Friday, June 24, 2011

The Monkey in the tree...

I was wrong....

there is a creature living in THE tree. This monkey has now decided this is the WORLD'S BEST climbing tree....

The monkey now has plans to go back out tonight with ropes to try to get to the top of the tree..ooh ooh ahh ahh...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Farewell to the spiky balled Sweet Gum...

I have to say, I am very sad and worried to see this tree plowed over, I always liked having a big tree in front of the house. Everybody tells me it will die soon, and the grading is problematic if we leave it in place, so it is going. I thought the kids might enjoy watching the bulldozer push it over, but I now know they are very sad for the tree. "How would you feel if you were that tree," is what I am hearing. Today we saw a bird land in the tree and that nearly put Ryan over the edge. We scrutinized the entire tree, searching for nests and luckily, the birds seem to have steered clear of it and it is not the home to anybody or anything major. Phew.

However, now that this tree is going, we must decide what to trees and shrubs to put in front of the house. Nicholas says that if we just had a weeping willow, he would have a place to sit and read (under it). That kid knows how to manipulate me.... so a weeping willow somewhere in the landscaping plan is a must!

We are also thinking a small little herb garden in this little half circle outside the kitchen would be great.

In the rear yard, we would like to plant a garden --- we think it would be great to plant some more "orchard like" trees to go with our Pear tree. Ryan would like to get Papa to come visit and help him plant a vegetable garden. Actually, to use his exact words, he would prefer to plant a "meat garden" instead of all veggies. We have several black raspberry bushes and Ryan loves to pick them on visits, so we are thinking about some veggies, but also some melons and berries... with a side of "meat."

On the interior, the painters keep going.... and going... and going..... what a job. Can't believe how long the painting takes! It is getting close though. The big lights came in also, so they are all in. The keeping room lights are up.... here is a shot with them:

You can also see the completed little backsplash. Think they did a great job! The floors are all covered up. I was so surprised to go out this week and see a cleaning service in the house. Seemed early, since we've got weeks to go until completion, but I guess they clean out all the vents, etc. before turning on all the hvac? In the picture you can see they installed the fridge and freezer in the wrong places --- so the handles look off. They are already fixed today though.

The stair light is in too --- it is a cool light, but it takes some adjusting to have anything there at all!
The last details are being completed, and the basement floors will be stained at the end of next week. I like a golden wheat color, but Joeren the Eurofloor staining expert thinks another golden color will be too much. He is recommending a darker cola-ish stain, or other combo. We are going to do some cool circles in the wine room to create a border around the round table. I think that will be neat. He'll have stain samples in by Tuesday and they'll start the install while we are off to Provence. I think we should come back to a pretty much move in ready house... yikes! We really really need to get crackin' on the landscaping....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This rock definitely does not rock... designed by a guy for sure.

So this week we had to dig a well for irrigation. We had to go 200' to get pretty decent flow. Of course, the flow numbers meant nothing to me. But, since we plan to keep this 2 acre little plot a "field of dreams," aka, grassy baseball field, not woodsy, we will need to water this grass. Our builder explained it like gambling. Every foot we go deeper costs x dollars. People often go another 100' hoping to hit the big one. Once they hit 100 more feet, they go with the, "well, we've already gone this far, let's go 10 more feet." It is a slippery slope, and I did some quick research and learned that our gallons per minute rate at 200' is OK, it is not tremendous. Our neighbors pull 4 gallons per minute, so I feel OK that we'll be able to make this work. However, after telling them to stop at 200', I went out to the house to see this....

That is the sorriest looking "rock" I have ever seen. Who could be fooled that Mother Nature created such a thing? This is the work of a guy, a guy who needs to hurry up engineering the fake rock cover to get back to his game of Angry Birds. "It looks pretty good, don't you think?" Not. This will require an entire landscaping plan just to hide this design atrocity!

