Construction – Weeks 27-29

The big news on the homefront: we finally have flooring!


cnstrctn_wk28_lvng_11_14There was a lot of behind the scenes drama to get us to this point! Long story short, the original flooring installer we had lined up flaked out at the last minute so we had to scramble to line up another subcontractor. The new guys saved the day and did a great job for us! The flooring is wide-planked engineered Ventura Mission Oak from Hallmark Hardwoods. We went with a glue down installation method for added durability. We may have been crazy choosing such a dark finish since it will show every speck of dust, but I love the sharp contrast is gives to the space. All of the rooms in the house have the same hardwoods except for the mudroom and bathrooms, which are tile.


cnstrctn_wk28_mstrbth_11_14Most of our plumbing fixtures are now installed, too. We did the same European vessel sinks and faucets in both bathrooms. Now we’re just waiting for the mirrors and shower glass door to be installed. We’re sooo close. The hard part is getting the subcontractors to show up when they say they are going to, and then keeping them there to finish the job once they are finally on site.


cnstrctn_wk28_strs_11_14We uncovered the stairs over the weekend and did some cleanup around the house to prepare for the next phase, which is trim and baseboards. If those subs even think about scratching the newly finished floors, they will have some explaining to do to this hot-tempered, patience-drained, very pregnant mama!

One Year Houseiversary

We have owned our house for a year today! The ironic thing is that we’ve still yet to live there….


Homeowners – Then and Now

Look at those excited new homeowners in 2013. So energetic! So ready to tackle that remodel! So naive!!! And then here we are today….forced smiles and just SO. OVER. IT. ALREADY.

You may have noticed that we now have an extra passenger on board, too. Yes, baby Groves is due to arrive in January! We are absolutely thrilled about our tiniest little addition, although I don’t recommend trying to remodel whilst gestating. If you’ve been playing along since the beginning, you may know that we’re currently on week 29 of construction. I happen to be 28 weeks pregnant, which means I’m officially making a human being faster than this house is being remodeled!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to put together a little comparison of photos from when we closed last October 28th to where we are today.


Front Exterior – Then and Now


Back Exterior – Then and Now


Entry – Then and Now


Kitchen – Then and Now


Kitchen – Then and Now

Not shown here are the hundreds of hours spent pouring over and revising house plans, daily visits (sometimes hourly visits) to check on construction progress, thousands of phone calls to/from contractors, weekends spent researching and budget crunching, and millions of decisions made on every last detail from the color of screw heads to the energy-rating of windows. Possibly with a few temper tantrums and curse words interspersed here and there. Needless to say, it’s been an exhausting year!

And, as you can tell from today’s photos, we’re still not quite done. We WILL be moved in by the end of November, though, because otherwise we’ll be homeless when our condo lease expires. That should give us two solid months to get settled before the little bambino rocks our world in January. It’s never boring around here, that’s for sure!

So Happy First Houseiversary, crazy casa! You are definitely not the same house you were a year ago. And these crazy homeowners have a few more wrinkle lines to prove it.

Construction – Weeks 24-26

I’ve been so busy these last few weeks babysitting subcontractors that I haven’t gotten around to updating the blog, so here’s three weeks worth of construction rolled into one post. It makes it seem like more progress has happened that way but, actually, we’ve done more backtracking than anything. Every day that I go over to the house I find something else has been broken or damaged. In the last week alone, we’ve had to replace the bathtub and toilet because they were cracked by subcontractors….none of which would confess to the crime, of course! And several large holes got knocked in the drywall…the same drywall which was freshly completed. That means both the drywaller and painter will need to return for touch ups. It is a vicious cycle!!

But, onto the progress photos….


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After being delayed by the fabricator for a few weeks, our interior doors finally arrived. We went with a four panel style to mimic the design of the front door. They still need to be painted before we can install hardware, but I like them so far. Such an improvement over the cheap, hollow core doors this house had before.

In this photo you can also see one of our new radiators. The old baseboard heaters we had before were such an eyesore and so inefficient. We almost froze to death the couple of times we slept there before the remodel. I honestly wasn’t thrilled about spending money on radiators, but the temperature stays much more comfortable now. I estimate that we should recoup the money we spent on them in approximately 125 years.


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Our kitchen countertops were just installed. The countertop guy still needs to come back to permanently attach the waterfall edges, though. I’ve informed him that the bubble gum and masking tape that are currently holding them together just aren’t going to cut it. Coming from our tiny, one butt kitchen in the condo, I think we may have gone a little overboard adding counter space in the new kitchen. I can’t even imagine how amazing it will feel to be able to spread out and cook a real meal in here. We may even have space to use more than one pot at a time!


