Wednesday, November 28, 2012

day 22

I ran out to the Lot during lunch yesterday to grab a few daylight photos but my iPhone decided to randomly shut down after the first few shots.  Annoying.  Here’s what I captured before it powered down.

[proud renters of a porta-potty and dumpster!]
[side load garage]
[partial exposure basement]
[looking southwest]
[front of the house!]
 If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the red bow hanging from below our kitchen window.  I'm not sure who hung it, but I still smile like crazy when I think about it.  Who would've thought a bit of red ribbon could bring so much joy.  I can't wait to fully decorate next year!

From what I could tell tonight when I drove past (which wasn't much, honestly; it's pretty dark at 11 pm), I don't think anything has changed since Sunday evening.  We did approve our first draw request on Monday and today the granite supplier contacted us to set up a day to pick out our counters -- exciting stuff!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

day 21

What a difference a few days away makes!  We headed out of town on Wednesday morning to visit family for Thanksgiving and made a pit-stop at the Lot on our way to the interstate.  The framing crew was there so we were able to chat with the foreman for a bit.  He asked if there was anything special we'd like for him to do or consider and Keith and I looked at each other dumbfounded.  What unique things can be done with framing or putting down the sub floor?  Suggestions, anyone?
[foggy morning - day 17]
We were thankful they were working the week of Thanksgiving, so we quickly made another pit-stop for muffins to drop off before starting our trip.  E was thrilled once we were finally on I-94 and heading South!
[excited to see family!  and, yes, the Illini will always trump the Badgers in this house]
We filled our time home with family and friends and tried to avoid thinking about the house.  Wednesday night we were thankful to enjoy a night out to dinner and a musical (West Side Story!) with my parents, aunt and uncle.  E had just as much fun with his Gram-Gram and Papa K!  Thanksgiving Day was spent at my in-laws, where I was in charge of the non-traditional coconut cream pies.

My father-in-law is a woodworker (and a fantastic one at that) and agreed to make us a dining table for the new house.  On Friday morning, we headed to a guy's house that my mother-in-law had located on Craigslist and picked out some amazing reclaimed, old growth pine.  I am beyond excited for this table.  He planed a sample piece and with a simple finish of linseed oil, the wood is shining.  Simply beautiful.  It'll be worthy of a blog post on it's own.
[old growth pine - my soon-to-be dining table]
We spent Friday evening in Springfield at the Festival of Trees and E loved seeing the lights, riding the train with Papa D, making a craft and viewing Santa...from afar.  Just like last year, he was excited to see the Man in Red, until he was the next kiddo in line.  Maybe we'll try again in a few weeks.

Hubby went rabbit hunting on Saturday morning, but it was otherwise a lazy day to relax with family.  And this morning, we were able to celebrate my sister's birthday with her!  Omelets and Cold Stone cookie dough cake - all before noon - is the perfect start to a travel day!  

Upon arriving back in Cheese Country, we were greeted with the glorious shots below!  We barely made it back before dark, so they're not the greatest photos, but oh-my-goodness was it exciting to see so much work complete.  I was distracted when we turned onto the main road by our house and didn't get the first glimpse that Hubby did.  He immediately made me close my eyes and I was shocked to pull up and see a floor, framing and sheathing hung.  In fact, we arrived just as the crew was wrapping up for the day (and, yes, it's a Sunday).  I felt bad they were out working, but I think it's a race against the snow at this point.  

[fireplace on the left - dining room picture window in the center - master suite on the right]
[looking East from living room - bedroom, bathroom, bedroom]
[view of living room from foyer - still missing a few walls]
[looking West - still need to frame the flex room, kitchen wall, powder room & laundry room]
[view from the Northeast corner]
It sounds like the roof materials will be there tomorrow and then the framing crew will be back again on Tuesday.  Hopefully we'll have a full roof overhead by end of week.

Other To Do items for this week: follow-up with the Designer on remaining selections, finalize the fireplace, meet with our Construction Manager, research dining room table finishes and survive a busy work week, including month-end, audit and our annual forecast.  For now, I'm hoping the "can't believe we have walls" high carries me through at least Thursday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

master bath inspiration

Remember the whole "I really hope all of decisions we're making come together cohesively" statement I made a few days ago?  Well, this is my attempt at starting the get an idea of what the master bath will look like once it's all put together.  Fun and scary at the same time!  I should be going to bed instead of playing with this, but knowing I don't have to work tomorrow has left me wide awake.  I suppose it's better than being wide awake on a night I do have to go to work, though.

vanity: via Chalet Development
tile: San Michele Vein-Cut Tile by Daltile
toilet room: via HGTV Rate my Space
tub: Reverie Freestanding Tub
paint: Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore

When I saw the vanity above while browsing Houzz, I immediately fell in love (by the way, check out the sidebar - I added a link to my Houzz Ideabook!).  Lucky for me, we found an amazing cabinet guy through my uncle and he was able to re-create the vanity for us using various cabinetry pieces.  I am stoked to see it in person.  The base cabinets are from Merillat's Portrait series and will be in the Sable color.

