Monday, April 30, 2012

Long-Awaited Stamp, Flooring, and More

It seems as we get closer (only about 3 weeks away, now!) to digging the basement, each week is full of new and exciting things.  This past week a certain hardware/lumber store in the area held their annual anniversary sale where many different items are either on sale or on clearance.  We made a point to take the family there last Monday and were able to buy 2 Mansfield Pro-Fit 2 elongated toilets for $89 each.  After looking at toilets all around here, I know that it is rare, if not nearly impossible, for toilets to be less than $100.  We were very happy with the price and took the only 2 they had.  Then as we were walking out of the store to load up our purchases, I walked into the outdoor tent and it was full of flooring.  I had seen a laminate flooring in the store that I liked and saw the same kind in the tent again.  I really, really liked it!  It was slightly nontraditional but I loved the look.  So, I took down the information and went home to research it a little.  Since I could find no reviews on it, positive or negative, and I really liked the look of it plus the price was exceptional at $0.89 a square foot, so we decided to buy it for the second storey of the house.  Jason went back that evening and paid for it all then picked it up a couple of days later.  The company is called Egger - it is made in Germany and is a light commercial product {you know, for the "gazillion" children we have :) } so hopefully it holds up well.  We figure the main floor of the house will have more wear and tear than the second floor so the main floor will have have real hard wood but the second floor we had decided on laminate.  The color we choose is called Alpine Larch Grey.

I love the long striations in it and I love the color.  I think it will look fantastic!  When Jay arrived with the truck full of flooring, everyone pitched in to help unload it, even 3 year-old Ari.  87 boxes later, we had our flooring!

Then later on in the week we received an email we had waited to receive for about 18 months.  Well, actually, from the time we put in the request until we received it was only 1 week.  But we had been working towards it for 18+ months.  We have a wonderful engineer stamp showing the approval for our floor plans and technical drawings! 

What a relief!  We needed to have this stamp in order to apply for a building permit and to do many other things so it was so exciting to see it.  I was squealing and clapping!  So, with that, today Jason will apply for the building permit and hopefully by the end of this week, we will have that as well.

Finally, just yesterday, we received the results of the soil sample test that was required to help us determine what type of septic field we will need to make.  With the information we received, we can now plan our disposal field and submit it, along with the waster water management application, in order to receive the permit for our septic system!  These are all big and important steps and it is so fantastic to be making such great progress each week!  We can see how the hand of God is pushing this project along each and every week and we are so blessed.  I will certainly write more about that in another post since that is the reason behind everything we do.  As it is, I better get some yard work done before all the excitement of this week begins!  After all, tomorrow is officially May and we build in May!  How time is starting to fly!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Design Suggestions Needed for a Dramatic Powder Room

I love dramatic powder rooms.  I mean, I really, really LOVE dramatic powder rooms!  Rooms that are full of large scale wallpaper or painted an over-the-top color with accessories to compliment, maybe lots of sparkling mosaic tile or a gorgeous over sized mirror - all those things make me love itty-bitty powder rooms with mega impact the moment you open the door.  One of the reasons I love to attend the Parade of Homes is to be "wowed" by the powder rooms.  Though this year was dismally disappointing, I have been thrilled in the past with the variety of wow-factor out there.  I knew from the start our little powder room needed to be one of those stand-out never-to-be-forgotten kind of rooms and I knew exactly what colors I wanted it to be - pink, black, white and silver.  It all flows from the wallpaper I saw once and absolutely loved - Graham and Brown's Elizabeth in Pink & Silver.  I ordered a sample of it and just received it earlier this week - it is way more beautiful in person than the little 1"x1" picture I cut out of a magazine years ago and kept all this time.  So, I now know exactly which wallpaper will adorn that room, I have the vessel sink, I think I know which mirror and faucet I want and I have the light fixture.  What I am not sure of is if I should paper the entire room (not my first choice) or just paper the wall opposite the door and paint the rest of the room a complimentary color (my first choice) or use bead board on the bottom half of the wall and wallpaper the top half all around (my second choice but causes tiling issues around the vanity).  To help you visualize the space, I have included the floor plan of the room - really, your typical powder room. 

