Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Insuuulate good times (come on!)

OK, we're not quite insulated, but we will be in the next couple days! Today there was evidence of some preparation for the blown-in cellulose insulation that will be going in later this week.

It's tricky to see in these photos, but the upstairs (top) and guest room (bottom) ceilings have been covered with a fine mesh netting, which will hold the loose insulation in place. Here's what it looks up close:

And if you're quite observant, you may have noticed a little critter in that top photo. Not sure what he/she is (some kind of stick insect?), but it's definitely not in a great spot... hopefully it'll squeak out of the netting before the insulation arrives!

In other news, there was some more wiring downstairs for our AV setup. We decided that since we have the opportunity, we should wire the living room for a built-in speaker system (of course, we don't own the speakers yet, but we'll get there eventually!).

This set-up should allow us a lot of flexibility with our AV/entertainment stuff... We will probably end up getting an all-in-one receiver plus 5.1 speaker set-up, so if you're an AV nerd buddy, let us know if you have recommendations! (We need it to be able to hook up to the computer, since we stream everything through the computer/projector, but we also want to be able to hook up Brandon's turntable - so those are the major requirements.)

Also, apparently this happened yesterday, but I failed to photograph it... the porch roof is done!

Hooray! Can't wait to hang out on that porch next summer. The house is looking so good that I wanted to get a photo of us with it in the background... yup, we're big nerds.

Simon was more interested in the giant log he found to gnaw on, but we think he'll be more impressed with the house once there are kibbles in it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

While you were sleeping

I know, logically, that we are going to be paying dolla dolla bills to the bank over the next 30 years or so for this amazing project. But sometimes - like right now for example, when I've just gotten back from 10 days hanging out on the east coast - the progress seems like complete magic. Wizards and genies and fairy dust, seriously. Somebody pinch me, this thing is starting to look like a house!!

I reported already (thanks to the photo update from Steven) that the crew had started on the siding while we were gone. There's also been a lot of progress on the "house guts" - plumbing, electrical and HVAC. We had another meeting this morning with Steven and the head electrician, mainly focused on figuring out our AV needs. We don't have a TV, so actually all of our TV-like entertainment (Netflix, is streamed through a computer to a projector. This has presented some complications in figuring out the wiring, where speakers should go, and such. However, it seems like we came up with some good solutions today. One of the most exciting things about this house is how intentional everything is. Our current and previous places have always had miscellaneous inconveniences - useless spaces, lack of storage, outlets hidden behind furniture (or no outlets a'tall). None of these things are a huge deal, and you learn to live with them. What's so amazing about this project (especially to a Type-A freak like yours truly) is that everything we own is going to have a place, and the way we live has directed every decision along the way. I seriously feel like the most fortunate human in the world to have this opportunity.

But enough of the rambling - here are some pictures! This is the current state of the exterior:

Don't worry, the battens will eventually be painted red as well. Faux zebra stripes is not a look we're going for.

There were some major changes in the basement, where as I'm sure you recall, the spiral staircase of doom used to spring from the fiery bowels of the earth. It is now an ancient (but fear-inspiring) memory, and instead we have some framing for the new mechanical room (where the HVAC, hot water heater, etc. will reside).

Also of note in the basement, they busted a door through the concrete block wall to join the basement with the new entryway (in this sentence I imagine "they" to be a crew including Superman, Captain America, and Hulk Hogan). You're welcome for the additional perk of Brandon's sexy laygs in this photo.

The new entryway (and the lack of the giant hole in the middle of the floor) really makes the first floor seem huge and spacious.

Here are a couple more shots of the house guts...

Pipes and ducts and wires, oh my!

Elmo approves.

The electrical work is all supposed to be done in the next few days, because insulation is happening at the end of this week, and drywall next week! I believe the drywall is actually slated to start on Tuesday, which is our third wedding anniversary. According to Wikipedia (reliable source of all important information), the traditional gift for the third anniversary is leather. I'm disappointed, I was really hoping it would be gypsum plaster.

To end on a note of "things that never would have occurred to me as river-based recreation," Steven came over yesterday with a remote-controlled model sailboat that he built. The wind was a little shifty (can we blame Irene out here in Michigan?), but the boys still had a good time launching and sailing the little boat.

Unfortunately there was a small malfunction - either the batteries weren't quite charged, or the boat hit the Bermuda Triangle of the Huron River, you decide - and a rescue boat had to be launched.

(No ships were lost at sea in the making of this post.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time is on our siding

Another quick photo update from designer/blog support staff member Steven. As you may have gathered from the title, the crew has started putting up siding! Eventually the house will have a board-and-batten appearance, but the battens aren't up yet - so here are the boards.

Other than all that barn-red loveliness, Steven reports that they've been making good headway on the mechanicals and electrical work. The switches now resemble crazy jellyfish (is that just me?).

Also of note - the bathtub is now located in the bathroom! Of course, it's a bit lacking in privacy at the moment...

We're having a great trip but looking forward to getting back to check out the progress ourselves. In the meantime, thanks again to Steven for the update!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Absolutely slabulous

Hey look - our garage is going to have a foundation!

Aaaand... when you visit, you won't fall through that treacherous hole in the middle of the floor!

Good news all around.

The bad news - at least for the purposes of this blog - is that B and I are out of town visiting friends and family at the moment, so the updates may be few and far between for a little while. I should have set up a webcam - is that creepy? What? I just miss my house!

UPDATE - big thanks to Steven for sending the following pics of the completed foundation!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Come to my window

Actually it would be more convenient and less creeper-tastic if you'd come to the door, but that isn't functional yet. So the windows will have to do - because they're here! And they all got installed today!

For those interested in the minutia of our house (Roy), we went with the Low-E EC Argon windows from Jeld-Wen. These have a U-factor of 0.30 (and even a bit lower - 0.27 - for the fixed windows), which is the Energy Star recommendation for northern climates. These recommendations vary depending on where you live, and whether most of your energy will be used to heat your house in the winter, or cool it in the summer. Obviously in Michigan we fall solidly into the former category!

Here are a couple views from inside. The windows all still have protective films (and many stickers) on them, so the views leave a bit to be desired at this point, but here's the big master bedroom window:

And the view from the master bedroom out the upper dormer window, facing the river:

That bank of windows is one of my absolute favorite things about the house... check these beauties out!

Now just imagine that space with a big comfy couch, rather than scaffolding and ladders. This set of windows is gigantic - we were at the house earlier in the afternoon for a walk-through with the electrician, and it hadn't been installed yet. For scale, this is a full-size bathtub peaking out (looking tiny) from behind the living room windows:

You also may notice some lovely red siding in the foreground of this picture! The painters were hard at work today putting a first coat on the wood for the exterior siding (they'll put another coat on it once it's up on the house). It was quite a stack by the time they were getting close to done...

Not gonna lie, I was pretty jealous of their sweet paint-sprayer. I could have a lot of fun with that (and probably end up with barn red dogs).

In other news, today we said a final, not-so-fond farewell to the last section of the crazy spiral staircase of doom. Soon the giant scary hole will be no longer, and I won't have to gasp and wince and tremble every time someone walks near it...

...and hopefully soon we'll be able to get from the basement to the first floor without doing this!

We're told the foundation crew is coming out tomorrow to finish the foundation in the garage and the new entryway, so the carpenters will be able to finish the main entry stairway (as well as the door on the north side of the house). That'll be good, because right now that last step is a doozy...