Sunday, September 23, 2012

Owner Building a Home - Week 18 - Front Door, Front Porch, Basement, etc.

MONDAY - We spent today installing the floor heating pipes in the basement.  Jay and Mr.W laid them all out in the different zones, keeping them to the right lengths, and I followed behind and zip-tied all the pex pipe to the rebar.  I am really excited about what the basement floor will look like in the end and with the pex pipe, the floor should be comfortably warm!

TUESDAY - Today was supposed to be the day the fireplace was installed.  We found out in the morning that the installation would not be happening due to a missing piece.  It was a little frustrating since the nights are getting cooler and we were anticipating using the fireplace for heat.  We will have to wait a little longer.  Even though the fireplace could not be installed, it was delivered so installation should happen sometime this week.  Since the nearly 600-lb fireplace arrived, we decided to install the front doors.  We were waiting for the fireplace to come in so we wouldn't wreck the doors or the threshold.  It is a beautiful set of glass doors so we wanted to make sure to put them in after all likelyhood of damage would occur.  Plus, it is getting chilly in the house and closing up the front door opening makes a huge difference.  It was fairly straightforward.  We didn't put the proper hardware on the door just to make sure that isn't damaged so we put on another locking set.  It is so fun to walk in and out of the front door and listen to how it clicks closed so nicely.  The kids enjoy going in and out, too. 

While we were in the door installation process, Mr.W also installed the house-to-garage door, which is just a steel 6-panel door.  That keeps that end of the house significantly warmer as well.   While Mr.W was installing the garage door, we were busy insulating (insulation = "air pouffalation" according to our 3-year old) and putting up poly in the garage ceilings.  The drywall crew wanted to get in to put the first layer of ceiling drywall in this evening so we needed to get moving.  Finally, Mr.W started the bulkheads in the diningroom area.  I think the traditional way of framing bulkheads is to use all-wood construction but we have been using metal angle pieces and small 2x4s instead.  It comes together very quickly and once the drywall is attached, you would never know it is not all-wood.

WEDNESDAY - This morning I arrived early to help with the pour of the concrete floor.  The kids stayed at grandma/pa's overnight to accommodate the early morning so I didn't need to worry about them.  Pouring this floor was so much easier and so much more relaxed then when we poured the garage floor.  It was a nice cool morning with a little bit of rain - perfect concrete setting temperature.  Jason did the hardest work by manning the big tube from the concrete pump.  The concrete pump parked in front of the garage and then snaked the hose around the front of the house and into the basement window.  That hose is thick and heavy and requires a lot of strength.  Jay did a great job.  While he poured the concrete we raked it around to the edges, bringing it just up to the chalkline we snapped earlier to show us the final height.  We also cut some 2x4s to the exact distance between the bottom of the floor joists above and the height of the concrete below.  Simply by holding that 2x4 on the bottom of the floor joist we knew if the concrete in each area was too low or too high.  When an area was full of concrete, Mr.W worked the power screed and screed the floor.  The pour was rather uneventful (there was a time when the concrete got stuck in the tube and it required a bit of work on the part of the operator to get it flowing again) and it went off rather easily.  After the pour was done, Mr.W and I worked on the finishing of the floor.  He used the power trowel to work the main areas and I used a hand trowel to work the edges.  Over and over, around and around we went.  Eventually Mr.W kicked me out of the basement and he finished it off.  It took longer to harden than we anticipated (even though we added accelerator) but the finish looks really nice.  Once again, I look forward to seeing the finished concrete floor after the decorative technique we will be applying but we need to wait at least 28-30 days before we can do that.   

Concrete basement day after pouring

Once the basement was done, Jay worked on insulating the garage walls and putting up the poly and I made the bulkheads for the livingroom.  I really enjoyed making the bulkheads.  It requires some precision and I like that!  Plus, they are going to look fantastic when they are done!

