Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Coat

You may have seen a little hint from the picture of our water hose bib that there has been a significant change to the exterior of our house.

Yup, You guessed it!  Our first coat of stucco is on.  When we showed up in the afternoon the crew had just finished the west coat and were moving to the back of the house.  When we came up early the next morning they had the whole house finished.

It's amazing how different the house looks with it's first coat on.

While we were walking the property (I'm trying to get a feel for landscaping ideas), we heard a loud noise and looked towards the house just in time to see three guys falling off the scaffolding!  LUCKILY, they were on the side of the house by the garage and the kitchen window so they only fell a couple of feet.  They laughed and laughed.  When we came over to see if they were okay, they said their board was old and just pulled another one over, jumped up on that and went back to work.  I was just glad they weren't working on the second level of scaffolding when the board gave out.

They will let this coat sit and cure for at least a week.
The cement in the mix needs plenty of time to dry and crack (hey, it's basically concrete - it cracks).  Then they will come back with the finish color coat.  This will fill in and cover all the cracks as well as giving the house the color we selected.  
Here is a view of the house we haven't shown you before.  This is standing on the property just to the east.  Our neighbors should start digging on their house soon so we won't be able to show you this exact view much longer.
Noah blends into the background very well here.

It's been a couple of days and the stucco is a much lighter gray now.  We haven't seen any major cracks yet.  The stone will be installed (on the areas where there is still black paper showing) after the last coat of stucco is on.    I hope I like the garage dimensions of stone to stucco better once the grading is finished and the front walk is in.  Right now it looks kind of silly to me.

I'm getting anxious for them to get the finished grade done.  But they have to be finished with the stonework first.  I'm not sure when they do the sidewalks and driveway.  I would think they do the grading first.  Guess I'll ask Jesse next time we see him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It Leaked

Soooo, what I didn't tell you when I wrote about our hardwood floor being installed is that the flooring guy pierced the PEX tubing when he nailed the floor down.

He said he didn't know there was tubing below the sub-floor and was about halfway done when he realized that he hadn't been working around any heating vents.  Rob went down and checked the valve right then and said everything looked okay.  I double checked it the next day when we were cleaning up the dust from the drywall and it was at ZERO.


We let Jesse know and he had the heating guys come up and re-pressurize the tubing.  They were able to hear a leak and did a quick and painless repair.

See this doesn't look too bad, does it?
This required a very small hole in the basement ceiling.  Easily patched, we'll hardly know it was there.  But the pressure valve was still showing there was a leak somewhere.

So, Jesse had the heating guys come back and put water into the system.  They let it sit all weekend hoping that would be long enough for water to drip out so the other leaks could be found and repaired.
Getting the water into the system looks like it was a little messy.  It made us glad that we had laminate flooring in the office and not hardwood, because it got WET.

And on a happy note.  We have water!  And we know our hose bibs work.
Rob was anxious about getting up to the house to check on the leaks this morning so we went up during a break from his phone calls.  We just happened to catch Jesse up there and when Rob asked him about the leaks he didn't say a word.  Just walked down the stairs and waited for Rob to follow.

At first glance this looks AWFUL.  We were both stunned to see this large hole and the resulting mess.  Jesse said he was actually prepared for it to be worse than this.  
But Jesse talked us through the damage and the repair and helped us see the bigger picture. It looks like most of the punctures happened right in the area where the PEX curved to fit between the joists and ended up touching the subfloor above it.  Jesse said if we'd nailed the tubing to the subfloor everywhere (like the guys at Peterson wanted us to) we would have had to rip out the whole ceiling.

We are relieved that the leaks seemed to be confined to one area and that we don't have huge patches of ceiling torn down through the whole room.  We are also relieved the leaks were found now, before the room is painted and carpeted.

Jesse said they are going to leave the water in the tubing just to make sure that if there are any more leaks they will have plenty of time to show up between now and closing.

He also reassured us that the Sheetrock on the wall didn't get completely saturated and said it will dry out just fine.  He is going to have the trim guy replace the side board of door trim that got wet.  He said the MDF swells up when it gets wet and it can't be repaired, just replaced.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fireplace Design

We knew we wanted a fireplace in the great room but we also wanted to be able to watch television in there too.  I suggested to Rob that we follow the trend of mounting the TV over the fireplace.  Initially, he wasn't thrilled with that idea, but he slowly came around and ended up embracing it.

In case you aren't aware of this, Rob is a tech geek.  He was worried about the excess heat escaping from the fireplace and overheating the TV.  It was also very important that the television be mounted at the correct height for viewing.  Since most fireplaces are taller than longer, or are square, the TV ends up being mounted over 4 feet high which leads to watching it with crooked necks or having to mount it on a funny swivel to get the angle just right.

Last fall, we went through the Park City and Cache Valley Parade of Homes together (and I went through the Salt Lake Parade of Homes with Emily and Alaina).  We saw a lot of televisions mounted above fireplaces and took note of what we liked and what we didn't like about them.  I also browsed online a lot for inspiration images.

