Slow Progress is Better Than No Progress!

Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time. ~Voltaire

The other day someone posted on a home-building forum the graphic below about the emotional roller-coaster of building a home. Click on the link to see the graphic.

The-Homeowners-Emotional-Roller-Coaster

Bill and I think our spike is still on the lower end with the painter since it seems to be taking a long time. But heck, in the last two weeks we did see some progress on the house.

The most dependable subcontractor has been the . . . cabinetmaker! Our cell voice service has been sporadic in the area, so Bill and I text most of the time.

IMG_3894
So, no subs showed up on Monday, February 24, except the cabinet-maker. 😦
Then, on Tuesday, February 25, we had a houseful of subs! The stone guys came and made our columns look better. Remember how I wanted the future columns to look?
Changing the columns

Changing the columns

Well, they did it!

Stone guys making the columns look better

Stone guys making the columns look better

Close-up of the new and improved columns

Close-up of the new and improved columns

As a reminder, that white trim part of the column is eventually going to be painted bronze.

The same day they delivered the ceramic tile for the bathrooms.

Marazzie ceramic tile for bathroom floors and master bath shower

Marazzi ceramic tile for bathroom floors and master bath shower

And a crew came to start working on the laundry room flooring. They had to install a sub-floor for the luxury vinyl tiles being installed in that room.

Sub-floor for the laundry room with samples of tile placement

Sub-floor for the laundry room with samples of tile placement

The painter and helper showed up on Tuesday, too. The painter said they probably would not be able to start spraying the poly that day since the guys doing the sub-floor were kind of in their way going back and forth between the laundry room and the garage. Sorry. 😳 So, the painters worked on staining other things – like windows and screens. Yes, believe it or not, we purchased the screens with the wood frames. We knew those were going to a pain to stain. But, unfortunately, Marvin Integrity doesn’t have a bronze frame and the other colors available clashed. So, I went with the wood ones. They came out nice!

Stained screens

Stained screens

Turns out that the painters did not come back the rest of that week. I guess they wanted the tile guys to get done so they could start spraying the finish. I don’t blame them.

However, before the painters took off for the rest of the week, Bill talked with Mark about staining and spraying poly on our cabinets! I guess Bill was satisfied with the job they had done with all the trim and doors. Mark gave Bill a price. Bill came up to the house after that and asked what I thought. Without batting an eyelid, I told him to have Mark do it! Then Bill said, “Okay, I’ll have him do it!” But, then he added, “There goes the saw I wanted to buy.” 😦 Bill’s big saw has been going out and he’s been holding his breath that it wouldn’t stop working before he got done with the cabinets. I looked at his sad eyes and said, “You can still buy the saw, for goodness sake!”

Knowing what Bill has had to go through these last two years making the cabinets and the stress to get them done in the conditions he’s working, in addition to working with all the subs and doing all the PITA jobs . . . Bill might have been better off stress-wise if we had just ordered the cabinets. Oh, don’t get me wrong . . . I LOVE the cabinets and they are as custom as could be. And, they are exactly what I wanted. And, I know they are going to be beautiful once they are done! They will be branded with Bill’s new stamp he just bought.

Bill's new branding stamp.

Bill’s new branding stamp.

If Bill were going to stain and spray poly on the cabinets he had planned to do it before the cabinets were assembled. However, the painter wants the cabinets assembled before he does them. So, Bill has been faithfully working every day making last-minute parts and sanding sanding sanding.

Top upper wall cabinets

Top upper wall cabinets

Cabinet doors and frames

Cabinet doors and frames

Sanding away

Sanding away

So while the painters took a break, the flooring guys worked their magic. The guys laying the laundry tile ran out of tile and they had to order another box. We are still waiting for them to finish up. They dropped off the DuraCeramic Dimensions tile this week and said they would be back to install it later.

Luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl tile

Laundry room floor

Laundry room floor

Then another two guys came and started prepping to install the ceramic tile on the bathroom floors.

