Week 42: Tile, Trimwork, Stairs, Septic, and Rental House Issues

Rental House

This week seems to have gone by so quickly!   One of the major things that happened this week is that we received an email from the property manager from the house we’re renting a couple miles from the build.  He said that the owners of the house want to move back into the house and we need to move out at the END OF APRIL!!!  Matt was anticipating for the house to be finished at the END OF MAY!!  Seriously?  How does this happen to us?  Our 10-month lease ended in January and since then our contract switched over to month-to-month leasing.  And the contract states that we or the owner can terminate the lease with a 20 day notice.  We actually met the owner about 6 months ago when they were visiting from China getting baby gear out of their garage.  Back then he said that we should stay and rent the house for years!  And in January when I told the property manager that we were extending our stay past the 10-month term he said to stay until August.  Now they want to move back from China though?  Something must have changed with his Microsoft job.  Ugh.  And the property manager has no idea either – this totally blindsided him as well.

So now for the first time in the entire build, schedule matters.  Prior to this, Joel and I honestly didn’t care if it took longer to build, we just wanted it done right.  I mean, what’s a couple extra months in the end if it turns out great?  The boys have made some good friends in the neighborhood we’re renting in and it’s so close to the build, that it’s convenient to pop over and check things out.  Now getting done with the build at the end of May when we need to move out at the end of April seems WAY too long though.  Where are we going to live for those 4 weeks?!?  So I did what any person in my situation would do.  Ask our builder Matt, “what’s really going to be left to do after the last week of April?”  I explained our situation and wanted to see if there was any way we could speed things up a little and maybe move in sooner than later.  He took a couple days and was able to push a few things…and now we’ll be moving into the new house the first week of May!  Can you believe that?!?  The first week of May!!!  That means that we’re only between homes for a week.  A week, I can live with.  Can you say, “hello mom & dad?”  They live about 45 minutes away from us without traffic so the commute just to get the boys to school and us to work is going to be horrific.  But the boys love staying there and it’ll be so nice just to move with only having to pack our clothes.  The rest of our stuff can move into the garage of the new house until we get there a week later to unpack.  Although Matt will have the inside of the house finished, we’re not expecting the outside to be completed – we’ll likely still need the deck, driveway and landscaping.  The inside is good enough for me though!

For our final hail mary, we’re still trying to see if we can extend our lease another week so we can move straight from the rental into the new house, but we haven’t heard back from the owner and they’re not returning the emails that the property manager has sent (which has been 4 of them now).  Cross our fingers 😉  At least mom & dad’s is a good back up plan.


New House

Besides the rental house issues, things have been moving along at the house quite well.  There’s so many little details that took place in the house this week. The tile and hardwoods have been completed and that’s all of the flooring until the carpet is scheduled to be installed in the last week of April (just before we move in!).  The stairs were even installed this week and they look fantastic.  It took a few different tries to get the right stain color for the treads, but I think they turned out great.  On Thursday evening, Cameron and I went to check out the house and Matt was there covering the stairs to protect them from all the workers’…and we ended up helping and covering them for him.  Um, don’t say that I never lifted a finger to build the house, ha!

The trim sub consultant keeps on trucking – there’s so much that we’re having them do for us.  Besides installing all of the door moulding and baseboards throughout the house, there were two major accomplishments this week – creating the fireplace surround and starting on the interior transom windows.  First things first the fireplace looks amazing!  Monday morning Matt and I walked through what I wanted the design of the fireplace to be and he made it all happen!  I love how it sits on top of the bench/hearth we have, and that the mantle is so deep.  In our old house there would barely be enough room for Christmas stockings, let alone any other decor.  This one is sure to fit whatever I want to decorate with!

