Landscaping & Appliances

This week the builder worked double time to get the finishing touches completed at the house in order to be ready for an initial county inspection that took place on Friday. Shrubs and bushes were planted, mulch was placed, and hydroseed was sprayed. The screen for the back sun room and appliances  were installed, and after some additional paint touch ups inside a final cleaning took place.

Here are some of the progress pictures we captured this week:

Landscaping work has begun
All of the bushes and shrubs are in by the time the workers left for lunch
By the end of the day the mulch had been placed
Love the purplish pink flowering shrubs up against the blue-gray exterior
Encore Azalea bushes placed up along the east side of the house (and as you can see by the mismatched hardboard siding, external paint touch ups are still a WIP)
Fescue hydroseed has been sprayed
Straw blankets were placed in spots where water is anticipated to run off
Wall oven, cook top, dishwasher, and fridge have been installed – Just need to peel the protective layer of plastic once we move in

Here are the items still left to complete:

  • County code inspector’s punch list (install attic ladder, complete combustion air termination for fireplace, tape and mud basement ceiling penetrations, install cook top lockout breaker) – This weekend
  • External paint touch ups – Next week?
  • Install window screens – Next week?
  • Install remaining accent stone caps around garage – Next week?
  • Irrigation installation – to be scheduled w/ landscaper once Certificate of Occupancy is received

Punch list items:

  • Final paint and caulk touch ups inside
  • Clean up clay and paint spots on carpets
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window glazing beads
  • Repair scratches on hardwood floors, kitchen cabinet
  • Repair damaged dryer vent connection
  • Inspect water marks on trim in guest bathroom and great room (lower right corner window)

We are scheduled to do our final walk-through on Monday. At this time we will provide a punch list (see above) of any items we are not 100% happy with for the builder to come back and correct. The county inspector will be back again on Monday as well to ensure a couple (minor) code related items he provided to the builder were corrected.

In talking to our lender, it sounds like it will take five business days to process the necessary paperwork to convert our construction loan to a conventional loan. During this time our new home consultant will be working with the builder to complete the finishing touches on the house and then with the bank to coordinate a time for a final appraisal to take place. Once the bank receives the final inspection from the appraiser and certificate of occupancy from the county, we will be provided the keys to our new house.

We hope to get some final pictures to share with everyone once we are all settled, but in the next couple weeks we will be busy packing, moving, unpacking, and then prepping our current home to put on the market to rent out. Future updates might be less frequent moving forward for a little bit, but Derek and I still plan to use the blog to share updates about ongoing projects around the house (ex: landscaping, outdoor kitchen, dock build, finishing of the basement).

Carpet Installation & Sun Room Progress

This week has been another relatively rain-free week, so there was a good amount of progress made on the house.  On Tuesday, when we dropped by the house on lunch, we saw the garage door and fireplace mantle had been hung and workers were making progress on the sun room.

Later that evening, we met with the contractor that would be building our sun room landing and stairs, to coordinate how we wanted that placed. When we arrived on site, we noticed that the sun room guard rails and door were installed.

On Wednesday carpet installation began and by Thursday it was complete.

By the end of the day Thursday, HVAC was turned up, the hardwood floor for the upper level landing and sun room fan had been installed, and two of the three exterior columns had been placed.

We caught the builder and our new home consultant as we were on our way out and they let us know that stone would be delivered over the weekend for the exterior accents and columns.

A rough grading was supposed to take place on Friday, with landscaping work  to begin today, but we ended up getting rained out. Once the ground has a chance to dry out we should start to see those trades start their work.

