Archive for June, 2012

June 25th

The long punch list of things that need to get accomplished before the walls and ceilings are all insulated is nearing completion…  Lots of things are in the final wrap up phases now.


The back of the house got painted this week and all the higher elevations on the house received final or nearly final paint.  The painters packed up and won’t be back to work on the exterior until all site work is complete and they come back for final coat and touch-up.  The plumbing is ready for final inspection now, and so is HVAC.  The last of the bathroom vents and duct work were installed.  Framing inspection will be this week and the framers will be back on site working on their final punch list including installing all blocking for future trim details, will move a wall in the butler panty to recess the refrigerator (non loading bearing wall, really just moving three studs back 18″), and installing most of the decorative exterior brackets.


The brick masons were on site for the first time and built out the piers on the base of the big timbers on the back deck.  This is mostly for visual effect and not really needed structurally.  Pictures below.  And they built the foundation for the steps leading into the house (mud room) from the breezeway.  This will eventually be faced in the river rock and the steps will be blue stone.  The brick masons will next build the set of stairs from the breezeway to the back yard to cover the 10′ of fall between front and back yards.


The roofers were back on site and completed nearly all of the remaining shingle work… so we’re nearly completely dried in finally.


The stone masons were on site and got the entire chimney faced in river rock!  We love it!  Pictures below.  So now that that is done we can get that last section of roof shingled this next week.  And the roofers will be back on site to install the standing seam metal roof on the breezeway and the bump out roofs.  So ALL roofing should be done by end of day Wednesday this week.


And we’re hoping that the 20 – 25 dump truck loads of dirt is trucked in this week.  The excavator has a bunch of heavy equipment staged at the house now ready for that work.  He will compact each truckload of dirt so that we’re ready to move on to concrete forms in the backyard for the patios and other site work.  The bowl that is the back left of the backyard will surely look very different when it’s level with the pool on the right side.  That much fill was not in our budget but there is no way around this one…


The last of the punch list for the electricians will be done this week and the central vac, which was about half way completed last week, will be finished this week.


Insulation will be ready to start next week assuming the last of the inspections this week pass without issue and that the last of the roof is installed on schedule this week.  Insulation could begin as soon as Monday.  Before that happens Byron will take detailed pictures of every wall, floor and ceiling so we have a record of what is behind every wall.  We spent another two hours at the house this weekend with Byron doing one last walk through for changes and our punch list before the walls are sealed up very soon.


Hard to believe that we’re in the last week of June and this represents six months of construction now complete with four months to go.  Insulation is next week and depending on the holiday factor and other critical path items like inspections, may be complete next week.  We’ll be on to drywall now in a week or two.  And then we’re on to the hundreds of finish details we have been working on and are still discussing…  lots of big decisions to come!  But we’re having a ton of fun on our new hobby and know how lucky we are to be building our dream home.  And we have loved sharing that story here with you all!


We hope this finds you all well and enjoying the summer.  We miss you all.

Doug and Noel


Haven’t posted a picture of the whole house or the site in a while… looks nice with shingles and paint!

Finished chimney! Faced in river rock, the chimney is nearly complete… this was something we really wanted to invest in, we had both always wanted a stone chimney with river rock to look like an old cottage… we absolutely love how it came out, looks awesome! Now we can get this last remaining section shingled and dried in the from the weather.

Chimney, piers on the deck timbers… back of the house painted now….

Brick masons built the foundation for the steps into the mud room under the breezeway. These will be covered in the river rock on the sides and then we’re using blue stone for the step treads. The foundation wall to the left and right of these steps will also be faced in river rock. Eventually we’ll have a concrete sidewalk connecting everything… still debating if that will be colored concrete, will be a budget decision when it’s time.

Shed dormer is now complete with shingles, brackets, siding and paint… Noel designed this detail with the oversized roof, rafter tails, and side mounted support brackets, it came out great, exactly as designed! Nice to see the roof shingled now too!

