Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Counters, marmoleum & trim, oh my!

The counters were put down on top of the kitchen cabinets yesterday. Not the laminate, just the plywood that the laminate will go on top of, I mean. Even though it isn't the finished surface, it ties everything together nicely. Also, I don't think I pointed out before that the back of island was wrapped with a matching black-finished veneer. It's really looking nice.
Here's the workbench in the laundry room, which was started yesterday. Also in this picture you can see the marmoleum which was installed Sunday. This room is always going to feel sunny and cheerful, even on rainy winter days. Or nights, for that matter.
Here's the marmoleum in the upstairs bathroom. It's the same pattern as the laundry room. This pattern is great, not only is it pretty but it will hide all kinds of dirt!
A big stack of trim materials was delivered yesterday and piled up in the living room. It's wierd to think that it takes so much material to trim out a house, but I know that it will. The interior doors and closet doors were also delivered, and are stacked in the mudroom, ready to go.
I spoke to Mark a little bit ago, and he's out with the plumber measuring the height of the feet of the clawfoot tub, and they'll be getting that drain fitting finalized either today or tomorrow. I'll kind of miss being able to tell people that we decided to install an indoor litterbox for the cats when the spacer box with it's pea-gravel fill is removed from the bathroom floor and replaced with a drain and some quickcrete. Oh well. Hardly anybody fell for it anyhow.

Also, the painter is supposed to be on his way out to get started on the exterior! Stay tuned for more on that in the next few days...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Business

A lot of work got done this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, Joel and Chris came out and worked on sheathing the treated 4x4 posts as well as the exposed beams on the porch with finish lumber. This is in anticipation of possibly doing the exterior painting this week. Mark says that if it doesn't get done this week we'll probably have to wait until spring, because it's just getting too cold and wet. However, right now the sun is shining and the sky is clear, so maybe we'll be lucky enough to actually get it done this week. Fingers crossed!
On Friday some more of the fancy light fixtures went in. Here's Cary with the main fixture in the living room (affectionatly refered to as the "giant nipple light"):
And these are the pendant lights which hang over the (not yet built) bar countertop:
You can't tell from these pictures because the lights are on, but the shades are shaded from white to a beige/yellow which almost exactly matches the color of the wall. Maybe Robin knew they would be that way, but back when we picked out the lights & shades we hadn't even started to think about the paint color. So in my mind it's just a very happy accident that they coordinate so well. :)

On Sunday, Jim the flooring guy came out and put down the marmoleum in the upstairs bathroom and the laundry room. It looks lovely, but my camera ran out of batteries so no pictures yet. The downstairs bathroom floor still has to be finished where the spacer was left in it to allow for fitting the clawfoot tub drain pipe. You might remeber that when the foundation was poured, we didn't have the exact measurements for the tub (obviously we have them now, see the post below!). The plumbers haven't been back out to finish off the drain, so the floor still has a gravely space. I'm sure that it won't be long before that gets fixed, and Jim'll be back to do the carpet in a couple of weeks so he can put down the marmoleum then.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Clawfoot Tub Finished

At last! Here's Cary taking the masking off:
And here it is with the feet leaned up against it.
Doesn't it look wonderful? For perspective, here's what we started with, inside:
And outside:
Yeah, that took a little elbow grease, a few dollars, and several hours. (um, can you say understatement?) But it's worth it, to be able to say we did it ourselves.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong.

That's right, we have a doorbell now. It lights up, as you can see. Fancy. And what goes best with a doorbell? Why, a doorknob, of course!

The front door has been unwrapped, so you can see what it looks like with it's three little windows at the top. It will eventually be painted, but the color hasn't been decided yet. I'm leaning towards a dark redish-pumpkin color.

I now have a KEY, which is psychologically a HUGE thing. It's right here, on my keychain, reminding me that the house is real. Really, really, for reals REAL. And here is the lock the key goes to:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Going beyond the recessed can...