Underlayment in master bathroom

Underlayment in master bathroom

First tile piece in the hall bathroom

First tile piece in the hall bathroom

By Wednesday, Feb. 26, they had finished tiling both bathroom floors.

Hall bathroom floor

Hall bathroom floor

Master bathroom floor

Master bathroom floor

Matching up the tile floor with vanity sample, granite and the wall color.

Matching up the tile floor with vanity sample, granite and the wall color of the master bathroom.

Casey, the main tile guy, talked to us about how we wanted the shower and shower bench tiled and where we wanted the ceramic shower corner shelves placed and how many. Casey drew on the sheet rock. Not sure if you can see or not where we decided to put the decorative accent tiles along the wall. And where we wanted the shelves.

Shower wall

Shower wall

Diamond shaped decorative accent tile

Diamond shaped decorative accent tile

Here’s a sample of what the corner shelves will look like:

Corner shower shelves

Corner shower shelves

The drawing on the bench is not what we finally decided on . . . I guess I better make sure Casey remembers that before he starts tiling. 😯

Drawings on the shower bench

Drawings on the shower bench

Bill suggested putting the decorative diamond-shaped accent tiles in-between two rows of tile on the front of the shower bench. Casey said he could do that if they had enough accent tile left over.

Casey said he would be back Thursday night or Friday to grout the bathroom floors. Well, that didn’t happen! I guess there was a problem with I had not picked out a grout color yet. Oops! When Brian called from the flooring store, I told him to pick out a grout color that would match the tile. My only “want” was for it to be a darker color. I’ve had light-colored grout before and found it was hard to keep clean.

Sunday, March 2, brought yet another winter storm. This one involved freezing rain, ice, and snow. 😡 We didn’t get as much as they predicted but it was enough to cause traveling problems. Monday, March 3, school was cancelled for the 8th day this school year and Jill worked from home. Jim made it into work. And, Bill, the cabinetmaker, was the only contractor who showed up at the work site that day.

Here’s another text story. We kid about our mailbox. It’s temporary. But, it’s been down a lot this winter.

The saga of the cheap mailbox

The saga of the cheap mailbox

You would have thought duct tape would have kept it up, but Tuesday, March 4, it was down again. We kept wondering who was hitting it. As Bill was waiting to pull out of our driveway, the plow truck went by. The force of the snow hitting the mailbox, brought it down once again! Bill is sick of fixing this one. He’s waiting until the ground is softer so he can put up a permanent one.

Shayna, one of the painters, worked Tuesday through Friday this past week. She sprayed poly on all the stained pieces except the doors. Here is the huge spraying booth. It worked out well and contained the polyurethane within the booth area.

spraying booth

spraying booth

Shayna sanded everything and then started spraying a second coat on the trim pieces until she ran out of poly on Friday.

Trim pieces drying after poly spray

Trim pieces drying after poly spray

Stacks of trim pieces

Stacks of trim pieces drying in the garage, too

Wednesday, March 5, they delivered our hardwood floors. We asked that they be delivered as soon as they arrived as we wanted the floor to acclimate in the house before being installed. The flooring is engineered hickory lightly-handscraped 6″ width planks.

Stacks of hardwood flooring in front bedroom

Stacks of hardwood flooring in front bedroom

More stacks in the master bedroom

More stacks in the master bedroom

We went with the natural color hickory because everything else was dark. Plus, I had read where you should try and match the color of your hardwood floors with the color of the dirt around your house. 🙂 So, if you track in dirt from outside, it won’t show up at much as with darker floors. I’m such a matchy-matchy person, so it was out of my comfort zone to go with a light floor and dark trim. But, after looking on houzz.com I found I liked the look and so did Bill.

This was my inspiration photo from houzz.

Here is what our floors will look like next to our baseboards.

Hardwood floors next to floor boards

Hardwood floors next to baseboards

Friday, March 7, Casey the tile guy and his helper came back to start on the shower. They drilled the hole for the shower drain and installed the waterproof underlayment.

