Yellow

The first coat of basement floor paint is down.  Color: "Afternoon" (Sherwin-Williams).  This will be where my office will be and I am trying to create a happy, bright environment.  Because clients want happy and bright architecture, and I am trying to be a happy and bright person.

Happy, at least.

Painted concrete allows a room to be counted as "finished" for an appraiser, I learned.

Painted concrete allows a room to be counted as "finished" for an appraiser, I learned.

This slab contains PEX tubing for radiant heat.

Painting the Garage

The garage siding painting is underway.  The paint matches James Hardie's "Deep Ocean" color.

We desperately hope that the steel garage roofing will be installed during the upcoming week - it is the sole reason we haven't been able to close on the house and move in!

We desperately hope that the steel garage roofing will be installed during the upcoming week - it is the sole reason we haven't been able to close on the house and move in!

Frugality in action

Today, as part of our ongoing efforts to contain costs and find new homes for old things, we made some important acquisitions, total cost: $725.

First, we found a solid cherry queen-sized bed frame on craigslist.com; a Room & Board product about a decade old, from a smoke-free home.  It will match the cherry nightstands and dresser that never really felt at home with the old brass bed frame (my wife's; it predates me by several years...) that we sold before we moved.  Upgrade!!

Second, on a tip from an old friend using a new app, we selected 5 trees from a property in Edina that the owner sold to a developer.  This developer, like most (sorry for exposing my bias), wants to clear everything on the property, including the 5 or 6 huge maples and oaks as well as the Chilton stone retaining walls, and the 112-year-old house and garage.  We purchased 2 cherry trees, 2 hydrangea trees and an arborvitae that we'll transplant 2 miles away this summer.  These trees, along with the Dakota Birch we already planted, will bring the total number of trees on our property from 1 to 7.  And still the City of Minneapolis wants us to plant more, but we're arguing this.  We'd happily transplant the 40" red oak if we could...

Stay tuned.

Blue.

The exterior is being painted, in between scattered rainstorms.  Inside, final tiling is scheduled along with punch list items.

Here is a scattering of new images, taken today:

The start of the "Deep Ocean" exterior paint is on the siding.  We debated between pre-finished siding and field painting.  The former made more sense with the lap siding (no exposed fasteners) and the latter made more sense with the board-and-batten.

Fireplace stone

The stone cladding on the fireplace is now in place.  Soon, the "Shadowbox" fireplace trim will be added by Woodland Stoves & Fireplaces, and the matching stone mantel slab will be placed.

The stone is from Rubble Tile: "MSI Ledger Panel Split Face, Glacial Black", ungrouted.  The wall panel beyond is clad in birch plywood.

The stone is from Rubble Tile: "MSI Ledger Panel Split Face, Glacial Black", ungrouted.  The wall panel beyond is clad in birch plywood.

Kitchen, at Dusk, in June

The kitchen, in its near final form.  The bulb is missing in the semi-flush light over the sink, but the appliances work and the faucet now dispenses water, so we're getting close.

The major appliances are KitchenAid, all EnergyStar rated.  The hood is a 290 cfm Zephyr.  The cooktop is a 6-year old Electrolux, salvaged from a remodeling in Saint Paul.  Cabinets are either clear maple or paint (Benjamin Moore "White Dove").  Backsplash tiles are from The Tile Shop.  Base cabinet pulls are IKEA "ORRNÄS", which nicely echo the KitchenAid handles.

The major appliances are KitchenAid, all EnergyStar rated.  The hood is a 290 cfm Zephyr.  The cooktop is a 6-year old Electrolux, salvaged from a remodeling in Saint Paul.  Cabinets are either clear maple or paint (Benjamin Moore "White Dove").  Backsplash tiles are from The Tile Shop.  Base cabinet pulls are IKEA "ORRNÄS", which nicely echo the KitchenAid handles.

Anniversary

It's been a year since construction ostensibly started.  One year ago, a temporary power pole was put up in anticipation of a building permit.  Although we didn't need a variance, the project had been in review by the City of Minneapolis for a few weeks by then.  As it turns out, we wouldn't have our building permit until July 20.  It was the first of several unexpected delays on the project.

