Monday, September 24, 2012

Excellent excuse to go shopping

Chris made the ultimate sacrifice on Friday - he drove 2 1/2 hours to go shopping with me at IKEA. Okay, 5 hours round trip. But it was worth it! And we had a really good time.

Technically we went down now so that we could buy the hood vent and ensure it got framed properly. Didn't want to go to install it and figure out that we'd put a stud where the vent hole needed to be.  And we did indeed buy the hood. Love it! And at $100 less than what I'd found locally, the trip paid for itself.

The reason for the trip
When you drive that far, you really want to make a day of it so we wandered around and found some great ideas as well as some things that we'll be able to make use of sooner rather than later. We also had lunch (Swedish meatballs, of course), and met my brother and SIL for a leisurely round of "did you see what we found?!?".  A red plastic octopus may have figured prominently.

Design idea for the bathroom
I loved this hutch/drawer combo. Chris will be able to use it as inspiration for the bathroom storage solution we'll need downstairs. The bathroom doesn't have a built-in linen closet so we'll need something enclosed for storage. I'm not a fan of open storage in the bath as it tends to get musty.

Another design idea IKEA
We are opting for wardrobes instead of permanent closets in the new house. I like the flexibility that a wardrobe gives you. Don't like the bed against that wall? Move it! Anywhere! No closet doors to worry about. Anyway, we built space for closets, we're just not putting up the walls (future house sale consideration - we can always add the walls before we sell). This wardrobe has a nice clean design that won't draw too much attention in a room. Not sure if we'll go this route or build honking big curvy wardrobes like the one in Disney's "Beaty and the Beast".

Juice glass!
And I found juice glasses! Remember how juice glasses used to be small - around 4 or 5 oz instead of 16? I've been looking for some for a long time. Oh, and they had to fit my hand comfortably. And IKEA had them! At $1.49 for six glasses, I think the purchase was justified. 

We also picked up a brindle cow hide that I'm going to use to repair some cat damage to the arms of my leather chairs. That'll be a fun project and I'll be sure to post pictures when I finally get to it. Don't expect that any time soon though - gotta build the house first.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some stuff we did this weekend

Put up our new mailbox 
Cooked a stew over the wood fire

Made a start on the winter's heat source

It's not all about building the house; we also have to still enjoy just living. So in betwixt one big project and the next, we took some time to enjoy the perfect fall weather this past weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The other birdhouse

The second stair post has been patiently waiting for me to paint it. I finally got around to it and Chris put on the little roof to boot. 

Front door

Single story and condo
 So the two posts are officially decorated. Fun to do these little things as a break from the house build.
Fewer doors on this one
 Chris is in the background putting our new mailbox together.
Pretty darn cute
Once the big house is built the Nest will be our guest cottage. I hope our visitors enjoy the good vibes that we've created there.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Distribution box and leach field

Here are some pictures of the final stages of putting in the septic system. Once the tank is in and the pipes are laid, it's time to connect to the distribution box and leach trenches. 3 trenches, each one 48 feet long and 2 feet wide, are dug and lined with sand, gravel, perforated pipe, more gravel, paper, and then sand again. Whew! Why do we need three trenches you ask? Apparently because it's a three bedroom house. Cool bit of code trivia. 

See the yellow thingy (technical term!) inside the distribution box? That's a quick leveler (see, I know the names of stuff) that you use to make sure the liquid enters all three tubes at the same rate.

The far trench is ready for inspection
Once everything is done you cover up the septic tank. Be sure to do something to mark where the access ports are on the tank in case you need to do a clean out or inspection or something.

Chris also hit upon the brilliant idea of photographing and mapping the entire septic layout. So that if we ever need to do repairs (or want to dig for some reason) we'll know where the lines are. Let's face it,  we all say we'll remember where everything is, but 10 years from now, who does?

Good shot of the leach trenches

Leach trench! Deep!
 Now, I have not been quiet about all the rocks that we've pulled out of the ground. Lots of rocks and we're going to have to come up with stuff to do with them all. And defensive perimeter aside, there's not a whole lot you can do with massive rocks. They just kind of sit there after all.

But this rock, oh my. This rock spoke to me. It said "I have a purpose. I am...a buffet rock." And I listened to the rock and convinced my husband and my excavator that it had to be moved from where they cruelly abandoned it and place right next to the house. Without crushing any septic piping.

Talking rock

This is the east end of the house and will some day be my stone patio. The patio will extend around the big rock and I'll be able to use it as a serving area. So cool!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Septic - stage 2

A quick update to say we passed the septic inspection! Chris brought in the excavating crew to finish the leach trenches when he encountered yet more rock. They pulled out three huge boulders and many smaller rocks that we'll have to deal with eventually. For now they've joined the encircling ring of rocks that are starting to make me feel like we're building a defensive perimeter. Hmmm, maybe we could put in a moat too.

Anyhoo, back to the septic. Got all the lines dug and piped last week, finished digging the leach trenches today, and had the inspection tonight. Passed with flying colors (not poo) and are on to the next stage of the build.

Can I hear a woo-hoo? Woo-hoo!

In non-build related news, it was 44 degrees up there this morning and is supposed to sink to 38 tonight. Getting cold quick.

Monday, September 10, 2012


We had visitors last weekend. Mom and Dad came by to check out the build, enjoy lunch by the fire, and generally goof off. Sis, D, and PBN came too and we had a great visit.

We checked out the slab and septic tank (do I know how to entertain or what?). 

Mom's so silly!
Relaxed by the fire pit in front of the enormous blue tarp. Geez, couldn't we have at least used a brown tarp so it'd blend a bit. That has just moved to the top of the non-essential but gotta get to it list.