Brick piers at the base of the back deck columns (see additional explanation below…) also note that the back of the house got painted this past week. And yes, we still have a lot of mud… everywhere.

The brick masons got to work this week and built out the large piers at the base of the big timbers on the back deck. This is another Craftsman detail that Noel designed, the taper on the base is a traditional design, these piers are over built for effect and are not needed for structural reasons… these will then be covered in the river rock stone that goes on the foundation and chimney.

The “before” picture, the low area to the left of the pool will have that small group of trees (and two large trees) taken out and the entire area will be filled in and brought up to grade so as to be one step down from the lower level of the house. While we’re disappointed we have to lose two or three more trees, we’ll plant several new ones in the final landscape plan.

Big Tonka Trucks ready to go… The excavator has four big peices of equipment positioned at the house ready to work on 20 – 25 dumptruck loads of fill that will be brought in (hopefully this week) to fill in the backyard. The huge excavator will take down the couple of large trees that sadly need to come down, and there is a huge compacting machine to compact each load of fill as it’s placed to speed up the settlement process so we can move on to concrete in the next few weeks (pool patio and sidewalks).


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Finally… a roof

June 17th

At last.  We have a roof!  Or, at least, the beginning of a roof has started.  The roofers got started on Friday and by the end of the day about half the roof was on the house.  Pictures below…  it was so great to finally see a roof getting started on the house.  And we have had three or four days of beautifully warm weather now to dry out the sections inside that got wet with last week’s thunderstorms and the site overall.  Byron has big fans running in the house to air it out once and for all with the roof now going on.  The weather forecast is for a dry week ahead so we’re all hoping the entire roof is done before we get any more rain.  It looks great to finally have a roof up there.  They started with the shingles and will then move on to the bump-out roofs and breezeway roof which will get a metal, standing seam roof in bronze to match the drip edge separating siding from stone, and the metal window frames.


Speaking of stone…  the stone masons also got started this week!  Another big design detail that we had been eagerly anticipating.  The stone work looks awesome, we love it.  All those times we were debating stone colors paid off as we love it.  The vision was always to have the foundation look like an old stone house had been there and we love the river rock look.  Pictures below.  The masons got started with all their prep work on the foundation which looks labor intensive…  pictures of that below as well.


The painters remained on site and put final coats of paint on the house and trim where the roofers needed to work and got started with the trim painting and the rafter tails.  They still have the back of the house to get to, they have been focused on getting their work done where the roofers would need to go in and follow them.  So they reamin on site this next week.  Should be a good week for painting this upcoming week as well.


The electricians were back on site and finishing up their punch list of changes and additions.  And they have nearly all of the low voltage now run (voice, data, cable, etc.).  But they installed the speaker wiring all wrong despite my explanations and drawings.  But it appears easily fixed but will double their labor now as they have to run an additional speaker wire where they only ran a single.  And they installed all the bath fans so that allowed the HVAC guys to run their vents and get those punched through the exterior walls.  And they ran the dryer vent and will this week run the cooktop venting.  All are now required to solid wall vent, no more flexible duct work like you always used to see so that is more work.


With the systems rough-ins now wrapping up, I snapped a picture of what the ceiling joist bays look like, they are getting jam-packed with cables both power and several kinds and colors of low voltage, HVAC ducts, vent ducts, water lines, waste lines, plumbing vent stacks, gas lines…  it’s like a super highway of systems in the walls and ceilings now.  Kind of cool to see and shows how much progress has been made these past two months.


In the week ahead the roof will finish, more exterior painting will get done and hopefully the punch lists for HVAC, electric and framing will all be done so inspections can be scheduled.  All the brackets on the outside have to be installed and some fire blocking done before the framing inspection can be called for.  And we think the other stone mason sub will be on site building the cinder block stairs to the backyard and into the house from the breezeway so those can be faced with the river rock.  A long list of small items has to be completed before the inspections can be ordered and those all have to be done before insulation can start.  We don’t know the official schedule there but expect we’re two weeks away yet for insulation.  Getting close to drywall!


