Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All of the lights

OK, not ALL of the lights. But I've been looking for an excuse to link to this video ever since my sister introduced me to it - gotta to love a music video with an epilepsy warning, am I right?

And check it out... WE HAVE LIGHTS.

They don't all have bulbs in them, but oh my gosh, I skipped around the house like a little kid, flipping switches and doing a completely ridiculous dance/squeal combo whenever a switch actually did something.

Walk into upstairs guest bedroom...

Flip switch...


As you can see in the photo above, the plumbers were back today installing fixtures, and I think water is supposed to be hooked up tomorrow! The master bathroom now has its shower faucet and glass surround and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Now we just have to get in there and paint the trim and beadboard, and the tile installer has to finish off the shelves in the shower (where you see the red below).

The plumbers also installed the faucets for the vessel sinks I mentioned a couple days ago.

The toilets are in too, but I figured no one really wants to see pictures of toilets...


The painters were also back at the house today, and painted the entire kitchen/living room area! We settled on Benjamin Moore's Summer Lime, and it's actually pretty subtle at night with only a limited amount of lighting. It looks pale yellow, whereas in sunlight it has a bit more green in it. I can't wait to see it during the daytime, but for now this was the best I could do, photo-wise:

Things are getting SO CLOSE, you guys. Seriously, I can hardly deal with it. Throughout this whole process, I have every so often just burst into tears when I visit the house, but I think the frequency is increasing. This evening I sat down on the steps for a while to look around, and before I knew it I was crying my face off because I was so overwhelmed with how completely amazing everything is, and how I am the luckiest person in the universe to have the opportunity to build this house, and live there with my best friend and our best canine friends, and have our wonderful family and friends support us in this crazy adventure, and have a job I love so much that hanging out here for the duration of a 30-year mortgage is totally appealing. And all of you who stop by and read this goofy little blog! And and and... amazing. And now I'm totally crying again. Get it together, basketcase!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Love and spiders

It's never really occurred to me before how... organismal (for lack of a better word) my taste in decor is. The more I look at stuff I like, the more I see trends toward natural materials (well, I noticed that a long time ago), and simple, clean lines that mimic organic elements. I guess this shouldn't really be that surprising, right... I am a biologist. Still, it made me laugh to think that we now have a jellyfish hanging in the entryway, and a spider hanging in the dining room.

Granted it is an extremely elegant and nonthreatening spider.

I mentioned yesterday that the matching pendents have been installed over the kitchen island...

Here is one of them with the spider in the background so you can see them together. Love! You can also see that the sink faucet has been installed - I forgot to photograph that yesterday. Sorry for all the terrible flash photos with super-evident dust - it was the best I could do under rapidly darkening conditions this evening.

When I first pulled up to the house this evening, I thought "something looks different..." Took me a moment to realize that I haven't had this lovely unobstructed view of the porta-potty in quite a while.

Why? Because that's where the dumpster has been living for the last several months! I think no more dumpster is an excellent sign. Our house is no longer full of things that need to be ripped out and discarded. Hooray! Now we just have to deal with the pile of rubble that the dumpster had been partially obscuring...

In other news, the painters were back today working on the ceilings, so the entry stairs were draped with dropcloths when I arrived...

...and look at my beloved jellyfish! Sniff. At least it is protected from paint drips.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Love and jellyfish

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! How many of you rushed home from spending time with your family and spent several hours caulking and priming trim? No? Just us?

I was very excited to get back to the house today, because we left on our whirlwind Thanksgiving trip straight from work on Tuesday evening, so we hadn't seen the progress from Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday. And it was pretty dramatic! In fact, when we walked in I may have squeaked at a pitch audible only to dogs.

The jellyfish!!! is on the ceiling!!! Photos can't even capture how sparkly and magical it is. I'm pretty sure it's not really made out of capiz shells, it's actually rainbows and fairy dust and unicorn poop.

I love it. I love it. I want to marry it. I also owe Steven big time on this one, because apparently after I saw this and fell completely in love, West Elm stopped carrying it! Steven, being a house genius AND a jellyfish/unicorn-poop hero, called all over the country to find one and eventually tracked down a floor model. Three cheers are not even close to enough cheers for Steven. Have I mentioned I love this chandelier?

OK, there are also some other light fixtures in the house, and I tried to be nice to them too so they wouldn't feel left out. I think I did a good job ooh-ing and aah-ing over the pendant lights in the kitchen...

...but I am pretty sure the light in the guest bedroom might be getting an inferiority complex. Sorry, buddy.

The ceiling fan in our master bedroom might also be feeling a little bummed out. But let's be honest, ceiling fans aren't really all that cool looking. This one is better than most, though.

There are several wall sconces up around the stairwell and upstairs landing. To be honest, I'd totally forgotten what these were going to look like - good thing I like them. They are simple and don't call a lot of attention to themselves.

This is the cute bathroom light we picked out. This one is in the guest bathroom, but we got the same one in a four-light version for our master bathroom.

Speaking of the bathrooms, there was also some progress on the plumbing fixtures. In the downstairs bathroom, we have a pedestal sink currently in two pieces, but you can get the idea...

...and a toilet that isn't quite connected to anything, but at least is no longer in a box in the garage!

The bath faucet, handle, and shower head have also been installed downstairs:

Upstairs, the tile installer finished the grout around the beautiful glass subway tiles, and the shower handle has been installed.