Looking into the shower after the waterproof underlayment was installed

Looking into the shower after the waterproof underlayment was installed

Maybe Bill talked with the Casey about me and colors because Casey said he needed me to pick out the grout color. 🙄 I even told Casey he could pick out a matching color that wasn’t light. He said he would leave me samples on the floor and would pull out the one he thought would match the best – but I still had to make the final decision. I decided to use Casey’s favorite as the grout color. Casey said they would be back on Monday to start tiling the shower. He said that will take a couple of days.

grout samples with Casey's favorite pulled out

grout samples with Casey’s favorite pulled out

Even though the progress seems slow, I guess we are making progress. I’m really looking forward to getting all the trim and doors finished. I’m looking forward to seeing the kitchen and laundry cabinets assembled. The painters will start staining the cabinets after they are done with all the trim and doors. They also have to paint the family room. Next on the list will be installing the hardwood floors. And then we can bring in the trim carpenter to start installing trim and cabinets. Time will tell whether we will be using the original trim carpenter we picked. He’s under a time crunch with the upcoming Parade of Homes.

I hope we have seen the last of the yucky winter weather. Time to March on!

Color My House Inside and Out!

Where is it written that houses must be beige? Any dun colored house would look better if painted pineapple, cream, ochre, or even a smart sage. ~Frances Mayes

When I last posted we were cleaning up that drywall dust in the house and the siding guys had just finished installing the siding. Let me continue how our month has gone since then.

Monday, February 3, the stone guys returned and finished up the exterior including the columns.

Finishing up the stone on the exterior by the garage

Finishing up the stone on the exterior by the garage

Columns with stone

Columns with stone

Unfortunately, Bill and I did not like how our stone columns turned out. We messed up on the design. We take the blame on this one. Originally we had bought very large capstones and returned them for the 18″x20″ size. I had chosen the size of the frame. But, the frame Bill built and I approved turned out to be too small for those new capstones after the stone was applied. We ended up not having any capstone overhang. And, it just looked strange close up.

Goofed up column shape

Goofed up column shape

Bill really didn’t like how the column looked. And, the more he didn’t like it, the more I disliked it. So, Bill put his thinking cap on and he came up with some ideas. Bill called Rick the stone guy and asked about ordering larger capstones. We thought about putting a larger capstone over the smaller one. I really didn’t like the look of that and Rick said something about he didn’t like installing a second one on top of the other one. Plus, Jim thought that if we just increased the height one stone level, it might look like we messed up where the height was supposed to go. Originally, the capstone was at the same height as the ledgestone on the house.

So, Bill thought maybe he could build another section above the capstone; have Rick cut slits through the capstone to make it look like it was several stone pieces and put mortar in those slits; and then use a larger capstone on the upper section which actually extended over the stone section. So, I played around on my computer to see if I could create a present and future picture of what we wanted. I came up with the picture below. What do you think? It can’t look worse than it is now, right? I hope not. Anyway, we sent the picture below to Rick and he said he could make it happen.

Changing the columns

Changing the columns

The stone guys also put mud on the fireplace on Monday so they could start stoning it the next day. I couldn’t wait to see if they were going to be able to re-create the fireplace I had designed on the computer. In the pic below, there is a piece of paper on the hearth stones. Guess what it was? It was the photo I had sent to Rick after I had created the design of the fireplace!

Mudding the fireplace

Mudding the fireplace

Fireplace all ready for the stone

Fireplace all ready for the stone

Tuesday, February 4, the drywallers came back to install their second coat of mud on the garage walls. They came back another day that week and completed the final sanding. Bye bye drywallers. Glad you are out of here! Poor Bill ended up cleaning up the garage of all that drywall dust that coated everything.

Tuesday morning the stone guys also came back and started putting the stone on the fireplace.

Boxes of stone

Boxes of stone

Starting to really look like what I wanted!

Starting to really look like what I wanted!

Fireplace almost stoned

Fireplace almost stoned

And, here it is when they finished it.

Our stone fireplace (minus the mantle)

Our stone fireplace (minus the mantle)

They did a terrific job re-creating my design. Yahoo!

