Sunday, December 21, 2008

The master bath continues

The master bath has become a source of, um, problem.  Specifically, the shower.  
We originally planned to have a shower pan built at House of Marble.  For a 5 foot by 5 foot custom cultured marble pan they estimated a cost of $700.  Which I guess isn't bad.  But then we got to talking.  During my brief tenure with a company that dealt with travertine, marble and such, I acquired a piece of travertine.  It's four feet long, a foot deep and about an inch thick.  It would make an AWESOME shower bench.  But then we began questioning how the bench would work in regards to the pan.  Since it's solid travertine, the
 piece is not light.  There is no way to 'hang' it off the wall, it would definitely need to sit on something sturdy.  I suggested cinder blocks.  (And, after doing some research, I found that is in fact 
an acceptable foundation for a bench.  BUT that is because we have a slab foundation.  You might want to consider another option if you are dealing with a second story or if you have a crawl space.)
So, now we think that we may need to build a custom shower pan where the bench base would actually sit inside the pan and then it would all be tiled together.  It will have a much more custom look and be a bit more cohesive than the pre built pan.
The design for the shower will use a 13x13 tile set on a diagonal. 

This will go from the floor up to about the 5 foot mark.  There, we will use a small brick tile that I found on Ebay.  The store is Oracle Tile, (here is their Ebay store) they have great prices, and despite having to pay shipping charges from California, it was still cheaper than similar products at Lowe's/Home Depot and they have a great variety.  If you are looking for tile, these guys are a must.  I bought six sheets of the brick pattern and one sheet of a matching 1 by 1.  I'm going to use these as accents throughout.  
And above that will be the same 13x13 squared off and we will take the tile up to the bottom of the window which is around 7 1/2 feet.
If we can make the bench work, it take up the four feet and the last foot will be a higher shelf for shampoo.  If the bench will not work, then we will go with the cultured marble pan and a corner shelf.
I will eventually add a sketch of the shower design.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Our Master Bath

Our master bath has been something of a (you guessed it) problem.  But this one isn't really a bad problem, just that when I stand in the great room and look around, I can visualize everything around me.  I see the cabinets.  I see the paint on the walls.  I see everything. 
But, when I walk in the bathroom, all I can see are studs.  
A month ago, we scoured Carries Flea market. What we were looking for, we weren't sure.  A dresser where we could cut a hole in the top for a sink?  A cabinet to go with the dual vanity we found elsewhere?  Legs from a dining room table that could be used to 'spice up' a boring vanity?  Who knows.  What we ended up finding was this:
It's solid wood and has a slightly rustic charm.  It had a light coat of poly on it and we stripped it down.  We went to our home-away-from-home, Lowe's and bought some stock cabinetry to go on either side of this piece.  Our plan is to use the bottom to store towels and the top will house all the junk that normally resides on the counter top.  Since the house is custom, we are having an extra outlet placed behind this so the hairdryer and all the cords can stay neatly tucked into this cabinet.  
So, we set out to stain the cabinets.
Which, looked really, really good.  Except that the PINE armoire and the OAK cabinets took the stain in completely different colors.  (Yes, just like the display shows!)  So, we sanded those pieces AGAIN and painted them.  Which came out like this:
There will be a matching vanity cabinet to the left as well.  We are pleased with the results.  We also bought a few decorative trim pieces that will help tie the three pieces together.  We are looking for mirrors that mimic the curve of the armoire.  If we can't find something, we will probably be building our own.

Cooking up some problems

This week has brought more and more problems.  Not huge-life-altering-problems, more like annoyance level equal to a gnat-on-red-bull-problems.  The Kitchen.  My beautiful, beautiful kitchen.  I went back to Lowe's and visited with Dan, who surprisingly did not run when he saw me coming.  We moved the dishwasher and replaced it with a smaller cabinet in hopes of widening the walkway to an acceptable width.  We also added twenty inches of cabinets on one of the walls.  So that is done, and I promised that I would only be back to order them.  Let's hope I can keep that promise.
So, the amazing piece that we bought to be the centerpiece of the kitchen will need to house a vent hood for the oven.  We had planned for that and (stupidly) assumed that the vent could be directed straight out the back.  Nope.  It has to go up.  Well, the piece will end up being about 8 feet tall but the ceiling is 10 feet tall.  So our builder gave us three options.
1) Have the pipe stick up out of my BEAUTIFUL CABINET (and paint it the wall color)
2) Build a box around the pipe, which will still stick up out of my cabinet
3) Push the pipe into the wall so that it is not visible from the kitchen, but would create a crazy "bump out" off the back of the house that would be bricked around.
Um, no thank you.
We are going to attempt to build a faux cabinet over the top that will cover and extend all the way to the ceiling.  If it works, it will look gorgeous.  If it doesn't I'll have wished I had not shared this with everyone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lessons learned