The sinks have also arrived for the master vanity. They are vessel sinks that will sit up on top of the refinished dresser (just how it looks in the picture below). Apparently the plumbers will take care of actually attaching the sinks and hooking up all the plumbing, which means the only thing I have left to do on this project is shortening the drawers to accommodate the plumbing. I am waiting until they get everything installed so I can take measurements and go have some fun with a jigsaw!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top shelf

Brandon and I headed out to the house this morning to try to get some more trim painted... which soon turned into the realization that first we have to caulk the trim. Sigh. Why is there always another step (or four) before the step we've actually anticipated and at least moderately prepared for? Anyway, not to brag, but I am basically a wizard with a caulking gun. Caulk doesn't make for good photos, though (NO DIRTY JOKES, my parents read this), so let's turn to what the pros were up to.

Remember the shelving unit turned media cabinet? Brandon and I had primed it and added a back and a top and access holes for wiring, and yesterday B and the GC installed it so it could be trimmed out. It looks awesome!! Still needs paint, to be sure, but I think it's going to be so great for getting all of our A/V stuff organized and out of the way.

The electrician is putting outlets back behind there, so the rats' nest of wiring can be hidden from view... but in order to access it, we'll have to squirm through a tiny opening in the "hobbit room" (storage closet) off the dining room:

In the kitchen, the glass-fronted cabinet has been installed...

...and the beadboard on the pantry is primed and ready for paint.


Have you ever seen something so exciting??? The electricians were still working when we left, and some of the lighting fixtures were piled up in the kitchen area - including the jellyfish! I can't waaait to get back there and see what they've gotten installed.

In other news, I just got off the phone with a professional pond installer. No joke. When I described what Project Vernal Pool entailed, he said something along the lines of "oh, no problem. I've done ponds like that before, and all kinds of specialty wildlife stuff - I've even put in artificial crayfish burrows for rattlesnakes to overwinter in." Um, I think I've found my guy.

Monday, November 21, 2011


On the calendar for tomorrow: PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL FIXTURE INSTALL. Seriously, electricity. This will change everything and maybe the blog will no longer have to shut down at 4:30 PM.

Also, Google Analytics says that:
(1) Someone found this blog by searching for "ugliest house in the world." I WIN. This is so awesome.
(2) Someone else found the blog by searching for "knock knock refrigerator is running joke." This is also awesome because it means I am not alone in completely lacking the ability to retain and retell even the most rudimentary and simplistic excuse for a joke. Seriously, this is the only joke I can remember: What is brown and sticky? Bonus points if you know the answer. (NOT YOU, BRANDON.) Anyway, hearts to you, my joke-jumbling soulmate.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Counter culture

I thought about calling this post something like "Counter countdown," but (a) now I have this song stuck in my head on repeat (OK, just the intro - let's be real, no one knows the rest of that song); and (b) we're not counting down, because the counters were installed today!!! (World record run-on sentence?)

Here they are in all their (somewhat dusty) glory:

The countertops are this very cool textural "Venezian finish" granite. We had initially been leaning toward soapstone, because we wanted something in a slatey-gray tone and I don't like how super shiny granite usually is. I'm a matte finish kinda gal. We saw this material at the stone warehouse (the organized one, not Granite Adventure Jungle Kingdom), and I couldn't keep my hands off it - it just feels really neat. And when we found out it was significantly less expensive than soapstone? Sold!

That last shot was taken with a flash, which makes the stone look a lot lighter and more heterogeneous than it actually is, but maybe it will give you a sense of the bumpy awesomeness going on. If they rated countertop material on bumpy awesomeness, this stuff would totally win.

In other news, it looks like every plumbing and electrical fixture for the whole house is in an insane tower in the garage. I can't wait to see it all installed!! Especially my most beloved West Elm capiz chandelier, a.k.a. "the jellyfish." The day the jellyfish gets installed will be glorious indeed.

Maybe I should plant a flag at the top of Mt. Fixture to claim it for the Turtle House Republic??

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ADHD paparazzi

This has been a busy week at work, and I haven't been able to escape early enough to make it over to the house during daylight hours for quite a while. This is kind of a bummer, but in some ways totally fun, because when I got back there this evening SO MUCH STUFF HAD HAPPENED! I ran around with a camera snapping pics like a crazy person (the fact that I was also petting tiles and talking to window trim probably didn't help my case as a non-crazy person). First things first, we have a front porch!

This actually happened last week, but the foundation guy covered it all over with straw so I couldn't get a good photo... not that this one is particularly good either (although it's nothing a few miniature goats wouldn't take care of, Brandon...).

Inside, the carpenters have been killing it on installing trim, and the painters must be following right behind with primer. It looks like the trim is almost done, whereas last time I was at the house only a couple windows were finished. It all looks so great! Here is the entry area on the first floor:

The beadboard around the pantry has also been installed:

The living room door and windows are all trimmed out as well, including the giant windows that look out over the river.

Pardon the strange angle on that last pic; I took it from upstairs so my camera would cooperate with the weird lighting situation. These windows, and the dark beams against the white ceiling... I die. So beautiful.

The trim-tasticness continues upstairs in the landing:

The narrow door on the left side will be a linen closet, while the bifold doors close off the laundry closet. LAUNDRY. UPSTAIRS. Someday I might get over the miraculousness of this concept, but it won't be anytime soon.

The tile installer has also been back working on the master bathroom for the last few days. The glass tiles seem to be nearly impossible to photograph, but in person they are a beautiful smoky green. Using the flash (as in the bottom pic below) makes them appear ugly 70's olive, so I included the out-of-focus top pic because the color is a bit more true to life.'

In other news, I picked tile today for the pad area underneath the wood stove. I wanted natural slate, and figured we'd just use basic square tiles, but then this pattern caught my eye at the Tile Shop. Love! Brandon had texted me: "Oh suit, I didn't send you measurements. 52.5 x 36. Get trout, and sealer." I picked up two boxes of the tiles (each 3' x 3'), and sealer, but decided that grout would probably be a tad more useful than fish for this particular project. And I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to reference business attire, either.