All in all, we are making steady progress. Here are some pictures from this week:

Two out of three exterior columns have been placed
Garage door has been installed
The sun room installation is coming along nicely
Sun room door has been installed – just waiting on the landing and stairs
The guard rails have been installed for the sun room – Just waiting on the screens
Love the leaf print fan blades in our sun room
We have a fireplace mantle!
The second story landing is in – All that’s left is to stain it, the stairs, and the fireplace mantle to match the engineered hardwood in the rest of the house
Carpet pad being installed on the second level of the house
Carpet pad has been installed in the master bedroom
The front office/guest bedroom carpet pad installation is complete
Carpet installation begins!
Close up of our carpet selection – It’s a mix of gray, beige, and cream
First level, front facing guest bedroom/office has carpet and it looks great!
Carpet installation in the master bedroom is complete
Second story loft area has carpets
Bonus room/5th bedroom is carpeted and blue tape placed for paint touch up
Upstairs, rear facing bedroom has been carpeted and walls marked for touch ups
Upstairs, front facing bedroom has carpet and in need of very few paint touch ups

And, here are the items still left to complete:

  • Stone accents in front of house, around fireplace (install chimney cap?) – Monday, March 18th
  • Seemless gutters, downspouts – Monday, March 18th
  • Appliance delivery, installation – Tuesday, March 19th
  • Interior paint and trim touch up – next week?
  • Stain hardwood landing, stairs, mantle – TBD
  • Sun room screens and deck stairs – TBD
  • Irrigation installation – TBD
  • Final grading, landscaping, extend drainage pipes around basement of house – TBD
  • Power wash exterior, second coat of paint – TBD

Punch list items:

  • Replace spray foam over sprayed roof shingles
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window trim
  • Repair scratches on hardwood floors

Woodwork & Countertop Replacement

There has been a lot of work completed at the house this week. The wood stair treads leading up to the second story and guard rails have been installed and are waiting to be stained. The deck portion of the sun room has also been completed. The next step is to have the screened walls and stairs put in. Also, the frameless glass shower door in the master en suite has been installed, and all the bathroom vanity countertops have replaced.

Stair treads have been installed leading up to the second story
Guard rail work is complete
Wood will be stained to match the hardwood flooring in the rest of the house
Another view of the wood work that was recently completed
Deck work is well underway
View from the sliding glass doors out to the deck
Now that the deck work is complete, the next step is enclosing the screen room
The frameless glass shower doors have been installed in the master en suite
The replacement vanity countertops are finally in
We definitely appreciate the subtle gray swirling in this manufacturer’s product

Here are the items still left to complete:

  • Interior clean up, paint and trim touch up, – Scheduled for this coming week
  • Carpet installation – TBD
  • Appliance delivery, installation – TBD
  • Sun room screens and deck stairs – TBD
  • Gutters, downspouts, extend drainage pipes around basement of house – TBD
  • Stone accents in front of house, around fireplace, install chimney cap – TBD
  • Final grading, landscaping, irrigation installation – TBD
  • Power wash exterior, second coat of paint – TBD

Punch list items:

  • Replace spray foam over sprayed roof shingles
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window trim

Marble Installation & Finishing Trim Work

We received a call this morning giving us a heads up that we needed to bring our induction cook top to the construction site for the marble countertop installation. When we arrived, we found that some finishing trim work was being completed too.

By the end of the day, when we stopped back to pick up the cook top, the kitchen countertops and island were done. And, we had some closet shelving, bathroom mirrors, and doorknobs too.

All in all, while the plumber and HVAC contractors haven’t made an appearance yet, it was a nice surprise to have this other work completed a day early. Here are some pictures of today’s progress:

Bathroom mirrors and closet shelving delivery
Shelving is laid out while closets are being prepped for installation
Kitchen pantry shelving is complete
Laundry room shelving – We’ll probably have cabinets installed in the future
Guest bathroom linen closet – We may alter this at a later time in order to utilize it as a coat closet instead
Derek checking out the master en suite mirror that was installed – it’s HUGE!
Another view of the master en suite mirror
The master bedroom walk-in closet will definitely need an organizer – We might need to take a trip to IKEA and look around at their customizable options
Shelving in the guest bedroom (Derek’s office) is complete
Linen closet in the jack n jill bath
The mirror has been installed above one of the vanities in the jack n jill bath and the towel wracks will be going up next
Shelving in the rear facing, second level bedroom
Shelving in the front facing, second level bedroom
Mirror and towel holder installed at the other end of the jack n jill bathroom
Shelving in the front facing, bonus room/fifth bedroom
While checking out the finishing trim work being completed, the countertop installation crew arrived, so we decided to stick around and grab some progress pictures.
This section that’s being carried in is for the corner kitchen sink
This section will soon have a cook top cut out from the center of it
This section was from the replacement slab that I wasn’t too sure about, but now that it’s in place, I’m loving it!
Prepping to install the kitchen sink
Kitchen Island has been installed – It’s looks like a piece of art
Love the finished look – Can’t wait to see the vent fan and wall oven go in
The cook top is in, but the drawer underneath it will need some modification to make it usable
Tomorrow, the marble will be sealed in order to prevent future staining – The sealer we selected comes with a 25yr warranty
When we returned at the end of the day to pick up the cook top, we found that the lighting and fans had been delivered! We hope to see those installed by the end of this week.

