Sunday, February 17, 2013

Progress photos - appliances, lighting & plumbing

Our appliances were delivered and they look great!  If you're in the Seattle area, I would strongly recommend purchasing your appliances through Albert Lee.  Not only did they help us select the appropriate appliances for our space and needs, but they also provided a new range when the first one we received failed to ignite the bake function on the oven.

All of the appliances that we purchased are Kitchen Aid, with the exception of the vent hood, which is Vent-A-Hood.  Since our city has a requirement of installing make up HVAC ventilation for vent hoods over 300CFM, we looked to Albert Lee to find us a hood that met the requirements.  The particular model that we picked is 250CFM, eliminating the need for rework on the ventilation in our house - a good thing, after we hemorrhaged some funds to get the cabinets into finished condition.

Kitchen Aid dishwasher
Kitchen Aid 5 burner gas range with Vent-A-Hood vent hood
Kitchen Aid microwave & wall oven combo
Kitchen Aid fridge

 Our plumber also came and did his final trim out.  We're really thrilled with the way that the fixtures look.
Master shower with frameless shower glass

Master vanity - one of the sconce shades broke and we're waiting on a replacement

Kohler Bancroft Monoblock lavatory faucets in the master bath

Kohler Bancroft Monoblock lavatory faucet with Pental Alpine Quartz in the powder room

Moen prep sink faucet with Kohler cast iron undermount sink
Our electrician also dropped by to install the light fixtures.  Unfortunately, several of the light fixtures had broken shades.  We're still awaiting their replacements, so I don't have a full set of lighting photos.  These pictures will give you the general idea of the style that we selected.  Classic, restoration style.

Kichler 8 inch Retro Mini Pendants above the island and an $80 drum pendant from Overstock above the dining area

Foyer pendant by Rejuvenation

Semi flush schoolhouse style light by World Imports in the transitional space between master bedroom and master bath
Once I have pictures of all of the lights in the house, I'll be doing a separate post on which lights we chose and why.  Stay tuned!

Progress photos - interior painting

We've made lots of progress on the house over the past 3-4 weeks.  Our painter came and finished up the interior.  It took several weeks and then we had some issues with our cabinets (more on that in a moment).

The painters spent several days prepping the area with masking, paper and diligently covering the flooring and windows.
Great room built in bookshelf

View of the kitchen from the great room

Foyer dormer

Prepping the box newels
 In writing this blog, I've been careful not to complain or focus on the negatives of building a custom home (and trust me, there have been many moments where I've wondered what we've gotten ourselves into).  Yet there's one issue that we couldn't ignore: the cabinets.  We used a custom cabinet maker that our builder had used before.  He strongly recommended and vetted his work.  With this suggestion, we trusted our builder. But let me make a very important statement:

If your gut is telling you that a particular subcontractor is sort of a weirdo, don't discount that.

Had I trusted my gut, instead of our builder, we would have been in much better shape with cabinetry and our budget.  I'm still kicking myself for not trusting my gut, as I always do, but it is what it is...

Our cabinets were delivered and according to our contract, they were supposed to be "painted, finish grade."  What we received were cabinets with wood showing through what appeared to be primer.  After many weeks of the cabinet guy being incommunicado, we felt as though we had no other choice but to hire our painter to remove all of the cabinet doors and drawers, and spray them into finished grade.  If you're wondering, it was approximately $4,000 to have all of our cabinets repainted.
Cabinets stacked in the garage

Bare wood = not good
 Aside from the cabinet debacle, the rest of the interior painting went really well.
Great room fireplace

Great room 

Interior doors

Master bedroom fireplace
 After the cabinets were repainted, and installed for the second time, we noticed that many of the doors were warped.  You might be wondering whether or not the repainting of the cabinets caused the warping.  Here's what I can tell you: we have stained cabinets in the guest bathroom that were also severely warped.  These doors were delivered in that condition and were never removed or retouched.

