Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Year, New Developments!

Happy New Year everyone!!!  It's been awhile since I've updated this blog but January has been incredibly busy with lots of good things happening in our lives.  Things seem to be happening quickly now with the house.  Every week there are more and more fun things going on and watching the progress and being a part of it has been an awesome experience.  We've had some cold days with it being winter but overall the weather has been very good for us this year.  I am thankful for that!

My last blog was right after day 1 of framing.  As I said, the framers (Niehaus Brothers) was INCREDIBLE.  It was so much fun to watch them work and I could not believe that they were finished within two days.  Being able to actually see a house and see rooms in the house was probably the best part of this for me so far.  :)

One of the cool things about this particular framing company is that they build large pieces on the ground and then have a crane there at all times to lift the big pieces into place.  They did this with our
back porch, the kids balcony, and the chimney!

The balcony on the right of this is off of the kids rooms.  They will each have a door that goes out to this area.  

I was very excited when the windows started going in!  Makes it look like a real house!

This is a pretty good picture of the truss that Tommy built. If you remember, he built this in our apartment by timber framing cedar posts.  He then stained it and viola!  There it is in it's permanent home above our front entry!

Once they finished on day 2 we were able to go inside and walk around. WOW.  This gave me a much better idea of how everything would actually look when it was finished.  Here are some pictures of the inside at this stage.

This is upstairs where we will have a balcony looking down to the first floor.  The walls in this room will have floor to ceiling walnut bookcases that Tommy will build for us.  This is a room I have always wanted and can't wait to have all of my books in one place!!!

I was standing upstairs when I took this picture.  This shows the living room which will be two story and have a big stone two story fireplace.  The windows will bring in so much natural light to this area!

This is standing in the living room area looking at the staircase that goes to the second floor.

This was taken standing in the living room looking up towards the library room.  The room under the balcony will be the open kitchen.

Here is the first picture of Tommy and I in our new house!!!  The couple that works and wears overalls together stays together.  HA!!!

The plumbing and the HVAC system went in shortly after the house was framed.

This is looking out into the garage - WHERE WE WILL PARK CARS.  Yes, this is a HUGE deal to me.  Anyone who has ever been in our previous homes knows that our garages were Tommy's workshops and there was NO vehicle going in there.  So for him to have his own work space in the basement and an actual place to park vehicles is like a dream come true.  HA!  The concrete guys came to pour the floor and the other cool thing about this garage is that the floor to the garage is flush with the floor to the entry.  No steps - this will make for carrying things inside easy and will also be handicapped accessible.

We did a walk through of the house with the electrician to determine where every outlet, switch, fixture, etc. would go.  I'm not sure if everyone does this but well, Tommy Forker does.  HA!

Another exciting day was when our huge boulders were delivered for our landscaping.  The sound of that many boulders hitting the ground out of dump truck is....alarming!  We will be using boulders around the front entry of the house - it will be similar to the landscaping in the backyard at our previous house.

This is the excavator in the spot where the boulders will go around the house.  It's amazing watching the boulders be placed - like a puzzle being put together!

A few of the boulders are placed to the right of the entry in the two photos below.

Oh...this....see this?  This guy has been our best friend now for yet another project on yet another house.  This is what we have been using to heat the basement/Tommy's workshop so that we can use it as a workspace.  This thing puts out some serious heat!  Thank goodness.

Watching Tommy and I carrying in these giant bags of denim insulation was comical I am sure.  I had to kind of roll mine in...but hey, I tried.  This is the insulation that will go in the ceiling of his workshop.  He is using this because it is supposed to be great for noise insulation.  I will be very thankful for this when he is planing something in his workshop while I am watching Grey's upstairs!

Tommy decided to wire the entire basement himself since there were so many outlets for his equipment.  Getting the first shop light up was an accomplishment!  We could finally see with real lights not just shop lights!

One of the big projects that we have been working on are the garage doors.  We had similar garage doors at our last house that we purchased.  This time Tommy we decided to build them ourselves.  We basically bought plain white garage doors and a ton of cedar.  Tommy then cut all of the pieces to the correct size.  The pieces were then glued onto the doors and then stained the final color.  We did this with the help of our favorite helper, my brother's friend Alex.  So very grateful to have him right now!

This was what the small door (the basement garage door) looked like before being stained.

