Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 204: Closets are in! (T-minus 18 days til move in)

The last few times Niels and I have visited our house, we've talked about how it's getting harder and harder to leave. It's starting to look like a home, and we're itching to get settled. After seeing the house this morning, I'm really fighting the itch because our closets are in! They look fabulous, but bare. I want to get in and get organized!

In Law Suite:
We had a few goals for this closet. In addition to providing storage for any weekend or short term guests, we wanted to make sure it had ample space for my in-laws when they come for longer visits after Jan retires. (They can stay up to three months at a time on a travel visa). Or, if my mom wants/needs to live with us at some point, there's plenty of room for her to have a full wardrobe. Lastly, if/when we need to move downstairs as we age (and our wardrobe dwindles), we can can still have decent, if not overwhelming storage. 

Mudroom and Foyer:
Since we have the locker and cubbies for most of our outerwear, we didn't need a lot of specialized space in the closet. We saw a closet with a low shelf/bench like this at another Charis home last week. We thought it was a brilliant place to put bags, backpacks, purses, etc. So we were pleased that it wasn't too late to add them to our closets.

Guest Bedroom:
We went pretty basic in here. In hindsight, we could have put in some shelves, but realistically, we planned for storage pretty well in our house so we don't have anything planned for this closet other than guest use when we have families stay with us.

Linen Closet:
This is a huge upgrade from the little linen closet we had in our old bathroom. We'll use this for extra towels, linens, pillows and toiletries that aren't housed in the bathrooms, bedrooms, or laundry room. It's hard to see how big it is straight on, but the second photo gives an idea.

D's Closet:
Our sweet boy was so excited to see the shelves in his closet. He wouldn't step out for me to take a picture. So, there he is. Up until now, all of his clothes have fit in his dresser, which he'll still use, so I think his closet will be home to books and toys and next-size-up clothes for now.

Master Closet:
Neither Niels nor I are big clothes hoarders. For the last six weeks, I've been rotating three pairs of pants, 2 sweaters, 2 vests, and four shirts. Niels has only slightly more than that because he actually see the world each day. I'm quite content with my SAHM yoga pants and tee wardrobe, with a jeans and sweater option if I want to go all fancy.

Our close is much larger than we need, 5'8' x 12'8" but 50 years from now, when we move out, the new owners might appreciate it.

My side of the closet had 4 pull out metal shelves (24" wide) and 4 standard shelves. We hadn't seen these shelves in Charis homes, but we really liked the Elfa ones from The Container Store, so we asked and Les said, "No problem!"

Niels side is essentially the same except that he doesn't have a single rod shelf. Anything long that either of have to hang will fit comfortably on my single rod shelf. And his double rod shelves are a little longer because he has more clothes.

We are repurposing the mirror from our old living room so we can finally have a full length mirror. It fits perfectly between the two shelves and can be seen from the bathroom. It will be hung up a couple inches above the baseboard. This also saved us a little money because we didn't have to buy another solid wood pocket door, as we had originally planned.

We're very happy with the work of Top Shelf Closets. If you're in the area and looking for a closet system, get in touch with Les.
Top Shelf Closets
5610 Manchester Rd
Akron, Ohio  44319-4213
330.882.2323 [office]
330.603.0727 [cell]

Monday, January 30, 2012

Slow day, move-in date, and lovin' my pendants

Rather slow day at the house today. It was just a crazy slew of events that caused today to be less busy than the frenetic past few weeks.

Three good notes from today:

1. We have a move-in date: February 17!!! Time to start recruiting strong friends and planning a play date for D.

2. The tiling is thisclose to being done. The foyer, in-law suite and master bedroom are done. The mudroom is set and only needs to be grouted.

Our downstairs laundry room is about the same size as the laundry room in our old house.

3. Lighting went up in D's room, the guest room and the kitchen. Unfortunately, the circuit was down so we didn't get to see the lights upstairs. But thanks to our camera's flash, we were able to get a peek.

D's fan with airplane blades. He LOVES it! 
He was also excited about the airplane pull. 
The guest room has a Casablanca Claremont fan from Tuesday Morning
But what really thrilled me was seeing my ET2 Fizz Pendants hanging above the outer island in the kitchen! I went a little crazy taking pictures of these beauties because they are so interesting to me. Unfortunately, the circuit was off for them too, so the lit pictures will have to wait. In the meantime, maybe you'll enjoy them as much as I do.


