install, too! They really didn’t allow any give or take on these cabinets. Tim and Bill decided to use a piece of our trim to use as a spacer to bring the cabinets out a little from the door. Looks fine and worked. Bill said Neal is a perfectionist. I’m glad!

Hall bath cabinets going in

Hall bath cabinets going in

Hall cabinets installed

Hall cabinets installed

I didn’t think this huge master bath storage cabinet with seat was going to fit. But, Neal made it work!

Master bath storage cabinet

Master bath storage cabinet

A couple of things happened which we had to remedy.

Here was an oops I discovered where two doors met.

What's going on here?

What’s going on here?

But was quickly fixed. Tim laughed when I took the picture below and said while winking, “That’s always been like that!” I laughed and said, “Sorry – I have a picture to show otherwise! But, I love that you fixed it!”

Fixed casing

Fixed casing

Bill left Neal for less than 5 minutes. When he returned he saw Neal drilling some holes in an area where we have water lines! We had a picture for the carpenters of the kitchen wall before drywall to show them where we had blocking and water lines. Bill had to open the drywall up a little to see if there was damage. Neal had nicked the pex tubing.

Water line knicked

Drywall cut out to assess water line nicked

Bill called the plumber that evening and asked if he could come out the next day. Bill ended up texting him a close-up photo of the tube and the plumber said it was fine because the tubing is so thick and it was only nicked. I hope that is true when we turn on water!

See the cabinet to the left of the large pantry cabinet below? Looks like that is going to be moved to the garage bump-out area. When our electricians came to installed the electric to the new HVAC system and our well pump they said we couldn’t install anything permanent in front of the electrical panels.

Pantry cabinet installed

Pantry cabinet installed

We talked about installing the cabinet after all the inspections and we moved in, but . . . I decided this weekend that I still didn’t have a place for my mops and vacuum cleaner. So, those are going to be stored to the left of the pantry cabinet and we’ll also have room for this piece which I decided not to use in the entry cause it just didn’t go with everything else in the family room.

Antique desk

Antique desk

We are going to have the painter paint it the same colors as our laundry cabinets. This will sit opposite where my computer area will be in the laundry room so, I’ll use it as my mail/bill desk.

Thursday, May 1, I called David Ferrero to see if he could measure and install our glass shower door which we would order from Ferguson’s. David came out Friday morning, May 2. Lindsey at Ferguson’s called me Monday, the 5th, with price and we placed our order for the door and shower grab bar. Should be delivered in about 2 weeks.

Electricians hooked electric to the new HVAC system and well pump (the blue tank) on Friday, too.

Electric hooked up to HVAC and Well Pump

Electric hooked up to HVAC and Well Pump

One of the biggie problems over the weekend was that our window seats didn’t fit on either side of our fireplace. All of the engineers in the family gathered down at the house to see if there was any way to remedy the situation. Bill and Tim talked about cutting the stone down on the lower side where the seat would go. But, if they did that and got the seat in, we wouldn’t be able to open the drawers. We finally came to the conclusion that the initial measurements by our cabinet sales guy were off. I was given the privilege of delivering the bad news to our cabinet sales guy. Gulp!

Rick came out Monday, May 5, and measured over and over. He said sometimes these things happen. He said they’d make it right and he’d put a rush on getting new ones made. Bill helped Rick take the window seats away.

IMG_4363

IMG_4364

Things could have been a lot worse. We can move in without window seats. If this had been the case of bathroom vanities, we would have had a major setback. Not worth getting upset about it.

Remember the garage door saga? Bill spent many hours Sunday, May 4, trying to clean off the paint on the garage doors. He was able to get a lot of it off but he discovered even more cracking of the finish. Monday, he called the company where we ordered the garage doors. We discovered they have a life-time warranty against cracking as long as you are the original purchaser. But, gosh, should these be cracking so quickly? These weren’t cheap doors! Anyway, they are going to be sending the Chi door representative out to look at the doors. What a pain!

Since we had a warm sunny forecast for this week with no rain Monday-Thursday, we asked Jim to text Mark the painter and asked that he start painting the exterior of the house. He said he’d pick up the paint in the morning and be out. He didn’t get here until 3:00 pm, but he came and painted several hours. Finally going to get rid of that “baby poop” greenish primed color. We think the color is going to blend in well. It will be a little darker once the second coat goes on.

First coat of paint (bottom section)

First coat of paint (bottom section)

Close-up of paint (on right side). Looks like he missed a couple spots.

Close-up of paint (on right side). Looks like he missed a couple of spots.

Front section painted one coat

Front section painted one coat

Looking better

Looking better

And, our excavator septic installer showed up Monday and Tuesday to install the septic! Yay! Bill said they have to wait until the city says they can dig the lateral lines. Something about it still being too wet and waiting until results from more soil testing samples come back.

Digging

Digging

Septic Tank

Septic Tank

This view shows location in front of house

This view shows location in front of house

There is some deep digging going on

There is some deep digging going on

Piping

Piping

Dig dig dig

Dig dig dig

Built the back pad up for our back patio

Built the pad for our back patio

We have two painters today, so they should be able to get a lot more done. And, the trim carpenters plan to work this afternoon/evening today and tomorrow installing our kitchen and island cabinets. We have the granite people coming on Monday, May 12, to template counter-tops and bathroom vanities. They told me that it will be another 2-3 weeks after that when they come back down and install. They are coming from Indy. That will push completion date out further because we can’t have plumber install all his stuff until the sinks are installed (we are getting our sinks from the granite company).

Bill lined up the cabinets and the island parts so everything will be ready for the carpenters.

Kitchen/island cabinets lined up ready for install

Kitchen/island cabinets lined up ready for install

Closer view of island parts

Closer view of island parts

I cannot wait until these are installed and we can see what they will look like. Bill has to get the glass for the small upper cabinets and install it into the doors before installing cabinet doors. He can start installing doors and slides after cabinets are installed.

The carpenters plan to work all day Saturday doing our beams and mantel in the family room and installing the tongue-and-groove porch ceiling. They still have the garage entry door to install along with more trim and headband in the kitchen after cabinets go in.

Tim also said he could build our closet systems. He and his wife invited Bill and me to their new home last weekend to see his trim work in their home. Gorgeous! I told him he was our blessing in disguise! I’ve looked at houzz.com for closet ideas and printing out photos to show Tim. I’ve sketched out the closet plans on graph paper and will show Tim today what I’ve come up with so far and see what he will charge us. We will buy the materials and Bill will stain and poly the wood to match the rest of our house.

Master Walk-in Closet

Master Walk-in Closet ideas

All the other closets

All the other closets

The last item in this post is about our well. The well guys came out yesterday, May 6, and hooked our well to the pump. They had Bill running it for 15 minute intervals to get some of the gunk out that might have settled. But, we have water!!!!!

We hope we will be in our final push soon. We sure cannot wait to move into this new home!

 

 

 

 

 

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.