Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11/25/2013 What next?


The big news from "The Farm With a View" is we have been given our occupancy permit from our local building inspector.  The visit went very well, and we were more than pleased by all his compliments on our work and craftsmanship.  That made so many of those late nights and long weekends feel much more worth it.  We now are in the process of not only continuing to work on it, but are moving household goods in while trying to clean out the old house. 

Sometimes I think the main purpose for building our own house is to serve as an example to others, how many things can possibly go wrong.  Previously I mentioned how as we were about to hang our microwave/range hood, we discovered that HVAC had mounted the vent duct too low in the wall.  After a little work, we opened the wall, corrected the too short duct, and sealed everything back up.  Last night we went to finish the installation.  Wall patched, holes drilled, brackets mounted, and finally appliance neatly hung in place.  It was beautiful.  I had even set the clock to the correct time.  Then I opened the door........or at least that was what I tried to do.  It only opened about 4 inches before it contacted the cabinet frame, where it stopped.  Yup, our cabinets were designed to make the microwave look built in, with panels that went down the full length of both sides.  It looked so built in that there was no room for the door to swing.  So, back to square one with removing the bolts, dropping the appliance back down and removing it from its frame.  After a short brainstorming session, we went back and made the appropriate marks, and with the help of one of my Dozuki saws and a straight edge, cut down the offending panel.  A small piece of trim matched perfectly with the newly sawn edge, plus a little stain to blend, and we went for attempt three.  This time it was a success, and the results are gorgeous.  Unless we confess as to the modification (which I believe is what I just did), you would not be able to tell the cabinets were not designed this way on purpose.

On to the finishing touch for our night.  The only spaces in the house that we were going to carpet were our walk-in closet, and the stairs going to the basement.  We decided at the last minute to also carpet the small (8X12ish) entry leading from the base of the stairs into the main basement.  Off this little entry area is the door to our cold storage room (also known as "the storm bunker").  Since the carpet was now going to run right up to this entrance, we decided we had better install the door before the carpet layers came the next morning.  What should have been a thirty minute job went two hours.  The contractor that did our rough work made the opening too tall, too wide, and slightly out of square, requiring us to build a new header and work much harder at installing than it should have been.  Imagine our consternation when the carpet layer arrived today and very nicely suggested we remove the door and redo it, only 3/8 inch higher.  His reasoning was sound because the exterior grade door leading into the room had a very low flat sill, and the carpet would have been higher and left a natural channel for dirt and debris to gather.  Since we want everything to be right and not cause us to have regrets later, we will be removing and starting over with the door this week.  The carpet layer will be back at a later date when we finish with the door and some trim that we need to finish around the stairs.

The end result after many many hours.

Here is the area we had to cut away and modify.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

11/19/2013 More tile


I think if I had a choice, (and only if there are no timeline pressures) I would much rather tile than paint.  We're finally down to the last portion of the house that needs tile, and we saved the biggest for last.  We (Debra?) decided in the 11th hour that our master bath would look better with the walls around the tub tiled all the way up to the window, and on three walls instead of just the back splash border we had originally planned on.  I resisted as much as I thought was safe, but ultimately gave in to some one who obviously has way more decorating sense than I do.  Now that I see what the finished product is going to look like, I'm very glad I did.  Although she did give me full permission to pick the rest of the bathroom finishes, I know I will never hear the last of some of my choices.;-)  Today I will finish the remaining two walls around the tub and get our access panel cut below the tub, prior to tiling the front.  Not sure if I'll finish all that today or not, but that is the plan.  After that, the biggest project of all, the walk-in shower.

Two  steps forward, one step back.  We were in the process of mounting our microwave/range hood the other day, when we discovered, much to our dismay, that HVAC  had mounted the external vent duct about four inches too low. :-(  The only way to tackle that was to open up the wall, add an extension, and close everything back up again.  Very disappointing, but what can you do?  We tried to think of any work-arounds to it, but in the end knew the only way to do it right was to tear it out and redo it.

Still need to finish two walls to the left and the front of the tub.  Then grout and move on to the the walk-in shower.

Cutting that hole in the kitchen wall (even though it will be hidden behind the microwave/hood) was a painful step.
Still needs grout, but almost complete.

Turned out better than we had hoped.  Am glad Debra overcame my objections on this tile job!

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15/2013 Ready for inspection


Well, we are closer, but still a long way to go.  We have what we believe are the necessary steps complete to satisfy the building inspector to let us have an occupancy permit.  With that final step, we can officially move in and start to prep the other house for sale while we continue to work on this one so we can finally close on our loan.  Since my last post we have finished wiring and wrapping the island, finished tiling our entryway, had our under cabinet lighting installed, had a landscaper bring in final fill material, and finished surfacing the fireplace front.  Still to do: Install carpet in the walk-in closet and on the stairs, finish building the shower in the master bath, tile the tub front and wall in the master bath, stain and install all the interior doors, stain and install all interior wood trim, set the mantle, hearth, and wall of stone on the fireplace, attach the faux rock on the outside of the chimney race, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch more.  We're very pleased and proud of all the things we've done on the house to date, but then we look at all the things we still have to do and it brings us back to earth pretty abruptly.

Seven LARGE dump truck loads of fill were brought in and rough sculpted to blend the house into the hillside and to take care of some erosion.  Also three loads of gravel to raise the driveway by the garage for proper drainage and repair some low spots left undone by a previous contractor.  Next Spring we will have some good black dirt brought in for plantings and final landscaping.
Finally closed up the fireplace wall in preparation for all the stone work we are going to do.  That also allowed us to finish attaching the rest of the fireplace parts, to include the door, so now we can safely have a fire in it!  This was the first fire of the year and the first in the new house.  All we had at hand were scrap cardboard and paper, but a fire is a fire when it's ceremonial only.

Final wiring and wrap to complete the Island.  This is officially my favorite place to sit while planning what to work on next. :)

This is the largest format tile we have worked on up to now.  these are 18X18 tiles and require much more care in making sure you have a level and properly prepared floor than the 6X6 and 12X12 tiles in the rest of the house.  Otherwise you are sure to have cracking and shifting somewhere down the road.