Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Behold the kitchen!

Behold the kitchen! We will install the downdraft stove tomorrow (in that big white spot where I didn't bother painting) and all of the plumbing should be connected by Sat. We plan on building our own concrete countertops, so we'll start that project in the next few weeks. Until then, we make some temporary plywood tops.

We'll also need to repair this:

We got a little too "custom" and after the drywall finisher was done, the fridge didn't fit into it's built in.

My favorite part of the kitchen!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Racing to the finish line

Wow, what a huge weekend!! We are so close to being able to move in. Last Thursday we had the power turned on and then Friday the radiant floor system was turned on. And it is fabulous. We installed hydronic radiant heat throughout the house and within two hours of turning the system on, the house went from 46 degrees to 70 degrees. I still can't believe that we didn't have a hole in any of the piping (Jim King, if your out there reading this, you now officially owe us $100!). Once it heated up, the system barely ran all weekend because the icynene is such a fabulous insulator.

Nothing beats warm floors, they are even better than we had anticipated - I just want to lounge around on the floor all day!

So yes, of course we spent the weekend at the house.

In fact the only thing keeping us from moving in is the lack of a bathroom. So part of the weekend was spent tiling the guest bathroom so that the plumber can come this weekend and hook it up. Then, once we are in the house, we will work on the master bath, its just a little more time consuming and all we want to do right now is move back in!

We did a natural tile with these little glass mosaic inlays. I kind of wish now that we'd gone with a dark gray grout for more contrast, but once the bathroom is finished I think that I will be glad we went with the light brown grout. But at this point, as long as we can shower in here next week, I really don't care if the grout is hot pink.

Two other big things happened, we got all of the kitchen cabinets in and most of the appliances. We still need to install the downdraft stove and repair the wall that was "reconfigured" to get the fridge in place, then we can start working on the countertops. We've decided to create our own concrete countertops, so if anyone is out there that has done them and has any tips, we'd love to hear them! I'll post pics of the kitchen later this week.

The other thing that happened was we had this guy come in from Atlanta to paint the ceilings. He does astronomically correct night skies that are invisible during the day and look very planetarium like in the dark. It took him two days to paint three fairly small ceilings, and I must say without a doubt it is the coolest part of our house (besides the creek). The ceilings are stunning. I'll give you the link, but I must warn you the website is cheesy and in no way does justice to the work. But I guess it is kind of hard to take a picture of...

Monday, February 19, 2007

It almost feels like home

A huge weekend, with more pictures to come! We finished up the pine tongue and groove ceiling so we could move the staging out of the living room, and then finished up all of the heart pine flooring. Somehow, we managed to avoid hitting any any of the radiant floor pipes. We now have signs posted in the house instructing all subs to NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES drill into the floor. Because don't you just know that after we managed to install the entire floor without hitting any tubing that something like that would happen!! We also managed to get the living room painted just before the flooring went down, so that I was able to take advantage of the staging before we broke it all down.

One of the homeowners Matt helped build a house for (check it out at, just go to projects and click on Onnick/Farash Residence) dropped by on Sat. to lend his own very skilled hand to our house. We are hoping that he is going to design/build the gable end detail to our house, as he has an artistic sensibility that very much appeals to us. He even stuck around to help Matty move the new kitchen cabinets into place! Thanks Paul!!

Without all the staging and power tools laying around, it really started to feel more like our house. We got so excited that by Sunday afternoon we were moving all of the new appliances in to see everything in place. The idea was I would get a couple of pictures, and then we would pull everything back out so that the electricians could get in and out to connect all of the outlets, etc. We were really worried about the washer and dryer fitting in as we had originally envisioned a stackable in the space, but had found that the combo theoretically would just fit in side by side. Well, they went in with no problem. Unfortunately, the problem was with the fridge. I had given Matty exact measurements of the fridge and he had built a a space for it to slide into with allowances for drywall mud, etc. But our finisher used A LOT of mud. So after several failed attempts (several as in 9 or 10) to get the fridge into the space, we ended up ripping off the drywall bead and sanding the sides down to create just enough to get the fridge in with a good bit of coaxing. Somehow, during this process, it never occurred to me to grab the camera, so you all will just have to use your imaginations. For the full effect, incorporate a lot of expletives.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Copper Farmhouse Kitchen Sink

Well, we've got everything but the kitchen sink. A few days after we received the shipment from the Expo Design center, we got the call that our kitchen cabinets were ready. All we needed was the kitchen sink... so I ordered this:

It should arrive in a few weeks, so I'll post pictures of the actual sink. There is a lot going on in the coming weeks and we should be posting a ton of pictures. We are trying to be in the house by the beginning of March, although it will be far from done. The plan looks like this:

This weekend - finish putting up the pine ceiling

During the week - finish painting guest bedroom, hall and living room, pick up kitchen cabinets

Next weekend - finish putting down the floor, durarock the bathrooms

During the week - tile guest bathroom, plumber and electrician in to do all finish work

Final weekend - put down decking on back deck and railing. Grout and seal tile and paint in guest bath.

At that point we will still be miles away from done, but hopefully ready to move back home! Keep your fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pine ceilings and amber shellac

We now have half of the tongue and groove pine ceiling up. I know, half seems to be the theme... half the ceiling up, half the floor down. We spent the first part of the weekend finishing the boards on the ground, and then Sunday was spent putting them up. Matt was a little worried about the shellac, nothing like the word "orange" to strike fear into the heart, but it turned out really nice.
The pine itself is really knotty with a ton of character. We got it really cheap, so we've been having to pick through it quite a bit as a lot of it is either unusable or at least portions of boards are unusable. But all in all, I think we still got a great deal and we love the feeling of warmth.
As I mentioned earlier, we used amber shellac, or what was formerly known as orange shellac. We chose it because it has been around for ages, so it gives the wood a much more antique type finish. It dries ridiculously fast, in about 30 minutes, which is great when you have a couple hundred boards to finish. And its all natural, non-toxic and comes from a completely, renewable resource. Oddly enough, its actually made of resins excreted by the Lac Beetle. But, we like bugs, so it works for us!
Our halfway point. Matt is going to build barn doors for the loft up there. One day we might come back and finish it for a library/office/reading nook space.

And, in other news, we finally received out shipment of everything we bought at the Expo Design center back in November. Now that it is all stacked up in the garage, it doesn't seem like all that much. But low and behold, what you see there will soon be transformed into everything that goes inside our house that makes a house a house and not a shell of a building. Lights that light, toilets that flush, fans that spin, dishwashers that clean...