THURSDAY - I was gone for most of the day today so I wasn't sure exactly what Jay did.  I know he covered all the upstairs windows with plastic to prepare for priming the drywall.  We will be spraying the walls and ceilings and we don't want the windows painted.  I had to go to a doctor's appointment to check on the status of my eye (the ulcer is gone but there is still some swelling.  Bad news is I cannot wear contacts for at least 1 month!  That sucks.).  Since I was going to be gone I took Ari with me and we had a little date time.  We went out for lunch, did some shopping and I picked up the paint for the ceilings and the trim work.  5 gallon pails of Benjamin Moore paint are not cheap!  But it will be worth it!  When I got back in the later afternoon, I finished up the bulkheads in the livingroom while during the day the drywall crew boarded the bulkheads in the diningroom.  They look so good!

FRIDAY - Sometimes I like to arrive on site knowing what we will be doing and sometimes I like being surprised.  Today I was certainly surprised.  When I arrived, the guys were already working on the front porch roof.  I squealed with excitement!  So, I jumped in to help.  I handed up the trusses to Mr.W who was waiting for them up top.  He attached it and I handed up another.  Over and over.  Jay went to help work on the well head again to get that finished so he was occupied elsewhere.  Not to underestimate the importance of what he has done, it is because of his work that the well work is complete and we will have water in the house (and in the trailer for now).  Once about half the trusses were up, I started cutting 2x4s and 2x6s to make the overhang on the west side of the porch roof and all the blocking for between each truss so there would be additional nailing support for the OSB.  Once they had all the trusses up and the blocking in place (Jay was done with the well by then), I started cutting OSB sheeting as Mr.W called out measurements.  I cut the pieces, Mr.W tacked them in place and Jay followed behind to finish up the nailing. 

We have also hired another guy to help us (the other 2 guys we had went back to school) so he was helping me lift the OSB up to the porch roof and carrying the large 4x8 sheets for me to cut.  It was NOT a lovely day weather-wise to be working.  It was raining and then windy and then cold and then the sun would come out for a bit and then the wind would pick up again and then it would be cold and rainy again.  There was even sleet for a little bit.  But we persevered and finished it up, scrounging up pieces of OSB at the end but the framing of the porch roof is complete!  It looks just like it belongs.  I love the proportins of the house and I think each element works well together.  I look forward to seeing the siding and trim boards in place.  After a day like today, I really look forward to using the air massage tub and warming up in a nice hot candlelit soak but that day will come soon enough.

While we were outside in the cold, the WETT-certified installer was installing the fireplace.  There must have been some challenges because 2 separate deliveries arrived for missing or wrong parts and in the end he is still missing parts to complete it.  Once again we are frustrated but there is little we can do about it except to let the company know of our dissatisfaction.  They knew long in advance which fireplace we were installing so there is no reason they should be missing parts or have the wrong ones.  Hopefully early next week it is complete and we can use it.

The drywall crew was hard at work again boarding and starting to tape and mud the first floor.  I believe most of the main floor is boarded save for a couple of livingroom bulkheads - the fireplace installer was using the livingroom space so the drywall crew couldn't get in there.

I want to say a little bit about the drywall crew we have hired.  They are a fantastic husband/wife team who work well together and do a great job.  When someone is in your house everyday for 3+ weeks, you get to know them a little.  They are encouraging and honest and kind and keep good lines of communication with us and put up with our kids with gentleness -- I really appreciate them.  They are so different, the two of them, but they love each other and support each other in their differences.  I am very thankful to have them working for us.

Next week is the last week where I will be at the house everyday, all day.  I need to start schooling and I will do that Oct. 1.  I am hoping we have the priming of the second floor complete and the painting of the ceilings done by the end of this next week so I can start painting walls after that.  I am not sure what the day will look like when I start schooling but I would hope to be done by about 3 in the afternoon so I can work on the house the rest of the afternoon/evening.  We will see how it all turns out!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Picasa Photo Storage Full? How Do I Get More Free Without Deleting?

Okay, so apparently I have used up my free Picasa Photo Storage so I cannot upload any more photos.  What do I do?  I don't want to delete the photos since they will disappear from the blog (I believe) but I don't want to pay for more storage.  Any solutions out there?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Owner Building a Home - Week 17 - More Drywall, Insulation, Well Water, Etc.

