On the Home Stretch

The tradesmen are working fast and furious to wrap up the job. I continue to be amazed by the speed and care they put into our home.

The Bitchin’ Kitchen

Kitchen lit up at night

The kitchen, mostly complete

I am very excited to get cooking in this kitchen. My wife drove the color picking and design direction here and I couldn’t be happier with the result. The home is dark woods throughout with a subtly sparkling white Caesarstone counters. The bar accent lights are a Home Depot special that bring a great splash of color into the center of the room. One of my favorite elements is the kitchen backsplash (pictured at top). It is glass tile with a beautiful texture upon closer inspection. I have been enamored with glass tile backsplashes for years and I finally get to have one of my own.

Glossy countertop reflection

Shiny Caesarstone countertop

The appliances are all on-site and are installed or are waiting for a bit of finish work before they can be slid in. The plumber needs to come back and install all of the fixtures and the electricians have a few loose ends to tie up. Finally, the Caesarstone bar for the center island needs to be mounted. This countertop overhangs on two sides, making it an ideal informal dining space for four.

The Hardwoods

Oh yes, the hardwoods. I’d love to fill this post with glamor shots of the beautifully stained oak planks throughout our house, but they are covered at the moment by cardboard roll taped down at the edges. However, I’ll tell you that it is going to be amazing. Outside of the bathrooms and the bedrooms, every major room in the house has oak. At my wife’s urging, we minimized the square footage covered by carpets and now have a bowling alley’s worth of wood.

Hardwood stair faces

Hardwood stair faces with taped bullnose

As much as I love the look of hardwoods, the practicalities are a bit vexing. First, I dearly hope the final product doesn’t drive me mad trying to chase down furniture that could scratch the floors. Despite being pre-finished wood, it is actually regular oak, so I suppose we can always sand and re-stain later if needed. Also, I’m still a bit perplexed by the common strategy of laying down gobs of hardwood and then covering it with rugs. I mean, if you’re going to have an area rug cover all but the outer three feet of a room, why not just have hardwoods around the edge and carpet the interior? I know what you’re thinking and my wife thought that idea was stupid too, so you’re not alone.

Minding the Gutters

A leaf trap in the downspout.

Downspout leaf trap

Our house is clear of any tall trees and we don’t plan on planting anything tall enough to get litter on the roof, but leaves and such will accumulate just the same. Since our gutters drain to underground sequestration, we want to minimize the amount of debris that goes into the basin.

In-gutter solutions are very expensive and every brand you see at a home show will claim that none of their competitors work. This is the sort of “dumping garbage on your neighbors’ lawn” activity that makes me distrust the entire industry, regardless of merits. Instead, we opted for a trap integrated into each of the downspouts. The nice thing about this solution is that you just need to walk around the house once a month or so and bend over to remove and clean the trap. No ladders to climb or expensive guard systems to install and maintain.

Finishing Touches

The electricians are waiting on the bollards to be installed on the stair rail before they’ll complete their work. Apparently they can be trusted to work on ladders and with high voltage, but can’t help but roll under a handrail bar without bollards. Once the rail is complete, the final lighting work will go in.

There is a second make-up air damper that just went in the other day. This one goes from the outside to the cold air return duct on the furnace. It’ll open whenever the whole house fan upstairs is turned on. Had I realized they would be putting one into the HVAC system, I wouldn’t have had one installed in the kitchen for the powerful hood fan. It was a relatively small expense, but certainly a bit more hassle for whatever sub had to put the second one in.

Finally, the carpets are being finished up today.  We picked out a very handsome low-pile that is both soft and cat compatible. Our family friend is doing the install and early indications are that it is going to look smashing.

At this pace, we will probably have completion in the next couple of weeks. We’re really looking forward to wrapping things up and it’ll be done just in time for the crazy holiday season!

3 thoughts on “On the Home Stretch

  1. It’s all looking great and the kitchen looks phenomenal. I had missed the post on the underground drainage. We call them dry wells here and generally they’re pre-formed perforated concrete wells surrounded by crushed stone that the gutter lines drain into. I’m pretty sure they’re not required but will most likely put in a couple in anyways. I want to keep the water away from the foundation.

    Why the tape on the tread bullnose? Is it to protect them before move in?

    • The tape is holding down protective cardboard sheeting. They’ve rolled out gobs of it covering all of the hardwoods throughout the house. I’ll be in there snapping photos like a madman once they pull all of the tape off.

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