Weekend Update: dream house edition

I was a bit disappointed to discover that the installation of my quartz kitchen countertops got delayed from today until Friday. Sigh... 

Todd was at the house to deliver that bad news to me before he left to attend the funeral of Charis Homes co-owner Glenna's dad. That sure puts the delay in perspective. We weren't alone though. The mudroom was getting tiled and Jim was working on electrical. 

Here's an update from the weekend:

Sunday, Niels and D dropped off some light bulbs and watched a bit of the grouting process.
Grouted foyer up close. To the right is the powder room and to the right is the closet.
Grouted foyer this morning, looking into the powder room.
Close up of the silver schluter at the end of the tile where the carpet will begin in the great room.
One last look at the foyer looking almost finished, before the floor got all covered up.
Making progress laying the mudroom tile.
Should be done today! This reminds me that I'm on a mission to find baskets that will fit under the cubbies.
D will be very happy when he sees his airplane fan installed. We bought this before we even broke ground. For about a week he carried around the package and asked us to put it up.

In our room, the fan light and control has been installed. There is also a handheld remote.
While we aren't finishing the basement right away, we have been having some discussions about what we're going to do. There are important things like support beams and water mains that can't always be perfectly predicted when you design a plan, and unfortunately, these things made a mess of my exercise room plans. So, this weekend, we outlined space for a new room.

We are thinking that we will quickly frame up the mechanical room and storage room. Hopefully within a few weeks of moving in. 

The support beam challenge.
 Water Line:
Another little surprise this morning was that there was something wonky with the water line so someone was digging a big hole.

I didn't quite understand what he was doing and what he was accomplishing, but he was done by the time I left.

So, this week should still see more lights up, all the non-carpet floors done, the final trim complete (the little piece along the baseboard), my quartz and marble in the kitchen, and hopefully, some of the plumbing!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bright Idea: Workforce MoveAll Furniture Movers

The only possible concern we might have with our cork floors is that, like hardwoods, they can scratch or gouge, if you aren't careful. In our old house, we had hardwoods with a dog, a baby/toddler and no protection on our furniture. Scratching and gouging were never a problem.

Still, cork is pretty new to most people, and our installer made sure to warn us to be careful, especially when getting behind the frig. (Like I've ever cleaned behind the frig!) But, it got us thinking about what we can do. Our installer suggested we find furniture movers to put under the frig (and freezer in the pantry) to protect our cork floors and making moving these heavy pieces easy.

We found Workforce Movealls Furniture Movers with Coveralls at Home Depot for $9. The fluffy earmuff looking part is for use with slick surfaces, like cork, hardwood, tile or linoleum. To move furniture over carpet, just use the little frisbee looking part.
For $16 dollars (one pack each for the frig and freezer), our cork will be safe forever. Not a bad investment. 

The HomeDepot.com reviews were split, one person loved them, one person said they didn't work on marble floors (I'll never find out), and one person said they didn't work on carpet, but if they had the fluffy part on, they wouldn't. But, with only 2 stars on the site, I checked around the web and found this delightful endorsement: "go out and buy some, because no one wants a hernia!"

Our frig and freezer will be installed tomorrow, so I'll update then on our GC's verdict, but the installer's recommendation was good enough for us.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Color of Light

A lot of attention is currently being drawn to the debate of the switch from incandescent bulbs to more energy efficient lighting types. The type (or color) of light plays second fiddle. Here's our take on both plus what we selected and why. First a bit of background...

Lighting type

The newer type of lights most used and known to people are the CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) better known as the 'swirly' lights. The next big thing is the switch to LED (Light Emitting Diodes) that are even more efficient, have even longer lifespans but are currently a bit too expensive to be the bulb of choice, especially in bulk quantities. There are additional lighting types such as halogen and fluorescent tubes, but for simplicity-sake we'll focus on the now 'run-of-the-mill' CFLs.

There is still a bit of a debate as to how green the CFLs are (versus ye ol Edison bulb) due to some amount of mercury in them making them technically chemical waste. However you have to offset that by the amount of energy saved and the cost of producing that amount. We like the lower utiliy costs and simply include the busted CFLs in the run for disposing empty batteries which your local DIY store will take. Most people reading this blog will frequent those stores often enough that it wouldn't even mean an extra trip...

We are having all CFL bulbs installed except for two locations where we are using LED, the under-cabinet lights in the kitchen and the ceiling fan in the great room. The latter is simply to avoid having to replace bulbs 14 feet in the air... They now come incased in 'regular' shapes as well so you don't have to look at the swirly part if you don't like too. They also come in almost all light colors now. Again, a little bit of background...

