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.

Sigh.

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…

Pretty obvious saying, huh? Its a good thing to think about today, of all days, when good news and bad news were received in the space of one hour. We have to remind ourselves that we can only take things one day at a time, one step at a time.

Our house is looking beautiful. Floors are finished. 5″ white oak – an engineered flooring (!), sanded and 2 coats of a water based finish.  

Its funny, this staircase photo reminds Graceland of an M.C. Escher drawing. Only, his stairs had railings.

Bring on the dragons

March 9, 2010

We are installing a moat around our new house to keep out dragons, bad guys and other unseemly characters. Problem is that the neighbors don’t like it too much. I can’t imagine why.  Honestly, they haven’t complained about the moat per se, but they do get a little cranky when we chop their water line in half just when their mother is in the shower with her hair all lathered up. With the flames and smoke spouting from our neighbor’s head after the water line debacle, we are hoping the moat will keep us safe. Sadly, its not working.

In all seriousness, we have a real headache on (in?) our hands. Graceland spent 2 months getting a permit for a retaining wall around the perimeter of Broken Down House on Fire. After many trips downtown to the 23rd floor of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) they finally agreed to a permit for a rockery to be constructed. Then, several weeks and many contractors later, Graceland decides to work with a local landscape company whom she has worked with before. More time goes by and the fateful day arrives. Not more than one hour into construction when the chain of phone calls start from the angry neighbor. “No Water! Your landscape guys cut off my water!!” MacGuyver hustles home to quickly, although temporarily, repair the problem. (Enough so Mom can get rinsed off, we suppose…)

Many days and cranky emails later, it turns out the water line was the least of our problems. The sewer line runs right under where the rockery is supposed to go!  It is expensive to move the rockery, IF, and its a big if, DPD will let us do so without many permits and dollars later. It is expensive to move the sewer line, IF, and its a big if, DPD will let us do so without many permits and dollars later. Graceland wants to bail on it all and pile the dirt where it was, plant some ivy and be done.

But now the landscape guy is telling us we are past the point of no return for that bail out solution too.

So there Broken Down House on Fire sits, with a giant excavation hole around it. I think at this point we should fill it with water and alligators, pull up the drawbridge and retreat to our castle complete with moat. What else is a Princess to do?