Week 24: Crazy Weather & Fire Sprinkler System

I was traveling for work the majority of last week and this week, and I heard that Seattle has been having a crazy week of weather!  There’s been an insane amount of rain – flood warnings were in place with the torrential downpour.  And on Tuesday there were crazy winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour.  People all over the Puget Sound (including our new neighborhood) lost power for days.  Due to all of the inclement weather, a couple things were delayed on the project.  First off, the siding company was supposed to be there this week, but they were unable to finish their last job, so that delayed them getting to ours.  Also, the power company (Tanner Electric) was going to transfer the power line from the temporary power pole we have to the permanent underground service to the house.  Needless to say with all of the outages in the area, they had more important thing to deal with than our house.

The combination of the siding and the permanent power line to the house is now on the critical path for our schedule.  We need the power to run the furnaces and get the house dried out, and we need the siding to keep the rain out.

And when it's not rainy and windy, the weather has been freezing!! Check out all the frost in the back yard.

And when it’s not rainy and windy, the weather has been freezing!! Check out all the frost in the back yard.

It's so cold here now - freezing temperatures every day! It'll be so nice to get the heat on in the house...hopefully next week.

It’s so cold here now – freezing temperatures every day! Look at all the frost on the house.  It’ll be so nice to get the heat on in the house…hopefully next week.

Although the weather has been nasty – they did install the fire sprinklers in the house.  In private homes, King County requires fire sprinklers for all homes where a firefighter can’t walk 150′ around the house and touch all sides.  Had I realized this was a requirement, I likely would have shaped the house differently just to avoid the fire sprinklers.  I think they’re such a waste of money and hopefully we’ll never have to use them.  Plus, they just add more things in the ceiling…not exactly my favorite.

The fire sprinkler system has to be designed by a licensed technician, then a permit is needed from King County which shows the sprinkler design.  Once it’s approved at the County, it’s installed in the house and then inspected and approved by the County.

Lots of parts & pieces for the fire sprinkler system.

Lots of parts & pieces for the fire sprinkler system.

The sprinkler system is those orange lines that run throughout the house.

The sprinkler system is those orange lines that run throughout the house.  Here’s the ones in our master bedroom.

 

Just a close-up of one of the sprinklers.

Just a close-up of one of the sprinklers.

In addition to needing fire sprinklers, the placement of them has been such a huge nuisance.  Because we’re having a coffered ceiling in the kitchen, theoretically smoke could get trapped in one of the “squares” in the coffered ceiling and not set off a sprinkler head.  To design around that, we’d either need to install a sprinkler head in each of the “squares” – which would have cost us another $2,500 – or keep the original quantity of sprinkler heads but put them on the beams.  I absolutely did not want to spend a penny more on sprinkler system.  The cost for the system was already higher than our initial estimate from last year, and I hated the idea of having to spend more money on something that is likely never going to be used – and on something that doesn’t give me any value.  It’s not like spending $2,500 to get upgraded appliances, or nicer trim work.  It’s literally spending $2,500 on something that will never be noticed or used.  So no way was that happening.  But that meant we had to install them on the beams to meet the current code – such a disappointment.  The beams are there as a fun ceiling detail in the space – and then with adding the sprinkler heads on them, it only accentuates the sprinklers, not disguises them.  So we’ll end up having four 3″ sprinkler head caps (which will be white) sitting flush on the 8″ wide beam.  It’s not the end of the world, and in this battle of budget versus design…design lost.  Let’s hope more things don’t end up this way!

We ended up having to put a couple of the fire sprinklers right on the beams of the coffered ceiling in the kitchen - despite my liking.

We ended up having to put a couple of the fire sprinklers right on the beams of the coffered ceiling in the kitchen – despite my liking.

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Week 23: Windows & Doors

Windows

By now the house is pretty much built, and now we’re getting to the fun stages of picking out all the finishes and watching them get installed!  Windows started last week, but there were still some windows that took longer to arrive (arched ones, oval ones, etc).  But those came late this week!!  Super exciting!  There’s still just a couple of windows that are missing – the arched window over the entry, the oval window for the front gable and one of the oval windows in the great room.  Besides those, I think we’re pretty much done with windows.

Doors

The exterior doors arrived, all primed, in their jambs and ready to be installed.  I absolutely love them, don’t they look amazing??

A lot more of the windows have been installed this week.

