Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Monday, July 31, 2006

The squeaky wheel ... well you know ... gets oiled! I did a lot of squeaking today. Friday my general contractor informed me that the county needed a few changes on the plans in order for them to issue the (coveted) building permit. What we have here people is a lack of communication. Said contractor took the county's request and plans back to the engineer's office. Someone there told him that they probably didn't need the plans ... so he just left the fix-it request. Friday the engineer (helper?) called me at home and my lovely daughter asked, "Is this a prank call?" and hung up. When I got home she asked, "Do you know a guy named ___?" ... "Yes, I'm expecting an important call from ___." "Oh, (silence) ... I thought he was a prank caller." Needless to say, I wasn't too happy with her ... and after leaving a message for _____ on his answering maching and not getting a return call, I took off to his office this morning with a determination to get to the bottom of this ordeal. I even called the contractor on my cell phone for ___ to talk with. After agreeing that the work would be finished today (which in the past has not been taken seriously), I said I'd return later in the day to pick up my completed plans. Fast forward to 4:30 PM ... arriving at the office, I got a little bit of a brush off (to be expected?) But being determined to get what I was there to get (and already paid plenty for) ... stayed til closing. Did I get what I was after? YES! (At least I hope it's what the county wanted).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Today I went to the flooring showroom. I've got the carpet and wood flooring selected, but wanted a few more choices for vinyl bathroom floors. We've had tile and/or marble floors for the past 19 years, and now that we're living in a colder winter climate, we opted for a nice vinyl ... it will stay warmer on the tootsies and the selection these days is quite nice ... not your grandma's vinyl flooring. There was a glitch in the county building permit that needed a change with the engineering firm ... drats! Hope they get to it this coming week as just about everything is falling into place. Even the interest rates have dropped a bit. Everything is in the Good Lord's hands.
Photo: Sample of vinyl, wood and carpet selected. The wood is oak with some knots and a slight to medium grain color variation. It should look well even if it get's a bit distressed from Nathan. I'm a neutral kind of person and try to throw in color with accent pieces. Learned a long time ago that you may not like peach or blue tile and/or grout 5 years later! The carpet has flecks of jewel tones, but overall is beige. Click on photo to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Try, try, try to not have to re-do or return something when building a new home. The hassles are great and sometimes cost additional $. I got blessed today and was able to exchange an undelivered kitchen range, but it was a big hassle. We orignially were going to go all electric with the building of our new home. Then about a week ago, decided to go ahead and install the gas lines just in case we opted to change out some appliances later on ... or for a good resale selling point (believe me, we're not thinking of selling our home). Our original kitchen range was from LG and had a glass cooktop/covnvection oven. Nothing wrong with this choice, but my cast iron skillets are a big no-no against the glass. I was starting to feel sad about my original choice and opted to return the range in exchange for a duel fuel Jenn-Air double oven. Of course, it's in white! I'm getting excited to start cooking on it :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Some facts about siding: In our area of the country, the predominant siding is a lapboard type or rustic wood. There's not much in the way of brick, stone or stucco, except for some skirting or trim. Older rock homes can be found out on the prairie that used field or river stones for all four walls. In the lapboard category, we have vinyl, cement fiberboard, wood, and steel that I know about. There are advantages and disadvantages to all. Vinyl has a limited life and can be damaged by cold weather as it becomes brittle, and it's the least expensive. Cement fiberboard has to be prepped and then painted; it's less expensive than real wood, but somewhat expensive. It can sometimes be a problem where caulking is used, but you can paint it any color and it's pretty much fire and termite resistant. Galvanized steel is a newer product to our area for siding and comes prefinished and is seamless, and even looks like wooden lapboard siding ... but you have to stick with the color you choose and costs about the same as the cement. When you compound researching just one area, then multiply that by all the major elements of the home, you can see where the confusion comes in. Today, dh and I went driving around our new neighborhood and a few others and the only thing we noticed was everyone's siding. That one's vinyl, that is wood, oh, there's steel, etc. Everytime I drive anywhere now, I notice SIDING. Next it will be everyone's windows. At least I think we have finally made up our minds and will be going with the steel. Here are a few photos of homes around our property that have steel. You'd never know it except for the nice crisp lines and seamless application. It's a better choice for us and will mean less maintenance in the retirement years.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Decisions, decisions! Now we need to do the number's crunch and try to keep to a budget for the "trimmings" ... I will really need help here to keep reigned in, especially once dh has gone back to work. Of course, he gave the builder his work cell number and threatened to cut up my credit card should I become uncooperative :). He really has nothing to be worried about. I just have expensive taste, but I like to shop at discount stores and put things together for a fraction of the cost. But other times, when I'm a bit stressed and short on time, I go a little hog wild :) If anybody posts a comment from now on out, please, PLEASE, PLEASE remind me to work within the budget, OK! So here's the thought on siding color. Plain old beige. Boring, boring, boring ... but beige can be decked out to make a statement too! My first choice in siding is Hardy-Plank cement fiberboard ... but it's too expensive ... and on top, you have to have it painted which cost another 5-6 thousand dollars. Wood is expensive too and is subject to termite. And then there's vinyl. Yuck, I said! until I started seeing it mixed with real wood cedar shingle accents and wooden eves. You never have to paint it, and they're estremely fade resistent now-a-days. So, I figured we'd go with one of the higher end vinyl's as this is what's on about 75% of the homes in my new neighborhood. And you know what? They look very woodsy and craftsman and beautiful all rolled into one. (The only exterior finish I've ever had is stucco.) Next comes the choice in color for the cedar shingles and their size and shape! This is not easy! Carpet and wood flooring were on the menu this morning, and I think the builder rolled his eyes when the store called to rat on me that I have expensive taste. So back to the drawing board for a few items at that store. We did great on the cabinet budget :) ... A little overboard with the lights ... but I can fix that with swapping out just one fixture. I'll get the hang of this thing sooner or later.