Things have been moving along.  The windows were switched (it turns out that only one is wrong, the on over the garage and one in the garage were reversed) and the plumbing has been roughed in.  Friday, we met with the electrician and decided where all the lights would go.  During that meeting, I realized I have probably spent too much time picking out tile and not enough time thinking about other things.  Like, where exactly our light switches would go.  Since we designed this house, (and not someone who, you know gets PAID to do this) there are several places where things may not make sense.  Like the fact that we have a pillar RIGHT beside our front door, just to the left. So, our door has to open to the right.  Which would be fine, except, now the light switch has to go behind the door.  Poor planning.  I mean, I would have NEVER thought of that.  So, much of the conversation with the electrician went, "Well, what do you think?"  And then I would agree with whatever he said.  Because, he's been doing this for much longer.  And he was working on Saturday.  (I'm finding that more people do that than I thought – maybe it's the economy.)  
Friday, they also finished putting on the roof shingles and began installing the HVAC.  We picked a dark brown roof color.  And we are using ridge vents instead of "whirly birds."  They are more energy efficient and look much nicer.
The electrician says that he thinks he can have all the electric roughed in by Tuesday or Wednesday.  It looks like we are still on target to have drywall up before the end of this year.  
We had planned to stain the concrete over the Christmas holiday then protect them (depending on when the drywall will be done).  Today, we set up some test spots and ran into a bit of trouble.  The floors aren't as nice as we had hoped.  They are scratched, there are a few places they have been written on, and you can see some of the swirl marks from where it was smoothed.  Hmmm.  So, now, we are back to the budget trying to determine if we can squeeze out another 5K for bamboo floors.  Which, I really hope we can.  We had planned on doing hardwood later (like in a few years) to help lower our total cost now.  
We also have a small problem in the kitchen.  The island wont be as long as we thought.  Instead of 11' 8", it's probably going to be more like 10'10" which probably isn't as devastating as it sounds to me.  Basically, we designed the kitchen on paper.  And once we got the walls up, we realized that what we had designed at Lowe's based off what we had dictated to our architect didn't leave a walkway between the island and the refrigerator.  So, to make the walk bigger, we have to scoot the island.  But, the pipes are already set for the sink.  The only option is to move the dishwasher to the left instead of the right and to put a smaller cabinet where the dishwasher was supposed to go.  Again, not awful, just not great.  But, with each little hurdle, we learn.  Which will be great if we ever decide to do this again.  And that of course will be determined when everything is over.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shedding light on communication

This morning, I eagerly ran over to the house to see if any windows had been installed.  They had!  Except, several of them are wrong.  Maybe I'm being overly critical, but the 6x8 windows are only 6x7, and the three others on the front do not match.  One opens up, the other has a strange line down the middle, but the other is correct.  

Oh yeah, and the doors are hung in the wrong place.  My sliding glass door is in the master, and the french door is in the dining room.  I actually ran out there last night, but it was dark, forcing me to return this morning for further inspection and photographic evidence.  The workers were loading up when I noticed that the doors were in the wrong place.  So, I had this conversation:
Me: Excuse me, do you speak English?
Guy loading up: No.
Me: (trying to remember Spanish class from 10 years ago) Los puertos son...malo.
Which is Spanish for "Kelli is a retard."
Guy: *blank stare*
Me: Dammit.
I found someone who spoke enough English that he was able to nod in all the right places and finally say, "Tomorrow?"  Which, I whole-heartedly agreed.  I wasn't going to make these guys fix the doors at 6 p.m.
The morale of this story is, I have to keep a watch on this house daily, else it go awry and, I need to learn a lot more Spanish.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Sanctuary.

The kitchen.  My home away from home, um, in home.  If I could turn my desk into a cabinet an plunk down a slab of granite, I would be in heaven.  
OK, maybe that's a bit much, but I do love to cook and bake and basically make a giant mess of the kitchen, which my loving husband cleans.  Because he is awesome.
In our old house, we had white cabinet that we antiqued with a glaze.  And then (after Brad pestered me about it) we added a small island, but we didn't want it to match, so we went with a dark chocolate, almost black and topped it with granite. 

We like these colors, so we are planning on keeping it very similar.  Brad found this photo, and we have been referring to it as our 'inspiration piece.'

So, off we went to find something that will either come close to this, or at least help us get across the feeling of grandness.  We ordered our cabinets from Lowe's (in Bryant), and the extremely helpful (and more patient than I would ever be) Dan helped us get what we needed.  Until, of course, we found this.

And we had to completely over-haul the kitchen design.  And Dan changed it all with a smile.  (Although after the third time we visited him, I'm pretty sure he cursed us after we left.)  This piece was bought at Carries flea market, and (before you say it, no, it's not a mantle) it is actually the top of an entertainment center.  Once it is sitting on our cabinets, it will be close to eight feet tall.  Which should look perfect with the ten foot ceilings.  It will go on the back wall, over the stove.  To the right is the double oven.  And on the left wall is the microwave over a small cabinet, next to the refrigerator.

The kitchen has an eleven foot bar that will be comprised of the mocha cabinets topped with kashmir white granite.

The back cabinets will be glazed off-white (just like our last ones) but topped with Black Galaxy granite. Despite the gorgeousness of stainless steel appliances, we think that the black appliances will work better.  Which we have already started hunting down, but that's another post.