We realized that if we installed a more contemporary fireplace we could get one that is a lower and longer rectangle than the standard fireboxes that are generally used which would allow us to mount the television lower than most of the ones we had seen in the parade homes.

We showed this image to Visionary and told them this is the style and overall look we were shooting for.  Val found a couple of options from Napolean Quality Fireplaces and we decided that the LHD45 was just right.  I should remember to ask Val when I get to select the glass or stones we want to use in the bottom.  I'm waffling between those two options.  I like the glass because it speaks to the contemporary design of the fireplace, but I like the stone because it speaks to the location of our house and adds to the mix of comfy contemporary with just a touch of rustic traditional.  Do you have an opinion?  Vote in the comments. 

Once we had that decision made, I got to work designing the surround.  I used Visio, Olioboard, Publisher and good old graph paper until we came up with the dimensions that worked.

 My first design was too tall and put the TV at 54" above the floor.  I liked the way it looked, but Rob said it was too tall and would also dwarf the television.

I thought he was probably right but was having a hard time getting the visual imagery correct so I built a scale model of the first design and then of the modified design.
We both agreed the second version was much better and sent off the dimensions and details to Visionary, so they could build it the wall around it and get it installed correctly, to Carpets of America, so they could help me figure out how much tile to purchase, and tile the surround, and to Rivermill Cabinets, so they could mill the surround and mantel.  I actually created a pdf with dimensions, inspiration images and comments.  Now we are waiting to see if all the parts come together appropriately.
I've been nervously watching each step wondering if the design was going to actually come out okay. There isn't a lot of extra fudge room since the whole thing was built specifically to my design.
 The first day of framing they created the niche area to hold the fireplace unit.
 Then they added the floor to support the unit at the correct height and added a few more framing pieces.  It looks like we are getting a BIG fireplace.
Here the fireplace is installed and it fits perfectly.  Good job Framers and Installers!
We think that the support boards and outlets for the television might be higher than we wanted them.  Another instance of, "well, we didn't tell them EXACTLY where we wanted themso they went with the standard height".  Rob thinks this shouldn't be a problem because he will be the one mounting the TV anyway and points out that once the TV is on the wall no one will notice that the outlets are actually above it.    

This is what it looks like today.  I think next time we go up to the house  I'll measure it and lightly pencil in the markings for the tile and the wood surround, just to ease my mind that it will all fit together.  Then it's just a matter of waiting to see it finished.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hard Flooring is In

The flooring crew started Thursday, while we were traveling so when we got to the house early Friday morning they had all of the tile laid except for the entry and the hardwood floor was about half finished.

We spent a little time discussing the look we wanted with the tile inset in the entry (or is it a foyer? - what's the difference?  what do you call yours?  what should we call ours?).  I told Alex what kind of look I was going for and we played around with the boards and the tile for a little while.  He said most of the floors he installs with a tile inset have three boards surrounding the tile.  I said I wasn't sure I would like that because I wanted the tile to be the emphasis in that area, not the wood.  He was very hesistant about going narrower than that, so I hemmed and hawed and finally said it was okay to go with the three boards. 

LUCKILY!  He called us in the afternoon and said he'd been mulling over what I'd said all day.  He was nervous that if he put in the three board widths I would end up hating it and that he would feel awful if that happened.  So we went back up to meet him.  We played with the boards again, we put the tile down in the middle and decided that one board width was all that was needed there.  I'm so relieved he trusted his gut AND I realized that I should have stuck to my guns and asked for the narrower trim all along. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get pictures of the tile floors before they laid down the protective covering, so you'll have to wait to see those later.  But, just so you know, I LOVE the tile for the foyer / entry and powder room (same tile).  I'm very happy with the tile I selected for the mudroom and I think I'm going to like the tile in the bathroom.  I'm holding my breath to see if it will really work with the granite and backsplash.  I also really like the slate that we put in the kitchenette area downstairs and think that's the perfect amount of slate for this house and the perfect place to use it.
Looking from the corner of the stairs and the entry towards the kitchen.
The fireplace and piano niche.
The laminate we had installed in Rob's office.   I really like the color.  It's warm and welcoming but not too dark, or too red.  It obviously looks like laminate if the light shines on it just right, which is a little annoying, but we didn't want hardwood floors in this room and we didn't want to pay for the super expensive laminate so I will throw down a rug and be happy that Rob can roll around on his office chair anywhere he wants in his room without damaging the floor. 
We decided to pull back the paper from the slate for a quick picture.  Maybe we'll have to go back up and do that in the other rooms.
Seeing all the footprints on the hardwood floor made us a little anxious so Saturday morning we headed up to the house with our trusty shop vac and broom and started cleaning up as much dust as we could.  The vacuum definitely worked the best.  We were able to get a decent pile with the broom but it created a huge dust cloud and still left a layer of dust behind.  It's nice to know we got out all the dust that normally gets trapped behind the baseboard trim.  While I was vacuuming the floor, Rob used the rental shopvac (which came without any attachments - ANNOYING!) and vacuumed out all the outlets.  I'm so excited about that, because in all our other homes that was never done and it always made a mess when we needed to remove the outlet covers for painting.

