Picture above: Here is the desk off of the kitchen. I have decided to top it in the same Caesar Stone I will put on the kitchen counters. The upper cabinets will be covered with doors and are deep enough to store my printer, freeing up the top of the desk of everything but my monitor so that I will have space to lay paper and write. The cabinet below will store my hardrive. There will be lighting mounted flush under the upper cabinets and a corded wall phone mounted on the wall on the left - the one in the house that will work even when the power is out. The guys will create several tunnels through the wall into the pantry so that all my computer/printer cords can be organized in there and out of sight. And not underfoot!
Picture above: The bannister made by hand by the builders.
Picture above: Master bedroom with finished ceilings! looking through master bath and into the closet.
Picture above: Master bath counter tops. I wanted something seamless and shiny and white to match the tubs and toilets. I went with the cultured marble from Lowe's and while I had no fewer than five nightmares that they didn't fit, they did! And I am really happy with them.
Picture above: Can you believe it? Flooring! Not only have I finally committed to something but I LOVE it, it was UNDER budget ($2.77/square foot), and some is even installed! It is a SwiftLock laminate from Lowes.
Picture above: The master closet is finished except for a small piece of trim that will finish the molding around the floor. Ray built the custom closet system after a quick consult with me and it is so nice. The shelves on the right will serve as the bathroom storage for towels and such. The thought of filling the rest of the space neatly with our things AND having space for it all is so exciting.
Picture above: Here is Ava's cultured marble counter top. Perfect fit! And, yes, that is a shell sink.
What? She really loves the ocean.
Picture above: This morning they laid the floor in her room and closet.
Here is one of the windows in Jack's room. I had fifteen or so lights in various spots throughout the house that I wanted to match and be relatively simple and inexpensive. I found the school house-esque ceiling mount at Lowe's for $30.00 a piece and was thrilled to death.
No stone progress this past week. Here's hoping for Monday!
Um, I've fallen a bit behind with the blogging. I really have nothing to say for myself except that it must have something to do with a computer that will not cooperate. Or the fact that I have had 67 house decisions to make every single day. Or that I have spent nearly all of my free time in home stores or plumbing warehouses or on the road somewhere in between. Or that I went from walking over each evening and finding nothing to report to finding lots and lots of progress and feeling overwhelmed about what to photograph first in the quickly fading light of day.
Or this sweet baby I am making. (Second trimester!)
Or a particularly exciting recent development.
Or that school is out and glorious summer is here.
But I am not complaining just explaining. I am thrilled to death with the house and things have been going so well - house building and baby growing.
Here's some of the latest:
The house is white and I love it!
The roof is nearly complete. They had to stop there near the middle to wait for the stone to arrive so that they could bring the chimney through the roof before laying the tin around it.
it is here and waiting. Rumor has it they will start laying it on Wednesday.
Picture above: pantry entrance
Picture above: pantry looking left The same shelves are on the right .
Picture above: Here are the tile I chose for the kitchen and pantry floors after a very, very long search. They are made to resemble the clay tiles in old Italian farmhouses. The tile felt right but I could not for the life of me decide between the light or dark. Then I had an idea. I have always loved the old black and white checkered tile kitchens but would never be THAT bold but I could checker these two colors on the diagonal and have a similar, more subtle effect. I will use the 3x6 wall tile for the back splash.
Picture above: the dining room ceiling, still to be painted Beautiful.
Picture above: master bedroom ceiling
Picture above: laundry room
Picture above: Master Bath In real life the paint isn't the least bit green (It's a really light cream) and the wallpaper is breathtaking and not at all pink (more gold). I just couldn't capture it, Becca. So sad.
Frank, however, is exactly like that in real life.
Picture above: view into water closet The floors are perfect. I love them so. I have decided to put them in the laundry room, too.
Picture above: wallpaper detail So sweet. This wallpaper is the most delightful thing I have come over to find yet. I am already regretting that I didn't have the time to find more wallpaper for Jack and Ava's bedrooms.
Picture above: vanity wall
I can't believe we have come this far.
We are slowly getting there!
The bead board has been installed in Jack's bedroom. I had them finish the top with a two (three?) inch ledge instead of just a trim piece. It looks wonderful plus you can use it to lean pictures and such against the wall or to sit tiny horse or zebra or giraffe or rhinoceros figurines and anyone that knows Jack can tell you that will tickle him to death.
The white primer is so soothing and beautiful that I am almost scared to walk in the room the first time after they paint. Choosing paint was so hard for me and I have a history of never liking paint when it first goes up even if I come to love it later. They are painting now, the first coat is on in most rooms and walking over in the evening has a new touch of fear to it. I am fairly certain that painting is my least favorite part. I'll let you know how many I got right and how many I didn't. I am hoping for at least 50/50!
