The Beginning of the Finishing

When we’re quiet online, we’re REALLY REALLY busy.

We installed the island ceiling and lower stairs lickety split after a lot of help from our friends Jason and Andrew, (and a stair tread jig from Lowes).

69_Island Ceiling                                                            69_LowerStairs

The painter came in and started with lacquer on all the woodwork.  Despite new regulations cutting VOC content that goop is still POTENT.  I was cutting boards 15′ from the garage door and the fumes wafting out still burned my eyes.  (The lacquer really makes the woodwork POP!)

IMG_3165     IMG_3164     IMG_3163     IMG_3162

Interior paint went up – we sort of threw spit balls at a color chart and it actually worked out REALLY WELL!

The front deck and trellis finally went up.  The trellis still needs guard rails and the polycarbonate top to keep rain off of our leisure street-watching.

69_Decking  69_Trellis  69_ExtPaint Trellis

Exterior paint also went  up.  We agonized over the exact shades of orange and gray, and it paid off.  We like it!  There are a couple details to straighten out; the orange panels should include the batten board (trim piece) going around the windows.

69_Tile And Bamboo   69_Fireplace Slate   69_Main Level-01

The flooring (hired out by us) went in.  The bamboo looks great!  (Too bad it has to be covered up, but it needs protected from subsequent work.)  The floor tile, an alternating 12 x 24 and 6 x 24 looks fantastic!  And the wall tile looks good too!  Just a couple things left to finish after more materials arrive.


Plumbing fixtures started today, and will finish next week after the countertops go in.

We can see the light at the end and can hardly contain the excitement!


This Door

This door embodies the best of the worst of our contractor.


Before we signed on with our builder we gave a very specific list of items we were interested in doing ourselves.  Included was providing and installing wood wall base and wood door casing (trim).

When it came time to do these, I asked when doors were going in so I could install the base before the doors and the trim after.  That’s when we found out that he expected us to “get the doors” too, since he typically gets doors, base, and trim as part of an interior carpentry package.

We were livid; this should have been communicated shortly after he reviewed our list from long ago.  But I gathered quotes for the doors, provided him the itemized quote of choice, and he made payment from the construction loan.  Among the doors we bought was THIS one, to fill the vacant opening between the garage and basement.

The interior doors went in and I left this one (considered an exterior door) to the side to avoid all but the last of construction traffic abuse.  Then I got an email from the builder saying, ‘hey I’ve got a door for that opening.  It was installed with the windows, but I had it taken right back out to avoid getting beat up.  Let me know when you want it.’  I said, ‘that’s awkward, I’ve got one too.  Can you buy it from us?’  He said he had no use for that door.

I called and offered the door again.  He reiterated no use for it, so why would he buy it?  I explained that he told us to get the doors, and we did – including this one since it was missing.  He denied telling us to buy the doors, stated this was an exterior door and not part of the interior package, admitted no perceived obligation to review itemized quotes outside of his normal chain of supply.  (Having the quote was an opportunity to review the doors on order.  And he was hands off, despite being in charge and earning overhead and profit for it), and then continued to interrupt every point I attempted and kept steamrolling.  You don’t win arguments with interruptions and high volume.  Two year olds practice that technique.  I told him I was too angry to continue talking and hung up.

Ten minutes later I received a text that he never even saw an itemized quote until after he made payment.  After I cooled off, I forwarded the e-mail in which I attached the quote and asked him to make payment at the same time.  Most importantly, if he never told us to get the doors, why did he never question the door order?

When I fully cooled off I finally pieced it together.  We Z’s were discussing doors in the context of the interior carpentry, which we were ‘providing and installing.”  When he told us we had to “get the doors too,” he only meant installation.  But then he never questioned why we sought quotes for the doors either.  This guy is NOT an effective communicator.

He eventually offered a credit for the door, but I had to install it because “the interior carpenter normally does that.”  He actually said this, after insisting it was not part of the interior package, and after his window crew had already installed a door there.  What a big fat liar!  (Them’s fighting words.)  I pointed out his inconsistencies, accepted the credit and installed it shortly thereafter.  This was by no means a win win solution; I carry for liability for the door, and he gets his reputation dragged in the mud.

68_Door Installed

TLDR; Hire a builder who is at least as organized and detail oriented as you are, provides leadership over the entire project, and communicates thoroughly and effectively.