Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kitchen plan

This past Wednesday, we met with a kitchen planner at Lowe's

We really liked Bill - our kitchen planner - he was very helpful and knowledgeable. He made quite a few suggestions regarding which way the doors should swing open, and practical considerations like how we thought we would actually use the room and where we would store things,etc that I had not completely thought out when putting together my plan.

He uses this very cool kitchen designing software that lets him pick the cabinets and move them around until we get exactly what we want.

Our job foreman also joined the meeting.

So here is what we came up with. These 3D views come directly from the computer program.

We chose a natural finish maple cabinet in the style seen in the pictures above. The cabinets are expected to be ready in about 6 weeks. Will the house be ready for the cabinets by then? Stay tuned to find out...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pipe proliferation

The rough plumbing continues to progress nicely.

Here is the back of downstairs shower. Fascinating - isn't it?!

And here is the set up for the upstairs shower.

And here is our plumbing contractor on the job.

But wait a minute! What are all these pipes doing in my dance room?!!

And here is what else is going on in my dance room.

I don't see any walls framed yet, do you?

I would like to at LEAST have the walls framed so it is ready when the drywall contractors come in.

Hmmmm... seems like the dance room is a low priority.

Do I sound like a spoiled brat?

The electrical has slowed down a bit this week as our electrician had some health issues to attend to.

Dean is working on the outside installing wooden plates where the exterior lights will be mounted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And the beat goes on...

So yay! We finally got the first disbursement of money from our construction loan!

We got more snow this week...

Our GC, having finished up with the interior framing, is taking a bit of a break while the electrical and plumbing sub-contractors are at work roughing in pipes and wires and such.

Here's Dean checking in with our General Contractor now.

Some of the rough plumbing - this is the downstairs bathroom


This will be the computer nook, tucked neatly under the eaves.

In the basement - plumbing for two washing machines. One machine for normal clothes and one machine for dirty greasy shop rags.

In the meantime, Dean has been working on a ventilation system for the roof rafters using rigid foam insulation that has aluminum coating on both sides. The panels are spaced about 1/2 inch from the roof, then secured and sealed in place with expandable spray foam insulation. This creates a channel for air venting. A properly ventilated roof will not develop ice dams during the winter...

For this project, I am on measuring and cutting duty.

And here we are up in the rafters.

And here is what it looks like when it is finished...

Pumpernickel "chillaxing" on the job.

Next week we meet with a kitchen planner at Lowe's to design our kitchen and pick out cabinets. We are getting into the part of the home build where there are lots of decisions to be made about things like light fixtures, and appliances, and faucets, etc.

I'll leave you for now with the view from the dining room that we will be enjoying in the future.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Money yet

So today marks one week since we closed on our construction loan, and we still cannot get any money...

Is this a clusterfuck, or what? I think definition #3 in the Urban Dictionary applies here.

I spoke with someone from the bank yesterday. They asked me to FAX a copy of the building permit. They did not know at the closing that this would be needed?

And on Monday, someone came out to do a plot plan. He spent about 5 minutes at the property, and we were charged $500 for this "service".

Now, we have learned that someone has to come out and inspect the work that has been done so far, before the funds can be released. This inspection will reportedly happen on next Thursday, and we have been promised actual money on Friday. We will, of course, be charged $$ for this inspection (and for every other inspection that has to occur each time we request a "release of funds")

In case you did not know (which I did not until we started this thing) a construction loan works like this: You are not given the total of the money that you are approved for in one lump, but rather, in several pay-outs as the work progresses. And you have to prove that the work is actually being done in order to receive the payments. You are given a loan schedule that lists the various components of the job - like framing, roof, foundation, etc - with estimates of their cost (provided by your builder) and as each component is completed (and verified by a bank inspector), you are awarded the money.


I am ending this post with a couple of photos to leave us all in a sunnier mood. I am imagining spending time in our future living room, enjoying the sun streaming in through our lovely energy efficient windows.

Pumpy, who remains relatively un-perturbed through all of this - although she does not like being in the house when air nailers are being used - tries her hand at basking in the sun on the porch.

She is such a Zen puppy. In my anthropomorphizing mind, her thought goes something like this. "Oh, here is a nice patch of sun - let me just lay down and take a nap while I wait for my humans to get done and take me home..."

Friday, January 8, 2010

High Finance

Well we finally closed on our construction loan yesterday.

Here is Dean at the lawyer's office all ready to sign our lives away...

OK - so here comes my rant:

What a racket this whole financial mess is! The government's TARP bail-out was supposed to make it so banks would give loans to get the economy rolling again, right?

We stand ready to do our part stimulating the economy and putting some building trades to work.

So why did it take about 3 months to finally get approved for this loan? -And this is with an excellent credit score, and an excellent work history in a recession-proof and well paying job... Not to mention how we supplied them with ALL of the documentation that they asked us for. And paid them a nice fat check for closing costs.

So we each signed the 50 or so pieces of paper placed in front of us. And do you know what all these documents basically are saying? They are saying that the bank has got you coming AND going!

  • If the house burns down - you pay
  • If you get divorced - you pay
  • If the property turns out to be a toxic landfill - you pay
  • If the contractor drops the ball - you pay
  • If the lawyers make a mistake - you pay
  • If the bank makes a mistake - you pay
  • Etc, etc, etc....

And get this: After all that, we still don't have our money yet! We might get is sometime next week. Can you believe this!!

In other news, the house continues to progress. The majority of the interior framing is done. Here are some progress photos > you can click on the pic to get a larger image.

The upstairs is not a full floor - it is considered a half floor - which means that we have several spaces that are under the eaves...

Here is the upstairs bathroom

Here are some views of the first floor.

This one is taken from the kitchen.

Here are a couple of views of the downstairs bathroom. The shower surround has been tucked into its spot.

Some of the exterior door locks have been installed.

The rough plumbing should be starting soon.

Dean has been working on insulating the roof rafters. I'll try to get some pics this weekend.

Unitil was out this week > the fish line (that we worked so hard on about 3 weeks ago) which will be used to pull a bigger rope through, which will then be used to pull the actual wires through - appears to be frozen - so they were unable to work on pulling the power lines. Dean is scheming on ideas to thaw out the conduit...

Because of the frozen earth, completion of the septic is totally on hold - probably until spring... Maybe we will have our loan money by then??