Oh well, on to other progress for the week.
This has been one week. I will not call it a good week because it has not been a good week. My beautiful girl, Lanie the dog, my first and definitely best behaved child, had her 12th birthday on Saturday, and on Sunday, she was hit by a car. After lots and lots of tears, care and surgery, she is on the mend, but she is now a patient, and not always an easy one! Of course, since this is a tough time for her, I will do anything for her, but that has meant being a no-sleep parent, worrying and doting on her, and not getting lots done. This is all fine and dandy, except, this week was the last week of school and that means LOTS happens. I did briefly leave my patient to see Alex win the 4th grade Math bee, and then I left. I missed watching him beat the 5th graders.... darn! That would have been fun. I have only been to the house in brief little periods, and always in a hurry since my time is very limited! Last week we decided to have Bronco and Geronimo build the basement bar. It won't be fancy, but it will be finished. Since the basement is the barfy yellow color (oops, I mean gold), we were trying to decide how to handle the bar. Nick had a moment of design clarity (who the heck is that guy?) and came up with the Boston College plan. Since the walls are gold, and the stuff going in the basement is our red and gold tuscany/ roostery stuff, let's make it a Boston College bar --- go Eagles. So, I have been on a red paint mission to find one that will satisfy the maroon and gold of my BC guy, while working with my red and gold stuff for the basement. What I came up with is super hot, I mean Caliente, Benjamin Moore Caliente that is. I have to say, it looks good, other than the murder scene look when they painted it. It looks like somebody was dismembered out there...

Seriously, why be such a mess painting, or does a different guy go back and fix it? I could do a neater job than that!

So, Nick gets his BC bar. I got the job of picking out a coordinating granite. I briefly considered Verde Butterfly since it was green, Dartmouth green. But, since nobody cares about my school anyway, I decided not to pursue it. It wasn't that great with the red and gold combo. But....granites in the family of Santa Cecilia or Venetian gold are gold with red cranberries, they look great together. Not as manly as Nick had in mind I suppose, but when I pressed him on a definition of "manly" he was stumped, so we agreed the Santa Cecilia would look good. Not that he's not manly, but how do you define a "manly granite," which is what he told me he wanted in choosing the granite! I think it will look great with my existing fabrics....

My mom is thinking this is great because Caliente Red looks like the Crimson of Indiana, and she is partial being a Hoosier and all. I haven't mentioned to Nick that Exeter is this exact red as well because it might sour him on the deal, but it is... I suppose if I wanted to win him over to the red concept, I could tell him it is Angry Bird red? :)

They also installed the master bath chandelier. I heart it. The bronzy color looks very pretty with the questionable baby poop paint walls. They all just work together. Who knew crystals and baby diarrhea could be a winning combo?

In the kitchen, they installed the crema marfil backsplash. It looks great. I could not seem to make a decision here, so I posted my possibilities on Gardenweb and crema marfil was the hands down winner. They are some smart people over there!

The guys, namely Saul (pronounced like Raoul), worked hard to finish the beams in the kitchen.
The baking / clean-up area still needs a pretty antique at the end. I saw an awesome hunt board the other day, but it won't fit. darn.

The paint still has a bit to go.... but it is definitely getting there!

Today they began sanding the floors... finally... so glad to see that happening!

The chandeliers for the stairs and keeping room arrived today. I have gotten so used to seeing the keeping room without them that I am questioning if we even want them..... We'll see.....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Progress...and a destination (for now)

This has been a busy and exciting week. Baseball championships, end of school parties, visits (thanks Nany and Papa) and a possible move.... but not to this house.... seriously, that was some drama. All week I have been wondering if we would ever get to live in this house, or if we just worked on it for somebody else to enjoy. How could the new owners know all of the little special touches that we built into this house, and what if they used things the wrong way.... like the roll-outs in the butler's pantry are for tall booze bottles.... we've got some important details going. Yesterday we were thinking we'd better hurry up and have a party in this house before we move away, but alas, no holidays approaching, no birthdays on the horizon, what a shame! But, then we realized Lanie is turning 12 Saturday, and what dog doesn't need a party? And surely she would be delighted to enjoy the butler's pantry and the window seats, right? Well, call off the dogs, because we are staying. It was hard to know how exactly to feel about the possible new move because it would have been a good opportunity. We were relieved all around to get to stay, because bottom line, we really like this area. All of the boxes delivered yesterday by Nany and Papa have a destination, and that is a nice feeling. Now we'd better get packing!

