Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And the Beat Goes On. . .

...and so does the progress on my house! I can not believe it has been more than two weeks since I have been on site! H has been my eyes and ears for this portion of the construction since I can not walk the "grade" of the property yet.
    As I have been recuperating, H has been to the site several times to talk with the builder, check on the progress of the brick work and retaining wall (both which are now finished), to meet with people to give him bids on the seawall and boathouse, as well as to take these photos for you and I!

     Have I mentioned how much I like the retaining wall? :)  I can not wait to see it for real! There are still a few more scraggly trees to be cut  which will give more presence to the wall from the lake although we have not seen it from that viewpoint yet. (H has done the best he can, without falling in the lake, to take these pictures for me.) They have also finished the brick work on the columns. NOW it is time for the stone. I can't wait to see that! As you know, most of my apprehenshion has been in putting the house color, brick and stone work far we are more than pleased.
    Now, moving inside we find the hardwood floors have all been laid! We picked white oak as we were told it stains very well plus we have already seen it in our friend's home and loved it. These are just a few pictures of various rooms to prove this has already been done. :) I was so excited when the roof went on, amazed when the walls/drywall was installed and now just plain overwhelmed that we have hardwood floors! I can only imagine my emotions from here on out!

View from foyer towards great room

Great room view from kitchen

View from foyer looking toward kitchen
    The trim and all the interior doors were delivered the day this photo was taken and H says there was a "ton" of it!  We now need to think about tile. . . I guess it was a good thing we had spent several hours at the tile store with a designer this past week picking out tile!
   We will need another appointment as it seems 4 1/2 hours is ONLY enough time to decide on tile for three bathroom floors, a deck, screened room, lower level great room and a laundry room! We are having second thoughts about the lower level great room floor tile but were more than pleased with our choices for all the other tiled areas.  We picked all rather basic tile but basic tile comes in all different sizes, shapes, colors and design plans we found out! We  also found out, from our builder, that the "tiler" charges more per sq. ft. depending on the pattern and number of the cuts made to make the pattern. That was when we decided which rooms deserved the extra costs!
     The deck, screened room and great room will be laid in the off set pattern. Most of those areas will be covered with carpet/rugs and/or furniture so a "fancy" pattern would be lost anyway.  That leaves the bathrooms and since the bathrooms are smaller and fairly simple, we opted for laying the tile on point  that makes these rooms look larger and  that would give it the "umph" they needed. (cha ching $ ) My  laundry room, however, will be a little more cost due to the pattern I want on this floor. I have always wanted a black and white laundry room which has a black and white tile floor. It is now a DONE DEAL!  I made this decision and I'm sticking to it! The floor will be mainly white with a smaller black tile randomly  laid through out the room.  (cha-ching cha-ching $$) The cabinets are white with a textured black laminate counter top!  Wall color TBD. I am so excited!
     The next appointment for tile will be this Friday so we can plan the master bathroom. Since we will be tiling a lot more area than the floor, we need ed to make a special appointment just for this room. We know the color of the stained cabinets and  the granite color for the we just have to find a tile design to make it all work. We are talking floor, shower walls and around the garden tub area and it all needs tile! It might be helpful if I knew the color of the master bedroom, but that won't be determined until the designer gives me a price for the bed linens I fell in love with.  I really want the bathroom to be an extention of the bedroom. Might have to go to plan B.
    The backspash for the kitchen may need a special appointment as well. Even though I know the color of the kitchen, the backsplash may be determined after I pick out the slab of granite for the island and countertop. The granite choice is now being revisited. . . so much for the Ubatuba I THOUGHT I wanted.
     Meanwhile the builder is waiting and waiting and waiting for my paint colors. I am getting soooo close, (really I am) to putting it all in my mind's eye but I still have a few things to consider before I commit. The main color for all the rooms that  f-l-o-w, has been chosen. Its all those other rooms that are holding me up.   The dining room will depend on the color fabric chosen for the great  room furniture.  Thanks to my niece and daughter, listening to me sound  it all out, I made a major decision today and that takes care of 3 more rooms! Maybe if I give him a few colors he can get it on walls for me to see. . .unfortunately I still don't know when I can get down to the site to give my decision.  I know, for a fact, this week is out! Hopefully, Denny, I can give you my colors next week! Bare with me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

From a Distance. . .

