Siding Decisions - finally!!

Progress continues pretty quickly on the framing at our house. The decisions are coming fast and furious now. We have finally settled on Hardie plank siding (fiber cement board) in cedar mill, 6" visible width in timber bark. We decided to go with a darker color to stay in the same dark shade of our brick and also to provide a good contrast with our trim which is a medium tan color. I didn't want anything which was close in color to the trim because the windows wouldn't stand out as much. Hardie has a 15 year warranty on its pre-painted siding so we want to like this color for a long time to come. It took me about 3 weeks to come to a final decision although I had been considering the possibilities for the past few months. I do have some concerns about it being a tiny bit too dark but I really like the pictures I have seen of it used on other houses. It's also a change from the medium tan that I almost always choose for everything!

The next round of decisions involve the kitchen cabinets... more on that to come.


Walls are up!

The walls for the first and second floor are pretty much up. It looks great and we are really excited to see the progress. Next is the stairwell and roof trusses, then windows and doors, and the breakthrough between the old and new house. Jim Cole hopes to have the house "dried in" by the end of next week which means a lot of work next week but there should be lots of progress to show off. Lots of new pictures in the slideshow on the right.


Renovation: House Framing Begins!

Today framing on the house began which is a huge step. The sill plates are now bolted to the foundation, and the floor joists have been installed for about 3/4 of the first floor. More pictures posted under construction photos.

We are making our final decisions on both shingles and siding. We are leaning towards the Certainteed Independence line, although I completely fell in love with the Grand Manor line. But, budget considerations made us decide against the fake slate (which I REALLY love) so why spend a lot on asphalt shingles? Because of the slope of the roof, the roof is really only noticeable from across the street. So, we're saving some money by picking a less expensive shingle (or 'shangle' according to Certainteed, whatever that means).

Certainteed has a cool function on their website where you can pick a house that looks like yours and basically try on different shingles. I've spent more time on this site than I should have over the last few days. We also went to a local roof showroom on Wednesday but it's still hard to tell what the shingles will look like on your house. Our current roof is just so bad, I find it distracting but I think any new roof will look so much better anyway... but I want to get it right of course. I am sure this should be on the list of things that only I will notice. I am leaning towards charcoal colored shingles because we want to have black shutters. Unfortunately there area about 4 shades of gray/charcoal to choose from! Right now, I am leaning towards the charcoal black option because it's classic for the style of house and it's not straight black because of the type of shingle has a lot of raised details.

We are also making the final decision on the color of our HardiePlank lap siding. Again, I think I am going to choose a darker option which will lessen the effect of the difference between the brick and the siding. Also, our trim color is tan so there won't be a stark contrast like there would be with white trim. So, we are leaning towards the Cedarmill 8.25" (7" exposure). I'm making my final decision between Autumn Tan, Woodstock Brown, and Timber Bark. I plan to go and look at the options tomorrow in the sunlight. I don't want the color to be too close to the trim color but I am concerned about it being too dark (although that may be fine ultimately). Hardie also has some cool features on their website so you can see your options both on your style home and on actual homes (some for sale!).

Both the shingles and the siding take about 3 weeks so I need to decide on those options very soon since the framing will be done in another 2 weeks or so hopefully.


Tile Decisions

I spent Saturday looking at kitchens (more on that later) and tile.


Garage Walls Go Up!

Today the garage walls are going up which I guess we didn't realize would be happening today. Framing is so satisfying because it goes so quickly! As you can see there will be 2 windows on the yard side of the garage. I don't want to even think about how many baseballs will go through those in the next 20 years! By code, you cannot have windows on the side or back of the garage if it is within a certain distance from the property line. Ours is 2 feet from each line so we cannot have windows there.

The foundation contractors are also back today working on sealing and insulating the outside of the block in preparation for the backfill inspection on Monday. The rebar and vapor barrier are down and ready for the concrete pour on Monday. Then the dirt can go back in the hole and our backyard will look a bit less like a mountain!


Weather Delays & Decisions

As you have probably heard, the DC area has been paralyzed by snow and cold temperatures so our work has come to a halt for the time-being. Last week was a very productive week - the foundation is finished and sealed. I'll post pictures later today. The steel beam should go in later this week and then the framing will begin next week. The basement slab was scheduled to be poured on Monday but 6-8" of snow landed in our new basement instead! The pour will be rescheduled for whenever the basement dries out and defrosts enough to pour it. It has been very cold all week (by DC standards) so the snow has hung around longer than it normally does.

This weekend I am going to meet with a kitchen designer and visit some tile stores. Our kitchen cabinets probably need to be ordered in the next couple of weeks so I'll have to make a final decision shortly. We are weighing various options but I really have a preference for inset white cabinets in a simple shaker style. Very classic and fitting for our colonial style house. Hopefully we can make the inset cabinets work with our budget. They are generally about 25% more expensive than regular overlay cabinets. We are going to do a black quartz countertop (likely Silestone).

Keep your fingers crossed for warmer temperatures later this week!