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Here’s a closer view of the glass tile backsplash in the kitchen. Since everything else in the house is pretty neutral, we went a little crazy with the accent tile. I’m still nervous that it may be too much, but I’m thinking it will tone down once we have grout and appliances. Maybe.


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More tile work in the mudroom. This is actually a terrible photo of the tile because it’s currently covered with a thick film of construction dust, like every other surface in the house.


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This is the partially complete tile in the guest bathroom. I threw caution to the wind and decided to have them run the subway tile vertically in the shower because my brain is exhausted with all the decision making!


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We used the same tile for the floors in both bathrooms. This is the white grout going in the master bath.


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The master shower is coming along nicely. That inaugural shower is going to feel pretty amazing! There is a lot of construction stress to wash off.


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I love the tile we picked for the fireplace wall most of all. We really wanted something that looks like concrete, since a board-formed concrete wall was out of the budget. This was a good, budget-friendly compromise.


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I can’t even begin to describe the drama surrounding these stairs. Hopefully someday I’ll forget the thousands of  conversations and painstaking decisions that went into birthing the stair rail, and just be able to climb the freakin’ stairs without over-analyzing every little flaw. But today is not that day, my friends.


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This will become the new world headquarters of design finch! I designed this to be a standing workspace with lots of cabinets to conceal my files, printer and other clutter. It is a slight upgrade from my days in the cloffice!

Not depicted in these photos are the hundreds of excuses I’ve heard from various subcontractors about why they can’t show up when scheduled to get their work done. That is an entire blog post in itself!

Construction – Week 23

Our house felt like a beehive this week – there were subcontractors swarming everywhere! The roof and solar panels were actually installed a couple of weeks ago, but my camera batteries died so I’m just now sharing them.


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Once the siding was complete, the roofers returned to finish installing the shingles. We chose Onyx Black asphalt shingles, simply because I liked the contrast against the other exterior materials. If money were no object, we would have gone with a standing seam metal roof, but since that was not in the budget I think this was a good compromise.


cnstrctn_wk23_extr2_09_14 The plumber installed our solar thermal panels on the garage roof. These will create radiant heat by absorbing sunlight, which will then be used to heat our house in the winter and also for our hot water. We would like to think that we’re so high tech and green, but in reality we have no idea what we’re doing!


cnstrctn_wk23_ktchn_09_14 The drywall was finally finished this week, thank goodness! They will need to come back later for some final touch ups in a few places, but at least we can now move on to other projects like doors and trim. We went with a smooth texture on all the walls and it’s a dramatic improvement over the orange peel texture we had before.


cnstrctn_wk23_mstr_09_14 The painters knocked out all the interior painting this week. The wall color is Useful Gray in eggshell and the ceilings are Nuance in flat, both from Sherwin Williams. We painted the entire house the same colors to keep things simple. And also because my head might explode if I have to make one. more. decision.


cnstrctn_wk23_mstrbth_09_14The showers in both bathrooms are being waterproofed and prepped for tile. Can’t wait to take my first solar heated shower in here!

There is obviously still a ton to be done, but we’re getting closer. I’d like to think we can move in a month from now, but that’s probably being optimistic.

Construction – Week 22 (Lighting Edition!)

 

Ugh, this was seriously one of the most frustrating weeks of our remodel project so far! The previous week felt super productive with a lot of big projects crossed off the list, but the forward momentum came to a grinding halt with the drywallers this week. Our contractor had estimated that it would take the crew about 2 weeks to hang and texture the drywall, but they just wrapped up week 4 and still aren’t quite done. None of the other subcontractors (painter, tile, hardwoods, etc) can get in to do their work until the drywall is finished so everything else is currently on hold. They claim the reason it is taking so long is because we chose to do a smooth, grade 4 finish that requires more steps – although they knew this going into the job!!! I will stop talking about it before I get too fired up….

Let’s talk about a fun topic instead – lighting! All of the fixtures I ordered have come in and are waiting to be installed (once the drywallers finish, of course!). I spent many, many hours researching lighting and choosing fixtures to complement the clean, contemporary style of our decor. There are so many gorgeous fixtures out there, but they get insanely expensive fast! I did my best to balance cost, form and function when I was shopping. Here’s what I ultimately picked:

Modern Home Remodel Lighting

Sources: Master Bedroom, Master Bath, Mudroom, Kitchen, Dining Area

Modern Home Remodel Lighting

Sources: Pantry, Loft, Closets, Guest Bath, Exterior, Office

I did all of my lighting shopping online, which was convenient but difficult to get a good sense of the scale and quality. My favorite source is called Euro Style Lighting. They are not paying me to mention them, although I wouldn’t be sad if they wanted to send a few free fixtures my way!

