Thursday, December 20, 2012

What happens when...

You combine Christmas time with building a house?  No time to update the blog, that's what.  Not to mention a few meltdowns along the way.  We are nearing the final stretch for the house and I have the pictures to prove it.  

The last blog entry was really long... this one will be of epic proportion (I had 77 photos flagged to use) so be warned!  Hopefully it is not too tedious to see the pictures of all these little details, but heck, this is what I spent my time on over the last almost year--making selections.  It is really fun to see them all showing up in the house.  Finally.  

Only what, 3 months behind the original schedule?

Where to start....

I'll start with the barn.  In succession, here's what's been going on:

This photo was taken December 10.  Yes, that is SNOW on the roof!  We have been bouncing
 back and forth between summer and winter.  78 yesterday and 50 with 35 mph winds today.
Notice the paint samples on the left next to the window.
Here's the feed/hay room 
Here's the feed/hay room looking out.  Cabinets were installed today.

Main aisle, all the wood installed last week. 
Main aisle today--wood has been stained but not sealed.

Tack room cabinets installed today.

Upstairs loft, sheetrock up.
Loft after texture and paint

Wood floor and cabinets for the kitchenette.  The bathroom door is to the right.  Straight back is storage.

Here's how the barn looks today.  All of the exterior is painted except for the arches that
they just installed over the beams this morning.

Now for the outside of the house.  Yesterday I drove over to check things out because our new fence was being delivered and Jim was working out of his new Dallas office.  There was a huge 18-wheel flatbed truck sitting in the middle of the road and there were about 18 trucks on the actual lot.  As timing would have it, the demolition crew was also there to pull out the old driveway and so there were some tempers flaring when the fence guys got blocked in and the demolition guy didn't want to move.  Eventually it all worked out. This is a list of all the people that were working at one time:  
  • Fence installers
  • Driveway demolition crew
  • Concrete installers working on new driveway
  • Painters staining wood in barn
  • Electricians doing finish work in the house
  • Audio/visual guys doing finish work in the house
  • Tile guy (no, tile is still not finished...)
  • Painter glazing cabinets
  • Home inspector* (see below)
There may have even been a few more that I didn't count.  I'm sure that was a record.  With workdays like that we may actually get done!  Here's a few pictures from around the property:

This is the corner of the old driveway and the front property line.  These dead trees became
yet another point of dispute with our neighbors to the southwest, as they were on the property
line and we "killed them."  Said neighbors have sold their home and moved out!
Good thing because the driveway demolition crew knocked down part of their fence yesterday...
Here's what was left of the old circle drive on Tuesday night

This is the back of the barn looking north.
View from back property line

Looking to the south side property line--this is all the fencing material.  They didn't start on it today 
because it was too windy.

The fence we are putting up is called "440 Fence."  After doing quite a bit of research and taking trips out to see different kinds of fence, we settled on this one because it is very low maintenance.  NO PAINTING!!  Here's a little about it:

"All steel fences prior to the 440 Fence would rust and need to be painted every couple of years. 440 uses a 4-layer patented process that involves galvanizing and powdercoating the steel to prevent UV damage and rust. With this in mind, you will never have to paint or replace the 440 Fence." 

This is a 3 rail fence like we are using, only ours will be brown to match all the other
brown on the house and barn.

Here's a view of the driveway going in taken from the barn loft.  You can see that they took down 
the chain link fence that has protected our four front trees for the past 1 1/2 years in order to
 get the driveway in.

another view showing front

Close up of concrete work.  The edging will eventually be stained brown.

It's a little hard to see here in the shade but this picture was taken about 30 minutes after those taken above.It gives you an idea of how quickly they were able to set all this rebar!

Now for the interior of the house...

They installed the backsplash in the laundry room.  Or should we call it Susie's shower?  The sink seems like
it is going to be a little small for her so she may have to stand up to get clean!

The stair railings were installed

View of upstairs from foyer

View of foyer

The plumbing fixtures have been going in and just what everyone has been waiting for... pictures of our toilets.  Well, just one.

This is the guest bathroom.  I'm not sure why the shower tile looks so pink in this picture.  

After months and months of waiting... drumroll please...


Robert said it looked small, so I had to get in and check it out (yes, those are my knees and feet.)  
It is just long enough for me and very deep!  Counting down the days until my first bubble bath!

Here's Rob checking out the new fixtures on Jim's side.  (Picture taken by me, still inside the tub.)