Flooring & Countertops

Last week we met with our construction supervisor and new home consultant. We wanted to meet on site to discuss the placement of our driveway and some concerns we had regarding the grading process.

Prior to meeting, we sent an email as a reminder that we paid extra to have a basement and were told there was an added cost in this contract line item to cover trucking in fill dirt (to build up the driveway, parking pad, and around the front and sides of the home). In our on site discussion, we pointed out the fact that the layer of topsoil from our lot had been scraped away by the grader and used to back fill for these things instead. Because of this, our lot was stripped down to the red layer of clay. We explained that this of course will cause issues in the landscaping portion of the build process, as the compacted clay soil is not ideal for growing grass by seed. Ultimately, we requested that the builder consider using topsoil instead of fill dirt to replace what the grader moved. They agreed and assured us that the building supervisor would schedule another on site meeting to discuss these details with the proper parties.

Earlier this week, we made one of our daily lunch visits to the construction site and noticed that the power had been ran from the electrical box out front to the utility meter on the side of our home. We also noticed something we had originally overlooked in the excitement of seeing our cabinets installed: wiring for the vent fan and under cabinet lighting that needs to be re-routed.

We sent a quick message to our contact and she assured us this would be addressed. She also made us aware that the countertop company had been out to the site to create templates, and suggested we schedule a time to lay out how we wanted these cut from our slab. So, we coordinated a time with East Coast Granite and did just that. Here are some pictures of the process:

Templates have been placed on our marble slab selection – This piece will be installed to the left of our wall oven
The rectangular, taped off section here (below the stencil) is being reserved for the kitchen island – We love the accentuated dark grey veins in this piece
Unfortunately, when the stone cutters were moving the larger countertop piece, the stone snapped in half. Instead of starting at square one, we decided to compromise and use this darker veined piece of marble from the same lot.
Here is another view of the replacement slab. I really like the mixture of colors in the section that the corner sink will be cut from, but I’m having a harder time with the darker section towards the opposite end.

Another update, this one we are probably the most excited about, a big portion of our flooring was installed! All that’s left is the carpet and hardwood stair treads leading up to the second level.

Our engineered hand scraped hardwood flooring has been installed and has been covered to protect it while the final work is completed
Love the rich colored and wide planked birch wood we selected. It really compliments the white trim and Smoke Embers paint color we picked out!
The wood and spindle material has been delivered for the stairway and landing leading up to the second floor – We can’t wait to see it installed and stained to match our flooring

Finally, the update we are probably the least excited about… In an effort not to be redundant, I’ll just let the photos and their captions do the explaining:

While we liked the cultured marble bathroom countertop sample we based our decision off of in the builder’s show room…
…this is what the product actually looked like after it was delivered and installed in the guest bathroom
Close up of the cultured marble bathroom countertops installed in the jack n jill bathroom
As you can see, the gray “veining” in the material that was installed looks nothing like the sample we based our decision off of
We suspect this may have been a bad batch and that the grey colored resin was not mixed properly
We engaged our new home consultant who is in contact with the distributor. If the distributor confirms that this is the intended look, Derek and I have agreed we will be pushing for the builder to have it replaced.

With three weeks left until the one year anniversary of signing our contract, we are getting down to the wire of the 8-12 month build time quoted to us.

