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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Master shower

Master shower

Family room taped and mudded

Family room taped and mudded

Kitchen

Kitchen – not sure why our well tank is inside

Dining area

Dining area

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

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

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Wrong shakes

Wrong shakes

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

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

Soffits and Fascia

Soffits and Fascia

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

Jill and Jim's columns

Jill and Jim’s columns

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

Using moving boxes to size our columns

Using moving boxes to size our columns

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trim around the windows

Trim around the windows

Trim around the garage doors

Trim around the garage doors

Siding on the back

Siding on the back

Back siding

Back siding

Garage side siding finished

Garage side siding finished

View of the back and garage side with siding

View of the back and garage side with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Front siding going up fast

Front siding going up fast

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

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

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

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

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

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

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

Hall Bath Mood Board

Hall Bath Mood Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

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

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

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

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

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

Venting the range hood

Venting the range hood

Closer view

Closer view

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

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

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

Fireplace installation

Fireplace installation

Fireplace inside the frame

Fireplace inside the frame

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

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

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

Pocket Door Mechanism

Pocket Door Mechanism

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

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

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

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

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

Range Fan and strange venting

Range Fan and strange venting

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

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

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

Snow storm

Snow storm

Jill & Jim's driveway

Jill & Jim’s driveway

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

Cabinet drawers

Cabinet drawers

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

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

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

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

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

And, we were wired!

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

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

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

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

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

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

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

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

Undercabinet wiring changed to outlet in kitchen corner cabinet area

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

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

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

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

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

Spray foam up in the vaulted area of the family room

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

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

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

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

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

Tony setting up for the concrete

Tony setting up for the concrete

Porch poured

Porch poured

Close-up of front porch

Close-up of front porch

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

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

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

IMG_3191

IMG_3194IMG_3192

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

We Are Thankful!

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

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

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

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

Framing the back roof line

Framing the back roof line

Framing the west side of the house

Framing the west side of the house

This shows how high the hip roof goes from the front

This shows how high the hip roof goes from the front

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

Attic space above kitchen and laundry

Attic space above kitchen and laundry

Roof line looking toward the front door

Roof line looking toward the front door

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

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

Bill showing off his work.

Bill showing off his work.

Weather stripping close up

Weather stripping close up

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

Windows going in

Windows going in

West wall

West wall

Close up of triple window in front bedroom

Close up of triple window in front bedroom

Rear of home

Rear of home

Preparing for the triple garage window

Preparing for the triple garage window

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

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

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

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

Master Bedroom vaulted ceiling with flat center

Master Bedroom vaulted ceiling with flat center

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

Family Room vaulted ceiling

Family Room vaulted ceiling

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

Master bathroom shower bench

Master bathroom shower bench

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

Fireplace structure

Fireplace structure

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

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

Lots to burn

Lots to burn

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

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

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen

Looking from the family room toward the kitchen

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

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

Looking toward the front door

Looking toward the front door

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should we make attic into a bonus room?

Should we make attic into a bonus room?

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

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

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

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

Vent in the entry way

Vent in the entry way

Vent in the front bedroom

Vent in the front bedroom

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

Vents in the window seat toe-kick

Vents in the window seat toe-kick

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

Hall bath cabinetry

Hall bath cabinetry

Here are photos of the plumbing work.

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

Laundry room exterior door installed

Laundry room exterior door installed

Extra support for the big old beam

Extra support for the big old beam

Door frame changed in hall bath

Door frame changed in hall bath

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

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

Extended the window seat dividing wall to 2 ft 2 in

Extended the window seat dividing wall to 2 ft 2 in

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

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

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

Piles left by the plumbers

Piles left by the plumbers

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

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

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

Entry Sconces and Window Seat Sconces

Entry Sconces and Window Seat Sconces

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

Future computer area

Future computer area

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

They Nailed It!

Measure twice, cut once. ~English Proverb

This blog post is going to be chocked full of photos. The framing crew did an amazing job since I last posted. Friday, November 1, they concentrated on sub-floor installation.

First floor board down!

First floor board down!

Ready to place down the board.

Ready to place down the board.