Yesterday Frank and Andy started putting up some of the "fancy" light fixtures. You know, the ones that aren't recessed cans? There are still a couple of cans to put in, such as the ones in the stairwell. We didn't get a lot of surface-mount fixtures, as they are quite a bit more expensive than the cans (which DO do the job just fine, albeit without much flair). The surface mount fixtures really add a nice touch though. This one, for instance, is located on either side of the sliding glass door in the sunroom. Rotated the other way around (so the shade points down) it will also serve as a wall sconce on the stairway. I love the little swoopy thing.
Here's its relative, the triple fixture, which is appearing above both bathroom vanities. You can't really see the finish very distinctly in either of these images, but they are (of course) oil-rubbed bronze.

Speaking of bathroom vanities, here's the one for the downstairs bathroom, which was installed yesterday. The upstairs one will look similar, although the dimensions are slightly different.
In the bedrooms, the window-seat cabinets were put in yesterday as well.
I'm really looking forward to someday spending rainy sunday afternoons curled up with a good book in one of these window nooks. Well, after we put down a nice thick cushion, that is.

I expect Frank and Andy finished up the rest of the fixtures today, with such fun stuff as the pendant lights that will hang over the bar, and the front porch light, and other good things. You'll just have to check back on Monday to see pictures of those. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something is Different...

Can you spot the exciting new house development in this picture? That's right, there's lights! Real, live electric lights that can be turned on and off with a switch! Of course, not all of the fixtures are hooked up, but I turned all the ones that were and went outside to take this picture:
Here they are, blazing away in the kitchen, showing off the cabinets very nicely.
Here are the black island cabinets in place. They'll look really striking with the black stove, I think. As you can see, there are no lights up yet in the living room... but I expect there will be by the time I get out there tonight.
Here's the laundry room, witht the maple cabinets. The washer and the dryer will go along that wall, beneath the row of cabinets. The cabinet in the corner is a lazy susan. The square box thing sitting on top of it is a stool, I think, that the cabinet guy is using to help with the instalation.
Here's the rest of the laundry room cabinets. There will be a 15" square utility sink in front of the window.
Not only are the lights hooked up in the utility room, but the fan is also operational, and there are switch plates on the walls. It's probably the most finished room in the house right now. I probably spent 10 full minutes standing there, switching the lights and fan on and off and on and off... :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Inside & Outside

More Progress on various fronts yesterday. Outside, the soffits were finished, with a neat little ventilating strip running all the way around the porch roof. It's a little metal grill, like a miniture register, set in a few inches from the outside edge of the eave. It looks good and is also very funtional.

Also, someone (probably Steve) started primering the fascia boards white. Obviously still a work in progress, but off to a good start.

Inside, the cabinet installation continues! The cabinet in the far right of this picture (the one with one door on) is the one that will support the kitchen sink. Out of the picture to the left is where the refridgerator will go.
These are the drawers that will go in the middle unit in the above pictures, among other places. They are currently stacked in the pantry. I think they are really striking, all stacked together like that, and you can really see how beautifully the paint color compliments the wood.
In other news, the fifth coast of porcelain/epoxy on the bathtub turned out beautifully. It's glossy, smooth and uniformly white - everything I wanted in a bathtub! It's still possible to see some spots where I didn't do a perfect job fixing some of the chips, but I can live with that. Considering what we started with and what we went through to get it back into shape, I think it's actually good that it doesn't look precicely perfect. I'd hate for anyone to mistakenly think I just toodled out to the store and bought a NEW tub like some kind of wuss. Nope, this tub's got character, and history, and no amount of restoration can cover that up. And it's a good thing, too!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cabinets! Woo! Woo!

That's right, the first kitchen cabinets were put into place yesterday. It's so exciting I could just hyperventilate! I remember back when we picked them out, and even when they were delivered, cabinetry didn't seem nearly as real or exciting as it does now that they are going in. This is SO MUCH FUN! It might be my favorite thing so far. Wheeeeeee!