Below is the large upstairs garage door once completed.  These were done last weekend when not only did it snow and ice but it was FREEZING.  That heater came in handy because we needed the basement to remain a certain temperature to be able to finish this process.  We could see our breath during this process but the doors were nice and toasty as the heater was blowing directly underneath them.

This past week the bricking started!  This will go around the bottom of the house.  The rest of it will be a lovely dark green siding.  I can't wait for that to happen!!

The other very cool thing that happened this week was the 12x12 cedar beam was installed.  This guy is HUGE and HEAVY.  This is in the open living area and goes all the way up through the second floor.

Insulation began this week which is especially good because now the basement will stay a little warmer!  Watching them spray the foam insulation is pretty cool! The next step after this is dry wall!!!

That is all for this week (well, the past couple of weeks!).  Things are moving somewhat quickly now which is great to see.  I am so ready to move into this new home and start making it our own!  Thank you for checking out the blog and stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lots of Progress to Report!

It has been a little over a month since I last posted anything.  We've been in somewhat of a lull on the big exciting happenings due to weather, waiting our turn on the framers, etc.  There has been significant progress in the past month though, especially today!

This was taken a few weeks ago right after the basement walls and floor were poured.  I loved being able to actually see the shape of the basement.  I am such a visual person that things don't always make complete sense to me until I can SEE them right in front of me. :P  Good thing my husband and I are opposite in that way!

One of the things that we love about this lot is that there are SO many trees.  If it were up to us we would be completely out of sight from any road in the middle of a woods but buying land like that around here is either entirely more than we want to pay or entirely too far out in the country.  This is a good compromise.  :)  There were a few trees that had to come down of course to build the house but we wanted to preserve as many as possible.  Our builder put us in touch with an arborist who came out and helped us figure out which trees would have to go due to the stress of the equipment, the house, etc.  It was interesting to learn about how far roots go out, etc.  We ended up having to cut down a few more than we would have liked but better to do that now than have them die in a couple of years and fall on our new house!

Tommy is used to having ample space to do his woodworking.  As I have mentioned, our current living quarters are....well...not exactly setup for a wood shop.  But don't worry! We make due with what we have available to us!  Most of the time our living room turns into a work shop of some sort.  Tommy is building the trusses to go on the front of the house and he has built them in the living room of our apartment.  It has been...interesting.  But doable!

Here he is with the final result of truss 1 of 2.  This one had to be finished quickly because it will go up when the house is framed.  This one will go over the front entrance to the house.  He timber framed this and it is held together with wooden pegs.  It is AWESOME!  And HUGE!  This picture was taken before it was stained.

You can see the detail of the wood pegs in this picture.  It's very cool!

Today was a HUGE day.  Today the framing began.  I have heard many people say how incredible it is to see Niehaus Brothers' crew frame a house and they were right!  SO much progress was made today. I couldn't take my eyes off of everything going on.  There were a ton of guys there and they never stopped!  We've been waiting on this part for awhile and I'm so happy that it's happening!  Keep in mind, all of the pictures below were taken in one day - all of this work was done in about 8 hours.

This was the beginning of the day  This is the lower/basement level.  You can see the "man door" and a small garage door.  We will park a side by side in here eventually and this basement will be Tommy's wood shop and my paint shop.

This was taken early in the morning once the walls started going up.  This is the first wall on the main floor - the back wall of the garage.

This is looking into the basement - I love seeing things like stairs going in!!!  The little things make it seem like a real house. :)

This was taken after lunch - this is the garage.  We will actually be parking our cars in the garage which will be all new for us since the garage has in the past been used for Tommy's workshop.  Very excited about this!  :)

This is the truss that Tommy made - it's hanging out waiting to be hoisted up to the roof!  You can see in this picture how it looks now that it's stained.

Every girl needs a hot pink hard hat for construction days!  :)

Later in the afternoon the interior walls started going in and you could start to tell that it is a two story house.

This is the back of the house - this will be a big screened in porch looking out into the back woods.  :)

You can really tell by this picture how much was done today.  You can see that this is the basement wall that I posted up above and now it has much more done!  Now there is the main floor on top and the upstairs being constructed.  The two doors you see up high will be for the kids bedrooms.  They will have a small balcony that they can share for reading (Sheridan!) or playing iPad (Will!) - ha!