My view from the pole barn

My view from the pole barn

Making sure everything is plumb

Making sure everything is plumb

Lots of floor boards

Lots of floor boards

Everybody has a job

Everybody has a job

Here’s what it looked like at the end of Friday, November 1. All of the sub-floors installed except a small area in one of the front bedrooms. I enjoyed walking on the flooring the next day. The floor plan was beginning to take shape. I could start seeing where different rooms would be located.

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Looking from the front to the back of the house where you would enter from the garage.

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Looking from the family room area toward two front bedrooms

View from the west end looking east

View from the west end looking east

The framers glue and nail the floor boards. If you really want to take another step in making sure your floors don’t sag or hardwood floors squeak, you should screw the floor boards. Bill wanted that extra step. When Jill and Jim built their home, they had the construction crew screw the floors after the framers were done. There are no members of the construction crew any longer. If we want extras done, we either pay someone to do it or do it ourselves. Well, not “us.” It’s always Bill. Here was another PITA job.

Bill talked with Greg the framer about screwing the floor boards and Greg said he had a screw gun that Bill could use.

Screw gun

Screw gun

Bill ordered the screws from the lumber company and they delivered them the next time they came out.

Screws

Screws

In between his shared General Contractor job, Bill worked on cabinets. He put the drawers together to make sure they all fit.

Kitchen cabinet drawers

Kitchen cabinet drawers

Drawers joined together without bottoms

Drawers joined together without bottoms

Monday was the day I was looking forward to watching the framers. It was the day that walls would be built. I decided to spend the day down at the pole barn watching. I was so excited! Since we had the time change early Sunday morning, the framing crew told Bill they would be ready to work EARLY! He went down to the pole barn at 6:00 am to open it up and get out any of their supplies he was storing for them. Bill said it would be awhile before they would work on any walls as they needed to finished the floors first. I told Bill to text me when he thought the walls would start going up.

At 9:00 am, Bill sent me this pic via text and it said – Walls!!!

IMG_2805Here’s the funny about this. I didn’t see or read the text before I went down to the pole barn shortly after 9:00 am. Bill came walking out smiling from ear to ear and asked, “Did the text get you down here quickly?” I said, “What text?” I looked at my phone and saw the text and the pic and noticed that there were no walls up on our house. Then Bill said the pic was from when Jill and Jim were building their house three years ago! He thought it would be a funny joke to play on me thinking I would have missed seeing all these wall going up. I guess it would have been a mean joke if it had worked! 🙄

It was a cold morning but Bill let me use the heater because we had the garage doors open. I loved watching the framers from my chair in the pole barn. Here are some pics of how the first couple of walls went up. The framers would measure and cut and then nail the structures together while they were flat on the floor. Then they would lift the walls and nail them in place. Then they would nail another 2×6 to something else to make sure the wall didn’t fall.

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Here is a set of photos showing the master bedroom and master bath walls going up.

The guys worked on several more walls on the floors but nothing was going up. Bill decided to go up to the house and eat lunch. I decided to stay and watch as the guys worked. Bill came back around 1:00 pm just in time to see this:

That was impressive! It took all five members of the crew to lift that wall. It was the family room wall with the two windows flanking the fireplace, then the dining room with door, then the laundry room wall with door.

The guys worked together to get it totally squared and in place. Greg was at one end and was calling down to the guy at the other end. He asked, “How is your end?” The guy said, “It’s almost perfect.” Greg said, “What do you mean almost perfect? Do you think Mr. Rogers wants to install his almost perfect cabinets on an almost perfect wall?” Everyone laughed. I like Greg.

After they nailed the wall in place and I had time to sit and look at the wall, I noticed that something was wrong! 😯 I called Bill over and said, “Honey, there is a window missing in the laundry room next to the door.” He looked at me and said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yep. Let me show you on the plans.” I told Bill I know the floor plan backwards and forwards.

Missing WindowBill went to talk with Greg to tell him about the missing window. They both looked at the floor plans Greg had and said he’d get that fixed. Shortly afterwards, some of the 2×6’s were removed.

