Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mud season

It's been a couple weeks since the last update. Last time we were waiting for drywall to start. At that time the drywall was already coming in five weeks behind schedule. The good news is the sheetrock is hung. The bad news is it still isn't mudded and the slab isn't poured. All this is contingent on getting some dry heat in the house. Fortunately the electrical mains are now connected. However when I last saw the panel it did not look connected inside.  The mains are hanging pretty close to where our back porch will be, too, so I'm pretty sure it'll have to be moved up.

Anyway. A couple weekends ago I went by the house to find snow melting off the roof and running down into the unfinished walk out basement area. I spent a few cold and damp hours trying to get plastic sheeting clamped up to direct some of the water away from the house. I was sick as a dog afterwards.

Most of the water puddled beside the house. 

Then it ran down into the walk out area. The plastic sheeting was to catch the roof runoff and direct it away from the house.

I hope nobody was planning to use these OSB boards for anything important.

I happened to have a submersible pump so I used that to get rid of some of the water that had pooled up by the door. Once the sump pump is connected there should be much better drainage.

Inside is looking better. The builder added a transom to house the top of the shoji screen sliding doors that will be in front of the tatami room. It doesn't house any mechanical systems or structural stuff, but it will hold up a track for the shoji screens to slide along.

It's a small house but the front office / spare room area is actually pretty spacious. The tall narrow windows are a nice touch by the architect, Linebox Studios. They have been moving toward commercial work and high end residential stuff, so our house is probably one of their smallest projects in Ottawa and one of the more conservative styles, but when you look at the house I think you can tell there is something special in the design. As the house begins to take shape we can begin to appreciate some of the architectural details. 

Seeing things finally beginning to take shape has given us a little more confidence that this will be a really special home when it's all said and done. As March slips by we sincerely hope the inside will be completed by the end of April as promised.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An overdue update

Been a while since the last update, so I'll post some photos. The was some good progress at the house in February, the main event being window installation. After that we had some electrical and hvac work going on which is not as noticeable but very important. Insulation was delayed by a couple of bad winter storms that hit us in February. The drywall which was supposed to start in early February ended up getting delayed to the point where it's now starting about 5  weeks behind schedule. That's a real concern so we hope things go a little more smoothly as the weather starts to improve here. We're getting very anxious to finally complete this renovation and be back in our home.

Picking out flooring and tiling have kind of consumed our weekends for a while. We've visited about every flooring store in the city I think. We finally went on the recommendation of our builder Bramel Developments, to see Glen Carastan at Carastan Carpet and Flooring. Not only did Glen remember our names the following week but he remembered our daughters name as well and which hardwood we were the most interested in. We ended up going with a natural wire brushed oak because it had a fairly clean simple look. I've never been a huge fan of strong "cathedral" grain patterns - I the like long linear grain of rift and quarter sawn boards a lot better. But it somehow grew on me and Chiyo likes it too. 

That's Chiyo holding up a flooring sample next to some tiles.

Tiles are a whole other story. I had a pretty good idea what I wanted - dark gray slate in the entry, an anthracite middle gray in the kitchen... White tile for the bath surround. I was surprised to find out that "gray tile" comes in about a bazillion flavors. Well not surprised that there are options, but surprised just how much time and effort it takes to find one you like. Then there's the fact that it has to match the rest of the materials.

I ended up finding some natural black slate on sale at Lowes and decided to get it while they had it. It'll be for the entrance, which is the "genkan" Japanese style sunken entrance. This is where you take off your shoes and in really old Japanese houses the floor in this part was stone or compacted earth. So these somewhat rough slates are, I think a kinda appropriate choice. Not too neat and tidy, a bit wild and natural looking. Definitely earthy. These boxes were heavy!

Last weekend we finalized some tile choices, then focused on making selections for doors. I think we made some good progress on both fronts.

The Top of the Slope

After a year-long hiatus I've been wanting to get back to this blog because a lot has happened in the meantime, and a lot of interesting...