Stone & Stain

This week we met with the builder on the lot to discuss the final grading, water control, and the last remaining steps. The supervisor was hoping to get it turned over to us by the end of next week but some additional rain next week might delay that. Workers have been busy getting us closer to that goal though.

On the exterior, we have seamless gutters and downspouts installed. The lot also had its last rough grade. The stone veneer has been put on and we love how it finishes off the look of the house. Around the side of the house, we have a small deck/walkway that wraps around to the back screen room. At the back of the house, not much has changed other than the chimney cap getting put on. At this point, they will need to power wash the house, repair any damaged siding and give the house its final coat of paint.

Moving inside, the stone veneer has been placed around the raised hearth and fireplace surround up to the mantle. The oak tread staircase, railings, and front door are getting stained a rich walnut color to match the dark wood floors through the rest of the house.

Here are some pictures of the progress from this past week:

The stone accents on the front of the house have finally been installed!
We love the way the stone accents bring out the blue tones of the paint
Chimney cap has been installed
Sun room landing and stairs are in, but still waiting on the screens to be installed
Front door has been stained a dark walnut color to match our flooring
The second level landing, stairs, and railing have their first coat of stain
Upper loft railing has stain – It looks like the first coat is soaking in quickly
Stone was installed around the fireplace – All that’s left is staining the mantle
Seeing the front steps and number on our house really hits home that our move-in time is just around the corner!

Here are the items still left to complete:

  • Interior paint and trim touch up – WIP
  • Stain hardwood landing, stairs, mantle – WIP
  • Appliance installation – This weekend?
  • Fine grading, landscaping, extend drainage pipes around basement of house – Monday, March 25th
  • Sun room screens – Next week?
  • Power wash exterior, second coat of paint – Next week?
  • Irrigation installation – TBD

Punch list items:

  • Replace spray foam over sprayed roof shingles (shingles delivered Wednesday, March 20th)
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window glazing beads
  • Repair scratches on hardwood floors
  • Repair damaged dryer vent connection


Septic & Driveway

After a week and a half, of what felt like non-stop rain, the weather has cleared up enough for the builder to have our driveway poured. The builder had to deliver 3-4 truck loads of dirt to grade up to our garage. Also, we requested they put the driveway as close to the property line as possible and to make it 16′ wide the entire length. It cost us a little extra money but it will definitely be worth it once we have 3 or 4 cars in the driveway.

Moving around back of the house, the plumber had installed the septic tank and was digging trenches for the drain lines. Interior plumbing work should start in the next day or two as well. They are holding off until the bathroom vanity tops are replaced.

Finally, we noticed that they installed our mailbox. Seeing our mailbox with the house number really hit home that we should be moving in shortly. Might be time to get back and start packing things up!

We have a mailbox
Septic work begins
Workers are prepping for the deck work that will be completed later in the week
Sun room supports in place and trenches for the drain field has been dug
Drain field work has begun
Drainage will run from one side of the property to the other, spaced every 5ft
Septic and drainage work is complete – Rough grading for the driveway begins
Concrete driveway being poured
Parking pad is complete and workers are making their way down the driveway
Sidewalk to the front entry is poured and beginning to set
Another view of the sidewalk to the front entry
Concrete work is just about complete!

Lighting & HVAC

There has been a good amount of progress inside the house this week. All lighting fixtures have been installed, switches are wired, wall outlets are in place, thermostats have been wired up, and the air conditioning condensers are hooked up outside.

Front entry light fixture has been installed
Dining room chandelier
Love the light fixture at the top of the second story – It’s a smaller version of the one at the front entry
Ceiling fans have been installed in each of the bedrooms
Love the fan in the great room, but it’s going to be a chore keeping it clean
Master en suite light fixtures are in
Pendant light above the corner kitchen sink
Jack n Jill bathroom light fixtures mirror those from the master en suite
We decided to upgrade the bonus room/fifth bedroom and have this light fixture replaced with a ceiling fan to match all the other rooms
Ecobee thermostats have been installed both upstairs and downstairs
External lights for the front and side entry have been installed, as well as a ceiling fan in the sun room and flood lights at either end of the rear of the house
In preparation for the HVAC being turned up, two air condenser units have been installed, one for the upstairs and one for the downstairs of the house

We received some really good news this week as well. Our new home consultant called to let us know that they heard back from the cabinet company about our concerns regarding the bathroom countertops. Apparently the manufacturer had trouble keeping up with the high volume of orders and experienced a shortage from their original supplier. In order to continue filling orders, and unbeknownst to the builder, they started to fill orders with a different supplier to help fill demand. Since what we recently had installed looks nothing like the builder’s sample piece, the cabinet provider is going to switch the countertops out for the ones that match what we selected. We are hoping to have that work scheduled as soon as next week, and were told the plumber (who was scheduled to come out this past Monday) is on hold until that work is complete.