Where the missing window would be installed

Where the missing window would be installed

While Bill and Greg were looking at the floor plans, Bill noticed that Greg didn’t have the correct measurements for the fireplace. That was along the same wall. They talked about a solution of how to fix the windows on each side of the wall that was already up. Greg said if he extended the fireplace a few more inches which was needed and he left the windows where they were they would not be symmetrical in placement to the fireplace. Bill had me come over and discuss if it would bother me or not about the windows. It was going to be 1-1/2 to 2 inch difference of showing drywall on one side. Bill said it wouldn’t bother him. I said I guess it was too little a difference to bother me. However the next day we talked with Greg again about the situation because the more I thought about it, the more I knew it would bug me. He said he’d re-do that part of the wall and make the window placement symmetrical. Thank you, Greg!

By the end of Monday, all the exterior walls were installed and some of the interior walls were up.

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Bill decided to start screwing the sub-floor that evening.

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Bill using the screw gun

The framers were able to work a full day on Tuesday, a couple of hours on Wednesday morning before being rained out, and full days on Thursday and Friday. It is so much fun walking through the rooms that only a couple of days before were only on flat paper. Here are pics of the everything built by the end of Friday, November 8.

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Greg thought they would be done framing by Wednesday, the 13th. Bill has called the plumber, HVAC guy, and roofer as they are next to come in. And, Bill continues to work on those cabinet drawers. As Bill always says, you can’t have enough clamps. To keep these big drawers square as the glue was drying, Bill had to use 12 clamps just on this one drawer. 🙂

One big drawer glued up

One big drawer glued up

I spent a lot of this weekend measuring the walls and rooms in the house to make sure everything was good. Especially the walls where Bill had built cabinets. These guys are great. If there was any difference (which there was only in a few places) the measurement difference was only off about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Almost everything was spot on.

By the way, Bill did finish getting all the floors screwed. Another PITA job done!

Can’t wait to see how the house looks once all the gables and roof are on. What a difference a week made!

“Wood” You Please Build My House!

All things come to him who waits. ~Woodrow Wilson

Monday, October 28, early morning, Bill’s phone rings. It’s Jim, Sr. He says that the trusses were being delivered and Bill better get down there. It really is nice having neighbors close by who look out for you. 🙂 Bill rushed to change clothes and drove down to the site. Only to find that they had already left. But, they left us these!

Trusses

Trusses

Trusses

Trusses

For our house plan, our framer only uses trusses over the garage area. Thank goodness the delivery person dropped the trusses off next to the garage. The framer will bring in a crane to lift the trusses when he gets to that point in framing.

I came down shortly after the truss delivery to check out our first lumber delivery. I was excited! Bill said this was the first big smile on my face since we started this house-building project! 😆

Happy Sandy!

Happy Sandy!

I went back up to our apartment while Bill worked on making more wood for cabinets. Unfortunately, Sunday when he was making dovetails, he had an epic fail. 😥 Something went wrong with the dovetail jig or some piece of equipment and it apparently was slipping a little at a time without him knowing it. Pros: Bill has lots of practice pieces of drawer wood, lots of wood chips for the chickens, and lots of kindling. Cons: Bill had to make more wood and lost a day’s work.

I text Bill two hours later (10:00 am) to see if any more lumber had been delivered. He answered, “No!” I text again at noon and got the same reply. I asked if he should call Chuck at Kight Lumber. He text back a few minutes later and said that Chuck said lumber was on the way. So, I went down and waited and waited and waited. I enjoyed the sunshine and walked around the site dreaming how it would look in the next couple of months.

Bill came to a stopping point at making wood and decided to drive back up to the house to eat lunch. I stayed down at the pole barn. It was 1:30 pm. No sooner had Bill got up the driveway to Jill & Jim’s house, the truck pulled into our driveway and backed into the area in front of our house. I called Bill to tell him to come back down.

Lumber delivery truck

Lumber delivery truck

The guy started to unload a bunch of boxes and put them on the garage concrete.

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Nails

Nails

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Silver rolls are termite shield

Stainless steel rolls are termite shield

Sill plate sealer

Blue foam rolls – sill plate sealer

Closer up of lumber truck which had 2X6’s for exterior walls and insulation boards (blue boards).