Then, to help myself picture the room, I made up my own little "inspiration boards" in Photoshop.  One has pink walls and one has silver walls (since, though it is hard to see, the wallpaper is actually pink and silver, not pink and white.  And it is flocked.  Gorgeous!).  I know that with such a dramatic wallpaper, it is important to have some calming elements in the room so I intend to have a lot of white - white floor tiles, white trim and door, white vanity and vessel sink, white toilet, and white 4"x4" tile for the back splash.  I know the light fixture will be black and will give lots of light so it shouldn't be dark in the room.  I "think" this will be the mirror I get but since I don't have it yet, that could change.  You never know, I might find a huge silver ornate thing that is swoon-worthy - then I would do that instead!  Any suggestions on paint color?  Any suggestions on how much wallpaper to use?  I am not asking you to tell me to not use the wallpaper or to use another kind because I am most certainly using this wallpaper in this room.  If you don't like it, that is okay, you can use another bathroom if you are coming over or just ignore this post if you never make it to my house!  What I am asking is for you design divas to bring out your best design savvy and give me some direction or confirmation as to what would look best in this over-the-top glitz and glamour powder room!

Edited to add:
One reader suggested using wainscot on the lower half of the walls so I did some browsing online to get an idea of how that might look and I really like it.  So, I quickly made an "inspiration board" to include the wallpaper and wainscot option.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Latest Deals on Electrical Supplies and Stair Parts

Are you tired of hearing about all the deals I am finding for our new home?  If so, you can just close this post and move right along - you won't like it!  :)  I am excited to share with you another couple of great deals I found, following my own advice found in this post, particularly points #1 & #2. 

Following point #1, I found an amazing bargain on Kijiji (the equivalent of Craigslist, for my American readers).  Jason has told his mom that he thinks I am wasting time when I am online, scouring Kijiji, but then I find a fantastic bargain and he thinks it is all worth it (and just so you know, I do not look everyday, not even every other day!).  Back just before the Easter weekend, I happened to stumble upon an add for brand new electrical supplies.  Rolls of wire, electrical boxes, receptacles and switches, and cover plates and breakers and a panel box and the list just went on and on, all brand new and sealed in their packages.  When I told Jay about it, his first thought was that it was stolen!  Who sells brand new electrical supplies for a super price on a forum such as Kijiji?  His only conclusion was that it must be stolen!  Well, I responded to the add and they got back to me a few days later, by phone, and explained that their father used to be an electrician but had passed away and now they were cleaning out his stuff.  Apparently he not only had supplies in the house and garage but also in a storage unit.  Since that call, we have made 3 trips to pick up supplies.  The first time Jay drove about an hour one evening to pick up as much as he could for the cash he had.  Since we had no more cash in hand, we made arrangements to pick up more supplies at a later date.  A few days later he met up with them in a parking lot just about 15 minutes down the road.  We thought that was the end.  Then they emailed us a few days later to let us know that another buyer never showed up for more supplies, were we interested in those?  Absolutely.  We also inquired if they had any other items we may need for a new house and they emailed us a list we never saw before.  So, this past Saturday I met up with her again in a parking lot in the city where I was having lunch anyway to pick up the remaining supplies we needed.  Now we have a huge chunk of our electrical supplies for less than half the contractor price we were quoted.  I was very pleased to have found that deal!

Then on Saturday when I was in the city, I made a stop at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  When I told Jay in the morning that I intended to make a stop there, he wanted to know why.  I told him you never know what I would find.  Turns out I found something I never expected.  Stair parts!  I walked past an aisle filled with brand new solid wood spindles (oak?) and contemplated how they might work for the house and if they were a good price.  There was also some huge newel posts in the stack.  Behind me a gentleman was looking through a selection of solid wood handrails.  The wheels in my brain started churning and I made a call to Jay.  I had no idea what price was a good price, how many spindles we would need and what length of handrail was necessary.  Jay promised to do a little researching and check out the plans and then get back to me.  I wandered the rest of the store waiting for his call.  When he called back, he confirmed it was a great deal and informed me how many of each item we needed.  So, there I was kneeling in a pile of chewed gum (eeew!) sorting through the spindles to find enough matching one.  So far, so good (well, except for the gum). 

Then I went crawling under shelves to sort through the handrails, finding one that was long enough and straight enough.  Then I went back to the spindles and returned all the ones I had picked out because they were the wrong size for the handrail.  So, I found a different style of spindle in the correct size and in the correct amount.  After I choose 2 huge newel posts, I was set to go. 