Kitchen sink and faucet

Let there be light!!  They have been working on installing all the light fixtures over the last couple of weeks and yesterday we passed the electric and gas inspection.  Today the electric company came and hooked up our meter and so we were able to turn on the lights for the first time.

Front porch light

Little rotunda light

Gallery coach lights

Dining room chandelier and sconces

The most unique light in the whole house... in a secret location.

Robert's ceiling fan

Family room fans

Getting ready to hang the dome light

That is one LONG chain.  We're still not sure if we are going to get
enough light in this area.

Foyer light

View of foyer light from upstairs

Master bathroom big and little lights

I've documented a few things about Robert's room and the guest room over the months but not too much about Joe's.  Partly because I couldn't get any good pictures of his bathroom until we could finally turn the lights on.  So here's what Joe gets to look forward to:

These are probably my favorite light fixtures in the house, just because they are so different.
 Lucky for Joe he got to have a square sink because when they cut the hole for his faucet they
accidentally cut 3 holes and he only needs one.  So, when they re-fabricated the countertop
 they cut it for a square sink, which is what I wanted.  So I guess it's lucky for me!

Finally a good look at the shower and floor tile in the light.

Joe's fan.  He will have a window seat, but that can't be put in until after we move in.  There
is something in the building code about having structures under windows.

Another room that we have never really had a good look at without lights is the media room:

It's hard to tell because I am lacking in photography skills, but the ceiling is barreled.  The
light fixtures are actually pretty cool but you can't really see them here.

This is taken standing in the front of the media room looking back.  

At the start of this entry, I mentioned melt downs...  Jim sort of had one a couple of weeks ago and so he called a *home inspector that was recommended by a fellow client of our builder.  This inspector came over on a Saturday afternoon and we spent two hours going through the house discussing all the things that were going on and that were not getting done.  His biggest suggestion was to get some blue painters' tape and start marking every little thing we see that needs doing.  Some of it will be premature, but then the project manager and subs will know that we are checking.  We did it and there has been a lot of progress on those items over the last 2 weeks.  The inspector was out again this week and he said he saw a huge amount of improvement.  He has encouraged us not to settle for anything less than perfect and told us that we need to be done "being nice."  He doesn't want us to look back at certain things and "sigh and wish that we had done it differently."

Well, I thought about that for awhile and sent myself into a meltdown over the kitchen design.  I helped with a Christmas party at a friend's house and she has an amazing kitchen.  Tons of cabinets.  Somehow during the design process (when was that?  Two years ago?)  I sacrificed a bank of cabinets to put in a wall of windows.  As I was walking around our kitchen after the party I started getting a bad case of "kitchen envy."  How did I end up with sort of "galley style" kitchen?  Where am I going to put pots and pans?  How is the traffic going to flow if we have a lot of people over?  I have bent a lot of ears over the past week... and I guess I'm feeling better about it.  The kitchen just seems a little out of proportion to the rest of the house, to me.  One frequent comment... not terribly helpful... "people just don't cook that much or spend that much time in the kitchen these days--it will be fine!"  Well I DO!!  My pet peeve with my last kitchen was not enough workable counter space.  I do have more space here, so as long as I can get everything in the cabinets and drawers in a reasonably functional manner I'm sure it will be good.   I hope that I won't have to worry about "kitchen envy" and sighing at that point (sigh.)  I have to keep reminding myself that I will LOVE looking out my wall of windows AND the magnificent granite that we would not have been able to get if we had a bigger kitchen.  There!  Feeling better again already.

We were a little nervous about glazing the cabinets--I didn't want them to get too dark.  Here's how they are shaping up and I love them:

You can see in the middle picture above that they did a really nice job on the backsplash... although it isn't grouted yet..  The tile contractor has probably been the source of most of our annoyance over the months.  It seems like so much has had to be re-done, and not just once.  Let's hope this backsplash does not fall into that category!  Another tile project this week was the fireplace in Jim's office:

Well, I can hardly believe I've gotten to the end of all the pictures I had flagged to include in this blog entry.  You're either bored to tears or you've skimmed to this point, or if you are OCD like we are you might have read with enthusiasm!  Either way, here's the wrap up:

They still have to get all the tile finished.  The floors have to be sanded, scraped and finished.  The appliances have to be installed.  The carpet has to be installed.  All the repairs and touch ups need to be done...As of yesterday WE FINALLY HAVE A (HOPEFUL) MOVE IN DATE:  JANUARY 29, 2013.   That is 40 days from today.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!