Basking in the afternoon sun!

We are here! We’re in. It is not finished, (Is the house of an architect and contractor ever finished?) but this new home is delightful. We are so happy to be here and be opening boxes of beloved stuff we’ve had in storage for a year. Much like Christmas, only better. 

More later. Too much to do right now. So much so, its hard to write a complete sentence. But, there is much to share so keep checking back… House blessings, new trees, friendly neighbors, relieved parents and happy kids. 

Party plans are in the works.


Stay tuned…

April 21, 2010

Moving day.

This is a response my cousin gave me when I asked her if she had drawings for an addition they are planning to their house, located just outside of Atlanta. This is the same cousin who asked me if this was my dream house.  My dear, southern cousin and her hubby are EXTREMELY crafty, talented, creative people, who take on house projects like they were baking cookies. You get the ingredients, you mix ’em together and Viola! you have a wonderful and yummy completed project.

Graceland envies this. As an architect I overthink things. And think and think and think. All that thinking energy could be used to make something nice. My cousin and her hubby are not architects. But, they do have what it takes to make a wonderful home. They let their intuition be their guide.

Ok. A new New Year’s resolution in April? Here it is. Less thinking and more intuition…

There is plenty left to finish on the house and the garden is an open (muddy) slate. It’s this type of approach that will make Broken Down House On Fire our home.

Dream house

April 8, 2010

My cousin asked me recently if this new house was my dream house. It took me a minute to answer, because honestly, that thought had never occurred to me.  I guess the answer should be yes, Yes! I mean, it’s a wonderful house, in a neighborhood I love, in walking distance to  many, if not most of my best friends, my husband’s best friends and my kid’s best friends. Its two blocks from our neighborhood park, which is across the street from a cupcake shop. It’s around the corner from a public library and a little convenience deli that makes good sandwiches. It’s a stone’s throw from great shops, restaurants and even, if you could throw quite far, downtown. And its in easy walking distance to Lake Washington. I mean, seriously, what more could you want?

But a dream house? That’s a term I don’t use lightly. It conjures up all kinds of  lofty thoughts, and frankly, none of which we are thinking right now. We are too  mired in the details and stress of completion, unemployment and tax season. Honestly, it all feels like too much somedays and we want to bury our heads in the sand and dream of days in our first house, playing with our babes in the babypool in the backyard.

In my mind a dream house is a house of ease. No work, no loans, no mud, no cabinets to put together, no shelves to mount. It’s a house where all that is already taken care of and to top it all off, it is sited in a beautiful garden in a warm climate. My dream house is not a big house either. Who wants a big house to worry about, clean, and keep up? And if I had that kind of money to just pay someone to do it for me I think I’d rather spend it on other people and visiting other places. Nope, the big McMansion with formal rooms, and unused spaces, and surpluflous stuff is not for me, not for us. 

My dream house is less about the structure but more about a state of mind. And because we are not in, or any where near that state at this point in time, my answer to my cousin is no, it is not my dream house.


March madness

March 29, 2010

March madness takes on a different meaning around here.

We move in in about 3 weeks. Hurray!!!!!

Floors are done. Final coat of finish on wood floors. Concrete floors on lower level have sawcut grid completed, are cleaned, and have 3 coats of floor wax on them. Carpet is installed in bedrooms (although they need to fix a wrinkle in Master Closet).

Plumbing is mostly done. All sinks, tubs, showers and toilets are plumbed, with the exception of the powder room toilet which is sitting in the living room. Nice.

Oh, and the Master tub saga. You see, we ordered a tub last summer. But the wrong one was delivered. We sent the wrong one back  and they sent us back the correct one, but didn’t send us the base. We did not figure this out until about 3 weeks ago when we needed the base to install the tub. We went to order the base and now, that particular tub has been discontinued. The manufacturer managed to find one base for us, after searching all of their United States showrooms, and they sent that one to us. Except, when we received it, it was scratched, dinged and cracked. Now they have found us yet another one and are sending us that one from Toronto or Montreal. I hate to think of all the fossil fuel used to get us this tub.

Appliances are delivered. Fridge is sitting on the porch, dishwasher is ON the counter (to get out of the way of the floor finishers) and the oven is too low. Not quite the functional kitchen. But the counters are BEAUTIFUL! An 18 ft long stainless steel counter for the back of the kitchen and a Calcutta Luciano marble island top with a cooktop in the middle. Graceland, MacGuyver and kids cannot wait to cook!!!

Electrical mostly done. Dimmers, switches and outlets installed. We’ll be living with bare bulbs for a while til we save some $$$ for light fixtures.

Cabinetry is getting there. Ikea cabs in kitchen are assembled and getting installed ASAP. MacGuyver is making the rest of the cabinetry, which includes, but certainly not limited to:

Upper cabs and shelves in kitchen, office and above piano – White

Living Room cabs, shelves and window seat – Stained grey

Master bath cabs – Walnut

Studio cabs – Appleply

Painting is mostly done. Touch ups here and there. With the exception of the kids’ rooms (can you say BRIGHT!), everything is white. Simply White, Benjamin Moore OC-117. Its a really beautiful color, er, or lack thereof.

Concrete is done. Rockery done. Drainage done. Hurray! These items were, by far, the biggest hurdles of the whole project.

And, Yard = Mud.


He’s back!!!

March 19, 2010

Alfie is back!!! This makes everyone at Broken Down House on Fire extremely happy. It’s the little things, right?

Alfie, the Hansgrohe hand shower, was in our kid’s bath at our old house. Installing him here makes it feel that much more like home.

Welcome Alfie. You were sorely missed.

It certainly does takes a village to raise a child, or two. Fortunately, for Graceland and MacGuyver, they live in the amazing village of Madrona.

Everyone knows a construction site is no place for children. And we haven’t forced our kids to put on a tool belt (yet). But because we have worked on this project 24/7, we’ve needed a little extra help. We’ve received it, and then some! Friends have constantly opened their doors for our kids while we worked. Not only has this allowed us to get a ton of work done but its also given our kids a place of calm refuge. The chaos of our rental situation is astounding, but its has been made more tolerable thanks to the kindness of all our friends.

Broken Down House on Fire is not complete yet, but we want to say a BIG THANK YOU now to everyone for helping us out this year. How many times have people volunteered to watch our kids, feed our kids, had our kids over for sleepovers, shuttle our kids to and fro, as well as just letting us know they are there for us and them? Countless. We could not have built this house without you!!!

Thanks to everyone, especially:

Marjorie, Lee, Ben, Ann, Steve, Griffin, Jacob, Keaton, Christine, Randy, Olivia, Henry, Didi, Tom, Mette, Ada, Waleska, Byron, Krista, Peter, Theo, Ellen, Michael, Aaron, Sylvia, Megan, Sam, Piper, Max, Burke, Dana, Elizabeth, Aden, Phebe, Brian, Jacob, Clara, Tina, Kyle, Easton, Avery, Kim, David, Hannah, Ben, Meg, Owen, Chris, Grace, Kathleen, Nick, Denise, Eric, Quinn, Cassandra, Claire, Dana, Stacey, Mary, Will, Ashlyn, Portia, John, Ria, Theresa, Craig, Jennifer, Greg, Patricia and Nora, to name a few…