Lots of pictures to see this week below.  Have a great week all.



Doug and Noel




We have a roof! Roofing is now well underway and should finish up this upcoming week now. They started with roof shingles and we think the metal (standing seam metal roof) sections will start this week after the shingle sections.

Roof shingles!

Chimney has been prepped for it’s stone work, maybe this upcoming week. And you can see a fair amount of the roof work completed on the back roof. Final color green and trim color on this back-facing gable.

Stone work! The stone work got underway this week and is one of the design details we have been most anticipating. We love it! The style is a river rock and the color is mostly grey with some different colors mixed in, looks even better in person. This is the front left of the house under the bump-out that houses the master bath.

Before they started installing stone, the masons went all around the foundation where the stone will go and got the foundation ready. The stone extends from the poured concrete foundation up a little onto the sheathing on the house / garage. The steathing in these locations is pressure treated and not standard plywood. And then that pressure treated is covered in a waterproof membrane and then that gets covered in wire mess, then the base coat of a thin concrete kind of material and then stone work. The metal drip edge you see here seperates the siding from the stone and that was installed back when the siding first started and matches the dark bronze of the windows frames.

Stone work on the left side foundation, we love it! More work to do here to finish it but great progress last week…

Final color green… and final trim color, off white. Obviously final coats will clean up the over spray once all the other exterior work is complete (roof, site, etc.) but this is the final color and shows how the infamous rafter tails look painted. The brackets (which are stained brown and not painted) are not installed yet… those will go on soon as they are attached from the inside and thus have to go on before insulation goes in which is getting close.

Sunlight. We hadn’t been at the site during sunset in quite a while and when we were there Friday evening we loved how much evening light is streaming into the back of the house, just beautiful. This is the greatroom looking towards the back of the house, sun porch is in the corner and breakfast nook off to the right here. The windows are even partially covered in plastic from the painters so the light should be amazing when all is said and done.

Mud. But improved mud… This week the site excavator brought his bulldozer back on site and regraded the site. He graded out all the deep ruts left by the heavy lift machine that the framers have been using so the site is level again. This is also going to allow the site to dry out more evenly this week and get ready for the final truck loads of fill to be placed soon as exterior work is nearing final stages.

More stone and metal screening are ready to go on site for the work this week… and the weather should be great for them to continue and make good progress…

It’s amazing to see how busy the bays in between the floor joists are getting with all the systems now finishing up. We have HVAC ducts, exhuast ducts, hot and cold water lines (PEX piping), waste water lines, gas lines, electric lines, high volt power lines, phone, data, cable, alarm… kind of amazing to look around and see all the systems. Before walls are insulated and closed up, Byon will take detailed pictures for us to have of every single wall and ceiling so we know where stuff is in the future.

It’s just a floor vent… but it’s not any floor vent. There wasn’t an HVAC vent here which will be under the kitchen cabinet housing the sink. Noel asked Mr. Dixon if he would install a vent there so it would blow warm air on her feet in the winter while standing at the kitchen sink. So he did. We had one such a location in Massachusetts and Noel loved it… she manged to get one installed here in the new house… now that’s a custom house!

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Forward progress

June 10. 2012

After a few slower weeks we’re seeing some forward progress pick up again.  This past week saw the last of the rafter tails get installed (can I say finally?) over the breakfast nook roof along with the soffit there, so that represented the last of the roof structures to be in place (more on the roof in a minute).  The shed dormers had their brackets installed on either side of their over-sized roof (per the design that Noel sketched for Byron and the framers so many months, the two shed dormers are fantastic and exactly what Noel had drawn).  Those brackets had not yet been stained for some reason but are in place helping to support these roofs.


