Archive for the ‘bamboo floors’ Category

We’re floored!

July 21, 2007

Our bamboo floor is mostly, but not entirely, finished. The installers only have the landing on the stairs to complete, then the carpet, and then we will have our floors completely covered. The bamboo looks so nice; the light color really opens up the rooms and makes them look brighter. It’s interesting how the floor itself seems to be different shades, depending on the color of the walls.

Here is a photo of the bamboo floor in the foyer, with the bamboo transitions:

And, to showcase the color difference, here is the bamboo floor in the dark red library:

And here is the same bamboo floor in the light green guest bedroom:

Our builder, Woody, has had his one employee, Nick, hard at work staining and painting our stairs. Apparently Nick enjoys working on our house now that we have an air conditioner and a working microwave! We went out to the house on Thursday of this week, so we have a photo of the stairs with the maple treads stained but the risers not yet painted:

And the same stairs on Saturday, with the pine risers primed:

We have a large box on our front porch, and Woody and Nick very kindly break down all cardboard for us and put it into the large box, so that on Saturdays, we can bring the cardboard to the recycling center. Today, we had two surprises in our cardboard. One was a roach (!!!), and the other was a large, 4-5″ spider:

Luckily, the spider very kindly moved aside and let us unload all of the cardboard boxes, and we, in return, left him dwelling peacefully in our large box.

Next steps: Nick will continue painting & staining the risers, railings, and balusters.  The flooring company will install the carpet and bamboo landing.  And our landscaper will begin working tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday to get in our irrigation systems.  We are very, very close to being finished!


We have the power!

July 14, 2007

That is our big news for the week: we passed the electrical inspections, and we now have power. It felt so luxurious to walk into our house and feel it as a cool, comfortable 78 degrees. Ah, the simple joys of air conditioning!

Because the power is now on, the flooring guys can begin the flooring installation next week. They will lay down our bamboo floors, starting either Tuesday or Wednesday. The bamboo needs to acclimate to our particular temperature/humidity conditions, so the boxes of flooring have been delivered and are acclimating:

Here is a closeup of our flooring, which is Columbia brand bamboo:

The other big news is that we now have a driveway! Our builder, Woody, poured our driveway this week. It’s mostly, but not entirely, dry yet. Dry enough to walk on, but not dry enough to park on:

Now that our driveway is poured, our landscaper can come out and lay our sod and plant the plants we’ve ordered. I’m going out on Tuesday to meet with the landscaper and Woody, so that should be interesting. We have our landscaping plan made, and I would post it here, except that it’s a .pdf file and I don’t know how to turn that into an image that I can upload. If any experts out there want to volunteer some help with this, that would be great, because then I could put up our landscaping plan.

A note about mosquitos here: they are crazy!  Our dog Hannah stepped outside of our apartment today, and a swarm of hundreds of mosquitos just rose from the grass and descended upon us.  I’ve never seen so many of them, just waiting in the grass like that.  It looked like a cloud rising up to bite us!

Next steps: landscaping & flooring, both happening this coming week. We’re nearly there!

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.

Drywall is done!

April 29, 2007

Our drywall is finished, and we are ready for painting. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, to have the walls all up and finished. It really looks like a house, and I think it’s a lovely house. I’m very excited that we’re going to get to live in this beautiful creation.

Here is a photo of our great room wall, all drywalled up:

And here is a better photo of our finished door with matching transom window:

In our upstairs shower, the tub surround upstairs, and the downstairs bath, the builders used Durock:

This picture is of our downstairs bath, with octagonal window visible.

When we came to visit our house on Saturday, the drywall was all up, but had not had the spray sealant put on it. However, when we came back on Sunday morning, it had been sprayed, so the texture was visible. This was the sign that the drywallers were completely done and we are now ready for paint!