I love the mirrors that are pictured and I'm desperately trying to find non-Restoration Hardware versions.  As much as I adore their Vintage Oval Pivot Mirror, I can't bring myself to pay that much.  I've found similar versions that are frameless, but I prefer the look of the frame.  Our local Restoration Hardware Outlet has several brass versions for less than $40 if anyone is looking for an amazing mirror in brass!  Or if anyone knows how to turn a brass mirror chrome without it looking cheap, I'm all ears.

The freestanding tub was actually our first house purchase.  We found it on sale at Menards and ordered it a couple of months ago.  It's currently sitting in their warehouse and I'm waiting for the day they call to tell us we finally have to pick it up.  I'm hopeful that call doesn't happen until we have a garage to store it in, but I'm guessing it'll end up in the kitchen at our condo at least temporarily.

The tile is still my biggest unknown.  Hubby and I had both agreed on a simple subway tile before meeting with the Designer.  While discussing our selection, however, the Designer highly encouraged us to choose a larger tile due to the upkeep of smaller subway tiles.  Apparently the skinny grout lines are more difficult to keep clean in the long run - especially if we were to have gone with the white tiles and light/white grout we'd originally picked out.  As sad as I was to give up the aesthetics, I know it's best for the long run.

I really like the vein-cut tile we picked out as our second choice but it only comes in 12x24 tiles.  There is a cross-cut pattern in the same family, but I just don't like it quite as much.  Our current selections include the 12x12 cross-cut tiles laid in a diagonal/diamond pattern on the floor.  The shower  has the 12x24 vein-cut tiles laid horizontally with a couple of rows of the 12x12 tiles laid diagonally on top.  And the tub surround is just the 12x24 tiles laid horizontally.  Hopefully the sketch below helps visualize what I so poorly explained - at least for the shower!

I'm not sure that I'm totally sold on the diagonal floor pattern.  It's more than likely one of those things I'd stop noticing eventually, but I really like the look of more rectangular tiles.  Ugh.  I just need to make up my mind!   And any thoughts on not doing a tub surround?  I raised the question with the Designer but haven't heard back yet.  I'm thinking of doing wainscoting instead.

Anyway, to help pull it all together, here is our rough floor plan.  The area on the top right corner is a small pass-through from the bedroom to the master bath (shown) and walk-in-closet (not shown, but slightly smaller and on the right).

Other details that still need finalized - paint color (I'm thinking a blue/gray like shown), whether or not to hang a small TV by the tub, lighting, mirrors, hardware ... and I'm sure several other things I'm currently not thinking about.  At least it's a start!

Monday, November 19, 2012

day 14

The excavator was out this morning doing a little more grading but otherwise not much has changed since the weekend.  The exciting news is that we're told they'll be out tomorrow to start framing.  It's been an unseasonably warm week up here, so I'm sure the crew is looking to take advantage of the nice weather.  I'm not sure if it's the still recovering economy, the time of year or just luck, but I'm amazed at how quickly this is going.  Outside of the waiting period for the foundation to cure, there has been progress every day.

However, since today's progress wasn't very visual (I think even I have reached my max of dirt and concrete photos), I thought I'd share the exterior house plans.  Since these were printed, we did decide to remove the bottom window grids.  And I'm still debating whether or not I'd like to add a railing between the front porch posts.  That might be something we do later.

[Front Elevation - north]
That center stone wall was one of many issues we went back and forth with the Developer on.  The ACC covenants have a 65% masonry requirement, but several houses in the subdivision don't meet that.  Despite my best negotiating efforts (as well as our Builder's and Realtor's), we finally gave in and added stone to the roof line.  With the right landscaping (hi, Dad!), I'm hoping it will be a nice accent wall, rather than a weird connector between house and garage.  Our kitchen sink is below the window and I think it might be fun to add a window box, possibly filled with herbs.

[Rear Elevation - south]
We're planning to add a patio off the back porch, but I'm not totally sure how it will work since our yard slopes down on the one side.  Maybe we build up the east side with a patio wall?  Although, I can totally picture E jumping off the ledge as he gets older.... The area between the triple window on the left and the double window on the right is our back porch (the small section between the two single windows is our living room fireplace).  I am so excited about having both covered front and back porches.  I swear I was from the South in another life.

[Right Elevation - west]
Our garage doors have windows along the top and will have carriage-door style hardware.  I'm pretty excited about them.  I'm also excited about the bath tub that will be going under that window.  I should share my inspiration photos for the master bath soon... it's going to be ah-mazing.  At least I hope!

[Left Elevation - east]
One of the big reasons we liked this Lot was the ability to have a partial exposure basement.  Our floor plan is a split bedroom ranch with a master and two additional bedrooms on the main floor.  We knew we eventually wanted to finish the basement and want at least two additional bedrooms down there.  Even though egress windows are always a possibility, I wanted the ability to have 'normal' windows for the bedrooms down there.

