Renovation: Hardwood Floors

After a brief delay due to high humidity, our hardwood floors started going down on Friday. They finished the upstairs in one day, including the patches in the old part of the house. They look really good. It's amazing how well the old and new parts can be patched. They will look perfect when they are stained.

Our cabinets get delivered tomorrow morning and will likely go in this week. I am still trying to make a final decision on countertops. After going to one place that I did not like and another that I did, I did some more research and may go to a third place in Fairfax to see if they have the ideal countertop - basically a dark/black counter which isn't shiny and doesn't show fingerprints. I'm down to deciding between honed Absolute Black and Cambrian Black antiqued. I have not seen the latter so I am on a quest to see it tomorrow in person. I'll have to make some calls to see whether any of the local granite showrooms have it. I want to be sure to get my granite from a reputable place because the finishes vary greatly. I have found that for the same type stone, some installers recommend maintenance (sealing) every 6 months and others tell you that the stone never has to be sealed. Obviously, I want the least amount of maintenance with the best look. I'll have to figure it out in the next week or so.

I have chosen most of the paint colors for the house with the exception of the master bedroom. I have ordered a pillow sham for the duvet cover that I like. If it looks good in person, then I'll base my final paint decision on that.

Outside, landscaping will begin later this week. We're meeting with the landscaper tomorrow morning to decide on a final layout for the patio and the planting areas. I am going to have a lot of planting to do ths fall but at least I'll be enjoying our new house while I do it!


Lots of Exterior Progress!

We have made a lot of progress on the exterior. Our new front portico is on and looks really good. I'll be happy to be able to stand out of the rain as I fumble with my keys and keep 2 kids under control! It took about 2 days to build but it changes the entire look of the house. This is a good lesson for those putting down wood floors - be sure your house is very dry or you may have problems later.

The siding is also completed and is being caulked today. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I have posted new pictures in the Construction Pictures album on the left.
Inside, the hardwood floors should have been put down today but it's too humid. Although I am disappointed, we don't want the floors to buckle. They are going to get the air conditioning up and running today so the house can dry out and hopefully they can go down next week. It's a setback but hopefully we'll be able to make up the time by getting things done on the outside and things not related to the floors. Either way, we're moving 4 weeks from today!



At long last we are in the drywall stage. It's a huge relief because it feels like we are at the top of the mountain. Hopefully the downhill won't take as long as the climb! So far, it looks great. Several people told us that it would feel smaller once the drywall is in but I think it feels bigger to me. Probably because the walls are now white and not busy - covered with wires, pipes, etc. They started on Thursday afternoon and will probably finish on Monday or Tuesday. They are working today (Saturday) on the master bedroom and bathroom. I have not had a chance to take pictures upstairs but there are pictures of the family room and kitchen posted in the Construction Pictures on the left.

We are moving back into the house in approximately 6 weeks. We're hoping it won't be too much like camping when we do get back in there! We figure that it's worth it to live with a little mess to avoid another month of rent in our rental. Also, we are feeling the squeeze of having 2 kids in our little rental house.

This week I have to figure out the countertops - either Silestone or honed (dull) black granite. I think the price will be close to the same but I have some concerns about the maintenance of granite which I want to discuss with the installer.
I am also looking at paint colors. We are repainting everything in the house except for our exisiting upstairs hall bath. I have a general idea of what we want but need to buy some samples and put them on the walls. It's definitely better than picking from a tiny color sample.
More pictures to come later this weekend!


Insulation and.... Drywall!

We have completed our mechanical inspections and will start insulation tomorrow. That will probably take 2 days and we'll get our insulation/close-in inspection on Wednesday. Our builder will be stocking drywall on Wednesday so they can begin on Thursday!! Needless to say, we're incredibly excited about drywall because it feels like the top of a peak and then we're just on the downhill! Drywall will take about a week according to our builder.

After drywall comes the floors which will probably take several days since there is a lot of patching and matching to do. The floors aren't finished until after the painting and trimwork is done though. We have picked out tile for our master bathroom and laundry room. The rest of the house will be hardwood to match our existing floors.

On the outside, a considerable amount of work has been done on grading the backyard and installing drain pipes for the gutters (not yet installed). We have also had a drywell dug which we are now wondering if it's not deep enough since the water doesn't drain. Keep in mind though, we have clay soil so the bottom of the drywell is like a rock! Our contractor added a drainage ditch behind the garage to help handle some of the drywell run-off. Hopefully all of this will help the water issues in our yard although I don't think it will be entirely well-drained even after all this. There are just too many places for the water to come from and flow into our yard.


Finishing up mechanicals!

We are in the final days of finishing up our mechanicals. In fact, we had our inspections today and we're all systems go for insulation and drywall next week. The siding is almost finished and the roofs over the back and side doors are on. The blog came in handy because I posted pictures of the roofs, our architect looked at the and then called our builder to tell him to take off the fascia boards on the front! They definitely look better without it.

We also had our new security system installed. We were very disappointed in the customer service we received from Brink's (whichwe have used for 7 years) so we called Slomin's based on some recommendations from friends. So far we have been very pleased with the service and are getting a better monthly monitoring rate. Unfortunately, in our area a security system is somewhat of a necessity. It's great to be able to have them run the wires around the time the mechanicals are finishing up so that you can limit the amount of work they have to do later on.

Since the exterior is almost done, we are considering our landscaping options. It would be great to have g We have to satisfy county codes concerning stormwater management. We are working with Hambleton's Landscaping service, our architect, and our contractor to satisfy the requirements. Our down spouts are going to be redirected to the road (where possible) and to a new drywell in the backyard. We have already dug the drywell but it has been completely filled with water ever since so it may not be big enough!! Fortunately we dug it during the rainiest time so we can see the worst case scenario. We are also going to install a rain barrel on the back of our garage to catch the garage run-off (which is also the wettest corner of our yard).

Be sure to check out the pictures of the progress!