4.28.2009

Renovation: Painting already?

We were pretty surprised when our contractor called on Sunday to see if we had picked out a trim color - especially since we don't even have siding or windows up yet! Turns out, Jim wanted to get the high parts of the trim painted (soffits and fascia mostly) while he still had temporary scaffolding up and before the pre-painted HardiPlank goes up next week. Obviously he wants to avoid any drips on the new siding which seems like a pretty good idea to me considering the warranty on the siding! I thought this was a good tip to pass along to other people considering an addition (or just residing) because it may save you some time and money later.


Fortunately we did know the color that we wanted because we wanted to match the exterior color of our Andersen sandtone windows. The salesman, James, at The WindowSmith was able to give the color match information to Jim so he could get the paint and the trim was painted yesterday! You can see that the color is more muted and gray than our existing trim color, which will all be painted later on.

Windows are going in today and tomorrow, and hopefully the stairs tomorrow or Thursday. Of course the forecast is rain for the rest of the week so hopefully lots of progress is made today!

4.27.2009

Kitchen Cabinets Ordered!

The kitchen cabinets have been ordered! We went with Kingswood Kitchens out of Danbury, CT. Their cabinets are beautiful and reasonably priced. I wanted inset doors and drawer fronts so this was the best way to do that. We chose the Newport style. Although I never met the kitchen designer in person, we talked several times and exchanged countless emails. We sent careful measurements for the roughed in kitchen (no drywall obviously), as well as our choices for the appliances. Generally the ideas for the design were mine and not the designer's so all of the blame will be on me for any misjudgments!

My one major dilemma in the kitchen design was where to put the microwave. I want to use a stove hood without a microwave so then I needed to find another place for a microwave. I did not want it on the countertop. I liked the look of having the microwave in the island (hidden!) but the thought of my kids playing with the buttons constantly and having to lean over every time I used it was enough to make me keep looking. Finally I saw a picture in an ad for a kitchen designer while in Florida and I got the idea to have it built it in to an upper cabinet. So, now we are getting a cabinet which is a few inches deeper than the other cabinets but it's next to the fridge, and the microwave will be in that cabinet. Plus, if it breaks or we want to upgrade it (or get rid of it all together) we could modify that cabinet for another purpose.

The other thing we wanted was to have very few lower cabinets, and to have drawers instead. I also wanted at least one tall, skinny cabinet for things like large cutting boards, cookie sheets, cooling racks, etc. I am also really excited about the pull-out trash can which should make cleaning up loads easier than our current step can. We also found room for a tall pantry which will make storing food much easier than our old kitchen which had one not very large cabinet for all of our food.

Now we wait about 8 weeks for delivery... Fortunately there is plenty of stuff to do in the house before then!

4.25.2009

Renovation: Breaking through between old and new

The laborers are working on breaking through the brick walls between the old and new parts of the house. There will be 4 openings between the old and new, and one doorway in the basement. We'll finally be able to see if our efforts to make a relatively seamless transition between the two parts will work.

The picture above is the doorway between the living room and family room in the addition. The stairs are our existing stairs which will likely be removed later this week when the new stairs go in.

The plan for the week is to put in windows and doors in the first half of the week and then stairs at the later end of the week. After that, the weather won't be as much of a factor which will be a relief. Of course, it's 90 degrees here today so we cannot complain!

4.20.2009

New Roof!

We finally have new shingles (Certainteed Independence in Charcoal Black) thanks to hard work over the mostly dry weekend by our builder and the roofing contractor. Here are some before and after pictures to give you an idea of just how much of a difference new shingles make! (And, yes, it's raining again today.)

Before


After

Next step is finishing part of the back of the roof which did not get done before it started raining on Sunday, and then windows and doors later this week.

We are finalizing our kitchen plans through Kingswood and then we'll be waiting about 2 months for those to come in. Fortunately there is plenty of work to finish before that point. Still 2 months puts us in mid-June so well before our (hopefully) late July finish date.

