Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Over one year later

Now that we're comfortably settled into our new house, we thought it was time to bring you up to speed on what fun we've had finishing projects over the last four and a half months.  We also have some new projects in the works. 

Contrary to beliefs held by those outside the profession, summer is a busy time for us. In between running writing camps at EMU, planning for huge developments with our writing professional development board for the WISD, and hosting an array of thirsty and hungry friends on our back porch, we've somehow found the time to finish all of our indoor projects and get a lot of work done outside.

As soon as the school year ended, we finished the tile backsplash in the kitchen. The project took so long in part because we just couldn't decide on the perfect color tile. Inspiration struck at a birthday dinner out at Mani Osteria where we decided we loved their cream subway tile with dark gray grout even more than our meals. Mike and Sean threw the tile up in record time, complete with herringbone patterning over the range, and Sean tricked Aimee into grouting it early one morning before Peter was even awake. 

Meanwhile, the Motawi tile on the fireplace has been up since the weekend after we moved in back in March. Sean and Mike did all the work while Aimee and Peter were out of town visiting Katie in Maryland. We love, love, love it, and Sean was a fire building maniac when the weather was chilly earlier this spring.

Lately we've been working on a ton of outdoor projects, and there is a definite sequence to them; everything waits for the front steps to be finished. Sean and Mike started on them in early July, and this is what they looked like at the end of the day Saturday. The piers supporting the front steps are getting covered with stone to match the rest of the front porch, then Trex stair treads and painted railings will go up.
 Now that Peter is walking  running, he's getting into everything. He's a chip off the Eldon block; he adores being outside with the guys, watching them work, and hauling around remnants of blocks and bricks and stones. Here he is, caught in the act with a prime find from under the table saw.
Meanwhile, we're anxious to get the flower beds and yard in tip-top shape once the steps are finished. We have grand visions of grass for Peter and the dogs to romp in, a boules court over the what-the-hell-do-we-do-with-this-space? septic field, and a fenced area in the back of the house for the dogs to safely roam without the threat of chasing after deer. Or turkeys. Or squirrels.

We have lots of outdoor projects to go, and Sean and Mike continue to display a boundless energy to work on them. Our road and driveway are being graded and covered in several inches of crushed asphault, and we're looking forward to smoother, less dusty cruising in the car and stroller from now on.

We'll be sure to post pictures of the finished projects that we accomplish in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Time to move!

After a busy week, we have three out of the six final permits finished, and the remaining ones will be issued shortly. It's exciting to walk around and see a "real house" after working on a construction site for the last eight months. We're planning on moving this weekend, so gentle readers, you're all welcome to come heft some boxes this Saturday. Seriously.

The television is hooked up over the mantle, and the new living room furniture is staying wrapped until the floors are finished Tuesday.
The kitchen appliances are hooked up, and the lights are all in place. This is the view from the living room.
A shot of the kitchen from a corner of the dining area. Sean and our buddy Jay picked up the Amish table we ordered this fall, so we'll set it up later this week.
The plumber finished this week, so we finally have complete bathrooms. This is the powder room in the front of the house between the kitchen and entry.

The carpet throughout the house looks great, and the carpet layers worked until almost 9:30 Friday night finishing the job. Moving upstairs, the loft is bright and sunny.
A view of one of the bedrooms with the lighting, carpet, wall colors, and trim.

We're especially excited about the double sinks in the master bath.
The soaking tub is all hooked up and ready to go.
The glass for the shower will be installed midweek, and after that the bathroom will be complete.
Sean built a roaring fire, and Peter delighted in trying to sneak sticks of kindling from the bucket on the hearth. The house is cozy, and we're looking forward to making it our home for years and years to come.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The final push

The last month has been a test of patience as we have seen delay after delay in getting contractors to wrap of their previous jobs and start work at our house. It was a tough couple of weeks watching the house sit untouched during the day. Flash forward to early February. The painter Javier and his crew spent two and a half weeks painting and staining, and they did wonderful work.