Our perfectionist tendencies definitely came out that morning!  But at some point we had to say, enough is enough.

Ready for Stucco

Grandma H sent a couple of pictures to Rob while we were out of town showing that the subs were getting the house ready for stucco.

When we got back into town it was VERY LATE at night (or was it VERY EARLY in the morning?). But, that's a different story, on a different blog.

So we headed up to the house first thing, Friday morning.  Partly to meet the flooring guys and answer some questions and partly because we were excited to see the house for ourselves.

The subs have the scaffolding up, the house covered with black heavy duty Kraft paper, chicken wire and styrofoam. 

It's been like this for almost two weeks. Every day we drive up expecting to see stucco on the house, but nothing yet. We figure the crew must be busy on another house and they'll get to us eventually.

I like the house better black than white.  It blends into the hills better.  I'm anxious to see how I like it once the stucco goes up.

Oh, we also noticed (when we returned) that we have garage doors installed and the mudroom door to the garage has a construction lock on it.  Not sure why, because the front door, the basement door and the sliding door are all easily opened and allow access into the house.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Mini Inspector

Noah gets to come check on the house with us at least once a week.

He has gotten very comfortable up here and knows his way around.  When we pull up, he says, "Munga's House!" or "Bugga's House!" (one of these days he will say Gramma and Grandpa and we will miss his little nicknames for us)
Checking out the tub to see if it is big enough for him. 
Approving the wholly smooth finish that the drywall subs applied.
Making sure that gravity works correctly out our bedroom window.

(can I just say, I love him in orange!  no wonder it is his favorite color)

It's fun to see the progress

This is how the house looked when we left for our ten day travels to visit the Duncan's, in Iowa, and Alaina, in Florida.

The sheetrock was up and the wholly smooth coat was finished on all the walls and ceilings. 

It's amazing to see how each step transforms the house. 

 I love how the basement is turning out.  The flow is wonderful.  The size of all the rooms seems to be just right.  It's cool and it's bright.

 I'm excited to be able to get our little kitchenette installed.  The layout has changed a little since we initially designed it with Curtis.  But I think the new layout is going to be more functional. 

I don't know how quickly it will go in because our priorities are getting the bathroom and bedrooms finished.
 I love the natural light these large windows let into the basement.  Because our backyard is so private, I don't have to rush into putting up window treatments.

It's nice and bright upstairs too.  Most of the glass is on the north side, so that will help keep the great room cooler without having to keep the window treatments closed during the hottest part of the day.

It's so fun to see the finished rooms and start to imagine how they will look once they are furnished. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Remodeling Already?

Choosing a tub was important to me because Rob and I had decided to save space and money by not putting a bathtub upstairs in the master bath.  I do like a good soaking bath several times a year so I wanted a tub in the house that I could really fill up and settle into for a nice warm soak. 

We looked at a couple of tubs at Ferguson's in Salt Lake that we really liked the size and style of but they were so expensive (even with the adjusted price) that once it was time to actually order the tub I settled for a basic American Standard.  It was oval, and had arm rests which I didn't really want but the price was right. 

For some reason, the tub was ordered incorrectly and came in as a 5' tub instead of 5'6" so we had to make a quick trip down to Peterson's to reorder.  Linette said we'd have a hard time getting an American Standard tub in quickly enough and suggested we look at a Maxx tub.  She had pulled one up that was 5'6" and had the nice straight lines we were initially looking for.  The only issue is that it was 36" wide instead of 32" wide.  But the price was right and we could get it delivered in time so we decided to go for it.

Amusingly, we showed up at the house one day and the American Standard tub (the one that was too small) was sitting in the garage.  It sat there for almost a week and then one day, the cardboard was still there, but the bathtub itself was gone.  We hope Peterson's actually came and took it.

Here is the tub, sitting in the family room, waiting to be installed. 

Once it was installed we wondered if the layout was going to be to tight, but once the sheetrock went up we knew for sure it was.  Adding the extra four inches to the width of the tub just made the wet room feel too tight and too crowded.  We measured and the center of the toilet was easily 15" from the side of the tub (which is minimum to meet code), but the tub just overpowered the little room. 

We thought it would be nice to have two separate rooms.  Our thinking was that someone could be showering and still leave the other room open for handwashing or toothbrushing.  But we decided it was more important to have the bathroom feel more open and welcoming.

We talked to Jesse about it and he said we could save a couple hundred dollars if we took the wall down ourselves.

So, Saturday morning, we headed up the hill and started dismantling the little wall.  The subs had only gotten one layer of tape and mud up, so it was pretty easy to find the screws, unscrew them and pull the sheetrock off. 

Rob was a little worried about getting the bottom plate off the concrete, but he used his two hammers and was able to pop it off fairly easily.

It wasn't a big pile of trash, but it was rewarding to know we did it ourselves.

Already, the room feels better.  We decided not to move the toilet.  That would have cost a lot more money and been a lot more complicated. 

Here is the room all patched up, with the first "wholly smooth" finish coat up. 
This is as far as Visionary is going to take this room.  It's up to us to take it from this to a finished bathroom.