TUESDAY - Today was a great day.  Well, Jason might say that now at the end of it but during the day it was a bit tense for him.  For the majority of it, Jason was helping a friend raise the well to the surface level.  See, the property we bought already had a well on it but it is an old well.  Back then when they dug the well they only brought the well head about 8-10 feet below ground level.  They put a large steel ring around the well and then you cover that ring with plywood to prevent anyone from falling into that 10' deep x 4' wide hole.  With a well like that it is easily contaminated since surface water can run into the well water and make it undrinkable (the state it is in now).  We have actually applied for and been accepted to receive grant money to raise the well to the surface and cap it above ground level, making it safer and less likely to be contaminated.  That day was today.  First of all they needed to determine how deep the well was.  We were guessing 90' and it proved to be about 85' - average depth for our area.  The big question was how much volume could our well pump out?  The amount of volume it can pump is a huge factor in whether or not this old well would be able to accommodate our family and the possibility of geothermal heat for our new house.  If the volume was low, we may need to dig a new well.  We were hoping for 28 gallons per minute but were shocked to discover it is pumping more than 37 gallons per minute, more than enough to provide for our family and geothermal heat, should we go that route! 

That was a big "Praise the Lord" moment!!  He continues to provide for us.  Then the challenge was to snake the electrical wire through a pipe from the submersible pump in the well to the new house.  It is more than 100' away and the pipe had a kink in it causing some challenges.  What they did was push a fish tape into the pipe by the house until it came out by the well, attach the 2 electrical wires to the fish tape securely so they couldn't come off and then Jay pulled the fish tape back through the pipe until the wires came out by the house.  Sounds simple.  But it wasn't.  It was hard work pulling that fish tape back out.  He used his hands.  Then he used a pair of pliers.  I was coiling the fish tape back onto the spool and sometimes he was only able to pull a few inches at a time.  It was sloooooooow going.  Then I grabbed a pair of pliers and we pulled together, at the same time, and before we knew it, we had that wire to the house!!   Another "Hallelujah"!  We now have the pipe to pump the water to the house and we have the wire to connect the submersible pump to the house.  We have well head lifted to the surface and we have a well pumping plenty of water each minute.  Now we need to shock the well to decontaminate it so we can actually use it for drinking.  Shocking the well is a simple process of pouring a whole bunch of bleach into it until all the lines are clean.  Of course, once that is done, I think we will get the conservation district to retest it to ensure it is drinkable.  I wonder how it tastes?

While Jay was working with our friend on the well, Mr.W and I worked on insulating the office.  The drywall crew wants to get in there tomorrow evening so we need to finish up the insulation and the poly.  Most of it is complete and we even installed the office window (Jay, Mr.W and I) today so it will be ready to drywall tomorrow as requested.

WEDNESDAY - Knowing the drywall crew was going to be working in the office boarding it completely this evening, we focused our attention on getting the last details ready.  We ran out of bubble foil to wrap the ducts in yesterday so we finished that up today.  Those ducts are nice and cozy wrapped in a layer of R20 insulation and then wrapped in bubble foil. 

Once that one duct was wrapped the rest of the insulation was put into the walls and the poly put in place to seal the insulation.  Then we checked to make sure all the outlets were sealed as well.  I had a little helper for a few of these! 

First you run a bead of that black, sticky tar -like acoustical sealant around the outlet to seal the 2 layers of poly and then you tape the two poly layers together.  Somehow I ended up getting acoustical sealant on my shirt which then transferred to Ari's hair when she was helping me.  Not sure how to get it out yet but I will worry about it later!  Once all the poly was sealed and in place we added the additional strapping around the window (after foaming the space around it with foam insulation), framed in the door opening to the one closet and finally cleaned out the room of all things non-drywall.  It was ready.