Digitally designed fireplace

Digitally designed fireplace

Earlier in the week Bill talked with Mark Brand, our painter, to see when he could start. We scheduled to meet with him on Thursday, February 6. I had picked out colors I wanted to paint on some sample drywall. They were all from these two Benjamin Moore sample color strips. The interior designer at the furniture store had suggested “dry sage” for the family room. I wanted to use “icicle” for the ceilings; “gray mirage” for the entry, main hallway, kitchen and dining; “natural elements” for the two front bedrooms, hall bath, and laundry room; and “moon shadow” for the master bedroom; master bath and hallway leading into master bedroom. As you can see . . . I like green! 😀

Color strip for bedrooms and baths and laundryColor strip for family room kitchen dining and hallOur painter said he liked using Behr paint. We checked out Consumer Reports and other online reviews and the Behr Premium Plus interior paint was one of the top rated paints. A couple of days before we met with Mark, Bill took all the numbers of the Benjamin Moore paints and had Home Depot matched the colors with the Behr paint.  Bill also stopped by Kight lumber and picked up a sample of our Marvin Integrity window exterior bronze color to see if they could color match it along with the sample he brought of the Norwegian Wood color of the soffits.  We might as well get the exterior paint colors settled, too.

We had an ice/snow storm the afternoon of February 4 and the grandkids had a snow-day the following day. This winter was being relentless. Bill cut up a piece of drywall into sections and set up a painting station so I could paint all the house colors on large pieces of drywall and take them into each room where I wanted that color and make decisions before we met with the painter the next day.

"icicle" for ceilings

“icicle” for ceilings

"dry sage" for Family Room along with cabinet sample (on bottom) and trim stain color (on right)

“dry sage” for Family Room along with cabinet sample (on bottom) and trim stain color (on right)

"natural elements" for spare bedrooms, hall bath, and laundry. In addition to cabinet sample and trim, I added granite for hall bath.

“natural elements” for spare bedrooms, hall bath, and laundry. In addition to cabinet sample and trim, I added granite for hall bath.

"moon shadow" for master bedroom and bath. In addition to cabinet sample and trim, I added granite for bath.

“moon shadow” for master bedroom and bath. In addition to cabinet sample and trim, I added granite for bath.

"grey mirage" for entryway, hall, dining and kitchen

“grey mirage” for entryway, hall, dining and kitchen

Three of the colors side by side to see if I really needed all of them.

Three of the colors side by side to see if I really needed all of them.

I guess I didn’t take any pictures of the exterior paint samples. However, Home Depot did a good job of matching the bronze but the clay color was a little off.

Anyways, Mark showed up at the house on Thursday, February 6. We did a walk-through. I handed him my list of colors (and Benjamin Moore color #s) and where I wanted each color. He suggested that he use the color “icicle” as the base coat on everything first. He also said he likes to use the ceiling paint color in all the closets, too. Okay, that was fine with us. And, he asked if it would be okay to paint the garage in the ceiling paint. Worked for us! He then said he would pick up some 5-gallons of the “icicle” colored ceiling paint and start painting the next morning. And, so he did.

Mark rolling on the paint.

Mark rolling on the paint.

Hall ceiling painted

Hall ceiling painted

Family Room ceiling painted

Family Room painted with base coat

I had emailed Mark Goad at Fehrenbacher to let him know we could accept delivery of our trim package when they could deliver it. Our painter said to have them stack the trim package on the family room floor. I don’t think he knew how much there would be when he said that!

On Tuesday, February 11, our trim package arrived.

Interior doors coming off the delivery truck

Interior doors coming off the delivery truck

All our trim (baseboards, window and door trim, beams, and interior doors) is in poplar.

All our trim (baseboards, window and door trim, beams, and interior doors) is in poplar.

Bill covered all the trim with plastic because Mark Brand was coming the next day (Wednesday, February 12) to do more painting.

Trim covered in plastic

Trim covered in plastic

Doors covered

Doors covered

Since that ice/snow storm the week before, Bill had set up shop in the laundry room so he could glue up kitchen cabinet doors. It was so cold in the pole barn even when Bill ran his heater. At least the house was staying at 55-60 degrees with the portable furnace.