Most of the cabinets are still in their boxes or just sort of stacked around the kitchen and living room, and the drawers and doors and stuff are all in the pantry, but a couple of them are actually in their spots. Cary and I had fun checking them all out last night, as you can see:
This is the full-height "pantry" cabinet. Isn't the wood on the door beautiful? To the left as you look at the picture is the counter/bar that opens out into the living room.
I'm not sure which of us is to blame, but our photo albums are FULL of pictures taken by Cary of me crawling into some little nook and then grinning like a maniac at the camera.
All of the cabinets have these stickers on them. Rick H, Jason, and Diane - thanks! We haven't opened all the boxes yet, but what I've seen so far looks great.
Here's one of the cabinets for the kitchen island, with the "distressed" black finish. It's still got it's protective straps and corner thingies on, but you get the idea.

I'm sure that when I get out there tonight more of the kitchen will have taken shape... And you can count on finding more pictures and excited blathering about them here tomorrow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Now Featuring Color!

That's right, the painter came out on Saturday and painted the entire interior of the house! I was pretty impressed, considering that a) he wasn't scheduled to come until Monday; and b) when he showed up Saturday morning the power was out. D'oh! Mark called at about 11:00 and told me about it, so I called a neighbor to find out if everyone's power was out or if it was just something wrong at our place. She confirmed that the power had been out for about 20 homes in our area since 6 am, but that the power company said it'd be back on by noon or one. Since Cary and I had been planning to head out there anyway to put the finishing touches on the clawfoot tub (more on that in a minute) I told Mark we'd let him know when/if the power came back up. So, the power came back on about 1:15, I called Mark, he called the painter, and about 45 minutes later he was on the job. Cary and I didn't even get a chance to meet or talk to him, he was inside spraying paint so fast! We had to leave before he finished (Grandma Joy was serving apple pie at 2:30 - couldn't miss that) but we came back on Sunday to have a look. All the windows are still masked off with plastic so the lighting is a little wierd/dark, but here are the first shots of our house in COLOR:

This is the color that most of the house is painted, seen here in the sunroom.

Here's Cary in the front bedroom. All the bedrooms are done in this light grey-green color, which is very calming and restful. Behind him you can see the warm yellow of the stairwell through the open door.

Here are the actual empty cans left by the painter, which is about the only place you can really see both colors side-by-side. I think this picture also gives the truest sense of the colors. Like I mentioned above, with the windows still masked off (and painted over) the light inside is dim and tinted.

Now that the paint is done, they'll strip off all the masking and then start placing the cabinets. I can hardly wait!

Oh, and about the bathtub: we put a 3rd and 4th coat of the porcelain/enamel on the inside over the weekend. We're finally starting to get a good smooth finish that covers all the dings, runs, and dark spots. There is enough left in the spray can to do one last coat tonight, and then I think we'll be done! Also, I did the feet with a metalic dark bronze paint, which I think looks really nice and which I hope will match the oil-rubbed-bronze finish on the faucet and drain hardware. I'll get some more pictures up on the site here once the 5th (and Final - Yay!) coat is dry...

Siding Finished

On Friday the siding was finished, and it's just beautiful.
They also started putting the hardypanel stuff up on the underside of the porch roof. Looks like there'll be a day or so more of that, and finishing the soffits. There's a bit more exterior trim work to be done, and some more shingles to put up, but feels really good to be so close to being finished. Fingers crossed that the weather will remain good, and we'll get the painting done too!

Friday, October 20, 2006


Yesterday the texturing went on the walls. However, after several attempts to photograph it I had to just give up and admit that little white bumps on a white background just don't really make for exciting images. Plus they're hard to get in focus. The 2nd coat of primer was scheduled to go on this morning, and if the painter's schedule allows they were going to try and come back in the late afternoon and put on the color! That would sure be exciting. If it doesn't work out though, they'll do it on Monday.

Which means that by Tuesday or so the cabinets will start going into place. Frank and Andy are scheduled to come mid-week and do the electrical finish work. Cabinet installation will take a week or maybe a little more, and then the floor coverings will start going in. Actually, that may start before the cabinets are finished. Mark says this is the calm before the storm and next week things will really start to hop!