Once we were done with the office, we moved to the main floor to get that ready for drywalling by Saturday.  Jay and Mr.W worked on framing out the fireplace opening.  It is so fun to see that taking shape but it sure takes a lot of figuring and I am SO GRATEFUL for the very intelligent and creative man that Mr.W is and that he can figure those things out.  He had all the specs for the fireplace and what was required for framing but it took a lot of conversing between he and I to figure out what the finished fireplace would look like.  How big is the hearth?  How wide is what some refer to as the cheek or the stone surrounding the fireplace insert itself, how big is the mantle and how high off the ground and how wide is the header which is right under the mantle?  How am I planning on finishing the space above the mantle?  How far into the room do I want the fireplace to protrude?  There were certain specifications I needed to meet to ensure the fireplace was framed in according to code but after that it is personal preference.  After a lot of talking and looking online, I was able to figure out what I wanted and Mr.W and Jay were able to frame it according to the end goal.  It will truly be the centerpiece of the room when it was done (although Mr.W did say he was just going for mediocre! :-D  ).

While the guys were working on the fireplace I was putting insulation into the ceiling joists between the first and second floor.  This insulation is not so much to guard against the cold but to create a bit of a sound barrier under the kids bedrooms.  In fact, as you read on their website, the fact that it is so dense actually compromises its ability to prevent heat loss.  The insulation is called Safe 'n Sound by Roxul and it is a very dense fire-resistant material made out of stone.  It behaves very differently than fiberglass insulation but works great to deaden sound, its main purpose.  Since it is fire-resistant, it is also an effective means of slowing the spread of fire, should that ever occur.  It is more costly than fiberglass insulation so we have chosen to "sound-proof" only under the kids bedrooms (or what would be above the living room, part of the kitchen and the dining room - that way if we want to have company over later in the evening, the kids can still sleep).  As for interior walls, we have put the Safe 'n Sound in the powder room walls, in the kid's bathroom walls upstairs and in our master bedroom walls.  The farm bath downstairs shares walls with the pantry and the laundry room so we didn't feel it was necessary to put any there.

When the guys were finished with the fireplace framing, they moved onto the laundry chute (not "shoot" as I spelled earlier!).  I framed out the closet in the farm bath the other day but didn't tackle the laundry chute (which runs in the very upper part of that closet since it backs onto the laundry room) because I just couldn't figure out how to do it.  I left it for Mr.W (and if I tell him often enough how fantastic he is, he really doesn't mind!) so he finished it off.  The laundry chute will start in the master bath in a small wall beside the toilet and then dump down angling into the laundry room landing in a wall cabinet just above the laundry sink (at least, that is the plan!).  We originally wanted to put it under the master vanity but the spacing was a challenge so we changed the plan.  Right now it is just the rough framing - it will be finished with a smooth, non-snag surface later.

At the end of the day, we felt good about what we accomplished.  We do have a bunch of cleaning up to do in the main floor before Saturday since it is really a mess there.  It will be hard for the drywall crew to move around the way it is now.

THURSDAY - I am not sure what we all did this day but Mr.W finished up as much of the ducting as we could.  There is one piece of specialty duct work that will be picked up on Tuesday but the remaining work has been done.  This has allowed us to create the bulk heads and dropped ceilings where we needed to in order to allow the drywallers to continue.  By the time they are ready to board the pantry (where most of the duct work enters into the basement) we will have finished up the last little bit and the main floor can be boarded completely.  The drywall crew was busy at work putting on the second (and maybe even third) coat of drywall mud.  Fans were set up to help it dry quickly.


FRIDAY - Honestly, I don't even know what the guys did today because I was hardly on site at all.  I had to take Pepe to his audiology appointment (all is sounding good), I had a haircut appointment (haven't had one yet in 2012) and then I went to pick PAINT COLORS!!  I was a little overwhelmed but I had an idea of what I wanted.  Eventually I walked out with 8 sample cans and 2 extra-large chips to help the decision process.  I picked the following colors, pending approval from all involved and how they actually look in the various rooms (all are Benjamin Moore colors):

Overcoat  CC-544 (main floor areas like kitchen, living room, hall, mudroom maybe?, boy's rooms)

Escarpment CC-518 (dining room, laundry room ?)

Smoke Gray 2120-40 (master bedroom/bathroom?)

Pewter 2121-30 (upstairs hall, lounge?)