Here are the items still left to complete:

  • Final Plumbing hookup, toilets, sinks –> Plumber was scheduled Feb 22nd, but was a no show
  • Power on HVAC –> Scheduled for Feb 25th
  • Lighting, fan installation –> Delivery Feb 25th and installation Feb 26th
  • Kitchen countertop installation –> Scheduled for Feb 26th
  • Final Electrical hookup, light switches, electrical box covers, reroute electrical for vent fan, under cabinet wiring – TBD
  • Carpet, hardwood stair tread installation – TBD
  • Poured concrete for the driveway, patio, parking pad, sidewalk to front entryway – TBD
  • Appliance delivery, installation – TBD
  • Deck, sun room – TBD
  • Stone accents in front of house, around fireplace, install fireplace cap – TBD
  • Garage door, mailbox installation – TBD
  • Gutters, downspouts, extend drainage pipes around basement of house – TBD
  • Internal paint and trim touch up, clean up – TBD
  • Septic tank installation – TBD
  • Final grading, landscaping, irrigation installation – TBD
  • Power wash exterior, second coat of paint – TBD

Punch list items:

  • Replace spray foam over sprayed roof shingles
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window trim
  • Replace damaged island trim

Cabinet Installation

Yesterday cabinets were delivered, and by the end of the day today, the kitchen and bathroom installation was complete. Next step is coordinating with East Coast Granite to template and install the marble countertops.

Cabinets have been delivered
All these boxes have it feeling like Christmas in February
Cabinet hardware
We went with the brushed nickel look
Kitchen cabinets are beginning to be placed
By lunch time, the bathroom vanities were in – Here’s a peak at the guest bath
Master en suite cabinets and hardware look great
Second level jack n jill bathroom
Single vanity installed on one side
Second level jack n jill bath
Larger, second vanity installed on the other
After work we visited the site again and the cabinet installation was complete
The next step will be to create a template for the stone countertops
Can’t wait to see the marble countertops and black stainless appliances go in
The center island has storage on one side plus accommodate seating for two
Lots of natural light with the sliding glass doors and windows above the sink
Love the placement of the dishwasher and corner sink
Can’t wait to see the wall oven and cook top stove with vent fan go in

We are down to the last two months of the build process and we are starting to get really excited about the big move. On Tuesday, we’ll be meeting with our construction supervisor to discuss the placement of our driveway and hopefully by that time, or soon thereafter, we’ll have better projected completion dates for the remaining work:

  • Kitchen, bathroom countertop template, installation
  • Appliance delivery, installation
  • Deck, sun room
  • Stone accents in front of house, around fireplace, install fireplace cap
  • Garage door, mailbox installation
  • Gutters, downspouts, extend drainage pipes around basement of house
  • Poured concrete for the driveway, patio, parking pad, sidewalk to front entryway
  • Hardwood flooring, carpet installation
  • Final Plumbing hookup, toilets, sinks
  • Final Electrical hookup, light switches, electrical box covers, power on HVAC
  • Lighting, fan installation
  • Internal paint and trim touch up, clean up
  • Septic tank installation
  • Final grading, landscaping, irrigation installation
  • Power wash exterior, second coat of paint

Punch list items:

  • Replace spray foam over sprayed roof shingles
  • Repair damaged brickwork
  • Replace damaged window trim
  • Replace damaged island trim

Interior Trim Work

The trim and interior doors have finally arrived and are in the process of being installed. Here are some pictures from the last couple days:

Trim has arrived!
We are excited to see the interior doors installed
Window trim installed in the kitchen, just above the corner sink
The pantry door in the kitchen has been hung
Crown molding, window trim, and chair rail molding in dining room
Linen closet and guest bath doors have been hung
The front office/guest bedroom closet door has been hung – It looks like the entry door will go up next
The door leading from the master bedroom to the en suite has been installed
The master bedroom crown molding and window trim have been installed
Rounded corners were removed and trim was installed around the dining room entry in it’s place
We went back and forth about trimming out these windows and in the end decided to go for it – We really like the way it turned out
Floor and stair trim leading up to the second floor
Second floor hallway trim complete
Closet door, window and wall trim in the front facing upper level bedroom
Upper level, front facing bedroom’s entry and attic door have been installed
Rear facing, upper level bedroom – Closet door hung and window trim installed
The bonus room/fifth bedroom’s entry and closet doors have been hung
Another view of the great room window trim from the loft upstairs

After another lengthy conversation with our new home consultant, we are feeling a little more confident with the timeline of the work that is left to complete, and with the reasoning for some of the delays we’ve experienced over the last month. Apparently there was a backlog with material deliveries which affected not only our new construction, but the construction of five other homes she’s managing as well. Crews have been scheduled and ready to work, but did not have the necessary materials to begin.

