Week 47: Moving, Appliances, Lighting, Tile & Grading

This week was a whirlwind of a week for us.  The major thing this week was moving.  Yep, we had to move and our house isn’t even done yet.  The lease for the rental house we were in a couple miles from the build went month-to-month after January and although we were supposed to be able to stay as long as we wanted the owners wanted to move back in on May 1st!  Can you believe it?  So we talked with Matt to see how fast things could go to hurry things up and he said that we could move in on Saturday, May 7th.  So between May 1st and May 7th we needed to move in with MY PARENTS!  I never thought we’d have to move back in with my parents, but since it was just a week, I figured that I could deal with the commute and suck it up.  We actually were at Cameron’s lacrosse tournament in Eastern Washington this weekend so Joel and I took the day off on Wednesday and Thursday to get us all moved.  That meant Thursday night we were shackin’ with my parents.  To get us moved, my mom and I went to the new house to clean out the garage and vacuum up as much sawdust as possible.  Then we went back home to help Joel and the movers with the remainder of the packing and moving.  Surprisingly it all of our stuff fit in the new 3-car garage and after covering it with plastic we’re hoping that it doesn’t get covered with more construction dust over the next week.  I can’t wait until next week when we can actually move all of our stuff into the new house though…it’s going to be so exciting!

Besides moving, we also had all of the appliances installed!  We ended up choosing KitchenAid’s professional series and I love them!  They fit in the space perfectly and really look great…couldn’t be happier.  Of course, we haven’t used them yet 😉

More lighting was installed this week too.  Some of the rooms weren’t 100% finished, so they had to come back and finish up the install.  I’m really happy with all of the light fixtures that we chose and think that they really add a lot of personality for each of the rooms.  And the exterior lights were even installed!  One piece of glass was broken and besides that they look fantastic…definitely better than I had thought they would.  The oil rubbed bronze really pops against the white house and adds some much needed accents.

Finally I the majority of the tile was finished up this week – all except the vanity backsplash in the guest bath.  The Oceanside glass tile arrived and was installed in the powder room and looks phenomenal. It’s got the right amount of texture and shine for that room.  Besides that new install, all of the tile was grouted in the vanities for the master bath and the kitchen.  They turned out great and I honestly wouldn’t change any of it.

Finally, the backyard was graded out this week.  They had to finish backfilling over the septic drainfield as well as installing the drywell.

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The backyard is going to be so much fun for the boys to run around in this summer –

And, this weekend Cameron’s team WON the lacrosse tournament in tri-cities!!  Way to go wolves!!!

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Eastlake 3/4 Cardinal Team won the 3 Rivers Lacrosse Shootout this year! Whoo hoo!!!


Week 46: Transoms, Plumbing, HVAC, Lighting & Exterior Painting

This week was quite the week – Matt started off the week saying that our house was going to be a zoo and it definitely was!  Since all of the trim inside has finally been painted, a bunch of the subs could begin their work.


The interior transoms were completed this week which included having each piece painted, the glass installed, and putting the final trim up.  They look fantastic too!  I love how they help divide the rooms up but still make the rooms feel open to each other.  We toured a couple of homes that had these and knew that we definitely wanted them in our house.

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Transoms were added and painted this week. We contemplated buying them pre-made but now I’m glad we had them custom made on site…they look fantastic!


A lot (but not all) of the plumbing fixtures were installed this week and they’re looking good!  My mom and I were out there on Tuesday to choose where we wanted each piece of the plumbing fixtures (the slab guys were there to drill the holes).  And then the plumbers were also there to install the fixtures.  My favorite faucets hands down are the ones in the kitchen. We ended up choosing Rohl’s high arc country kitchen faucet with the sidespray and the filtered water faucet.  The filtered water faucet was actually cheaper to install at the sink than to have it built-in to the fridge.  And this way I’m actually gaining fridge/freezer capacity and don’t have to worry about the kids spilling water on our hardwoods.  Plus, it’s such a cute faucet…who could resist?!?

All of the other faucets except for the guest bath sink faucet was installed – and they still need to install most of the shower parts & pieces in the house.


The HVAC guys were at the house this week installing our thermostats – of which we chose NEST.  I like that they have one app for everything – including smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and we’re hoping that they stay more up to date with their apps & technology as compared to the other thermostat brands.  We’ve heard good and bad things about NEST but hopefully in the long run it’ll work out for us that we invested in that technology.  The HVAC guys also installed all of the “trim” for the house – including the vent covers and intake vents.  One word of warning – these guys had FILTHY hands – which I can now see all over our white ceilings.  Next time I’d definitely ask them to wash their hands before installing all of the vents – I guess I need to teach more than my kids to do that, apparently it’s not common sense for adults yet.  The HVAC guys also installed our heat pumps this week too – they’re back under the mudroom deck and since we’ve had some warm days – it’s already been tested and the cooling is definitely working!