So, now back to OUR house progress....
All of the trades are back. The plumbers are a'plumbing, the painters are a'painting and the electricians are a'electrocuting.... well, hopefully not, but they did light up the house briefly yesterday and we got to see the lights on in some strategic areas. The lanterns down the hallways look pretty cool. At first they were on so low it was just a little glowing bulb, with not much light. I worried, but then realized I'd asked for a dimmer on them, so it was pretty fun to dial it up to a bright hallway, and then turn it down for more ambiance. Aren't dimmers fun? I sure thought so! We did try to avoid turning on lights where the guys were working in an effort not to fry them. Luckily, nobody was fried by the electricity, but we were cooking since it was almost 100 degrees. Yuck.

The exterior doors have handles (except the front door), and the front door is painted the first coat. This is again one of those things that is shocking the first time you see it, not in a good way. I think once all of the details are complete, (shutters, furniture and landscaping) the blue will look good, but for the moment, in isolation, it is definitely questionable. I am going to remain calm though and see it through. After all, repainting a front door in the long term is not that big of a deal. One of the things that bugs me is the trim is the cream color and that looks strange. I looked at 25 houses on the drive home and they all have that, and I'd never thought it was strange, and I checked all of my architecture and "old house" books. They are all the same way, but it still looks a bit strange to me. Oh well.

The cupola has been reworked. Not sure why exactly, but the copper looks much "swoopier" and therefore much better. Nick is happier about it. It is a pretty horse, but then again, I think all horses are pretty.

The hallway, wish I'd snapped a picture with the lights on.

The mudroom. Looks like one of the guys hung up his purse because he liked the hooks so much.
I have been a little hook happy. Every place I could think of I had them hang one. I was so proud of myself to put one on the back of the powder room door so people could hang up a purse or jacket while using it. I showed Nick and he pointed out, "great, just like a public bathroom." Didn't really think about it that way, but he has a point. But, in its defense, it is a much prettier hook.

The kitchen sink. It is sitting on a walnut shelf. I like the look, but the jury is still out if it might be a tad crooked...yikes!

The Butler's pantry. The glass is an antique seeded glass, but the photo looks very different.

The dining room. Yes, I like horses, see the chandelier?

Keeping room and kitchen and breakfast area. The stained beams look cool. The lights for this room seem to be on backorder. Visual Comfort is the slowest company ever, but they will look great once they actually arrive. With a few phone calls by me and some prodding, the backorder time shrunk from 3-4 months to 3-4 days. Can't wait to see them!

Breakfast area and banquette. The drawers are refrigerator drawers. I'm excited to try these out, but think it will be super convenient.

See the cool barn doors. They will be fantastic for hiding dirty dishes!
Better look:

Door knobs are on in some locations. The kids loved the "diamonds." I like them too, they remind me of the doorknob my sister and I fought over when we were building our house growing up. Since we both wanted the giant diamond one, we ended up putting it on the hallway door as a compromise.

Master bedroom built-ins and fireplace

Master bath vanity

Rear porch. The ceiling is stained now. I really like it and it is one of the best spots, always a nice breeze.

Closer up of fireplace:

Courtyard got stucco --- color to be applied Monday.

Indiana geode found at Mom's house. Put in by Jesse and Robert.

Front handrail starting to go up. Still to be painted and trimmed.

I think the next step is finishing the hardwoods late next week. I'm meeting the landscaping guy early next week and then it is the final touch-ups. Wonder how much longer?