Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm a FAN of our first purchase

So we are walking through Menards just before closing looking at lights and fans.  We found this badboy on clearance for $99.  They didn't have anymore so we got the floor model for $85!
I'm pretty pumped, this "propeller" style fan is too cool.  The plan right now is to install in Family Room.

The size of your DECK does matter!

So we sprung for the 12x10 deck because I had no idea when I would be able to get back there and knock it out.  I think my wife's words when doing selections was "honey, I know you can do it....but I don't want to wait that long".  haha.  The issue now was WHERE to put the steps going down?  The deck would stop AT the back edge of the Morning Room (10').  Due to elevation, straight out wouldn't work.  Not enough room down the back of the house, we would end up with the last three steps sticking out the side. 
So what does my PM suggest?  Well he is bumping the 10' side OUT 4' (past the Morning Room) and running the stairs down the back of the Morning Room and it doesn't cost me a dime!  So I will be getting a 14x12 deck (instead of 12x10).  Did I say I like my PM?
Driveway.  I was hoping for a side "hook up" deal with the concrete guy to widen my driveway for a three car wide driveway.  But again, due to elevation it would not be feasible and would look like shit.  BUT, I can get the drive way widened to 20' (versus the 16' that's standard).  For a VERY REASONABLE price (side job here!), they will bump the drive way out approx. 2ft on both sides giving me the 20' wide driveway.  It's not the three car wide I wanted, but it will give me more room for multiple cars when parked, and room for the Harley, and more room for the boy to play.  So it's a no brainer.
If the weather holds out they will pour it today!  My PM is putting down a PVC pipe under the driveway so I can run a "invisible" dog fence after move in.
That's all I got for now,
carry on

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let there be LIGHT!

So Shell and I made an unplanned stop at the house last night.  First thing I saw was a light ON inside the house!  This was the first time we could walk through without a flashlight in hand! 
Shot of the front door with living room on left.

We don't remember seeing the top of stairs split before.  This is a picture I plan to send to PM this morning.

With nothing (but dirt) covering the floor, we can start seeing "the whole picture".  The garage, office, and half crapper is on the left (you can see half crapper sink).  Morning room on right.  Just out of view is stairs going up.  I'm a big fan of the centrally located stairs.

Shell's dining room with the upgraded Hardwood floor.  AND that ghastly, ugly chandelier.  That will be replaced.  Anyone that wants to go to Restoration Hardware and buy me the Machinist Pendant lights on sale for $140 is welcome too!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm like a needy girlfriend!

I am a worrier and when I see stuff, I need to be reassured that it's all good to go.
We have walked through the house a few times and had a number of questions we wanted our PM to acknowledge.  So we met with him this morning (at our request).  Paul's a great guy and had no problem meeting with us.  And really, with only like two weeks to go, this would be the last chance to meet during daylight hours to yap about the house and it's progress.
Our questions/issues today were:
1.  ummmm, you still hooking me up with that extra outlet in garage?  Answer-Yes
2.  There is a spot of drywall in the MB that seems "rough".  Answer-Will be taken care of "WBTCO"
3.  Recessed can light in Kitchen has a trim piece offset from ceiling that shows the cut out in drywall.  Answer-WBTCO
4.  Cabinet/drawer adjustments.  Answer - WBTCO
5.  Island trim missing.  Answer - ordered
6.  MB baseboard trim pulling away from wall, needs secured because gap is too large for caulk.  Answer - WBTCO
7.  There is a blue wire coming out of the front door jam.  One may think (and my PM did as well) that this would be for Home Security contacts.  Well we didn't get any package, so what is it?  Turns out it's the door bell wire that the door installer thought was for security.  So PM will pop trim, pull the wire out, patch the hole, and run to door bell button.  This is the perfect reason to bring anything up to your PM.  Ya never know, you just might save him a headache down the road.
8.  I have a spot on the railing that needs filling, sanding, and stained BEFORE they get poly'd.  Answer - WBTCO
9.  There is a low spot in the sub floor in the Family room.  This was from somebody getting too aggressive when sanding seams.  My question was, "will this be noticeable under the carpet?  Note: it's in a "high traffic" area.  Answer - I don't want to find out, so it will be filled with floor leveling filler before carpet.

We also discussed where the deck stairs will go.  I may get a "bonus" here.  Looks like the best way is to bump out a "landing" and run the stairs down next to the front or side of deck.  That's our preference and will be happy if it works out this way.
I also have a call into the concrete guy.  I may be able to work a side deal for a wider driveway.  Fingers crossed.
Which brings up the driveway.  We have conditioned ourselves to believe it will be spring before we get one.  But with the warmer weather so far and forecasted, it seems we will be getting a drive way poured this week!
According to PM Paul, we are getting appliances and carpet this week as well!