Construction – Week 21

Good news – there was a lot of exciting progress made this week! Bad news – my camera battery died halfway through photographing everything, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.


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All of our cabinets were installed this week and we are so, so happy with the way they turned out! We went for a European look and did different finishes on the upper and lower cabinets in the kitchen for an interesting contrast. We really wanted a clean and contemporary design in the kitchen since it’s focal point of the house.


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The lower cabinets are textured melamine from Fina and the color is called Spring Blossom. I had them run the grain on the doors horizontally instead of vertically (we chose the exact same finish for the floating cabinets in both bathrooms). The upper kitchen cabinets are also from Fina. They are made of white ultra gloss MDF. The top row has frosted glass doors with aluminum trim.


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The kitchen island has a spot for our built-in microwave drawer.


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One of the lower cabinets has a pull out with a spot for our trash and recycling containers.


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We wanted to incorporate as much functional storage as possible. Originally I was leaning towards a lazy susan for the corner cabinet, but then I discovered this cool gadget called the LeMans II for storing pots and pans.


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The cabinets in our mudroom were also installed. These are painted maple MDF from Fina and the color is called Silver Moss. In here, we designed an L-shaped bench with cabinets above. The nook above the bench will have hooks for coats.


cnstrctn_wk21_offc_09_14The cabinets in the office match those in the mudroom. I designed a standing-height desk because I despise sitting in an office chair all day. The cabinet on the lower right will hold our printer and the adjacent cabinet contains two letter-sized file drawers – one for personal and one for business. There are also cabinets above, but this is when my camera battery died so there is no photographic evidence of those.

Some of the other major accomplishments this week:

  • Solar panels were installed on the roof for our radiant heating system.
  • The cedar siding around the front porch was completed.
  • Approximately 95% of the exterior siding is finished.
  • The drywall is around 50% complete.
  • Shingles were put on the roof.

That’s the kind of progress I expect to see every week from here on out!

Construction – Week 20

Week 20 has come and gone. If you’ve been following along from the beginning, you may remember that this entire remodeling project was scheduled to take 20 weeks and we were expecting to move in over Labor Day weekend. Well, that is clearly not the case. The new target is October 1st, but there is still a lot to be done! The construction site was a beehive of activity this week.


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress

It poured this week….in more ways than one. The new driveway, sidewalk and patios were poured, despite the rainy weather. The crew tented the area with tarps to keep the rain off the wet concrete until it cured. We had them do a broom finish to add some texture, then score a square pattern to help alleviate cracking. I designed the pervious driveway with rectangular cutouts to allow for groundwater recharge, which is a practice common in sustainable construction. I got a lot of resistance from our contractor when it came time to build the driveway, but I’m glad that I stood my ground. The rectangular spaces will be filled with either grass or river rock, we haven’t decided yet.


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress

Coincidentally, the maroon panels on the exterior started going up the same day as the first Aggie football game of the season. We couldn’t have timed that better! Gig’em! Jason was skeptical of the red color when I picked it out, but we’re both really happy with how it’s coming together. I think the exterior needed that bright pop of color to offset the gray and taupe siding.


Home Remodel – Living Room Progress

Inside, the burrito guys were busy taping and mudding drywall all week. The texture should go on this coming week, then paint will hopefully follow.


Home Remodel – Interior Progress

Numerous boxes containing our kitchen, bathroom, mudroom and office cabinetry were delivered. This is only half of them. The cabinet installation crew will begin this coming week and I’m so excited to see these spaces start to come together!

It’s still far from livable, but it’s looking more and more like a house every week. Fingers crossed for an October 1st move in!

Construction – Week 19

The excitement in our hood this week is that we have a mama bear and her two cubs (see photo) roaming the streets. Several neighbors have spotted them in their yards and one even reported that a bear broke through their garage window to eat the trash. If Goldilocks shows up, we’ll have a real life fairy tale!

In the meantime, here are a few photos of this week’s construction progress:


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress Work on the front porch continues….one. plank. at. a. time. It has to be the most painfully slow thing I’ve ever witnessed. The crew averages approximately 2 rows of boards per day.


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress The lap siding is almost finished, we just lack one wall of the garage. Red panels will go on the part that’s currently wrapped in Tyvek.