On Saturday, Joel and I went out to check out the progress and one of the trim guys was there working on the interior transom windows.  We weren’t quite sure if we were going to order these or have them built on-site, and now that we went with the latter, I couldn’t have imagined the ordered ones turning out so well.  The first side of the transoms have been installed, then they’ll need to be painted on both sides and glass added.  Then the other side of the transom trim can be added.  It looks so good for them finally to be filled in with moulding though!  All these little details are really making the house come together.

And did you notice that the oval windows in the great room in the last picture now have trim as well?  These were measured for and custom made by a different company and then installed this week.  The same goes true for the arched windows in the dining room and in the entry.

Besides all of the trimwork, they also added some more detail on the cabinetry.  Matt pointed out that if we added crown all the way around the kitchen hood (like I wanted) that the crown would basically touch the other pieces of crown in the coiffured ceiling.  So that’s out of the question…so that’s a bummer.  But I still think it looks good as is without it – definitely my favorite feature in the kitchen, and it’s pretty fun that I got to design it!  Feet were also added to a few cabinets throughout the house – which I also had custom designed based on some pictures of kitchens that I liked on Houzz.

Tile work also continued this week.  Although choosing and shopping for tile was my absolute least favorite thing to do for the entire build, I love seeing it all installed.  Most of our selections were pretty basic, but even seeing white subway tile instead of drywall is fun.  On top of that, the tile my mom and I chose for the backsplash behind the range arrived and I brought that out to the house.  On Wednesday, I met the tiling sub onsite to go through the layout with him.  Originally, we were going to have a different border that had a dark gray bardglio marble liner and then a white chair rail that matches the subway tile backsplash.  Unfortunately though, the bardiglio came in and looked too blue to really coordinate with the beautiful mosaic tile.  So we ended up using a carrara marble chair rail.  We needed it this week though so there wasn’t any time to special order in the profile of the moulding that I wanted.  Luckily, good ol’ Home Depot carries one that will work perfectly.  Not so perfectly is that you have to find the marble in gray and white.  And when you see them at the stores, about 80% of them look white with brown veining.  Ick.  I’m not kidding you – to find the 12 pieces that we needed to frame the backsplash, my mom and I went to 6 different Home Depot stores!  Unreal.  But now that we have them,  I love them and totally worth the drive time to find them. Plus at $6 each, they were about 7 times cheaper than the ones that I wanted to order in!  Score!!!  I hope it gets installed back behind the range soon – I can’t wait to see it on the wall!

The painters were also in the house this week.  They’ve set up a Dexter kill room, er, um, a “spray booth” in the downstairs storage room .  That room was ALWAYS creepy with the concrete floors and unfinished walls and ceilings but this tops it.  I can’t wait for electrical finishes to finally put some lights in this space.  It’s beyond creepy and way too dark in there now.

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The painters have set up a spray booth in the storage room downstairs where they can paint doors and whatever else they have. I’m steering clear of this space though until they take down all of the plastic. A little too Dexter-esque for my liking.

And one of my favorite doors was also installed this week!  We have a dutch pocket door between the mudroom and the hallway.  This way we can just pull out the bottom half of the door to keep our dog Bella in the mudroom during the day.  No baby gates needed here!  Isn’t it fantastic?  It’ll be so nice instead of shutting the entire door on her while we’re gone during the day – I hate doing that now in our rental house.

Also, the septic installation began this week.  After getting the septic notice on the title recorded with King County and submitted to the health department, the septic stub-out was released and they were ready to do the install right away.  By Saturday, they had the tank set in the ground.  While Joel and I checked out the progress inside the house, we laid out a blanket and the boys ate their Subway lunch by having a picnic on top of the rock pile.  Little do they know that that’ll eventually be part of the septic drainfield!

