The first couple weeks of our build were filled with moments where big changes appeared seemingly overnight. George (our builder) warned us that later on things would seem to slow to a crawl because the changes would instead be small, but significant ones. True to his word, there have been few big changes these last couple of weeks, but things are still moving forward.
At the end of the last post, I noted that our kitchen cabinets had arrived. They are all in now (minus the drawers and doors because those go in after the countertops).
Careful viewers will notice that the wall oven cabinet actually extends into the skylight opening. That skylight was an afterthought, and only later did we realize that the kitchen cabinets would extend into that space. After playing around with mockups, I decided it really didn’t bother me a bit and I much preferred having the cabinets go up to the ceiling rather than leaving a gap (those gaps are a big pet peeve of mine; they collect huge amounts of dust, are a pain to clean, and have even been known to sprout tacky, plastic trailing ivy plants!). I doubt anyone will really notice (except you, now that I’ve pointed it out!).
After the cabinets were in, the countertop people came by to measure for the quartz countertops.
Meanwhile, work began on the interior trim. My original plan was to have all the trim (baseboards and trim around the interior doors) in finishing-grade, clear-stained wood, but I ran into two problems. First, most of my doors are hemlock but some will be painted fiberglass and others have pine trim so I wasn’t sure which wood species to use. Second, I found out just how expensive finishing-grade wood trim is! So we decided to go with regular ol’ primed wood trim (a lesser grade of wood, since it is painted), which will be painted the same colour as the walls to blend in. After a few mockups, I chose this trim design.
As of this writing, all the door trim is done (including two door frame repairs that had to be made when it was discovered that the openings were too small for the doors…and although I feigned ignorance, I have a sneaking suspicion that I gave the framers the wrong dimensions – I had meant to check them from my list later and I think I just forgot! oops!).
The trim guy also did a mockup of the window sills, which I heartily approved. The pine planks for that job arrived this week and were coated with a protective sealant on the underside.
Work also began on tiling the master bathroom. Choosing tiles for this room was really difficult. I found the floor tiles early on, but I wanted a warm, white tile for the walls of the shower and the tub surround and for some reason that was really hard to find! Grey is a super trendy colour right now, so all the whites I found were either tinted with cool, grey undertones or just too stark and shiny for my tastes. After several trips to tile stores, I finally settled on some porcelain tiles that looked creamy and warm in the showroom, and coordinated nicely with my floor tiles.
However, when they went up on the walls, the off-white paint made them look decidedly dingy in places. This bathroom faces north, so it doesn’t get much light, but the tiles will look different when the ceiling lights are installed (and turned on), so I’m hopeful they will work out.
Despite this great progress, we’ve had some delays on other interior work. The vaulted ceilings (which will be finished with tongue-and-groove Douglas Fir planks) and master suite flooring (also Douglas Fir) have to be installed before the painters can come and do their final coats of paint. Not only did we have trouble finding a portable mill guy (the original guy bailed on us, and there are not many portable mills around here, so we had to scramble to find someone who could squeeze us in), but then we had trouble figuring out how to get the milled boards to the big mill operation for finishing: they were too long for a standard pickup truck and too small a load for the sawmill transporters. They finally had to track down an extra-long utility trailer and load them all by hand (and in case you thought to ask why we didn’t just send the logs to the big mill operation: I had the logs cut to lengths that…unbeknownst to me at the time…were too short to be transported with a regular log trailer, and going the portable mill route was cheaper than hiring a specialty loader and dump truck).
We found out today that the boards have all been milled and are in the kiln as we speak. However, the above delays have put us about four weeks beyond what we’d originally hoped for. This is a particular problem because of all the trades waiting on them to be finished: the painters can’t come until the floors and ceilings are done, and the electricians can’t come to install the light fixtures, switch plates, etc. until the ceilings and floors are done and the painters are finished. Having to put the other trades on hold might come back to bite us in the backside if they’ve moved on to other jobs and we have to wait for them to finish those first.
There was also a screwup with the countertop order: due to a mistake on Home Depot’s end, my order didn’t get processed until I called to find out when we could expect delivery, which is when they discovered their error. To give them credit, they were very apologetic, and I received a call from their head office back east saying that I will be “compensated” for the delay. The plumbers can’t install the sinks until the countertops are in, nor will the cabinet guy install the cupboard door fronts (to make sure the tops line up properly with the countertop edge). I also need to choose a kitchen backsplash design, and I’d really like to wait until the countertops are in so I can do some mockups (my backsplash will actually take up a large section of wall, so it’s going to be a central feature – if I hate it, I’m going to be stuck with a big ugly mistake!).
And yet despite the above, we are still way ahead of the original promised completion date of October 31st. Even with the delays, our newly updated timeline has us moving in mid-September. Much of the work from here on in is dependent on other tradespeople, and not George’s crew, so hopefully we won’t have any availability conflicts. But I have to say this: I’ve waited so long for this house, that a couple of weeks here or there really isn’t going to matter to me. And six months from now, when we are all settled in, these delays will be long forgotten.
My next post will provide updates on exterior work.