While the snows melt and the rain falls…
Well, site Super Bill said he wanted a nice heavy rain to soften the earth for grading. Be careful what you wish for! We saw the sun yesterday for the first time in a week. Not sure how much rain we got, but I know Minnesota finished with the 2nd wettest April on record. Trial by fire for the sump pump installed in the house! It did it’s job admirably. Bill said these were possibly the worst conditions it will ever face: heavy continuous rain, with no landscaping or hardscaping of any kind — plus no gutters yet around the house. And all stayed dry (phew)!
We are still waiting to hear when MN DOT will open the roads to heavy trucks again. Typically, it’s May 1. But this year we are hearing May 6th or 15th, thanks to the harsh winter and slow spring thaw. There are potholes in Minneapolis so big right now that people’s airbags go off when they hit them, so I guess I understand the wait! (no kidding: here’s a link: http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/25396951/photos-man-injured-by-potholes-airbag-busting-punch ).
But work continues on and for the house. (BTW: trying to think of a name for our new cozy cave. Any suggestions?). In the past week, Rich and I selected all flooring for the house. Not surprisingly, some of our choices will be controversial. You are either going to love or hate the carpet we picked for the stair runner. We dig it!
The plans show that we will place some interesting tile accents on the outside of the house — just above windows/garage doors, etc. But we have learned that exterior tile does not live through Minnesota winters. We spent the past week agonizing over this. Bought cool metal gears from Architectural Antiques, but decided they were a bit too steampunk for our house. Plus, we worried they would drip rust marks all over the stucco. Then we considered landscaping stone, but just couldn’t find anything interesting enough. I even looked into metal ceiling tiles, like you see in old fashioned bars. Thought they might age like the bronze front door. But, ultimately, we decided to go back to where it all began: the old house. We have this pallet of bricks we salvaged from the demo. You may remember that the 1950s ranch we tore down was built from bricks from the 1900s barn that it had replaced. So we are going to use those bricks as accents. We haven’t decided on the pattern yet, but it makes me happy to recycle and reuse history!
We also chose our stucco and trim colors. The stucco color is called Clear Linen, but it really is a lovely warm yellow shade. I wanted something that would stand out in a snowy landscape, but also look good when the trees and plants are in full leaf. The color palette is really coming together, as we have settled on bedding for all the rooms (I just need to return our first pick for the master, and hit Macy’s by Monday to get our new pick. Massive sale!).
Saw the cabinetry drawings, and have made a few changes, but I think we are almost there. They, like the doors, will be made of alder. As you can see from this sample picture, it’s a very clear wood, but it can also have pops of character. We don’t want anything too homogeneous, but nothing too country, either. It’s a nice, solid wood, that is simply not as prohibitively expensive as maple– plus it takes a stain better, and often is mistaken for cherry! We did, however, pick maple for our floors, you may remember me mentioning earlier. We were going to do hickory, but have been convinced we would really not like the look. We chose a tier 3 maple, which has more character, cam be roughed up to take the dark stain we want, and will be durable and cost effective.
Still waiting to hear from the landscaper about the retaining wall. We are worried, as this was somehow not put into the budget up front and it will be 5 figures for sure. If you haven’t been out to the lot (would be happy to take you on a tour!), you may not be aware that when we pushed the house back to meet setbacks, we basically had to hang the third stall of the garage off the edge of the hill. So we need to shore that baby up so we don’t lose it! Once that is in, we can pour the garage floor and move on.
The basement floor is ready and waiting for concrete. As you will see from the pictures below, they have put down the water tubes for the in-floor heat.
The system is very cool, and will certainly be welcome to my basement dwelling kids on frigid January mornings (or April mornings, as this year has shown). The wiring is roughed in, as is all the plumbing for upstairs. Super Bill is waiting for the interior doors to be finished so he can install them. We are doing things out of order on this job. Normally, you drywall first then install doors. But we are doing rounded corners, not square edges, so drywall has to be done around the doors.
We are expecting a slowdown in the next few weeks, waiting for the roads to open up. I have a mental image of huge cement trucks waiting at a starting line, waiting for the start-your-engines cue. In the meantime, the stucco guys will put on the “brown coat,” which is essentially a base and primer for the pretty finish coat. As soon as the doors are ready, we’ll put those in and start drywalliing. In the meantime, we will keep finalizing on our end. My next post will be about all I am doing to get this house ready to sell. Garage sale is May 28-29, and we will probably put the house on the market July 1!