I took a couple days off this week and my mom and I headed to the house to help with the lighting – placement, heights, etc.  There’s so many different lights in the house, and although I’ve labeled them the best that I can, we still needed to be on site to help with the placement.  I absolutely loved picking out all of the lights for the house though.  Matt said that most people would go to a lighting showroom and pick all the lights out from one person and be done with it.  Of course, I did this with the plumbing and really didn’t like it – I ended up having to choose plumbing fixtures from tiny images in a catalog.  So for the lighting I bought everything on my own and just had them there for the electrician to install.  This meant that I could buy them from wherever I wanted and I was able to buy them when places were having sales.  Most of my fixtures I acquired over the last year and did end up getting really good deals on them including some favorites from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.  But other ones I was able to buy vintage light fixtures and refinish and rewire to make them workable for our home.

Two “schoolhouse” light fixtures I purchased from Second Use in Seattle and they’re actually from Joel’s elementary school in Tacoma!  In September of 2015 Wainwright was demolished to make way for a new intermediate school and Second Use was able to save some of the original fixtures – of which I was able to buy two of them.  After a quick cleaning and re-wiring, they were ready to be installed in our mudroom bathroom and pantry!

Another one of my favorite fixtures are the pendants that we used in the downstairs bar.  I ended up picking up some vintage fixtures from the Midwest on Ebay last year for $17 each!  Score!!  My parents helped me strip three of them down to the original brass.  They were painted over and with years of dirty and grime, it took some real elbow grease to make them shine.  Each one took about 2 ½ hours to strip and I was so thankful that my parents helped me with it, because it would have taken me three times as long without them!

Exterior Painting

Finally the exterior of the house was also painted this week!  Such a transformation to see it all white – finally!  I’m glad that we waited to paint it until now otherwise it would already be showing the dirt from the construction – but boy was I getting tired of seeing the yellowish color of the siding and trim.  Now that it’s all white (Sherwin Williams’ Pure White) it looks even better!  It took me a while to decide on the white – I was originally going to use Benjamin Moore’s Simply White but in the end looked a little to creamy.  I think SW’s Pure White ended up being the best one since it looks like a true white, but not “bright” or blue like some of the others that I tested.

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The exterior painting on the house started this week. I’m loving the way it’s turning out!

We also painted samples for the door color and taped them up there to see how they looked with the overall house color.  Originally I was thinking of painting it black – there’s a lot of white houses with black doors and they look phenomenal.  But I wanted to be able to see the door hardware, and since all of the exterior hardware is oil rubbed bronze, that meant that I’d need a chrome front door handle to be able to see it against a black door.  My friend Sarah was surprised that I was thinking of a black door (since she has one and hates it) and quickly turned me in the direction of having a gray door.  Sarah helped me tons on this one and flipped through her SW color deck and suggested a handful of grays that may work well.  After a quick trip to SW to see which ones she was thinking of, I chose three sample pots.  And after being up on the house, ended up choosing SW’s Serious Gray – it’s the top one in the photo.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like once the door is truly painted, but I think it’s the perfect one – and that the oil rubbed bronze hardware will look phenomenal with it!

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We narrowed it down to three front door color choices – and ended up choosing the top one – Sherwin Williams Serious Gray

Week 45: Painting…some more trim

Painting, painting, painting…

Again just more trim painting this week.  It seems to go so slow because they have to tape everything off in order to paint it.  And there’s so much trim around the house, especially because of all of the transom windows (interior & exterior).  So that adds a lot of time to what normally wouldn’t take as long.

Besides just the trim painting, I also had to choose colors for the boys’ rooms.  I ended up mixing a couple colors together to create my own dark blue color for Cameron’s room and then I had Sherwin Williams color match it.  For Spencer’s room I had a hard time choosing.  The blue I had purchased from Restoration Hardware ended up having too much purple in it.  So then I mixed one of my own and I still didn’t like it.  Finally, I grabbed some color chips and settled on Sherwin Williams’ Languid Blue.


Week 44: Painting & Bar Top

This week was Spring Break for Cameron and I was out of town for a work event so I wasn’t at the house too much.  The painting continues to be the main star of the show for the house progress.  They finished painting the trimwork for the basement and have moved on to painting the trim upstairs.  My absolute favorite part of the house that was painted this week is the fireplace – hands down.  It turned out fantastic and seeing it all in white really make such a difference.  We’re both thrilled!