Lumber truck

Lumber truck

The delivery guy and Bill discussed where to unload the lumber and Bill suggested behind the house. So he moved the truck. I kept wondering how he was going to get all that lumber off the truck. We soon found out. Talk about “dropping off a load of lumber!”

If you watch the video you will hear me say, “hmmmm!” after those blue insulation boards fell off sideways! 😯 Thank goodness they were all okay.

Bill checked on the lumber afterwards and all was fine. The lumber company also sent a box of heavy-duty plastic to cover the wood since we had a large weather system heading our way. Before leaving, the delivery guy covered the load of lumber.

Bill checking the lumber that was dropped off

Bill checking the lumber that was dropped off

Just a little chipped up, but not enough to hurt anything

Just a little chipped up, but not enough to hurt anything

Covering the lumber

Covering the lumber

All covered up

All covered up

Bill and I decided to cover the trusses and the boxes of supplies after the delivery guy left so nothing would get wet. Later in the afternoon the rest of the lumber was delivered. And those delivery guys covered that lumber, too.

More lumber trucks

More lumber trucks

Jim talked with the framer on Monday and he said he wouldn’t be able to start until Wednesday. Bill didn’t tell me that until Tuesday morning. He knew I would be disappointed. And, of course, I was. 😦 They were predicting rain for Wednesday and Thursday, so I told myself that the framer would probably start on Friday when it was supposed to be nice and sunny.

Tuesday, Chuck from Kight Lumber came out to check and make sure they had delivered everything. He and Bill went through the list and then looked at the house plans. I was at water aerobics and grocery shopping when all of this was going on. From what I gather, there was discussion about beams – how many, how long, where they were going, etc. Bill and Jim and Chuck work through this. A 28ft beam was delivered sometime Tuesday.

Tuesday evening Jim came up to the apartment to discuss “the beam” which we were installing between the family room and kitchen/dining area.

Beam on floor plan

Beam on floor plan

He said we had to decide how far down we wanted to install the beam so he could tell the framer in the morning. And, he said that the decision would be based on how high our trim for windows and doors was and where we were installing the headband throughout the house in each room. OMG! Bill and I looked at him with blank stares! 😯 We didn’t know how to answer him. Bill said he didn’t understand it all and even though I thought I understood part of it, I didn’t know the answers to tell Jim. Jim asked us to come downstairs and he’d show us what he was talking about using their beam as an example.

What Jill and Jim's beam looks like

What Jill and Jim’s beam looks like

Jim said we had to decide how far to place the beam and then decide how much decorative trim (what you see in their beam above) we wanted to use that would come down to the height of the finished beam. As I’ve said before, we say our house is a mini Jim and Jill house as far as our interior trim. However, we do have a different trim for the top of our windows and doors. This is what ours will look like.

Trim Casings, Stool and Apron

Trim Casings, Stool and Apron

We said to Jim that we want our finished beam to come to the same height as theirs. Our frame was a slightly different size than J&J’s but Bill and Jim determined where the beam would hang. Jim wanted that information by the time he met with our framer at 7:30 the next morning on our property. Jim gave us some homework to do making sure we had the headband figured out in each area and that it would work at the same height we had chosen in the kitchen/dining/family room (at 8 ft). We decided on the headband height at 8 ft based on the fact that we have soffits in the dining area that come down to 8 ft. This was tricky business.

The beam had to be decided before the framer framed that section. So, that part was decided. However, Jim gave us some homework. He wanted us to look through our house plans and see if the headband worked at 8 ft throughout all the other rooms. Also, he said to think about if we wanted any more beams or decorative drop downs anywhere in the house. Here is an example of what Jill and Jim did in their hallway and entry into hall.

Drop down decorative dividers

Drop down decorative dividers

Here is a picture of how the headband works in J&J’s kitchen.

Beam and headband

Beam and headband

How headband circles around every room

How headband circles around every room

Jill and I are huge fans of architect Sarah Susanka. I think I own all of her Not So Big books. I LOVE her Home by Design book. She explains how you can break up or designate areas of your home just by using trim or drop-down ceilings. Jill and Jim used the decorative drop down trim above the opening when you transitioned from their entry to the hallway (seen in one of the photos above). Then, they used two more in the hallway. One was to designate that the area was still part of the main level living area (office and half-bath). The last one in the hall was to designate that area was another entry area from the garage (an open mud-room type entry with cubbies for coats and shoes).

