Archive for May, 2007

The Tile File

May 26, 2007

It’s looking good, and is starting to get some actual floors. Our carpets will come in after they’ve finished the tile, but the bamboo floors can’t come in until the HVAC has been running for 6 days. I will get to the pictures right away:

This is the kichen, with the tiles in place. They’re a bit dirty, but you get the idea. We used the same tiles in the foyer area, also:

The rest of the foyer will be bamboo, but we wanted a tile entryway for scraping off dirt and sand on shoes. Bamboo scratches easily, so we’re trying to do some damage control during the planning process.

We’re very proud of how the downstairs bath is turning out:

We will have white beadboard on the walls in here, and the vanity will be a pedestal bath.

The master bath is looking very nice, too, if I do say so myself:

We used green glass tiles for the accents around the tub, and we have the same accent pieces around the master shower. The brown tiles here are the same that were used downstairs.

We’ve also gotten our light switches and smoke detectors installed, and our library shelves are going up:

I can’t wait to fill these with books, books, and more books!

And that is all, until next week, when we hope to have the grout done around these tiles and the carpet laid down in the master bedroom.

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The siding is complete!

May 19, 2007

I know that Woody is happy about that. He’s been working on that siding for quite a while. Here is our finished product:

The truck in the driveway belonged to the tile man, who was inside working when we pulled up. We didn’t stay long, so that we wouldn’t get in his way, but we took a few photos of what he was doing with the tiles. Here is the stack of tiles for the master bath:

And here is the master bath tub all framed up and ready to be tiled:

Notice that the interior doors have been installed; there’s been a lot of progress this week.

Here is the tile man himself, prepping the floor of the downstairs bathroom:

Our tile supplier was Best Flooring in Clermont. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website to which I can link this. I can’t imagine why any business, in this day and age, would not have a website. Baffling…

Here is a photo of our work last weekend, on the laundry room floor:

Those are just the vinyl 12″ square self-stick sheets, but they don’t look horrible, which is a positive. We’re saving around $400-450 by doing the laundry room & under-the-stairs closet ourselves.

Woody also finished up the soffits on the front and back porches, and now is turning his attention to the column wraps. We just want plain, square white columns, which he says will be easier to install than rounded columns. Win-win situation for both of us!

And, finally, on our way to the lot, we found yet another little buddy in the road. These tortoises are not very good with navigating the highways of Florida. This guy would just duck into his shell every time a car came by. We brought him back to our lot and turned him loose in an area where we’d seen another tortoise. This little guy was smaller than the first two tortoises we rescued from a fate as roadkill.

We’re going back to the house tomorrow, to lay some more laundry & closet tiles, and to do a wee bit of raking and composting. Next steps are to get the tiles completed, then the cabinets can go in, hopefully on June 1. We changed our cabinets slightly. We’re now using cabinets from All Wood Cabinetry, because they are about $1100 less expensive than the other cabinets we’d wanted. The Shaker style is the same, as is the all wood construction. The real difference is that these cabinets only come in Honey Spice Maple, instead of Natural Maple. The wood is still light colored, so we decided to save the $1100 and go with this brand of cabinets.

Woody will have the HVAC system installed, and the lighting set up, then he will try to get us temporary electric. He needs to run the HVAC for 6 days before the bamboo can be installed, since the planks have to acclimate to the house’s temperature & humidity levels.

In Glorious Technicolor!

May 12, 2007

That’s what we are! I’ve been dying all week to see how the paint colors look, and, if I do say so myself, they look really good. The light colors that our interior design consultant, Tim Rounsaville, helped us pick work very well. The entire house looks light, bright, and airy, with the exception of the master bath and library. Go figure – these are the two rooms he didn’t help us choose colors for. But we wanted a darker look for the library. It’s actually not as red as it looks in the picture; it’s more of a dark berry cobbler color, not a real red.

So, without further ado, here are the photos.

First, the exterior continues to get its Hardie Board siding in Boothbay Blue. It looks like Woody, our builder (Classic Structures, Inc.) should be finishing this up this week:

This is our foyer, done in Panda White. It’s not as yellow as it looks in this picture; it’s more of a very pale cream. I actually can’t tell it’s not a true white, unless I see it against an actual white:

Since our great room, dining area, and kitchen are all open to one another, we painted them all the same color, Byte Blue. Here is the kichen:

And here is the great room, with the entertainment center painted white:

We have big plans for the downstairs bath. The floor will be a black & white, octagonal subway tile. The tile around the tub will be plain white, and the blue walls will have white beadboard around them:

The spare bedroom, which we’ll use as a guest bedroom is in a pale green. Tim helped us choose a color that wasn’t too minty; instead, it’s got more of a grayish tone to the green:

Directly across from the guest bedroom is the library. One wall will be solid shelves, to hold our enormous collection of books.

As I said, the red is not as bright, nor is it as red as it appears in this photo.

Upstairs, our master bedroom is a very light, ice blue. We had the sloped part of the tray ceiling painted blue to match the walls, while the flat parts of the ceiling are white, providing a contrast and showcasing that tray ceiling:

Our master bath is very dark, because it faces a few of the large live oaks, and so it’s getting a lot of shade this time of year. Also the whole no-lighting-yet thing isn’t helping, but you can at least get the idea of its color, from this photo:

Our interior doors have now been unpacked, and have been painted white. Here is a photo of them in the garage, propped up to let the paint dry:

Because we used low-VOC paints, the interior of the house really doesn’t smell that bad. It’s not as overwhelmingly painty as I expected it to smell; last week, the primer really blew us away.