I was so proud of myself.  Yes, my nice light pink spring coat was filthy and I had the remnants of gum stuck to my pants but I was victorious in finding what I needed.  The icing on the cake?  Saturday was 20% off day at the Restore!  So, my great deal became a fantastic deal.  After getting home, I discovered that I paid about 65% less than I would have had I bought those items at a big box store.  No, the wood doesn't match but since I will end up painting them anyway, that part doesn't matter.  What does matter is that we are slowly accumulating items for our house at a fraction of the regular retail price.  As my neighbour said, I will end up building my house for nothing (or right next to it!).

Right next to the Restore is a tile warehouse store so I made a quick stop over there to check out what they had.  I am not that particular about stair parts.  I know what color I want but the style is not that particular.  Tile is a different matter.  We need tile in our master bath around our tub and in the shower and a back splash for the vanity.  I would also like tile for the floor but that is a matter for a whole other post.  I am very specific in the style of tile I want.  Not just anything will do.  And up until Saturday I hadn't found any that I liked.  (To be honest, up until Saturday I never stepped foot in a tile store!).  I was so glad I made the stop because I finally found a few choices of beautiful tile that just might work.  And one of them is actually affordable!  When we choose our tile I will be sure to share with you what we actually went with.  Fortunately, that is not something that needs to be rushed right now.  For that matter, neither did the electrical supplies or the stair parts but with prices like that, you buy immediately.

This week should bring its own set of thrills and excitement but I will share that with you at the end of the week.  Until then, have yourself a fantastic week!  I know I will!  :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cutting Down (More) Trees To Make Room for the House

Last year as we talked about where we wanted to put the new house, we thought behind a row of fully mature poplars would be a good idea.  They were about halfway back on the yard and they would provide shade for the house - all good things.  As we have mulled it over more and more and talked with others, we have decided to take down those trees.  Poplars are notorious for falling over in a windstorm and if that were to happen, they would land on the house.  Not something we want.  So, today, Jay spent some time cutting and some time pushing and soon that row was all down.  It looks so bare now without them but I fully intend to plant different trees to take the place of the poplars. 

Since today was not the most ideal day for cutting trees, we made sure to have a tractor on hand to offer a little assistance in prodding the trees to fall in the correct direction.  There was a bit of a breeze today in the wrong direction which would cause some of the trees to fall on one of our storage sheds or on a whole bunch of others things we didn't want crushed.  The chainsaw paired with the tractor caused each tree to fall just as it should. 

First, you position the tractor in the correct spot so that it can push on the tree in the highest position possible.  Then you cut (while wearing ear and eye protection - he did put on the eye protection shortly after).

Once you have cut the tree more than halfway through but before it starts to fall over on its own, you push it some more with the tractor.  And you push.  And it falls just the way you want it to amidst the shouts of "TIMMMMMMBERRRRRRRRRR" from the kids who were watching from a safe distance.

And then if you are a boy, you run over to the fallen tree as fast as you can and climb all over it before dad starts on the next tree and you have to move.

And if you are this boy, you spend the whole morning in -11C weather (with the windchill) watching every move your dad makes while your siblings complain about the cold and hide in the van!

You repeat the whole process for all 13 trees and suddenly, about 2 hours later, you are done!  Jay has just pushed those large trees to the back of the yard where we can deal with them in our own time.  Seeing as we anticipate starting to dig in 6 weeks, just after the May long weekend, we have a bunch of things to get in place before then.  Now we can check this off the list!

{Side note:  Sometimes I wish strongholds in my life were so easily felled and replaced with better things as those trees were.  You know, those bad habits I have that I wish I could break or those sins that don't ever seem to go away.  Wouldn't it be so nice if I could just cut them off at the bottom with a saw and push them over and they would be gone and done with?  Most often, though, it seems as though I chip away at it with a bread knife and it never seems to make much of a difference at all.  The stronghold remains.  The sin still flourishes.  That is, until the Ultimate Woodsman comes over and gives me a hand, felling that stronghold with one push of His mighty right arm!  Oh, how I love that Woodsman!}

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why We Chose the Windows We Did