     I named this post From a Distance because, due to my elective surgery this past week, that is how I will be viewing the house site for another week or two. H is on his own as he talks with the builder about the things WE talk about, and he is also in charge of the camera. Just a side note about Hargrove photography:
I shoot from the hip, so to speak, when it comes to taking pictures. Anything and everything I see. If it's not good or not centered, I delete it and take it again. I'm not saying that's good or bad, it's just how I take pictures. They are more candid that way. H, on the other hand worries about the little things, like its there enough light, is the angle right, or is the subject centered, and then he decides whether a certain view is blog worthy. So with that being said, there might not be as many pictures in my next few posts.
     Since my last post, there has been much more brick work done on and around the house. The photo of the brick work in my last post was sent to me by the builder. They started it right after we left the site. Up until then all I had was a couple of photos of the stacked brick.

I was able to capture a photo of two of the brick layers tossing the brick to each other as they stacked the bricks around the house that they would use. My photo does not do them justice. I really tried to catch a brick in motion. Trust me, they really had a system going and were able to get the brick spread out in a short amount of  time.

Most of the brick will be around the foundation in the front of the house and on the back facing the lake. H did get this photo of a finished side of the garage  to show where the brick meets the Hardy board siding.

     I understand the brickwork had been postponed for a day or two due to the weather. The frigid cold temperature draws the moisture from the mortar and could cause cracks.  (The things one learns when building a house).
    The main reason H went to the site was to check out the retaining wall. It is dry stacked and the cold doesn't affect the stacking process. The "stackers", on the other hand, might have a different story.
    To refresh your memory, the retaining wall is needed on our site to enable us to get from the terrace down to the boat house. There would have been too much of a drop off unless we "terraced" it somewhat.
There was no official plan for this but as the site was escavated it was decided we would do this. The highest part of the wall may be 4 1/2 to 5 feet high, I am told. The sides gradually go down on both sides of the house. The guy who we contracted with, to do the wall, is a landscaper and we left the rest up to him. This is what he did and we are very pleased.

I had no idea what the retaining wall would look like, but I was delighted to see this. So was H, but he may have had some idea what was happening. I can already see a couple of urns with plants either on the bottom steps or at the top. The top ledge which will be flush with the ground and will need some plantings so no one will wander off the edge.There is several feet from the terrace to the top of the retaing wall. The landscaper will submitt a bid to H for the landscape work that needs to be done after the house is built.(Sure miss lawnboy.)  The steps lead down to the level that the boat house is on. There will be a sodded area at this level. Have plans in my mind for a flagpole to fly my flag that was flown from the capitol on my birthday. (Thanks to my darling daughter Liz.)

     Does this view give you an idea where the wall starts from the terrace? The terrace floor goesfrom the lower level door out to the soon to be columns holding up the upper deck. We plan to use that area a lot!
      It wasn't long after H returned home that we got a call from a man asking to submit a bid on building the seawall at the waters edge. We want it to match our neighbors as much as posssible so it will look uniform around the point. As you can surmise from that phone call,we have not had any problems getting the work done as needed. The economy is such that people call you asking for work or at least call the builder to ask, when do you want me to come? This has been a lucky break for us. Not one sub has not shown up for work due to deer hunting season either!  Good news is this means the house will be build sooner that espected, bad news is that decision time is getting closer and closer. The trim man is ready for paint colors after the hardwood floors go in (probably next week).
    The decorator asked that we get a sample of the paint color, paint a poster board and take it fromroom to room. This will help us see the color in its different light. Our builder said, heck! we'll just paint the sample color on the wall in each room and we can make our decision that way.
       So that is where we are as of today. I still need to make color choice for all the bed rooms but have decided to go with the color chosen by the decorator for all the rooms that open to each other. Check one!
Hopefully next week, I can get in and out of a car more easily and go looking at and for others things that need a decision made about!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How Dry I Am . . .

For those of you who have built a home,will agree this is an appropriate title to this post. The title mostly refers to the fact that all the drywall is in but it also refers to how the builders feel when it rains and they now have a place to go. (They have even set up a microwave in the garage :) This post is all about drywall and I warn you, it's hard to take pictures when there are walls and one can't back up into the next room to get the "whole picture" (no pun intended). But hopefully I can give you a small glance at how things are shaping up inside.
 For several days, I have had some anxiety about what things will look like when the drywall goes in and have prepared myself for how "closed in" or small things will look when this happens. My first impression was WOW! When I walked into the great room after the drywall was installed, I can now see exactly how high 18 ft. ceilings are! It was not smaller, it looked huge!

      Maybe I could gauge the size of thing more than I thought! Anyway, I was more than pleased at the size of each room!
     The kitchen is now becoming real to me. We have finally "locked" in on the style of cabinets for the kitchen.  We opted for the stained cabinets with a glaze rather than the painted cabinets. No particular reason, except we loved the richness of the stain and went for it!