This is the last picture that I took today.  This is looking straight on to the front of the house.  The far window on the right will be our bedroom.  The middle is the entry way and then a living room window on the left.  The second story was really taking shape at this point but I couldn't get close enough safely to take many pictures.  Hopefully tomorrow I can!

A lot of progress has been made and we are really looking forward to the next stages of this process.  Hopefully in a few short months we will be able to call this our home!  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Moving Right Along!

There are two things that I have learned during this house building process:

1.  I am very impatient.
2.  My husband is crazy (I say that with nothing but love!)

Okay, so maybe I already knew those things.  Maybe we all did.  But this process just really brings those characteristics out!  Everyone keeps asking how the house is coming and I keep saying, "It's coming along!", and in my head I say, "....but not fast enough for my liking!".  Now that has nothing to do with anyone but me and my impatience.  I KNOW that when you are house building you have to contend with weather, other projects, etc. etc.  And I really like our builder a lot - he is great!  No builder could build a house quick enough for this girl.  HA!  And Tommy, well, he is behaving much better with this project I will say.  No underground garages.  No wiring the entire house himself.  He does still have the occasional crazy idea - most are just thoughts, some are going to be a reality.  Like our indoor dog bathroom - ask him about it.  He will tell you in great detail about the most insane dog bathroom that anyone could ever dream of.  I admit, the thought of NOT having to go outside with Rocko in the winter is very appealing!

Moving on to the actual progress which is my favorite part!!!

About a month ago the digging began and this is a picture of what the hole looked like before the basement walls were poured.  It pretty much looks like someone took a big bite out of the hill.  :)

This is when the lower driveway was created.  This driveway currently is being used for construction purposes but it will later serve as the driveway for Tommy's basement workshop which will store our trailer.

This is a pretty cool part of the project.  In the woods behind Tommy's parent's house was a large hickory tree that had fallen.  He really wanted something from this woods for sentimental value so this giant tree in the trailer will turn into our fireplace mantle.  To say that this was a heavy load in the trailer would be a great understatement!


Tommy then took the lumber to someone local who has a portable saw mill.  That is where the magic happened - where this giant tree became the nice piece of wood that will someday be our fireplace mantle.  It is huge and heavy and gorgeous!!!

This is Tommy and his dad with all of the lumber that came out of the hickory tree.  Some will be used for our mantle and the rest of it will be used for future woodworking projects.

We had two trailers and a truck load full of hardwood floor delivered.  My crazy husband decided we would clear out our dining room in our tiny apartment and store it there (it can't be put in a storage shed due to temperature control.)  After much anxiety I decided I could live with that.  However, in the end it worked out because some amazing people offered to let us keep it in their warehouse!  There are still good people out there folks! 

Choosing the type of flooring for the house was one of the most drawn out decisions that we have made so far.  We both LOVE hardwood.  However, at our last house we had hand scraped teak.  It was beautiful.  But by the time we moved out (which was only after about 3 years), our floor was a disaster because of Rocko and his pesky claws.  When choosing a floor you have to think about things like pets, kids, etc. because that will determine what hardness of wood you need.  We originally were going to do wood look tile.  We ordered samples, we made countless trips to every flooring store Evansville had to offer and though a couple were "okay", none of them made us excited.  So after much discussion we decided to go back to one of our original ideas which is hickory.  Hickory is much harder than many of the woods out there so we are hoping this will hold up for us.  If it does get damaged (which it inevitably will with our lifestyle and our dog!), it can always be refinished down the road.  I think it is going to look great!!! 

This past week was pretty exciting for me because I could see a lot of progress!  The basement walls were poured and that was huge!  You can now really see the layout of the house and it's very cool to be able to visualize the size of Tommy's wood shop and how it will be laid out.

This is the first picture of me "in" the basement!  So exciting!

The plumbing was also done this past week but I have no exciting pictures for that stage of the game. This next week (weather pending!) we will have our floors poured and then we will be on our way to framing!  The framing will all be complete in one day and I can't wait to see that process!!!!

So it is coming along slowly but surely just as any house project does.  I am getting better daily with knowing that it's all going how it's supposed to go and that it's out of my control.  I am a lot more at peace when I can look at it that way.  :)