Tag Archive | house building

Day 125

It was a coin flip to either talk about our epic journey back to MN, or, check in on the house.  For the record, we arrived on Sunday around 6 and after dinner, we went to go check the house because I could not wait longer!

Current Status; We have PAINT.  The painful decisions of paint color and location made with consults both near and far turned out great.  The stairs are also in! Trim and cabinets continue to get installed/finished.  Flooring prep work underway. (me) 15 of 27 lights procured, chosen exterior stone, doors, and siding finally confirmed for the 4th time

Next; (me) buy more light fixtures, knobs for all the things (81 total).  (them) floors, cabinet install finish, get the driveway and patio soon and all the fixtures come soon.

Status; 775 of 1000 – still no toilets! paint and stairs make a big impact but the fun finishes are coming soon.


We got 3 colors included in our quote, that is actually a decent number when you think about a more monochrome and cohesive design style.  We choose Agreeable Gray, Dover White, and Navy for our main floor and public spaces upstairs and each of us choose a bedroom color.  It was $100 per color but it was also a way for the kids to really love the move and be ‘ok’ with all the chaos coming in their near future.  My designer friend advised taking their choice and subtracting 2 numbers to get a lighter tone and I only had to do that for Niamh – she went for a really really strong pink but it looks much better two shades lighter.


Fiona actually really liked the color I choose for my room ‘secure blue’ so in her opinion she picked our room color and I’m ok with her thinking that since it saved $100, and, I obviously like the color. img_7148

Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the front hall in navy but it came out very sharp with the white trim.  I also neglected to take pictures of the vast spaces now painted gray or white but I did get a close up of the stain color “Koa” chosen half because we wanted it to stand out against our medium dark floors and half because it reminds me of Hawaii.


btw.  that is Agreeable Gray in the background

We also got back on track with selections and trecked up to the stone showroom to choose our exterior stone and address stone.  It was an easy decision because thanks to my designer friend I actually have a good idea of what to do with the exterior.  In brief; pick one color and one accent and stick to it – do not go crazy with all the color options of siding. img_7150

Finally, it is hard to take pictures of stairs but here is what I could do.  Imagine them without protective paper.


more agreeable gray and in the center of the picture you can see a corner of the navy hall.  Top right you see Dover White in the loft area

I’m getting a little tired of the process, the builders work is great but their system is very scattered and I’m constantly following up or reconfirming something I thought was set.  The story of the siding is annoying and long and I hope ends well, we will see…  There is one vendor I just don’t like at this point because she is so disorganized but small price to pay for the amount of custom work we are getting.  I’ll be on top of them again since I’m back and other than parenting, a 1-weekend camping trip and packing this house up, I’ve got nothing else to focus on.


Day 102

We have cabinets!

And doors!

I also picked colors and fingers crossed they will look good.

I’m going to ny so no pictures for a week but by the time I’m back I expect siding and maybe even flooring. There was a pile of wood that will become stairs so fingers crossed! 9 weeks to move in, the list is still long but working through it.

honoring the last Monday

You know how you often don’t know that you did something for the last time until after it happened and you think “hey, I would have taken a moment to saver that”.  Lars had an insanely sad list on the subject once like one day you will pick up your child and put them down again and never pick them up.  You never know when that will be…  there were about 20 others but they were all sad.  The semi-solution to that is to take joy every time but that is more an aspiration then something you can actually do.  Anyway, I realized last week that I had missed noting the last full, normal, week of school.  Last week they had 5 days in school but I was there for all of 1 watching field day.  The previous week I put on the teacher breakfast so I was at the school for a couple hours. The week before that I spent half the day volunteering, so, I’m a month past my last full normal week.

However!  I am savoring every moment of this last Monday.  This isn’t just my last Monday before summer, it is my last Monday home, child free, in this house….  because, we have sold our house.


We actually sold it a little while ago but like so many things, announcing too early can lead to having to take it all back.  The new people appear nice according to my facebook search of their names.  I think they will fit into the neighborhood well and I’m happy they choose this house.

