Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shopping Spree

I'm back from my Association's annual meeting & convention, which was very successful. The weeks leading up to the Convention were busier than usual, so I wasn't able to post to the blog. Since I returned last Friday, I've been catching up on work, and working on the Erdhaus.

Shopping for fixtures for the house has been a high priority and a nice diversion from all the work we have yet to do. We ordered tile for the bathrooms and bought LED lights at Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, MD. The master bathroom will have porcelain tile (12" x 24" horizontal) dark grey tile for the shower walls, and 1" x 1" black (color=carbon) porcelain tile for the shower floor. We selected 18" x 18" ceramic tile for the guest bathrooms. The upstairs color is cocoa and the downstairs color is a light tan. It's kind of funny - Andreas said I could pick the tile colors for the guest bathrooms, as long as I didn't pick tan or brown. As it turns out, we picked the tile colors together, and the ones we liked best were tan and brown. The LED lights were on close-out. Perm lighting is the manufacturer and they were acquired by another company. So the discontinued model was being offered by Amicus for a great price ($70 per 6" recessed light). Obviously they are energy efficient.

From YLighting, we ordered three ceiling fans - one for the living room, one for the guest bedroom, and one for the master bedroom. The ceiling fans are the Velo line by Modern Fan Company.

Tom, the electrician, is scheduled to start installing the interior light fixtures next week. We're holding off on exterior installations until the deck is built.

Another selection we have made is for the walkway to the house. Maryann from Terra Landcaping brought over some permeable pavers and marked out with orange marking paint where the walkway will be. While we have the pavers for the walkway, we're electing to go with a simple gravel driveway/parking area (until I win the lottery and can afford to put permeable pavers there instead).

In addition to having fun shopping, we've been working hard on the projects that we're responsible for. Andreas posted photos of the stained concrete floor. We cleared out the items that were in the great room, cleaned the floor there, and put two coats of stain in the great room. Well, Andreas did that and I helped a bit with the first coat of the soy-based stain. Andreas did the first coat of soy-based sealer on the floor today. The sealer will soak in and then we'll put a second coat on and allow it to dry overnight.

The floors look like a marble or granite counter top. The concrete soaks in the stain differently, so it gives texture and variations in color. The Acri-Soy stain and sealer also came from Amicus Green Building Center.

I took yesterday off from work to paint and my goal was to finish all the painting on the main level of the house. It took a bit of time to get set up, and I realized quickly that I first needed to get the shop vac out to clean up a lot of drywall dust that was in the clerestory area. Then it became clear to me that in order for the paint to look high quality, I needed to do a second coat of primer on the walls before applying the final coat of paint. So I applied the primer in the guest bedroom, guest bathroom, and guest hallway and I put the final coat of paint on the walls in the guest bedroom and hallway. I had finished the great room walls and the pantry last week (right after returning home from our Convention) so almost all the paining (oops, I meant to type painting) on the West side of the house is done (just the guest bathroom to finish). Then I can do the second coat of primer and then paint in the master bedroom, closet, and bathroom. I should be able to finish that this Saturday.

There were a lot of interruptions yesterday, which were welcome (painting gets old after a bit, so it's nice to have a break every now and then). Several people came by to look at various projects so they can prepare quotes for us. Another possible subcontractor called to set a time to look at connecting the radiant floor heating system. Lowes was supposed to deliver our appliances, but I called the night before to reschedule for some time in November since the lot is a mud pit. Even though they called
later in the evening to confirm that the delivery was delayed, I got a call from the delivery folks stating my delivery was next on their list and they'd be at the house in 30-60 minutes. Oops. I explained the situation and they apologized, so it was a non-issue.

After Andreas finished his meetings at work yesterday, he came to the house and we installed some drywall on the basement ceiling together. We forgot to ask the drywall subcontractor to do a section of the ceiling at the stair landing and the hallway into the downstairs bedroom area. It took a few cuts of drywall and we installed the two sections together. I'll work on taping/mudding/sanding the drywall in the coming days.

While the inside is taking shape, we're hoping the weather will cooperate a bit so we can re-focus on the outside of the house. We started digging more trenches to finish the rainwater storage tank connections. Two trenches for overflow pipes and one trench to bring the water from the tanks to the house. (We've double-plumbed the toilets and hose bibs so they can run City water or rainwater.) Now if we ever again have a period of time without rain so the ground can dry out, we can finish the trenching, get the tanks connected, and then Bob DeMarr's crew can do the final grading.

Once the final grading is done, the subcontractors will install the rest of the cedar siding on the South and West sides of the house. Maryann's crew then can install the permeable paver walkways and we can lay truck loads of mulch over the clay soil to help stabilize the soil and make the lot look much, much nicer than it currently does. And then there's decking to be built, but that's a blog posting of its own - another expensive disaster we're trying to mitigate, compliments of Aaron/Cornerstone Building Services.

Each day's
accomplishments brings us a step closer to moving in the house. It's important to recognize how far we've come, since it's easy to see how far we have yet to go.


  1. Is building the deck part of the contract you have with the building services people?

  2. Kathleen, the labor for the deck was included in the framing contract we had with Aaron Holmes/Cornerstone Building Services. Since we have terminated our contracts with him, we're finding another subcontractor to do the deck now.

    Aaron's crew installed 6"x6" posts in the ground/on the concrete deck piers that Bartley Corp poured around the house. As it turns out, 6 of the 6"x6" posts were installed improperly and they need to be pulled out completely and new posts purchased/installed. At about $25 each, it's frustrating to have to spend more money because they didn't get it right the first time.