Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's been 12 days...

And we're still watching paint dry.  At least we are now watching the colored paint dry!

Laundry room.  The boys (Joe and Rob) say this is too bright.  (Sherwin Williams "Hinoki")
 I LOVE IT.  And Jim pointed out that with the washer/dryer in the closet, it doesn't 
feel like a laundry room at all.  Turns out the design problem worked out for the best!

Joe's room (Sherwin Williams "Loggia")

Upstairs bunk room bathroom--still waiting on the tile to be finished.  (Sherwin Williams "Loggia")

Dining room looking across to kitchen.  (Sherwin Williams "Seasalt")  Since this was taken, the hallway has been painted the right color--it's not this green.

Kitchen.  Still waiting to figure out the glazing/antiquing on the cabinets.  I'm not sure if this is the primer
or the paint...it seems dark in this picture.
Mud room

Pool bathroom (Walls:  Sherwin Williams "Balmy" and cabinet "Poolhouse")
Back porch.  Yes, it's blue.  So is the front porch and the porte cochere!

So, now I have to explain myself.  Yes, some people questioned my desire to have blue porch ceilings.

"Blue painted ceilings can be found on porches across America, often for different reasons. Historians say the blue porch ceiling was born in South Carolina, where a group of African descendants believed that ghosts, or "haints," couldn't cross water. In painting their porches blue, they trusted the spirits would be confused by the water-colored hues and tricked into thinking they couldn't enter their home. The school of thought became so popular in the South, that no matter the color blue, blue exterior home accents were dubbed Haint Blue.

Even as the ghost legend faded, porch ceilings continued to be painted blue in the South and across the United States. Many homeowners paint their porch ceilings blue as a bug repellent. It's said that insects won't nest on blue ceilings because they are fooled into thinking that the blue painted surface is actually the sky."

I have always considered myself a "Southern Gal" and so why not have a blue porch ceiling? AND anyone who knows me knows that I do not like flying bugs or spiders so the bug repellant is a plus.  I can attest to the fact that it works because we are living in a blue rental house and there is not a single wasp nest or spider web on the entire outside of the house!  Mostly, I just love blue.  If you look at the picture above, you can see blue sky peeking through the trees and so the blue porch ceiling is just a continuation of that glorious Texas sky that I love.

The barn is moving along on schedule.  Here are the latest pictures:

siding going up

View from back of barn, looking west

Another view from back, showing the location of the barn in relation to the house

All the siding is up!

Heating/Air installed upstairs. Bathroom is to the left.

Front view.  Waiting on inspections.
At the rate things are going, the house and barn may actually finish around the same time!

The kitchen island was finally cut to the right size yesterday.  We finished our carpet selections.  Despite all of our talk to the builder up front, we still had an allowance for "builder grade" carpet and so, like everything else, we went over budget.  Seriously over.  What's new?  Here's a sneak peak at the upstairs carpet, which Jim picked out:

The picture really doesn't do it justice.

The granite countertops are all in production.  We're just waiting on the last trim items, the final paint items and the final tile items to get finished up so they can start "loading" the house.  That's what they call it when they start putting all the "stuff" in.  Unfortunately, all of the workers seem to head to Mexico over the holidays and so we have no idea when the loading can begin!

So I read a couple of great articles about how 

"Design doesn't have to be hard to understand. It just needs the right presentation."

As it is Thanksgiving week, I do feel I should probably at least mention a few of the things I am grateful for.  Here is a very short list (applicable to this blog):

1)  A roof over our heads!  It was a blessing that we sold our house and that we have a place that we can stay month by month until the house is done.  It's small and we sometimes feel like we are on top of each other.. ok, we ARE on top of each other if we want to all watch tv at the same time... 

2)  Reliable cars.  The drive back and forth to Southlake on a daily basis (sometimes multiple times) has been much more taxing than we thought it would be.  It's a good thing all the cars run well and get sort of reasonable gas mileage.  Well, Jim's hybrid does!

3)  A dog that doesn't care where she lives as long as she has her people.  Susie has been a trooper through all of the chaos.  Even when she got out one Sunday morning (to escape the blaring smoke alarm that I set off while cooking) she didn't go far.  She is showing her age a bit, but every day we are grateful for her little presence.

4)  Supportive family and friends.  We really don't mind when you ask "when is the house going to be done?"  It's nice to have people to commiserate with when things seem to be taking FOR. EVER.  We just want you to know that when it finally is done, our doors are always open to you!