Distant Grey 2124-70 (the white for ceilings, doors, trim)

Pink Taffy 2075-50 (little girl's room)

Seaport Blue 2060-30 (AJ's room)

Citrus Orange 2016-20 (accent in Pepe's room though the paint chip looks more orange and less yellow)

Bonne Nuit AF-635 (RJ's room)

Thunder AF-685 (kids bathroom - chosen to compliment a fantastic blue/green back splash tile I have)

The drywall crew will start sanding the second floor tomorrow so after that I will bring my samples of paint (I painted chunks of drywall so I can move them around to the different rooms) and stick them in the rooms to see how they interact with the light.  The color I chose for the living room (overcoat) looks perfect with the stone for the fireplace and the curtains I have already purchased so I think we are going in the right direction!  Though the purple is not quite as bright as RJ wants, it also looks fantastic with the curtains I have for her room and a 2-canvas art set I have as well.  So, though I am still uncertain as to how everything will look when it is done, I think I am on the right track.  I want casual elegance with the ability to change the accessory pieces at will.  If I stick with grey walls, I can accent with deep purple or turquoise or fuchsia or pretty much any color I want.  I like that!  :)

I was also able to find the lights for the vanity area in my master bathroom so I am excited about that.  They were what I was looking for at the right price - even a 15% off sale that day!

SATURDAY - We were supposed to get a lot of work done in the basement today getting the rebar ready for the concrete pour on Wednesday morning but that never happened.  Jason ended up having some complications in one of the chicken barns and I woke up with an irritated eye.  We almost got all the Styrofoam laid out for the floor heat and Jay almost finished digging under the footing for the pipes for the geothermal system (should we go that route) but I felt really unproductive. 

My eye was bothering me enough that I really wanted to go home but stayed anyway.  I was certainly distracted and not motivated.  While we were down in the basement, the drywall crew was boarding the first floor!  It is really quite amazing the difference drywall makes.  We can no longer see through all the walls and in some ways that makes the place look smaller and in some ways it makes it seem bigger.  Whatever the case, it is coming along nicely.  They boarded the school room, living room (leaving off one section until the fireplace is installed on Tuesday), kitchen, dining room and entrance.  The rest of the main floor will be boarded after they finish sanding the upstairs early next week.




