We’re done.

What started with a bulldozer in July ended today with a permit allowing us to occupy the premises.  

Eight months and three  is what it took to go from tick infested brush to finished livable house.  Sure there are a few things to finish but it’s all stuff that can get done during the course of living in the house.

I didn’t do much work on the house myself.  But the last thing I did before I left for vacation was install the house numbers.  We ordered our modern house numbers online.  Each is milled from solid aluminum and the installation was fairly simple and straight forward.  The consensus was to arrange them vertically.  We preferred putting them on the garage, centered vertically with the lower window.  The apple trees should not obscure them, even when fully grown.

Now we can order pizza with some semblance of hope that they delivery guy will find us.

Also before we left we got to see the Silestone countertops and kitchen sink installed.  They look great.  The grey expo finish looks like cement and is a lot glossy-er than I had imagined.  Generally speaking the kitchen looks virtually identical to my rendering.  I have not seen it with the door fronts on yet, though.

Silestone grey expo quartz countertops installed.

Blanco kitchen sink installed. Single bowl will make it easier to clean pots and pans.

Spy photo of cabinet door fronts installed.

Spy photo of ship's ladder installed for attic.

Obviously  a  lot more got done since we left, but it’ll have to wait until we get back to see.  Then the fun part starts (other than figuring out how to pay for everything).  All the fun (and sometimes sad) stuff that it takes to turn wood, steel and glass from a house to a home.


I actually thought of something fun we could do this weekend.  Amongst picking out all these store-bought products for the house I remembered we had something fun to pick out this weekend.  Leave it to my wife to remind me how swimmingly fun building a house can be.

Me: “Guess what we get to pick out this weekend?”

Wife: “I dunno.”

Me: “No, I’m serious, try to guess.”

Wife: “A divorce lawyer?”

Clever.  I’m kinda sure she was joking.  Made me laugh at least.  Anyway I digress. What we’re picking out is a cherry log, actually two, that will make up the mantle over the fireplace; not sure if I mentioned this before.  Actually there’s a maple tree too somewhere we can choose from.  I’m going to check the blog picture from earlier when I cut that cherry tree down.  It was the only tree I cut down myself. It was standing pretty much EXACTLY where the fireplace will be.  If I can discern which log(s) are from that tree, that’ll be the one.  I have a pretty good eye so odds are fairly good, assuming the tree is lying around out there somewhere.  Maybe I’ll fire up the Jeep and take it out to drag out the trunk and then chainsaw it into two 7′ long sections.  My carpenter can then take it and start drying it out and then mill it into the mantle shape.

The A+ title of today’s entry is in honor of the three inspections we passed this week with flying colors.  It’s nice to know the government approves of what we’re doing on our property.  Kind of related, I did check and I’ll have to drywall my studio ceiling, but that’s okay.  Electric should be wrapped up in the coming days.  The roof is mostly done and Tony is moving at a steady pace on the rigid insulation installation.  The house is still cold inside this time of year, despite the 4″ of insulation already up.  We still have one door and a window to put in.  Plus there’s no means to get the house up to temperature except the sun, which is non-existent around here.  The house still lacks a fair degree of thermal mass as well.  Once the trim, cement counters and flooring are in, along with everything else, we’ll be able to absorb and retain more heat inside the house during this time of year.  Daphne can’t wait.

A+ also refers to the house design.  As the blue foam goes on and the roof is finished it’s starting to fill out nicely.  Less awkward teen ager, more twenty something super model.  My studio door is on now and it really punctuates the corner.  It’s a Therma-Tru door with Low-E glazing so it’s about as energy-efficient as you can get.  We’ll be painting it white I believe to match the rest of the house trim.  The front door isn’t in yet but it matches the style of the studio door.  The interior of the house is looking nice too since my guys swept up in prep for the inspections.  Thanks go out to everyone who’s worked on the project so far.  They should be proud.  It’s a remarkable project in my not so humble opinion.

I’ve got a bunch of pics to share with you today.  Enjoy.

Recycled rigid insulation supply is dwindling as it goes on the house. Yay!

Studio door is installed. No more walking down to the basement. Yay! With the doors we mounted them inboard and will put extensions on the outside to make up the difference with the rigid insulation. You can see the detail on the REMOTE wall system cross section.

Studio wing of the house.


I like this view of the house. From this angle it looks evocative of the old mills that have dotted the countryside of Northeast Ohio for over a 100 years.


Kitchen pic will make for a good "before and after".


We stacked the switch boxes in areas where we needed more space. Here, the trim and plans for hutch placement dictated a gang of 3 switches over 3.


We happen to really like pocket doors. Maybe it's the Asian influence or their practical nature. We like to keep everything open, so pockets are nice because the door hides away inside the wall. One challenge is switch placement. In this example we have a 2x6 wall, so we're able to use a low clearance switch box. (not shown)


Church-like studio windows.

Permit Day

I’ll bring you up to speed on the project in the coming days and weeks, but more importantly, I’m pretty sure today is “permit day”!  Which is both exciting and terribly frightening in many regards. What “permit day” means is basically the government says “Yeah, go ahead and start doing what you plan on doing and we’ll keep an eye on you.” What it means to us is that weeks, months and even years of planning go from “what ifs” to reality.  Exciting because what was once imagined becomes tangible.  Frightening because there are 1) still a lot of “what ifs”, 2) mistakes and poor planning (hopefully both are in small quantities) come to light real fast, 3) there’s a lot less pressure in the “what if” phase.