Sunday, August 31, 2008

All locked up.

Here it is, the long-awaited 'eyebrow window, installed.
And our lovely, extra-tall French doors, looking out into our chewed-up, barren back yard. (but isn't that a nice fence? Cole helped stain it)

This is the back of our kitchen/great room. To the left of the doors will be a small-ish gas fireplace and to the right, under the two corner windows will be a computer/homework desk at the end of a long run of kitchen cabinets.

In most house plans this area is where another table & chairs would go but I've always thought having THREE eating places (dining room, stools at the bar, breakfast nook) is a waste of space so we've ditched the space for a table and extended our kitchen and put in a huge island, since that's where everyone congregates anyway. This way the dining room will get a lot more use too. No formal, unused spaces in our home.

We will eventually take that blue plastic off the doors.

Shea really likes the design of the hinges.

And the doors don't just look great, they work too.

With the installation of this last window & the french doors and a temporary front door, we have achieved 'Lock-Up'.

The good thing about having a very ugly and beat-up construction door is that no-one will mistake it for our permanent front door.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Not much time to chat, I've been busy: spending money, paying for things like doors, handles and pot-light guts; making final decisions for orders on appliances; and meeting with the cabinet guys and the electrician. We should have power by next week.
I've also been spending more time at the house actually DOING stuff there. It's starting to feel like MY HOUSE, not just a construction zone belonging to a bunch of sweaty guys with hammers.
So here's this past week in pictures. Click to see closer.

We have floors.
We're going to polish and/or stain the concrete on the main floor so it has to be protected from all the construction mayhem. I started to cover it before I realized I hadn't taken a picture.

See the difference between the top floor here & the one downstairs? This one looks more even but it's actually quite rough to touch, designed to be covered up with flooring. The main floor looks mottled but is so smooth it has a bit of a sheen to it even before polishing.

And we have a garage door. Kim's first garage door. Looks very plain but that's the way we like it. It's going to be stucco-ed the same colour as the rest of the house.

Now we just have to fit this round window into This...

square hole.

And this is where my camera battery died on me.
I do have better pictures of our lovely 'eyebrow' window and french doors but they're still on the camera.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've re-discovered an old love.

I knew how to knit as a child but found it too time-consuming so took up more 'instant-gratification techniques like needle-point and crochet instead.
It was Kim who got me hooked on knitting as an adult when we first got together. He was admiring a hand-knit sweater in the window of a yarn shop when he noticed a sign offering classes. Looking at me and seeing the potential for an unlimited source of beautiful chunky sweaters, he had me in there & signed up for the next class in seconds flat.
Fortunately I didn't mind and did turn out a few nice sweaters for him (that he still wears more than 15 years later) before kids & life turned me into a knitting committment-phobe. Since Shea was born I haven't knit anything more substantial than scarves, dishcloths and placemats, even though I've now knit enough dishcloths to be the equivalent of a wardrobe of sweaters. I guess it's understandable since my main knitting time is in the car (not when I'm driving) on long family drives, so working on a sweater might be a bit unwieldly.

For the past couple of years I've had my big-project excitement vicariously, reading Yarn Harlot's blog, (click here to check it out) so I guess it's inevitable that I'd catch the sock-knitting bug.
I polled my family to find out if anyone would wear hand-knit socks and got two surprisingly enthusiastic "yes's" and one very predictable "no way" (guess who).

The last time I had a few minutes to kill in Steveston I found some fabulous sock yarn - Trekking - that creates wonderful stripey patterns. Now who do we know who would wear such wild-coloured socks?
Here's my first ever sock, a ski sock for our eccentric Shea.

It's so gratifying to have someone truly love what you make for them (and that I can still pick his fave colours). The only way I could convince Shea to finally take off his one new sock was to tell him that if he wanted the second one to be the same size he'd have to hand it over.

