Splitting hairs over color. And final selection.
We identified our basic colors a while ago, but have been debating the nuances of shade and tone. Our lap siding (base color) will be a blue/gray and the panel colors will be a orange.
While I gravitate toward a grayer blue and browner orange (hinting toward cedar tones), Melissa pulls toward the bluer gray, and lighter orange. Here is the palette we’ve landed on: (it may get tweaked when we do color tests on the actual siding)
Hey, who cut down all the trees!?
Things are sorta moving along. Our builder keeps offering that ‘once a project schedule is derailed (delayed beams), it’s a challenge to get sub contractors back on task‘ - they’ve moved on to their backlog of other projects. True enough.
Nevertheless, plumbing rough-ins and mechanical rough-ins have started. Coordination of trades is critical; it helps to have an architect on your side. I’ve pointed out to both subs several times that skylights will be right where they are installing something (god-forbid they bring the drawings). Coordination is the general contractor’s responsibility, but I’m finding out in residential construction that it equates more to rolling with or fixing errors as best as possible rather than preventing them. I think they invest less front-end time to remain competitive.
In our last post, the retaining walls were stalled by rain. We pushed hard the last three weekends to make up lost time and it has been a killer. Hello ibuprofen! Oh, hi muscles! We’ve had heaps of help from our friends and family - Brian O., Jon & Danielle, Kyle B., Andrew A., Nick S., Jay L., Matt to the W., Paul S., and a neighbor’s employee, Mike, helped just ’cause it was something to do! The same neighbor, Bob, has been lending tools too. We’re continually reminded that we can’t do this alone and we are incredibly grateful for all our conspirators!
After trying to do everything by hand on the first Saturday (killing both myself and Brian O.) I realized I should rent something big and machinely. A dingo did the trick. And never fails to elicit the same response when mentioned. One lesson has been constant: Always have the right tool for the job. It’s worth it. And you don’t endanger your friendships as much (sorry Brian!).
Winter is coming. We’ve decided to hire out the terraced walls in hopes we can get to rough grading and septic installation before a hard freeze. Otherwise, there’s no way we’ll occupy this before spring. The other walls we installed only need final touches.
We asked the mechanical sub to look into geothermal for us. The initial expense is a drastic increase (2.3X) - though we’ve already saved as much by “value engineering” through change orders. A 30% tax credit helps immensely. The guy calculated a 9.2 year payback, and we’re going for it. The biggest challenge will be wrangling the drilling truck into place for the vertical loop.
We are expecting siding and electrical rough-ins to start this week.
Framing has all but stopped, as we wait for the magical beams to arrive (Edit: they arrived to the suppliers yesterday!). The framing crew has done a few bits – just enough to keep us excited – including the bulkheads over the kitchen cabinets, the dropped ceiling over the island, the pocket door frame at the powder room, and the high window openings into the master bath.
Meanwhile, we met our builder to revisit items where scope has gotten fuzzy, including change orders and the huge hill o dirt in front of the house. The dirt is partially our issue since we’re building the retaining walls and need backfill, but the excess is his issue to haul off. So our friend Mike brought his front loader over and moved some dirt around, more convenient to backfilling, AND brought us a nice boulder! Most contractors are slammed with work right now, so we are waiting for the mini excavation work to prep the front retaining wall foundations, then we’ll have a big task to do.
We spent half this past weekend in Melissa’s dad’s workshop, ripping and planing more wood for our interior trim, and my dad was able to come lend a hand as well. There is some beautiful quarter-sawn red oak in that lot, and it turns out we have enough for all the base boards! We only have to purchase more for the door casing.
In our meeting with the builder, his outline of events made it sound like our big work will hit in two months. We are planning our schedule, and will probably ask for your help before long!
Most of the framing has gone up, and despite a lot of little things to complete (master bath window openings, skylights, bulkheads, blocking, etc.), it has slowed. The framers are waiting on delivery of the exposed beams for the living room (after I asked the builder to change suppliers for nearly $8k in savings!). The beams were just put on the train in Oregon last night…
The front wall will be completed once the beams are installed. Temporary joists are standing in. We made our first unexpected change order. (We have several planned changes, like the beams, to provide significant savings), We added windows in the kitchen between the counter and upper cabinets. It won’t provide a view, but will bring in more daylight and some modern flare. Here’s the previz-
Here’s some minor framing items: the lower ceiling over the dining room, between the stairs and fireplace. And the high opening between the master closet and the stair well, will also bring in more light and visual interest to an otherwise mundane room. See that? Design.
I rented a mini-excavator over Labor Day weekend to dig out the window wells. I hoped to do more, but the machine, though fun to drive, was seriously under-sized. Lesson learned: always get the right tool for the job.
Over-dig for geo grid reinforcing. What it looks like What it feels like
And finally, we’re working through some confusion with our builder over who’s scope the rough grading and the septic system is. These conversations are rarely fun for anyone, so we’re mapping out our diplomacy before calling a meeting.