The mudroom has light gray walls, seen through the first floor, and bright white for the trim, wainscoting, and storage bench.
The kitchen appliances arrived this weekend, and the electrician is working on hooking them up. The custom vent that Sean and Mickey built over the range was stained as is the back of the peninsula. The vent and other pieces you'll see below all use cherry and oak that we had milled from our property.
Below is the stained beam that Sean and Mickey built. It's hard to tell its impact on the room in this picture, but it looks pretty huge and awesome in person.

The fireplace mantel was stained, too. The Motawi tile we ordered was finished (early!), so we hope to install that soon.
Peter has been a trooper coming to the house on the weekends with us. He is super happy to walk around and get into whatever we let him. Who needs an expensive Wheely Bug when you can be just as happy pushing around a work dolly?
Alas, Peter was often confined to his Pack N Play where he was understandably frustrated at not being able to help out and put his wooden hammer to good use.
Aimee spent an entire weekend scraping paint off the windows, and Linda helped all day Sunday with the job. Peter was happy to roam around the rooms we worked in and keep us company.
This is the library, the same room pictured above, after John Douglas and his floor crew sanded, stained, and put the first coat of polyurethane on. The second coat of polyurethane will be applied early next week.
The stairs are painted and stained, and they're awaiting the carpet runner that will be installed Thursday and Friday along with carpet for the entire second floor and office on the first floor.
Meanwhile, it's a busy week. We're off for mid-winter break, so we're working at the house cleaning, installing closets, hanging bathroom hardware and mirrors, and prepping for the electrician, plumber, low voltage wiring, and heating and cooling contractors that are all due to make appearances this week.

The end of this week should have most of the final items taken care of, and we hope to have our final permits approved soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trimming duet

The final stretch of winter break was full of busy days at the house. Sean was at work all day every day, and Mickey came out often and even worked New Years Eve and day.

The bench and storage system was built in the mudroom; it's waiting for some hooks and a coat of paint to finish it off. Beadboard is also up in the mudroom, adjoining bathroom, and master bath; some of it is visible here in the mudroom.
The library book shelves have been started. The shelves have been cut, and everything will be assembled once they're painted.
Mickey started the cherry mantle using lumber milled from the lot. It still needs several pieces across the top, and it should look fantastic once the wood is stained.
The back side of the kitchen peninsula has been covered with birch and cherry paneling.
The stairs are finished now that they have thick, craftsman spindles. This is the view of the stair well from the front entry.
This is the top of the stairs in the loft.
Sean and our buddy Don spent a morning cutting and setting tile in the laundry room; Sean finished the room by building a counter using some leftover tiles from the mudroom and grouting everything in.
With luck, the painter can come soon. Once he's at work, the home stretch is in sight.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nice and trim

December has flown by with a long list of things accomplished. The septic field is complete, and gutters were put on shortly after Christmas. Other than a little exterior paint on the railing and a few other touch ups, the outdoor work is finished until the spring.

Indoors Mickey spent a bunch of time in early December working on the trim for the arched window in the upstairs loft. In order to get the wood to bend so dramatically he glued and clamped a dozen or so slender pieces together. Here is a picture of what it looked like when he was working on it.
This is the finished product; it's hard to imagine how one gets a huge piece of wood to bend, but somehow Mickey pulls it off and manages to make it look easy.
Tons of other trim work has been happening in the house during the last month. The windows, doors, closets, and base of the walls are all trimmed. Most of the baseboard comes from the oak from our lot, and that will be stained. Peter's room shows the finished trim ready for stain and paint.
Mickey has been working on the stairs lately. He began by planing the stair treads that Sawmill John kiln dried for us using oak harvested from our lot. He has been putting those in place along with the posts and railing. This is a view of the stairs from the living room looking at the front entry.
Peter checks out the progress and makes sure the edges are all nice and smooth.
A close up of the arts and crafts style newel post.
Vic finished all of the bathroom and mudroom tile jobs a couple of weeks ago. The master shower has white subway tile and a pinwheel accent to match the floor; the color in the photo is a little off, but the marble threshold matches the counter.
Granite and marble counters were installed in mid December, and we're thrilled with the choices we made. I say this because Sean and I are possibly the most decisive customers the showrooms have ever seen. We spent about 30 minutes picking out tile for the entire house and five minutes at the different showrooms for the two granite stores we used. This sometimes makes me nervous about how it will look when it all comes together, but so far we've come out on top.