I was planning to have a lot of knitting time on our trip to Whistler last weekend so, even though I still had most of Shea's second sock to work on I optimistically bought some yarn to make a pair for Kim.
Good thing too, because we were 1/2 way to Whistler when I needed the next page of the pattern and found that I had brought a page from a completely different sock pattern. I'd printed out a few to choose from, from the internet so they were all on loose pages. GRRRRR
I came home with 3 socks knit up to the heel-turning stage. And some beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn I bought at the Whistler farmers market. (Someone's going to get a nice hand-made Christmas present.)

Here's a little Whistler friend who loves Chili rice chips.

We brought our bikes & Kim & I had planned to do a lot of cycling but the weather was scorching, far too hot for riding much. It was perfect weather, though, for wandering through air-conditioned art galleries and sitting in air-conditioned ski shops knitting ski socks while Kim & Shea looked at skis & boots and dreamed of nice cool snow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Just in time

We're protected from the rain. And with the roof shingles comes a complete re-thinking about the colour our house is going to be.
It was going to be shades of brown & our large collection of tester-bottles is proof of how seriously we take the job of finding the perfect colour. You can see swatches of some of the contenders painted on the front of the house.
But that was last week.
Now that the roof is finished we're going back, waaay back, to one of our original colour schemes: Black & White. Not a stark black & white but a creamy white trimmed with a soft, charcoal-ly black with a hint of.....something else. Haven't decided what else yet(blue? brown? purple?), but I have a few new tester bottles waiting to be slapped on some poster board to try out with the 'Lancaster Whitewash' we've (almost certainly) decided on. At least, thanks to the colour pros at Benjamin Moore, we've narrowed it down to only three blacks: Carbon Copy, Wrought Iron, or Iron Mountain.
Here's what the house looks like now. (Can't believe it, my blog is finally up-to date with what the house looks like today) Nice roof eh?
The skylights have all been installed, you can see the one over the entrance in this picture. (click on pic to see)
The house is all boarded up because we don't want anyone walking around in there while we wait for the concrete floors to be poured.
The floors look like this right now:

Even upstairs has red tubes snaking all over the floors
They were supposed to be poured last Wednesday but have been delayed until next week. It's frustrating but what can you do? It's all part of building a house. We can't hire just anyone to pour the concrete floors because we're planning to have stained concrete floors, so they have be smoother than if they were being covered with flooring. Our framer has found a concrete guy who does acid-staining and other decorateve concrete floors himself so he knows exactly what we will need for our acid-stained floors.
Part of our current decor in the living room at home is a stack of rolls of special adhesive-backed paper to cover the floors because they can't be walked on for about 4 weeks while the concrete finishes curing and is ready to be the acid-stained. The paper was another of my great scoops from the Rona liquidation sale.

Monday, August 4, 2008

No more sandbox

It's amazing just how much light a sand floor sucks up. I have to admit I was a little nervous about how dark the main floor was - did we mess up & not put in enough windows? But as soon as something resembling a floor was put in, even if it is just styrofoam with re-bar on top, the whole place lit up. What a relief! Even on this gray, dreary late afternoon the kitchen was flooded with natural light. Those pipes poking up are where the sink will be, on the kitchen island, and Kim looks like he's pretending to warm his bum in front of the peninsula fire place.

The site was a hive of activity when I stopped by mid-day last Tuesday to drop off a cheque for the roofers.
There were not just roofers roofing and framers framing, but plumbers plumbing, putting in the tubes for the radiant floor heating, and glaziers glaxing, installing Kim's custom skylight over the dining room. Kim insisted on having the roof finished before the concrete floor is poured, just in case it decides to rain. He must have ESP because the day after the roofers started we had the first downpour of the month. The only puddles indoors are where the skylights are going. (they were at home in our bedroom, waiting for the roof to be done - our temporary home is feeling like a Home Depot warehouse: skylights & window screens leaning against the walls in our bedroom, a kitchen sink & light fixtures in the living room... because our storage room is stuffed full.)