Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mon, ce qu'une belle porte que vous avez ! *

There have been incremental fixes and finishes happening over the last month. In the construction industry, we would say the project has reached "Substantial Completion for Beneficial Occupancy."  Which means you can use it for its intended purpose.  What we're doing now would be considered "punch list" items.  I'm getting the feeling this could go on for a long time.  In other words, we will never be done.

Nevertheless, L continues to work on door and window trims and fine-tuning much of the finish work.  Today, he was THIS close to finishing the trim on the French door,  only to find out the last piece did not quite fit.  This will need final paint and the final piece of trim, but it looks very good.  I should get better pix than this, which was at dusk and so hard to gauge light value with the camera.

The contrast and workmanship is very clear on the close-up shot. I am loving the way these dark trimmed bits make the doors and windows POP.

The rain chain has been completed and attached to barrel. L chose the lotus shaped rain cups and I think it works very well.

It seemed that as soon as we put up the rain chain, it was tested. With buckets of rain. Buckets. One might even say, barrels.  The chain was whipping around in the wind so much, L had to find a way to secure it vertically.

I thought this would be awkward, but it's about 7 feet up so I don't even see it.  Since these pix were taken, L has planted some sweet potato vines in the cutout at top of barrel. Hopefully, they will grow down and around the barrel.

That's all for this report. It might be a while before there's another.

* (My, what a lovely door you have!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Housewarming, Misc bits

We did the (first?) housewarming on March 20, and it went better than I could have imagined.  The house was "clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy" as the saying goes.  We did put in some extra effort, but some areas simply aren't done and we weren't going to worry about them.  I think we ended up with at least 50 people all told and I think at one point we must have had at least 30 at one time.  It was crazy and exhausting, but I loved it.

Elizabeth stepped up to the plate, figuratively and literally, and took care of the food table, refilling drink coolers, veggie trays, at one point running out to Plaid Pantry for more mayo and mustard.  She was a trooper and she even cleaned up afterwards while I relaxed and visited with relatives.  She took the kitchen from after-party disaster to model home in 45 minutes.


In other news, L got the new rain chain and barrel. He set up a place for barrel, with pavers and retaining wall, and one length of chain (which will eventually need to be 2 stories long).  Then, within hours of him doing this work, we entered a period of about 48 hours of nonstop rain. Talk about timing.  The rain "cups" on chain are a little different and I'm glad because they add a little character to the back porch.

 One thing that was mentioned, uh, a couple times, was that there were no house numbers displayed. At some point, we took down the old ones and never put the new ones up.  The substitute mailman was not pleased, nor were a couple souls trying to locate house for party.  We downloaded some Celtic-y fonts on Sunday and within a couple days L had a wonderful, painted customer house number sign posted on the house.  Don't you love it?  I told him that not EVERYTHING needed a Celtic or Irish flavor and he said he wanted the sign to hint at the style within the house.  Once again, I think he hit a home run.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Home Stretch

Wow, it's been over a month. Things don't FEEL like they are slowing down, but the construction is definitely.  L has been working on baseboards and trim and some landscaping, but there's not much clever to say about any of them.

We got 4 "hellebores" plants which are going in front of porch landing.

We got some primroses to put in immediately behind the retaining wall.  L thought they looked a little lonely, so after this pix was taken, he went and got 10 more.

We tried out some curtains for Front window; they are still a "wait-and-see" - they do block more light than I expectd, but the color is a dead ringer for the red couch, and I like the spare square pattern.  It makes for a very dramatic look after not having trim on the window for so long; it just looks really polished.

We are getting rid of the old kitchen appliances; the dishwasher left about 10 days ago.  I worked several hours on old fridge, and I'm not even sure that I should show you the CLEAN pix.  The gaskets were the WORST. OMG, how does stuff even get IN there?  You can be sure I went to check the gaskets on new fridge after that.  The oven in stove needs to be cleaned, and the microwave is probably in pretty good shape (once we get the big stuff out and I can reach back there).
Finally, gratuitous cat pix.  Eiko is growing like a weed, from just under 4 lbs December 5, to nearly 8 pounds now.  We have taken to locking her up and giving Joe a 5-minute headstart on the kibble because he needs to gain some weight, and he's been way too paternal and caregiving to push her out of the way when she dives into his food.  We think "Eiko" is actually Japanese for "belly with legs."
As you can see, she eventually forgives us.

Housewarming is in less than 2 weeks.  We won't be at 100% but I figure we never will be, so at some point you gotta sit down and drink beer.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some of the fiddly bits

First off - weird thing with font colors. I emailed draft and then finished it on the blog site. It won't let me change the font universally. Weird.

