Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thursday: Kitchen doors (12/22/11)

So this is now what you see when you come through the front door:  double coat closet doors to the left, and double kitchen entry doors to the right.  They'll be painted white...

Monday: Christmas decor (12/19/11)

After lamenting not being able to inhabit our house for so long, I decided we needed more Christmas decorations (without risking damaging our currently tender floors or walls).  After ordering the decoration on the Etsy website, I realized it had taken more than two weeks to get here.  One day later it arrived, and I finally understood that I'd unwittingly ordered a decal from Beijing, China.  But I love it.

I even got some tiny little lights from IKEA (on my (hopefully) last God-forsaken drive there).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday: Cabinet drawer handles (12/12/11)

The week before, they had installed a few of the inset cabinet door handles.  They look slightly crooked on first glance, but I think that's just due to the torn away areas of the protective blue film being uneven.  I think I really like them...

Here, the handles were put into the top cabinet doors.  But we went back and forth about how high to put the handles on the tall doors.

They also did most of the drywall work on the kitchen wall opening that looks out toward the new hallway and the courtayard garden.

And I've struggled with whether we could put up a Christmas tree this year and I finally decided we couldn't until the final finish is put on the floor - which will be the very last thing.  Next best?  My white board fridge.  I just love this thing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Tuesday, they installed our new front door!  Let's start with before photos - here's the old front door:

From the outside...

And from the inside.

I left for a short meeting at school while the install was happening on a dark dreary day...

And this is what I returned to an hour-and-a-half later.  The outside...

And the inside.  I  love it, but am always startled when I look at the sidelight window.  Maybe I'm just not used to clean glass...

Friday: Deck progress and inset handles (12/2/11)

I haven't stayed current with new deck photos.  They're almost finished with it - just about half of the pad in front of the front door to go.  They started choosing the board colors more randomly, and I think it looks gorgeous.

Here you can see where it wraps around the back windows.  They changed out four boards that I specified and it really softened the stripey effect.  We have the wide cedar cladding that will wrap the outside edge of the deck, but it hasn't been treated yet.

And I chose inset handles for the few cabinet doors that we have.  Using the same wire pulls as those on the drawers would have caused too many opportunities for the handles on the doors to bang into the drawers as almost every door is located next to a corner.  This was a test case, and I like it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday: Whiteboard fridge fun (11/21/11)

I freaking love my whiteboard fridge.  (Shamelessly imitated from a sketch I found on the internet, and shamelessly adultered to suit my purposes...)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday: Rain chains (11/20/11)

So this is the front of our house right now.  We'll be getting a narrow gutter on the left-hand side of the roof opening that we've planned will end with a rain chain at the front left corner (away from the carport wall).  We've been assigned the arduous task of choosing a rain chain so they'll know what size hole to put in the gutter.

Traditional rain chains might look like this:

Or this:

But then Jack found this picture in an online article (not much useful information beyond the photo) about using rain chains as garden art. I'm guessing this one is bronze? Sorry about the poor resolution... This gave us the idea of just going to Home Depot and seeing what kind of chain we could buy to see what it would look like.

And here's a photo of an Eichler house with a more industrial looking rain chain:

So we bought a 12' length of galvanized chain at Home Depot for shy of $40, and with great difficulty (on Jack's part, not mine) we tried to get a feel for how it would look.

It would be coming down the left front corner, but we didn't have the right size ladder to work with.  So if we can amass a few strands, and manage to structurally support the weight....  What say you - yea or nay?

Thursday: Gutters and new front door! (11/17/11)

Thursday morning they were finishing up the galvanized gutters and downspouts.  They look even better than I expected.

And if you happened to be on I-66 Eastbound early Thursday afternoon, you would have seen this door-to-nowhere hurtling along toward our house.

It was a mighty struggle (for them, not me!) to get this into the house - thank goodness there were several guys here to help.  So this will be the outside...

And this will be the inside.  I love, love, love it.  I also told Sheila that you enter a new dimension when you go through this door-to-nowhere.  She didn't believe me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday: What's the Spanish word for 'random'? (11/16/11)

So they started installing the deck boards.  The cedar is gorgeous, but unfortunately it's a mix of light and dark boards with not much in between.  I think there are actually more dark boards than light, which is fine.  But then, how do you arrange it?

The instruction (from their boss, not me) the guys were given was this:  Random placement, but if you have a light board, go about two shades lighter or darker to contine that linear string.  Same with a dark board.  This was the result.  The poor guys did exactly as they were told and are doing a fabulous job as far as spacing and lining up the screws.  I felt terrible suggesting that we switch it up, but this looks intentionally striped to me.  I kept saying "It should look random.  The colors should look mixed up, not like a pattern."  I do believe that randomness is a really difficult look to achieve  and it's very difficult to plan for.  They kept asking me exactly how I wanted them to change it and all I could reply was, "Random.  It should look random."  I think they were told to go work elsewhere or go home until the boss comes to see it tomorrow.  I'm feeling mean.

Tuesday: Doors and gutters (11/14/11)

Yay!  Doors!  These are the doors to the new coat closet in the entryway.  I'm still working on door hardware (handles).  They're solid core and will be painted white.

This is the door to the basement stairwell.  It will be SO nice to be able to have some acoustic separation between the living room and the basement.  I'm thinking of a particular teenager who will appreciate that in the future.