Our brick was finished yesterday.  We are very happy with our choice, even if we couldn't remember what it was until it was on the house! haha.
This was taken Friday.  There is a team of brick layers under that tarp.

Went back Monday and we got the whole front bricked

Another angle

A closer look.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I am so Stoned....hahahahaha

My pretty half stopped by today and got some shots of my kick ass fireplace.
yup, it rocks!  or maybe, just stones.

another Rock'n shot

Pretty sure somebody, some time, in some state of inebriation will bust their face on this.  But what a story it will be!  hahaha

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting Stoned on hump day

Looks like my fireplace is getting it's stone work tomorrow.  Sooooo looking forward to that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cabinets, Counters, and Crappers

So we swung by the house today.  The plumbers were busy installing the fixtures in all the crappers.  The kitchen cabinets are in, hardwood and vinyl floors are down, trims installed, interior doors are up, and the walls painted "Whole Wheat".  We are officially locked out, buy my PM is pretty cool and has worked a way out for me to get in when I come by.
Cabinets with counters!  

my attempt to show a good shot of the cabinets with the counters.
and another shot of the cabinets with the wood floor.

My boy wanted to be in the shot, so I told him to stand in the corner.  This is what I got.  Silly kid.  Anyway, this was a good shot of the walls with the "Whole Wheat" color. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update and thoughts

What a crazy time to be building!
So we sold our house.  Closed about 2 weeks ago and have been "squatting" in a friend's basement.  I am very happy to say it's going as well as could be expected.  But it's still .... living in a basement.  My daughter came home for college and will be home until about a week before we move in.  Very happy she can enjoy part of this process with us.
It's almost Christmas and we haven't even started.  Between a lack of time, paying more at closing of the old house then expected, did I mention time?, blah blah blah.  you know how it goes. 

On to the new house.  So our current digs are 20 minutes North of our new house and not along the path from work to home.  With two nights of my son's wrestling practice, one night teaching a college class, that leaves two nights that I COULD swing by....if I wanted to drive 45 miles home.  My wife was able to swing by yesterday and sent me a small picture of the flooring.  Soooo jealous she got to see it.....before me!
So what I know is done is the Hardwood and the walls are painted.  My wife said the vinyl guy showed as she was leaving.  So I assume we have vinyl flooring as well.  Not sure what's planned next or when. 

Thoughts I have pondered.
I have tried to consider various things I will want to do later, or things I may want but won't realize until I'm in.  Here is an incomplete list of some things I have considered that I SHOULD have done but either didn't realize it or didn't have to time to complete.
-Basement windows.  I'm not talking about big egress windows.  Just the little rectangular ones that allow light in.  My Ravenna has ONE.  The walkout and ONE little window give some light, but there are dark parts of the basement that I wished we had some more little windows.  I may never finish the basement, but it would be nice to have more natural light down there.  I wished I had considered that and added a few more.
-Nail Plates (not sure what you call them).  Chances are if you saw the kitchen BEFORE drywall, you may have noticed they put up chunks of 2x8(or 10 or 12) between the studs for the cabinet installers to put screws to without having to worry about finding a stud.  Great idea.  Why didn't I do that in the family room, or bedrooms?  I don't have a solid plan on how I will hang all my TV's.  If I decide to hang on the wall, I will wish I put up some wood between the studs for installation ease.

There are some others that I can easily do later.  I planned to run plumbing off the half bath into the garage for a deep sink.  Didn't happen, ran out of time.  BUT, I will be able to do it after move in because I will have full access to the pipes in the basement. 

That will be call, carry on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drywall week

So we were thinking more would have happened last week, instead we got a week of drywall.  I'm not complaining, but anxious to see some flooring, painting, cabinetrying, etc...
We got to go through yesterday and the daylight.  It's nice to peruse the house without a flashlight.
Our "Red Montana" laminate counters showed up in the garage.

The ceiling was finished Saturday and Sunday;  Sunday's stop had one guy finish sanding.  Thinking this coming week will show some solid progress.

Previous post showed a nasty drywall snafu, well they cut it out and replaced it.

Just add carpet, stone, paint, and a tv.

Our brick.  Don't remember what it's called, but I like it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paint Color, Closing Date, and Drywall issue

So I swung by the house last night.  Found a couple guys finishing up with adding the corners to the drywall.  My garage looks like a cabinet and door factory vomited in there.  Exciting to be at that stage where stuff starts going in.
Looks like we have a projected closing date of January 9th.  33 days and counting.   
For those that pay attention to my blog, this is the color my wife picked out for Ryan to paint (instead of "Asylum White")  It's in the "yellow" family, but I don't see it.  Then again, I am "color ignant".