Unfortunately, much of the work we’ve been waiting to be finished outside (concrete driveway, patio, parking pad, additional fill dirt and topsoil etc.) has been on hold due to the large amount of rain we’ve received. We are hoping for a dry spell so the builder can continue to progress in those areas.


Exterior Paint Work

Last March, when we originally signed our contract, we provided an address for a house in one of the builder’s tracts that we liked the external color of (Sherwin Williams’ Grizzle Grey). Unfortunately, when we took one of our daily trips to the construction site, we noticed that the color being painted looked a lot darker than we expected. We decided to drive by the house we based our color decision off of and that’s when we knew that the builder had made a mistake.

We called our new home consultant and had her check the contract and compare the color that was being painted with the color at the address we had asked them to base our color scheme off of. She confirmed that it was definitely two different colors.

In the end, the darker color (James Hardie’s Iron Grey) really grew on us and we ended up liking it better. The blue/grey tone really pops with the bright white trim and black accents, especially in the back of the house which gets full sun.

Here are some photos of the external paint progress to date:

Exterior paint work has begun!
The first coat of paint has been sprayed
The poor lighting conditions make this color appear darker than it really is
The driveway and parking pad have been rough graded to prepare for concrete
Just the chimney, trim work, and then a second coat left to complete
White trim has begun on the east side of the house – Love the contrast
Front porch has metal flooring placed – Prepping for concrete in the near future
First coat of exterior paint and trim is complete
Close up of the paint color – The slate blue/grey color changes shades with different lighting
At the end of the build process, the house will be power washed and then given a second coat of paint
We love the rich color: James Hardie Iron Grey
The white trim really makes this color pop
We are excited to see how the screened in sunroom and second story deck finish off the house’s look
On a cloudy day, the external color has an extra rich, stately look
On a clear and sunny day, this color takes on more of a blueish-grey hue
The low e windows give a lightly tinted look and help protect against UV rays
View of the back side of the house from the lake

Now that the first coat of paint is complete, here is a walk through video of both the inside and outside of the house:

Interior Paint Work

Painters have been on-site and busy getting the interior walls and trim painted. We went back and forth on the color a bit as the builder only had a selection of about 5 or 6 different interior colors that they normally paint. Originally, after telling us we had to pick from their selection, we settled on a color called “Amazing Gray”. We proceeded to purchase a couple gallons of the color and paint the master bedroom in our current home to see how well we liked it. We didn’t. So, we went back to the builder and firmly requested a color we love, “Smoke Embers”. The new home consultant got back to us after speaking with the painter and agreed to paint our requested color. We are so glad we didn’t settle and love how the interior is coming along.

Rain and Holi-delays

We’ve had record amounts of rain in 2018 here in the upstate and it has caused some delays with getting contractors in to complete work. Coupled with the holiday season, it has been about a month since our last update.

Now we’ve been warned that the building process can be stressful and we are starting to feel it at this point. We’ve had to apply for a 90-day extension to our 9-month construction loan and we’re concerned that it may not be enough. We spoke with our new home consultant and laid out our concerns. She has been keeping us updated with their current timelines and assures us that the build process will be completed on-time (I.e.: according to the contract the builder has until March 15th with a 30-day window to allow for delays with obtaining a certificate of occupancy). Given the scope of work that still needs to be completed, and with 7 weeks remaining, we are skeptical. We suspect that since we are a “build on your own lot” customer that we rank lower than the builders “tract” homes.

As an example: We drive past one of their new developments on a daily basis when we visit our construction site. This particular neighborhood started off with roads and utility infrastructure only around the time we broke ground. Since then, and well after the framing stage of our house, we’ve watched several new homes in this development break ground. They now have over a dozen of these homes in progress or completed. Our home just got tile installed, meanwhile; people are starting to move in to the homes in this new development.

Getting back to the progress of our build, we have taken some pictures through the tile and grout install process and are very pleased with the look of the shower in the master bathroom. Wood was also delivered for the back deck (which we were told was scheduled to be installed months ago, pending dry weather), so hopefully that gets completed soon. As per the most recent timeline we were provided, the builder is projecting trim and paint to be completed by end of this month.