SUNDAY - No, we did not do any work today but I thought I would share about my day anyway.  Before going to bed last night, my eye was really bothering me.  It felt like I had sand or a stick or something really scratchy in it all day.  I tried Polysporin Eye drops but that didn't help.  I tried an eye wash solution we keep on hand but that didn't help.  It was hard to fall asleep but I eventually did.  I was woken up by the pain around 5:30 this morning and I could not open my left eye at all.  It was so painful.  It was watering like crazy.  It was super sensitive to the light.  I was supposed to teach Sunday School in 4 hours and I couldn't see!  So, I woke up Jay and I talked about what to do.  I couldn't drive myself to the emergency room but we couldn't leave the kids by themselves either.  Eventually we decided to call Jay's parents and his mom came over.  I felt terrible about calling her since she helps us so much during the week but our options were slim.  Let it be said that they are the kind of grandparents we want to be when we get older - always available, no matter what.  So she came and we left with my eye watering all the way.  When we arrived we were admitted quickly since no one was there.  Once the doctor saw me he put a dye in my eye so he could look at it with ultra-violet light.  Turns out I have the herpes virus in my eye - you know, the same virus responsible for shingles or cold sores.  How it got in my eye, I will never know.  But it is causing an ulcer to form on my cornea, just beside my pupil.  It may feel like something is in my eye but there isn't.  He insisted we drive into the city to buy the anti-viral medication immediately (the town with the ER has no Sunday shopping whatsoever and in our town the pharmacy isn't open on Sundays) because if I delay treatment, I could have permanent scarring of my eye.  After he told me all that he gave me some drops to freeze my eye - the pain left immediately.  Then when he went to get the prescription, I started to feel ill.  My stomach felt funny and I didn't know what to do with myself.  He just returned with the paper when I practically passed out on the bed (had the bed not been there I would have hit the floor).  Well, he lifted my legs in the air and asked Jay to get the nurse.  Suddenly a bunch of people were in the room and lifting my shirt, checking my pulse and blood pressure (which had plummeted) and attaching the electrodes for a quick EKG.  Once they could get the electrodes to stay where they should and work, the results were normal.  Then they just waited for my pulse and blood pressure to return to normal before I was allowed to leave.  Why did I pass out?  I don't know.  It is not normal for me.  But the best place to do it is in a hospital, I suppose.  So, Jay and I headed into the city 45 minutes away and stopped at the nearest 24 hour pharmacy.  Turns out they didn't have the medication I needed.  On to the next one (we called first) and they had what we needed.  Then we headed home.  We walked in and Jay walked out to teach both the Sunday School class he was substituting for and he taught my class as well.  I went to bed while Jay's mom stayed to watch the kids.  As soon as Sunday School was over, Jay came home.  I slept away most of the day and stayed in dark rooms.  However, the eye drops I have to use every 2 hours when I am awake are really making a difference.  I still feel like something is in my eye but it is much more bearable.  I am not light sensitive and I can keep my eye open.  Every time I put those drops in it stings but after my eye feels just a tiny bit better.  Between those drops and the oral anti-viral I am taking, I am sure this will clear up quickly.  I do have to see my doctor in the next 3 days to ensure it is getting better or I will have to see aN opthamologist.  None of this was what I was expecting for today.  I was expecting to teach 4 delightful girls in Sunday School, have a lovely couple over for a delicious lunch meal, have a great nap in the afternoon and make crepes for supper.  None of that happened.  Well, we still had a good lunch but I was terrible company!  However, in spite of the curve ball thrown my way today, I am incredibly thankful for such amazing in-laws, for an understanding and loving husband, and a medical system that knew what it was doing and was able to do it quickly.  And now I am off to bed  - we will see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Owner Building a Home - Week 16 - Drywall Begins!

The beginning of the week saw us a bit in panic mode as we knew the drywallers wanted to start later on in the week and we had many things to accomplish before then.  The electricians needed to finish up so the inspection could happen.  The electrical inspector only comes on Wednesdays so if we were not ready this Wednesday, we would have had to wait until the following week.  We NEEDED to be ready.  The electricians worked hard and long and were able to have everything completed before the inspector arrived. 

While the electricians were finishing up, the foam insulators arrived to seal each joist cavity between the basement and main floor and between the main floor and the second floor with expanding foam insulation.  They started early on Tuesday morning and were finished mid-afternoon. 

Once the electricians were finished, we started to add the poly (plastic) to the ceiling on the second floor.  Jay went around and cut all the plastic for each room and stapled it in place. 

I followed behind and applied acoustical sealant (black, sticky, tar-like goop!) where the walls and ceiling met, joining the poly on the walls to the poly on the ceiling, sealing it all up.  Sometimes a little Tuck tape (wide, red "packing" tape made for this purpose) was needed but for the most part, it was accomplished with acoustical sealant and staples.  I had my arms over my head for most of that day and long into the night and then back into the morning.  I worked until 1:30pm that night, trying to finish up but I just had to quit.  My arms were too sore to go on.  I was able to accomplish a lot but not all.  The next day the building inspector was coming to inspect the insulation and the poly so we really needed it finished.  Turns out my middle girl was sick the next day so I stayed home while Jay and Mr.W worked at the house.  All I could think about was whether or not they were able to finish before the inspector arrived.  They finished the ceiling on the second floor but were unable to finish all the other poly that needed to go up.  Fortunately the building inspector has seen our work until this point, asked a few questions, and knew we would finish up just as we were supposed to with no shortcuts.  He gave the approval to continue with drywall!  So, on Thursday, while Jay and Mr.W got the 2nd floor ready for drywall and received all the drywall, I slept.  I was so tired that it took until about 4pm on Thursday afternoon, after sleeping away most of the day, that I felt like I could continue. 

Friday morning the drywall crew arrived to board all the ceilings. 