It was a really stressful month being on the market.  We held it together and I think we did admirably considering everything, but it was like final exam week stress for 4x as long but with the added stress sause of having no way to truly affect the process.  The only tip I can give for living in a house you are selling is to get nice luggage and use it to store laundry.  I would put our daily laundry into the suitcase and then wash every 3 or 4 days.

The other reason I didn’t post earlier is that I wanted to have the next chapter ready for you.  I’m sure everyone is wondering what combination or permutation of moving out and in actually will happen.  I know I had virtually a different scenario suited to every day between June and August rattling around my head like the worlds worst mosh pit.


We are selling our house on Friday, July 27.

We are buying our new home on Monday, August 12.

The good side!  We can live here most of the summer, no interim move like would have been necessary for a June closing.  There is a bit of a gap though, and actually, more then you see because to sell the house we need to be 100% moved out of it so really we need to be out by (goal) July 25.  Technically the builder can have things ready for us on July 31 but unless it could be done by July 20th giving us time to move, we have to get a storage solution regardless.  Our normal yearly 2-week family vacation is set to begin on July 28th so, I’m taking the hint from the universe and going on vacation instead of harassing the builders to be 10 days ahead of plan.  We will come home from vacation to a hotel for 1 night and get our new house the next day.

What about July 25-27?  Well, we are bunking in with a friend and given it is only 2 nights I think it will be fun and a nice transition from one house to the next.

That is the plan.  Given this actual framework, I can move all the other parts and pieces into order around it.

Not a minute to spare though, I’m so glad the kids were safe and happy at school for the majority of the selling process.  I’m going to try not to pack them into boxes over the summer but no promises….

Day 75

Current status;  we have both insulation and sheetrock and I assume all the things that should be between the walls are now all there.  Cabinets are decided and are in construction at the shop.

Next; (me) buy 27 light fixtures (not a joke) (them) tape the sheetrock and start the trim.

Status; 700 of 1000 – still no toilets but sheetrock really makes it look like you could live there

Last week I went over and took a picture of every. single. wall.  in the entire house so I would know what was where for future me.  I was doing this as the insulation team was tucking the house in.  Today I went to check in again and it is 99% sheetrocked, they were doing the garage when I got there.  At this point, a lot of the really BIG things are done and I understand the timeline rational for the flooring and siding etc.  The next 3 months will, I’m sure, have chunks of time where it seems like nothing is happening until all of a sudden a new thing is done.

We also did the firming up of dates thing and we are going to move in AFTER our family vacation in August.  This actually gives the team an extra 10 days to get every little thing done so hopefully no surprises at the end.  I need to get going on procuring light fixtures – a daunting and fun task all at the same time.  I like to pick out the ‘perfect’ one but when you need 27 I don’t actually have time for that…  The few that I’m least excited about that go in the pantry or halls are oddly some of the more necessary because without them those rooms have zero light.  The cool fun ones that go in the kitchen and front hall and dining rooms are technically not needed immediately because all those rooms also have built-in ceiling ‘can’ lighting (all LED).  I’m rolling the dice and using the Wish site where they have some serious bargains because if I hate it, I won’t feel bad replacing something that was $15.

The must decide list is still actually pretty long but I’m insisting on a mid-project budget review to see how we are doing.  If we have extra we can upgrade a few things, if we are in the hole we can make a different choice on some things.  I have my fingers crossed that the budget will cover all wood stairs…   I’m on a personal strike that until I see some numbers, I’m not choosing one more thing.  This is a personal game of chicken with the builders but I dropped in on them today and they promised they were doing our budget and would get back to me asap.

That is the update on the house, so far so good.  Pretty soon I should start a count down to move in because things are looking real over there now.

House day 51

Current status;  getting pluming plummed, front door no longer 3 inches off, and, a front door.

Next; electrical walk through and cabinet planning.  We also have to pick a door and garage door soonish.

Status; 500 of 1000 when I see finished flushing toilets I’ll bump up the total.

Yesterday they actually needed ME!  I got a call for some detail and I’m super glad I’m home and close so I could go over and talk it out.  The plumber team was really nice, had some great suggestions, and in about 5 min we got the master shower all figured out. Way easier than a string of email or phone calls.  Sometimes it is easier to just go do it.


