I’m making progress.  Thanks to our youngest son, I was being woken up at 3 am.  I would then proceed to toss and turn worrying about every detail of our unbuilt house until about 5:30 am every day.  Now he’s not even remotely sleeping through the night anymore and I get up at 1 am, unable to fall back a sleep.  If I keep my fingers crossed we’ll keep working backwards to where eventually he gets up at 6:30 am and I can just goto work and not have to worry about insomnia.  At some point the house has to be done, and the kids have to move out of the house……right?  Unfortunately there is no reliable indication that either will happen in my lifetime.

We stopped out yesterday (Saturday) for a brief moment to check on progress.  Still not much seems to have been done, but two major things look to be relatively done.  The painters appear to have completed painting the hallways, and bedrooms.  Also the stone is in on the fireplace.

In regards to painting, we’re really happy with our color selections so far. My only concern is there are several places, especially around the staircase that never received the drywall attention they needed. There are holes, gaps and exposed plywood easily visible.  The trangle in-fill below the foyer staircase is an odd 1/8″ inset compared to the surrounding wall.  Generally speaking the attention to detail and craftsmanship in this area is lacking and will need to be revisited.  This is the type of stuff that keeps me up at night, but does not seemingly bother anyone else.  That’s why god invented punch lists I suppose.  As a home owner it’s the best part of the new construction process.  It’s the only time you can roll through the joint and point out every flaw in hopes that someone will fix them.  It’s an instance where you’re better off having a contractor instead of self contracting because that one person kind of has to fix your problems or he doesn’t get paid.  It’s my impression, that when you’re self contracting each trade works in a vacuum and is typically focused on their piece of the puzzle.  So when, for instance, you have big gaps in your drywall no one picks up on it and the painters just paint over them.

The stone fireplace is much the same.  From afar it looks great.  I could have never done half the job these guys did in a hundred million billion years.  But of course I notice all the problems too.  The look is supposed to be a “dry stack” look which means virtually no discernable mortar lines.  I even left a note, but alas, the stone is fairly spacy.  The weird thing is there’s no mortar between the stones so you can see the raw mortar scratch coat I’d put on previously, as well as the stone edges (clearly broadcasting that this is fake man made stone).  Hopefully they’re coming back to squish mortar in between all the joints.  If not, I will.  This won’t be the look I wanted but at this point I need it done.  An even larger problem is they stopped the stone short of the EDGE60’s metal flange.  In reality they should have notched the stone to go over the flange.  Now I have fireplace with bizarro exposed screw heads; I’ll have to figure something out (powdercoated metal covers with magnet fasteners), but you’d hope that it didn’t have to be that way.  A minor lack of attention to detail. I have only myself to blame; I just assumed someone would’ve at least asked before making it so.  There’s a certain degree of predictability as well too.  It’s like watching a car crash happen right in front of you and you can’t do anything.

Which leads me to my insomnia. 

While the house will look great, and from a structural, quality and performance standpoint it’s worth every penny and far superior to your average builder special house, there are a vast amount of design and finish details that were missed along the way (and ultimately need correcting).  I suspect it’s easier to avoid in the future, but this is our last house we’ll ever build.  So all of the mistakes were made on this one and a lot of effort will go into fixing them over the time we spend in the house.  The attention to detail and simplicity required aren’t totally there.  In a normal cookie cutter house a lot of the builder’s sins are covered up by conventional trim, and mass aesthetic conveyances.  I guess to get it right, we should have done a lot more planning and counseling.  Of course we’d know for the next time around to do these things.  I think it’s important to have trades that are on the same page as the home owners,and each other, philosophically as well. I spend each night lying awake in my bed thinking about every detail I wish was different.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great house, but I’m just one of those guys that gets hung up on the details.  I’m not saying I could do any better. I once turned a $5 water line install into a $300 debacle.  DIY projects are not my thing.  But I do know what good design and execution look like so my eye picks up on every little thing.  And 99% of the folks visiting won’t notice anything amiss, especially after I shove a free beer in their hand.  So it’ll be fine, but my subconscious knows no better so it feels compelled to build, teardown and rebuild this house nightly at three in the morning.

The key now is to get all of these people the hell out of our house so Christine and I can move in and start fixing everything to our liking.  And so I can start getting a good night’s rest.

The wife is sweeping up. Less than thrilled with trades cleanliness. Wood floor is getting scratched up prematurely.












Cultured Stone on our fireplace. It's "Southern Ledgstone" in the Aspen color. We like the dry stack look, but in our case it got a little space-y in my opinion. But overall it looks fantastic.


Spacing flanges on EDGE60 should have been covered with stone to hide exposed screw heads. I'll have to now come up with a powdercoated metal flange and adhere it with magnets or adhesive.


Dry stacked cultured stone. The 2x6 is for mounting the mantel. I think it sticks out too far and will ruin the effect of the cherry mantle emerging from the stone wall. We'll see, life's fairly predictable but I'll still hope for the best.


The hearth. It's mortar poured into an inset in the hardwood floor. the idea will be to smooth and polish it up and see if it looks interesting. If not we can pound the shit out of it and replace it with a hearthstone. In our dream of dreams we would have used grey Silestone to match the countertops, but with the short time frame and lack of funding that was proving difficult.


1 thought on “Insomnia

  1. Pingback: Fire Circle | nine apple trees

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