Nothing has happened on the siding front this week, presumably because it's been pouring down rain the whole time. I wouldn't want to be going up and down a ladder carying peices of hardiplank up to the roof in the rain either. But today the sun has come back out and they're supposed to be out there with a full crew to finish it all up. There'll be a bit of trim work left for Steve to take care of next week still, but mostly it should be done today, according to Mark. The exterior paint is still a little bit of a question, it's going to be a bit tricky to work that in with the rainy season starting up. Worst case scenario, we may have to leave the painting until next spring, but that's not really so bad - I could live with that, if it comes to it. Still, though, I'm holding out hope for a few dry days...

Speaking of weather, the coolest site is http://www.bellcold.com/bhambaycam.html. It's a feed from a camera on the roof of the cold storage building looking out over the marina and the bay. They've also got a little animation of the last hour's worth of pictures. Since I work in the next valley over (Skagit) the weather can be pretty different between the office and home! I check the pictures on the baycam to see what to expect before I head home at the end of the day. :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Light Fixtures Delivered

Nothing much happened yesterday, except that the light fixtures were delivered. I had fun looking at the pictures on the boxes. It's been since early July, I think, that I picked them out. There's no way I would have been able to pick them out of a line-up! But luckily I still like them all. :)
It's amazing to think that it's only been 4 months since we broke ground on the driveway (June 15th). We've sure done a LOT since then.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Siding at Sunset

Sunsets this time of year are amazing. This picture doesn't do it justice at all, but it DOES show that the siding is almost done! There's just the the front gable face left to go, and that probably got finished today. Well, there's also one wall still to shingle, the west side of the entry/mudroom (around the corner to the right as you go in the front door). Then the porch ceiling soffits need to be closed up, and I think at that point we'll be ready for exterior paint!

Interior Primed

Last Thursday (Yes, I've gotten a little atrasado. I have many good excuses, but I won't bore you with them here.) The first coat of Primer was done on the interior drywall. I was lucky enough to actually catch the guys still working on it when I showed up about 6:00 pm, so I ducked my head inside and got an action shot:
The two fellows from Van Beek Drywall who were doing the primering took a break and talked to me for a few minutes. Friendly guys, I beleive their names were Thomas & Rusty. (I should have written your names down. Appologies if I got them wrong!) Like most of the tradespeople I meet and talk to about my house, they commented on how small it is - it seems pretty big to me, but the trend around here in new construction, especially custom, is for MUCH larger places. People just can't seem to wait to buy 5 acres in the country and build a 4 acre house on it. Well, I'm exagerating there, but 3000+ sq. ft. seems to be the average these days. Personally, I'd rather have extra room outside for some more fruit trees and berry bushes.

So, enough of me ranting, back to the pictures. Here's what the interior looks like now, after the primer has dried. It's a bit spooky, everything being uniformly white.
And having the windows still all masked off is a little wierd too. Makes the rooms feel small and kind of stuffy. But that will all change when the masking comes down...
The Texturing coat was supposed to go on Saturday, but the machine broke down. So it's been sent down to Seattle for repairs and we don't know exactly when it will be back in action. The painter was scheduled to come today, but unfortunately Robin had to call and cancel. We've been really really lucky though, I suppose we were due for some kind of a setback. Hopefully it won't be too long of a delay. Probably just a couple of days.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Siding Goodness

The south and wast sides of the house are both finished now! They didn't add any more siding to the front yet, because they will need to move the scaffolding first. But maybe today. I don't know why exactly but I'm all fired up to see the front of the house with all the siding on. It's especially wierd when you consider how imprssive the view from the SW corner is:
The east side was started yesterday as well. I suspect that cutting all the shortie pieces for all the dormer faces will be slow and tedious. Sorry guys!
Notice anything funny about the windows in the above picture? Maybe a little darker and more opaque than usual? It's masking! That's right, they started masking off the interior of the windows with plastic in preparation for painting. Here's a shot from the top of the stairs, showing the masking as well as the results of the last couple weeks of mudding and taping and sanding.