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Week 40: Hardwood, Doors, Cabinetry & Countertops

This week the absolute biggest change has been the installation of the hardwood floors.  They were able to install the entire first floor and they look fantastic!  We ended up choosing a hand scraped and wire brushed 8″ European Oak in a natural finish by Plank.  We originally wanted a white oak finished on-site but because the basement is a slab on grade they didn’t recommend us installing solid hardwoods down there. I didn’t want the upstairs hardwood to be different from the downstairs so we ended up choosing an engineered hardwood that could be installed both upstairs and downstairs.  It took us quite a while to pick out the flooring – the colors and finishes really vary brand to brand and so does the warranties.  The Plank brand had the wide planks that Joel wanted, the color I wanted, and with more than 80% of the boards being at least 6′ long (Some brands have little lengths of boards that makes the floors look really choppy).  I really like that the color was a warm almost neutral color that didn’t have a pink or white tint (like some of the others we saw), and I really like that the boards have some knots to add character.  The  finish has a 50 year warranty and a lifetime structural warranty – they were a little pricier, but it was the warranty that sealed the deal for us.  Some brands we saw only had a 2 year finish warranty…no thanks!

More of the cabinetry and moulding were installed this week as well.  My favorite cabinet in the entire house has to be the hood above the range.  The cabinet company (Canyon Creek) didn’t have anything that I liked so I ended up being able to custom design the exact hood that I wanted.  I absolutely love it.  And it will look even better once the crown moulding is installed around the top of the hood (and on top of the cabinets).  The butler’s pantry was installed too – love the upper cabinets with the “X” design!  The glass still needs to be added, but I think they look great even now.  And I haven’t decided yet if we’ll install glass shelving in the uppers too…my mom and aunt caution me against glass shelves because of the dust that will show with all of the natural light in the house.  Downstairs, we ended up deciding to reduce the width of Joel’s bar by 6″, and the backside of the bar was installed with the dark java stained wood.  It’s still missing the trim pieces, but it’s coming along!

The farmhouse sink was also installed this week.  Choosing this sink took me quite a while.  I knew that I wanted a really wide sink and initially I was looking at the 40″ Rutherford Sink from Shaw Sinks, but it wasn’t available in USA so I would have had to drive up to Canada to pick it up or had it shipped directly from the UK.  The sink was actually considerably cheaper in the UK, so shipping would have been affordable.  The problem was that based on reviews online, some sinks have arrived cracked since they’re fireclay.  And since they’re handmade there could be some undulations in the sink bottom that may not flow all the water to the drain.  The thought of having puddled water in the sink wasn’t that appealing to me.  Also, some people have had cracking in the glazing finish overtime.  With raising two boys (plus Joel) I knew there was no way that I could have a sink that wouldn’t hold up to their abuse.  I ended up choosing the Kohler Whitehaven Apron Sink which is cast iron and during demonstrations people took hammers to it.  I figured – that’s the sink for us!  The only downside is that it doesn’t come in a 40″ size…their largest was 36″.  A small sacrifice for big time durability and availability.  The size works great and fits really well in proportion to the center window above.

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Love the farmhouse sink! Now the countertop company can come back next week and template this countertop for the sink opening.  The feet are still missing on this base cabinet, but don’t the floors look good?!?

A lot of the interior doors were installed as well.  And windows and doorways continue to be wrapped and some of the baseboards have been installed in the rooms that are getting carpet (bedrooms + playroom).  The baseboards are 6″ tall, just like the trim above the doorways.

On Monday, morning I picked up 5 bathroom sinks for the house from Fergusons.  Luckily they open at 6:30 so I was back at the house by 8am when Skyline Tile and Marble came to template for the countertops.  I spent about an hour with them to drop off the sinks as well as go over the overhangs and layouts that I wanted in each room.  Most were pretty standard, but it was good to talk about some of the detailed areas – like the kitchen pass through and the eating space on the kitchen island.