     The view above is looking at the kitchen from the great room. The 8 ft island is in the center of that room.  The bar area is to the right of the two doors coming back toward the great room. The window is where the sink will be. One of the doors in the photo, it to the pantry and the other leads down the hallway going to the garage. There is a powder room and the laundry room off that hallway as well.

I tried to take these photos of the dining room to show the window and to show you the front door. Hope this gives you an idea. Love the size of the dining room! I can now use all 8 of my chairs and keep a couple of leafs in the table! Still trying to visulize the chandelier over the table. The foyer will need a nice chandelier as well, but maybe not quite so formal as the dining room.

Below is a view of the lower level great room. Can't you just see that big screen TV over that fireplace watching some Alabama football hearing Roll Tide in the background!

     I did not  try to take pictures of the guestrooms on this level because I couldn't get a decent view, so you will have to take my word that they, too, are drywalled. I did get a photo of the guy on stilts putting a skim coat in one of the rooms. 

     As I said, when I saw the rooms drywalled I didn't feel like they were too small because in reality I know the sizes of each room, and even if they looked small, I know that they are bigger than any rooms I have previously lived in. The only exception. . . was the master bathroom. My first impression was that  it was somewhat smaller. But in all fairness, it had seemed smaller before the drywall went in. This room is not large like some of the "spa" type bathrooms you see in some new homes these days but we knew that going in. Our bathroom has a large shower, (with two shower heads and a bench seat)  two separate vanities (across the room from each other) a nice size garden tub (with jettys) an enclosed toliet room, and a really nice size linen closet but not alot of empty floor space. This works for us!
     The other room that took me off guard was the croft. As I walked up the stairs into that room, my first impression seeing the wall that closes off H's office made me think, what happened here? Then, I pulled up a bucket, made a bench for me and just looked around that room. There is no way this room is TOO small for me. If the truth be known, the entire Croft space would have been too much! Now, that is not to say that I would not have used every square inch of it...but did I really need it. No. Plus I have gotten a lot of mileage out of telling everyone that I am decided to share my space with H. What a great wife!

 In this view, you can see the dormer that I will be using as my work station. The entire recessed area is a little over 6 ft wide x 4 ft deep. (The door on the left of the photo leads into H's office. ) The rest of the room will be my area but what you don't see is the sewing nook, a closet and a powder room. I didn't take any more photos up here as they wouldn't have shown you much but I promise I will share as this room starts taking shape. In fact, I have plans for this room to take on a whole blog itself... entitled "Stairway to Heaven" :) 
Finishing up the drywall is about all that is going on inside the house these days. But when that is done in a day or two, the builder is asking for colors! YIKES! We made an appointment with a designer/decorator on Tuesday, talked for about 3 plus hours, showed her the house plans, gave her our ideas, told her what furniture we had to use, what furniture we need to buy, and talked about our style and lifestyle. Then we met with her again on Friday to discuss color selection.  Since the house is so open and will flow from one room to the next and even downstairs, the paint color should flow as well.  This means I must really LOVE the color I select.  We have not decided on anything for now, but with the given ( all we discussed on Monday and with the ONLY piece of furniture that is upholstered. . . and will be used) she came up with an interesting color choice. Would it have been what I would have chosen, I'm not sure. . . but is is a color we like? I think so. Our homework is to buy some of the paint, paint a large poster board with it and take it to the house and put it in each area it would be used and see it in that lighting (we have a northern exposure coming in from the lake side). This is the side of the house with all the windows and will get a lot of light. The color itself took on a whole new "hue" when we took it out of the showroom and into a room with a northern exposure!  If we in fact choose this color, we have the option of lightening it and/or darkening it as we go from room to room.  This idea I liked. Will keep you updated on color choice, but for now, I am not revealing the color family until it is a go. Some of you may think I have really come "out of the box"!

Now for the outside. . .The brick has been delivered and our builder sent me this photo to share with you. The stone will go on as soon as the brickwork is completed. It's really starting to come together for me. As I had said before, I have no idea what all of this will look like when it is all put together.  I know I like the color, the stone and the brick. . .but all together. . . on my house. . . forever and always. . . has taken me to a great big leap of faith. So far, as it is coming together, I'm feeling good!

Believe it or not, there is a winter storm predicted for this area starting tomorrow to include snow and ice. YUCK! Thought we had left that all behind in Virginia. Hargrove luck, I guess.  With that being said, house progress may slow down somewhat. That is probably just as good as my "elective surgery" is schedule for Tuesday and I will be unable to walk "down to" or "up from"  the site for a few weeks anyway.  So there will be no photos (unless H takes them) for blog posts until then. I do plan to keep posting while I recuperate but not sure what it will be about or how long between posts. I plan to use this time to re-organize my thoughts and try to think through room plans. Wish me luck!