Monday, July 27, 2015

Concrete Flatwork

The concrete flatwork has been spread out over many days.

We started with filling in the porches. This had to be done before the columns could be installed.

Next up, was the large driveway. This was done in four sections. It has been so hot, and we only have two guys working, that the concrete would dry too fast. I would have preferred more guys on the job, but it’s a lesson learned.

Next up was the sidewalk. I made a funky shape for the sidewalk that leads to Mom’s porch. It breaks it up from the normal.

The front walkway was poured on a separate day. It starts narrow, but then opens up as you approach the house. This allows the stairs that lead down to be wide and match the width of the front door.

We had to replace two sections of cracked sidewalk. These were cracked before we began construction and weren’t bad cracks. But we’ve been told the City Engineering Department will do an inspection and ave us repair it.

The back “courtyard” is raised and I love it! To get down into the yard, there will be steps that go all the way across the curve. We needed to create a footer for the steps. Each time we used a curve, the form was made from baseboard remnants. They were easy to bend.

We also made pads for the HVAC units. One will be behind our fence line, but the other is on the side of the house everyone will see, so we have to create a screen. This meant the pad had to be larger. The code requires so much space on sides of the HVAC unit.

Our water shut-off valve was in the way, so we had the plumber come move it. Luckily, he is prompt.

We didn’t do anything fancy for our concrete. I did request a certain pattern for the walkways, but it wasn’t done. Then when they asked, they said they’d have to buy a special tool, but they were an hour away from pouring. I ended up saying, “forget it.”

I did learn many things about the grading and fault lines with regards to concrete.

Our back patio was raised so that we have virtually no step into the house.

And protruding corners are where concrete likes to crack, so you want to create a fault line to ease the pressure. Inverted corners are less prone.

We ran pipes underneath the concrete to allow the irrigation to go under walks and drives, downspout pipes and our cable company can run their line under the driveway easy.

It’s pretty cool we can drive on the driveway now. I still forget at times, but I am getting better at

Thursday, July 23, 2015


The painting crew we have is phenomenal!

They knocked things out so quickly!

The trim guy running behind caused a few delays, but we asked the trim guy to complete the upstairs
first so that our painters could come in and do the top floor while the trim guy finished the bottom floor.

Our painters started by caulking all the trim work. Door frames, door jambs, crown joints, everything!

But our painters were so fast, that they did the top floor and bottom floor all in one day. It was funny to see that they even caulked a half-installed crown piece.

It showed the trim guy that he was slow! Ha.

Next up, they primed. They, again, did this in one day. It’s the true colors I am using, but not the finish. I was so excited to see the colors and love them!

That’s a big deal! I changed the paint colors so many times at the old house. But that helped me know
what colors to pick for this house.

Each color was used in the last house.

With exception to the trim color and the laundry room color!

I was trying to go with a more white color for trim. Our old house used Pacer White by Sherwin Williams. But when you held up a true white next to it, it really looked tan! I trusted to go with a color I hadn’t used before. I was nervous it wouldn’t go with the colors I was using on the walls. Maybe my colors needed an off-white trim color. But so far, all colors look great.

And my laundry room got funky! I picked out “Cooled Blue” by Sherwin Williams as a funky color to use somewhere. I thought about using it in the spare closet. But I wouldn’t visit that room often enough to see it. Then I was going to put it in the laundry room. But I changed my mind at the last minute. I wanted the walls to be white and the cabinets would be white. The washer and dryer will be white. The counters are white. The laundry room will look so clean and then… bam! You look up to a cool blue ceiling.

I love it already. It really makes me smile. And because of the antique window, I get to see it even when I am not in the laundry room.

Hopefully, this makes me enjoy doing laundry more.

The painters had to wait for the stair guy to finish his install before he went any further. Our trim guy
actually kicked the painters out one day, because they were getting in his way.

Once the stairs were complete, the painters were off working another job and our house was empty for two days. I had already pushed back the cabinet and flooring install to Monday, the 20th. I didn’t want to push them back again, so our painters worked their tushes off to get the ceiling complete and the trim complete.

Now the electrician can install all the ceiling lights and the switches and plugs. They won’t put the finish coat on the walls until the electricians are done. I’ve been told the walls get dinged up in that process,so the painters rather wait.

The painters also painted the interior doors.

I really wanted to see that process. As they took the doors off, they labeled them so they know where they went. They had them stacked for a while and I was unsure of how they would paint them.

I think they used the master bedroom floor. It’s the room with the most overspray.

I can’t wait for the final coat. It’s really coming together now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The stairs are installed and I am blown away!

We used a local company to supply the stair parts. We could have used the same company we were
getting our trim from, but my builder advised to use someone who specialized in stairs. I have been so impressed with their quality and service.