Tuesday I met the Skyline guys at their shop up in Woodinville to layout where I wanted the templates to be placed on each slab.  We started with the bigger most important counter areas (like the kitchen islands) to make sure they had unique areas of white and gray from the slabs and we ended with some of the smaller spaces.  We purchased 4 slabs of the Super White Quartzite.  That gave us enough flexibility for the main areas in the house to get the look that we wanted – soft white and gray without the upkeep of marble.  We ended using the slabs for the kitchen, fireplace hearth, master bath and powder bath.  A couple of the spaces – fireplace and master shower bench weren’t ready for templating so we just left spaces for those to be cut next time they come out to measure.

Week 18: Getting Ready for a Roof, Window Walkthrough & Countertops

This week seemed like there wasn’t all that much progress when I look at where the house was last week compared to this week, but they actually got quite a bit done.  There were random wall & ceilings that needed to be finished up (or changed…because things didn’t look quite right and I wanted little things slightly different than what was originally planned…hello change order)!  In addition to these little framing things, they were really getting ready for the roof to be put on next week – which meant getting all of the plates/brackets/etc put in the right spots – something that I really don’t even notice.

It's coming along!!

It’s coming along!!

A view of the front from the other direction.

A view of the front from the other direction.

The garage doors were framed this week.

The garage doors were framed this week.

They finished the last little shed roof above the master closet this week.

They finished the last little shed roof above the master closet this week.

Also this week, we decided not to put the windows in the garage. My mom convinced me that there's really no use, and all it does is let people see all the junk in the garage. And with the basketball hoop going in near the garage, maybe they'd just end up broken anyhow.

Also this week, we decided not to put the windows in the garage. My mom convinced me that there’s really no use, and all it does is let people see all the junk in the garage. And with the basketball hoop going in near the garage, maybe they’d just end up broken anyhow.

The mudroom door was FINALLY added this week. The framers made a mistake originally and forgot to put it in! On top of that, we also had them increase the size of the windows in the mudroom (left) and the mudroom bathroom (right).

The mudroom door was FINALLY added this week. The framers made a mistake originally and forgot to put it in! On top of that, we also had them increase the size of the windows in the mudroom (left) and the mudroom bathroom (right).

The laundry room ceiling was finished up this week - I love how the ceiling over the window is sloped and connects with the rest of the vaulted ceiling. A little hard to tell in this picture, but once it's drywalled it'll look amazing!

The laundry room ceiling was finished up this week – I love how the ceiling over the window is sloped and connects with the rest of the vaulted ceiling. A little hard to tell in this picture, but once it’s drywalled it’ll look amazing!

On Friday I met Matt and Andy from Grove Window Supply at the house and we measured & walked through each window and what I wanted the grids to look like.  It took a little over an hour, but it was definitely worth it to be out there.  A few of the windows we hadn’t quite sized or figured out how they open, and Andy had great ideas.  My most favorite decision we made was the window in the staircase.  Because of the stair placement, the window couldn’t be the same size as the others in the lower rec room.  I was going to have it be a little odd in size, and just deal with it, but Andy came up with an awesome idea of just doing the upper 1/2 of the window so that it still aligns with the others in the room…and it looks fantastic!  Such a great idea and I never would have thought of it.  My favorite window is definitely the one above the bathtub in our master – we decided to switch it up as a focal point and put the grids in a diamond pattern.  I think it’s going to be such a cute detail.

We have stairs! Now we can finally get downstairs without walking around the house!

We have stairs! Now we can finally get downstairs without walking around the house! And check out the window at the bottom of the stairs.

I love the new window shape in the staircase. So simple, yet I never would have thought of it!

I love the new window shape in the staircase. So simple, yet I never would have thought of it!

Here's how the lower rec area looks like from the back of the house. The 1/2 window in the staircase is on the lower right.

Here’s how the lower rec area looks like from the back of the house. The 1/2 window in the staircase is on the lower right.

Besides picking out Windows, my mom and I met up on Friday to pick out countertops.  We had gone a couple weeks ago to look at slabs, and found absolutely white quartzite that we loved, but it was at a random fabricator’s shop and Matt had no idea of the quality they’d do.  But lucky for us, we found the same slabs at MSI in Seattle!  Score!!  So now we can have our own (recommended) fabricators do the install and there’s nothing to worry about!  We found 4 slabs, so that’ll take care of the kitchen, powder room & master bathroom.