Since Jason had so many other things to think about and I was able to do a bunch of research online, I decided that I wanted to tackle the issue of the windows in our new home.  See, this house has Jeld-Wen windows in it and they are terrible!  With a capital T!  In the 10 years we have been in this house, we have replaced almost every. single. window.  About 5 years after the house was built, I noticed a haze on one of our large living room windows.  Eventually that haze turned into fog and that fog into condensation.  Soon I could hardly see out the window.  After contacting the window company (we do have a 25 year window warranty) they came out and replaced the window.  The window was free, the installation was not.  Turns out the seal went.  We thought that was a fluke.  Ah, no.  Apparently the spacer they used while making these windows was defective and the company abandoned that spacer shortly after starting to use it.  However, in the meantime, we have an entire house of windows with that faulty spacer.  So, every spring, more and more windows need replacing.  Remember, the window is free but installation is not.  So, every year, these windows keep costing us more and more money. Yet again we have 2 more windows that will need replacing this spring and this house is not that big nor do we have a tonne of windows.  So, needless to say, I have a passion for windows.  Windows that remain sealed.  Windows that work for longer than 5 years.  I want a good window so I was on a mission.  With all the "expertise" I have gained while studying windows, I came up with what I hope and believe is a good window company.  Let me share with you why I chose the window company I did - Durabuilt Windows - and I how I came about that decision.

1.  I was dead set against Jeld-Wen Windows.  I know they are local.  I know they are in abundance in the houses built around here.  But I don't care.  I don't like our windows and unless Jeld-Wen would give us the windows for free, I wasn't about to use them. 

2.  I chose window companies based on radio ads and personal recommendations and some that we saw and liked at the Kitchen, Bath and Renovation Show we went to earlier this winter.  Most of the window companies had some sort of catchy jingle on the radio ads and I remembered them because of it.  I also have a friend in the housing business and she suggested a particular company.  So, with all the radio ads and recommendations plus the ones we saw, I had a list of window companies 7 long!  I know, a lot of companies, but totally worth the research.

3.  I emailed each of the companies asking for a quote.  Window companies around here are more than willing to provide a quote if you provide a drawing of your house plans.  I merely sent them our pdf of our house plans and away they went.  Super simple on my part and mostly simple on theirs.  They do this all the time so they are good at it.

4.  After I received the quotes back, I typed all the information into a spreadsheet so I could compare each company.  Most of the quotes broke down the cost by window.  By making the spreadsheet, I could see at a glance what each company would charge for the dining room window or the bedroom window, etc.  It was really helpful. Plus I was easily able to sort them according to price.  As with anything you will always get some low prices, some mid line and some way higher than your budget.  I certainly had all of those.  The hard part was trying to figure out why some companies were more than twice the amount of others.

5.  I spent a great deal of time studying how windows are made and what the best windows are for our environment - hot in summer, cold in winter.  A harsh climate, most would say.  So, windows that are great in Toronto or Vancouver may not be suitable here.  I needed to know the window would work on the prairies and in our house, in particular.  I looked at the thickness of the glass, the total thickness of all the window components, what the spacer between the glass was made of, what types of glazing the company offered, what types of windows themselves, the thickness of the internal grilles and the patterns available, the sizes of windows available, the options for brick mould and jamb extension, the hardware used on the windows, the colors available, the warranty, and all the other many details that make up windows.  I tried to distill the information down to something I could understand and I think I came away quite knowledgeable about windows in general and some companies in particular.

6.  Once I distilled the information down, I discovered that 3 window companies stood out to me based on their options and their price.  Budget plays a huge role in choosing windows.  Some companies were eliminated just on price factor itself.  One company we were very interested in never actually sent us a quote.  Even after numerous phone calls and emails, promises from the saleslady that the quote would be in "by the end of the week or Monday at the latest", we still have yet to hear back from them.  Easy to eliminate when you don't have a quote, right?  We also eliminated a company based on their faulty quoting process.  They were WAY more expensive than any other company so we didn't even consider them.  The saleslady was quite insistent on talking with me so I told her her company was too high in price for us.  She was surprised since some of the other companies we were looking at were her normal competition and they were always very similar to their quotes.  I told her she was MANY thousands of dollars higher.  She looked into it and found they had made some sort of error.  I was already turned off to their company for the really high price with no obvious reason why so we didn't go with them.  Some got eliminated by sheer lack of interest by the sales rep.