Need to rake...
 Took a walk up by my brother's newly sided camp. It's so freaking cute now! Who knew that siding would make that much of a difference.
M's cute camp
 So awesome to enjoy the day with family.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Downstairs bathroom

Since the first project post-framing (and insulating and drywalling) will be to get a functioning bathroom, I've been looking at tile ideas. We're tiling the shower stall (4' x 6') and I really like the look of slate; can't say I much care for the price per square foot though. 

Looking at various and sundry tile shops, I found a good decorating to cost compromise at Home Depot. Real slate for the floor, belt line, and edging but ceramic "slate-look" tiles for the walls. Here is the mosaic that will go on the stall floor and decorative spots (I've provided a link but have no idea if it'll actually work - still learning this blogger stuff!):
The 1"x2" size is great for getting a good grip on the shower floor and since this shower won't be used that much I'm willing to take on the extra work of re-sealing the stone occasionally. I actually considered using real stone from the property but was concerned it would be sharp on bare toes. This has been tumbled to round the edges a bit and should be more comfortable to stand on. 

The ceramic tiles for the walls have a slate look. Unfortunately this photo looks more brown than the grey color it is in real life (which is why I have such a hard time buying decorating items off the internet; colors just don't show true depending on your screen).

When the two are next to each other in real life, they pick up the subtle shading beautifully. 

A black semi-transparent stain on the wood cabinetry is planned and the fixtures will be white. I think it's going to come together great.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Porch pictures

What, you thought you'd see photos of perfectly staged verandas with couches and tables and elegant drinks? Only in my dreams at this point! Instead we have more construction photos - yeah!

Look how deep that porch is!
 The porch is 12 feet deep and 40 feet wide. I am so looking forward to decorating this thing.

Sacrifice 6 x 6
 Sacrifice posts were installed during the pour and will be taken out when they remove the blocking. This creates the gap needed for the real 6 x 6's that will be used to support the porch ceiling.

Showing the texture
Love the broom finish. It'll catch dirt a bit, but the benefit of being less slippery can't be ignored. This is the main entrance porch and I don't want to risk people falling if the porch gets wet or snowy.

Adding the stress lines
The last 24 feet of porch (for a total of 64 feet) is carport. You can see the dividing line between garage slab and house, well, the carport ends there too. We had it all done as concrete so that the space can be flexible for use.

One more step closer to a house. Aahhh.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Of pipes and porches

Chris is back up at the property and called with an update. We have a porch slab! This is quite exciting as it was the last thing to get done before they start the framing. I have been dreaming of this porch - 12 feet deep by 40 feet long - for years. Plenty big enough to provide cover for quiet evenings listening to the stream or shade for raucous get togethers on a Saturday afternoon. Picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, and cozy porch swings are going figure prominently.

There has also been progress on the septic piping. Lots of digging of trenches, connecting of pipes, and verifying drop is going on up there. Our new neighbor is a retired plumber and he's been kind enough to check behind us. So far we are on track and half a bubble off of plumb (which in this instance is a good thing!).

Oh! And National Grid sent us the easement forms today. So we'll get those right out in the mail tomorrow and hope for quick responses. Who knows, maybe we'll actually have power by Thanksgiving after all.

Pictures when I get them!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Okay - so has anyone else priced lighting? Holy crap! It's expensive and surprisingly hard to find styles we like. So I decided to create my own based on the mason jar lights that are popular. I wanted larger lights so I decided to use glass storage jars. I bought two large jars for the kitchen and one small one to use as a pendant over the sink. I'm cutting a bumble bee stencil onto the jar and using the cutout pieces to create a reverse stencil on the smaller jar.

I'm still in the cut out phase of the project, but I'm liking how these are coming out. I'll strategically cover more of the jar with tape and use a frosting spray paint to create a diffused light. So far so good! 

The living room light (in front) and a hall light (back)
We like to go to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and look for bargains. I found these two lights for $11 and plan to use the large light in the living room and the small one in the hall. These pictures are pre-clean up.
Love the pattern
I want to do something to make the tin pattern really pop. Maybe paint them a light shade and then wash with black to pick up the detail? Not sure yet.
The finial needs some help...

Whatever I end up doing, I want to use colors from this painting. I got this on my last trip to Italy from the artist right there on the Spanish Steps. Love the mood the colors convey and can easily see using the earth tones for walls and cabinetry and then the pinks and greens as accents.

Of course, we have to get walls first...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Honking big!

This is the honking big septic tank that was installed last week. 1,250 gallons of wonderfulness. At least while it's empty. Once it's in use, it'll be 1,250 gallons of stuff I never want to deal with again. That's actually why we went with a large tank. 1 - it's what the architect engineered; 2 - it's big enough that we  can put in a garbage disposal if we want (we plan to use the chicken and pigs as our disposals, but it's nice to have the option); 3 - I will never have to put TP in the trash can. Ever. 

The septic guy arrived nice and early and had only mild trouble getting back to the septic hole. He asked if he could set the cap on the slab - fortunately Chris said "um, no. That's my wife's finished floor." So they set it to the side while they craned the tank into place.

Yes, he's swinging that over my future floor
I'm glad I wasn't there to witness the floor in jeopardy. These guys are awesome though and no damage was done.
Goo on the lip seals the top to the base
They put a gooey sealant (so technical!) on the edge and put on the cap. Chris will work on connecting the septic lines next week.

I actually drove up after work Wednesday night to check this out. When we were looking for property we wanted to be close enough to work that we could easily commute. It took me 1 hour and 5 minutes at prime traffic time. Awesome!