On the menu for this week...

Well, another week of rain ahead but fortunately most of the work that needs to be done is inside stuff. Plumbing is underway and HVAC will likely start this week as well. Electrical will be the last trade when the other two are done or close to done.

Siding has started on the garage but only a few pieces. I am really happy with my color choice. It looks great with the brick and the sandtone trim.

We have about 10 weeks left until we move back in. I think we're both a little skeptical that the house will be substantially done in 10 weeks but we're hopeful.


Window trim and finishing up framing

The exterior window trim is going up this week in preparation for siding later this week or early next week. There are some other exterior details which need to be dealt with before siding so I am thinking that will more likely happen next week. The plumbing starts Thursday or Friday this week, followed by electrical and HVAC. Our contractor does not like to have multiple subs in at the same time if he can help it. It makes it harder to control the work being done. He also likes to have framing either complete or nearly complete before any mechanical subs start their work. He believes that it's better to have the framers out of the way of the way so the mechanical stuff goes more quickly.

The remaining masonry work has also been completed including the new garage which looks fantastic now with windows and the roof. The door will be ordered soon and the siding will go on there first so we can use the garage again to store our stuff (and get it out of our poor neighbor's garage!). Jim Cole thinks it looks like a little cottage! I'm glad that it looks good since it will be a focal point of our new backyard.
We have also been considering how to deal with the run-off in the backyard. The increased roof area and decreased drainage area pose a major problem. Most houses on our street have these same issues so we aren't alone. The main solution seems to be a drywell in the dampest corner of the yard. That will probably be the solution for us as well. The drywell will be located in the back corner of our yard in front of the garage. We are also going to install a rain barrel behind the garage to catch the gutter water from the garage roof so we can use that for watering plants in the yard.


More demolition, brick work, and framing...

Lots going on at the house these days. The old stairs have been removed giving us a much clearer view of the space between the living room and new family room. The picture on the right was taken from the back of the house looking towards the front.). It's going to be great and it makes even our smallish living room feel huge! They will fill in the holes in the floor where the stairs were either today or tomorrow.

Work is also continuing on the brick foundation around the garage, as well as some brick repair on the front steps and around our second screen porch door (which replaced a rather useless window). There are pictures of both the new doors and the brick garage foundation in the construction pictures on the left. I am so glad that we are doing the brick foundation on the garage. It looks really striking and the garage will be very front and center in our new small backyard! The garage windows were the windows that were taken from the back of our old upstairs.

The workers are also doing what Jim Cole calls "punch list framing" which is where they work from the top to the bottom of the house getting all of the last bits of framing done and fixing things that were off by a little before. They are also installing the pocket door tracks which need to go in before drywall. Fortunately this work has not been affected by the rain because with the new roof, the house is dry.

Jim is also picking up our new basement windows today. We had replaced our old basement windows not long after we moved in because they were rotten and had termite damage. They were not Andersen so the new windows are also not Andersen, but (of course) the old company that made them is now out of business). The original installer (WindowsPlus) was able to find a similar window for us which should work fine. They are not right next to the existing windows so even if they are a little different, it won't be noticeable. They will also have the much darker brown trim which blends well with the brick. The only exception is our egress window which is Andersen and matches the other windows in the house.

We are a little past the half-way mark for construction (we started about on about January 22nd) which is hard to believe. The next steps is plumbing, HVAC, and electrical which will probably start either Friday or Monday. The plan is to start drywall in about 4 weeks, then floors (hardwood and tile), and then finish work. So far, we are still on track for moving back in the house in July even if it means that it's not completely done.


Windows and Doors and STAIRS!

There has been a lot of progress in the past couple of days. We have now have all of the windows installed (except the basement windows which are not from Andersen). Everything looks great and we are pleased with the choices so far. The door hardware looks really good and was well worth the additional cost. I highly recommend doing that to anyone ordering Andersen doors. The new doors to the screen porch have not yet been installed. The major push behind getting the windows in was to get the house ready for siding next week.

Perhaps even more exciting for me (9 months pregnant) is that we have stairs from the basement to the attic. I can now easily walk around on the new part of the second floor which makes the whole thing seem more real. We can also walk freely between the old and new parts of the house.

Work has also continued on the brick foundation. The door from the driveway has a brick foundation about 1/3 of the way up the sides (see the construction picture slideshow on the left side of the page). The garage now also has windows and the brick foundation on the garage has also begun. The brick needs to be completed before the siding can go on the garage.

There were a lot of workers on the site today but it was refreshing to see a flurry of activity after so many days of rain in the past month. Hopefully May will be a little drier!


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!


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!