The reason we came by on Sunday as well as Saturday was to drop our paint choices into the Doc box. I thought we did this rather cleverly, though I’m sure millions of other people have done the same thing! We had an earlier draft of the floorplans, not showing the ICF walls, but that would be suitable to use for this purpose. We color coded every wall, showing which colors we wanted, so that there would be no possibility of error. Can you tell I’m a teacher? I anticipate confusion arising, and try my best to prevent it. We stapled the sheet with our various color choices, including manufacturer, color name, and color number, to the front of our color-coded floorplans.

We wanted our trayed ceiling in the master bedroom to have a ring of the iceberg blue wall paint around the tray area, so that is what’s color coded at the top of this page. And, of course, as part of the green building process, we are using low/no VOC paints.

Our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc., has been hard at work continuing to install the James Hardie Board siding onto our house:

The first floor is almost done, and, on one side of the house, he’s finished the siding entirely. Huzzah!

Woody said something which really struck me this week, and I thought I’d mention it, since it’s indicative of the type of builder he is. I was telling him that we’d heard horror stories from other people who had new construction homes, about what a difficult and traumatic process it was. Woody said, “When you’re building a house, you have to expect that problems will come up. It’s how you handle it that makes it a good or bad building experience.” I thought that was remarkable, since it was exactly TRUE.

For example, Woody spoke with the propane guy, who said that the ugly propane vent on the front of the house could be moved, but that he (propane guy) was not going to move it (jerk). So Woody told us that he would move the vent himself, and was going to pay to replace the entire sheet of metal for the roof, so that we don’t have an ugly patch job. His pride in the finished product, as well as his dedication to us as his customers are truly remarkable. As a teacher, I generally have a low opinion of people’s integrity, but Woody’s honesty & integrity are striking!

Finally, we resolved the issue of our overly expensive floors. Woody found another vendor for us, who is going to give us just what we want: brown tiles for the kitchen & master bath, black & white subway tiles for the downstairs bath, frieze carpet for the master bedroom, and bamboo flooring for everywhere else, for very close to our budget. Here is a photo of the exact bamboo flooring we’re using: Columbia Flooring’s Ivory Bamboo.

Next steps: the interior will be painted; Woody will continue installing the Hardie Board siding; our garage door will go up; the flooring will go in; our cabinets will be installed.

Will it be a house when the siding goes up?

April 21, 2007

And the dispute rages on. I maintain that it’s more than a lot, but my husband maintains that it’s less than a house! Things are really moving this week, though.

The first news is that our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc., has begun putting up our siding. Which is why I say that, once it no longer looks like a gigantic foam ice chest, we should call it a HOUSE! Here is a shot of the front of the house, with the bay window partially covered with Hardie Board siding:

One interesting fact about the Hardie Board is that the white trim pieces are apparently extremely fragile. Woody told my husband that he just lifts the trim pieces onto his shoulders, and they snap. They’re quite expensive, about $15 each, so he’s lost some money because of the fragility of this material. Woody said that, if he had it to do over, he’d probably have used PVC trim. He demonstrated for my husband by hitting a piece across his thigh. It broke in two pieces: a $15 demonstration. Yikes!

And here is the side of the house, with siding up to the top of the first floor. Notice the ladder-type thingie (to use a highly technical term) that Woody and his worker stand on to put up the siding:

This is the part I think looks the coolest, because it really shows me what the house will look like. The first floor of the back side of the house has the siding put up. Notice the white chair, one of two chairs that we bought for the workers to sit in while eating lunch or taking a break. After a few minutes of sitting on concrete myself, I felt pity for the poor souls having to do that every time they wanted to rest!

We’ve also had big things going on inside the house. The Icynene insulation was sprayed in on Monday, and we passed our inspection Thursday, so the drywall hanging has begun. Huzzah!

Here is the Icynene inside the 2nd floor trusses over our library:

I think it looks really cool, like a big foam cloud, to use yet another highly technical description. This is how you know the blog is really written by an ignorant consumer, rather than being an ad for a construction company! Here is another shot of the Icynene, this time trimmed off. It’s the insulated wall dividing our dining area & kitchen from the garage:

Since the entire shell of the house, garage included, is ICF construction, we needed a very well-insulated wall dividing our living area from the garage area. Icynene, from everything we’ve read, makes for an extremely well-sealed, energy efficient home, so it fit our bill.