Next steps: Woody will be hanging the interior doors, and the flooring guys are coming this week. The baseboards are in and ready to go, but I don’t know whether those get put in before or after the flooring. And we will be returning to the house tomorrow, to lay down at least part of the stick-on vinyl flooring that we’re using in the laundry room and under-the-stairs closet.

We’ve turned our attention to the yard. We have a line of trees & palmettos providing a nice demarkation between the area that will be our “lawn” with the areas that we’ll use for other things, like a vegetable garden. One of our little clumps of palmettos & small oak trees has a clear area running through it, almost like a path, that we will probably use to build a tiny pond, in order to provide a water source for the wildlife we’re hoping to see in our yard. Since 2 of our acres are conservation, we won’t be fencing those in at all, obviously, but our backyard will have a fence for our dog, little Hannah. The neighborhood has wandering packs of dogs in it, and I’d hate for her to be killed.

I purchased a compost bin and a kitchen compost bucket, from Gardener’s Supply Company. Luckily, by doing a search online, I was able to find a 15% off coupon. The compost bin is on backorder until July, which is a bit of a pain as we’re planning on beginning our compost pile soon, but I guess we could always transfer it to the bin when it arrives. And the bin will probably make it in before the house itself is ready for habitation.

I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemna, so have been bitten by the gardening bug. Thus far, we haven’t found a good source for local farm products, but the book gave me a few leads on groups I could contact, like the Weston A. Price Foundation. I’m hoping that they will be able to point us in the right direction. I’ve also been doing a lot of research online, regarding what vegetables to grow here in Florida, and when, so we’ll see whether I can put this into practice once we’re in the house.

And that is all for now! We have big plans and high hopes, so we’ll see how everything works out. It’s incredibly exciting, watching our first house grow up before our eyes.

Prepping for our own tile

May 6, 2007

Boy, are we ever NOT used to manual labor! I have a blister on my finger as I’m typing this. We decided that, rather than pay $600 for the professional people to install sheet vinyl in our laundry room & under-the-stairs closet, we would do it ourselves. The flooring people come a week from tomorrow, so, acting on my father’s advice, we decided to prep the floor for our vinyl tiles today, in order to have it ready to lay these down by next weekend. The reason for this is that we would like to lay our vinyl flooring down before the transitions are put in, so that we don’t have to try to pull up the transitions and put our flooring down under them.

Today, we bought a scraper and some sealant and went out to the house to scrape the concrete piles and drywall spray off of our laundry room & closet floors. In retrospect, we should have bought one large scraper and one small one, so that we could have worked simultaneously, instead of taking turns. In retrospect, we should have worn goggles, so that the flying bits of concrete didn’t get into our eyes (we used our sunglasses). In retrospect, we should have bought dust masks, instead of depending on the chance that our painters had left an unused pair there (they had – huzzah!). In retrospect, we should have brought a broom & dustpan (we borrowed our neighbor’s broom). In retrospect, we should have brought an empty vacuum bag, since our vacuum bag weighed about 10 pounds when we’d finished! In retrospect, I should have put mosquito repellent on my face, not just on my arms & neck. The mosquitoes are nesting by the dozens inside our house, and they swarmed all over my face. Apparently I am one sweet woman.

Here’s what we did right: we brought our vacuum. We bought the floor sealant. We bought a paint roller that had a tight foam roller, rather than a more absorbent, hairy one. I did at least have mosquito repellent on my arms & legs. We brought very optimistic attitudes, as you will see by our plan for the day.

We planned on sealing the floor this morning, then heading out to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch and the Gap for some summer clothing shopping. Ha! We were caked, coated, and crusty with white dust after 2 hours of work, so we instead went home and took a shower.

After that, we were in no mood to fight the Disney traffic, so we headed to Tijuana Flats for lunch instead, and then went grocery shopping and came home, ready to go to sleep by 4 pm!

Here is what the laundry room looked like before we began:

Here are some photos of us doing our first manual labor in I-don’t-know-how-long:

I will post some “after” pictures once we get the vinyl flooring laid down next weekend. We are just going with the 12″ square, stick-on vinyl tiles from Home Depot. We’ve used these before, on our floor in New York, though that apartment floor was cardboard and so thus didn’t require the manual labor that this job does.

One Prime House and the Return of Punky

May 6, 2007

We are primed and ready for painting this coming week! Our flooring goes in a week from Monday, and the cabinets are set for June 1st. Everything seems to be moving right along, and the Hardie Board siding continues, slowly but steadily, to cover our exterior.

Here are a few photos of the interior, with the primer in:

Here is the back of our house, with the Hardie Board siding almost completely done:

And, oddly enough (though maybe not that oddly, since we’ve seen quite a few turtles dead in the road here), we found another gopher tortoise in the road. Just like good old Punky, who I found back in November! This tortoise was significantly larger than even Punky, who was so big that an apparently nearsighted bystander asked me whether I was holding a cat! We moved this guy safely to the haven that is our subdivision, though our neighbors took issue with us moving him to our wetlands, and put him in the back of their truck and instead moved him to another neighbor’s wetlands. (Gopher tortoises are notorious for burrowing under houses and undermining the foundation).

So here is poor Punky II, who my husband named Plastron, apparently a fencing reference:

We are going to be doing our laundry room and under-the-stairs floors ourselves, so we’ll be going out tomorrow to seal the concrete, then leaving it to dry until next weekend, when we will lay down the 1 ft. square vinyl tiles that we’ve chosen for our flooring in these 2 areas.