Monday, July 27, 2009

So close, yet...

Although we had been planning for about 2 months to move back to our house on Wednesday, we are now delayed until Monday. Unfortunately we have to be out of our rental on Friday so we have to send our stuff to storage for the weekend and we have to go stay at some friends' house in Alexandria. It's a bummer and a pain but there's not much we can do. Although we should probably have seen this coming, it was very disappointing to get the news from our builder only 4 days before our move date. All-in-all, 4 days delay isn't all that bad but it does require a lot of extra work, and a little bit of scrambling, on our parts. Hopefully it all works out as planned.

On the bright side, the new floors looks great and the finishing is coming along. The final coat of poly goes on tomorrow morning and then a flurry of work should begin on Wednesday including the driveway and digging the trench for the new larger water line which was required by the County for houses with 3 or more bathrooms. The plumbing and electrical fixtures will be set later this week and the stairs from the driveway to the backyard will be completed as well. We're hoping that the house will be essentially finished when we move in on Mondy and that there will be very few things left to do after Monday. We hope.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I can finally say "Thank goodness it's raining!" Now that we have the sod down in the backyard, the rain is a huge help with watering. We should be good until Saturday now. We're only 5 days (and one huge yard sale) away from moving back in. The hardwood floors will be sanded tomorrow and the staining and poly will go on later tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday. They have to sit for 24 hours after that so no one will be able to go into the house until some time on Monday. Then on Tuesday it will be all systems go to get the house ready for us to move in on Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The home stretch...

Just 7 days until we move back in and it's full steam ahead at our house. Although some things seem to be taking forever (master bathroom tile and painting), generally we are pleased with the progress. The new railings are up on the back porch and they look really good. I'm so glad our architect convinced me not to do wood because it would look to heavy and would detract from the house. The railing also matches the original railings on our house perfectly.

So far, I am happy with the interior paint color choices. We opted for a no VOC paint (Duron Genesis) in an eggshell finish on the walls and semi-gloss on the woodwork. With 2 kids, I need washability!

The floors will be sanded and one coat of varnish will go on Friday and then the rest will be done over the weekend and be finished as early as possible on Sunday. On Monday, the floors will be covered with paper and everyone will be on their best behavior while they finish electrical, plumbing and painting.

The countertops go in tomorrow. I finally decided on Absolute Black granite with a honed finish. I loved the look of soapstone but the maintenance is a killer and there is a high risk of staining. The granite I found at International Marble in Arlington has something like 30 coats of sealer on it and supposedly you never have to seal it again. They gave me a great price and are also doing our bathroom vanity with a sink at a great price. Needless to say I am really excited about tomorrow's installation!! I'll post pictures when they're done.

Loads of new pictures posted on the left.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kitchen! Railings! Patio!

Well, 17 days and counting until we move back into the house and things are really moving now. I feel like the progress is really tangible on a daily basis. I haven't felt this way since framing. The most major change right now is that the kitchen cabinets are in. They are made by Kingswood Kitchens and were ordered through Bergman Custom Casework in Queenbsury, NY. They are absolutely beautiful - I am thrilled with results! We made the decision to do a lot of drawers instead of lower cabinets. There are a few lower cabinets but we tried to minimize them since I hate how things always get stuck in the back! We are ordering our countertops this week and hopefully they will be ready to install next week before the floors are finished. We are opting for honed Absolute Black granite with a permanent sealer. More on that decision later...

The stair railings have also been installed and they look really great. We opted not to have a railing on the side of the stairs coming into the kitchen because it's only 2 steps and it keeps it more open. The code allows for this because there is a continuous railing on the other side and it's less than a certain height so there is limited risk of falls. You can see it in the pictures in the Construction album.

We also opted to get the landscaping in the backyard started. We are using a local family-owned landscaping business, Hambletons, which we have used before for small projects and spring yard clean-up. The patio will probably be finished in the next day or so, and then the sod will go down. We'll have to see if we can borrow a neighbor's hose to water it until our water is back on in a week or so. Let's hope we get some decent thunderstorms - but of course after the wettest spring in years, the forecast does not have any rain in it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hardwood Floors!

After a brief delay due to high humidity, our hardwood floors started going down on Friday. They finished the upstairs in one day, including the patches in the old part of the house. They look really good. It's amazing how well the old and new parts can be patched. They will look perfect when they are stained.

Our cabinets get delivered tomorrow morning and will likely go in this week. I am still trying to make a final decision on countertops. After going to one place that I did not like and another that I did, I did some more research and may go to a third place in Fairfax to see if they have the ideal countertop - basically a dark/black counter which isn't shiny and doesn't show fingerprints. I'm down to deciding between honed Absolute Black and Cambrian Black antiqued. I have not seen the latter so I am on a quest to see it tomorrow in person. I'll have to make some calls to see whether any of the local granite showrooms have it. I want to be sure to get my granite from a reputable place because the finishes vary greatly. I have found that for the same type stone, some installers recommend maintenance (sealing) every 6 months and others tell you that the stone never has to be sealed. Obviously, I want the least amount of maintenance with the best look. I'll have to figure it out in the next week or so.

I have chosen most of the paint colors for the house with the exception of the master bedroom. I have ordered a pillow sham for the duvet cover that I like. If it looks good in person, then I'll base my final paint decision on that.

Outside, landscaping will begin later this week. We're meeting with the landscaper tomorrow morning to decide on a final layout for the patio and the planting areas. I am going to have a lot of planting to do ths fall but at least I'll be enjoying our new house while I do it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lots of Exterior Progress!

We have made a lot of progress on the exterior. Our new front portico is on and looks really good. I'll be happy to be able to stand out of the rain as I fumble with my keys and keep 2 kids under control! It took about 2 days to build but it changes the entire look of the house. This is a good lesson for those putting down wood floors - be sure your house is very dry or you may have problems later.
The siding is also completed and is being caulked today. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I have posted new pictures in the Construction Pictures album on the left.
Inside, the hardwood floors should have been put down today but it's too humid. Although I am disappointed, we don't want the floors to buckle. They are going to get the air conditioning up and running today so the house can dry out and hopefully they can go down next week. It's a setback but hopefully we'll be able to make up the time by getting things done on the outside and things not related to the floors. Either way, we're moving 4 weeks from today!
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