As you can see below, I marked all of the doors with blue tape.  When we threatened to withhold payment from incommunicado weirdo cabinet maker, he was suddenly willing and able to rectify the cabinet situation.  We now have new doors that are ready to be installed by our finish carpenter.  Suffice to say, it's amazing that I didn't end up committed after dealing with this particular guy.
Mud room

Desk in the kitchen

Vent hood installed, and it barely fit.  

Looking at the kitchen from the great room

Office doors

Powder room
Box newels

Staircase into the basement

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Progress photos - carpet installation

The carpet is in, and it looks great!  Initially when we had selected carpet with our designer, she suggested Tuftex by Shaw.  Since our carpet guy had a tough time getting the Tuftex carpet, we began looking at other options.  Enter the Lexmark Residential Collection.  I had never heard of Lexmark Carpet, but after doing some research, it turns out that they just entered the residential market, with a long history of providing carpet in "hospitality" environments (ie: Marriott).  

I spoke with the local vendor and he said after a long career in the carpet industry, he does feel as though Lexmark is making a good residential product.  Of course he's biased, as he currently works for Lexmark, but push came to shove and we needed to make a decision.  I ended up selecting the Lexmark Sterling carpet in 329 Antique Beige.  Here are the things that I liked about this particular carpet:
  • You can't feel the backing through the nap.
  • Some of the loops are looped and others are not.  That means that if our carpet ever gets snagged, all I have to do is take a pair of small scissors and trim it out.  This particular product seemed to be the best of both plush and berber carpets.
  • It feels good when you stand on it.
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors.

Lexmark Sterling Carpet

Lexmark Sterling Carpet color samples

Lexmark Carpet 329 Antique Beige
 When the delivery guys showed up, they had a van packed full of carpet.  I'm still not even sure how they drove their van to our house, but whatever...

One of the best tips that I can give you is to check the dye lot of your carpet.  Since your carpet guys will inevitably have to place seams, it's really important that all of the rolls coordinate with one another.  The last thing you want is to have your carpet installed and realize that there's a slight difference in each roll.
Roll of Lexmark Sterling Carpet

Carpet pad

Stainmaster carpet pad
 First they laid out the carpet pads, and then installed the tack strips.  Glad I was wearing running shoes and that my tetanus shot is up to date.
Carpet padding and tack strip

Nailing the pad down to the subfloor

Trimming the carpet to fit

The transition between the carpet and master bath - if you look closely, you can see the rain showerhead

Beautifully installed Lexmark Sterling carpet

Carpet going down the stairs into the basement

Now that the carpet is in, I can honestly say that I'm glad we went with Lexmark.  It feels good to walk on, has a nice variation of texture and as the carpet guy who installed it (with 31 years under his belt) said: "This is good carpet!"

Progress photos - driveway & front walkway

Where does the time go?  Obviously I haven't posted in a while, but that's not for a lack of progress on the house.  I've been busy coordinating the driveway/front walkway, carpet installation, electrical and plumbing.  

The driveway and front walkway are in!  Obviously this was a big item on the checklist towards completion, and one that is totally dependent on weather.  Since we don't usually get sunshine in Seattle until July 5th, it took a bit longer than we had hoped to get the concrete poured.  Everything went smoothly, until the concrete truck broke the sidewalk.  This is something that the city will hold us accountable for (ie: we have to replace it).  To be quite honest, I'm surprised that the sidewalk has stayed intact for this long.  

Without further adieu, here are some pics:

Excavation of the old black top that was placed when the lot was subdivided

Our concrete guy left the keys in this thing.  Tempting, very tempting...

Placement of the new drain

Gravel delivered - this was spread out and sits underneath the concrete and rebar

The cement truck

Waiting for the mixture to come down the chute

The driveway as the sun is setting

Forms for the front walkway

Concrete guys, hard at work!

Pouring the front walkway

The giant concrete "Swiffer," as I liked to call it

Waiting for the front walkway to set up

The finished product