This is a pic I took in the Master Bedroom.  It appears a sheet of drywall with a rather large chunk missing went up and the solution is to tape it and then fill it with mud.  Ummmmm, NO.  Already sent to PM a "if that's the plan, change the plan" email. 

This is a pic my wife took of the recently opened model with our cabinets (in our floor plan, Ravenna).  The pic doesn't show off the butterscotch glaze.  These cabinets are a tad outside our "comfort" zone, but wanted something different then the Cherry cabinets we have had for years now.  With our flooring and counter choice, I think it will all come together nicely. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Drywall is up!

So at 0830 this morning, nothing.  By 1830 or so, they were finishing up the garage.  The rest of the house was done.  I believe they will be mudding on Monday.
I stopped by at 1500 to check progress and get a few pics of my handy work.  I finished up in the dusk yesterday and didn't have enough light for pics.  I didn't stay to long as the crew was busy.  It looks chaotic, but I'm sure they had it under control.  I didn't get the pipes run for a deep sink in garage, but I will run those after we move in.
So although I like my PM a lot, I think he let me down on a couple extra garage outlets.  Unless the electrician will run one AFTER the drywall installation, it's not happening.  Lesson here, if you really want it, pay for it and get it on the plans.  Not a big deal though, I will run a plug from the basement after we move in.  
And for those that know of my paint color change request, the update is it was approved and my wife picked the color today at a model with the sale rep.  Again, very happy that I won't have to worry about painting for a long while.
That there is some high quality Pink Panther insulation.  It took 8 rolls of insulation, but I got every nook and cranny.  Down the road, I will blow some in the ceiling for the ultimate protection.

Looking at the blue pipe, this is 3/4" (ID) Flexible pipe I bought from Lowes.  It comes in 10' lengths and has really easy to use fittings!  It took me about 23' to run from attic to basement.  I plan to put in an attic antenna and run the cable through this and down to basement.  I even sealed all holes I made with Great Stuff foam sealant.

Using the same flexible pipe and a low voltage box, I put in this and another on the opposite wall.  My Bose speaker wire will run through this and back up the other side.  Again, sealed the hole.  

So who's ready for a new house?  

Just a quick pic from my "spot"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pre-Drywall and general update

So no pictures today.  The only difference then what I have posted already is electric and plumbing has been done.
Pre-Drywall meeting was this morning.  It took us about 1:45 hrs and that included walking around the brand new Ravenna (closing tomorrow) across the street.  It was nice to get a feel of what we will be getting.  For example, they have the same hardwood floor and stone fireplace that we have optioned.  They also got the paint color updated to a "beige/brown" color.  What a huge difference!  So I have made my first request for a change order.  My sales rep is calling management and seeing about getting our paint choice updated from plain white.  For the record, I was aware you could update to a color at the option stage of this, but I was to the understanding it was a slight off white color.  The color options now are very nice.  Fingers crossed.
So Drywall starts going up Saturday.  Insulators are at the house now insulating walls.  If all works out, they will (on the side) insulate my garage cold walls.  If not, I will be doing it tomorrow.
I also have to put some low voltage boxes in the family room to run speaker wire later.  And the pvc pipe from attic to basement.  Lots to do before Saturday!  no time no time no time.  ugh!

If time wasn't crunched already, I have promised my oldest boy I would deliver a pull out couch to him (in Michigan) this Friday night/Saturday morning.
We have to be out of our current house by end of day Sunday for our Monday closing.

whew....I'm already tired

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Finally, I got Shingles!

So I am getting to that point where the interior stuff should really take off.  The house got shingled last Wednesday and plumbing got done on Friday.

So this is how it currently looks.  We are pretty sure the Ravenna almost finished across the street has the same brick, siding, and almond trim (but a different elevation) we picked.  We like it a lot.  I will have to take a picture so you can see what we see.
So you have all seen plenty of "this is the roughed in bedroom" pics, so I thought I would show a "look out for ....." pic.  This is the stud between the master bed and bath.  The drain hole is WAY to big and I think the only thing holding this stud together is the nail plates on both sides.  PM has been informed and it will be taken care of.  But this does remind me to stay on top of it all.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's a small world

So my (current) house was being inspected last night and some questions popped up that having me show up with my plumber friend made sense.  So my buddy (the plumber) talked to their "plumber" on the phone and it turns out he knows him.  While he was dealing with plumbing questions, I started yapping with the wife and.... long story short, I know the buyers!  What's the chance?  Turns out I used to work with the husband a few years back.  The wife seems pretty solid they are buying it and said "the inspection is going great".  So it looks like I may be out next week, when the check shows up.

