Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday, July 29

Just a quickie today. Stopped by the house last night to take a little tour. Check out the view (above) from our future dining room/kitchen/bar area. We're putting an actual garage door here - I know it sounds strange, but picture restaurant patios that open up - right outside of this area we're having an outdoor room kind of space that will be covered by the balcony above so we want to open up the entire back of the house. The door will be completely full of windows. Kinda like this:
We think the "dance floor" party area will be right in front!

The balcony above this space is going to be off our bedroom, facing the backyard. We want to put a hot tub out there for the husband and I in the winter. (Note: I used to call hot tubs "boiling vats of pee" but thanks to our friends Jane and Chris who have one, now I am addicted. But only in the winter .... nothing like it outside with the snow falling down on our heads.)

Anyway, the husband says this balcony seems much larger than we originally thought and I am supposed to check it out so we can figure out what we want to do with it. The problem is that there are no stairs to the second floor yet, only a very tall ladder. (Ceilings are 10ft, so the ladder is longer than ordinary ones). When I visit the house, I am usually straight from work, wearing some kind of stupid shoes that do not facilitate ladder climbing. Last night my shoes were better, but I couldn't do it. I was by myself and got about 3/4 of the way up - and realized there was no way I was getting down on my own. No one holding the ladder for me! With some degree of shame, I climbed down, defeated. Will have to try again when I have some assistance.

Meanwhile, Friday we order our fireplace: it's going here:

It will look like this: (I especially love the stones ....)

It's very very humid today so it feels strange to even think about a fireplace, but I think it will be very cosy and will be visible from kitchen, dining room, desk etc.

What do you think??


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22: Onwards and upwards

So, over the past ten days since my last post, work has been continuing. The balconies are now built (front and back), and the early days interior electrical, heating and plumbing work is happening.

It's still (hush) on schedule. It's also still seeming very large or tall or something. It's actually not large. It's only about 200 square feet bigger than the old one, and we attached the garage.

It's certainly wider and higher. I think the old house was lower and seemed quiet small from the front, this one is all up front.

I can't get used to the idea that we're going to live there, and fairly soon, too. It still feels like it's happening to someone else. Strange.

Something called gypcrete is going in tomorrow. (Update: It's in now ...) See picture.

It's some kind of goo that was poured over the heating tubes for the floors. We are putting in heated floors instead of a furnace. This was an idea our friend and HVAC guy extraordinaire, John Vanderheyden, told us about years ago. He really felt it was the most efficient way to heat homes, especially in a cold place like Canada. When we went to build, we found out the price had come down enough that it was something we could do. We had heated bathrooms floors in the original Morris house, and it was lovely. I can't imagine it everywhere, but I think it will be great.

It's really getting down to the details now. It's time for selecting, choosing and final decisions on this, that and the other thing. I spent hours at Direct Buy last night (not a fun place - even for a shopper like me) researching appliances, tile, fixtures, furniture, counters, flooring, blinds, outdoor pavers ....

Had to have a few glasses of wine when I got home to recover.

Have you shopped there, followers? It's so ....analog. It's crowded, too, and those catalogues, the small print, the plastic wrapped pages. I felt I needed hand sanitizer. They have these actual paper forms you fill out with pens! I don't trust it. And they don't take credit cards!

I ordered a washer and dryer last night. Check it out:

We chose it because it was blue and I like the square doors. I think it steams things, too. It was a great price, on sale.

Other updates:

We picked our appliances. We're going with GE Monogram line - it's high end looking, without the ridiculousness of the totally high end prices. Check out our stove. It's a six burner. SIX! What are we ever going to do with six burners? The husband wants it, thinks it's great for his famous "heart attack in a pan" egg fry breakfasts.

We have a concrete basement floor now, it was poured last Friday. You can walk around down there without precarious balancing over shifting stones and mud. It is lovely and smooth, makes you want to do a little tap dance (OK, so maybe I did .... )

Let me explain our plans for the basement - we designed it with an in-law suite in mind. Both the husband and I have healthy, independent parents who right now would never dream of living anywhere other than their own homes. But, we've always believed in the concept of multi-generational living, and have noodled over having them live in close proximity, in some way (they are pretty cool as far as parents go - and yes, they all read this).

So, because we didn't really need the basement space, we turned it into a two bedroom "suite" - complete with bathroom, fireplace and open concept kitchen. It's got large windows and 9 ft ceilings, so it doesn't really feel too basement-y. It's not big, but feels spacious because it's quite open.

(Note: I am not really a "basement" person. Warren is. He has always dreamed of his own "man room" preferably with no windows, one of those ugly Lazy Boy chairs, a TV and a well-stocked beer fridge. Like that is ever happening .....)