The other major thing to see progress is the bar countertop downstairs.  We selected fantasy brown quartzite with a leathered finish.  It has a great texture and just the right mix of gray and brown to tie into the java cabinets.  For the backwall of the bar, we had a custom bar drain made – at 5’6″ long, it’s really a focal point.  We won’t have the taps installed right away, but since the countertop needed a cut-out for the drain, we had to have that created sooner rather than later.  The drain will connect into the sink drain, so it’ll be super easy to clean.  And the sink was installed as well.  It’s coming together – Joel couldn’t be happier!


Week 43: Tile, Slabs, Drainfield & Downstairs Painting

My absolute favorite tile was installed this week behind the range in the kitchen.  The tile installer did such a fantastic job installing the tile too…it looks fantastic!  This tile is Mosaique Surface’s Artemis Cold – a pattern of honed cararra velato and polished white thassos.  We’re still waiting on some trim tile to border the subway tile in other parts of the kitchen, so until that arrives, it won’t be grouted.

The fireplace tile was also installed this week – originally I was contemplating changing this tile to something different, but after  realizing that we can’t return the tile and whatever I would order otherwise would take a few weeks, I quickly decided against it.  I honestly have no idea how this looks with the slabs on the fireplace hearth because they’ve been covered with cardboard.  Hopefully once grouted and the cardboard is removed they’ll look just fine together though!  If not…I’m sure Joel will let me redo it 😉

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The fireplace tile was installed this week.

The remaining slabs were installed in the kitchen this week as well.  I was actually out at the house dropping of the staircase handrail and they were out there installing the slabs.  It was pretty crazy to see how they lift those giant slabs and get them in place.  Definitely takes some strong guys and a couple of gripper things.  I was glad I was there too – I was able to choose the direction that the veining was running in the slabs.  They look SO GOOD too!!!  We used the same absolute white quartzite that we selected for the other areas of the kitchen.

Outside we also had progress…the septic drainfield was installed this week and once inspected by the county they can backfill it all and we can begin on the final grading of the yard.

Back in the house, all of the trim in the downstairs was also painted this week.  The lower level is completely covered in paper and plastic masking everything off.  Walls, ceilings, floors, it’s crazy.

Week 41: Countertops & Tile

This week there’s been a lot happening at the house this week including continuing on the trim work – there’s tons to do still including wrapping all of the doorways and baseboards.  And the painters were also there painting doors and other trimwork.  But I barely even took pictures of those since the best thing about this week was all of the countertops and tile that were installed!  The absolute white quartzite was installed throughout the main level and it looks ‘absolute’ly amazing!

So now that the fireplace hearth is installed, and I’m not 100% sure about the tile that my mom and I picked out for the fireplace surround.  Originally we picked out 3″x6″ tiles from Walker Zanger’s Rue Pierre Antique Gris Marble.  Now I’m not so sure about it.  It’s definitely similar colors as the absolute white quartzite, but  has more of a striped white/gray pattern to it.  I’m wondering if maybe something more consistent in color like cararra marble will look/flow better.  For the record, my mom actually liked the carrara better originally.  It’s pretty similar to the hearth quartzite though…too similar?  Ah dilemmas!

The laundry room floor was installed this week (still missing the grout), and so were the counters!  We went with MSI’s Sparkling White Quartz which has some green glass and mirror flecks in it for the counters and kept it simple with Daltile’s Octagon Dot floor tile in white.  Once the white grout is installed it will tone down the patterning in the floor for sure!

The flooring in the mudroom was also installed this week – actually weekend!  They were out there installing it on Saturday when I was there for a visit.  We went with 12″ x 24″ Florida Tile’s “Mingle” in the Cool Summer color set in a 1/3″ stepped offset pattern.  The vanity, sink and countertops were also delivered from Restoration Hardware this week for the mudroom bathroom.  I chose the Cartwright Powder Room Vanity with the Italian Pietra Grigio Marble top.

And downstairs, lots of things happened this week too!  The hardwood flooring was installed, although by the week’s end it was covered with a protective layer of Ram Board which I think will stay on it until we’re ready for cleaning and moving in.  The new narrower sink base arrived for the bar and looks fantastic!  The sink barely fits in it, yikes!  Hopefully it’ll work still though.

The boys bathroom flooring was also grouted.  Although one piece of tile needs to be replaced – someone dropped a tool on it (probably when installing the door) and the tile broke.  Once that’s done the floor (and grout) will be complete.  The counter tops and sinks were also installed in the boys’ and guest bathrooms.  The boys’ countertops I selected are a gray/blue color – Wilsonart’s Quartz in Amalfi Coast and the counters in the guest bath is Pental Quartz’ Grey Savoie.