A lot more of the windows have been installed this week.

The windows in the dining room arrived and were installed!

The windows in the dining room arrived and were installed!

This is the north side of the house - on the upper level is the master bedroom, and Spencer's bedroom is on the lower level.

This is the north side of the house – on the upper level is the master bedroom, and Spencer’s bedroom is on the lower level.

The back of the house looks so good now that the windows are there!

The back of the house looks so good now that the windows are there!

The front door was installed and it looks great! It'll be fun to see it finished once that last window above the door is installed.

The front door was installed and it looks great! It’ll be fun to see it finished once that last window above the door is installed.

The 6’8″ french doors in the great room were installed – they look how fantastic with the transom windows above them. Still missing one last oval window up top though!

In the kitchen, the banquette bench was installed this week along the back wall of windows.

In the kitchen, the banquette bench was installed this week along the back wall of windows.

Here's another view of the kitchen, lots of natural light with windows and doors. Love it!

Here’s another view of the kitchen, lots of natural light with windows and doors. Love it!

And one of my favorites is the dutch door heading to the back deck from the kitchen.

And one of my favorites is the dutch door heading to the back deck from the kitchen.

The back french door in our bedroom was installed.

The back french door in our bedroom was installed.

Also in our master closet we added a small bench. With how much Joel travels, it's the perfect spot to pack his luggage.

Also in our master closet we added a small bench. With how much Joel travels, it’s the perfect spot to pack his luggage.

This is by far my FAVORITE window in the house - it'll be located above our antique clawfoot tub in the master bathroom.

This is by far my FAVORITE window in the house – it’ll be located above our antique clawfoot tub in the master bathroom.  Just something fun and different to make a statement.

We skipped the transoms downstairs and installed taller 8'0" doors in the rec room.

We skipped the transoms downstairs and installed taller 8’0″ doors in the rec room.

The only issue is with the front mudroom door.  It’s a dutch door (so excited about that), and it should have had some extra cuts & pieces on the top half of the door (called “dado cut”) so that when the doors close, there’s weatherstripping and so that the two doors “catch” and stay together.  Well, the bottom 1/2 of the door looks great, but the top half is missing it.  So back to the manufacturer it goes!  Not really a big deal, but such a bummer because it’s such a cute door, and on the front of the house!!  Why can’t it be some side door that they screw up on?  Murphy’s law!

Here's the dutch door for the mudroom front door. Isn't it cute with the X detail in the bottom half? It's the only door we ordered like that...I thought it would be fun for the front of the house.

Here’s the dutch door for the mudroom front door. Isn’t it cute with the X detail in the bottom half? It’s the only door we ordered like that…I thought it would be fun for the front of the house.

The bottom of top half of the door should have been dado cut like this. Instead, the one we got just has a flat bottom. Back to the factory it goes!

The bottom of top half of the door should have been dado cut like this. Instead, the one we got just has a flat bottom. Back to the factory it goes!

The other doors all look fantastic though, It’s such a bummer that they primed the doors so now we can’t see through them, but I promise they’ll look even more fantastic when you can actually see through them!  For now, just getting them in and seeing the shape is good enough for me.

Week 23: Ethernet, TV & Audio/Video

I told Joel from the beginning – the only thing he needed to figure out was whatever wiring he wanted for the house, ethernet, cable, speakers.  I basically gave him 1 1/2 years to figure it out.  So he mulled over different thoughts that he had, but when did he actually figure it all out…yep, this week.  Better late than never 😉

So he finally nail down how he wanted the audio & video to run throughout the house and integrate with TV’s and Ethernet.  After much research, we decided that we wanted to use as many Sonos products as possible.  Sonos offers a large amount of flexibility when it comes to moving speakers around the house as well as the interface with a good ipad/phone App (ie: no new remote is needed to run the system – LOVE that!), and the ability to add on more speakers as we want/need them.  Another major bonus is that Sonos has created their own “wireless mesh network” to run all of the speakers.  This is a separate independent network that the speakers are connected through, so that we don’t have to use Wifi.  This means that if the boys are downloading something using wifi, it won’t interfere or ‘drop’ our speakers’ sound.  That was a big selling feature for us…such a great idea/technology.

This is a screenshot of Sonos' mobile app. On the left they have three different zones for the house, and all 3 are playing different things. Alternatively, it's easy to make them all play the same thing. User interface is extremely important...I definitely don't want to be figuring out some complex system just to play music.