7.  Once we narrowed the field down to 3 companies, we visited with each of those to meet with the salesmen, look at the windows, open and close them, ask the questions we still had and get a general sense of the company.  What a huge difference that makes!  From the emails, I would say those were the 3 companies that were most responsive, the companies that offered what we needed and the companies with a budget we could afford.  We learned what makes each company different from the other and it really cemented my opinion of which company to use.

So, the big question you may have is:  Why did you pick Durabuilt Windows and not some of the other ones I mentioned in my earlier blog post?  First of all, Durabuilt Windows was the name I heard recommended by the Shel Busey show on the radio over and over and over again.  The name just stuck.  He recommended them after having done lots of research on them.  I trust his recommendation so the Durabuilt name was in the back of my mind for a while.  I knew nothing about them but I was curious!  Secondly, Durabuilt Windows has the BEST (and I mean the absolute BEST) sales representative ever in the local office here close to where I live.  He is unbelievable!  He would answer every question quickly and completely.  He was always available for the many questions I had, always checked up on me to see how the research was going, and was so nice in person.  He was a HUGE part of why I chose Durabuilt.  If ever I have an issue with the windows, I would want to deal with him!  The catalogues Durabuilt gave me were loaded with information, as is their website.  Some of the competitors have terrible websites with so little information - Durabuilt has a fantastic website and most every question I had could be answered by it.  Some of the competitors had tiny little catalogues with only a few pages.  For me, the more information, the better.  Durabuilt had all the options we wanted.  I could pick what thickness of internal grilles I wanted from a few different options,  I could choose which pattern of grilles I wanted, they have an improved and updated window hardware that is better than the competitors, they are able to accommodate the larger window jamb we will be needing without adding a huge extra cost, they have great numbers when it comes to window energy efficiency (not something I will get into on here), they have a fantastic selection of entrance doors, they are a Canadian company located on the prairies, they are priced in the low-mid range and they are IMS Certified.  Did I mention they have a fantastic sales rep?  :)  The funny thing is, at the beginning of this whole process I wanted to go with Durabuilt.  I had no idea why but that's just what my gut indicated.  I tried to set that aside and really make a good effort to gather all the information I could to make the best possible choice.  Now I am back to my Durabuilt decision but at least I know why!  I am thrilled to be having this window in our home and I will be sure to let you know how they work out (you know, after we actually have them in our house and are using them!).  If you have any more specific questions on Durabuilt Windows or why we didn't chose the others I mentioned earlier, feel free to drop me a line.  I will answer what I can!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our Kitchen Design

After just over one month of intense kitchen planning, I am heading into the city later today to actually order our new kitchen for our new house!  This is such an exciting time for me as I have been dreaming about a new kitchen for a long time.  I thought I would share with you some of the important elements I wanted in my kitchen and why.

First of all, the kitchen needed to be large!  Our current kitchen is about 11'x9' from wall to wall but with it being an almost closed circle-shaped kitchen (one little aisle to enter/exit), the open space in the middle is only about 7' x 5 1/2' (into which the dishwasher door, oven door and fridge door all open so if any of those are open, it gets real small, real quick!).  The new kitchen is about 18' x 11' with lots of space to move around!  It is a U-shaped kitchen with a fairly good sized island.

Our current kitchen has very chopped up counter space so a long uninterrupted counter was vital.  The longest straight piece of counter in our kitchen now is 41" - suitable for only 2 people to work side by side, and that is very cozy side-by-side!  The longest uninterrupted counter in our new kitchen will be about 7' long!  Many hands can help with counter space like that!

An island was important to me so the new kitchen has an island that is about 6' x 4 1/2'.  In this island is a small prep sink which is at the opposite side of the kitchen as the other main sink.  With the amount of work happening at the sink in the kitchen, we can already see how helpful another smaller sink will be.  When I am washing dishes and someone wants to rinse some grapes or drain the potatoes, they can just use the other sink rather than me having to reorganize what I am doing.  I am most certainly not the only one in the kitchen  at our house - I have many helpers so another sink will certainly be more efficient!  The island will also have a space for bar stools.  However, since the island will be all one level with only a small prep sink in one corner, it will be a wonderfully large surface on which to prep food or serve food or make cookies with the kids or the many other things that could happen at that spot.  It will also be a great spot for guests to sit and chat with me while I continue to prepare food.