Because we passed our insulation inspection, the drywall hanging began Friday. The workers were still working over the weekend, when we went out to the house, so we felt bad poking around and taking many pictures. Here is a shot of the drywall in the Great Room area:

And here is another shot of the area, this time showing the foyer. Notice the new transom window has been installed, so it now matches the door:

We got our flooring estimate back, and found out that Brazilian maple is wildly out of our price range! So we went back to square one, did some more reading of reviews of bamboo, and found nothing to say that bamboo would be a problem in a humid climate like Florida. Because our HVAC system has been appropriately sized for our ICF home (roughly half the size of an HVAC for a normal home of this square footage), humidity within the house itself should not be an issue. The other thing was that the flooring contractors we were using only carried carbonized bamboo, not non-carbonized bamboo. The carbonization process makes the bamboo weaker, so that could have been why they didn’t recommend it. We found a supplier for them who carried non-carbonized bamboo, horizontal grain, so we are hoping that will re-align our floor budget.

We are now waiting for the drywall to finish being hung (approximately 8-9 days, according to Woody), and then it will be ready to paint. Woody and his worker will continue installing the Hardie Board siding, and when he is finished, the septic tank will go in. Huzzah!

Flooring Choices

April 11, 2007

We had our hearts set on bamboo, throughout this entire process. But far be it from us to go against the recommendations of local suppliers. Presumably, they know more about a product’s fit for our climate than we do, so we bowed to our supplier’s knowledge and let our dream of bamboo floors go. Sigh.

Our supplier is a company called Absolute Flooring, run by 2 men named John and Brad. When we need to choose floors, John and Brad drive up with their trailer full of samples. They give us samples within our price range (ostensibly!) and then we borrow them, think about them, photograph them, and make our final decisions.

Right now, we have a few choices, depending on how the pricing shakes down, but here are our first choices.

This is a photo of our first 2 flooring choices. The tile, which is Bella Porcelain by MasterCraft, Himalaya, color Brown, would be for our kitchen, master bath floors, tub surround, and shower walls. The hardwood floor, which is Johnson AMZ-E12509 Brazilian Maple (Ivorywood), with a natural finish and 5″ wood, would be for our great room, dining room, foyer, downstairs hallway, and 2 downstairs bedrooms.

We like this hardwood flooring for 3 reasons. 1. It looks beautiful, and it has an aluminum oxide coating for durability. 2. It is engineered wood, so it is more durable in our humid Floridian climate and it uses less Brazilian maple. 3. Johnson, the manufacturer, farms their trees in an environmentally sustainable way, getting 1/3 of their wood from fallen trees and another 1/3 from old or unhealthy trees that prevent the younger trees from growing.

This next photo is of the carpet we’ve chosen for our upstairs landing and master bedroom. It is by ShawMark, from the Home Again series, and the color is Going Abroad. I made a red circle around the color we wanted, which may or may not show up in this photo!

If you can’t see the circle, it’s the brown swatch just to the right of the green swatch.

Finally, for our downstairs bath, we have a distinct vision. That vision involves black and white tiles, pictured below on the bottom left:

We also met with an interior designer, Tim Rounsaville of Avec Designs. He was very helpful to us in choosing our colors for the house. I lugged the flooring samples out, and he mixed, matched, and came up with something that we think we will be happy with. Without further ado, here are our choices:

Sherwin Williams, SW6435, Gratifying Green, Guest Bedroom

Sherwin Williams, SW6798, Iceberg, Master Bedroom

Sherwin Williams, SW6498, Byte Blue, Great Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen

Sherwin Williams, SW6147, Panda White, Foyer & Hallways

Sherwin Williams, SW6800, Something Blue, Downstairs Bath

We now sit back and twiddle our thumbs, while we wait for pricing estimates for our flooring choices. We will then probably be back at square one, trying to find something affordable that we can love!