Slab #1

Slab #1

Slabs #2 & #3 are book-matched.

Slabs #2 & #3 are book-matched.

Another shot of slab #2.

Another shot of slab #2.

Slab #4

Slab #4

Quartzite is so beautiful - check out what sunlight looks like through Slab #2 when it travels through the slab. So gorgeous! Too bad we'll never see it like that in the house.

Quartzite is so beautiful – check out what sunlight looks like through Slab #2 when it travels through the slab. So gorgeous! Too bad we’ll never see it like that in the house.

The slab is so beautiful up close - love the crystal-esque pieces in it.

The slab is so beautiful up close – love the crystal-esque pieces in it.

Close up of the countertop.

Close up of the countertop.

Another detail picture

Another detail picture

Four slabs of absolute white quartzite - yes please!

Four slabs of absolute white quartzite – yes please!

While we were at MSI, we also checked out the quartz slabs that they had.  Quartz is a man made stone and it super durable, and we’re thinking of using it in the laundry room and boys’ bathroom.  They had a really cute white slab of quartz with little blue-green glass and mirror pieces in it, and we found this green glass tile.  We thought it might be cute for the laundry room – super clean feeling.

Sparkling white quartz - maybe an option for the laundry room!

Sparkling white quartz – maybe an option for the laundry room!

We found this arctic ice glass subway tile (the top one), that is super clean and fresh looking.

We found this arctic ice glass subway tile (the top one), that is super clean and fresh looking.

Here's a close-up of what the slab and tile look like together.

Here’s a close-up of what the slab and tile look like together.  Both of these look so much prettier in person – but it gives you an idea of the look.

Week 14: Plumbing Fixtures & a tiny bit of Framing

This week was pretty slow at the build.  Last week I mentioned that the framers had to work on another job that they committed to prior to ours – so they were there all week.  As it turns out though, a few of their guys actually snuck away to work on our house on Thursday and Friday.  We visited the house this weekend and it didn’t look like much had changed except for a few more ‘barge boards’ were up on the front of the house.  That was, until you actually went inside and then we noticed that the roof was put on the mudroom. This is the transition area that turns the house 45 degrees.  As such, it looks like it took some time to build, and a bit trickier than the other areas of the house.

Here's the progress from this week's work. Not too much changed from last week.

Here’s the progress from this week’s work. Not too much changed from last week.

The temporary construction ramp leads up to the mudroom door. The roof framing above the mudroom is what the guys worked on the couple of days that they were at our house this week.

The temporary construction ramp leads up to the mudroom door. The roof framing above the mudroom is what the guys worked on the couple of days that they were at our house this week.

Here's what the framing looks like from inside the room!

Here’s what the framing looks like from inside the room!

Beside that, the guys also worked on a small area of the back deck which connects the mudroom to the outdoor BBQ area near the kitchen.  Joel and I debated for a while over how much of the back deck should be covered.  We ended up only covering a small spot for Joel to put his BBQ.  The house that we’re renting now has a great covered BBQ area, so that’s now a must on our list.

The crew built a little part of the deck this week that has the covered BBQ area.

The crew built a little part of the deck this week that has the covered BBQ area.

This is a straight-on look at the covered BBQ area. It's right outside of the back door to the kitchen so it will be super close and handy!

This is a straight-on look at the covered BBQ area. It’s right outside of the back door to the kitchen so it will be super close and handy!

Here's the little trusses they used to frame the BBQ area.

Here’s the little trusses they used to frame the BBQ area.

This wall is missing a door - there should be one between the two windows (will get fixed later). That will be the back door from the mudroom which has a bit of a covered porch off the back to let our dog Bella out.

