Monday, January 24, 2011

Stone column decisions....

I've been trying to figure out how to detail this retaining wall. I got out my pencil and paper and here is what I am thinking..... The top picture is the idea for the retaining wall, and the bottom is my "concept" for the front yard / gaslight entrance. I just e-mailed it to the builder to see what he thinks. Hopefully it isn't too complicated and he gets what I'm talking about!

Lucky for me, he doesn't laugh at my pictures (at least not to my face), so that is good!
The opening to this retaining wall is currently 9'3". I am trying to figure out how big this opening should be? They could build the stone pillars in the opening if I want to reduce it, or they could wrap around the current wall if I want to preserve that opening. We'll put in a "double wide" gate, and I want it to be big enough to be highly functional, but small enough that it isn't incredible heavy.... but what is that magic size? I am thinking the arch of the gate should mimic the arched window above.

My builder just called to ask about the detailing of the front porch. I am sure he thought I was completely crazy when I asked him to let me double check the detailing the architect provided against my book, "Traditional Construction Patterns". I was very pleased to see that my architect did detail the porch the correct, or "do" way vs. the dreaded "don't" style! Will it really make a difference, we'll see...but I'll be pleased to know my porch is a "do" and not a "don't" if any architecturally correct people are out there critiquing the place! Do you think the guys would be offended if I left my copy of the book out there? :-)
I let my architect borrow it once and I guess he thought it was a gift to him since he never bothered to give it back --- it is THAT good!

Electrician can't get back out until Wednesday because my special little 4" lights (thanks to the lighting people) are not in stock until then. Luckily, that buys me a bit of time to have Lloyd get back to me about the stone columns with lights and if it is a go, then the electrician can "git er dun" when he returns.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More cold, SNOW and plugging along.

We have passed the electrical inspection, and I had the lighting people come out after the electrician was done. They refused to come out before, but that is one of the dumbest plans ever. Now, they came out and told me all of the things that I did wrong, so now we get to have the electrician come back. Part of me is feeling lazy, and like just ignoring some of their recommendations, but that could definitely be regrettable.

Here is one of the areas I think we need to add electrical. On this retaining wall, we will put posts and I think post lights would finish the look nicely. The question is, should we make the posts stone, or should we make them wooden with the lights on top? I am talking about the opening at this courtyard retaining wall - admittedly, a bit hard to see.

Here are the fire wood boxes we are putting on the porch. The hearth will span from one fire box to the other. We have decided to do a stone mantel on this porch, which I think will look nice.

Here is a close-up of the stone -- I am really pleased with it. I just wish we had warm enough weather right now that they could finish it. Today I went out to take pics, expecting nobody and the stone guy was there working, trying to get some work done while it isn't too cold. What timing we have!

This week they have to finish the roofing, waterproof the porches, and then the bits of electrical still need to happen. I am anxious to see the insulation go in, but we are expecting more bad weather this week, which might make the roofing and stone work very difficult.... darn!

Our neighbors are in the process of moving in... I'm jealous, though as I look around my house which looks like an episode of hoarders, I know we have a long way to go! These sinks, lights, and other miscellaneous items need to get over to the new house. I'm not sure if I am just anxious to get the house done, or just to get these boxes out of here.... I can't wait, it is driving me crazy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cold days!

I got a new camera lens and can take a few wider angle pics. This will help on the interior pictures. Yay!

It has been SOOO cold here. The stone guys are working and they have tarps hanging off the house with space heaters under them because it is too cold. It creates a toasty little space under the tarp to allow them to continue working. But, at the end of last week it was not only cold, but windy too so the tarps wouldn't stay on. This meant no stone work for the last few days and it is supposed to snow tomorrow... kids are thrilled, me not so much.

The stone has been stressful because it is a big component of this house. They put it on and we hated it and they agreed that it wasn't right. They ripped it off, relaid it and we liked how it looked but the mortar just seemed to stay dark. We thought that was wrong too. On day 5 or 6 we were going out to meet with the builder and we were discussing the stone mortar and I was starting to panic AGAIN and it was miraculously light overnight! We knew it would lighten some, but it just wasn't getting a bit lighter and then overnight, like magic it was perfect. I got out of the car and told the stone guy I had been getting really worried about it and he told me he was too! He had gone back and checked his formulas and ingredients, and was also relieved to see it that day. It is amazing how the lighter mortar makes the stones look lighter too. It looked so dreary before and now it looks pretty. Thank goodness! The stone goes around the entire base of the house and then the center section will be stone. Here is a picture of the rear porch stone so you can see it....

The electrical is pretty much complete, the audio is wired, the central vac is in, the rough plumbing is done. They are working on the exterior trim.

Here are several more exterior pictures... rear porch and walkout basement...

The circular porch and fireplace...

Basement walkout wall... the stone mortar is "dry" here, I like how it matches the windows...

Front exterior.... you can see on the garage windows on the right they are starting to trim.

Interior pictures...
Master bath windows... I love these and the trees.

Front hallway,,,, I still haven't had these headers raised...

Wine room...The space is neat and we'll wrap the steel beams with wood like rustic beams, but the reality is we don't want to spend lots of money here because we are not "serious" wine drinkers. But, we are wondering if we shouldn't build the basic infrastructure correctly for a "wine room" including the compressor and then we could add as much or as little fancy racking later?

View of the keeping room from the 2nd floor. The window seats are not in at the windows flanking the fireplace yet...

Breakfast area...the barrel vault mimic the window arch which is neat.

The stairs... they are covered, but the little glimpse of walnut looks cool!

I think next up is insulation, though I am guessing there are final bits of electrical and plumbing that need to be wrapped up this week before that starts. Our neighbors move in next week. They started in May. They will be looking at a muddy mess for a while I think. I am excited to see drywall start hopefully by the end of the month?