Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ubatuba, Black Galaxy...

White Kashmir, Green Onion, New Caledonia, Imperial Cafe, Blue Eyes, White Swan...

and that's just off the top of my head. I've learned a lot about granite over the past few months. I didn't realize before we started on this house that we live right in the middle of granite-land. Wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, installers. Every time I drive around that area I see another stone place I hadn't noticed before.
I finally decided what I want for our kitchen counter: 'Desert eyes' from Iran. Or, as it was labelled in one store, 'Dessert eyes'. Lemon merangue or chocolate mousse?
It's a medium grey, not much movement, with flecks of iridescent sparkly bits. I've learned that anything with the words "Blue", "Pearl" or "Eyes" in the name is bound to be pricier, they refer to those wonderful iridescent flecks.
I took Kim to a wholesaler with a huge selection of granite and made the mistake of taking him past some of the showier ones before we got to my choice. It's truly amazing what nature creates. Some of them you just want to hang on your wall as art. When we got to the one I'd chosen for our kitchen Kim took one look and said "it's too bland." It took a few weeks but I finally convinced him a nice neutral grey would be the best. Some of the granites that look fabulous in the showroom could verge on tacky in your kitchen.

I spent last weekend taking my kitchen plan around Richmond getting quotes for our kitchen counters. We have such a large island, 10' x 4', that only one could supply us with a slab of 'Desert Eyes' big enough to top the island without a seam. Fortunately it was also the one with the best price overall.
We decided that we better put a deposit on that big slab before it sold so Kim & I went to write a big cheque. Funny thing happened though - We went outside where the granite slabs are lined up in rows to take another look at our Desert Eyes. We were double-checking the lenghth (122", phew) when Kim turned around, looked at the slab beside ours and said: "but I like that one better."
Bianco Antico, from Brazil. Much lighter that I had planned on but admittedly more interesting, with more 'movement' (a granite term), flecks of sparkly greenish gold and bits of a reddish colour that will look great with the cherry cabs. They have 2 slabs that are 124" long, more than large enough for our island. Figures, though that it is one of the most expensive granites. I choked a bit at the re-quoted price, even though we're buying direct from the manufacturer and getting a contractor's price.
I had to put it into perspective by going to Home Depot for one more quote. They carry a similar granite so we got a perfect comparison. I was expecting the HD quote to be higher but was surprised when it was just a little less than DOUBLE. Made me feel a little better about what we're spending on our counters.
We may be spending a few hundred more for our latest favourite but we're saving THOUSANDS by not buying it at Home Depot. How's that for justification?


One window..... Two windows.....

Three windows....

(The last time he'll be able to sit here)


And lots more...

Notice the careful application of black paper around the windows? Kim put Cole to work last Monday and that was his task. Teenagers have to earn their keep somehow.

Good bones.

There's been a lot of progress this week: plumbing, roof, windows...

Here's the house with the garage roof sheathed. It makes a strong feature. The garage roof cantilevers out over the front entrance so we have a well-protected entranceway.

The inside floor is all dug up in a maze of trenches with pipes snaking around and poking up all over the place. Makes it a little hard to get around on the main floor but it won't be like this for much longer. We passed the plumbing inspection so next week the floor will be put in.
No more sand in every pair of shoes I own. And I was just getting used to that gritty feeling between my toes.

More roof trusses - These ones are over the back of the kitchen, creating a vaulted ceiling.
This picture is taken from the deck off the master bedroom. Between the deep roof overhang and the roof-top right beside, it'll be a very sheltered spot but we were there this morning and it still gets a lot of sunshine in the morning so it'll be a nice place to put some planters along the railing.

See? Right along there - something bright and cheerful.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

shopping shopping shopping

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. I've been working hard honing my bargain-shopping skills.
A nearby Rona is closing and I've made some very good finds there: a $350-dollar kitchen sink for $88; a bathtub for $45.
Kim got into the act & did some hard bargaining. He likes the look of real stone, and always admires the very expensive travertine & limestone whenever we go into tile stores. Too bad it's so far out of our budget range we couldn't even consider it. Until now - Kim talked the Rona manager into bringing the price of some ivory tumbled travertine tiles down into a reasonable range as long as we took the whole works. The store's been pretty ransacked so I spent a good part of that Sunday afternoon gathering, sorting & counting tiles and filling boxes to make up whole packs that we could buy. Looks like we have enough to do our master ensuite.
Can't wait to have a bubble bath in my new bathroom.

We'll be able to see who's at the front door from our 2nd floor hallway window.

Back of the house. The deck opens off our master bedroom. It'll be my new spot to have a cup of tea in the morning sunshine.

Here's the rooftop sheathed.

Finally Summer

Our summer blue sky seen through the skeleton of our roof.
Kim's designed nice deep overhangs, perfect for our wet-coast climate because those clouds up there aren't always so white and fluffy.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Canada Day

When we pulled up to the house on Canada Day to see how our roof was coming along we found a couple of snazzy cruisers parked outside. Our first guests? Sorry we couldn't offer you a cup of tea. Not even water, nothing but lots of sand and sawdust here.

Look at those fabulous bikes. Those two must really turn heads riding along the dike. Mom's yellow and turquoise bike was the family's gift to her, picked out by Tammy and Alain. Tam has great taste, notice how even her shoes match her gold bike? (click to see bigger)

That afternoon we headed to Granville Island where the Vancouver Polymer Clay guild had a booth in front of The Crafthouse, promoting our guild and polymer clay art. It was a great, sunny day so we had lots of crowds admiring (and buying) the work of our guild members. Big thanks to Deb for organizing everything.

Rolling up

When the roof trusses are delivered they're hoisted up with a crane & laid flat on top of the second floor walls. A crane! More excitement for the little boys next door.

The next day they are "rolled up" into place....(Click to see bigger pictures)

And we have the framework for a roof over our heads.

June 27th