Frameless shower progress – Master en suite
Bench seat installed and floor tile laid in the shower of the master en suite
Floor tiles laid in the master en suite – grout comes next
Frameless shower tile and grout complete!
A sneak peak of the tile floor in the master en suite…
Tile work is underway in the jack n jill bathroom upstairs
We opted to use the same tile in the guest bathroom and laundry room as the jack n jill bath. Here is a snapshot of what that tile looks like with grout.

First Stages of Drywall

Earlier this week we saw delivery trucks unloading loads of drywall into the house. We were excited to come back the next day to find the workers had already begun to hang it. In two day’s time, all the drywall is up and all thats left is to do is tape and mud. We were able to get in and take quite a few pictures of the progress.

Our new home consultant also reached out to us and confirmed the design of the hardboard siding on the house. Hopefully that will be delivered and put up soon.

Drywall being placed in the great room
Drywall for the kitchen ceiling is complete
Stairs leading to the basement
Looking through the master bath into the bedroom
Master bedroom drywall is just about complete
Guest bedroom / Office drywall is complete
Looking into the dining room from the front entry
Drywall work is underway in the great room
Great room drywall is complete
Wall of windows in the great room
Kitchen drywall is complete
Looking into the kitchen and up to the loft from the great room
Kitchen pantry and stairs leading up to the second floor
View from the kitchen looking towards the opposite side of the house
Basement ceiling has drywall
Electrical box in the back corner of the basement
View from the opposite end of the basement – ceiling drywall complete
Drywall around the zero clearance fireplace in the great room is complete
Dining room and front entry way
Kitchen and pantry
Heading up the stairs to the second floor
View from the top of the stairs, looking through the loft area
Stairs leading back down to the first floor
Upstairs bedroom at the rear of the house
Looking into the jack n jill bathroom from one of the upstairs bedrooms
Looking into the jack n jill bathroom from the hall
Bonus room / Fifth bedroom
Upstairs bedroom at the front of the house
Looking down into the great room from the loft
Garage drywall complete

Pre-Drywall Inspection

There hasn’t been a lot of picture worthy progress with the house since our last post, but we’ve still been busy behind the scenes. We did a pre-drywall inspection with a certified home inspector last week. Then, a couple days, later we had the pre-drywall walk through with our new home consultant and construction supervisor.

After doing some extensive research on the new home construction process, we decided (and highly recommend others) to get an inspection right before the walk through. Having a professional that is not associated with the builder will give you a non-biased look at how the construction process is going and can help catch any code related things the county inspector may have missed. Some inspection companies might even have a special, lower cost rate for pre-drywall.

Once the pre-drywall inspection and walk through was complete, we signed off with the builder, acknowledging we agreed that no rough in changes were needed (after they corrected a light that was wired in the wrong location).

Prior to the inspection and pre-drywall walk through, the builder accidentally started installing batten insulation. We reminded them about the fact that we were doing spray foam and they apologized. They have started removing it and will schedule the spray foam insulators to come out next week. The two sliding glass doors and windows surrounding the front door have been installed in preparation for this next step.

Sliding glass doors installed
Batten insulation installed in error, but will be replaced by spray foam next week
Looking out the sliding glass door from the walk out basement
Looking out the sliding glass door from the kitchen – Sun room build is still a WIP
Transom and side window inserts installed in the front entry

Low Voltage Conduit & In-Home Vacuum

Slow, but steady progress. The low voltage conduit contractors installed the in-home vacuum piping, recepticles, and wiring this week. I also coordinated with them on the side to run conduit (the orange tubing) for future CAT6 connectivity. I’m really excited to get the CAT6 run and punched down to the patch panel in the basement.

We have been playing guessing games as to what is coming next. Hoping we get the hardboard siding and exterior stone accents delivered soon. At some point in the near future, we know there will also be a pre-drywall inspection (most likely before they do the spray foam insulation). After doing some research, we decided it would be wise to have a home inspector assist us in this step, just to make sure we have a neutral and experienced third party look things over on our behalf.

Low voltage conduit (orange tube) in pantry for wireless access point
Low voltage conduit (orange tube), inside wall of master bedroom/great room
In-home vacuum receptacle – several placed throughout the house
Low voltage conduit (orange tube) on an outside wall of office

Great Room Windows & Fireplace

Finally, one of the big moments we’ve been waiting for… the great room wall of windows has been installed! We couldn’t have been happier with how this room is turning out. Now that all of the windows are in, we are waiting on the two sliding glass doors to be delivered and put in place. Bonus, the wood burning zero-clearance fireplace insert is in and it looks great.