The master bath vanity has a beautiful gray marble counter, and the floor has pinwheel tile with dark grout.
The granite in Peter's bathroom has little blue flecks that work well with the paint and tile accents; we lucked out finding it as a remnant, and it's one of the many design elements in the house that ended up working better than we imagined.
The tile accent in Peter's bath is finished and ties in perfectly with the colors in the room.
In the meantime, Sean has had a blast picking out electronics for the house, and he spent an awesome afternoon at Leon with our good buddy Ethan, a co-owner of the company, picking out speakers and talking stereos. Sean and Ethan have really outdone themselves, and we're eagerly awaiting their installation so we can rock out at our next party.

While we had hoped to move in by the end of winter break, we're now looking at late January. This is also the time of final exams, so we'll see how that timing works out. We're lucky to have a very comfortable house to live in and not have to vacate, so we'll happily stay there rather than move into a construction site!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


With the end of November upon us, we've been making a big push to keep the house moving forward so we can try and meet our goal of moving in over winter break when we'll have two weeks off from school.

Sean and Mickey have been tediously working at the house, and they finished all the porch railings just in time. This fall has been unseasonably warm, so they were able to work on them with temperatures still in the 50s. We got our first decent snow of the season last night, and the guys are glad to have all of the exterior work complete. The front railing still needs paint, but that can wait for a couple more weeks when that crew returns for final interior painting.
Meanwhile, the guys have been focused on interior trim jobs that are Mickey's specialty. All of the doors have been hung, and they're now trimming windows and doors. Each window has nearly 20 pieces of trim to perfectly cut and install, and they have the traditional Craftsman look we've tried to use throughout the design of the house.
The tile in the two upstairs bathrooms is ready for grout, too. The master shower has a band of pinwheel tiles that match the floor of the bathroom.
The Jack and Jill kid's bathroom tile is also nearly finished. Vick will add the coordinating tile band tomorrow to complete it.
Meanwhile, Jesse and Al started work on the drain field Monday. Heavy rains all day Tuesday delayed the project, but hopefully they'll be able to install the rest of the septic field by the end of the week. Several elms had to be removed for the installation, and we were glad that we didn't have to lose any more oak or cherry.

All of our lighting has arrived, and we're anxious to have it installed along with the counters. There are tons of interior trim jobs to work on in the meantime, so Sean and Mickey will keep busy making closets, floor to ceiling book shelves for the library, and a handy bench and storage system for the mudroom.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Color

In the last couple of weeks we've made a lot of progress on the exterior and interior of the house. The front and back porch decking is down, and the rails are being worked on. The furnace and well have been hooked up and are chugging away. Interior paint is up and awaits touch ups closer to the move in date.

Sean and Mickey were busy this week installing the kitchen, bath, and laundry room cabinets. The counters will be measured this week, and installation should take place the last week of November. Here is a view of the kitchen from the dining room.
Aimee and her mom Linda were busy staining wood for the back porch railing and a few other oak pieces that will be used to finish off the porch posts. Sean helped get the staining set up while Peter supervised the work from his Pack n Play.
We have been lucky to have a mild fall, and temperatures today were in the low 60s. Sean made a cozy fire in the fireplace, and Peter was happy to take what will surely be one of many naps alongside it.
The back porch railing with stain that matches the posts.
The front porch railing in the making. Notice the newly stained and finished boot and cap on the post.
Tile work will continue this week, and interior doors will also be delivered. The septic field site is prepped and ready for Jesse to come out soon. It's exciting to check off items on the to-do list that seemed so far away when we broke ground in June, and we look forward to moving in after Christmas.