The electricians and HVAC subs were back on site and the electricians are nearly finished with their rough, they got most of the low voltage done per my plans but the speaker wire still needs to be run along with about a half-dozen more voice and data lines but they made a lot of progress last week.  The electricians should wrap up their work this week.  HVAC made progress but also had to remove the big air handler / furnaces from the attics (house and office over the garage).  We learned that the units installed did not have the ratings required for Energy Star and had to be changed out.  Since the whole house will be Energy Star rated all the appliances and systems, especially HVAC must be as well.  Luckily Mr. Dixon (family friend and HVAC sub) has another job that can use the units originally installed so we’re not paying for those, only the new units.


When the framers were on site last week they also installed those giant 8″ x 8″ timbers under the back deck.  They look awesome!   While those timbers are structural, meaning they really do hold up the deck, they are bigger and there are more of them than required but they are there for look, keeping in line with our theme in the front with the future timbers and our Mohonk-inspired Craftsman style home.  Pictures below, check it out!  With the framers done with all but their finish work (e.g. installing the 30 or remaining brackets) all the scaffolds were taken apart and the entire site picked up, so it was nice to see the house without so much “stuff” all around it and nailed to the side to the side of the house.


One of the big milestones was the beginning of the exterior paint this week.  The painters were on site and caulked the exterior trim and began to paint the house.  The fiber cement siding comes already primed so the first coat that goes on is a lighter shade of the final color.  Nice to see some color on what had been a grey exterior!  We love the color and the paint on the shake style boards really make that style pop as the dark lines between the shingles really make the outline stand out.  Pictures below of course!  We happened to be there on time on Saturday to see the first of the color being sprayed on the house.


We spent three hours with Byron on Saturday doing  a walk through and double checking electric, low voltage, HVAC, etc.  We’re in the home stretch of the walls being open so we’re really double and triple checking things now.  And we did our blocking walk through.  That is where we go to every room like the bathrooms where you’ll have something screwed into a wall and the framers will install extra blocking between studs so that when you go to install say a towel  bar, there is a stud in exactly the right spot behind the drywall.  How cool is that?  Byron thinks of everything.  In doing that he brought up some really good points about where doors will swing open or things will be in the finished house and is some of the moving electrical outlets and switches a couple of inches one way or the other to make sure things are in alignment and easy to reach whether a door is open or closed.  That is where his many years of building custom homes is paying for itself.


So the week ahead is bringing some good progress…  this week the electricians should finish up as will HVAC.  They have to cut in all their duct work for bathroom vents, dyer vents, and cooktop exhaust vents.  The grading contractor will be back on site to re-rough grade the lot and clean up the site getting rid of all the deep ruts from the lift machine.  So the site should look further “dressed” by next weekend.  The painters will remain on site and the entire house painted in the first coat and every part of the house that requires them to be on the roof to paint will be final coat painted so that they don’t need to be on the roof.  The masons will be on site building the block stairs into the house and the stairs from the breezeway to the backyard.  And the stone masons will be on site installing the stone (river rock) on the foundation, chimney, stairs, etc.  That will be very exciting for us to see after many months of imagining that detail.


The roof… it has been a long time coming.  With the painting, site work, and stone work all being done this upcoming week, we have a date for the roof  – finally and at last.  The roof starts a week from Monday so this is our last week (hopefully and weather dependent) without a roof.  So this week is paint and stone work (plus site work and rough ins complete).  Next week is the roof.  Week after is the insulation.  And week after that is drywall.  We’re getting there!


Thanks for following our blog, we love sharing the story with friends and family!  Have a great week.


Our best to all,

Doug and Noel


Painting is underway! We got to witness the first of the color being sprayed on during a beautiful, warm, Summer Saturday morning. By the end of the day most of the house had the first coat on.