Another idea that Susanka uses in her house designs for Prairie and Craftsman homes is the headband. The headband provides a connecting theme from room to room throughout the house. It can be made of different widths of wood. It is also a great way to make ceiling heights look taller. That is accomplished by painting the area above the headband a lighter color than the wall color. The ceiling is painted and finished in the same color as the section above the headband. Susanka says, “So the entire area of the room above the headband is like the lid of a box.”

So, back to our homework. The next morning Bill and I looked at our house plans. We decided we didn’t have any other areas in the house where we needed a beam as a divider. We double-checked the height of the headband in the kitchen/dining area by starting at the height of the soffits in the dining area and working our way around to the beam. The 8 ft height worked great and that would butt up to the top of the big decorative beam. The trim for the beam will be 12″ and that will bring the beam to a height of 7 foot from the floor. That was the height of J&J’s and it was perfect. Whew!

I looked through the plans and decided I thought we could add a drop-down decorative divider at the entrance to the hallway to the master bedroom suite area.

Entrance to Master Bedroom suite area

Entrance to Master Bedroom suite area

Bill and I thought we were okay as far as the headband in all the other rooms. I said I wasn’t planning on using a headband in the laundry/pantry room.

We went downstairs with our house plans and a camera. Thank goodness Jim and Jill were up and ready for work and gave us a few minutes to talk over ideas. We shared our idea about the decorative divider at the master bedroom hall and they thought that was good.

Drop down decorative trim to divide spaces

Drop down decorative trim at master bedroom hallway

Jill checked each of our rooms to make sure the headband at 8 ft would work and she said it did. She also said we could do the headband in the laundry/pantry with no problem. I may still do it. 😕 What’s a little more wood, right?

The only part I was struggling with was how to make a transition from our very wide entry (which has 9 ft ceilings) to our vaulted ceiling family room.

Entry to vaulted ceiling family room

Entry to vaulted ceiling family room

This is a wide span of 9 ft ceiling height, with a beam to the right that drops down to 7 ft. The ceiling height changes at the family room with a vaulted coffered ceiling with a flat center. I didn’t want a plain drywall opening at 9 foot. So Jill and Jim suggested we make a drop down 1 foot wall right before the dotted line designating transition from the entry to the family room (on the plans above). We will run a headband at the bottom of the wall to continue our theme. It will look like the entry wall from J&J’s hallway to their two-story family room. The exception will be our wall will be almost 18 feet wide!

Drop down wall from entry foyer to family room

Drop down wall from entry foyer to family room

Once all of that was decided, I took pictures of everything so we could use for the framer and trim carpenter. Bill asked that I print out the pictures so he could keep them down at the pole barn where he had a table designated for house plans, specification document, and photos.

Jim took the kids to school and came back to meet with the framer. Bill got everything together and headed down to the site. The good news was that the weather held off on Wednesday, temps got up to 75 degrees, and the framing crew got in a full day’s work. Here are pictures of what they accomplished the first day.

Installing insulation board

Installing insulation board

Installing the sill plate

Installing the sill plate

IMG_0884See the 28 ft beam in the photo below? There is only a part of it in the photo. It’s covered in plastic.

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Floor joists going in

Floor joists going in

More floor joists laid out to nail

More floor joists laid out to nail

Day 1 completion

Day 1 completion

Day 1

End of Day 1

Floor joists done!

Floor joists done!

Bill has been working on the cabinets in-between helping out with the contractors. He got the dovetails working again.

Cabinet drawers dovetailed

Cabinet drawers dovetailed

Beautiful dovetail work!

Beautiful dovetail work!

Drawer without a bottom

Drawer without a bottom

One big 'ol drawer made

One big ‘ol drawer made

We had a washout today because of the weather. Here was our radar earlier this morning. Hasn’t gotten better.

Today's weather

Today’s weather

Can’t wait until I see some vertical boards going up tomorrow. Framer said the house would probably take 1-1/2 weeks to complete. I hope the weather holds up!