P.S. Now we're debating the cost of the Hardi plank cement fiberboard siding again. It just never ends. To be continued after I meet with the builder. Another last minute change is the addition of a gas hookup... and changing the waterheater and stove from electric to gas. This means another research "party" on cooking ranges. To be continued, again. BTW, we went to the floor store this morning and found some flooring within our price range (a good thing).
I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Productive Week! After sitting on our plans for months, the doors are finally opening to begin building our home. The property has a temporary address, not just a lot number, and the building permit just needed a few more signatures to complete the process. The excavators are anxious to start "grubbing" out the land and rearranging the building site with their backhoes and graders. We sent in our sewer and water hookup fees and applications too. Lots of paperwork and little incidental things a first time home builder couldn't even imagine was needed. The builder came over with a budget in hand and went over the numbers with us. He's been a wonderful blessing and we can see God's hand in the decision to get the right builder for the job. His heart is really into making our home nice, and since this will be a step up in building for him, he's giving us 110% of his effort and knowledge in the process. This will probably lead him to more custom home customers in the end, so it's a win-win situation for all of us. Today we meet with the banker to finalize our financing; we'll have just a small mortgage to carry so it shouldn't be too bad. Bids have been pouring in for the cabinets, plumbing, countertops and lighting. I'd like to go checkout flooring and make a few adjustments to the lighting order. This is a lot easier to do with dh home this week and will give me more peace of mind when he returns to work next week.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Today dh and I met with the builder and an excavation crew at the lot this morning. They may start clearing the land in the next day or two to clean up some of the overgrowth and get a little access area ready for construction. We've decided to bring the house out an additional thirty feet towards the front of property to give us a bigger backyard. We'll still have about a 400 ft. setback from the street to the front porch. My parent's pushed their home so far back that they were front yard rich but back yard poor. The building permit was turned in to the county on Friday (last week) and should be done in about a week. There is so much paperwork involved. Now we have to fill out forms to connect to the water and sewer systems. Later in the morning we drove out to select granite for the counter tops. Here's a sample photo. It should go nice with the cabinets we've selected, the hickory floors and the oiled bronze accents. There's even a smidge of white in it that will complement the white appliances, and should be enough left over to do a few of the bathroom countertops. Apparantly when you buy granite, you buy the whole slab and might as well use the excess if there is any left. Below is the last of the square footage showing the 480 sq. ft. bonus room above the garage with a full bath. It should have a very nice view of the lake and the mountains. If you come for a visit, this is where we'll put you up :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

The image of the basement was easy to copy since we're not building a full basement, and the remainder of the house footprint (except for garage) is to be crawlspace. This area of the house is 670 sq. feet and will be completed and used as a family room and place for our dog to sleep during the winter. I'm looking into polished concrete floors . They're easy to keep clean and can be mopped. Our dog is a golden retriever and sheds a pile of "cotton candy" hair that would plug up the best vacuum. I'm sure we'll put in some large area rugs too and wear our slippers. This floor treatment can be beautiful if done properly and will work well in the laundry room too. Now I have to sell the idea to dh :) ... easy, I'll just take him to the new animal hospital and show him how beautiful concrete can be. (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Eeeny, meeny, miny, moe ... which goes where .... some are for the inside, and some are for the out. If you thought I was eclectic, now you have no doubt.

We had to select all of the lights today in about 1-1/2 hours. This is about 2/3's of the the selection give or take a few. Good thing I scoped out the store yesterday ahead of time ... it's mind boggling but I was prepared with blue prints in hand and a list of what was needed. If not for that, I think it would have taken all day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

After fiddling with our house plans, I finally was able to shrink and paste together this rendition showing the front elevation. The back of our lot has a gentle slope, so we're taking advantage of it to put in the walk out basement. We offset the entrance to the 24' x 8' front porch to the side by the garage so as to have less steps to climb. The little bay window is Ann's bedroom ... to the left ... Nathan's room ... and further left ... a window over my soaking tub (complete with a shade!) .. To the right of the bay, we have foyer windows ... the entrance door with sidelights and a transom window above. Below the front porch is the visible walk out basement. The garage is a side load with a bonus room above. This has been quite a process to design the entire home. We must have looked at 1500 floor plans before picking up enough ideas to try designing it ourselves.
Mrs. Mac's house sketch 7/06

Monday, July 10, 2006

What a most exciting time I had today selecting cabinets for the new kitchen. Depending on the budget, we will either go with the simple door in colonial white (lighter cream than shown) and have the back of peninsula and end cabinets faced in beadboard of the same color... both having a slight glaze. For three of the bathrooms and laundry room, I'm going with a nice hickory with a nutmeg finish. The variations of the wood grain and patterns are beautiful and will fit in with our woodsy area (this should make dh happy as he likes wood). The master bath will also be of the colonial white as my bedroom furniture is painted antique furniture in a light cream color with worn edges.
Top photo is of my bedroom in my old home

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Since the last post: (1) secured a all-in-one construction loan. (2) Plans are approved from the engineer's office (hooooooraaay!!!) (3) Builder and I went to property to draw up an elevation plan to work from. (4) Received septic permit in the mail. (5) While at property, foraged for raspberries ... tons , will be back tomorrow with a bucket :) .. and spied a few patches of huckleberry bushes (top secret location).