We have color! Exterior painting got started this week…

Last of the rafter tails are now on the breakfast nook and bump out and the last soffit here has also been built so we’re ready for a real roof now. And you can see the base has been installed for the eventual cupola has also been installed on this roof! Looks like a little chimney but will be the site for the cupola and weathervane.

Shed dormer on the house, the brackets are papered over to protect them from the painting that started this week. You can see the color here, this is the base coat which is about 80% of the saturation of the final color, meaning the final color will be a darker green. We love seeing color on the house after grey primer being the only color on the site for a month or so now.

The brackets were installed on both sides of the two shed dormers that support the over-sized roof over-hangs, another Craftsman detail that Noel customized our house with. And above the shed dormer you can now see the base of the future cupola has been installed. Byron will build those in the shop and then they fit down on top of this base and are secured to it.

The gas fireplaces were installed this week, nice to see them off the floor of the great room and in their proper place. This is the one in the great room, the built-ins will go on either side, the other one is behind and above it about a foot on the sun porch where it will get a hearth built out and faced in the river rock. The venting pipe will be installed after the stone work is done on the chimney.

The big 8″ X 8″ columns were installed under the back deck this past week. The size and number are more than required, it as much for the look as they are structural but the deck is very secure! Those columns are now bolted to the deck and into concrete footings poured when the foundation footings were poured back in January. This upcoming week the base of the columns will be boxed out in cinder blocks to be faced with the river rock stone soon.

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S-l-o-w motion

The big gable in the back was finally sided and the soffit built, you can see Noel in the sun porch on the right. Still waiting on the last of the rafter tails and soffit on the breakfast nook on the left in this picture.

June 3, 2012

Slow progress this past week with the holiday on Monday and then two days of heavy rains this past week including what was left of Beryl so it looks like we only had two decent days of work last week at the site.


The framing crew was back on site and looks to have completed two of their last three days of work on site.  Both shed dormers (front left of the house, office space over garage facing garage door side) were finally completed with rafter tails, cedar trim boards on the sides, siding and roof sheathing.  They look great.  Noel designed them to have exaggerated overhangs so that we can put a small bracket on either side of them as if supporting these shed roofs.  The big gable in the back of the house was sided and closed in, and its soffit built out.  But they did not have time with the weather to finish the rafter tails and soffit on the back bump-out that houses the breakfast nook upstairs and a guest bedroom downstairs.


HVAC crew was on site installing all of the air handlers and more duct work, the returns and getting ready for the duct work for the dryer.  electricians were also on site and did more of their work but have more to do including the second half of their low voltage work.  And the alarm company never showed up to finish their work.  The painters were on site finishing the three-part process they apply to the cedar brackets so those can all be installed.  But no exterior painting was done, likely because of the weather.


Hoping for more progress this week with a good weather forecast and no holiday in the week, we’re eager to see more progress and finally get roof shingles on, especially with summer thunderstorms.  Five months down, five more to go.


Happy 6th wedding anniversary to my wonderful wife, without whom none of this would be possible and who makes this process of building our dream home all the more sweet.   I love you!


Have a great week everyone!



Doug and Noel


The shed dormer on the front of the house was completed last week with the roof sheathing, siding, rafter tails, and cedar trim.


Shed dormer in the office above the garage is just about done… with siding, rafter tails, roof sheathing and cedar trim boards along both sides (a small bracket will be place under each side at a right angle to the side of the dormer and under the eve)


Some more rough electrical also continued last week, this is the sub panel for the garage and office above.

Despite the rain, the painters did manage to get on site to apply the stain to the brackets that have yet to be installed on the exterior… Byron decided it would be easier to stain them in the garage rather than in place and so they have been sitting there staged and waiting for the painters… we love the dark stain, that will be the color of the big timbers in the front when they go up.

While we’re months from move-in, we know the time will pass quickly, especially this summer so we did some furniture shopping last week, here is Noel (with those construction boots with flowers on them…) her husband was not helping by taking pictures instead of writing down measurements as the design chief called them out…

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