The rain. Our little pond is breaching the levee as we speak and Hillsboro Road is completely covered in several places. Today is so dark and stormy the guys can't work at all AND rain is predicted every day this week. We need several sunny days to stain the outside and install the metal roof. In the meantime, I am officially needing wood floors. Decision time has come.
A window is framed! And this may not feel like big news, but it is one of the only bits of non sheet rock progress we've had in weeks.
That sheet rock is quite a job. Let's see, first they hung the sheet rock. Then they taped the seams. Then they mudded the tape, screws, and nail heads. Then they sanded it. Then they reinforced all the corners with metal stripping. Then they taped and mudded again. And sanded again. Then they primed the walls. Then they sprayed a light texture on all the walls not to be wallpapered. And that is where we are now.
When I pulled up last night at 10:00pm (loooong day) to unload the fans and lights I had purchased (yes!), I walked through the house with a flashlight and...as far as I could tell...I think...all the walls and ceilings are finished!!!! That means a) exciting stuff begins next week and b) I really have to make a final decision on paint and wallpaper THIS WEEKEND. And let me say, these are decisions I should have made a long time ago. I was funny about wanting to wait to make a lot of the decisions about the finishing part of the house until the time I could actually buy them and bring them home, partly because my plan seemed to change frequently (once the house is finished I should probably never look at another home decor magazine again) and partly because a lot of the products are so fickle. Like tile (the worst)! And flooring. And even appliances. And having an entire plan built around something that is all of the sudden discontinued is heart wrenching.
BUT, paint and wallpaper for the most part does not fall into this category. Most are around for years and years. I've said this before but it is so hard to know where to start with the design of a room. Like the bathroom, for instance. I wanted to choose tile THEN wall color. But if you wait for the entire house this way, all of the sudden you have a lot of decisions to make fast.
The good news is, I finally have a plan coming together and though it started out as a hopeless mess, I am starting to feel pretty good about it all. The thought of having all these paint/wallpaper decisions behind me is so exciting.
But back to the window. I was thrilled with them. So simple and perfect. This window in Ava's closet is the only one complete but I noticed all of the other windows pieces are cut and primed and waiting to be installed.
There is our super wonderful claw foot bathtub.
It is sealed in a wooden crate and stored in JD's secret room under the stairs for "safekeeping". Personally, I think they are just trying to torture me. One evening, when Ava and I didn't think we could stand it another day, we lifted off the lid, climbed in, and sat. We giggled and lounged and died of anticipation of the first bath.
Then we put everything back just so.
And did it all again the next day.
Remember the porch rails that Ray mistakenly made perpendicular when the plans called for horizontal? And remember how I told him that they were fine, then looked at the plans and decided that I actually liked them better the other way?
Well, I had decided to let it slide. They were already in and I wasn't sure that it would matter enough to have it changed. But then I saw my sister-in-law over Easter weekend and she made no bones about it - the rails HAD to be changed, for the sake of all that is good in the world, elsewise she couldn't bear to come visit.
I couldn't have that. She is my ONLY friend who I can talk homemade laundry detergent with. Becca always changes the subject to Disneyland.
So, I told Ray that I did want them like the rendering after all and now we have this.
The fake supports still need to go.
So much better! I owe you one, Melony!!
It looks much more substantial.
Here are the rails on the back porch. I am loving the super wide steps.
This is the only new development. Sheetrock is quite a job but they seem to be nearly finished. They have promised me that once that part is complete things will pick back up.
Sadly, things are going v e r y s l o w l y now. Alvin has only been working a half crew hanging and floating sheet rock because we are waiting for the right weather to do what we are really waiting on - stain the exterior, install the metal roof, and lay the stone. I can not wait for all of that.
I walk over every afternoon with my camera in tow but everything looks about the same. Finally today we had a little excitement. The plumber had come and installed the kids bath tubs and fixtures.
Picture above: Ava's bath. And it works!
A confession: These tubs were delivered on Monday. I watched the truck pull in and saw them being unloaded and carried inside. That evening I could not wait for the guys to leave so we could run over and see them, partly because Jack and Ava were so excited (we take our baths VERY seriously around here) and partly because I had never laid eyes on the tubs. Alvin had ordered them himself. I had not chose them - something I agreed to then worried about for two months. I hadn't given him any direction at all beyond the color (white) because he had said that they are all basically the same but really they are not - something that occurred to me as we waited for them week after week after week. If I had known it would take that long (Alvin says it was very unusual) I would have definitely went myself.
