Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Welcome Back Aaron

Our contractor, Aaron Holmes, was on vacation over the past week. We'll be glad to have him back so construction picks up pace. Last week we expected the plumber to come to start rough-in plumbing work. No show. The good folks at Bartley were going to do the final grading. Rain prevented that. Andreas was able to caulk the interior edge of the sill plate, which sits on the foundation, to prevent air flow. We cleaned around the house/lot as well. Other than that and the shopping mentioned below, it seems like there isn't any noticeable progress, but we certainly worked on various aspects of the house each day. 

With Aaron back in town, hopefully he brings good weather with him since Bartley will be on-site Wednesday morning to start the final grading. We also will sit down with Aaron to review the next details of the construction, to ensure everyone's on the same page, and we will go through the EarthCraft Virginia green building worksheet to verify that we're meeting the required sections and earning points as we planned at our first meeting with Chris Conway, our EarthCraft Technical Advisor. It's better to spend time reviewing the standard/requirements on a regular basis than to miss something and not get certified as a result. Details, details, details!

We enjoyed meeting a few folks on the lot in the past week as well. Jes and Jody are using the same house designer for a planned renovation of their home in Arlington, so we showed them our house and exchanged war stories. Chris Conway came by yesterday morning with some folks from the Environmental Protection Agency who are involved in developing the EPA's new green home program focusing on indoor air quality. It was great to get their perspective on the house. 

Shopping Spree

If you're ever in need of plumbing fixtures, just give a call to Abdess Fedlan at Ferguson in Chantilly, VA.  We first met Abdess last August as we were preparing our preliminary budget for the house. We picked out some super high-end items as a bit of a splurge. Then the reality of construction costs set in. We refused to settle for "builder grade" plumbing fixtures so we sought advice from Abdess who graciously guided us through their gorgeous showroom and several catalogs. We shaved our plumbing fixtures budget by about 35% while maintaining a high-caliber selection of fixtures from Duravit, Hansgrohe, and Kohler. Thanks, Abdess, for your guidance and patience with us! 703-375-5800 is Abdess's phone number.

We're now searching for a kitchen range hood. This needs to be purchased soon, in order for the subcontractors to prepare the venting and for Piedmont Roofing to come back to bring that venting through our beautiful standing seam metal roof. Andreas spent a good part of the day seeking range hoods that strike a balance between effectiveness (exhaust in CFMs) and quietness (as measured in SONs or decibels). Oh, and price too. We considered Miele (super expensive but beautiful and they are quiet by reputation), KitchenAid, and others. It's amazing how expensive good quality range hoods are.  We think we've narrowed the brand choices to Haefele or Kobe. Does anyone have any experience with these?

On a related note, the folks at Wittus in Connecticut have loaded our Bodart & Gonay Optifire fireplace on a truck and it is headed our way. The fireplace chimney also will need to go through the roof. 

We also did some more research on wood choices for the exterior clerestory area siding, and the interior ceiling. We dropped by T.W. Perry in Leesburg since we weren't far away and got some ideas there. More fun to come!