Happy Spring everyone!

While we were on vacation in sunny Florida, the weather was even better in Northeast Ohio.  When we left everything was in Winter mode and grey and not leafy at all.  As we drove north after a couple of weeks it was exciting to see all the trees budding from North Carolina to Cleveland. Pulling into our current neighborhood, after our long journey, the sight of the pear trees in full bloom, lining both sides of the street, was indescribably beautiful.

We did stop out at the new house on the way back into to town to see what had transpired since we left. Unfortunately not a lot happened.  Although we have our occupancy permit and loan, meaning the gov’t and lending institutions are happy to say the project is done, this doesn’t translate into everything being done so the peeps who pay the bills are happy.  This was Thursday, so I can now say that much progress has been made since then that I’m ready to move in.  The kitchen was the main thing not completed that would hold us up, and it has since gotten a  lot closer to completion.  All the appliances are now in.  Cabinet doors are basically in too. We still need to order the aluminum framed doors for some of the upper cabinets.  We’re taking a chance that ordering them through Outwater will prove uneventful.  Seems simple enough, measure, select finishes (satin tempered glass with aluminum frames), handles (none for us) and hinges (up swing).  Here’s hoping they work nicely.  They should look great.

A few notes on the appliance installation.  The Zephyr hood will look good once we get the protective plastic off.  Only issues we have is there is supposedly a need for exposed screw heads but none were provided so our carpenters have some nasty looking wood screws holding the vent shroud in place.  The other issue is the vent shroud will freely wobble left to right if you put your hand on it.  The guys will fix this by mounting a wood block to the ceiling inside the shroud to locate and keep the shroud from moving at the top.  There will be some wiggle down low but no one should notice unless you purposefully wiggle it.  Please do not come over and wiggle my shroud. As for the Wolf range, I contributed to the installation effort by raising the unit to be level with the countertops.  You’ll want  a 3/4″ socket for the back scissor jack legs.  Turning the forward facing bolt head is tough cause you can’t quite get a full click on the socket wrench.  For the front I’m not sure what size the nut is on the levelers but I can tell you it is over one inch.  I ended up using vice grips, careful not to scratch the hardwood floor as I turned them.  The location of the gas line coming out of the floor is critical as there is not a lot of leeway.  I know at least one or two times the line had to be moved to get the range seated properly between the cabinets.  Generally speaking the door fronts lined up as I had envisioned.  Technically there are some visual issues with the kitchen and how things line up and the fit and finish, but nothing that the lay person is going to spend much time getting hung up on.  For the record I’m probably the most judgemental person you’ll meet, nothing is ever good enough. 

Other issues revolve around the kitchen ceiling not being level which plays into how the cabinets above the fridge and freezer finish off at the top.  My brother ended up cutting the doors shorter to create a shadow line between the cabinets and ceiling.  The eye won’t be able to discern the sloping ceiling with that shadow line up there.  Shortening the doors also allows them to clear the trim rings on the ceiling recessed lights.  Crazy as it sounds, it seems every little thing fights us sometimes on this house.  It’s possible to reach the promised land, but only now do I realize the sheer amount of design and planning it would take to get it right….much of which you need from the get-go.  Then you need a lot of luck and you’re at the mercy of everyone exicuting to that plan.  I’d love to do it again sometime and see what is possible.

One thing that will be easy to change will be those recessed lights, and I say that because our ceiling in the kitchen is smooth.  Which means changing the lighting doesn’t require retexturing the ceiling, just means a really good patch job on the drywall (and paint).  I hate all the 6″ recessed lights we put into the house.  Every house I look at on the TV and in magazines have more contemporary 4″ lights.  The 6″ lights make the house look dated. I guess I didn’t think of it until after the fact so it’s my fault.  By default the electricians just put in 6″ lights cause that’s what they probably do on every house. My mistake for not catching it, I will fix it in time (and money).

Overall the kitchen turned out (or is turning out) nicely.  The wife and I can and should be very proud of it.  We did see the kitchen faucet in person for the first time and it looks great.  Nice style and the scale is appropriate.  A lot of people are now understanding the steel beams in the ceiling, as now that the rest of the kitchen is in place the beams have come into their own.  As I looked at the kitchen yesterday, it struck me that while the look is very modern and contemporary, the finish selections, other than the stainless steel, are kind of retro….I can’t describe it but I’ll let you decide for yourself when I post final pics.

Elsewhere the ship’s ladder is in and it looks great.  I don’t have a pic today but I’ll show you next time I go out.  The only real deal breaker is the fact that the shower doesn’t have its glass door yet.  Beyond that the house can and will be moved into soon.  There are a lot of cosmetic electrical things that need to be taken care of.  Seems like the electricians just “mailed it in” in some regards.  The exterior outlet boxes are surface mounted and the mounts for the exterior lights are dismal; cedar boards mounted wrongly at an up angle so the lights shoot skyward 15 degrees.  All is easily fixed.  There are also a plethora of pipes, vents and boxes mounted to the outside of Joe’s masterpiece which were seemingly placed by men with no aesthetic sense whatsoever.  In hind sight I should have planned the detail and location of each to the nth degree, but live and learn.  But we’re also at the mercy of whichever dude rolls into the job site that day and whether or not he’s pissed at the world or loving life when he’s installing our $150 light fixture from Restoration Hardware.  In the end every house, even the fancy ones in magazines have these blemishes.  It’s nothing that a little time and money can’t fix.

It was nice to see everything greening up out at the new house.  Looking forward to seeing all the happy plants and trees come back after their Winter hibernation.  Jonathan had set aside some dogwoods and other flowering bushes I marked when he excavated the site.  We replanted three of them yesterday next to the driveway.  Christine and I also spent part of Saturday marking out the rest of the driveway, beds and walkways between the house and garage.  Finally a small parking / turn around spot was cut in between a tall cherry tree we saved (it’s budding) and the freshly replanted dogwoods. Up by the septic field they were busy contouring the land by hand to get the area to dry out.  Once dry they’ll overseed it per regulations and that area will start greening up again.

In the spirit of Spring, I’ll leave you with some fun landscaping numbers.  Not all of this gets planted right away, but according to our landscape plans we’ll be planting 67 new trees, 180 shrubs and plants, and approximately 800+ perennials.  Wow!

This is what happens when it's Friday at 5 o'clock and your electrical box install is all that stands between your electrician and a happy hour date with his girlfriend.

Range hood wiggles and has exposed screw head, oh the humanity!


Back of the house looks like a "Vents For Sale" showroom. Can I interest you in something oval-shaped or a classic big ass metal box looking thing?









Spring has sprung. All the happy trees and bushes are budding.

Single garage doors look awsome on paper until you actually have to park a car in them. I survived though and successfully was the first person to park in our garage.

You can see cut in for parking spot. To the right are the three trees we saved from the excavation. They're budding so it looks like they're surviving so far.

This is where we were for the last two weeks while all of you were busy working for a living.



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