Home Remodel – Landscape Progress The landscaping crew from the town came out this week to plant two Honey Locusts to replace the Cottonwood trees they removed earlier this summer. They have plans to do more landscaping to this bed next spring. At some point in the near future we are going to need to replace the fence because it’s literally falling over. The projects are never-ending!


Home Remodel – Drywall Progress The insulation guys finished mid-week and then the drywall crew got to work. They made themselves right at home and even brought their own microwave as if they are planning to stay for awhile.


Home Remodel – Flooring Progress The concrete subfloors were poured over the radiant heat tubing on Tuesday before the drywallers began. The concrete has to cure for a month before we can seal them and lay the hardwoods on top. Clearly the drywall crew is not too concerned with cleaning up after themselves. They are too busy with more important things, like microwaving their frozen burrito snacks.


Home Remodel – Interior Progress This photo just shows what a disaster the interior is right now. I can not imagine living in a house during an extensive remodel like this one.

I’m fairly certain our bear friends would take one look inside and run for the forest! Maybe they would microwave a few burritos first.

Construction – Weeks 17 & 18

We spent the last week in Texas visiting family, so I’m a couple weeks behind updating the blog. While we were away, Jason and I both had nightmares about the house and were anxious to get home to see what had transpired while we were out of town. This is what we found:


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress

The siding on the front of the garage is complete, but there are still three sides of the house to go. The formwork is in place and ready for the driveway and walkways to be poured.


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress

The cedar siding is still going up around the front entry. We had expected this to be complete when we arrived home, but the contractor still has quite a bit of work to do. The good news is that the stucco is complete and looks amazing! The lighting is terrible in this photo, so I’ll have to snap a better one soon.


Home Remodel – Exterior Progress

Here’s another view of the stucco on the side of the house where it meets the lap siding.


Home Remodel – Garage Progress

The electrical rough-in is complete. We had to get a new electrical panel in the garage to accommodate the added load of the new addition. These bundles of wires are the “homeruns” leading from the panel to the rest of the house.


Home Remodel – Interior Progress

The interior currently looks like a scene out of a horror movie. The insulation guys put up creepy plastic sheeting up everywhere.


Home Remodel – Insulation Progress

They are beginning to spray the foam insulation on the ceiling. This was supposed to be complete by the time we arrived home so that drywall could start going up on Monday, but they are only about 50% done.


Home Remodel – Master Progress

In the meantime, the plumber has been busy laying the tubing for the radiant heat in the floors. The concrete subfloor will be poured on top of that, then the hardwood flooring will finish it off.


Home Remodel – Living Room ProgressThe framing is in place for our fireplace. We decided not to do a hearth or mantle right now, although we may add one in the future if we get the crazy urge to take on yet another project.

Although it was still on our minds the entire trip, it was really nice to get away from the house for a week! We needed a break!

Construction – Week 16

Week 16 brought some exciting exterior changes! It’s starting to feel like we’re inching closer and closer to the finish line. Obviously, I would like things to happen much faster than they are. Our appliances were originally supposed to be delivered this week but we had to call and reschedule for September because we’re not anywhere close to being ready for those. But each week the house looks more and more like the final product we envision, so that’s encouraging.


Home Remodel – Exterior Before and Progress Our new garage door was installed this week! What a difference! The glass is translucent so it lets a lot of light through but you can’t see inside of the garage. Let’s just hope that I don’t back the car into it! The cranky old man who lives next door has already informed me that he has some “concerns” with the style of our garage and front door. He is going to be a real treasure, I can already tell.


Home Remodel – Siding Before and Progress The Hardie siding finally started to go up on Friday. We’re really happy with the color we chose (Timber Bark). Depending on the light, it looks gray, brown or green. The stucco guys are supposed to begin on Monday. Fingers crossed, by the end of next week the exterior of the house will be totally transformed.


Home Remodel – Bathroom Sconce Templates I’ve spent countless hours researching and ordering lighting fixtures. This week I created paper templates of the fixtures and hung them up in each room to get a better idea of the scale and placement. These are the templates for the four long, vertical sconces in the master bathroom. I’ll have to do an entire post on light fixtures soon.


Home Remodel – Bathroom Recessed LightingThe electrical crew has been at the house for six days already and we have at least three more days to go. We’re upgrading most of the wiring throughout the old part of the house to meet code and adding some additional lighting and outlets where they were lacking before. Let’s just say I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about electricity through this process. At the end of the day, I couldn’t care less about volts or wattage or circuits. Just let there be light already! God had the whole light thing created by day four, so our little ol’ house shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Right?

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