I also got to do a mini-walkthrough with the project manager who answered a few questions and I saw that the garage ladder is in now (will someday be a spiral stair) and the delivery of our temporary door.  Complain about an interloping Walrus and the place gets a security upgrade.


It is taking shape and getting real.  I hope they can keep up the pace!  Getting to go while the action was happening was extra cool, this crew knows what it is doing and what is EVEN BETTER when they don’t know, they ask!


House day 40-49

Current status;  As of yesterday we have framing and floor and the start to plumbing and hvac

Next; Plumbing for sure because they somehow have to connect all our bathrooms to water etc and they are not all neatly stacked so they get first dibs on the between floor real estate.  In an epic battle for limited space, the HVAC is sneaking around between the floors and walls too.  Electric goes ‘last’ because wires are skinny and they can snake around the other systems.

Status; 500 of 1000 We really might be half way there!  The big things are well in hand but I know the devil is in the details.


Last week was a personal black hole where I poured effort in and got not much out.  That never makes me feel good so I try and huddle up and don’t do things like blog.  Fortunately, the builders seem happy and they are chugging right along.  Before I get to the pictures – funny story time!

…. During showings, I like to go visit the new house.  Saturday I had the kids and we drove over there and we saw 2 cars, one parked on the street and the other pulled up to the garage.  I warned the kids that maybe someone was working and we get in there and given that there is no sheetrock it was pretty easy to spot the young couple and walrus of a man.  None of them looked like inspectors or electricians…  There is no containing 3 kids so they swarm away to see what was new since last time (a lot for them, it had been a week) and I go over and say “Hi! are you here for the builders?” and they say “No, this home is listed on the MLS, we are looking at it”.  I glance at the paper in their hand that if they READ it carefully said that the listing was for a ‘build to suit’ and even if they couldn’t read, the only resemblance to the house they were standing in and the house in the picture was that it has walls, door, windows and a roof (basically nothing else was the same), so, I told them (cheerfully) “oh, you probably are one lot off, that listing is for the other open lot next door and I pointed at the very prominant ‘for sale’ sign on the cornfield to our left.  The walrus insisted “Well it is listed…” but he trailed off in the face of actual reality.  The women, who was super cute in a hipster sort of way remarked that “I really liked it, great land and I love all the bedrooms upstairs; when it is finished it would be totally worth the price!”  Given that we had the same ‘build to suit’ listing in hand 6 months ago I knew the answer to this question but I asked anyway “so, how much is it listed for?” Walrus replied “$xxx” and that is a perfectly good price for the house shown in the picture that is HALF the size of the one we are building so I burst her bubble and said “oh sorry, this house is $xyz x2, and, we are already buying it – the lot next door though is pretty nice and our builders are great….”  As dim understanding crossed her eyes that no, you can’t get that much house for that much money in this area she gave a smile and a wan goodbye and left with her crushed dreams trailing behind.  Husband was silent and Walrus just huffed a little and they wandered off out the house.  Maybe they looked at the field next door?  Maybe not.

During all that, the girls have found their favorite feature of house building – the giant pile of dirt in the yard.  They love it, they dig, they climb, they have adventurous stories and I easily spent the hour poking around the new developments and taking pictures for future reference of where studs are and where vents are etc.




upstairs venting


I also had to take a picture of this – I’m not sure if I should be scared that there are so many little ‘corrections’ noted around the house, or, impressed that someone is checking all these things out and highlighting them.  I’m going to go with impressed (and amused, there is a certain dry humor in some of the notes…)


As promised, here is the framing – it is semi hard to explain much because it is mostly a sea of 2x4s in a picture but here is one (I won’t bore you with them all)



standing in the garage entry to the house – just in front of me is the mud room, to the left is Lars office, other side of the ‘red’ wall is the kitchen, (unseen) to the right is my office and a 1/2 bath. 


And finally, a different view of the house, this is from the back yard.  That long blank wall is going to need ‘something’ Any suggestions?  The yard is also very very NOT private – funny, when it was full of corn taller than I was we didn’t notice – so also looking for privacy suggestions for between the house and the road (behind me).