It's hard to believe it's been two months since we signed off on these plans (September 19) and five months since we saw the very first draft (June 15).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

day 13

Lucky day 13!  It was beautiful today in Cheese Country so we started the morning by attending a local Holiday Parade with friends.  The kiddos had a blast and I couldn't believe how intently they watched the helium balloons, listened to the marching bands and oogled over the animals.  Oddly - I just realized there weren't any firetrucks in the parade today.  I'm glad E didn't remind me I'd promised he'd see some!  That kid's memory amazes me.
[snacks while we waited for the parade to begin]

[me and my little man]

[the incredibly funny and well-behaved wee ones]

After the parade and lunch, we decided to run past the Lot on our way home.  (I debated writing home there - this condo really doesn't feel like home.  But, it's the closest we have to it right now.  E calls it the 'temporary house', which is incredibly cute, but I sometimes fear what others think when he says we're going to the 'temporary house'.  Do they think we're homeless?  Or that he's staying with others temporarily, almost like foster care?  I worry too much.  End digression.)  

Anyway, we were surprised to see that they'd made further progress.  When we drove by on the main road, we saw the bright yellow excavator standing by and assumed they were ready to start back-filling next week.  As we got closer, we saw that it had already been done!  The support beams are up, the yard has been roughly graded and everything has been filled in.
[view from our future shower]
[checking out the work!]
["They're strong enough to hold me, Mom!"]
[view from the future back porch]
[looking west]
[looking east]
[garage - looking southeast]
[insert your own caption - I have no idea!]
[I'm not sure that bucket has ever had something cuter inside]
[silly faces!]
[ready to do some work]
Hubby did uncover a cracked drain tile when he and E were exploring the basement, so we'll have to follow up with our Construction Manager on that.  Otherwise, it's fun to see things changing again!  We don't have a lot of hope that progress will be made next week during Thanksgiving, so any movement will be a pleasant surprise.

[the sad, broken tile]
Can't wait to see the framing start to go up!  In the mean time, you can find me driving the Designer at our Builder's office crazy.  I fired off a bullet-pointed e-mail of various questions for him on Thursday night.  Poor guy is learning just how picky and indecisive I am.  It's overwhelming to imagine how all of these small decisions will come together to a form a hopefully unified and cohesive, warm and inviting home.  At least I hope that's what happens.  It will be, right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

day 9

Not too much progress to report -- but, the forms are down and exterior insulation is going up.  The tiny basement window on the south side of the house was also installed.

In house-related, but non-construction news, I thought I'd share 10 reasons I'm ready to be out of this condo and into the new house.  In no particular order:

(1). The wallpaper.  It's in the foyer.  And the kitchen.  And the guest bath.  And the master bath.  But, I think the master bath is the worst.  Every morning, as I shower, I dread looking at the peeling paper above the shower head.
[guest bath]

[peeling paper in the master bath]

[above the stove - fruit and butterflies]

[kitchen border]
(2). The burners on the old electric stove don't sit flat.  In turn, my pots and pans don't sit flat when I'm trying to cook.  As much as I try to adjust everything, I just can't get it properly aligned.  Functional, but oh so annoying.
[crooked burners]

[fancy stove]
(3). The doors and windows don't seal.  Currently, our warm and toasty Santa blanket is keeping the kitchen insulated.
(4).  We've tried to unpack the bare minimum.  Which means there are boxes and piles of stuff... everywhere.
[overflow in the kitchen]
(5). The kitchen sink is super-shallow.  And I'm super-messy at washing dishes.  It's a recipe for disaster... or at least damp shirt fronts and wet kitchen floors.
[my (dirty) short sink]
(6). The washer and dryer set are O-L-D.  It takes 3 full wash cycles to get our cloth diapers clean.  And two or three full dryer cycles to get anything dry.  I'm not sure it's possible to get caught up on laundry.
[my not-so-heavy-duty-anymore washer]
(7). The weird things I look at daily that just don't make any sense.
[light switch something or the other]
[door that is randomly hinged in the middle]
(8).  There are no full-length mirrors.  The first time I walk into the ladies room at work in the morning, I hold my breath until I'm able to verify that nothing is drastically out of place/stained/mismatched/etc.  I should probably just go to my local discount store and spend the $10 to buy one.

(9). Our old Cape Cod had small closets so Hubby took the closet in our room and I used the closet in the office-turned-nursery.  In turn, E had an armoire that held his teeny, tiny baby clothes.  The master here has a "walk-in" closet.  But it's smaller than our two closets combined.  And we have it a bit full.
[overflowing closet]
(10). The fact it's for sale.  Cleaning up your own house for a showing isn't much fun.  Cleaning up someone else's house for a showing just plain stinks.

Disclaimer: I am thankful that we have a warm, safe place to live.  I really am.