This is a screenshot of Sonos’ mobile app. On the left they have three different zones for the house, and all 3 are playing different things. Alternatively, it’s easy to make them all play the same thing. User interface is extremely important…I definitely don’t want to be figuring out a complex system just to play some background music.

Here’s the plan that we’ve come up with room by room:

Great Room

We’ll have a TV mounted in the built-in to the left of the fireplace; and have 4 built-in speakers in the ceiling.  The main purpose for the speakers will be to listen to music, not particularly for the TV’s sound to come out of it.  This room really isn’t the main TV watching room (that’ll be downstairs), so hopefully the sound coming out of the TV will be good enough.  If we do end up wanting more/better sound, we’ll add Sonos’ Playbar underneath the TV.  The built-in speakers will run to a Sonos Connect Amp located in the tech closet.  This will make the speakers compatible with Sonos’ system and will enable the great room as a “zone” and be able to be controlled in the Sonos App.  With the addition of the Playbar at the TV, we can then tie the ceiling speakers to the Playbar and the TV sound can come out of all the speakers in the great room.

This is the Sonos Connect Amp which will connect hardwired speakers, and make them integrated with the rest of the Sonos system.

This is the Sonos Connect Amp which will connect hardwired speakers, and make them integrated with the rest of the Sonos system.

Kitchen

We’ll have two built-in speakers in the ceiling which will run to another Sonos Connect Amp in the tech room – then this will be a “zone” as well.

Rec Room (Downstairs)

We are going to immediately purchase a Sonos Playbar to play the TV’s audio in the rec room.  This will also enable the Rec Room to be it’s own “zone” in the Sonos App.  We’ll also run CAT6 ethernet cable and power to two spots above the bar cabinets where eventually we’ll add Sonos Play Speakers.  And at some point, I’m sure Joel will convince me that we NEED a Sonos Subwoofer downstairs too.  Maybe when the boys are older 😉  With this setup, we won’t need to have any built in speakers in the ceiling, and it gives us the flexibility to add speakers as we go.

This is the Sonos Playbar which we will have downstairs in the rec room. It will sit directly underneath the TV. I hope at some point it will be offered in white like the rest of their speaker products!

This is the Sonos Playbar which we will have downstairs in the rec room. It will sit directly underneath the TV. I hope at some point it will be offered in white like the rest of their speaker products!

Outside

We’ll have speakers both on the deck upstairs and the patio downstairs.  Sonos doesn’t currently have an outdoor speaker, but there’s talk of them creating one.  With that in mind, instead of buying and mounting ho-hum outdoor speakers, then buying a Connect Amp to tie it into the Sonos system, we decided to build a shelf (or bracket) for a Sonos speaker to be mounted outside, and power outlet where we want the speakers placed.  That means that on most days we’ll be able to use the Sonos Play Speakers inside the house (maybe in the master or the office), and when we’re hanging out outside, we’ll just put them on the shelf out there.  Then eventually when Sonos creates an outdoor speaker we’ll be ready for it.

Currently, Sonos offers three different speakers, the Play1, Play3, and the Play5. Starting with the Play1, they get larger and more powerful. Sizes are chosen depending on the size of the room and/or how loud you want to play music.

Currently, Sonos offers three different speakers, the Play1, Play3, and the Play5. Starting with the Play1, they get larger and more powerful. Sizes are chosen depending on the size of the room and/or how loud you want to play music.

Other Rooms

Other rooms will have ethernet and cable run for TV (although we won’t actually have TV’s in other rooms…just planning for future use).  And if we want to add in speakers for music or the TV, we’ll just plug into an outlet more Sonos Play speakers…no extra speaker wires needed!

Week 22: HVAC, Electrical & Windows

The HVAC was worked on for the house this week which included setting up the furnaces which will back up the heat pump.  The furnace for the downstairs was placed in the HVAC room downstairs by the boys’ playroom, and it was most efficient to put the furnace for the main level in the attic of the garage.  Besides installing both of those, it looks like the vents have all been placed and all 4 of the cold air returns were also installed (two on each level of the home).

It was most efficient to put the upstairs furnace in the attic.

It was most efficient to put the upstairs furnace in the attic.

The downstairs furnace is located in the HVAC room.

The downstairs furnace is located in the HVAC room.