We also finally got some gutters.

They'll finish up the downspouts tomorrow when it's not raining (hopefully).

Friday: Things I've forgotten... (11/11/11)

I've been a bad blogger.  We've had mostly one person working here, while we've been experiencing massive computer issues.  Sheila and I are migrating to a new computer, so hopefully I'll be reporting progress on a more regular basis soon.

We got handles on (almost) all the drawers.  I have some recessed pulls for the very few cabinet doors, but we have yet to experiment with those.

Note that the middle drawer has the blue protective film removed, so that will be the final look of the entire kitchen.  I had seen handles like these in a photo on and really liked the simple and utilitarian look of them.  I'd also talked to a hardware store (as in door and cabinet hardware) owner who said that she had installed the omnipresent bar pulls with the bar that projects on the corners in her own kitchen, and she was shocked at how many pairs of pants had caught on those ends and tore as she was walking too close to the handles.  I never would have thought of that.

We aslo have a fair amount of new baseboards...

Most of the window trim is up - Douglas Fir to match the wood of the windows...

And the living room windows have douglas fir panels between them to make it look like it's one huge installation.  I really love it.  It will look even nicer after it gets a coat of finish.

And speaking of trim, check out the horridness that was exposed when they ripped out the old baseboards in the bedroom hallway.  White, gray, sky blue, mint green, and even a bit of pink.  This house definitely has a colorful history.

Wednesday: Plaster woes (11/9/11)

Our fabulous plaster guy tore to our aid after that freaky rain/sleet/snow occurrence just before Halloween.  The plaster hadn't cured yet and this was the result.  He was just as nice as could be and promised to fix it.  The manufacturer recommended a vinegar wash, and if that didn't work, a wash of diluted muriatic acid.

It is VASTLY improved.  (It's raining in this photo, so the walls look a bit more irregular in color than they usually do.)  He might still need to do some touchup in the Spring, but this is so much better!
And I don't think I ever posted a photo of the completed walls in the carport - same plaster treatment as in the courtyard, but this was completely cured and is also protected from above from freaky weather.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday: Deck boards (11/6/11)

We got the cedar delivery for the deck boards.  They're an unusal size for decking because the architect wanted the width of the boards to mimic the width of the floor boards inside, so it sort of looks like the same material continues from the inside to the outside.  So essentially, these are 2x4's ripped in half.  We're trying to figure out which color screw to use in these, and there's quite a variety in the color of the boards.  We're just glad they're not as knotty as the previous delivery.

The guys were here today applying the sealant to the deck boards.  I took this picture from inside the living room looking out through this very dirty window.  The deck boards are sitting propped up on a couple of 2x4s to dry, so they're up a little higher than they will be when they're installed.  I think the grain and color matches really well between the reclaimed heartwood pine floors and the cedar decking.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday: Happy Halloween! (10/31/11)

Poor Reuben.  All those kids outside having fun and he's stuck inside with a ghost writing on the walls.  (Actually it was me writing messages to the builders.)

And here's Sheila, wearing her Colonial Day dress that I made for her when she was in 4th grade.  I always make things for her that are purposely a little big on her, but this is the first time she's ever wanted to wear something a second time, which made my heart flutter just a bit...

Saturday: Freakish weather (10/29/11)

I have some catching up to do, don't I?  The supposedly last coat of  exterior plaster was applied on Friday and they covered it with lightweight clear plastic to keep the rain off while it cured.  Saturday morning, it was raining harder than expected, so he kindly showed up to put on heavier tarps held down at the top by pieces of slate and lumber.  We then went out to lunch and came back to find this result as the precipitation proceeded to turn to heavy sleet and then snow.
It seems that water running on the surface, when the plaster is not fully cured, pulls the mineral content to the surface, thus rivulets of calcium  and other deposits.  He's going to try the manufacturer's recommendation of cleaning it with a vinegar mixture.  If required, he'll do another coat, but probably not until Spring.

We rejoiced in the possibility that the plaster isn't ruined by going to the neighbors' fun-filled Halloween party dressed as Sue Sylvester and Male Cheerio Cheerleader from the TV show Glee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday: Catching up and venting (10/19/11)

While I've been in a bit of a mood the last couple of days, venting can be good, it seems.  Particularly, venting in the kitchen.

They installed the hood a couple of days ago, and I've since cleaned it a bit better...

They also cut the whiteboard panel to size.  It matches the cabinet fronts very well, and I love the ability to leave notes on it (albeit in German).  It wipes off very cleanly.

So this is the fridge wall so far.  The pantry cabinets are about 7" taller than the fridge, so we're going to make the side cover panel (on the far side here) taller and create a small faux cabinet above the fridge to match the taller height.

Today, the plaster guys were here and put the third coat on the fireplace wall.  This is difficult to capture well in a photograph...

But it's very hard and smooth to the touch and reflects light at some angles.  I love it.

They also primed all the previously gray outside walls...

...and began applying the same color plaster in a different formulation, designed for exterior use, called Antico.  This is pretty exciting to see go up.

I forgot about the venting part.  Recently we've had three occassions of strangers that I've found just wandering around the property, and aren't the slightest bit embarrassed when they realize that we're living in the house.  Needless to say, I've been locking all the doors.