Color Temperature

Most people have heard of cool and warm colors. By convention, yellow-red colors (like the flames of a fire) are considered warm, and blue-green colors (like light from an overcast sky) are considered cool. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) temperature.

Confusingly, higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K) are what we consider cool and lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are considered warm. Cool light is preferred for visual tasks because it produces higher contrast than warm light. Warm light is usually preferred for living spaces because it is more flattering to skin tones and clothing.
1,700 KMatch flame
1,850 KCandle flame, sunset/sunrise
2,700–3,300 KIncandescent light bulb
3,200 KStudio lamps, photofloods, etc.
3,350 KStudio "CP" light
4,100–4,150 KMoonlight
5,000 KHorizon daylight
5,500–6,000 KVertical daylight, electronic flash
6,500 KDaylight, overcast
6,500–9,300 KLCD or CRT screen
For our build we've actually selected CFL bulbs that generate a 5000K / Daylight color. It keeps the paint colors chosen for our house relatively similar between the day and night and is preceived as more 'bright' with the same amount of lumes (light intensity, similar to a wattage equivalent). Also, contrary to what you might think, the bright light acutally helps Jen's headache as it provides more contrast. Plus, we like the color... ;-)

Our bulb of choice - simply because of accessibility from a nearby Lowes - is the Utilitech  60-Watt Equivalent Daylight Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb. We buy 'm in a 4-pack so we always have a couple spares. We did the same brand/color with the kitchen flood lights.

Construction and Green building Terms (new tabs - top of the blog)

Today I found a nice glossery of construction terms from HomeBuilderManual.com and a Green Building glossary on the Sustainability Council. Since they allowed re-posting, (with credit of course...) I couldn't resist and it can be very helpful at times when you are talking with your Contractor (yes, that term is in there too) or with the Subs... and no, I don't mean the sandwiches... ;-)

You can link from the top of the blog on the tabs... or the below links:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lighting, LVT and loving our tile.

Today I had two sick boys with me all day. (Shocking that Niels got sick after sleeping with Typhoid Daniel the last four nights). After Niels got up, we headed to the house so D could sleep in the car and we could watch the progress.

In-Law Suite:
Jim Duffy hung the lights this morning so the tile guys could work on the floor. The bathroom is nice and bright now. 
Making progress.
All done!

Artsy shot to show off the subway tile set.
Another light up. These Maxim Malibu lights were such a good choice. They provide a ton of light and are quite a bargain. We used daylight CFLs and love the bright light they provide.
We found these hooks for our mudroom cubbies at Lowes.

Now to decide between three hooks or two.
Niels and Jim ooh and ahh over Niels' Dutch light fixture.
 Stairs and Hallway:
Our stair lights have been installed. These will be very nice when my vision is wonky.
The upstairs hallway lights are in. These are the three-light version of our ubiquitous Maxim Malibu light.
Laundry Room:
Putting down the luxury vinyl tile: Konecto Exotic Woods Vertical Bamboo (Caramel)
First peek at the floor by the wall.
And the floor with the maple cabinets.
And done. It went really quickly. It's a stick down plank tile.
View from the window.
All three of us were on the floor today. We'll put a tension rod between the closet and cubbies if we need to hang anything.
D's Bathroom:
Jim hanging D's vanity light.
D's bathroom is nice and bright. The vanity is the Urban from Menards.
We used the same Konecto LVT in D's room.
Close up of the LVT with SW Solaria paint and espresso cabinets.
View from the tub area.
Master Bedroom and Bath:
Our ceiling fan is up! This is the Craftmade Fifth Avenue.
Our water closet with SW Sensuous Gray and the newly grouted tile.
Close up of the grouted (but not yet cleaned) tile. The grout color is Natural Grey, and I think it's a great match for the tile.
We really like how the tile surround turned out. 
This tile didn't have any matching trim, so the tile guys cut full pieces for trim.
Close up of the tub surround. Love it!
What a great week of progress it has been! What a difference from last Friday! Work will slow down over the weekend--the tile in the foyer and mudroom will get done. Then, on Monday, the frig and oven will get placed, I think our quartz countertop for the kitchen and command center will be installed Monday or Tuesday, along with the River White granite in the in-law suite. Also, to the delight of everyone, the toilets are coming!!
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