Saturday, November 26, 2011

Update: Drywall Done, finally

I see a pattern in building a custom home... everything takes 4 times as long as it should and costs about double. First it was the county permits, lost about a week. Then it was the electrical, that took about a 3 week chunk of time. Last week we lost a week waiting for our electrical company to run the line to the house and the latest loss of time goes to drywall. Not trying to be negative, just keeping it real.

But now it's finally done! wait, scratch that, its 99% done. They still need to come back and finished the basement doorway opening that they forgot. The hung, mudded, taped and sanded all the drywall and it looks great. No lumpy areas or wavy drywall boards. A good drywall company is a must when building a house. It may be something one would be tempted to over look but in all our research we found it was a must.  If you have a poor drywall job done, your paint can look terrible or have "nail pops" where the drywall nails pop through the drywall.

See here is the photo progress on the inside of the house...

View straight on of the living room and the fireplace

This is the kitchen all covered in drywall dust. Next week we are scheduled for our kitchen cabinetry delivery and installation

Another view of the living room, this time with the large front window

This is the view from the living room looking out at the front door and the area where the stairs go to the second floor

Kyle took this photo at a fun angle, he is standing on the basement stairs looking into the living room

Looking down at the entry way from the loft

Here is the front (South) facing bedroom and the lovely tall ceilings!

Another view looking down from the loft. You can see the "plant shelf" on top of the entry way closet. I'm sure I can find something cute to sit there!

While standing in the loft we are looking at the bathroom (on the left) and the master bedroom door way (on the right)

Here's what the house looks like as of today. The columns are in process of getting there stone facade and then the tops of the columns can be built and attach to the roof

Just for fun, here is the Google Maps Aeriel view of the property. You can really see how long our drive way is from this photo

One day the grass will grow back!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Splash of Color

We finally decided on all the paint colors! So here's the list from every single room. We tried not to go overboard with color but we didn't want to play it too safe either. Basically we have lived in apartments for 4 years. That means 4 years of stark white walls. I was afraid when we started picking out colors that I wouldn't be able to stop my self from picking every color in the rainbow.

I think we kept a nice balance of neutral and fun colors, but only time will tell if they all look well in the house together. The other challenge we had was, we have no furniture. None. Since we sold all of our hand me down furniture (couch, love seat, dining set, desk) we really don't have any colors to plan around. We also didn't have many window coverings since they are provided in apartments. So I had no starting point to go on with the wall colors.

It took a lot of thought and imagination to pick these colors but we are really happy with the selection. Some colors were easy to decide on, like the kitchen. We already knew the cabinet, back splash and counter top colors. Honestly I think my favorite is the mudroom. We picked a spunky orange color called Mandarin.

Does any one else pick paint colors partially based on their name?

Kitchen Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Summit Grey #7669

 Grey with a hint of blue just like our tile back splash. The cabinets are white and should contrast nicely with the dark walls and counter tops.

Foyer, Living Room, Stairs and Loft Wall Colors: Sherwin Williams Bagel #6108

Neutral and Cozy for the living room and not too dark for the staircase and loft

Office Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Essential Grey SW6002

 A neutral wall color to compliment some bolder accent colors in the office

Dining Room Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Parakeet #7611

A fun, quirky color that will go well with colors in the kitchen. The kitchen is Grey and White with pops of lime green in the towel, dishes and accessories

Mudroom and Pantry Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Mandarin #6891

What a fun color for a mudroom? There is not a lot of wall space in the hallway and most of it is white cabinetry so I don't think it will be too overwhelming

Laundry Room Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige #7036

A pretty neutral Beige to go with the laundry cabinets (see below)

This is the color for the laundry room cabinet color. Yeah for fun cabinet colors in beige rooms!

Upstairs Bedroom #2 wall color: Sherwin Williams Nervy Hue #6971

This green is similar to our dining room color (Parakeet) but is a little more on the yellow side and slightly lighter

Upstairs Bedroom #1 wall color: Sherwin Williams Essential Grey #6002

This is the same wall color as the downstairs bedroom we call the office. I like grey as a neutral wall color. I am planning some fun curtains and bedding in yellow (see below)

Upstairs Bedroom #1 Accent Color: Sherwin Williams Decisive Yellow #6902

I have always wanted a room with Grey and Yellow! Such a modern and fun color combo

Upstairs Bathroom Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Dutch Tile Blue #0031

This medium tone blue will look great with all the white fixtures and the white shower curtain. The sink vanity in this bathroom has a cherry finish and a counter top with hints of blue

Master Bedroom and Closet Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt #6204

I am in love with this color, it blends my favorites: grey and blue

Master Bedroom Accent Color: Sherwin Williams Coconut Husk #6111

We will have dark wood for the furniture and the ridge beam in the center of the ceiling

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Building with Boulders

The way our property is sloped created a unique challenge for the back of the house. Our land gradually slopes down towards the road which is great for drainage but we have to make sure the water doesn't try to run in the back of the house. We ended up having the house up higher than originally planned to keep the water running away. When it comes to houses and water, they just don't mix well.

We have all this dirt that slopes up to the house but at the back of the house it drops off on the sides. To keep the dirt in its place we devised a boulder retaining wall that would be functional and look nice too.

Here is what the back of the house looked like with the final grade done. The dirt comes right up under the basement windows and then up to the sides of the house. We needed something to hold the earth back on the sloped sides.

A little hunting on Craigslist revealed a great deal on boulders only 20 minutes away in Lansing. Turns out these rocks were not only a good deal, but they also had some great history behind them. Our boulders were once part of the big horn sheep exhibit at the Lansing Potter's Park Zoo. These rocks were installed for the zoo around 1920 and were demoed in 2011.