One of Eiko's new favorite places. As she gets bigger, it's gonna be harder to turn around. I also think she likes it because she knows Joey can't follow her up there.

We're down to the nitty-gritty, the finishing bits. However, I think these are exactly the things that will demonstrate the house is not "builder-grade", not standard, but special. Pride of ownership is very big, and the extra touches are not for the house sale - that's 15 to 20 years from now. They are because we deserve finished. We deserve beautiful. And L has done a spectacular job

This shows the trim that will eventually be on all the windows and doors, but also to show the lovely warm color in the kitchen.

This is the baseboard at edge of French door. I love how the dark accent trim defines each area.

The base shoe is not attached yet but this is what it will look like.

The additional baseboard treatment at arches. Provides extra protection, looks good and hides the non-levelness you can encounter with old houses.

What L's been working on for the last two weeks. It's really well-done with excellent finishing details.

The curved base pieces, called corbels, were pre-carved and about $40 each. The rest of it is built from scratch, plywood, bits of molding round the edges. He designed, assembled, stained and varnished it.

These are the sort of finishing details that set it aside from "builders grade" - standard stuff in new homes. The trim above and below the shelf itself.

And, oh yes, the French doors. After 15 years, they have a finished edge around them, and it really makes the doors POP.

Yes, it's shameless promotion. I've never been so proud and amazed at the workmanship L put into this project. I hope sooner or later, he stops long enough to relax and enjoy it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We make fire. Fire good.

Especially in the wet, wicked, windy winter. Actually, it was kind of mild when I went out this morning, but that doesn't have the same ring to it.

After several delays, which were frustrating and annoying, we have a fireplace. Not only do we have a fireplace but L has redone all the damaged sheetrock, redone the texture, repainted, etc. We have a template for the small mantel that will go above said fireplace. Life is good.

In other news, we have discovered a heretofore undiscovered feature of the new dishwasher. Apparently, it cleans or at least entertains pets. As tempting as this was, they do perform other services, like double-teaming on security detail, or possibly central heating.

L has started work on the baseboards and trim. Everything will be custom and I think it will all look very special, judging from the bits he's completed so far. These are the special baseboards that will be done at base of arches.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Terrific tile and taupey walls

Several of you have already seen the Celtic tiles in place, but here are the official pix.

We are beside ourselves with how well they turned out, how well the colors "go", it was just marvelous. In fact, the Contractor that installed them - he also did other tilework in the house, plus all the framing and hardwood floor installation (someone else did the finishing), came by the day after Christmas to photograph them for his portfolio. It looks that good.

EDITED TO ADD: I should source the tiles: http://www.earthsongtiles.com - a small studio in British Columbia. The pricing on tiles was amazing and they absolutely turn the Kitchen from functional into the centerpiece of the remodel.

I started this post on New Year's Eve, but it's taken me a couple days to get around to finishing it - I'm not sure what day will timestamp on this, but I might see if I can figure out how to correct it.

We finally painted the Kitchen (what little wall there IS in Kitchen) and Dining Room. The color is a taupey color, which supposedly has a hint of green, but I don't really see it yet. Walls have been sitting with white primer on them for months and there was already smudges etc. The paint instantly warmed up the room by removing the sterile white. It's actually pretty subtle on-camera, and a little more noticeable in person. I don't know that you can really pick it up in the before-and-after pix. Maybe if you double-click to open up the pix...

Eiko was helping by trying to hit a paintbrush, catching a painted wall instead and leaving tiny little tracks on the tile. She then had an immediate footbath, which apparently she did not enjoy in the slightest.

Finally - I'm not sure how these are gonna work online. These are panorama shots of the before and after of the kitchen (this was before we did the painting). I don't know if you can scroll across to see the whole thing or not. One of them for some reason is a lot shorter than the other so they don't compare straight across. I may try this again.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OMG, P art 1

Craig came in to start the tile work today. This will probably happen over a period of 3 days. Today was finalizing layout, measuring, centering design, etc. but he did get started on actual tiling, and you can see how it's coming together.

The full-on view. There is cardboard template where the centerpiece design will go.

A little closer view. Craig really liked the small border tile. Maybe because it comes in square-foot sheets and you don't have to mud them in separately LOL. Or, maybe he just liked it. I saw these months ago and loved them.

This is the transition from the "normal" wall to the centerpiece section. The dark "pinstripe" is not black but a dark green. It might look greener in natural light. As today was the Winter Solstice, it's been dark when I leave and dark when I get home.

Finally, the full closeup of transition from countertop to wall. Of course, they still need to be grouted, but I love the color mashup, how it all goes together.

He will probably finish on Wednesday, and by then the fireplace insert guy will be here but they'll be in separate areas of the house.

I just love this. And that we'll have a finished kitchen to show to the family on Christmas.