Update on my NEW house:
I don't think the rain is helping but I was able to walk the house in the light on Sunday and verify that the HVAC has been run and the roof has been "papered".  The shingles are up there, they just need to be installed.  I am hoping to see some progress with a roof on.

On a side note, I completed the ToughMudder in Indiana on Saturday with some great friends.  With no sun in sight and 40mph winds, we slopped through some of the nastiest mud and the coldest water, ran through and crawled under live wires,  up and down sloppy hills, and that was just the first mile.  It was a 22 obstacle, 10 mile course.  We did it in 4hrs 15min and it joins just a few other things in my life so challenging.
check it out at to get an idea.

Have a great day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What have you done or plan to do?

I have not had the chance to get out to the house yesterday, but my wife says all the windows and sliding doors are in.  AND we have steps to the basement.  I plan to swing by tonight on the way home.  Ryan has wrestling practice, so I won't be able to gander long.

So on to the title "what have you done or plan to do?"
What little thing, or extra something are doing on your own to your new house?
-I plan to add insulation to the garage cold walls (like Gina's husband did)
-I will have a PVC pipe laid under the driveway when it's poured so I can run an "underground dog fence"
-I am putting in a couple of low voltage outlet boxes on the tv wall and opposite wall with PVC pipe punching into the basement so I can run my speaker wire later.
-I am running a 2" PVC pipe from the attic to the basement in the "dead" space.  may be used in future for any type of cable, wires, etc...
-I have considered pulling out their insulation around the windows and spraying in (window safe) expanding foam.  I read a blog that someone just did this.  I can't find the post but would love to know how many cans you needed.
- We are having them leave the master closet shelf off of one (6'-ish) wall so we can install something else (Elfa system probably)

If I had the money, I would get special sound deadening dry wall for my boys room, but I will just make do with his noise. haha

So there are my ideas.  I can't think of anything I am missing.  What do you got?  If you got a great idea, let me know....I may want to do it too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It looks like a house now

So the crappy thing about building a house this time of year is that by the time I get out to the site after work, it's damn near dark.  Luckily my wife got out there with enough time to snap a couple.
It looks like a house now!  It looks like we will get rain for a good part of today with sun the rest of the week so I hope to see some more progress by Saturday.
This pic shows the best.  I was able to lighten a bit in Photoshop without getting too grainy.  We are VERY happy we went with the two extra windows in the Master (seen on side towards back in this shot).  We forgot what the peak would look like with the porch elevation.  We are very happy with the one large peak.  My wife is already figuring out where she will have me hang xmas lights next year. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let the games begin

So no pictures today but I promise to get some in.

Currently the house has a second floor and some windows.  Not sure what today will bring with the weather.

So we got an offer on our current house yesterday and we signed the contract last night.  We will have to bring money to the table to sell, but it feels like the right decision.

The crazy thing is assuming we make it through the inspection process, we will have to be out of the house by the 28th....OF THIS MONTH!

And so the game begins.
-line up a place to stay for two months.  (almost there, we have three things in the works)
-schedule a mobile storage unit to be delivered.  (working deals between PODS and PackRat now)
-secure loan to cover cost to close (I got approved yesterday, just need to finalize.  Will do that after inspection)
-line up place for two boxers to live.  (Great friends who have watched the boxers before are helping us)
-get packing boxes (Because my wife designs POP displays and I design packaging, this won't be an issue)
-and somewhere in there, we will stress out.

The Container Store's website it very helpful with all kind of tips.  So if you are looking to move, visit their site for ideas.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm totally FLOORED

So today was a great day.  Temps got up to 60 degrees, the sun was out, and the guys were out framing my house!
This was what we saw at about 0930 Sat.  The floor is down and they are working on getting walls up.  When they left Friday evening, all they had done was the "base plates" on the foundation.  

This is a zoomed in shot of what we see when we stalk the build from a street over.  Somebody bought this lot and turned it into a huge side yard.   So no house will be built here.  That's going to make peeing off the deck WAY more private!

You can get a feel for the difference in "altitude" from my house to my neighbor.  I will be able to stand on my porch and see if they need to clean out the gutters.

By 1200, They were done for the day.  In the few hours they were there, they got the entire first floor done.  I was hoping/thinking they would be working a full day, but it seems not.  No biggie.  Forecast calls for rain Monday and Tuesday, so we will see what happens.

We met another neighbor across street.  It is pretty cool building in the sense that everyone is welcoming,  almost like you are joining a "club".  

