Sunday, June 27, 2010

All kinds of floors

We got 'em. Wooden ones. Furry ones. And of course some good ol' plastic ones. It's not all done, mind you, but some major progress was made...just in one day!

First, the furry ones. We are thrilled with the carpet. We got it downstairs in the master bedroom:

Up in the loft:

Looking into the guest bedroom:

In the girls' bedroom. Like everything else that wanders into that room, it is overwhelmed by blueness--and in this case transformed into a blue-toned beigey color.

We ALSO started laying the hardwood:

We only got about 5 feet knocked out.

Mark made a neato threshold for the master bedroom:

Knowing my own limitations in housekeeping, I was reluctant to carpet the closets, because...ew, who knows what could grow there before I found it? Do normal people vacuum their closets? So I used the cheapest laminate I could find for the closets, and even that looks me!

Looking over the hardwood entrance, into the master bedroom:

Waaaiiiitt a minute. What's that? On MY BALL??? MARK!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

About six months ago, I was hot to settle on a fireplace stone, because I felt it would be a focal point of the large living room, and I wanted to make that choice before paint, countertops, flooring, etc. We did choose a natural stone, a dry-stack slate called Autumn Rose. We bought it and have had it outside, waiting, biding its sweet time, until now.

We got four capstones to sit on top of the hearth, so we could sit on them to warm our backsides in the winter.

The sides were flat cuts, so Mark chipped the outer stones to have that rough-hewn look to match the front edge. It worked perfectly!

And here is the hearth with the vertical pieces in place:

The rock will run up around and above the fireplace to about 6 feet, then we'll have a wood mantel. I am absolutely thrilled with it--the pictures don't do justice to the warm, rich colors in the rock. It grounds the room nicely.

We'll do the rest of the wall later. Just doing the hearth now so we can start laying the hardwood. Yeeeaaaahhhh!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Home Stretch

With the carpet installation scheduled TWO DAYS from now, we are truly hitting the home stretch of our house-building experience. I took some pictures for a friend, then figured I'd share them here.

The exterior:

And as a reminder, the final vision:

Walking in the front door:

From the corner of the living room:

Ahem. I see that Mark has made himself quite at home on MY BALL (atop the newel post at the bottom of the stairs). We'll just have to nip that in the bud!

Panning over into the kitchen:

Just inside the kitchen, looking toward the dining area, with the mud room beyond:

Same view, from the corner of the kitchen:

Looking from the back door to the front of the house:

Yes, we have one of those homes where you can see out the back of the house from the front. I know that bugs some people, but I really like it. The windows, the views, and the natural light are such a key part of our house...they are really a highlight, meant to be accessible from everywhere in the house.

Now upstairs...the loft, which will be our family/play room:

Looking down from the top of the stairs, into the living room:

What do you think...should I schedule the furniture to arrive in THREE WEEKS??!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nylon fiber hell

And I thought choosing paint color was hard. Comparatively, it was not. Because paint color is only...well...color. Carpet, however, is a whole different story.

Do I go long and plush?

Short and practical?

Funky and curly?



That new-wave Smart Strand stuff?

What about warranty? Do I really WANT to have a carpet for 20 years?

After ALL that, then there is color, which is still pretty darn critical.

Solid? Speckled???

Here were my final contenders.

The one on top won. It is a mid-grade nylon Mowhawk product. Short, fairly plushy, and very speckled.

And I'm so glad that decision is behind me. The carpet should be installed late this week or early next. We will start working on the fireplace rock, then the hardwood flooring.

It is time to start thinking about ordering the household goods.

And moving in.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Funky Stairs

Well...what would you expect?

There are a few aspects of our stairs that make them a little funky. First, we liked the idea of panels with shapes cut out instead of straight balusters. Here were some examples:

We did a rough computer mock-up, and decided we liked a mixture of panels and balusters:

And here is the final product, installed but not yet painted:

I have to note, this is one of the few decisions where I have gotten negative feedback. My mom and sister do NOT like this design, or maybe just the execution. Maybe it will grow on them when it is all painted. The plan is to stain the treads and the handrail, and paint the risers (the vertical part of the stair) and the balusters/panels.

The second special feature of the staircase is my gigantic ball. You probably already noticed it. I had a vision of one, sitting atop the newel post, that I touch as I swing around the bottom of the stairs to head into the kitchen. I wanted to have that fulcrum. A big honkin' one. And once I saw this ball in the shop, I had to have it. They tried to dissuade me. They tried to tell me it was too big. But I wouldn't listen.

Surely you can see its charm?