Saturday they finished boarding 95% of the second floor.  What a difference drywall makes! 

While they were working on the drywall, we were running all the low-voltage wiring through the house.  That includes doorbell wire, thermostat wire, HRV wire, computer, TV and telephone cables - an electrician is not required for that.  We also decided at the last minute to rough-in central vac.  We have no intentions of buying a central vac system for quite some time but if we do decide to get it in the future, the rough-in will already be in place.  So we worked around the drywallers to get those outlets and sweeps in place.  I was also working just ahead of the drywallers installing the sound-proofing insulation in the bathroom walls and in our bedroom walls.  We are also trying to get the main floor ready for drywall in about another week so we were trying to finish up some duct work, make a laundry shoot, build (or at least think about building) bulkheads, etc. 

"Funny" story - my HVAC guy (my dad) went caribou hunting in the great white north.  He was supposed to arrive back at home on Monday night and finish up our ducting before leaving for Kentucky on Friday morning.  Well, due to heavy rains in the north, he was delayed in coming home by 3 days, arriving home late on Thursday night only to leave again on Friday morning.  Needless to say, our ducting is not complete . . . yet.  But Mr.W is quite knowledgeable on many things and we have already completed some of the duct work.  A little bit remains but that should be finished this week.  That way the drywall company can work on the main floor in a week and won't have to leave sections undone. 

In just over 1 week our fireplace will be installed but before then I need to figure out how I want the whole fireplace wall to look.  We bought our stone to surround the fireplace on Friday night but now I need to know how tall to make the mantle, what I want the sides to look like, etc.  A lot of decisions but it all factors into how it is framed and drywalled.  So much to think about!  Makes me so thankful for Google and all the inspiration that I can find there!  Since the drywallers will be mudding/taping all this coming week on the 2nd floor, I also need to think about paint colors.  In another week we could be priming and then painting.  And, of course, all the bedrooms are on the 2nd floor and each child wants a different color so I think I need to spend some time in a Benjamin Moore store this week figuring that all out!  Whew!  What a week!  It is tiring just thinking about it all so it is a good thing this is Sunday and my afternoon nap starts right now!  :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Owner Building a Home - Week 15 - Electrical

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.  Electrical.  The inspector comes tomorrow so we better make sure it is all done!  It is amazing to think about all the outlets and lights that go into a house our size.  And since we are building it ourselves and it is not a contractor build-and-sell, we can decide how many lights and how many outlets.  Maybe a few more than a normal house but I always say that you can turn on a switch/light if it is there but you cannot turn on a switch/light that doesn't exist.  We don't have to use all the lights all the time.  Though hubby does say he would like to turn them all on just once to see how fast the electric meter turns!  :)

While the work on our house was progressing, the kids decided to build a house for themselves.  It was so fun to watch and has kept them occupied for a couple of days.  Love the creativity (but not looking forward to removing all the nails later!).

Then at the end of the week, just 2 days before my birthday, my kitchen cabinets arrived!!  They actually unloaded them all before I got there.  We are not ready for them at the house so they are at a secure facility elsewhere for now.  I made a couple of trips to see the cabinets and they are beautiful!  I will give you a sneak peek at them.  Most of them are all still boxed up so I haven't even seen them all myself.  It makes me that much more excited about my kitchen, that is for sure!  And it made a great birthday gift!

Now that the upstairs is almost ready for drywall (which should be starting this week), we vacuumed it all clean.  I had a few helpers - this one was the most dedicated!

At the beginning of the week things felt a little slow.  Sure, progress was being made but just at a slower pace than we had hoped.  With Mr.W preoccupied with other things and Jay and I the only ones working some days, it takes a bit more time to get things done.  By the end of the week Mr.W was back helping us and things picked up quickly.  It is amazing the difference his help makes.  This coming week proves to be busy as we are trying to get ready for the drywall company to start boarding.  To do that, we must finish the electrical, the spray foam company needs to insulate the joist cavities, the poly needs to go up on the ceiling, the electrical must be inspected and the insulation/poly must be inspected.  I suspect there may be a few late nights.
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