The stair guy was obviously impressed with my planning of the whole house before we broke ground. He spread the word around town and showed them my packet. Ha! But it did make him understand me. He knew that I already knew what I wanted and not to try and steer me another way.

The parts were ready and delivered. Our trim guy did not feel comfortable installing the stairs and had two guys he kept trying to get on site to install. After two weeks of them not showing up, we called the guy that supplied the stair parts and asked what he would charge to install them and when he was available. We had to wait another week, but the guys that did install did an outstanding job!

It took them five days total to install the stairs. A lot of that time was spent curving the handrail.

The handrail was made out of many slivers of wood. They “wet” them with glue and used C-clamps
along the edge to get the exact curve.

They did the same thing to the landing part of the curve that the balusters would go into.

This was the hardest part and took the most time, but it was well worth it.

The staircase looks just like my inspiration picture.

When we are closer to being done with the house, the painters will come back and stain the stairs and
handrail. I am going for a rustic look, so there will not be a sheen to the steps. The older looking, the

Friday, July 10, 2015

Trim Package Complete

It only took 4 weeks!

Our trim was delivered Monday, June 8th. Our trim guy was suppose to start that Wednesday. He called us that day to let us know he hurt his back and couldn't work. We had to find a new trim carpenter and have him work us into his schedule.

Our new trim guy got started on June 17th. First thing he did was hang the interior doors. There was no way our old trim guy could lift these doors with a hurt back.

Our trim guys installed the casing on the doors before installing them. They did the same thing with the windows.

We used trim to return all the windows and door jambs. My builder talked me into it because he said it was easier to fix on off-centered window with trim than it is with drywall.

I really am glad he talked me into it. I really like the casing I picked out. I found a picture I liked and found something very similar. It was important to find casing that was in one piece. This meant less material and less labor. Most designs I liked were trims built out of multiple pieces.

After the doors and windows were installed, the cased openings were trimmed out and then baseboard was run. I chose a simple speedbase. I used 7.25 inch on the first floor and 5.25 inch on the second.

Our trim carpenter did a good job at using long pieces for everything and eliminating joints. There were only a couple the painters will have to caulk.

Our trim carpenter could build a mantle on site, but I just decided to order mine from the company I purchased the fireplace from. I copied my mom's mantle. I had to decide the type of material I would be using to surround the fireplace, because that would dictate the dimensions. I've decided to use the exterior brick we have for the surround.

Before the exterior doors were installed, the trim guys installed the door casing. I really liked how it cleaned it up.

I did not go fancy with my trim. I could have beefed up the cased openings, especially the one in the foyer, but it's not my style.

I chose a cove crown molding instead of a layered one. It serves what I think is the purpose of crown; a transition piece from the wall to the ceiling.

Once the basic trim package was complete, the fun began! First up, the modified coffered ceiling. This is what I called it. Again, I don't like beefed up trim, so I used 1x8 MDF boards and laid them in a pattern on the ceiling in the living room.

Because walls are never straight, I needed a small 1x2 MDF board to run along the wall to hide any gaps there might be between the 1x8 and wall. I could have used the crown, but I didn't want the crown to hide almost all of the 1x8 perimeter boards.

I can't wait for it to be painted so the drywall mud is less distracting.

Next up was the ship-lap style wainscoting. I decided to use the same 1x8 boards and used 3/16" tile spacers for the spacing.

We then used the door casing to top it off.

I really like how it turned out!

I just have to remind the painters not to caulk the seam. That's kind of why I chose the 3/16" gap so they would know the gap is on purpose.

The back hall has a fancy wainscoting. This whole design period I was in search of unique wainscoting ideas. I don't like to follow the crowds. I found a design and fell in love.


I taped the inspiration picture on the wall to use as an example. I wanted to copy it as closely as I could. The corbels were hard to find. From what I could tell, they were shallow. But there is no such thing as a shallow corbel. I could have special ordered some, but we did not have time. We were already running slow and I didn't want to be the reason. I ran to Home Depot and found some crown joint pieces.

I glued them together with wood glue and clamped them.

They looked awesome! Their depth was perfect, so that the shelf on top did not stick out too far.

It's so hard to get a good picture of the wall. I should have removed the wood blocking the window light before taking the picture. It's the wall that we will walk by on our way out to the garage every day!

I love looking at the detail up close.

Every little detail was thought about.

The painters have primed it, but they haven't caulked all the nail holes yet.

The trim carpenter also installed our attic access ladders and built the tub deck.

Usually they install the stair parts as well, but we went ahead and hired a stair specialist to install the stairs. The job was already taking too long. I'll write a separate post about the stairs soon. They are almost complete.

With the trim complete, it really feels like the house is coming alive with character. I really couldn't be happier with the quality.

Painting has already started and should wrap up soon. Flooring and cabinets go in next week! I don't think I will be able to sleep any time soon!
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