We have a bar counter in our kitchen now and we love it.  It is a raised counter and the kids eat most of their breakfasts and their lunches there (when it is cleaned off - it does become the dumping ground for things but that is another story!).  However, our bar counter only seats 4 people.  We have 5 kids.  It has become a source of arguments and contention to figure out who gets to sit at the bar counter and who has to sit at the table.  The next kitchen has a peninsula that is 11' long.  We should easily be able to get all 5 kids at that counter - hey, maybe there will even be a spot for me, too!  Plus, with the space at the island, we should easily get 9 or 10 people just at the peninsula and island, never mind at the dining room table!  Lots of seating was imperative.  Unlike our current kitchen, however, the peninsula will not have a raised bar counter.  It will be all one level, just like the island.  Though it will require me to keep the kitchen a bit tidier since I cannot hide the dirty dishes behind the raised counter, it will give another large workable counter area!

From a practical side, I really wanted to have a full refrigerator/full freezer in our kitchen.  Since we were able to find a scratch and dent set for an unbelievable price, we have already purchased them.  They will be so fantastic, offering plenty of convenient cooling/freezing space right in the kitchen.   Since I have a slight cookbook fetish, I really wanted a bookshelf in either the end of the island or the end of the peninsula.  It worked better with the plan for it to be in the peninsula so that is where it is.  I am looking forward to having the cookbooks in an easily accessible spot - maybe I would end up using them more often!  :)

From a design standpoint, I wanted to have windows on either side of my range hood, rather than a window by the corner sink.  It is not super common to have it that way but the few I have been able to find online I really love.  The kitchen will face into the backyard so it will be easy to keep an eye on the kids, if I needed.  Plus with them being north facing windows, I can sit some pretty orchids in front of those windows and have some plants in my kitchen!  I know, small detail that no one really cares about but I am already scheming!  :)

The cabinets themselves will reach up to our 9' ceilings so, though we don't have a tonne of upper storage, with the extra height, we should be able to store plenty of items in those cupboards.  Most of the upper cabinets have glass fronts and that should really give the kitchen a light and airy feel to it, as though there are more windows than there actually are.

The lower cabinets are almost all drawers rather than doors!  When I was growing up, my parents were able to piece together an oak floor model kitchen to fit into our space.  The one thing I remember about that kitchen is a couple of roll-out drawers for the pots.  When we built the kitchen in this house, I insisted on roll-out drawers wherever possible and I am not sorry I did.  They are the BEST solution for kitchen storage and make accessing items in the base cabinets so much easier.  Our new kitchen has roll-out drawers in every possible spot and I know I will love it.  I have already gone through our virtual kitchen and decided where all my dishes will go!  The roll-out drawers beside the stove will hold pots, pans, casserole dishes, pie plates, bread pans, etc, etc.  The roll-out drawers in the island (facing the stove) will hold the dishes I use for baking so Pyrex bowls, measuring cups and spoons, etc.  The bottom drawer will hold flour and sugar and maybe some other basic spices.  I have drawers for oven mitts and tea towels, utensils for cooking and utensils for eating.  Since there are 21 roll-out drawers,  I have drawers for most anything!

You will notice we don't have a tall pantry in our kitchen.  Since we have a large almost 11' x 6' walk-in pantry right behind the fridge/freezer, a pantry in the kitchen was unnecessary.  So, instead of always running downstairs to grab that can of soup or tuna or asking the kids to do it, I can just get it myself with just a few quick steps!

Finally, there is the decorative element to our kitchen.  For sheer beauty, I have incorporated 6 pillars into the kitchen.  Two are the legs for the island, 2 are legs for the peninsula and 2 flank the stove and will be hiding spice pull-outs.  Do we need pillars?  No.  Do I like pillars?  Very much!  The company we are using for our cabinets is Medallion Cabinetry. We are going with their Designer Gold series which means the entire kitchen is solid wood.  The doors themselves will be maple and the drawers and cabinets are plywood.  The drawers themselves are made with dovetail construction, are full extension drawers and have the soft close feature.  The style is called Brookhill.  As for the color, the upper and base cabinets will all be white with a dark glaze accenting it, called Morel Vintage.  The range hood and the island will be a black stain called Onyx.