Friday, November 11, 2011

I've been FRAMED!

Ok, so it's not framed all the fact they just started about 3ish today.  But they started!  PM said they are working tomorrow so I will have pictures to show.

Tomorrow I plan to head out there early with a cup of coffee and the paper and hang out.  I totally plan to stalk the build.

We were able to stalk a bit today by hanging out in our parked car over one street and watching from a distance.  Didn't seem like a bad idea until that homeowner (who's house we were kinda parked in front of)  came home and looked at us weird.  He was probably thinking "who are they and why are they hanging out in a car in front of my house?!"

We got a chance to meet our neighbors on our left.  We sat outside talking for a long while about the neighborhood, and kids, and dogs, and and and oh yeah...building a house!  So we now have met the neighbors to the left and right of us.  Very nice people and I look forward to hanging out on my front porch with a fire going in the pit!

My PM stopped by and gave me a quick lesson I requested on the water proofing.  Pretty funny was the mexican who was standing above us while we were talking who asked us to move.  Only he spoke in spanish and called my PM a name he must of thought my PM didn't understand.  But he did, and it was not very nice, but it was funny as hell!

Also, it looks like I will be getting the plumbing for the garage deep sink I wanted.  But I am reluctant to post in open space how I will be going about it.  So if you are interested in that or another nugget I got about my drive way, email me at  It may be over thinking, but I don't want to post everything in open space for fear of getting someone's talleywacker in a pinch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I've got Wood, and it's not even the morning!

So, we got wood!  and windows, and stairs, and steel beams, and bath tubs, and and and  gravel!
Not sure why they don't run the steel beam as one piece but I'm sure there is a good reason beyond "cost"

More steel

two gigantic piles of wood AND a mound of gravel.  The wife and I are guessing the gravel is for the garage.

This is another shot taken at eye level of the front right and the current grade.  Based on the fact that water proofing is still exposed, I am sure there will be a lot more done.  I am still interested to see how it grades out.

Keeping up the GRADE

So, as expected per my PM, the front grading has been done.  Today I should have a basement slab and tomorrow should bring the first day of framing.  

What a difference it makes to see the front graded!  My PM has done a great job of keeping the front level.  I am still interested in how he will grade the right side of the house.  There is a pretty good change in levels there.  You can get an idea from the first picture.  It doesn't look to bad in this pic, but standing there feels different. 

The wooden post holding the "sold" sign is 36" from top edge of concrete to ground.  I'm still thinking Ryan will have to add a railing to my front porch.
Ryan standing both at the front edge of the drive way AND at the garage "door"

Look at my last post, this is a "after" shot of the grading

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sealing it up

So I have done a fair amount of research and found some websites that show where a homeowner can walk around the house and fill gaps to create an "air tight" envelope.
Items like:
running caulk along wood and foundation
window safe foam around all windows and exterior doors
expanding foam around pipes going through header plates (from wall interiors to attic)
foam pads behind outlet covers
....and some others I can't think of off the top of my head.
Has anybody that has built or is building now considered/looked/verified this type of "sealing" when the house went up?
I think I will buy a case of window safe expanding foam and seal all around the windows and doors, caulk wood/foundation joint, foam the pipes, etc....

My goal is to take Ryan's "minimum code" and energy star requirements (again it's likely minimum-what ever need to qualify) and bolster it.  I figure it can't hurt, will only help, cheaper bills, etc....

Your thoughts, insight, recommendations, etc...?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Water Pipes and Proofing

So over the last two days, water proofing and initial plumbing has been done.  I am unfamiliar with waterproofing techniques and my PM promised to call Monday with a quick lesson.  I am assuming that there is some kind of tar or other sealing substance behind these black "mats" that have been nailed to the foundation.  Also, we verified tonight the initial plumbing has been installed.  PM said that grading (and I am guessing the first plumbing inspection) will be done; Wood is to be delivered Monday too. Tuesday will bring concrete basement slab (and garage? idk).  Framing is scheduled to start Wednesday.  The only thing that may suck is if we get forecasted thunderstorms Wednesday.  I don't know if and to what extreme will they frame in the rain.  But I can see us having a roof on by this time next week.  
And as a bonus, both showers have been delivered.

I suppose this gives me an idea of how the side yard will be graded.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So it really doesn't take long at all!  Last night they were finishing up pouring the walls and today the forms were off when we drove by at 6pm.
Can you really call it a basement when it's damn near ground level?

so...ummm, like.....I was, well you see....yeah, failed Capt Morgan pose I guess.

Standing in my garage "door"

I took this just to have a "before" so I can take an "after" down the road