Electrical work began this week and was laid out based on our walk thru last week.  On Sunday, Joel and I went to check things out…and confirm light switch locations.  A few of them were in the wrong spots, but for the most part things were in the correct locations.

The electrical sub (Modern Wiring) started on the house this week.

The electrical sub (Modern Wiring) started on the house this week.

And even more fun (and with a bigger impact) was that the majority of the windows were delivered and quite a bit of them were installed!  I think they look great, and love the grid layout we chose.  I can’t wait to see all of them installed.  It’ll end up being a couple weeks for all of them to get here.  The windows with the arched tops all have a bit longer lead time than the rectangular ones.

Some of the windows were installed in the front of the house this week.

Some of the windows were installed in the front of the house this week.

Although we're still missing the french doors and the oval windows, the back wall of the great room is starting to take shape.

Although we’re still missing the french doors and the oval windows, the back wall of the great room is starting to take shape.

I love how the windows turned out in the staircase.

I love how the windows turned out in the staircase.

The windows in the informal dining area in the kitchen look amazing! It's too bad that the construction film makes it so we can't see outside anymore. At least that'll protect the glass until construction is finished though.

The windows in the informal dining area in the kitchen look amazing! It’s too bad that the construction film makes it so we can’t see outside anymore. At least that’ll protect the glass until construction is finished though.

Here's what the windows look like from the outside of the house. These ones are above the kitchen sink area.

Here’s what the windows look like from the outside of the house. These ones are above the kitchen sink area.

Besides all of the things happening at the house, my mom and I also went to Canyon Creek Cabinetry on Thursday to figure out all of the cabinets for the house.  We did our initial walk thru a couple of weeks ago.  After that, they drafted up the initial design for the cabinets…but of course I had markups and things that I wanted changed.  So we met up with Andy at Canyon Creek to discuss all of the changes.  He’s going to revise the drawings (and the cost estimate) – hopefully we’ll get those this next week.  Then they’ll be finalized!

Week 21: Electrical Walk Thru, HVAC & Plumbing Progress

I took the day off work on Monday, and my mom and I went to the house at 7:30 am to do the electrical walk thru with Matt and the electrical rep.  Over the weekend I drew up my initial thoughts including locations for overhead lights, wall sconces, light switches, TV’s, internet, and locations that I knew I wanted an outlet.  That gave us a good starting off point, but we made quite a few changes including adding can lights and additional light switches.  From that meeting I had more homework to do – figure out exactly where I want to have bathroom sconces – that means first figuring out bathroom mirrors.  Ugh!  After wrapping up the electrical walk thru we went to look at more finishes like tile and counter tops…which we still haven’t figured all of that out exactly.  More on that another day 😉

Before our electrical walk thru on Monday, I drew up my initial electrical plan for the house

Before our electrical walk thru on Monday, I drew up my initial electrical plan for the house

The HVAC also started this week and the plumbing continued to be installed.  Among other things, the fireplace was installed which was exciting to see!  And the majority of the ductwork was run – including locations that will need soffits in the lower level.  I absolutely despise soffits, but I think ours will be in locations that won’t be too noticeable – mainly limited to storage rooms and the boys’ playroom.  We settled on going with heat pumps for heating & cooling with a furnace for backup.  And we actually decided to have two of these systems for the house – one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  Since it’s always cooler in basements, we didn’t want that temperature regulated by the upstairs temp.  This way, we can keep it nice and toasty down there for the boys.

HVAC started this week!

HVAC started this week!

Lots of parts & pieces :)

Lots of parts & pieces 🙂

I loved seeing the fireplace installed this week...it looks awesome (even if it is all covered up still).

I loved seeing the fireplace installed this week…it looks awesome (even if it is all covered up still).

And our little well house got it's roof on Monday!

And our little well house got it’s roof on Monday!

And it was also Spencer’s 5th birthday on Friday and Halloween on Saturday!  We had lots of fun celebrating with trick or treating at my work on Thursday, a family night out on Friday, and a Halloween Party at my sister’s on Saturday!

Had to sneak this pic in - Spencer was Dr. Forman, and Cameron dressed up as the paleontologist from Jurassic World.

Had to sneak this pic in – Spencer was Dr. Forman, and Cameron dressed up as the paleontologist from Jurassic World.

Pretty Spooky!

Pretty Spooky!  We should have made it a haunted house for the neighborhood…wouldn’t that have been fun?!