I am also looking at exterior shutters for the front of the house which is proving to be harder than I anticipated because I want shutters which are wider than standard shutters so they actually look like they could close (as shutters should). I also want something which is no maintenance but don't want to spend an absolute fortune since I want them to be black (a basic color).

4.17.2009

Some progress (and sun)

Finally we have a stretch of sunny days so work is moving along on the roof. We're hoping the roof will be completely framed and covered in plywood today. They are also working on the garage - putting up exterior drywall on 2 sides as required by Arlington County code for garages close to the property line. There are a couple of new pictures in the slide show on the right, including one with the garage partially drywalled.

Today I am making some changes to our original electrical plans. I have already seen a few things that I would like to change and we may explore adding a few recessed lights in our existing living room so that it looks more consistent with the rest of the house. I don't feel that it's necessary in the dining room (where we are reusing our old chandelier) or in the spare bedrooms but the living room should feel more consistent.

4.13.2009

Rain, rain, go away...

Although we lucked out with beautiful weather on Friday despite the forecast for rain, it looks like we have 2 days of straight rain ahead of us tomorrow and Wednesday. Let's hope the weatherman is very wrong. Despite the drought conditions in late February and early March, April has certainly lived up to its "April Showers" reputation! I think we have already had about 6 days of rain and it's only the 12th! Just our luck.

Our builder Jim says he needs one more day to get the roof tied in so he can put down tar paper and then the shingles can go on. The roof has been about an 8 work day process so far. Longer than I expected it to be (but what do I know). We were hoping for shingles this week but that may slip until next week unless a miracle occurs. Jim says the roof is the most complicated part - particularly the tying in to the existing roof and attic and obviously it's important to get the roof on correctly so there isn't much point in rushing!
He also does not want to put the windows in until the roof is on because he believes there is too much risk of breakage - too much throwing of stuff off the roof and pulling stuff up to the roof. The windows are waiting patiently in the living room and dining room of our house.

But, other work still continues with the design aspects. We are finalizing our stairwell plans (balusters, newel posts, and handrails), as well as the design of the stairs as they come down into the kitchen. We are meeting with our architect Kaye in the morning before work to look at some final details before the plans go to the "stair guy" to be built. They are built offsite and then installed onsite. There's about a 2+ week turnaround.

We are also finalizing our kitchen cabinet plans. We are using Kingswood Kitchens (Princess line). They have beautiful, high quality cabinets and we are very excited to see the end product. The turn around time is 6-7 weeks so we need to get our order in this week in order to be ready for install by late May.

Once that order is in, we'll likely turn to finalizing the electrical plan which will have some minor changes from the original - mostly adding or moving lights and switches. It's so much easier to picture where you want things to be when you can walk through the rooms and put your hand up to where you instinctively think there should be a switch. So far, it looks likes we'll be able to keep our existing electrical panel which is good, but we'll probably end up adding a sub panel for his wood shop which can be turned off and locked as a safety precaution whenever he's not using it.

4.07.2009

Roof is going on!


After about 5 work days of rain, the roof is going onto the house. It really gives us a good idea for the size and shape of the addition and it looks great! They actually went up all in one day which is really amazing. The back part of the roof (shown here) is made with manufactured trusses, but the part that ties into the house is stick built. The manufactured part goes on quickly, but it is the bulk of the roof so that's good.
There is still work to be done on the stairwell between the 2nd floor and the attic, so that will entail additional work in order to tie it into the rest of the roof and the existing room. The actual stairwell is built by a special subcontractor who specializes in stairs. I would expect (although I have not confirmed) that he will be on the site next week. He has already been here to do measuring. We don't really know much about the process so we aren't sure how much of the work is done offsite and how much is done on site. We'll soon see! I'll be really happy to have the stairs so I can get up to the second floor much more easily!!!
Jim expects the windows and doors to be delivered on Thursday (so long as the distributor receives them tomorrow from Andersen), but they probably won't be installed for a few days.
As for other addition, the baby is due in about 5.5 weeks... and we are soooo happy we are not living in our disaster of a house!