Bill gluing and clamping up cabinet doors

Bill gluing and clamping up cabinet doors.

Notice how many clamps it takes? I guess Bill is right . . . “You can never have enough clamps!”

One door clamped together

One door clamped together

Impressive, right?

Impressive, right?

One of the smaller upper wall cabinet doors

One of the smaller upper wall cabinet doors

Stacks of cabinet doors all ready to be sanded and stained!

Stacks of cabinet doors all ready to be sanded and stained!

In addition to Bill’s cabinet making, he also decided to build a massive spraying station for the painter and him to use to finish the trim and cabinets. When Mark Brand said he would be spraying the polyurethane finish on the trim in the open area of the family room/kitchen and dining area, Bill said he didn’t want that finish going everywhere. Bill said he had too much experience to know how that spray traveled. We didn’t want that poly on our newly painted walls, windows, and doors. Hence, Bill built this.

The Spraying Station!

The Spraying Station!

Bill has a roll of heavy-duty plastic that he will drape over the structure to contain the spray. The painter was a little hesitant at first but I think Bill and him have worked out the details how they will use it.

Mark and/or his helper Shayna worked Wednesday, February 12, and everyday last week. They were able to get a second coat on all the ceilings and 12 inches above where our trim headband will go in every room. They also got one coat of wall color on every room except the family room. And, they painted the garage and all the closets with the “icicle” color.

One of the front bedrooms in "natural elements" and icicle for above headband and ceiling

One of the front bedrooms in “natural elements” and “icicle” for above headband and ceiling

I love the colors on the walls. They are all greige (grey/beige) colors with green undertones. Depending on the light – they look different. But, you always see the green come through.

Another view of "natural elements" in a bedroom

Another view of “natural elements” in a bedroom

"grey mirage" in the entry way

“grey mirage” in the entry way

Master bedroom in "moon shadow." We are not doing a headband in the master bedroom as it has a vaulted ceiling.

Master bedroom in “moon shadow.” We are not doing a headband in the master bedroom as it has a vaulted ceiling.

Master bath in "moon shadow" and the closet (straight ahead) in "icicle."

Master bath in “moon shadow” and the closet (straight ahead) in “icicle.” The shower is to the right and it will be tiled.

And when they couldn’t paint the family room since all the trim arrived, they started staining.

Beam material stained

Beam material stained

A piece of trim up against the stone of the fireplace. Matches really well.

A piece of trim up against the stone of the fireplace. Matches really well.

Stacks and stacks of stained trim

Stacks and stacks of stained trim

The painters were glad we knew about the same stain used on different kinds of woods and how it could look different. They said some clients get frustrated when it looked different after they picked out the stain color. To show you what I’m talking about, look at the photos below. All of the pieces of wood have the same color stain applied on them. In the first photo the upper pieces are pine tongue and groove that we are using for the front porch ceiling. The second piece is mahogany plywood that Bill is using for parts of the kitchen cabinets and island. The third piece is poplar trim. The fourth piece of wood is mahogany wood that Bill is using for kitchen cabinet/island frame fronts and drawers. And, since this stain works so well and better than any Bill had previously worked with, he is going to use it for all the cabinets he made. I haven’t seen what it looks like on the maple for the laundry room, but I’m sure it will be beautiful.

Trim and kitchen cabinet samples

Trim and kitchen cabinet samples

Window interior (pine) stained

Window interior (pine) stained

To our surprise, the painter came today and worked. He unstacked all the stained wood that had dried. And, he started staining the doors. I took the picture below right when it was getting dark out this evening and we turned on a work light.

Stack of 5 stained doors. The front one is one of a set of double closet doors. It will have dummy handles screwed on. Hence no door knob hole.

Stack of 5 stained doors. The front one is one of a set of double closet doors. It will have dummy handles screwed on. Hence no door knob hole.

Bill has called our floor and tile sales rep to tell him that they can start tiling the two bathrooms and could lay the laundry room floor. We are still waiting on when that will get scheduled.