This wall is missing a door – there should be one between the two windows (will get fixed later). That will be the back door from the mudroom which has a bit of a covered porch off the back to let our dog Bella out.

Check out the new view from the kitchen windows - you can see the roof line from behind the mudroom (on the right) and the BBQ area (on the left).

Check out the new view from the kitchen windows – you can see the roof line from behind the mudroom (on the right) and the BBQ area (on the left).

I climbed on top of the dirt stockpile to take this picture - it's hard to fit the whole back of the house in one picture on my iphone!

I climbed on top of the dirt stockpile to take this picture – it’s hard to fit the whole back of the house in one picture on my iphone!

 

This week, my mom and I also did some plumbing shopping.  Actually, over the past 4 weeks my mom and I have been plumbing shopping 3 different times!  I know – I’ve been holding out on you and not telling you this yet 🙂  There’s a few reasons for that actually… Our first plumbing shopping trip was at Rosen Plumbing in Kirkland.  I really had no idea what I was getting into, but imagined that I’d be working with a sales associate, touring the showroom and picking out what I wanted.  I was really a bit under-impressed with actuality though.  We ended up standing around a showroom sink for 2 hours, flipping through manufacturer’s catalogs looking at tiny black & white pictures of different faucet options.  It truly was less than desirable and unbelievably inefficient.  In 2 hours, we didn’t even get through picking out the upstairs!  I went home and decided that it’d be best if I did lots of shopping online to figure out what I really wanted.  Two weeks later, we ended going back to Rosen, this time I was armed with a plan of the exact fixtures that I was looking to purchase.  Now, I was all ready to tell her exactly what I was looking for…the only problem?  They didn’t sell everything I was looking for.  So annoying!!

So this week, my mom and I went to Ferguson to check out the items that I couldn’t order from Rosen.  Ferguson was night and day different than Rosen!  The showroom was GORGEOUS, filled with shimmering lighting fixtures and sparkling faucets.  It was exactly what I was anticipating before we started our original search.  We ended up having an appt with a sales associate there named Hannah and she was fantastic.  She sat us down with us at her desk (novel idea, I know) and went through all of the plumbing fixtures we were looking for.  Then we toured around the showroom looking at fixtures we were interested in and ones she suggested for us.  They had hundreds for us to look at, and it does make it so much easier to see them in person, and they had ALL of the brands we were looking for.  Over the next week, Hannah’s going to send us a quote for everything that was remaining on our list, as well as all the other fixtures that we previously picked out from Rosen.  Her pricing may end up being better, and honestly, it’d be so nice to just deal with one place instead of two (plus Ferguson is conveniently close to where I work)!

Ferguson had HUNDREDS of faucets to choose from.

Ferguson had HUNDREDS of faucets to choose from.

Loved all of their lighting too!

Loved all of their lighting too!

Do you see all of those light fixtures?  I think I might just have to be back another day to look at those.  And bonus, they also sell door hardware!  So, I might have to be back a couple of times!

To give you an idea of what type of fixtures I’m looking at right now, here’s some idea boards I made for each room.  Things are still in flux, but it should be pretty close to what we’ll end up with.  And I haven’t picked out any sinks, but these were my initials after shopping online.  I’m going to wait to order sinks until I have the counter tops and cabinetry all figured out.

Master Bathroom Ideas

Master Bathroom Ideas

Powder Bathroom Ideas

Powder Bathroom Ideas

Boys' Bathroom Ideas

Boys’ Bathroom Ideas

Guest / Rec Room Bathroom Ideas

Guest / Rec Room Bathroom Ideas

Mudroom Bathroom Ideas

Mudroom Bathroom Ideas

Kitchen Ideas - although I still can't decide on a faucet.

Kitchen Ideas – although I still can’t decide on a faucet.

Laundry Room Ideas

Laundry Room Ideas

Joel's Bar Ideas

Joel’s Bar Ideas