There's also butcher paper stuffed up into the recessed can fixtures, and taped over the stovepipes and doorframes and things. Not everything was masked off yesterday, but they made a good start. I'm not sure if the painting will actually start tomorrow, but it's nice to see things moving to the next step. I've been trying hard to stay excited about the drywall mudding & taping process, but frankly it's gotten kind of boring. I guess I've gotten pretty spoiled by how fast everything else has happened. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Curved Window Trim

The siding started going up on the front of the house yesterday! Not that it hasn't been exciting to see the west wall finished, and the work they've done on the south wall as well, but this is the front! Of course, it's not done yet but I have high hopes for what I'll see when I get home from work today.
In order to side the front wall they had to trim around the curved half-circle window. I have to admit I've been wondering how they would do that. I just kept forgetting to ask Mark about it. I knew it could be done - it seems like every other new house I see has this sort of window on it somewhere - but I just didn't know how it would be done. Would they painstakingly warp a trim board with clamps and pegs, the way my mom's grape arbor was made? Would it be a pre-fab peice of synthetic trim that was factory shaped to the exact curvature of the window? Well, yesterday I climbed out on the porch roof and got the answer: they cut a bunch of small curved segments out of the regular trim board, and set them together to follow the arc of the window. I love it when the solution turns out to be so beautifully simple.
You can see that the grain of the trim stays horizontal all the way around the window. When you're right up close to it, you can see that the arc has a few little wobbles in it, but from a few feet away (not to mention from the ground) it looks perfect. All the joints - both between the trim peices themselves and between the trim and the window - are all sealed up with caulk. Once it's all painted over I'm sure it'll be impossible to tell that the trim is made up of several segments.

Inside, the sanding of the drywall looked to be nearly complete. Almost all the boxes of mudding compound and most of the tools have been taken away, so they can't have that much more to do! Someone (Mark?) had gone through and circled a few spots with a pencil, like a teacher circling misspelled words in an essay. Presumably these are places where a little more mud or sanding is needed. I suspect they'll take care of those spots today, and then we'll just have to clean up and then mask everything off in preparation for PAINT!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The knobs and drawer pulls for all the cabinets are here! I really like them, they not only look good (imho) but they also have a really nice feel to them. The little knobs for the cupboard doors are nice and heavy (they must be solid) and they just fit right in my hand. The drawer pulls are lighter and thinner but don't feel cheap or chintzy. Both of course in the "oil-rubbed bronze" finish that we're using on everything metal. I like it for it's warm, not-too-shiny but not completely matte finish, it always looks good but doesn't shout "look at me!" the way chrome or brushed nickel does. Allen came over last night to let me know that there was a package waiting for me (UPS delivered the knobs to his house 'cause nobody lives at mine, yet), and of course he wanted to have a look at the progress on the house. It'd been a while since he'd visited, so there was lots to see. Also, my friend Toni came out for her first-ever visit to the house (though she's heard all about it, carpooling with me to work all summer. Toni is a very patient listener!). The three of us had a nice time taking the grand tour.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Digitally Painted Siding

So you know how in my last post I instructed you to imagine that the siding was painted Bronze Green? How archaic! We've got computers now, so I can digitally paint the house. Here it is: the latest picture of the west side of the house (notice they got more done on Friday) with the paint color photoshopped onto the siding. Looks pretty sweet, doesn't it?
Inside, the mudding was finished up and left to dry over the weekend. Here's a picture of Cary examining the mudding in the window arch pop-up in the bedroom. It really is turning out nicely. One of the best mistakes I've ever made. :)According to Mark the sanding began today. I'm not sure if they can do the whole thing in one day or if it will take a few, but it won't be too much longer anyhow. If all goes well we should be painting (or at least primering) the interior by the end of this week! Mark says it will take less than a week to do all the painting & texturing, and then after that the cabinets can go in, along with other interior finish work, like the flooring and the electrical fixtures.