Over all, I think this kitchen is, for me, a dream kitchen!  It will be large and spacious, it will have long counters, plenty of storage and seating, a full fridge/freezer, windows, tile back splash, a large hanging fixture over the island, storage for cookbooks in the peninsula and decorative items above the fridge/freezer, pull-out spice racks beside the range and a pretty range hood.  Mostly, this kitchen will be a dream since I will be able to work with my husband, my kids, my friends and my family without tripping over them, enjoying our time together in the kitchen, creating memories, sharing laughs and secrets, learning and loving, because, for us, the kitchen really is the heart of our home.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Progress Report on House Building

As I have mentioned over and over, we are building a house this summer.  As a matter of fact, we hope to break ground next month.  Woa.  Did I just say next month?  NEXT MONTH??!!  Ahh!  I cannot believe it!  I remember when the calendar turned to 2012 that this would be the year we would build.  I still wasn't sure when this year, but I knew it was this year.  Now we have determined we would like to start next month, towards the end, so it could actually be early June but we are aiming for the end of May!  So excited.  Tonnes has to happen before then but I will update you on where we are right now.

As I write this, Jay is at the property talking with the hydro company to see how much work (and how much money) it will be to move the electrical to where we need it from where it is currently.  On the phone they made it sound like it will be a bit of a job so we will find out what that means.  Then to see when they can actually do the work.  But, it is an important step so we are glad they are meeting today.

Since the septic field that is currently installed is probably neither legal or to code, we will need a new septic tank and field installed.  This requires some knowledge we do not yet have but know people who do, right, dad?!  :)  We will need a soil test done to determine what kind of field we can have and that will only happen when we know where the field will be.  My dad will help us figure that out.  Once we know the placement and have the soil tested we can apply to have a septic field installed.  That application must be approved before we can apply for a building permit.

We are waiting for the final renderings of our blueprints so they can be approved by us and sent to the engineer to be stamped for approval.  The changes at this point are very minor so that work should be done this week (we keep calling every other day and it helps!) and then they can be sent off for approval.  These engineered plans are required before we can apply for the building permit.

After studying all my price quotes and studying the companies and meeting with our top 3 choices, we have chosen the window company we will be using.  Due to numerous reasons I will fully explain in another post, we have decided to use Durabuilt Windows.  I am so glad to have that choice made.

This next Monday we will be placing the order for our kitchen cabinets!  I know, a little different than most people do it!  But, the solid wood cabinets (and I mean all of it is solid wood!) are on a 30% off discount until April 12.  The next level down, which has solid wood doors and drawers but particle board carcasses, are actually more expensive since they are not on sale!  Since this is a sale price that rarely comes around (10-15% off is more common) we are ordering our kitchen before we even start building our house!  I will talk more about the kitchen in another post as well.

Finally, probably the  most exciting decision we have made is to build the house ourselves alongside a contractor/carpenter that we know.  During this whole process we approached a building company to have the house priced out turnkey.  That was too expensive.  When we took out the contractor's profit, we knew we could afford it.  So, we looked at contracting it ourselves and hiring out crews.  That was a possibility.  Then, when the Lord brought to mind the name of a gentleman I worked with during my college years, we contacted him.  He is a contractor/carpenter that has seen many builds through from start to finish, both residential and commercial.  He doesn't have his own crew this summer but was willing to work with us.  He will be there every step of the way (or at least for whatever we want him to do), providing the tools and expertise, working alongside us and teaching us as we do the concrete work, frame the house, roof the house and finish the house.  We will still be hiring others to do the electrical work and the HVAC but the rest of it should be in our hands.  We will hire one other individual to help us as well.  That means that there will be 3 people full-time (our contractor, Jay and our employee), 4 people most of the time (you better believe I will be in there like a dirty shirt - would be all the time but we still have kids to parent) and maybe some others that would be willing to help out here and there.  After spending time in prayer and looking at all the options, this was the one that sat best with us.  We are hands-on people.  We wanted to be involved in the building of our house.  Well, hands-on and involved we will be!  We are so excited and cannot wait to get started!

I will be sure to keep you posted as progress is made.  Given the fact that we will be doing a lot of the work ourselves (but not alone, if that makes sense) it may take a little longer than usual.  However, we are determined and dedicated people so we will be sure to work hard and long to get this job accomplished as quickly as we can while still doing it properly!
Related Posts with Thumbnails