We kept the small conifer behind the pole, and transplanted the rest.  The fence was salvaged and is now part of the screened porch.

We kept the small conifer behind the pole, and transplanted the rest.  The fence was salvaged and is now part of the screened porch.

The delays continue as we await the certificate of occupancy.  The closing is contingent on the garage roof completion.  In the meantime, we are limbo, waiting.

Tree planting and ground prep

The Dakota Birch was planted today - an entire family activity!  We got the tree as part of the Minneapolis Tree Trust's lottery, and we placed it in the southwest quadrant of the yard.  This way, it won't interfere with any buried utilities and won't shade our neighbors to the north.  We already feel guilty that the 2-story portion of the house shades them much more than the previous house did.

25 years ago, when we bought our first house, we planted a 3-stem paper birch in the front yard.  It was a little thing in 1992, but now it's taller than the house!  Now, we seem to have continued the plant-a-birch tradition.

25 years ago, when we bought our first house, we planted a 3-stem paper birch in the front yard.  It was a little thing in 1992, but now it's taller than the house!  Now, we seem to have continued the plant-a-birch tradition.

Once the sidewalk is poured next week, we'll rototill the compacted soil, rake it smooth, and anticipate the seeding.  As the grass starts to fill in and stabilize the ground, we'll begin the next phases of landscaping.  Not all of the yard will be turf, of course.  We'll leave some at the perimeter to provide smooth transitions with the neighbors, and we'll plant the rain garden in the back with a variety of plant materials.  A lot of transplanted shrubs, flowers and other plant materials - both from the previous house and from our old house - will be integrated with new material over time.

The backyard is another hardscape of overly packed soil.  A future rain garden can be seen hinted at on the right.

The backyard is another hardscape of overly packed soil.  A future rain garden can be seen hinted at on the right.

Tiling in The Twilight Zone

The tile setters on the house are doing an outstanding job.  They take care with alignments and uniformity, and the quality shows.

Shower glass is on the construction schedule to be completed by May 10.  Plumbing fixtures are scheduled for completion by May 11.  We look forward to closing on May 18!

If you notice something odd about the previous paragraph, you're right!  The project has somehow gotten unstuck in time, like Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim.  Except that things are out of sync, there are no answers to questions, the title company is wondering what's going on, and we need to move in 9 days.     So it goes.

Unsettled

I realized today that it's been well over a year since we had a "normal home life"; where we knew instantly where everything was, where we could make a mess and leave it that way for a while, where we didn't care so much what the cat was up to.  It was early April 2016 when we had the old house staged and available for showings.  For almost 8 months we lived in a showroom-like curated version of our house, and by the holidays, when we finally had a signed purchase agreement, we were in packing mode.  Now, after nearly 4 months, we've been living ("exiled") in this dark one-bedroom apartment in central Bloomington.

As the long and winding road to our new house approaches its end, the anticipation of MOVING HOME is getting stronger. Having ¾ of our stuff inaccessibly stored is getting old, and the lack of direct sun in this apartment will make the light-filled spaces of the new house feel absolutely wonderful.

Maybe all of this will be worth it.

Held up by rain

While the interior finishing is nearing completion, key aspects of the exterior are awaiting another stretch of dry weather.  This week's rain has delayed concrete pours (sidewalk and garage apron) and painting (window trim and board-and-batten siding).

The wrap-up, in earnest

Things are entering the final push all over the house.  Painters, tilers, carpenters - all are at work in multiple locations.  Reviewing progress at end of the day, I liked a lot of what I saw.  This was a good antidote to the heaviness of yesterday, when I learned that we wouldn't be closing this week as previously scheduled.

Shown:
1) The cool Kesseböhmer blind corner device.
2) Finishing the hardwood flooring on the main floor.
3) Painting the upper level rooms.
4) Kitchen backsplash tile.
5) Main floor bathroom tile.

Landscaping begins

Grading has been nominally completed, and yesterday I had several dozen stones moved from a client's backyard in Uptown to the new house.  Today, I started moving the stones to their new home.  Some of them are now in place as small retaining wall off the southeast corner of the house.