Assuming we don’t encounter any more unexpected delays, here is the timeline we were provided for the next month:

  • Window and floor trim, crown molding, and interior door installation should be finished by the end of this week.
  • Interior and exterior paint is scheduled to begin next week and will take approximately two weeks to complete.
  • The kitchen cabinets and island are projected to be installed the second week of February, with the marble countertop installation immediately after.
  • The rear deck for the enclosed sun room and the exterior stone accents should be installed by the end of February, pending weather.

We were told that the house will be locked up after the cabinets and countertops go in. Thankfully, since we want to continue taking progress pictures, we still have the option to gain entry from the workers (or, we can also schedule an appointment with the builder).

Selecting our Marble Slab

Almost every year for as long as Derek and I have been together he has taken time off between Christmas and New Years. Many years in the past we have taken this time to do small remodel projects in our house. This year we decided to knock off some items from our new construction to-do list.  Namely, taking a visit to East Coast Granite and Tile to pick out a stone slab for our countertops, and the local lighting shop to narrow down our light fixture choices.

When we signed our contract back in March, we had it drafted in a way that allowed us to personally pick out a stone slab for our kitchen countertops and island. Otherwise, we would’ve left it to chance that the style we picked would look as good as it appeared as a small sample piece in the showroom.  What we didn’t know at the time was that the level 3 stone that we opted for not only included granite and quartz, but marble as well.

After doing a bunch of research on the pros and cons of each stone type, we ultimately decided to go ahead with marble versus a granite or quartz that only resembled it.  This was the article, “Should you use Marble in the Kitchen?” that helped to solidify our decision.

Here are a couple snapshots of the stone slab we picked out:

Mont Blanc Level 3 Marble – East Coast Granite & Tile, Spartanburg
Love the amount of character the dark veins in this slab create!

In other news, yesterday we spoke with our new home consultant, Vanessa Herb, to pass along the details regarding our countertop decision. She let us know that as soon as the drywall guys confirmed their work was complete, we’d see paint, trim, and tile go in next. It’s still somewhat surreal that we are down to the last three months of this build process, but we are super excited that we’re finally at the point where we get to see the interior work start to come together!

Exterior Cladding Work Begins

This week was a busy week for the builder. Not only was drywall taped and then mudded with multiple coats, but as one crew worked inside another was simultaneously working outside on the exterior cladding.

We love the way the hardboard siding is turning out. Especially with the extra character of the vertical board and batten under the front porch. Currently the siding is unpainted and not it’s final color. We picked out a dark slate grey with white trim and can’t wait to see it painted.

We are hoping to see the stone accents under the windows of the front bump out and garage, and possibly even the screened in sun room go up next. Our new home consultant mentioned that the concrete would be poured for the driveway, sidewalk, and 15×15 patio under the rear deck after the paint stage, but with Christmas just around the corner, and rain predicted for the next 7-10 days, we don’t expect a lot of work to be completed until after the new year.

Drywall Taping & Mudding

The drywall portion of the build process is just about complete! The taping and mudding is well underway, with only a few touch ups and possibly a second coat needed in a handful areas before sanding and painting can begin.

Meanwhile, workers have already begun to put up the external hardy board siding and trim. We are hoping to have some of those pictures ready to share with everyone by the end of this week.

For now, here are some more shots of the drywall progress to date.

Looking into the dining room from the front entry
Hall leading to the master bedroom, office / guest bedroom, and guest bath
Looking into the master bedroom from the doorway
Standing in the walk-in closet and looking through the master en suite
Front office / guest bedroom
Front entry
Dining room
Great room
Kitchen and second floor loft
Kitchen
Bonus room / fifth bedroom
Upper level, front facing bedroom
Upper level, rear facing bedroom
Great room view from the second story loft
Garage
Walk-out basement