We bought about 20 boulders that are blue and red granite. The truck load weighed about 9,000 pounds! Another interesting thing about these rocks: one of them set off a radiation alarm when it went through the truck weigh station. The thought is that one of them is part of a meteor. Pretty cool, our rocks have been through space and survived big horn sheep.

The next step was to get the rocks from the front of the house where they were dropped off about a month ago, to the back of the house for the retaining wall. Kyle's dad drove the van while Kyle and Kevin rolled the boulders on a metal grate. Then they dragged the rocks to the back of the house.

Once they were near the back, the boys rolled them off the grate.

Very glad that Kyle's dad and brother helped out, there was no way one person could move any of those rocks by themselves.

The boys rolled the rocks and Jamie and I supervised the rock moving, or rather we just took photos.

Then the area where the rocks would sit needed to be dug out a little. Thanks to our dense clay soil, digging was a bit of a challenge

The first rock took the most time to set into place. It had a nice squared edge on one side the would fit up nicely to the corner of the house.

It took a lot of trial and error to get the first one in the right spot. Thankfully no injuries occurred during the project.

We borrowed the help of a neighbor with a John Deere garden tractor to help lift up and move the boulders

After the tractor lifted the rocks the boys would roll them off in place and wiggle them to where they needed to go.

I helped towards the end of the boulder wall project by shoveling dirt in the areas between rocks.

The wall is not all the way done but it is looking pretty good. We now have 11 rocks in place. We have plans to plant some creeping vine type plants around the boulders to help root them to the earth better. The project took about 2 hours, 3 men, and 1 guy in a tractor to get those 11 rocks in place

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picking Out Paint Colors

Choosing paint colors for entire house...takes a lot of time! I have had ideas for colors for some of the rooms for a while but actually deciding on them is a whole other animal. My first stop was Sherwin Williams to look at colors swatches and gather ideas. I wanted to go to Sherwin Williams for two reasons; I knew their staff would be knowledgeable and because they carry a line of colors selected by HGTV.

I love watching HGTV for inspiration on design and color, so it seemed natural to check out their inspiration booklets for paint. Instead of browsing the books, I took one of each kind. I walked out of that store with an entire bag of paint chips!

The two books that were my favorite were the Urban Organic and the Coastal Cool. Both books offered neutrals paired with fun, bright colors. I loved almost every color in the Urban Organic book, especially Parakeet and Hazel

Sherwin Williams has 8 different pairings of colors by HGTV. These books are a great place to start with paint colors and are an easy way to take many paint chips home

Next step was trying a few colors on for size. I bought a 5 pack of canvas from Michael's Craft store (with a 50% off coupon!) and 4 small tester paint samples (Sherwin Williams had a 40% sale this weekend so each tester was only about 4 bucks)

I picked a warm, sunny spot in the dining room and got to work. Its getting pretty chilly here in Michigan so having a sunny spot really helped the paint dry quickly

I thought this yellow would be great for one of the upstairs bedrooms but after seeing it in a larger scale, I changed my mind. This yellow was reading to much like mustard to me- which was not the mood I wanted to set

Here is the Latte color in the living room. It just felt a little too dark for us. We plan to have this color in the living room, foyer and all the way up the stairs, so it needs to be lighter for that dark stair area. We decided to go one shade lighter for a paint called Bagel. Latte sounded better but Bagel looked better

The top two colors, Summit Grey (Kitchen) and Sea Salt (Master Bedroom) are winners but the bottom two are out. Bee yellow (Upstairs bedroom) was not what I wanted and Latte (Living room) was a shade too dark for us.

This is what our bed looked like this weekend while picking out paint colors. Kind of a hot mess but I think trial and error is really the only way

It took Kyle, me, the computer for inspiration and the entire paint collection from Sherwin Williams to narrow down the options. We have most rooms decided (for now) and we plan to share our selections later this week.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Exterior Updates

WARNING: what you are about to see involves an overload of fire brick red siding and lengthy explanations of our house project. Continue at your own risk (and we hope you do!)

In order to avoid having a perpetually wet basement, we needed to have the house dug down only about 5 feet deep. Now we have an issue with needing more dirt around the perimeter of the house  so it doesn't look like it is sticking out awkwardly from the earth

The excavator took a big pile of dirt left over from the basement dig and pushed it around the perimeter of the house. Kyle and I (with help from his brother Kevin!) have to push the dirt underneath all the porches

The back of the house is no longer Lake Schafer! Now the water will run away from the house (this is a very good thing)

The dirt is pushed up underneath the windows and gradually slopes away from the house and off to the side of the property

Yes, that is a pile of drywall over there. The drywall is still plugging along. They are on their second coat of mudding and taping but we had a little set back today when a few holes had to be cut in the drywall to get at a broken plumbing connection. I was not too happy to see water all over the floor and a huge hole in the ceiling of the dining room today

The back of the house just a few days ago before it was completed

The sun was starting to set and was really lighting up the red colors of the house

A view straight up from the back of the house. The top windows are for our master bedroom

Still some smoothing out of the dirt around the perimeter of the house but it looks great! These are the sliding windows of the basement

This is the west side of the house with the living room windows on the main level and a bedroom window upstairs

With the sunset striking the house it almost looks like our house is on fire if you look at the windows. You can see the tree line, back lit with the stunning yellow sunset and the shadows of the tree on the house

This is the back Northwest corner of the house with the office/guest room on the main level and our master bathroom window upstairs

The back of the house siding is complete. We have Fire brick red on the basement and first floor and our tan shakes on the second floor. You can see the dormers on both sides of the house also have the cedar shingles

Here is the back Northeast corner of the house. Since we had the tall weeds mowed down for the septic drain field, I can walk in the "back yard" to take this photo from farther back

Still more digging to be done and we are far from moving into our dream home but everyday we get closer.