But I didn't and now here I was standing in Ava's bathroom ...crying. Tears. Embarrassing, I know but the tub was so small! I seemed shallow and narrow and small. And, yes, they are kids bathrooms but kids grow up! Kids can be 6'3" - just ask JD. That night I sent JD a pathetic email about the tragedy and went to bed.
But that was Monday and today I am back to normal. Everything is okay. Exchanging them is technically an option (though I never mentioned any of the saga to Alvin) but only in the most dire circumstances and this situation is not dire. The tubs are a reasonable, normal size, made by an excellent manufacturer that will most certainly get the job done and save on electrical cost to boot.
Besides, downstairs there is the most fantastic tub in the universe should anyone need a serious bath and it just happened to come on Monday, too. (More about that later.)
Picture above: Jack's bath
The good news is that I love the Delta fixtures (so nice) AND we have one more shower to redeem them all.
Can you see it?
On the wall there?
It's the outdoor shower!
Not meant exactly for showering outdoors in the nuuuuuude, but for the prewash the kids, hubby, dogs, and okay, occasionally myself needs before entering the house. No more hosing the kids (and, ahem, hubby) down with freezing cold water! And for bathing dogs (which we do a lot) - what could be better?! There is hot and cold water so you can use it year round. No more Frank in the kids tub! He's a cold weather weenie. He has no coat. :(
This particular fixture isn't exactly what I had envisioned either. I did pick it out myself but the options are extremely limited when you are buying in stock from a showroom, even one like Home Depot where this came from. I wanted, maybe, a rubbed bronze finish with the old timey hot/cold knobs, but no. The main problem was that it was plumbed for a two handle fixture and even after going to three places my only option was this or the plastic/crystal knobs. No one stocks much in the way of two handle knobs because of the increasing popularity of the one handed control, which I think would look odd outside. But I think it looks fine and it will blend in even better once the cedar is stained white.
We will have Alvin insert a little o-ring into the mortar in the rocks that will cover the cinder blocks below the cedar so we can connect a leash. We also plan to plop a big Arkansas stone along the house below the shower. Local stone yards sell them about four or five inches thick and in 2x3'ish or 3x4'ish slabs that are perfectly flat on top. Too exciting!
And it works!
One of the things I have been most anticipating is the installation of the porch floors and they are finally here!
They are white because they have been primed. We will paint them.
They are tongue and groove so nothing can collect between the slats nor can bugs or flies come up between them on the screened porch.
I walked over yesterday evening and was thrilled to see that they had nearly finished the front porch but later that night Ray called and asked ifI noticed that he had messed up. He had made traditional perpendicular slats but if you look up to my banner up top you'll see that the plans called for horizontal rails. I told him I had not noticed and that I didn't think that it made any difference to me. He also said that this way can be best because with the horizontal rails the boards tend to bow and it is very obvious.
BUT after we hung up I pulled out my set of plans and I really like the horizontal rails more. I think. Do you? I do know that I don't really care for the faux support pieces at the top of the center post. I will have him remove them.
But the floors sure are nice.
Blame JD. He is so exhausting with his energy and ideas. When he is home we are so busy it is nearly impossible to sleep, much less blog but can you blame him? I apologize for not updating but at least I am consistently inconsistent.
BUT, although a lot of time has passed, nothing too visually exciting has been going on. For the past few weeks, it has been all sheet rock, plumbing, wiring, and duct work so it seems like things have really slowed down but it is all necessary, important stuff. It just doesn't make great pictures.
Here is the latest.
Picture above: The finished window boxes. I love them.
Picture above: The view from the middle window.
Picture above: Screened porch. The plywood floors are temporary, of course. The outer walls will be finished and screened and the kitchen wall to the left will be covered in stone.
Picture above: Exterior doors are in! Front door. I chose a solid wood style because I like to be able to cover all windows at night and didn't want to have to worry with awkward door window coverings. Deciding what color to paint it will no doubt be one part thrilling and one part torture.
Picture above: Kitchen door to screened porch.
Picture above: Great room double door to back porch.
Picture above: Laundry room door to back porch. So, these doors - I worried to death that I wouldn't like them but I do! I went with the enclosed blinds because I love a door with lots of glass but there are no good options for covering them. The mechanism works so well. You can raise and lower the blind and open and close them to any degree. As to whether they hold up well, only time will tell.
Picture above: In the evening, the light through the dining room windows is amazing. By the time the sun sets it covers the entire great room floor and out through the french doors.
Picture above: Ava's room. Well, unless the baby is a boy. Then we might have to make this the boy's room.