Anyway, our parents helped us the design the space - we asked them for the elements they would want for something like this. We even put in some foundation work to support an elevator installation someday. Both moms have arthritis and would need one to get down there. I have a very large closet off the mudroom for now.

We included a small terrace off a french door (which both moms said would be nice) and a fireplace (which they thought would make it feel warmer and less basement-y. Walking around there it now, it certainly doesn't feel too basement-y.

They are likely years away from needing to be this close to us, but in the meantime, we can use the space for a student, a nanny, or even some renters. (Applications must be made in writing ...)

We continue finalizing our kitchen design and bathroom plans. Tanner Vine, our very own designer guy, has come up with very cool ideas around these areas. He is busy drawing our plans - and I can't wait to see these spaces become reality. Tanner has been fantastic. If you are looking for a great kitchen designer, I recommend him and his firm:

This week, the husband and I will be picking exterior cladding, our fireplace, final plumbing choices, and sorting out the stairs. Still waiting for summer weather to arrive, so this will be a little easier since we won't be sitting on the beach! The husband is on vacation and running "daddy day care" for the next two weeks, do it ourselves renovations on the cottage also continue (hey, another blog??) so it's a really busy time. I am still commuting, but we hang out at the site every day or so somehow. I can't imagine what we'll do with ourselves once it's all done ..... I guess we'll be doing a lot of cooking on that six burner, right Husband??

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday, July 7th: Great Progress!

Tuesday, July 7th (Week Six)

Big progress this week. We have a house. An actual house. It's got walls, two stories and a plywood roof. See picture of me, inside, below. And another of me, on our new front porch. (Can't wait to sit out there and watch the world go by.) Welcome to our new home!

Our amazing framers did it in just over two weeks ... we are tentatively, quietly, (hush, whisper) ahead of schedule. Shh... don't tell anyone. Don't want to jinx it. I walked in it today, even climbed a rickety ladder in flip flops (NOT work site gear, by the way) and checked out the second floor. There are plywood outlines of the interior walls. This gives us an idea of the space. Some rooms seem larger, some smaller.

The house is very high. That's one thing we have really noticed. Our main floor will have ten foot ceilings, and the basement and second floor have nine footers ... plus our joists are really thick, given our lack of interior walls .. so it all adds up and seems .... kind of towering, actually, next to the other houses. What do you think, followers?

Very happy we didn't end up with a third story, as was tossed around in the early days. Would have been ridiculous. The windows are really great in some spots, the front upstairs window above the garage is huge and really nice. It will be our guest room and will also have a bit of a vaulted ceiling, so will seem airy and spacious, even though none of our bedrooms are particularly large. The kids room seem quite puny. We kind of planned it that way - kids don't need much and I have an anti-clutter thing going on, so the less the merrier. They will have all sorts of built ins and window seats for storage, but I didn't want large room for them and we were kind of squished as it was.

In other news, the pressure is on for selecting, ordering and narrowing down a ton of choices. Today we nailed down our appliances - they are required for the final kitchen/great room plans. Next is the plumbing pieces sinks, faucets, etc. I am hauling an entire bag full of brochures and catalogues back to the cottage this week so we can narrow these down. We also have to figure out and fine tune the electrical placements - which plugs, outlets, light switches are going where. As Tanner, our kitchen/bathroom/mudroom/everything designer guy has repeatedly pointed out, we do not have a "lighting plan" - so will be developing one as we sit on the beach next week.
Given the unfortunate placement of the outlet cover that causes our fire .. this is something we want to pay special attention to.

Speaking of ... we decided to also install a sprinkler system in the house. It's not as pricey as we thought, and I think also does wonders for insurance rates, not to mention peace of mind. Apparently they only go off when certain temperatures are reached, and do not go off accidentally. This was my first concern - we've all seen the movies ....

Also began some very fun furniture shopping today - found a wonderful bed for our marital headquarters, and potentially a fabulous desk for me, which I would like in our master bedroom. Kind of contemporary and art deco, both pieces. Loved them both. Will be visiting them in the store again soon, I think.

Am also thinking of a very jazzy burnt orange leather sectional for our media/TV room which is upstairs, just off the staircase, a fairly small space also. I like orange with the blues we have planned. The price is amazing and it's modern and sleek looking, yet it seems comfy. Will decide soon, keep you posted. Any thoughts appreciated. Orange just makes me happy.

Also check out our super high garage .... here is the husband (who stands 6'5) inside it - we will be able to actually keep the car in it - plus maybe a loft area for storage. This also makes me happy, even if it's not orange.