And, Bill built the upper part for the columns part 2 install. Thought I had a picture, but I don’t. Bill did call Rick last week and he said the guys would be out when they could get here.

Bill is getting very close to being done building cabinets! He started on the island last weekend and finished all the frames for it last night. He set up the island in the garage. He had to un-box the trash compactor and dishwasher and place them in the island to make sure everything fit and our measurements for the plumbing we had done were correct. Thank goodness they were!

So in the front view pic of the island below from left to right – trash compactor, sink base cabinet, dishwasher, three drawer cabinet.

Front frame of the island

Front frame of the island

Each side of the island will have a bookcase – one shelf in the middle. And the back of the island will be framed out with mahogany plywood. We will have an area for two stools in-between the bookcases.

Left side of island on the back side

Left side of island on the back side

Right side of island on the back side

Right side of island on the back side

We will have granite over the whole thing. It will look something like these inspiration photos except we won’t have a curved section above the bookcase part. Bill will trim out the bottom with molding.

And, we decided we would go with Sherwin Williams Duration exterior paint for the siding and trim. Which meant we had to get Sherwin Williams to color match what we wanted. Since we said we would buy the polyurethane for the painter and he used the poly from SW, he placed his order and we picked it up on Friday, February 21. We had them do our color matching for the exterior at the same time. They did a good job on the bronze. At first we didn’t like the clay color. But after Bill painted two coats on the primed siding sample and we put it in the sunlight, I guess it will work. It sure beats the greenish “baby poop” primed siding. Although some would say it looks the same! 😯

Clay and bronze on siding and trim samples

Clay and bronze on siding and trim samples

Bronze trim color next to exterior of bronze window

Bronze trim color next to exterior of bronze window

The crazy part of this color matching is that the sample quarts are flat paint – not the Duration paint. Sherwin Williams says the $6 quart flat paint is what they use for samples. But, then we wouldn’t want to pay $50 for a gallon of sample color Duration paint. So, since we have decided on these colors, we have to bring back in the sample quart formulas and they will match them to the Duration paint. I hope they come out the same! Oh well, it will have to get warmer before the painter will be painting the exterior. I think we have a little time.

We are getting closer to getting this house done. Jim sat down with us earlier this evening and we went through what was left and worked on our timeline. It’s looking like the end of April/beginning of May when we might be moving in!

Dust in the wind . . . and in every nook and cranny, too!

When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum. ~Author unknown

Yes, there is dust, dust, and more drywall dust in our house. Not sure why we didn’t sub out the cleaning of drywall dust. It’s bad. And, it’s not a fun job getting rid of it.

Tuesday, January 28, I got an email from Mark from Fehrenbacher Wood Specialties that our project was ready to ship. He asked if the weather had slowed any of our contractors down. He said he could hold our trim, beams, and interior doors for a little while if we needed him to do that. “Yes, please!” I quickly replied to him.

Bill immediately got on the phone and called Bart, the drywall owner, and told him they needed to be out of the house by Monday, Feb. 3. That did the trick. The mudders came Wednesday and Thursday. We had yet another drywall crew who came and worked all day Friday to do the final sanding in the house. The siding crew worked Wednesday and they were getting more and more siding out of the garage. For some reason the mudders only did a bit in the garage and told Bill they needed a different tool to mud the garage. Bill just shook his head. Not sure what tool they would need special! ❓ Drywall is drywall, right? 🙄 Who knows when they’ll come back to finish the garage.

Okay, back to the drywall dust. Cleaning this drywall dust and excess mud was something else. I do not know if what we did is helpful to anyone else or not. I don’t know if there was anything that would have been a better or faster method. All I know is what we did. It appears to have worked out okay so far. Here are the steps we took.

First Bill took a large dust mop and ran it over the walls and whatever ceilings he could reach. Then I swept each room into mini drywall mud and dust piles.