5)  Central Market.  I have ordered Thanksgiving dinner rather than try to cook a huge turkey and all of the trimmings.  I'm grateful that we have our two boys with us... it's going to be a lot quieter than in years past, but they always make me smile.

6)  Daughter's in-laws.  That sounds odd... but I'm grateful that Michelle has Miles and his wonderful family to celebrate with!

7)  An upcoming visit with my Dad and Brother in Utah.  If the turkeys can't come here, then I better go there!  Looking forward to cooking in my Mom's kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's November...

And I must say, circumstances are not what I had expected or hoped they would be at this point.  I had envisioned that on November 8th we would be settled in the house basking in a Mitt Romney victory and looking forward with optimism for our country.  Not so.

I am very sad for our country that we were unable to elect such a great man.  I don't know if we'll have that opportunity again--not because there aren't other great men--but because our country is going in the wrong direction and more and more people seem to want it that way.  If we couldn't change courses now I don't see how we will in the future as society gets more liberal and people get more dependent on the government.  So, for those reasons, I am sad.

However, I do believe that God works in mysterious ways, and while I don't want to "wax religious" on my house blog, I know that He is over all.  This week is a reminder to me that family is most important.  Doing the things we need to in order to have a strong family is part of what creating this homestead is all about:  A place to gather and support and love each other.  Not just with our own immediate family, but with our extended family and friends, too.

With that said, here's the latest progress on house and barn.  I have to apologize in advance because my camera has developed a strange case of spotting in some of the pictures and even after I have yelled at it and cleaned the lens it is still doing it.  

First, the "barn raising" continues.  Not exactly like the old-fashioned days when they got it done in a day, but we have made good progress in the last 10 days:

Front view

House-side view

Front view, framing and sheathing complete

Upstairs loft

side view, ready for roofing

Main support beams next to stalls.  Plumbing in.  These hose bibs will have to be lowered to 15
inches off the ground.  At this height they are a "vet bill waiting to happen."

Front support beams in place and roof going on!

Front/side view.  The roof went on in one day.  Notice some of the windows in, too.
Here are Joe and Rob in the barn loft... being goofy, as usual

The house would probably have moved along a little faster except that we've had some design issues.  I've written about the laundry room previously. 
Here is the new location for the washer and dryer.  They converted the under-stair
closet and will stack the units and frame out the opening.  Not a bad solution.

Here's the wall that they used to be on--now we have a little extra space.  The closet
doorway is just to the left of the arch--you can't see it well because of the glare.

The kitchen also ended up with an issue:
I got to worrying that if the designer had not drawn the washer/dryer to scale, what other
appliance spaces had he also messed up?  Yep... the kitchen.  Only 32 inches between the sink
front and the handles on the range.  Standard is 36 inches and 42 or more is the best.
Now we are cutting the island down by 10 inches and relocating the microwave.
One question:  Why are we, as the homeowners, the ones that are catching these mistakes?
 Well, at least someone did before it was too late.

Over the last couple of weeks, the trim carpenters and painters are becoming fast friends.  Well, maybe not.  Usually they don't work at the same time, but when you push hard enough it is amazing what the subcontractors will do!  We have had just a few leftover trim items that needed finishing, such as the dome:

So, while the trim carpenters have been working on some smaller areas, the painters have been prepping, staining, and painting.  We are now literally watching paint dry.  Here, you can watch, too!

Jim's office 

Mud room--love the blue!  Here are those spots I mentioned.

Pool bathroom vanity
Family room mantle--built by the carpenters one day and stained by the painters the next!

Family room

Family room


Upstairs desk area--painted and covered for the next step

Painted dome
Before it was painted, Robert climbed up on the scaffolding to see the view looking down from the dome. 

 Here's looking into the foyer.

Here's looking down at us!

People who know me know that Fall is not my favorite season.  I have to admit I do enjoy the weather... but seeing the leaves falling off the trees reminds me that winter is coming... and I'm not a winter person.  The longer it stays warm in the fall, the less winter we actually have.  You can usually count on spring starting in TX around the end of February.  But check out this interesting Fall phenomena that we found:

It's a little hard to see... and I have no idea if this occurred naturally... but these
vines with the red berries are growing in two intertwined hearts on the fence!

How cool is that?

So, it's November and will soon be December.  It's hard to believe the year will be over.  We are still praying and keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be in the house for Christmas.  Maybe the intertwined hearts are a sign....  then again, the election has reminded me that we don't always get want we want.