At the beginning of the week, the Skyline Tile and Marble were out measuring for the bar downstairs and for the farm sink placement in the kitchen.  Then I went to their shop in the afternoon on Monday to choose where I wanted the counters to be placed on the slabs.  We ended up having to purchase two slabs since the bar is in a U-shape and we needed the graining of the counters to all be in the same direction.  There’s so much left over though!  We may end up using it for a backsplash.  We’ll see how much that’ll cost!  My mom and I chose these slabs back in October at META Marble and Granite.  They’re fantasy brown quartzite with a leathered/textured finish.  With the gray & brown that they have, they’re going to look great with the cabinetry and room color.

And finally, there has been some sunny storms over the past couple of weeks…check out that rainbow!

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Just a touch of rainbow to brighten up the sunny and rainy day!


Week 35: Painting the Interior- The WRONG Color

I’ve felt like the past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful when it comes to the house selections.  Final selections needed to be made on the tile and the woman at the company we’re going with to purchase and install the tile has got to be the absolute worst person that I’ve ever had to deal with.  I’ve already ranted about her a couple weeks ago, but her ridiculousness just keeps getting worse.  She is consistently getting things wrong and I have to back check everything she does.  I honestly feel like she’s one of those people that just tries to rip people off.  I literally told her to delete some of the tile for the boys’ backsplash and after doing that, the price of the backsplash INCREASED.  Then I have to call her out on it and she’s says crap like, “oops, not sure how that happened,” or “my computer has gremlins.”  Every change is like that.  And I feel bad for her other clients who don’t pay close attention because I’m 100% positive that she overcharges people.  It’s unbelievable.  Anyhow, I think that I’m about 95% done with having to deal with her from now on out…so that feels good!

But then something even worse happened – I went out to the house and they painted the ENTIRE HOUSE the WRONG color!!!!  Aaaahhhhh!  I visited on Thursday to talk with Matt and the paint job looked great, which it does – there’s a clean crisp line between the wall and the ceiling which looks really good.  But all day I kept thinking that it felt dark in there after I left.  So Friday morning when I went out there to pay Matt, I brought out the sample board that I had painted our color selection (Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White @ 50%) and immediately we both knew that they painted it the wrong color.  Instead of reducing the paint saturation by 50%, they painted it the full 100% color.  So the ‘color’ is correct, but it’s a lot darker tone than I ever wanted it to be.

Matt said that since the tile guys and trim guys are going to start on Monday that if it needed to be repainted I have a while to think about the color and what I wanted to do.  Clearly it was the painter’s mistake (since I had written direction on the exact color I wanted), so they’d have to repaint it later.  Well, about an hour after getting to work, I got a call from Matt saying that if we want it repainted, that they’ll do it, but it needs to be done now before all of the trimwork goes in.  With the amount of windows and doors in our house, to have them tape everything off later and repaint was going to add a significant amount of cost & time for the painters.  So I need to make the decision if it needed to be repainted…TODAY.  My mom was busy spending time with one of her friend’s today so couldn’t help me out and I desperately felt like I needed a second opinion that wasn’t a guy’s (Matt’s or the painter’s).  Luckily my friend Sarah was around and met me there at lunch!  And luckily her hubby Kevin was working from home and could watch their adorable daughter while Sarah spent some time looking at paint colors sans kiddo.

We both agreed – Cornforth White looks good, and although it’s not a dark color, it’s definitely not light and airy either like the tone at 50% looks, which is the feeling I was going for.  But is it worth having them repaint the entire house?!?

On first blush, I’d think – the painter screwed up, have him repaint it.  But then I start thinking about the repercussions…it’ll delay the other subs that would have started a week, which means they’re out of work for that week and I guarantee that they’ll be disgruntled and rushing through our job to try to finish on time.  So is that really what I want?  The tile and trimwork guys to be angry and hurried?  Not really.  And then, the painter was supposed to do some extra work for us that was never included in the initial scope of work/bid which included painting some additional colors in the boys bedrooms & dining room, painting the ceilings a different color than the walls, painting the risers on the stairs, extra millwork, etc.  And, as ALL CONTRACTORS do – if I had him repaint the entire house, the cost for all these extras will be more than what they should have been to help him recoup some of the costs he incurred repainting the house.  So then I know I’d end up paying more than I should have.  Ugh.

Alternatively, if I keep the color that’s already on the walls – we have quite a bit of negotiating power and all of those extra items that were never in the scope, the painter will now have to do at no cost.

After lots of input from Sarah, and Matt pretending he’s a chandelier holding up spot lights for us, I walked away thinking that I’ll leave the color for now and after all of the finishes are installed – like the flooring, trim, cabinets – I may want them to repaint the great room & rec room.  It’s really hard to tell how it’ll all look once the finishes are in, lights are on, and the film is off all of the windows – who knows, maybe it’ll look great! (Here’s hoping)!

It’s been a couple of days and I’m STILL really not sure what the right choice to do here was, but it’s only paint – and that’s the easiest thing to change in a house.  So if we hate it later, I guess we’ll be repainting it.