Here’s what it looked like throughout the house minus all the junk they threw in the corners or anywhere they pleased which I picked up first. (Don’t get me started on all the rotten banana peels, frozen dinner packets, bottles and cans, and empty sauce and ketchup packets, etc. I threw away in the big trash can that was sitting right in the middle of the family room for their use!)

Drywall dust, excess mud, and debris

Drywall dust, excess mud, and debris

Here is what it looked liked after I swept mini piles of debris and dust. Notice that it doesn’t even look like I swept the dust! I used three different brooms and still got the same results.

Piles of dust and excess drywall mud

Piles of dust and excess drywall mud

Lots and lots of drywall dust

Lots and lots of drywall dust

Little difference after sweeping

Little difference after sweeping

I went back throughout the house and swept the piles into our snow shovel which we used as a dust pan and then into the trash can. We bought drywall dust filters for the shop vac. Highly recommend those. I think Jill and Jim messed up their shop vac during this phase of their build.

Bill then vacuumed all the window sills, around all the corners, and all the openings for light fixtures or outlets. Then, he vacuumed the laundry, kitchen/dining and family room floors with the shop vac. He’s on his second shop vac filter. He may have to buy another one to finish the bedrooms and baths floors today. I tried to help out by vacuuming, but that’s when my back gave out for good! Ouch!!!

Like the video, the pic below shows the bottom part AFTER I had swept and picked up with a broom and the snow shovel. The top part shows after Bill swept with the Shop Vac. Bill & I both agree that the process is a back breaker.

Before and after vacuuming with Shop Vac

Before and after vacuuming with Shop Vac

Laundry Room on top (vacuumed), kitchen on bottom (not vacuumed)

Laundry Room on top (vacuumed), kitchen on bottom (not vacuumed)

As I sit here nursing my back, Bill is down at the house vacuuming the rest of the house . I’ve already emailed Mark at Fehrenbacher to let him know he can deliver the trim package anytime. Yay!

The other good news this week is that the siding guys finished up yesterday!

The front Hardie cement board installed on the front of the house

The Hardie cement board installed on the front of the house

Now, remember, this is NOT the color that the siding will be. Hopefully, we are aiming for the color to be the same as the clay-type color (official name – Norwegian Wood) of the soffits and fascia (shown on the gables).

West side of the house installed

West side of the house installed

Back of the house siding all installed

Back of the house siding all installed

Looks like they knocked off the stone ledgecap on the corner. Oops, that shouldn't have fallen off!

Looks like they knocked off the stone ledgecap on the corner. Oops, that shouldn’t have fallen off!

So, while the guys were working on the front porch area, Bill decided he did not want the fascia material on the porch ceiling. He said he would prefer having tongue and groove beadboard.

Sample of beadboard

Sample of beadboard

So, Bill had the siding guys install osb on the porch ceiling.

mdf on porch ceiling

mdf on porch ceiling

Yesterday morning, Bill and I went to Menards and bought pine beadboard. We are going to have the painter stain it to match the front door (mahogany) and we’ll have the trim carpenter install it. I’m excited! I’ve always liked the look of the stained beadboard (never told Bill that) and would never dream to ask for that on the porch. I’m so glad Bill suggested it!

Friday the siding guys started and finished the installation of the shakes in the gables. They are Certainteed Cedar Impressions 9″ Double Split Edge Staggered Shakes in Sable Brown. So happy with the looks of them.

The first gable with the shakes going up

The first gable with the shakes going up

Two gables done

Two gables done

All three gables in the front complete

All three gables in the front complete

Close-up of shakes in the gable

Close-up of the shakes in the gable

And, the back all done!

And, the back all done!

Close-up of the back

Close-up of the back

Here’s a view of our house and pole barn driving from Jill and Jill’s house. You can see Jim and Joan’s red barn to the left of our pole barn.

View of our house driving from Jill and Jim's

View of our house driving from Jill and Jim’s

View of pole and house

View of pole barn and house

The guys started working on the columns and Bill had me approve the height before they built the second one. Originally, we were going to have larger columns, but I felt they were going to take over the front porch. I wanted to have room to maybe put a chair and table or flower pots or whatever. If we went with the larger columns, I think that is all you would see. So, back to houzz.com to look at columns – sizes and shapes. So, this is the size I chose.