If you come visit, I will let you touch it. And if you have any residual doubts about whether it is a good fit, they will melt away.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Season of change

This past week marked some big changes. First, of course, was the award of the certificate of occupancy. But on that same day, my babies graduated from kindergarten. The day prior, the school held its end-of-year assembly, and Mae was recognized for academic improvement. Really it had more to do with "coming out of her shell". She tends to be pretty reserved in any new environment, and it takes a while for her to build up speed. Abigail does that too, but it only lasts for about fifteen seconds, so no one really notices. was a little difficult to deal with Abigail after the assembly. She felt predictably left out. I'm sure we'll be dealing with this both ways over the coming years, so we'd better figure it out! Here's the assembly, Mae is third from the left, next to her classmate, Mason (in the wheelchair), who was recognized as the "Super Seven" student. I'd one works harder than this little guy every day.

I did actually miss the last day of school, because I was traveling to Troy, Indiana, outside of St Louis MO. My cousin, Dennis, was retiring after 26 years in the Air Force. He achieved the highest rank, Chief Master Sergeant, in 2004, and was on the command chief list (a special job at each base), but decided to hang it up and stay in Indiana.

It was clear from the ceremony and following party that he had been very successful and well respected. Here he is with his beautiful family.

Dennis did some wonderful things during his ceremony, like recognizing my grandmother with a military spouse medal (yes, grandma was there...she even hit the casino!). My grandfather was a Navy chief, and was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. My grandmother was pregnant with twins. It was months before she even knew he was alive. So yes, this was a long overdue and wonderful recognition for her. He also gave his father and my mother (brown dress) recognition as children of the military--kids who lived with moving, not much money, and long periods without their dad.

After the festivities, we managed to check out the sights, like the world's largest ketchup bottle in Collinsville IN, as well as the arch in St Louis.

I really didn't anticipate how cool this structure would be up close.

My sister Karen has all the BEST pictures on her camera, so maybe I can add one in later. For now, you'll just have to take my was spectacular!

All around, a pretty eventful week! Now, what to do with the kids this summer????

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The long-awaited Chuck E. Cheese episode

Yes, I know I've been throwing in pesky details about certificate of occupancy, blah blah blah, but now here's the REALLY exciting story about going to Chuck E. Cheese. Well, not really a story...just mostly pictures. And not really of going to Chuck E. Cheese, but just really of MY girls, in their very cute outfits that they wore to Chuck E. Cheese. See?

And see how cute they are playing air hockey???

They did have a fantastic time, followed by a period of mourning because Mae was sad she didn't get the glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth that Abigail had. Which was followed by more mourning the following day because Abigail didn't get the crazy straw to drink her milk in that Mae had. Which was followed by yet more mourning, and dire threats to never return to the God-forsaken land of Chuck E. Cheese again.

Continuing the theme of cute things the girls are doing, we have Mae with a blue-belly lizard.

Yep, that belly is very blue.

And Abigail with a cute hat.

Awww. That makes up for a lot of Chuck E. Cheese angst. I'm almost ready to go again!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We got it!

Just have to share...we got the CO (certificate of occupancy)! I'm out of town, so didn't get to actually see it myself yet, but Mark had our final inspections Thursday, and it is ALL SIGNED OFF!

Happy, happy day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Kittens

OK, I know there are some of you (like my husband) who, upon reading my last post, said "How can you write about kittens at a time like this? What about the house? Aren't you building a house? Isn't it almost done? Aren't you excited about that???!!!"

Well...yes. Yes I am. Especially since I think we'll get our certificate of occupancy WITHIN A WEEK! This doesn't mean that we can actually OCCUPY the house yet (well, I guess we could, but there is no flooring or furniture), but it is a huge milestone that means the house is approved, the permit is complete, and construction, per se, is over.

Two things must occur before the final inspections: the stairs must be completed, and the plumbing in the master bath must be completed. Both are in work, as you can see. The stairs were subbed out, and THOSE GUYS don't work on the weekend, unlike my extremely motivated husband. Here they sit, lonely and forlorn, midway through construction:

They should be finished this week (really!). The bathroom work, on the other hand, blistered along this weekend, and should be done today (Tuesday). I'm so pleased with how the shower looks!

The look is kind of modern and tailored, which suited my mood by the time I got to the master bath. I love the slate accent tile:

NOW the long pole is carpeting. I must first choose the carpet, then it can be ordered and actual progress can be made in that area. I'm very close. I'm about to pull the trigger.

This room is ready.

And so is this one.

Just sitting there, waiting for me to make. a. decision.

So, house lovers, stay tuned for our next episode, which will detail our trip to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party!