Column being built

Column being built

Wood post on top of column stone cap

Wood post on top of column stone cap

The guys finished up building the columns on Saturday and covered the wooden posts with the wood grain cement board trim. The stone guys will stone the columns on their next trip back here. We’re going to have the painter paint the posts in the bronze color.

Columns on the front porch

Columns on the front porch

Bill is going to call Rick, the stone guy, either this evening or tomorrow and tell him that we are ready for them to finish the exterior stone work and to begin stoning the fireplace surround. I can’t wait to see if the fireplace surround design I created on my computer will look okay. I’m no designer. Never done anything like this before. We’ll see how close they come to this.

My fireplace design

My fireplace design

Since the weather was so cold on Monday and Tuesday last week and Bill could not work on the cabinets, we decided to get some other things accomplished. On Monday Bill and I made a trip to a store called Finders Keepers in Princeton. We had seen a carved top table in that store once and we thought maybe it could work for the other side of our entryway when you came in from the garage. I was looking for something we could use to put mail, store keys, set land-line phone (if we decide on that) and maybe where we could plug-in our cell phones and iPad. I had already decided I wanted to put several hooks on the short wall where I could hang my purse and maybe a jacket. We ended up finding a unique antique desk with a drop-down top. Bill is going to strip it and stain it a darker stain so it will blend in with the new chest we purchased for the other side of the entry. I’ve also convinced him to cut off the mirror at the top. He’s not happy about that, but I don’t like it. He said he could use his router and put a nice edge on the back to match the edge on the front. It also has a large drawer under the drop down section.

Antique desk

Antique desk

View with the top dropped down

View with the top dropped down

What I mainly like about the piece is its smaller size and it basically has all the functions we need for the space. Not a big fan of oak but with a darker stain, I think it will be perfect!

Tuesday, Bill and I had an appointment with Brian at BK Flooring to finalize our flooring and tile selections. We made two changes. Bill liked the tile color I had selected for the hall bathroom better than the one I had selected for the master bathroom. So, long story short, I ended up making the tile in both bathrooms the same. It really wasn’t a big deal. The spare bathroom only has tile on the floor. It’s not that big a room. The master bath has tile on the floor and a tiled shower with a bench. We are using four different tile shapes and sizes in the shower/bench and will use the same tile on the floor as the spare bathroom. The cost for the tile didn’t change since it was just a matter of color change.

However, the change did involve our granite choice. So, I had to call Lee, granite guy in Indy area, send him an update of our vanity drawings and get a quote for the Golden Sand granite for the master bathroom vanities (same as what we were using for spare bathroom). You might know the Golden Sand was a higher grade granite than the one I originally had picked out for the master bathroom. I had Lee send me pictures of other granites that would be in the same price range, but the colors were off. I had the Golden Sand sample piece and it had specks of green in it which I liked so we decided we knew it blended in well and I didn’t want to take a chance on something I might not like later.

Here’s what the master bath mood board looks like.

Master Bath Mood Board

Master Bath Mood Board

The second change was the flooring for the large laundry/pantry/computer room. We decided to go with Congoleum Duraceramic Dimensions Blend 12×24 Luxury Vinyl. We are not going to use grout in-between the tiles. I was looking for something warmer and softer to stand on versus ceramic tile. Plus, it’s a laundry room!

12x24 luxury vinyl

12×24 luxury vinyl

Oh and Bill has started cutting wood for our kitchen island. He decided he wanted to glue up the kitchen doors in the house after the drywallers were done. So until that happened, he started on the island. Here are the views of what we designed. Bill has some ideas of how he is going to frame it all out.

As soon as our trim package has been delivered, we will call the painter and see how soon he can begin staining and painting.

So, another busy week.

Darn that Punxsutawney Phil and his prediction. I guess we’ll just plug along with this crazy winter weather. However, since we have the exterior of the house almost done, maybe we will be okay and concentrate on the inside.

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!